My son and maths learning support.

(22 Posts)
nothavingagreatday Fri 01-Nov-13 06:49:19

My DS is in the year where they turn 7-8. He attends an international school where we live. I have talked about him on this forum a few times. I have felt that the school falls very short in teaching my children the basics. To date my son has done very little in the way of maths and as a result I have been taking him to Kumon. It's not everyones favourite venue, but I thought it was working for us. He has been going there a year and has done addition, subtraction and he is now on times tables. He has basically whizzed through it and is about to start division. At his international school they have not started doing times tables yet. Last year I helped out in the class room and I saw that many of the children couldn't even add up or take away to 10 and the teacher gave the class tasks to do and then asked my son and another to go do something else and they went and did a drawing. Her feedback was that he was "strong in maths". Even his report says this.

Imagine my surprise when I just received an email from his teacher telling me that she wants him in learning support for maths. Apparently he need's number work.

What does that mean and how would you react to this? TBH I'm very upset right now. I do reading with him, I do the Bond assessment papers (as we are moving back to the UK next year and I need him to do entrance tests) and I take him to extra maths. I feel like I am home schooling him.

Labro Fri 01-Nov-13 07:06:35

I'd check what she means by learning support and needing number work as it could be bad phrasing for he needs extra work as hes ahead of the others, especially if hes being told to do drawing in a maths lesson.

Is he coping with the bond papers for his age?
If you can, I'd also get him to use the 'bbc bitesize' website Key Stage 2 area as it might give you a clearer idea what he can do independently. Youngsters from International schools who I met whilst working in a UK boarding school had done Kumon (they were age 7/8) seemed to lack the theory behind what they were doing as it seemed to be pages and pages of repetition rather than teaching. (Thats only my personal experience)

Definitely have a long conversation with the maths teacher though as to what she means and the aim of the learning support.

nothavingagreatday Fri 01-Nov-13 07:18:16

Hi Labro

The reason why I started to send him to Kumon was because I was in his class and I saw that most of the kids couldn't add up simple numbers e.g. 4+2, 5-2 etc. Even last year, they were using a number line to do it in half his class. The other half of the class were practising their numbers as they couldn't write them properly.

I've no doubt that my son has learned maths in a bit of a robotic fashion at Kumon but he can add up and take away now! I certainly don't think he is being out there as he is ahead, from her email it seems the other way around. All she said was that it was number work. My son, now age 8 has NEVER had any maths homework from school and his last report was glowing about maths. How of you go from great report in June, to learning support in Nov?

Labro Fri 01-Nov-13 08:04:28

Give her a call.

I sent an email last week about arranging a meeting (funnily enough about ds age 11 and his maths as teacher just brushes off problems with 'he needs to bring his book to lessons!) and the teacher decided I was being nasty!

Wasn't criticising Kumon x

Could be that other teachers have noticed the lack of maths going on in her classroom and want to give your ds an alternative?

nothavingagreatday Fri 01-Nov-13 08:18:28

Definitely not Labro.

I just opened the pack from Learning Support. It says things like add and subtract to 20, read and write numerals to 120, give a number before and after a given number. Quite frankly I am shocked. As said, his previous reports are all great and mention maths and he's on his 9 times tables at Kumon and up until a few weeks ago he was doing things like this:


He was getting 100%. When I came back to the UK last he was interviewed at 2 good independent schools and sent time with their learning support. Both schools said they would accept him as he is very bright and that his maths was strong and his mental recall was excellent.

You can see why I am white with frustration.

lljkk Fri 01-Nov-13 08:40:01

How much are you paying to send him to this international school?

Labro Fri 01-Nov-13 09:05:11

Ah.... time to speak to their equivilent of 'head of department' and find out if hes doing the stuff at his level outside of school so effectively switching off from the school stuff (not a problem but from personal experience had a teacher telling me ds couldn't do something rather than had disengaged through boredom)
How much longer is he at current school?

LIZS Fri 01-Nov-13 09:16:40

They may well use different terminology or methods for basics to what he knows. I'm not sure Kumon uses mental maths in same way. tbh most children in UK schools of this age would learn all their tables in this year. Much of IS curriculum in primary years is concept and investigation based ime rather than traditional arithmetic and yes he will not be in sych with UK.

nothavingagreatday Fri 01-Nov-13 10:38:14

He has been given a piece of problem solving homework.

10 people live in a house, if 8 are inside, how many are outside etc. and mixing the numbers. At first DS got it wrong. I explained to him that there are 10 people in the house, 8 are outside, there are always going to be 10 in total so how many inside. After I told him this he got all of them right.

There are a list of targets. I am not a teacher but I tested him on what I think it means e.g. please write all no.s to 120, identify a no. before and after a given number, count up in 2's, 10's. He got it all right, no issue.

Oh, I pay 15K a year to send him there.

Could sending him to Kumon be the issue?

LIZS Fri 01-Nov-13 10:47:47

yes the word problems are typical of not being able to apply basic arithmetical principles, although that isn't necessarily unusual at his age. It is numerical reasoning. The rest is Reception/Year1 type stuff to do with understanding numbers so should be within his grasp. We had similar problems with IS schooling and ds took a while to catch up in UK.

mary21 Fri 01-Nov-13 10:48:00

Hi in the UK kids learn all sorts of methods to add and subtract before they start borrowing and carrying etc which I believe Kumon don't do. Same with multiplication and division. Grids and Chu king. I can't remember it all. My kids are now secondary age . It certainly made them quite flexible at mental maths and a lot of it was what I find I naturally do in my head. Eg to subtract 29 take away 20 take away 9. You may well find he has missed big chunks of their curriculum . So although he is/way ahead of the rest of his class he has big gaps. Maths whizz goes through the UK curriculum but you might not want to pay for this as well as kumon. It used to be free to do their online assessment but I believe you now have to pay.

mary21 Fri 01-Nov-13 11:02:03

Just looked maths whizz do still have a free assessment

nothavingagreatday Fri 01-Nov-13 12:18:41

Can I also ask you if the UK schools teach children to tell the time and if so at what age? Our school touched on it very briefly, but my son (and his friends) so not just him can't tell the time e.g. 8.15am, 8.30 which seems pretty basic to me.

Is telling the time something your parent should be doing.

Sorry, I am coming across really dense.

octopusinastringbag Fri 01-Nov-13 12:24:37

Yes, age 7 in my experience. Bit annoyed though as my DS was learning to tell the time and got a watch for a gift last Xmas (as requested) but they are not allowed to wear them at school.

LIZS Fri 01-Nov-13 12:28:48

That would start in KS1 /infants . You may find this useful but private schools tend to run a little ahead and are not tied to NC.

noblegiraffe Fri 01-Nov-13 12:30:02

You might find this useful, it's the maths level descriptors for KS1-3

A child is expected to be at least level 4 by age 11, I think a 7 year old should be level 2.

nothavingagreatday Fri 01-Nov-13 12:31:41

Thanks everyone thanks

nothavingagreatday Sat 02-Nov-13 05:04:13

Just one more Q. I was up worrying about this all night. I have my children down for a great independent school in the UK. They are non selective. They did assess him and accept him. They ask me for recent reports. If they see he has been in LS, will they reconsider their offer? International schools give any old excuse not to take a child so it would matter if I was moving to another international school.

LIZS Sat 02-Nov-13 07:39:11

Not normally unless he has a SEN they don't cater for ie severe dyslexia, or a condition like ASD. They could say no but doubt they would on the back of small group work.

nothavingagreatday Sat 02-Nov-13 07:59:01

I did some of the tasks with him this morning. Absolutely no issue, in fact he got everything right and I had a few "this is so easy" comments. We had to do number combos to 10 with a deck of cards. He thrashed me.

julie1961 Sat 02-Nov-13 14:23:52

I would definitely discuss the issues that he is having with Maths. If you are paying for private tuition I would recommend attending somewhere the specialises in a more all round education and fills in any learning gaps. Don't know where you live, but Genie Tutors is excellent. I have used them. Have a look at their web address, even giving them a call and talking to a professional outside the situation may help answer some of your questions.

nothavingagreatday Sat 02-Nov-13 23:34:11

Hi julie

Thanks so much. In a way I am glad this has happened. We have been thinking for a couple of years now that my son has been just left to get on with it. I am not usually someone who hassles the school or teacher (and maybe my laid back approach has contributed to this) but I am actually very upset about this and the school in general and will be going there and addressing this and all my other issues with them.

Imagine what kind of school I would get for 15K a Year, for a child in year 3 in the UK?
<shakes head in disbelief>

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