upset about dc 4

(32 Posts)
teta Tue 26-Feb-13 00:28:40

Dc 4 has just informed me he is in the bottom group at maths.He really enjoys maths[ is doing key stage 1 this year].He says he is good at it and is the only one on the table who gets the right answers[as they are all thick].Anecdotally gets nearly all Bond papers right for his age and when tested recently he got a borderline 2a/3 in the stage 1 sats paper[wrong marks were due to poor exam technique].He has also told me that he is in the middle group at english [got a level 3 in the english stage 1]and is on Lime reading level [his teacher does not approve saying he is coming in at below white level in the very first stage 1 paper he ever did where he missed out 2 pages due to total inexperience]He has asked me tonight whether he is stupid?.He has always been very bright and has been early to do everything but gets bored when asked to do things again and again and i think switches off.Teachers have descibed him as brilliant at times but often disengaged.I am very concerned that he is being vastly underestimated and totally switched off at schoo[and the teacher is handling him extremely badly].What do i do?l

But its progress smile

teta Wed 27-Feb-13 09:27:23

Teacher dashed out this morning to say she would like to schedule a meeting once a month re:son with her and the job share.She feels its not doing son any good talking in front of himconfused.She now has decided [after discussion with the other teacher] to let him go home with one white book and one book of his choice [whatever difficulty].Now the rules change yet again!

teta Wed 27-Feb-13 06:58:13

We have lots of roald dahl,Horrid Henry and Michael Morpurgo[plus about 100 volumes of Beast Quest] and numerous wildlife books.It should be more fun for him though now as he was getting really bored of reading the simple books sent home from school.

teta Wed 27-Feb-13 06:51:55

Not so much sets,as tables set at different ability levels apparently.

TheCatInTheHairnet Wed 27-Feb-13 02:43:03

Woooah!! There are SETS?!!! In year 2?!!! When did that come in?!!

Hi Teta,

Exactly what I was going to suggest. Am sure that with 3 older DC you must have loads of books lying about.
With hindsight, I think literacy is way more important in early years and a solid grounding can help a great deal with all other subjects.
Make sure its age appropriate and make time to "review" his reading to make sure he can infer meaning and expand/translate in his own words.
These are useful skills that translate very well when dealing with math problems, science etc….

teta Tue 26-Feb-13 22:30:48

On further contemplation i have now decided to read our own choice of books.I am going to ignore the school white books.Dc 4 has been reading Beast quest tonight perfectly happily.I am not trying to get in a fight but am backing off from the school tbw.I am also going to stop volunteering as i don't really want to know what is going on in the classroom-its too upsetting.I think i will just have to write this year off and put it down to experience sadly.

teta Tue 26-Feb-13 16:12:42

I know.I'm glad that it sounds puzzling to others as well.I'm trying to be positive though as i dont want dc 4 to be completely turned off reading[he was only 55 pages into his horrid Henry book and he was so loving it though.Its now been snatched away!].

tiggytape Tue 26-Feb-13 16:05:38

teta - no wonder you are confused! I would not be happy with a school that bounced children up and down through reading levels and maths sets on the basis of 1 test result!
Normally it is the parents that get overly worried by one-off tests not the teachers.

teta Tue 26-Feb-13 15:56:34

Lougle,i'm very glad you are such a purist.However as a governor of a school that is your job to be non-partisan.How does being a volunteer who knows my childs class placement preclude me from being a 'no strings attached' supporter.I am truly failing to follow your logic here.
I have had a word with the teacher today.Dc 4 has been moved up to the top group in Maths this morning apparently but has been moved down from lime to white in reading.Because he got 2b in the ks1 test before half term apparently that is gold level.He hasn't been on gold level for about 10 months though,so they decided to move him down to white.The teacher has said he is very well able to read lime but needs to demonstrate better understanding.dc 4 is a bit demoralised about it but looking at the ks1 test he obviously couldn't be bothered that day.

lougle Tue 26-Feb-13 14:40:47

"Most parents will use all of their abilities/talents to help their children get on in the world surely?Whether thats by earning more money for private schooling or becoming a school governor or a member of the pta or volunteering."

Really? You see, I am a Governor at my DD1's Special School to help the school be the very best for all the children there. In fact, if there was an issue that could directly benefit my DD to the exclusion of others, I would exclude myself from that discussion and decision making process.

I would hope that the intention of many parents who volunteer is 'no strings attached' support for their DC's school, not an opportunity to find out where their child is in the class.

teta Tue 26-Feb-13 13:59:38

Lougle i have been volunteering for years.This school relies on parent helpers for reading etc.I do it because i enjoy doing it and feel i'm making a difference.Wile i'm doing it of course i get to know the kids and their abilities.Is that a crime?Most parents will use all of their abilities/talents to help their children get on in the world surely?Whether thats by earning more money for private schooling or becoming a school governor or a member of the pta or volunteering.I agree with you learn and say.Education should not be secret and it is too precious to be left solely to the teachers.
Tiggytape i have no intention of saying how bright he is.I don't know whether going over his teachers head will help or antagonise.I suspect the latter.

learnandsay Tue 26-Feb-13 13:19:27

While I agree that there is an obvious difference between volunteering because you want to help, and volunteering because you want to get the lowdown on what's happening with your child (or sneak a peek inside all the bookbags when the class is out of sight,) I disagree on what to do about it.

Why does a mum need to be removed? There's nothing secret about education. There's no reason why it can't be done in front of the parents.

If the teacher has got a problem with the child's maths she should be able to demonstrate it to the mum in such a way that the mum can understand it. And if the teacher can't explain it and demonstrate in a way in which the mum can understand then either she's not a very good teacher or the problem doesn't really exist.

lougle Tue 26-Feb-13 12:39:43

This is why parents shouldn't be able to help in their own child's class.

You are taking your privilege as a volunteer and using that to try and influence the teacher from your resulting knowledge of the class.

If I were the teacher, I'd be speaking to the HT and requesting that you were asked to move class or stop volunteering.

tiggytape Tue 26-Feb-13 12:32:30

teta - if the teacher is really saying 'bad at everything' then I do not think you should accept that and if necessary should ask to speak to the head of KS1 if there is one or the Head Teacher if not.
Try to approach it from the angle that you are showing willing. You want an action plan to help your son catch up and the school saying he is 'bad at everything' isn't specific enough. You want a breakdown of areas he needs to work on.

Tempting as it is, try not to argue your case that he is really clever and they are willfully not seeing it - it is probably not true - it is probably more the case that he doesn't do the things at school that he does easily at home. But even if it is true, where will arguing about it get you?
Politely but firmly push to be given details on the areas he needs help with and if the teacher won't help, go to someone more senior at school.
Your DS is obviously upset about this and it does need addressing constructively.

teta Tue 26-Feb-13 11:51:52

Kilmuir,how bright are you?.Please make a constructive comment!.Yes learn and say ,i probably can't win.Though i really don't want my child upset and demoralised by school at 6.Diplodocus he is on a table with kids who are way behind because of various reasons,some of whom have learning difficulties.I do know this.Tiggytape,yes until now, i wouldn't have believed that a teacher could act like this.The fact is she is.I have posted this to see if anyone has any advice to offer me?.Tiggytape according to the teacher he is bad at everything.I get feedback when i go into the school, whether i want it or not!.

kilmuir Tue 26-Feb-13 11:27:03

Maybe he is the 'thickest' of the class???
You have no knowledge of the abilities of others in his class

tiggytape Tue 26-Feb-13 11:15:33

Your key phase you use is: but doesn't always do this at school

There is a world of difference in being able to do something at home with mum on hand to help or even doing bond papers at home totally alone and being able to recount stories and demonstrate ability at school.

With good reason, a teacher will feel that a child who cannot demonstrate a skill in a school environment is a child who has not fully mastered it yet (there are Special Needs that make this untrue but they do not seem to apply in this case).

You seem to think it is being done almost to spite you for being an involved parent. I don't know why any teacher would do that - if she were influenced by parental pressure, she'd surely do the opposite and just let you have your own way for a quiet life. You are working with him at home but are you working on the areas that the teacher feels he needs to improve in?

diplodocus Tue 26-Feb-13 11:11:12

Depending on how many sets there are, it might just be that the rest of the class is even brighter. In my DD1's small state primary a child at that level may well be in the lower of two groups - it's just a very bright class. And you need to sort out the way he (and you) describe the abilities of other children.

caffeinated Tue 26-Feb-13 11:05:34

You seem fixated with the tests. At ks1 the tests are merely one indication of how the child is performing. It is mostly teacher assessment. The tests are just a snapshot, ours only do 1 test in May.

learnandsay Tue 26-Feb-13 10:37:22

I hear you. My main worry is that you seem to be in a fight with the teacher and she seems to the one of the "it's my way or the highway," types.

The only problem I can see is that in a myway/highway fight with the teacher the parent can't win.

teta Tue 26-Feb-13 09:52:15

Labro you are making a very valid point there.His results in school in practice ks 1 papers [i believe the first one he has ever done]were less than a 2a[he maintains he missed 2 pages accidentally].His class teacher has said he is coming in at less than the 'white' stage of reading.He had been on white since September so i pushed for him to be moved to lime as he was getting totally fed up of reading simple books.He is well able to understand lime and can retell stories perfectly [but doesn't always do this at school].The problem is Learnandsay i am working with him.The more i say this to her the more furious this teacher gets and seems to downgrade him.She likes to be in control of the parents[anecdotally she does this with parents who are well educated and extremely involved with their kids].I am an extremely supportive parent [have several dc's who have gone to this school with a real mixture of abilities].I have never fully relied on the schools to tell me about my children.I am at a total loss at what to do next.However i am extremely tempted to remove him [but have 2 others at the school who are doing well].Tiggytape,we tested him on the Bond papers because the teacher is perpetually saying he is behind at everything.Its not something we do routinely.

learnandsay Tue 26-Feb-13 09:36:41

Have you got a parents evening coming up? If you want him moved off the bottom table then presumably your job needs to be to find out what the teacher thinks that he needs to improve on and to help him improve on it.

In your estimation the teacher might be totally wrong. But she controls who sits at which table. So if you want him moved you have to work within her system whether you agree with it or not.

tiggytape Tue 26-Feb-13 09:28:12

I agree with the point that bottom table is subjective. If the children on other tables are working far in advance of the expected level for their age then somebody who works at the expected level will be in a lower set. It doesn't mean anything more than that.
And equally, within each set, there will be children who are top of the set and nearly at the level of the children in the set above. And children who are the bottom of that set and perhaps struggling. Again it doesn't mean he is in the wrong set - there will always be variation.

It can also depend on how they are assessed. Some children who are good at maths are not good at wordy maths problems (the type where you get three sentences to explain that George is 3 years older than his sister Millie who has 4 marbles for each year of her age and 10% of those are green then asks a question about it). I know my DS had to be trained not to nod off halfway though these - he much prefers a pure maths question to a lot of waffle about marbles and spaces left on a school bus.
Some children cannot pick a problem apart to get to the maths in the first place and need help with this. Comparing your son's schools with Bond Books at home probably isn't helping if this isn't what they're asked to do at school.

It is affecting his confidence though so I would tell the teacher this and see what she suggests. There is no reason she would deliberately keep him down but she will want to know if it is making him this unhappy and I am sure you would feel better knowing what they are basing it on and how he is doing.

Labro Tue 26-Feb-13 09:13:41

Its virtually impossible to know which children are behind from helping out in the classroom as you only have a very brief snapshot of the work they are doing.

It can be difficult feeling that the teacher hasn't recognised a dc ability, but worth remembering that their assessments are much more involved than assigning a mark to each correct question. Bond papers follow a different format, which may be why he finds the SATS style papers confusing.

As an example, at home, my 11 yr old ds can whizz through Bond tests etc, but at school under their test conditions he becomes distracted, will sometimes distract others and generally not give his best. This however is not the teachers fault.

If you can, its far better to approach the teacher and ask how you can best work together for your child, ask the teacher where they believe the weaknesses to be (it could be your dc loves test papers but doesn't transfer this to class work, investigations, peer interaction to solve a problem together etc, which all go towards making the 'level' a child is at) rather than presenting the teacher with the levels you have assessed at home.

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