and pushy or is teacher failing dd?

(152 Posts)
Mingnion Wed 20-Nov-13 22:22:54

Dd is six. Without sounding braggy, she's bright and could write and do sums and read basic books before beginning school. I like her school and she enjoys it but I don't feel they do enough to encourage the children to learn. For example, dds reading book is about five times easier than the books she reads at home and is rarely swapped more than once per week, though it was stated at the beginning of term it'd be swapped three times per week minimum or more if book was read sooner. We were told they'd have a spelling test every Monday and dd always knows them for the Monday but sometimes the teacher doesn't do the test until Thursday/Friday. I appreciate that if the child knows the spellings it shouldn't matter when the test is but the delay between tests means they're actually only getting six spellings every two weeks or so which I don't think is enough, plus dd feels unmotivated when the test isn't when the teacher said it'll be. After the test there is no record sent home of any mistakes so I cannot praise dd/revise any mistakes. Dd is, at the moment, really enthusiastic about learning. Every night she wants to do half hour of a maths workbook, read to me, research history/geography info on the internet etc. But she comes home from school not really having learned anything. Aibu to think dds teacher should be a bit more on the ball when it comes to reading books/spellings and encourage dds enthusiasm rather than ignore it?

YouTheCat Wed 20-Nov-13 22:24:50

If it concerns you that much why don't you volunteer and help change the reading books. It is a very time consuming task.

Your dd is enthusiastic and happy. So long as she is learning as well, I can't see the problem.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 20-Nov-13 22:29:06

"We were told they'd have a spelling test every Monday and dd always knows them for the Monday but sometimes the teacher doesn't do the test until Thursday/Friday."



You need a hobby or something.

Your kid is happy and clever.

There is no problem here.

Financeprincess Wed 20-Nov-13 22:30:50

Pushy. Sorry. This is just one of the reasons why I feel sorry for teachers.

Mingnion Wed 20-Nov-13 22:32:54

I have volunteered, actually. She's enthusiastic about learning at home, not at school because she isn't remotely challenged and is bored.

Jinsei Wed 20-Nov-13 22:35:35

You do sound rather pushy, I'm afraid. grin

Maybe just relax a bit, and see how it goes. Your dd is excited about learning, so hopefully that means that the school is doing something right.

And school reading books really don't matter. Just take her to your local library.

idiuntno57 Wed 20-Nov-13 22:35:41

pushy I'd say


gwenniebee Wed 20-Nov-13 22:36:29

But she comes home from school not really having learned anything.

Really? Just because she tells you she hasn't learnt anything, that may not be the case. It may also be that the lessons are so much fun that she doesn't consider them to be lessons - my lot often say "we haven't done any work today". Then I point out what they know now that they didn't know at breakfast and they say, "Ohhhh yeaaahhhh......".

Spelling test I can understand is irritating but I think very few people understand the practicalities of a YR/1 classroom - some times there is just too much to get in.

Jinsei Wed 20-Nov-13 22:37:27

OP, in the nicest possible way, is she actually bored, or is she saying that she is bored because she's picked up on something from you?

toobreathless Wed 20-Nov-13 22:38:12

I think it sounds perfect- as you say she is enthusiastic about learning.

I would continue supporting her school work and enjoy doing some things to supplement her learning at hold if you feel she isn't stretched enough? Museums, more challenging books, musical instrument etc.

YouTheCat Wed 20-Nov-13 22:38:55

You do know that infant school is about loads more than just learning to read and write?

Why kick up if she is happy?

You seem to think the teacher has a bottomless pit of time - she won't have at all.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 20-Nov-13 22:40:41

It's funny how people like to boast about how bored their children are at school, as though being bored is a sign of intelligence.

Hint: it's not.

Worried3 Wed 20-Nov-13 22:47:23

Well, I disagree with most of you. If a teacher says at the beginning of the year that x will happen, but it consistently doesn't happen, then I would be enquiring as to why this was. If there is a reasonable explanation (e.g. child not ready for more than they are doing), then fine. I don't see why it's wrong for parents to raise concerns they have- surely teachers would rather know about these concerns so they can reassure the parent or address them.

My DD (aged 5) has a new reading book every day, and also spelling/writing practice most nights. So it can be done. If the child is happy, then that's good. But the OP says her DD is getting bored as school- that's not a good sign to me, even if she is otherwise enjoying school.

I'd be having a chat with the teacher- enquire politely as to why x and y are not being done, when at the start of the year the teacher had said they would be. I don't think it's unreasonable to highlight your concerns re DD boredom with the teacher- the teacher may be able to reassure you.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Wed 20-Nov-13 22:58:58

I have often wondered what does happen to the DC that are very early readers etc.

I knew a few mums ( please, not saying this is you at all op) who really worked hard to get their pre schoolers up and learning which is great. I tried with mine but didnt get anywhere grin.

However, it did cross my mind, where are they going to go anyway when they hit school? They still have to go at the pace of the others.

I have heard grumbles from these mums that their DC are not being listened too or streched.

Its all very confusing...I can totally understand that they have to get the others up to speed, so what can they do with the more advanced ones?

I suppose in a private shcool with small classes you can tailer their needs more, I just cant see what the solution would be in a state school bar moving them up a year?

I would think the only thing you can do bar talk to teacher is sort of home school her youself.

uselessinformation Wed 20-Nov-13 23:04:22

Spelling tests are not useful for teaching children how to spell anyway. The teacher probably only gives spelling lists because parents expect them so it is written somewhere in school policy. She probably forgets the tests because she knows they are meaningless.

Thymeout Wed 20-Nov-13 23:30:05

Elf - no, the children should not all be going at the same pace. There should be some differentiation, so the early readers don't have to mark time until the others catch up with them. This is Year 1, not Reception. The class teacher should have some idea of the children's capabilities before she even met them. There should have been a handover from their previous teacher so she could already have planned suitable groups of similar ability.

I don't think OP would be at all unreasonable to ask for reassurance about the reading books being too easy or not being changed often enough. Also the lack of feedback on spelling tests.

Have you had a parents' evening yet, OP? If not, ask to speak to the teacher in the hope that she can put your mind at rest.

Jinsei Wed 20-Nov-13 23:40:48

However, it did cross my mind, where are they going to go anyway when they hit school? They still have to go at the pace of the others

My dd could read fluently when she started school, but I never felt that she was held back. It did take her reception a little while to suss out how well she could read, and the reading books they initially gave us were a bit pointless - though ironically, they had actually tried to differentiate. It wasn't an issue, though. She just read the school books quickly and then moved on to more interesting material of her choosing.

bellybuttonfairy Wed 20-Nov-13 23:46:42

Goodness! Shes only 6. The most important thing is her socialising. Is she interacting with her peers? Is she confident? Is she learning her social skills. These are so much more important at this age and will set her up for life.

Its great that she is so bright that she finds her school work easy. She'll start to shine when she gets older.

Great that you have time to do research and maths with her at home but I really wouldnt push the teachers into doing things differently for your daughter.

FredFredGeorge Wed 20-Nov-13 23:54:49

You seem to think spelling tests = learning. It's not, spelling even if it was once a useful skill is now not all that useful at all - you probably typed that in a box where all your misspellings were either corrected without you noticing or a red squiggly line appeared underneath.

Getting demotivated when the spelling test isn't when the teacher said it would be, failing to ask the teacher to swap reading books when she's bored of the one she's reading etc. Are the things you need to teach your child about, not spelling, she needs to learn the confidence to demand her own teaching from the teachers and the adaptability to deal with minor changes in routine.

And why does she demand "30 minutes of maths workbook" ? Wouldn't she either want to do it, or not want to do it, not weirdly want to do a particular number of minutes of it?

bumbleymummy Thu 21-Nov-13 00:21:44

I don't think YABU at all. I wouldn't be happy with that either. I would continue to do extra work at home to stretch her but the school should be doing this. I think I would speak to the teacher about it. Do you have other alternatives to this school?

TreaterAnita Thu 21-Nov-13 00:39:21

My son doesn't start school until next Sept, but currently his reading is limited to spotting the initial of his first name so I doubt he'll be outstripping his teacher when he starts school (though I should add that I'm still achingly proud of him, as he had a very rough start in life medically, so to me he's a genius).

My point in posting however was that I was a naturally academic child, learnt all my spellings over night in Reception, galloped through books, that kind of thing. I went to a primary that was very mixed socio-economically, so we had some kids who got lots of support at home and some kids who were essentially neglected, one of whom I remember very clearly as he was incredibly bright but had a terrible childhood (and I now think probably ADHD, but that wasn't really heard of when I was a kid) and to be frank I'm amazed that the teachers (there were no TAs) managed to teach us anything at all really when they had such a mix of abilities and needs.

So, my actual points are:

Maybe the teachers can't deliver on their expectations of what your daughter could be doing because they have to meet the needs of every child in the class, all 30 of them, not just the bright ones. I think that in a nutshell is why some people choose to go private if they can afford it.

I can't ever remember being bored before about year 5 maybe, when we started doing whole class reading for things like history (very lazy teaching, hope they don't do that now) and it felt like a month to go round the whole class until I got to read my one line from the text book. I used to entertain myself working out which sentence would be mine. I doubt that your daughter is suffering from this at 6 and I'm sure teaching is a lot better now.

Finally, if you don't feel she's being pushed at school, just read and do stuff with her at home. My parents did this, stood me in very good stead, and it sounds like she enjoys reading and academic things so she should be happy to do it with you.

The main thing is that you say she enjoys school. I heard a R4 documentary on education a year or so ago where some academic suggested that you could basically stick the bright kids with lots of books and support at home in the playground for most of their primary education and they'd still cope fine from 11 because primary is all about the basics, and they'll just soak that up. I think that's an overstatement personally, but I do think that if your daughter enjoys school and loves learning she'll be absolutely fine.

Bogeyface Thu 21-Nov-13 01:31:46


I have 6 children, with a mix of SEN, G&T and average. They have all been to state schools and they have all be taught to their abilities.

If your expectations are not being met then I would suggest that your expectations are unrealistic regarding your DC.

rabbitlady Thu 21-Nov-13 05:41:10

set up your own programme of study to work through with her in your own time.
half an hour daily during the week, one hour at weekend, one day off. be ready to put your programme on hold if she has a big project from school. replace 'lessons' with interesting visits and activities quite often.
expect to continue this throughout primary. make sure she gets into a suitable independent secondary school.
listen to her, follow her interests and encourage them.
she will not receive 'education' at school, only 'schooling'. the education part is your job.

I find it very very hard to believe that a 6 year old is coming home saying she is bored at school and not learning anything.

The reading book- I would imagine that it is very difficult to deal with the practicalities of changing 30 reading books 3 times a week, to listen to 30 children read 3 times a week because surely teachers have to know that the child has read and understood the book before changing it?

There's no point wanting the book changed every day in order to get through all the book bands first, if the child doesn't understand it.
Reading the words on the page is not the same as understanding the story. It just means you recognize the words.

Go to the library, read some more difficult books with her if you think that's what she needs.

I am very wary of identifying children as gifted at 6. Some children have been taught to read or taught numeracy at home before they start school which obviously puts them a little bit ahead of their classmates to begin with but IME this tends to even itself out.

If your DC is demanding to do half an hour maths every night then clearly you are doing the right thing by encouraging a love of learning.

I do tend to think though, in year 1, it's not just about cramming as much information into their heads as possible, or getting through the reading bands first, or identifying gifted children, or getting 10/10 on a spelling test.

They learn an awful lot when it looks like they are not actually working.

wigglesrock Thu 21-Nov-13 06:25:39

I have a daughter exactly the same age & in the same position but I'm really happy with her school. She's 6 - school is not all about academic learning at the age. In your OP you haven't mentioned anything else about her, is she a happy enough wee thing?, good with friends, happy enough in the playground?

My daughter could read before she started school (she did it herself with the help of her older sisters homework books confused ) I'll be honest, I don't really know how she did it - it was like one day she could read! I have an older child who couldn't read before school but now at 8 is a voracious reader.

Dd2 get homework - her school doesn't send spellings home until Year 2 (P3 for us). They get one reading book a week however her teacher gives her a book that is part of the older kids library. This week she brought home a book that her big sister read last year (there's 3 school years between them)

I buy her books to read at night that would be in an older age bracket, although she loves an encyclopedia/ reference book. She's never bored in school or out of it.

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 06:50:00

Not pushy and not unreasonable and the teacher sounds lazy and/or disorganised.

If she's not going to bother assessing whether a book has been read, or if it's proving impossible for some reason, then why is she giving books out in the first place? Surely assessing how the children are doing at reading (and spelling) in a consistent way is part of the job description, and a professional needs to figure out a way to get this done. And just because the other children have needs doesn't mean this particular child's can be ignored.

To a large extent I agree with Worried3.

However, I think you need to provide enrichment at home, which you should be doing anyway (as Rabbitlady said) because school is only the tip of the iceberg where learning is concerned.
Dd is, at the moment, really enthusiastic about learning. Every night she wants to do half hour of a maths workbook, read to me, research history/geography info on the internet etc
This is half the battle won. Encourage this and go with the flow.

Don't gripe about school where your DD can hear you, and double check that she can't. Be enthusiastic about school in front of her.

PansOnFire Thu 21-Nov-13 07:03:05

Your interpretation of what learning is sounds very different to the reality. Yes, up until about the 80s, spelling tests were seen as a valuable teaching tool but this is very outdated. I'm not saying they don't have their place, of course they do, but that rote learning idea is long gone.

Your DD is 6 and you are taking her word about the quality of teaching over the confidence you should have in a trained professional! School is a lot more than spelling, reading and numbers these days, what on earth do you think the teacher is doing when the spelling test has to be pushed back until Thursday or Friday? I'd conclude that she's prioritising, I realise that it's important for children to have a routine but the flexibility of a routine is far more important when it comes to education.

Not all students are expected to learn at the same pace, that is a dangerous misconception. Subjects should be differentiated on all levels and the way work has to be assessed it is virtually impossible not to differentiate. Plus, there's that teeny, ignored fact that the teacher usually wants to help the student succeed so will therefore make the provisions.

Thank you for helping me to realise why some parents assume all teachers are crap; it has nothing to do with the fact they are bullies, they actually don't have a clue about education today (I'm not saying Gove does all the time either btw). OP, if you are concerned, which of course you have every right to be, then go and speak to the teacher. Be reasonable about it, don't question the teacher about her abilities to teach your child, ask about your child's abilities and what the teacher finds concerning her efforts/attitudes. You might get some insight into what actually goes on. Right now you just sound pushy and irritating, most parents believe their children are the most bright ones in the class and that they should be given special treatment so if it's true in your case then the teacher should agree with you without having to be persuaded.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 07:07:40

Schools should differentiate learning for children, but my experience is that not all teachers are able / prepared to do this effectively.

It is perfectly possible for a child of 6 to feel bored and under stimulated at school. One of my children was the same as the OPs and came home at 5/6 telling me that school was pointless as he hadn't learnt anything there since starting. He certainly didn't get that from me, but it was a very well observed point.

I don't think its unreasonable for the OP to expect her child to have more than one reading book per week. Changing books doesn't have to be time consuming for the teacher as some teachers send the children to choose a book themselves from the appropriate colour band. How much of the teachers time does that really use.

I don't think the OP is being pushy. I do think that (sadly) she won't get very far with trying to change things at school though and will have to pick up the slack herself and continue to do maths, reading and learning at home or consider a switch to a school with smaller classes / home education.

janey68 Thu 21-Nov-13 07:09:13

There may be issues with the teacher, but it's difficult to know because you are basing your judgement on odd things IMO
Why do you want your dd to have a spelling test every Monday, at age 6? What value do you think that has? It feels as though you want certain things to Happen just for the sake of it, rather than because of real educational value.

The reading book thing wouldn't bother me unduly because a keen child who is read to and reads a lot at home will probably be bored shitless by most reading scheme books anyway!

It's very unusual for a 6 year old to come home saying she's bored ; I would try to find out whether she's really as happy and integrated as you imagine. I can't see why a 6 year old would say that unless there's perhaps some underlying issue

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 07:10:03

it's true in your case then the teacher should agree with you without having to be persuaded.

Agreeing with her and doing something about it are two different things. There are some very good teachers, but some very mediocre ones too.

Snowbility Thu 21-Nov-13 07:15:39

The reading and changing books issue is a ubiquitous problem, the complaint pops up on this forum almost weekly. It's not worth pursuing unless you are going to offer to do the job for the teacher, instead continue to supply appropriate books at home - chances are they'll be more interesting than the rubbish they supply at school anyway. Forget about spelling tests....they are a bit pointless - encourage your dd to write stories instead.
Half an hour of maths every day is great but not sit down workbook stuff. Bake with her, measure stuff - figure things out - encourage mathematical thinking, language and real life problem solving....don't give her Kumon style worksheets. Go for a walk in the park, go to art galleries, museums etc.... observe what's around you, fire her desire to know more - you can't do this through a text book. What's your dd's social skills like - I've met many a clever child completely lacking in this area and it's an important one to develop, even for the very clever.

Alternatively - chill, she's only is a marathon not a have a long way to go before the finish line.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 07:35:17

Dd was a free reader at 6. I pushed her on a bit because she was enjoying it. But the big difference was I was in there, helping out at least 2 afternoons/mornings a week. I was the parent sorting out the reading books. And yes it is very bloody time consuming. It's not just a matter of the 30 children fetching a new book and putting it in their book bags. The book will be logged, then there's checking the reading level is right (because some of the little darlings will insist on getting a gold book when they are on green), and also recording anything else that needs writing down x 30. Takes about an hour.

I don't know many teachers that have a spare hour a few times a week.

Bradsplit Thu 21-Nov-13 07:36:19

Lol. Your daughter will never spell. Ever.

Op she's six. How on earth will you cope with GCSEs

MorgauseIsNotBlinking Thu 21-Nov-13 07:36:53

Pushy. Very pushy.

Both our DCs were academic and now work in academia with several degrees between them. Both were reading before they started school but lapped up school from the day they started. We didn't hear the "bored" word until they were at comprehensive school and that was about PE. <shrug>

Bright children will always find something to do, read or learn in school even when their teachers are understandably occupied with the other 29 in the class.

OhDearGodThePain Thu 21-Nov-13 07:42:10

A lot of people seem to be saying the same. My ds also 6 went to school unable to read more than a handful of words and could only write his name. He's now been moved 2 classes forward for his reading so I think if he was like your dd he would be unchallenged too.

I do think she'll be learning other valuable things from school that she won't be mentioning, probably as she's disappointed about her spelling etc.

I would read more at home, although I suspect you are already, and I would maybe bring it up next parents evening.

Don't listen to the snipers here. You love your DD and want the best for her. But...

...chillaxez-vous. I'm an Oxford First who went to a very ordinary (but lovely) village primary school. Tbh the early years were effectively an extended playgroup. I did my real learning with a torch hiding books under the bedcovers at night. If she genuinely is as bright as you think she is, she'll push herself, because her little neurons will be sparking away going LEARN! LEARN!

Just make sure she has access to as many, and as advanced, books as she wants. You are a facilitator now. That is your role. And artists' materials. And soon things like microscopes and chemistry sets and helping you mend plugs and cars and stuff.

If (I repeat) she is some sort of genius, then actually these first years at school become about learning to socialise and play and to make herself happy, in order that in later years she can avoid the pressure and loneliness that comes from being deemed square and standoffish.

And try very VERY hard not to let your attitude, even subconsciously, rub off on her. She's not better than the other kids - or the teachers. She's good at some things, they're good at others. Tis the lovely tapestry of life. There's nothing worse than a tiny intellectual snob! She writes, as an ex-one...wink.

Hulababy Thu 21-Nov-13 07:57:24

Re not learning anything at school - this would be unusual as schools so have lesson plans, and teaches so actually want to do the job of imparting knowledge. Has she really not learnt anything in literacy, numeracy, phonics, topic inc geography and history, computing, or, music, art and d&t, etc....?

Spellings - waste of time, have no academic benefit and don't teach children to teach. Many schools don't bother with them at all. Decent phonics teaching is all that's needed as all programmes should inc spelling rules etc

Reading books - can your dd bit change them? Else read more of home books - school scheme books are never as exciting anyway. Almost every child I know reads harder books at home - that's normal.

jamdonut Thu 21-Nov-13 08:05:27

Just wondering...what do you expect her to be learning that she is not?

Do you feel she is "not learning" because she she has already covered topics at home? That is hardly the Teacher's fault. The only thing I can say is that her differentiated work maybe needs to be a bit more challenging,but teachers need to make sure that subjects are actually understood ,before moving on.

Also, reading books...they are not a race. She may be able to read well (my own son taught himself to read ,before starting school ) but does she really have the comprehension? As a TA I see many children who can read the words well,are on high book band levels, but ask them questions about what they have read and they will look blankly at you. And yet their parents complain that they are on books that are too easy because they are reading Harry Potter (or whatever) at home.

I do understand where you are coming from, because my youngest son was/is exactly the same. Try not to get worked up about it.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Thu 21-Nov-13 08:54:22

I am presuming your dd is an only child. I shouldn't go overboard on the fact she can read at 6 and seems like she is charging ahead of others in her class. As someone with a dd and ds I can say that girls are generally ahead of boys at this age. Girls in general are calmer and more able to learn.
Friends dd taught herself to read fluently at the age of 2 1/2. Friend would look at my ds and other boys in her dd's class and think we were terrible parents as boys would charge around and generally be incredibly noisy and boisterous and were all in the bottom sets in class whilst her dd sat quietly with the girls reading books or chatting quietly. Fast forward 4 years, and she had a ds now age 3. His main word is Boo which he uses frequently in different tones. He runs around like a whirl wind and she now realises he is on track to being exactly the same as the boys she thought had bad parents when her dd was 6. Her dd is still bright, but there is only now a small gap between her and the rest of the girls in her class despite friend tutoring her each night.
As long as your dd is happy and has friends then I shouldn't worry about her saying she is bored. Could I ask if she is in yr 1 or yr 2.

intitgrand Thu 21-Nov-13 09:09:43

YANBU. The whole point of her going to school is to learn and progress.
At our school the children of that age change the books themselves.They know what box they are on and just get another book and write it in their reading record.
When school say theu haven't time to do reading , they haven't time to do spelling tests when they say, what are they doing all day that is more important?

impty Thu 21-Nov-13 09:16:14

I could have been you when my dd1 was 6. I did often feel that she wasn't pushed enough, she arrived at school reading and achieving and I DID feel that she wasn't stretched enough. On the other hand she was learning lots of other things, including making and maintaining friendships, social skills etc. 10 years on and it is obvious that she is bright and academic, but she's not an all round genius. Throughout her school life tgere have been times when she's been ahead of the class, and other times when she's needed help to catch up. Her state school teachers have always tried to meet her needs!
On the other hand, dd2 was in a primary class and really didn't learn anything for a term. I asked to see her work and she had written one paragraph, which was the same for the whole class. She had complained she was bored, and it was obvious her year 4 teacher wasn't doing any work. (I asked to see a book from the other year 4 teachers class and they had done lots of work!) I moved her to a different school. So I do see that there are some terrible teachers, but they really are very few and far between.

hackmum Thu 21-Nov-13 09:32:19

I don't think yabu. On the other hand, these are fairly minor problems in the scheme of things. In reception, my DD's teacher made her read every single book in stage 2 of the Oxford Reading Tree, whereas she was perfectly capable of reading stage 4. I didn't complain because I didn't want to antagonise the teacher (this is an important consideration).

It's kind of annoying about the spelling tests, but not nearly as annoying (trust me!) as when a secondary school teacher sets homework and then can't be bothered to mark it.

Some teachers are great at differentiating between children of different ability, some are useless. At this age, as long as she's happy and she's reading lots at home, that's the main thing - she won't really lose out.

mrsjay Thu 21-Nov-13 09:37:44

you sound pushy and a bit precious the children need to understand what they are reading how it all works not just flying through the books your dd is doing fine at school and is happy she is not going to fail in life because she didnt get a novel at 6 in school, and can i just say it again she is 6 leave her and the teachers alone, learning isn't all about who is more advanced or how fast they can get through reading books, dd1 could read at 4 and could write a little too but was on the level she should be in primary , let your dd read and do things at home and let the teacher do her job

WhereIsMyHat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:44:13

I had some concerns about my son in Y1 and his books being too easy but was assured at parents evening that he was doing ok and was average within the class and hitting the targets he needed to curriculum wise.

The following week we got offered a place at the school that was our first choice for reception but oversubscribed so he moved after half term to Y1 in the new school. On his first day they moved him up 3 reading groups and a week later he moved up again.

My H and I cannot believe our son who was reading simple, two line to a page books three weeks ago is not reading proper story books, to himself and it able to read properly and a range of different texts. How can things change so much? Before the mve the only thing he'd talk about doing at school was okay info the smacky bum game with his friends. Now he cones home and discusses lessons as well as the games (mostly policeman) games he plays at lunch time. He just seems to thrive in the new, slightly more academic but smaller school.

Have you thought about some external maths tuition if she's bored?

hackmum Thu 21-Nov-13 09:59:28

mrsjay: but it's not about thinking your child is going to fail in life, it's about wanting the school to give her work that is challenging and rewarding rather than work that is too easy for her. Unfortunately anyone who says their child is bright stands automatically accused of being pushy or precious on Mumsnet. But some kids are brighter than average, some are less bright than average, and some teachers unfortunately only ever teach to the average. That's the problem.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 10:38:17

Hack mum has summarised it perfectly.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 10:43:16

Just to add to what Hackmum has said.
If somebody starts a thread about a child who is struggling and being given work that is much too difficult then there is usually lots of supporting words offered and advice along the lines of: 'push for the school to provide additional support' and 'ensure the school provides an IEP stating your child's learning needs and how they will be met' and 'the school are not doing their job properly if your child is not given work appropriate to her level'.
However, dare to state that your child is above average and isn't being sufficiently challenged and you get accused of being precious, unrealistic, expecting too much, denying your child the opportunity to develop as a whole person, etc etc.

SkullyAndBones Thu 21-Nov-13 10:46:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OddFodd Thu 21-Nov-13 10:52:20

Get her to change her own reading books. DS manages to do it and he has SN

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 10:57:56

Thank you, norudeshitrequired - that is precisely how I feel. I appreciate spelling tests are outdated, but it's the fact of encouraging them to learn something that is then not testing it as promised. Its the principal that DD then thinks that learning them is pointless if the teacher isn't interested in whether they've learned them or not. She hasn't got that attitude from me - I do speak positively about school but she is naturally competitive (perhaps from me...!) and enjoys receiving recognition. Same with homework - it's never marked or commented on so there's little encouragement to do it at all. Regarding reading books, her teacher has never listened to her read, nor has a TA. They do guided reading and I personally don't think this is adequate in assessing reading ability. If she were given more challenging books from school, she'd be more enthusiastic about school if that makes sense. Her social skills are fine - she has lots of friends and is kind/sharing possibly to a fault. Oh, and she isn't 'demanding' to do specifically 30 mins of maths every night. She asks to do some maths and 30 mins is about all I can spare as I have a toddler too, extra curricular activities etc.

For whoever asked if there's another option - her school has 30 children in the class. Her first choice school, which she didn't get a place at, has 15. Her friend that couldn't read/write her name, even count to ten before she started school at the same age as DD is now a free reader at the same age as DD which DD gets upset at as her friend teases her that she's more clever. I appreciate DD must learn to ignore people such as this but I can't help feeling that she should be excelling, and would have been if she'd gone to the smaller school, whereas instead she's becoming disheartened with school which is sad when there's at least a further ten years of education ahead for her! Moving school is a massive deal though.

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 11:00:12

OddFodd - their books aren't in the classroom, so they can't choose to read independently or change books independently, they have to have permission and be accompanied to go to the library which it seems the teacher/TA/two helpers don't have time to do. Skully - her comprehension is very good. She prefers the comprehension part to the actual reading, she loves stories and would listen to me reading/write stories all day if she could.

Pooka Thu 21-Nov-13 11:03:01

Ds1 was a naturally early reader - by which I mean he learned pretty much autonomously by asking about letters and letter patterns. When he started school he was assessed with a 'mechanical' reading age of 12 thou obviously not so advanced in subtleties of comprehension.

His teachers have challenged him by:

- Good phonics teaching to help where his memory/unfamiliarity with words might stop him reading a whole text.

- He does guided reading with a year group 3 years ahead (is in year 3, reads with year 6). Initially was concerned about exit strategy when that cohort goes on to secondary, but gradually readers in his class are now of a similar ability and he can have more meaningful guided reading in his own year group.

- One to one reading once a week with SENCO. At the moment they're reading lots of comics it seems - means he's got really into making comics at home. I say once a week, but sometimes more like fortnightly as the SENCO is time-constrained and has, frankly and nderstandably, bigger fish to fry.

- Improving his writing ability/handwriting to compensate as much as possible for the disparity between reading/writing.

- Good work in maths to try and address spiky profile where verbal scores massively disparate with non-verbal.

Generally he was academically able when he started school but relatively emotionally/socially immature. We've always seen primary school as actually not just being about academics, but about so much more. So am actually probably more pleased/proud about the ways he's learned to make friends, do physical things, hold a pen, play games, have small talk with friends, go on school trips, become more confident with adults and so on than about SATS levels. Though in the 3 years he's been there his maths/writing has improved heaps and I would say he's more well-rounded in that respect.

Pooka Thu 21-Nov-13 11:06:12

Our school also did away with spelling tests. Ds1 is naturally good at spelling. Some people are. The tests seemed to serve little point as a sit down full class activity since the same children each week would feel rubbish about themselves. Better to target in a less pressured way the children who struggle with spelling to teach them ways of improving their spelling IMO.

Books were never changed often enough in the classroom to keep up with ds's reading. We have loads of books at home and go to the library and these are the books he tends to take in and read or read at home.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 21-Nov-13 11:07:20

To be honest your DD sounds like she's doing excellently so I don't think you need to worry. However my Y1 DD is allowed to change her reading book every day if she wants to (usually it's changed 3-4 times per week) so I think that is a legitimate issue to raise with the teacher. You might get a fairer reception on the primary ed board rather than AIBU smile

cavell Thu 21-Nov-13 11:11:02

I don't think you are unreasonable at all. It isn't pushy to want/expect your children to actually learn stuff at school and for some children the fact that they feel they aren't learning anything at school can be a big turn-off.
I moved my dd2 from a cr*p school to the one where she is now. She has learned a massive amount in the time she has been at the new school and is really happy there, too. The two things aren't mutually exclusive. If you aren't happy with the school, look into the possibility of moving her. It really isn't that big a deal - both of my children have done this (for different reasons) and it has always led to an improvement.

SkullyAndBones Thu 21-Nov-13 11:13:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cavell Thu 21-Nov-13 11:23:29

Why don't you ask to see your daughter's teacher to discuss your concerns? I did this regarding my dd2 - and the meeting only confirmed my fears. She wasn't learning much and her work showed no sign of progress, although the teacher agreed with my assessment, she didn't seem at all concerned by this fact.
You, however, may have a different outcome.

WhereIsMyHat Thu 21-Nov-13 11:31:01

Are you on the wait list for the other school OP?

FreckledLeopard Thu 21-Nov-13 11:39:34

I don't think YABU at all. I believe a school should try to stretch children and develop their learning as best as they can. Obviously, at certain schools, this is not always done - children are left to coast, aren't stretched and don't develop their potential.

Would changing schools/going private be an option? I was super-bright as a child and was stretched by going to private school. I remember, aged four, learning multiplications all the way up to the 12 times table. The school grasped that I was bright and challenged me.

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 11:48:08

Would you be ok with the teacher questioning you on your parenting based on what your dd says about you?

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 11:54:53

Would you be ok with the teacher questioning you on your parenting based on what your dd says about you?

So what do you suggest the OP does? Ignore what her dd is telling her? Ignore the fact that she can evidently see that the reading book has not been changed all week? Continue to brood on concerns by not mentioning them when they could be possibly be easily clarified / cleared up by discussing it together?

I have gone to my child's teachers numerous times over the years when my children have raised things that I find concerning or I am unsure about the accuracy of something. Some of the teachers have been very defensive and unpleasant, however, most of the teachers have been receptive and open and willing to discuss matters and reach a healthy outcome. In my experience the teachers who have been open and receptive have been by far the better teachers. Sometimes the message home from my child has been not entirely accurate, but by discussing it with the teacher we can usually work out why an incorrect understanding has been arrived at.

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 12:07:26

CailinDana - 'Would you be ok with the teacher questioning you on your parenting based on what your dd says about you?' Well yes, actually. If DD was telling her I was neglecting my parental duties I'd be fine with her bringing it up with me.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 12:10:17

Do you realise that 'guided reading' involves reading to a teacher or TA (usually in a group)? I'd say that counts as being heard reading.

CailinDana Thu 21-Nov-13 12:17:44

It was a genuine question norude. IMO if the parent is willing to field questions about their parenting then it's likely they will approach the teacher in a respectful way and accept that even if it appears rhat the teacher isn't on the ball that might not be the case (just as a parent might seem neglectful when they're not). Generally it's only parents who think they know it all that are horrific to deal with.

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 12:18:09

No, in DD's case, it involves reading to a student from the local college as the teacher and qualified TA's focus on the children who are struggling.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 12:22:44

Callindana - ok, I clearly misunderstood the tone of your post. Apologies.
FWIW - I think parents should always approach these things in a respectful, non accusatory way. I also think that it is often very difficult for some parents to approach teachers as they don't want the teacher to feel attacked or accused. It's a tricky balance, but a good teacher will be open and receptive and ensure that the parent feels she is approachable. Those kind of teachers are worth their weight in gold.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 12:37:20

She is still being listened to though. I can completely understand the teacher and TA working with those that are struggling. Doesn't that make sense?

When I was an unqualified parent helper, I very often listened to children read and it was usually those who had no problems with their reading.

Now that I am qualified, I read with those children who need help or have Spld because they need more help so they can achieve.

Schools just do not have the staff and resources these days. Your dd is doing well.

When my dd finished her work she would go and help anyone in her class who was struggling - she wasn't asked to, she did it so she didn't get bored.

loveandsmiles Thu 21-Nov-13 12:38:41

My DC are very advanced in Maths ~ daughter in Year 7 will not have to do Maths at secondary school as has already sat and passed the Maths exams independently.

I send them to school to learn how to socialise as they are most definitely not challenged there. The classes are 30+ and the teacher spends time with those that have SN or are struggling, leaving the average children or high achievers to get on with it. Not ideal, but what can you do? They learn Maths and English when they come home instead.

They are happy at school and have lots of friends. If you want them to be challenged more I think you have to take time to do it yourself as the teachers in busy, full to capacity state schools don't have the time to do this, much as they may want to......

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 12:39:53

YouTheCat - Yes it does make sense that the teachers and TAs help the struggling children. However, the student or parent helpers do not have the authority to move a child up a level, nor do my comments on the comment card that DD has read the book months earlier, or in under a minute warrant moving up ergo DD is bored.

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 12:41:26

loveandsmiles - I appreciate they might not have the time to do it themselves which is why I think the least they could do is give reading books/set homework which challenges her for me to do with her.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 12:46:42

They don't have that authority but they do have the capacity to tell the teacher when they think a child is ready.

If you are concerned, make an appointment with the teacher to discuss moving your dd up a band. They will usually be working to a set criteria and if your dd hasn't yet met that then she won't have moved up.

What band is she on?

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 12:51:52

I have no idea YouTheCat, they have coloured boxes with numbers with don't seem to correspond to anything. One day she'll bring home a 'green 5' book, the next an 'orange 3' then a 'purple 4' and so on. It doesn't seem to correspond to the ORT which we have read at home. Agreed they should tell the teacher when they think a child is ready but they aren't doing so with DD unfortunately. I have discussed it with her teacher already and took in a book to show her the level DD is reading at home. She moved her up one band but it still doesn't compare to her ability remotely. She can read the book, practically recite, answer all comprehension questions, read in the correct tone and so on - I don't understand what other criteria there is that she isn't meeting? Apologies if I'm being dim here smile

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 12:56:06

Orange is the next after green. She seems to have skipped turquoise and gone from orange to purple. So it would seem she has moved up a few bands actually.

cavell Thu 21-Nov-13 12:56:46

Maybe your dd just has a cr*p teacher.

Were things better in reception?

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 13:04:48

I can completely understand the teacher and TA working with those that are struggling. Doesn't that make sense?

Does an able child not deserve the same level of input?
Surely every child deserves an equal level of input from the teacher in order to progress properly.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 13:10:02

Yes but it is not always possible. I'd expect a more able child to be able to listen to instructions and then complete work independently, mainly.

The less able or children with additional needs may well require an adult to keep them on task (especially in year 1/2) and so will require more input. They might also need instructions broken down into more manageable chunks and need help to write.

Why would you use resources to help a child who is doing very well in their task on their own when other children actually need the help?

PETRONELLAS Thu 21-Nov-13 13:15:12

Definitely not BU. Sounds like the school have over promised and under delivered. Could you pretend to be a bit vague by asking when the spelling tests are? My DS goes to our local school where most parents are not engaged with the school at all. I feel pushy for asking even a basic question but when it comes down to it I don't want his education to suffer because I'm too worried about what a bunch of people I don't give a ra about think.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 13:21:49

Why would you use resources to help a child who is doing very well in their task on their own when other children actually need the help?

Because all children regardless of ability need some level of teacher input to progress. They all need new concepts explaining. They all get stuck and need some help. They all need help with reading / understanding unfamiliar words.
Children with very obvious learning difficulties should have an IEP and possible an additional support assistant of their own for a defined number of weekly hours. All other children should have equal access to the teachers time. It isn't acceptable to simply say that 'this group of children can read and add up already so they can just be left to get on with it'. Every child deserves the input required to stretch them and help them reach their potential, not just the bottom 50%.
Resources should be shared equally. After all, the school receives the same level of funding for each child (with the exception of those on IEPs).
I would be furious if I discovered that my sons teacher left him to his own devices with a workbook simply because he is one of the more able children. It's down to the teacher to organise herself and manage her time well so that she can offer appropriate learning and support to each child in her class, if she can't do that then perhaps she should consider a career change. If she thinks the more able children should be left to get on with stuff because they can then she should definitely have a career change.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 13:30:33

They do have access to help. It's called putting up your hand and asking.

All of the children will start at the same point in the day with the teacher instructing the whole class in what they are doing in literacy/numeracy. All of the children will get the chance to ask questions and learn together and then there will be a time of individual or group work. Some groups/children will be able to work independently and some will not. They will all get the necessary input from the teacher but some will get more - which is as it should be. I'd suggest getting in there and volunteering. As well as being a great help in our over-stretched schools it would serve as an insight into how a school day actually works because you don't seem to understand it much.

Schools don't receive the same level of funding for each child. An IEP is no guarantee of extra funding or a designated TA. There is some extra funding available, I believe, for those from who require it (for many differing reasons not just additional needs).

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 13:41:14

I'd suggest getting in there and volunteering. As well as being a great help in our over-stretched schools it would serve as an insight into how a school day actually works because you don't seem to understand it much

Been there and done that and discovered that some teachers are just much better than others. Some love teaching and go the extra mile to get the best out of every child. Some work very long hours and are only too happy to discuss concerns with parents. Then some are truly awful teachers who are obviously just in it for the monthly pay packet.

It shouldn't be a case of the teacher instructing the whole class and then leaving those who understand to get on with it whilst supporting those who haven't fully understood. If one group continually understands everything then clearly the teacher needs a great level of differentiation. I really don't see how the teacher can explain a concept to a whole class and then give the related work out when there are often such differing levels in a class.

In any case I will not be currently offering my services to volunteer in an over stretched school because my children are not currently in an overstretched school and I am an inherently selfish individual who doesn't want to give up my time to work unpaid in a school which will be of no benefit to my own child(ren). I would much rather spend my time ensuring that I assist my own children with their homework and having lots of fun with them doing activities etc.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 21-Nov-13 14:10:40

norudeshit, it's a shame you have the attitude that helping out in your children's school is pointless unless it results in a direct benefit to your own children.

But I admire your honesty in saying it's because you're a selfish person hmm.

moldingsunbeams Thu 21-Nov-13 14:12:03

I had a dd who started way above everyone else , reading well before she went to school, writing and everything else, everyone caught up and she is now behind and they aren't.

Anyway I have felt some issues like making the children read every single book in the scheme in order which striped away any love of reading because the scheme they use was awful really awful.

Sometimes though they are getting lower books because they can read amazingly but the comprehension is not at the same level.

We in the end sent our own books into school for dd to read in free reading (after dds was not changed for 12 weeks ) which school were fine with.

moldingsunbeams Thu 21-Nov-13 14:14:42

now she is in year 6 we just ignore them altogether blush I have vague memories of dd bringing a book home at the start of term but i have not seen it since. I am not worried because she reads her own books and is still a very good reader.

I do think you are being a little pushy though.

merrymouse Thu 21-Nov-13 14:19:20

I don't think spelling test = learning, but I do think that if you ask children to learn spellings for a test the test should be on the day you say it will be.

On the other hand, it can be difficult for a 6 year old to appreciate that they have been learning when the learning may have felt like playing.

It's great that your DD is so enthusiastic about 'formal' learning, but I think I would be trying to get a more detailed idea of what is being done in class before assuming no learning was going on. Also, a lot of learning is social at this age.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 14:19:21

norudeshit, it's a shame you have the attitude that helping out in your children's school is pointless unless it results in a direct benefit to your own children.

In fairness the vast majority of people helping out in schools are helping out in the school that their own children attend or previously attended and a had a good experience of. They don't go and offer their services to the other local school that their children don't attend, unless they are doing it as part of TA training or are planning on applying for teacher training.
Why do you think that is?
My guess is its because most humans are inherently selfish, whether they care to admit it or not.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 14:40:06

I did start out helping as a 1:1 for my son because there was no funding and he couldn't attend nursery otherwise.

But my reasons for helping out in my dd's school were, to begin with, because I wanted to be involved and I thought it would be helpful to know how things worked and how she was being taught. I never actually worked alongside my dd in her classes.

It was after that that the school suggested I go on a TA course, so I did. It was never something I did as a way to get anything for myself, though I did end up with a job out of it because I was enthusiastic and reliable and they were desperate .

SuburbanRhonda Thu 21-Nov-13 14:55:25

norudeshit, I agree that most volunteers do so in their children's school.

But most volunteers in the schools where I work don't work with their own children or in their own child's class, simply because it isn't always good for the child to have their parent in their class. It blurs the boundaries for the child and isn't great for the teacher, either!

I admired your honesty for saying you're a selfish person - are you now saying you only said it because you believe everyone is selfish, so you were just stating the obvious?

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 14:58:20

I am nodding to much of what Norude says here.

I would also like to suggest to all those who are telling the OP that she has no clue what classroom practice involves nowadays that it is partly the job of the teacher to inform parents accurately about what she is doing and how she intends to do it, respecting the fact that most parents are keenly interested in the progress of their children at age 6 . What the teacher is trying to accomplish and how she intends to set about doing that should not be mysteries for parents.

However, in this case there isn't any mystery -- this teacher has told parents she will set a spelling test weekly on Mondays but that ended up getting put on the long finger more than a few times, so I doubt she is trying to teach in some way other than the spelling test route. Tests seem to be part of what she hopes to accomplish. If she has told parents books will be changed several times a week and books are not being changed, then this is also part of what she is failing to accomplish. This is more likely a teacher who is dropping the ball than one who has some modern, highly professional, so-scientific-that-it-is-impossible-to-communicate-the-details-properly, new fangled way to give all the children the attention they need.

There is such a thing as an incompetent teacher, sadly.

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 15:02:30

A lot of regular volunteers I know are there to keep an eye on their own child's teacher by way of school gossip and the old grapevine. They are also there to indicate to teachers that they are a very interested parent, and that sometimes helps remind a teacher to pay attention to their child.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 15:04:58

Yes most people don't volunteer in their own child's class, but they do volunteer within their own child's school, other parents from the school volunteer in other classes so it spreads the manpower and benefits the children within that school. They are not volunteering in other (maybe more needy) schools because their children don't attend those schools.
If you can't see that it is the same selfish principle then you are being rather blinkered.
Both of my children's current schools are very well resourced and have very small classes and don't need any parent helpers.

I do voluntary work, but not in a school environment. I volunteer with families who need support, I enjoy helping families that need a bit of help and the benefit to me is seeing the family benefit from my help. It is still selfish, because if I didn't get the reward of knowing I had helped somebody then I wouldn't do it. However, I only give that time when my own children are at school so it doesn't take any of my time away from them.
Everybody that volunteers has a benefit from doing so - so yes in my opinion everybody is selfish, even those volunteering.

bumbleymummy Thu 21-Nov-13 15:11:34

Yes, moving school is a big deal but if she's not happy/thriving where she is then it could be the best decision you make. We moved DS1 because he wasn't being challenged enough and was getting bored and miserable. The new school is much better. His teacher is fantastic - picked up on his strengths right away and is providing him with challenging work daily. He is much happier and although there are still some extra things that we do with him at home, he is getting much more out of this new school. I also don't think this is a bad age to move them. They can adjust fairly quickly and the new class accepted him quite easily. I think it might be harder when they're older. Can you speak to the school with the smaller classes and see if there's a possibility of her joining? Why didn't she get in before?

SuburbanRhonda Thu 21-Nov-13 15:16:01

Thanks for sharing your views, norudeshit.

Think you might need a name change, though wink

bruffin Thu 21-Nov-13 15:32:18

I find it very very hard to believe that a 6 year old is coming home saying she is bored at school and not learning anything.

So do I.
I have a dd that was reading fluently in reception and a dyslexic but both G&T children and neither of them complained that school was boring in infants. They were learning a massive amount. There were projects on gravity, growing up etc in yr 1. I was suprised how much history they covered in infants ie poppy day and florence nightingale etc They dont spend all day just doing maths and reading or are these children just one trick ponies who will be passed by others who havent been spoon fed once they get to juniors.

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 21-Nov-13 16:02:01

Don't many afterschool conversations go like this....?

Parent: how was school?
Child: boring
Parent: what did you learn?
Child: nothing

azzbiscuit Thu 21-Nov-13 16:13:20

Most teachers don't care about gifted children. The school only gets extra funding for taking on children at the other end of the spectrum, and there are no targets for developing the talent of the brightest kids, only to bring up less intelligent children to a minimum standard. So the teachers attitudes are some understandable, as it's the attitude of the government and ultimately the anti-intellectualism of British society at large that causes this.

So if you have a gifted child don't rely on the school to get the most out of them, get a tutor or if you can afford it send them to a good private school.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Thu 21-Nov-13 16:16:49

Jinsea easy to do with reading but what about all other areas?

Bogeyface Thu 21-Nov-13 16:21:05

I am always a bit hmm at the amount of so called G&T children that there appears to be in the first couple of years of school, compared to how many there are in the last 2 years of school.

I am afraid that just because a child can do things that its peers cant when it starts reception does not automatically mean that it is gifted or advanced and within a couple of years it will even out. You may just have to accept that your DD is not outstanding compared to her classmates and that the teacher may know this where you dont.

I have several children, one with SEN, one who is genuinely G&T, one who might be and 2 that are bang on average. What they could do when they started reception has had no bearing on any of that.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 21-Nov-13 16:25:10

Surely with your Cambridge degree you could pop to the library if you want more books for your talented and bored DD.

Poor teacher, lets hope she has sense to not allow you to volunteer in class as you wouldnt want to be mixing with those of lower ability now would you hmm

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Thu 21-Nov-13 16:26:18

because some of the little darlings will insist on getting a gold book when they are on green

I am always a bit shock when people who have things to do with educaton or the school or children speak about dc in this way.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 16:28:10

I meant the little darlings affectionately! They are lovely kids and I really enjoy working with them.

bruffin Thu 21-Nov-13 16:28:45

Complete and utter nonsense.
If a child goes to school having been hot housed then expecting to be spoonfed when they get there then they are not going to do as well as expected. But teachers love a child that is genuinely interested in their subject and succeeding.
My dcs ordinary comp expect the best out them, not just satisfied the c passes.

WhereIsMyHat Thu 21-Nov-13 16:35:06

My 'little darling' is desperate to be on gold grin

jamdonut Thu 21-Nov-13 16:37:29

By what you are telling us about the school, it actually doesn't sound all that good actually.

Was it "satisfactory" at the last Ofsted inspection? Because sure as anything it will be "requires improvement" at the next one. (I know that is the new satisfactory, but it means they actually have to do something about it now!)

YNBU but I cannot see things improving without moving school.

My older dc went to a primary where they were largely bored by year 4. It seemed an awful waste of time. They got through it by doing lots of extra curricular activities and Kumon.

My youngest is at a different primary and things are a lot different. She does get 3 different books a week and reads to the teacher or TA once a week. It can be done, even with 30 children in a class.

HippyTea Thu 21-Nov-13 17:00:20

HAHA sorry OP but her friend is a "free reader" at the age of 6?! That 6 year old maybe able to pronounce the words but there's not a fucking hope in hell that it could freely read any book with understanding.

They do guided reading and I personally don't think this is adequate in assessing reading ability

Have you been present during one of your DD's guided reading sessions? Guided reading sessions are children grouped by ability, it gives the teacher or TA the ability to hear all of them and work on the comprehension skills etc. School is for providing the children with skills and giving them the opportunity to practice those skills whilst supervised Teachers barely have time to hear all 30 children read once a week let alone 3 times; so read with her, take her to the library, read the news paper together, watch the news…

There are several companies that produce reading books aimed at school children, they all have their own way of labelling so not all books will correspond to the ORT you are familiar with.

I don't know what kind of knowledge you have literacy wise (as in the current teaching methods) but some children arrive at primary school with prior knowledge and then have to adjust to the learning styles in school ie. phonics etc.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 17:31:07

Think you might need a name change, though

I like my name, it suits my selfish narrow minded views quite well.....Oooohh then again I could change it to: selfishgitsupremewink

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 21-Nov-13 18:24:22

There is a disproportionate amount of super bright and bored children of MNers. hmm My experience of children is that many of them complain they are bored at school, it seems par for the course.

citruslemon Thu 21-Nov-13 18:28:56

The books that my daughter (age 5) gets are "easy" for in the fact that she can read the words and understand the story. Had a really interesting chat with her teacher who said she doesn't just want the children to "read" the words on the page, she wants them to understand what the characters are thinking/feeling, guess what happens next, understand narrative structure etc. So the book is used as a tool not just to read the words but also ask deeper level questions and these in turn then enhance both her reading and writing. And as someone who used to be a secondary school teacher faced with teenagers who could "read" but not get the nuances of the text, I agree with this approach wholeheartedly. So maybe you should ask your DD teacher if she is taking the same approach.

bumbleymummy Thu 21-Nov-13 20:21:11

I'm quite shocked by how many people are being dismissive of the OP. Just because you haven't experienced your child being bored/not being challenged enough in school does not mean that it doesn't happen. Not every teacher/school is able to make provisions for children who are more able. We had the same problem last year with our DS who was 6 at the time and we made the decision to change schools. He is much happier now (not bored!) and has a fantastic teacher who does make an effort and provides him with extension activities and plenty of opportunities develop ideas beyond what the rest of the class are doing. It is also perfectly possible for a 6 yo to be a free reader - DS was too and yes, he understood what the books were about and wrote his own extension stories and even drew maps and pictures of different lands that were described in them. Just because your child does not do these things does not mean that other people's do not.

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 20:50:06

Me too Bumbleymummy. Because the alternative pov seems to be that every school is perfect for everyone, or everyone needs to suck up sub par teaching, or offer it up because someone else's child needs the teacher more.

Speaking as the mother of several 'free readers' who ate up Nancy Drew at age 6 and were well able to explain the plots, describe motivation of the characters, make inferences about feelings, predict good plot twist vs bad based on clues in the text. They were not hothoused. I had too much on my plate to get around to any of that malarkey. At age 6 I found my quiet DD1 who was well ahead of her peers being placed sitting beside more rambunctious children so that she would keep them on task during class work, help them when they got stuck, even hear their reading. A free TA in other words. BS teaching method imo, and I was paying fees in that school for the privilege.

Unfortunately, a lot of books that are easy to decode have story lines that are too simple to allow much drawing out of understanding of character, narrative structure, etc. For many children nothing kills a love of reading faster than banging on and on about some simple story, trying to draw out far more than the narrative warrants or offers, making it all seem like a chore. Not every child has a heart that will be set on fire by being asked to state the bleeding obvious for weeks on end.

If the teacher is taking the approach described by Citrus, then why would she not mention this at the start of the year when she promised weekly spelling tests on Mondays, and changing of books several times a week?

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 20:54:33

It is possible for a child who is clearly G&T at age 4 to continue at that level right through. I can think of several children I know who fit that description. It's not always a hare and tortoise story.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Thu 21-Nov-13 21:44:56

she wants them to understand what the characters are thinking/feeling, guess what happens next

When I think of reading I think of the whole thing, comprehension, understanding, I would never think of it as just de coding words. As Maths says though, what sub text is there in biff and wilma, dad caught a fish>

I know G&T child too being stimulated at private school, reading books suited to his needs and abilities etc.

as far as i am aware in private schools you have smaller classes but no TA's? in state we have 30 and one or even two TA's.


ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Thu 21-Nov-13 21:47:21

Maths I have been embarrassed to aks my DD whats going on in her books, its almost insulting to her but also so confusing as its so easy and obvious.

1666 Thu 21-Nov-13 21:59:00

As a mother of a child who was 'statemented' at the age of 4 and who is now 18 and has his interview at Cambridge next month, I read all these comments with interest.
You have do to do what you feel is in is your child's best interest. The teacher has to do what is required of him/her in relation to a multitude of things including the national curriculum and health and safety etc. Very often these may not be in your child's best interest, but that is how it is.
One piece of advice though and that is don't alienate the class teacher unless you are prepared to remove your child if things don't go your way.
Encourage interest at home in all manner of things from books to news to extra curricular stuff (sports, dance etc) and reassess the situation at the end of year 2. If it still isn't what you want start looking elsewhere or considering alternative options

mybeautifullife Thu 21-Nov-13 22:09:37

I agree with OP... My dc teachers have all been brilliantly organised and keen to teach my dc at their level to help them develop.
It's not fair on her dd to just coast when she needs more stimulation

Retroformica Thu 21-Nov-13 23:30:54

My DS1 was a reader before school. He was a total bookworm and still is. It took a while for the school to suss he was able. Infants was play based to a good healthy degree. Juniors was far more pushy and academic. He's left the school with a 5a grade as expected.

DS 2 and 3 were far more relaxed with reading etc. however they are both a little brighter then DC1 and I know they will put perform him come juniors. I'm really confident the school will help them reach their potential despite a slow/fast start.

Bogeyface Fri 22-Nov-13 00:36:12

It is possible for a child who is clearly G&T at age 4 to continue at that level right through. I can think of several children I know who fit that description. It's not always a hare and tortoise story.

I totally agree. However you must concede that it is also possible for a child starting reception to be streets ahead of its peers in literacy and numeracy to be at the same level as them by Y3. I have seen this happen!

My DD who is G&T started school with exactly the same skills as my DS who has SEN, the same skills as my bang on average children and possibly being G&T DD.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 22-Nov-13 00:44:48

"That 6 year old maybe able to pronounce the words but there's not a fucking hope in hell that it could freely read any book with understanding."

There are plenty of adults that couldn't read "any book" with full understanding.

I'd hazard a guess that it's probably most adults.

However, I'd say that I was pretty much a free reader by 5 and my own 5 year old is heading the same way.

Sure, there were complicated adult books I couldn't fully grasp, but I could pretty much read, and enjoy, any book and I knew that.

The point is that once a child is a free reader it doesn't really matter if the reading books at school are too easy. Just bring them to the library and let them pick some books.

HippyTea Fri 22-Nov-13 11:32:25


Calling a child a "free reader" at five is no benefit to that pupil at all. In fact it's just point scoring "my child can…" nonsense. A five year old might be able to read the words on the pages of The Hobbit, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nightime… but they will be doing so without comprehension even if they enjoy doing so.

Not that a child should be discouraged from aiming high and by all means the OP should allow the child to choose whatever book they fancy reading at the library. Discovering reading for pleasure is an advantage for a child. However reading in school is about more than just pronouncing words correctly; age appropriate texts feature so heavily in the teaching of literacy.. which is why OP's child is being given appropriate literature.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 22-Nov-13 11:45:58

Calling a child a "free reader" at five is no benefit to that pupil at all. In fact it's just point scoring "my child can…" nonsense.

Well I've never even heard the term until yesterday, never mind used it. I had no idea there were any points given out for using it.

I'm just remembering when I went from "learning to read" to "being able to read" and knowing that I could tackle anything. And that happened when I was 5.

I read myself The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe instead of a book with pictures and big text. And I never stopped from then on.

Of course I read texts I was likely to understand and enjoy. That remains true to this day. There are plenty of books in the world I still can't understand. And I have a Masters in English Literature.

I don't know what "free reader" means if it doesn't mean that you can just pick up a book and give it a go and read it if you like.

My 5 year old is at that stage. It's hardly some big boast, is it? It's pretty normal IME for reading to click with kids at around this age.

"A five year old might be able to read the words on the pages of The Hobbit, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nightime…"

But why would she need to be reading those particular books, clearly not meant for children of her age, in order to be a free reader?

She's 5, she reads The BFG. the Wishing Chair, and endless books about revolting beasts and ballerinas.

Isn't that free enough?

HippyTea Fri 22-Nov-13 11:53:09


Missing the point entirely. By all means attempt to read the lion the witch and wardrobe at home… there's no educational value to a child reading it as a school book if they can't comprehend the punctuation, the grammar, the intonations, the text patterns… It's about more than reading for enjoyment.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 22-Nov-13 12:09:02

Yes, I obviously am missing the point entirely.

I presumed that a "free reader" referred to a child who could pick their own books, read them, understand them, talk about them and enjoy them.

Someone said that it wasn't possible to be a free reader at 5. Given my interpretation of the term, which I don't think is invalid, I was disagreeing that it wasn't possible.

Then you gave me a ridiculous bollocking about how it wasn't "useful" to use a term about children of a certain age.

Which, TBH, I just find mystifying.

HippyTea Fri 22-Nov-13 14:02:05

I didn't give anybody a bollocking hmm OP mentioned her child's friend being a 5 year old "free reader" I implied that was bollocks, because it is… even you definition of it says so. A five year old couldn't pick up lord of the rings and have the slightest fucking clue even if they could read the words.

CaptainTripps Fri 22-Nov-13 14:06:45

OP - complement the school and work with them. Do plenty of library visits. Discuss plots and characters and do plenty of reading-between-the-lines. Work on inference and deduction one-on-one with your child.

Rightly or wrongly, the curriculum and classes are so overloaded and this can often result in frazzled staff who can no longer give that extra oomph and individual attention to detail. It's a crying shame but this is reality.

bumbleymummy Fri 22-Nov-13 14:09:42

I actually have a similar understanding to JoinYourPlayfellows of what 'free reader' means. I would also agree that by your definition most adults wouldn't be considered 'free readers' . What exactly is your definition hippy?

HippyTea Fri 22-Nov-13 14:14:12

Not a 5 year old

PrincessScrumpy Fri 22-Nov-13 14:28:13

dd gets a new book once she's read the last one which was every day but now her books have chapters and are longer it's roughly every other day. I check her bag and if she hasn't changed it we just read one from home and I remind her the next morning to get a new book. It does concern me that she's only listened to once a week and reads 5 pages (which I know takes her no time at all) where as other children read 3 times a week but dd is a good reader so I just make sure we do lots of it at home.

Spellings? meh, I don't really put any pressure on dd - she has hers every Friday but doing them randomly would stop dc worrying about the specific time of day and maybe take the pressure off. dd gets 10 spellings but only 5 are sent home and the other 5 are unseen - this is year 1.

Have you had parent's evening? Our's was really helpful and they'd done a mock phonics test so we could see where dd was on that and a few other things that gave a good indication of how she was doing.

I see what you are saying but overall I doubt your dd is sitting doing nothing. dd will tell me nothing happened then I find out they had a helicopter come and visit and land on the field so a 5 yo isn't always great at telling you what they've done.

I think you are being a bit pushy but not as pushy as a friend of mine who is complaining that her dd is being let out early everyday (minutes) and over the year it will add up to a week of education her dd is missing. I'm so sad for that teacher!

bumbleymummy Fri 22-Nov-13 15:06:47

hmm hippy. Based on what criteria?

SunshineMMum Fri 22-Nov-13 15:55:46

Possibly a little U. Won't she just fly through the reading scheme anyway?

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 22-Nov-13 20:21:05

I'm really loving the circular logic on this thread.

A five year old can't be a free reader.

What is a free reader?

Not a five year old.

My five year old has better reasoning skills. As well as being a free reader grin

bolderdash Fri 22-Nov-13 20:27:01

The whole "free reader" thing is a bit of a poisoned chalice. They stop being given interesting history/geography/science books and get to choose themselves. For mine that meant badly written paperbacks about kittens getting lost.

It has taken me a Very Long Time, and far too many mistakes along the way, to realise that, when it comes to my kids, patience is the most important virtue. Because what is patience, but another word for love?

Don't wish the years away. If she can do the reading and the spellings in an eyeblink...then see that as lovely time you can have together.

Your not my SIL are you?

She's so pushy the teacher probably groans when she sees her! wink

mathanxiety Sat 23-Nov-13 07:36:27

There is a lot of middle ground between the average scheme reader and LOTR. A 'free reader' at age 6 could easily find plenty within that middle ground that would be productive and enjoyable reading material.

If getting through LOTR is to be the hallmark of a free reader then that makes my DD2 not a free reader. Which is patently ridiculous.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 07:54:59

Re the free reader at 5,I disagree re the unable to comprehend bollocks.

All of mine were free readers at 5 or 6 (one in rec) as was I. All could comprehend everything they read thanks.Re punctuation,grammar etc sorry but unless you're doing a punctuation lesson you wouldn't expect expect every bit of punctuation etc to be understood.My dc are now 10,10 and 9 and reading some pretty weighty stuff which has masses of educational value.Not being degree level English just yet of course there is plenty in their books above their level of written English.The higher level of spelling,punctuation etc improves writing.

Reading ability is often ahead of written.My 3 would have been bored shatless if unable to read what they wanted and not the avid readers they are now.

I was able to read the Times at 5, fat lot of good Janet and John would have been.

That said I am sympathetic to GR sessions using books easier than a child's reading level in order to drag out literary devices etc for discussion- to a point.

There is a balance.

mathanxiety Sat 23-Nov-13 08:04:51

Being streets ahead of peers in literacy and numeracy at age 4 does not equal G&T. Focusing in on the 'talented' end of it can bamboozle people, whereas it's the 'gifted' aspect of the phenomenon that really matters, since it relates to potential and the long term outcome. (American) National Society for the Gifted and Talented description of giftedness. It's not what you know, it's how you come to know what you know, and what you do with what you know, what sort of connections do you make between the things you know..

bronya Sat 23-Nov-13 08:35:31

Early readers simply have the advantage of being ABLE to read, and not having any problems, earlier than other children. In adulthood, those who were early readers might be marked out by the speed at which they read, but little else. It is important that children continue to progress up the book bands so they develop their vocabulary and understanding, but it's not a race.

What level is she on? At home, she should be reading books that she can confidently read on her own, perhaps sounding out the odd word. When reading with an adult who can confidently teach her to read (strategies, comprehension etc), you'd aim for a couple of difficult words per double page spread up to about Lime level, then it's mostly about comprehension and it takes much longer to go up a band.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 08:36:17

Um who mentioned gifted.

Plenty of kids are able readers at 5 and not gifted.They still need books out of school that stimulate,make them want to read and to a certain degree stretch.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 08:41:54

Tbh I'd do your own thing at home,it's her time,there are no restrictions as long as she gets her school work done.

Be aware though you'll need to do some research re steering towards/ providing books.

We had one fab rec teacher who when she put DS onto free supported him to some degree.He was free to choose but on certain shelves in the school library for a period of time.

With the others we had no guidance and were left to our own devices.Thankfully my degree was children's literature so I was well equipped to guide.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 09:00:10

What Join said too.

livinglifeandgettinghappier Sat 23-Nov-13 10:58:12

Agree OP that you have noticed a certain slackness in the teacher's ability to stay on course with a basic and necessary routine. It was fashionable to think that spellings were of little importance but this is no longer the case. Spellings/knowing how to spell is fundamental and is being highlighted once again in future formal examinations, along with grammar, with marks being deducted for not mastering these skills. To say spelling does not matter is the real world we expect Doctors, lawyers, secretaries, journalists etc to be able to communicate effectively and spell (yes I know A A Gill is dyslexic and has done really well and surmounted a big hurdle). Keep interested in your daughter's education...what you do at home matters. For my younger daughter I supplement school learning with a math tutor on a Saturday and a theatre group on a Fri evening as learning lines and reading her scripts improves reading, memory and confidence. Playing a musical instrument and belonging to the school orchestra and choir also stops her being bored and keeps her motivated and involved with others in the school environment. My elder daughter was/is dyslexic and I transferred her from a state to private school as the state, in my opinion, was not properly helping her. She went from being seriously challenged by words (and thus was switching off school) to an A- in English skills and although spellings are still a weakness she is not being picked up on it by her employers. She had a science based degree where knowing how to use the written word is very important.

Snowbility Sat 23-Nov-13 11:08:18

Spelling properly is of course important but learning 10 spellings a week is not necessarily the best way to retain the spelling pattern. My dd learns spelling every week and every week she gets 10/10 but her spelling is really shit in every day writing and she loves writing and loves reading - learning her weekly spelling is not improving her ability to spell but she still does it - there must be a better way? And this is why a lot of people will say learning for spelling tests is not important because it doesn't improve spelling in many children.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 11:22:47

Spelling is important but as others have said tests aren't necessarily the way to go re improving it.

Reading avidly has a massive impact.Learning rules etc I'd have thought is equally important.

Tbh unless they're learning mistakes made in their writing the benefits from weekly tests are limited.

One of my dc is a phenomenal speller,he is now learning quite complex weekly lists at 10 to support work in literacy which he only needs to glance at.He never makes spelling mistakes in his writing,ever,so I can see the benefit of lists at his stage to support quite tricky rules.

His sister who is lazy and litters her writing with mistakes doesn't even have spelling tests.If she did she'd get 10 out of 10 without fail,still wouldn't use them in her writing though.Her voracious reading and literacy work will improve her spelling naturally(by osmosis I'm hoping grin) if her brother is anything to go by.

Snowbility Sat 23-Nov-13 12:22:01

I think the problem is the spelling tests use words that the kids do not use frequently in their writing, it's almost like the spelling test is being used to both extend vocab and improve spelling accuracy but as a consequence does neither job very well.

livinglifeandgettinghappier Sat 23-Nov-13 13:10:52

The weekly spellings are an ideal vehicle for teaching word difference because a word conveys ideas and clarity of thought. The tests provide an opportunity, also, to introduce study/thought/making time/parental support in the home which can be built upon. Ongoing tests can also focus on similar sounding words spelt differently and then applied in sentences (homework) so weekly spellings reinforced by application. It is also great to demonstrate/highlight the English language - nuts and bolts, component parts. Useful to pair up the words too: their, there, prey, pray, way, weigh, site, sight, I, eye, bye, by, etc. Pairing up the words is of great benefit. My elder daughter started this at 7 years of age. Prior to this for two years the only words she could spell were: the, a, as, an, for, it. Tunnel was a "tulo" for example. DD1 and I were stuck on spellings for weeks at a time until I moved her. I also could not understand why the Infant Teacher could not see the issues. :-/ Weekly one on one with a support teacher using special computer based programmes, psychology etc at the new school, a very small class and being bright (IQ 140) helped reverse the switching off from a large class where the only activities she enjoyed were art based activities/crafts.

paxtecum Sat 23-Nov-13 13:21:32

My frinds DGC learn loads in their state school school.
They know all about Ganesh, Buddha, Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Segregation in the USA, apartheid.

I was amazed that they knew stuff like that aged 6.

OP: Can you get your DD library books to read at home?

nitsparty Sat 23-Nov-13 13:41:41

YABU and uber pushy. There is some good online stuff she could do at home-look at Studyladder and and Purplemash. you could let her keep a diary and a reading record. if your funds allow it buy her a piano and skype music lessons.

volestair Sat 23-Nov-13 14:18:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 14:27:45

Living they'll do all that in school and for many like my DS they only have to look at a word once to learn it.

Learning for tests is pretty easy,using and applying not so much. Learning 10 words for one week doesn't mean a child will be spelling them correctly the next particularly if it's not one they're likely to use in the immediate future.

Personally imvho I would have thought there are far more useful ways of teaching spelling in homework.

But as the previous poster said,the issue was they were told it was going to happen and I have to admit I hate school saying something and not delivering.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 23-Nov-13 15:18:46

I vote volestairs post above as the best post so far on this thread.

mathanxiety Sun 24-Nov-13 05:09:20

I think the problem is the spelling tests use words that the kids do not use frequently in their writing, it's almost like the spelling test is being used to both extend vocab and improve spelling accuracy but as a consequence does neither job very well.

If they were using Dolch frequently found word lists then learning spellings for tests would contribute both to reading fluency and spelling accuracy. Dolch was an advocate of whole word recognition but mastering his lists can be combined with a phonics approach. The idea behind his lists is to expose children to 75% of the words they will find on every page of literature aimed at children under about age 8 (where, what, only, the, and, know, came, said, many, you, etc.) Once the frequently found words are mastered (or at the same time) children can progress through phonics patterns in their spelling lists.

I agree with Volestair. The fact that this teacher didn't produce what she said she would produce makes me suspect she is disorganised, not on top of some brilliant new method.

mathanxiety Sun 24-Nov-13 05:16:51

Learning words for tests involves more than just memorising them and producing them on a Friday morning, or at least it involved more in my DCs' elementary school. All week they had exercises to work on using the spelling words, from sentence making, to thinking of words that rhymed with the words on the list, writing paragraphs using several of the words, completing the words when they are presented with some letters missing, making crosswords...

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