Is it difficult to get your school to teach your G&T child?

(64 Posts)
anice Mon 26-Nov-12 16:56:55

My son's school doesn't have a G&T program until year 5. DS is in year 4, so he isn't in any program. However, he is very able at maths.

His teacher met me twice in the first half of this term, and both times she volunteered a warning not to expect any development in his maths this year as she's got her hands full teaching the lower ability children who need to come up to the government minimum in order to reach NC level 4B at the end of year 6.

She said that she was sorry, but this is the way it is. So now every day, DS then does the ("easy peasy") work set for the class quickly and when he has finished he just quietly reads a book for the rest of the maths lesson. I've spoken to the HT to ask for help with the situation but I am not expecting much tbh.

Apart from issues with DS's boredom levels and disengagement from learning generally, what is bothering me is that this can happen in this day and age! In fact, this is the 2nd time this has happened to DS. In year 2, his teacher told me that he'd had to repeat everything he'd already done because "what am I supposed to do?? teach him year 3 work? Then what would he do when he gets to year 3?!" So, its happened twice in four years at two different schools (we changed school thinking the first school was just an aberration!)

Is this actually quite a common problem? And if yes, then how do you handle it?

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 22:43:01

Many apologies for all the double posts btw - father christmas is bringing me a tablet so hopefully it will all soon be a thing of the past smile

mercibucket Tue 27-Nov-12 22:43:01

Many apologies for all the double posts btw - father christmas is bringing me a tablet so hopefully it will all soon be a thing of the past smile

LaQueen Wed 28-Nov-12 13:45:21

Simpson in a nutshell, the older children snubbed her, because they didn't take kindly to a little 6 year old doing maths quicker and better than them, and reading harder books.

And her friends in her own class shunned her because basically they rarely saw her anymore, and she was out of their loop for all the class chit-chat.

DD2 ended up very lonely, and with no one to play with at break times sad

LaQueen Wed 28-Nov-12 13:49:24

Merci it's a very small school, and DD2 was the only Yr 1, to do lessons with the Yr 2s and Yr 3s - so she was quite visible.

No TA support (which might have smothed things a bit), she was just plonked on the top table in Y2. A total fish out of water sad

Later the school did apologise, and said they'd rarely felt the need to do this before with a child - and the experiment hadn't gone well. But the damage had already been done.

simpson Wed 28-Nov-12 21:59:20

Did she spend the whole day in with the older kids or just certain lessons??

I have a feeling DD will just go into the year above for phonics....

So hopefully will still feel a part of her yr group, hopefully....

The school have never allowed a child to go into the above year before for lessons but since she is doing yr1 phonics already and after Xmas,all other core subjects at yr1 level they have admitted they will have to do something, but I guess will think about it nearer the time!!!

simpson Wed 28-Nov-12 22:01:12

Forgot to say, although she does yr1 phonics now, she does not go into the year aboves class. We are lucky that the school have an extra LSA so DD and another child have their lessons with her...

mercibucket Wed 28-Nov-12 22:06:37

That's a real shame, LaQueen

I really don't see why more schools don't just mix them up by ability a bit more. If g + t is the top 20 percent, then there must be 6 in every standard size class who might be able to work at a higher level, and maybe 2 who could work 2 years above. It's made a big difference at our school to results.

mercibucket Wed 28-Nov-12 22:06:39

That's a real shame, LaQueen

I really don't see why more schools don't just mix them up by ability a bit more. If g + t is the top 20 percent, then there must be 6 in every standard size class who might be able to work at a higher level, and maybe 2 who could work 2 years above. It's made a big difference at our school to results.

LaQueen Thu 29-Nov-12 10:10:28

simpson she joined the older class for all numeracy and literacy lessons, and did the Guided Reading with older children too. So it was much of her school day.

LaQueen Thu 29-Nov-12 10:11:53

I agree merci I think it was very poorly thought out, to be honest. Ever since I have insisted that DD2 be kept with her own class, and just given extension work.

Although this week her extension work comrpised of a word-search, which she whizzed through in the car coming home...but, rather that, than her feeling like a fish out of water at school, I guess.

anice Thu 29-Nov-12 11:57:54

Just a little follow up. I have the feeling that the head hasn't really been planning to do anything that will make a difference. Maybe that's unfair but that's my best guess.
So I sent the letter and now i am waiting for a reply. I did make some constructive suggestions but mostly i talked of requiring a" school-led" solution.

Why do i always feel that i always have to say how ds hasn't been hot housed, and i am not looking for him to take an o level early?!

anice Thu 29-Nov-12 12:02:02

Also i told the head about DS`s sats result from the test i gave him last week. She looked at me like i had two heads or something. Didn't reply and just backed away (she had come up to me to speak about DS).

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 12:44:57

Anice, I don't understand why you would give your son a SATs test. 11+ or GCSE/AS/A Level I can understand. But SATs are to test the school (and in theory not the child, though that actually makes no sense. If it did the teachers would sit the exam and not the children.)

anice Thu 29-Nov-12 12:55:37

I did it because there was a lot of debate about what the next thing he needs taught is. School was saying introductory level 4, but I had a feeling he had already mastered much of that (through observing his older brother - DS2 learns fast).

As you will find out learnandsay, primary school maths involves endless repetition. My worry was that the teacer would finally spend five minutes showing him something that she says is new (but in fact he already knows), then leave him to endlessly practice it for six months.

anice Thu 29-Nov-12 12:58:23

Then just to add at the end of the year, she'd set him a sats test, he'd get a 4A and his school report would say that he has made huge progress this year. then maybe next year, if he is lucky, he'd be taught level 5 stuff, but if not, I'd be told that he'd plateau-ed after a lot of progress in year 4.

Cat98 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:38:56

I am quite worried about this too as ds goes up the school - he's in year r but already doing y3 work for maths, and is very advanced in other areas too. So far the school seem to be challenging him appropriately but it seems so common for this to tail off.
I am appalled that schools are refusing to stretch their brightest children tbh. If it happens to ds I will not be amused! I think you have done the right thing, op.

BooksandaCuppa Thu 29-Nov-12 19:56:25

Sats are not to to test the school. They're to test the children. But of course the school gets judged on the results.

onesandwichshort Fri 30-Nov-12 09:05:54

Do let us know what happens. I completely sympathise about the almost having to apologise for them. DD entered school reading, and I spent the entire year saying, 'before we start, can I just make it clear that we did not teach her to read'.

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 15:10:16

sandwich I had to say exactly the same with DD2 all through Reception. I have no idea who taught her to read, but I know for a fact it wasn't me.

All I know is that before she started reception she could only read her name. But by the Christmas she was reading the highest level Biff, Chip & Kipper (the ones with about 30/40 words per page).

Her teacher was constantly implying that I must be hot-housing at home, or that DD2 had just picked it up from DD1. But that just wasn't the case, it really wasn't.

onesandwichshort Fri 30-Nov-12 19:12:06

Yes, we never owned a single flash card, but that's definitely not what school believed.

We have a fantastically snitty teacher now for Yr1 (fortunately job share) who, when I went in to talk about how DD could be helped to cope with her best friend leaving, said "Does she have people round to play?' in the most condescending tones. I wish I'd had the presence of mind, to say, no I lock her in her room and force her to read books all the time, which is clearly what she was thinking. But I didn't.

noisytoys Fri 30-Nov-12 19:53:42

I know what you mean about people assuming all you do is lock them in a room with flash cards. And the word hot housed is branded around a lot too. Having a naturally gifted child doesn't make you popular amongst the people who know. I tend to keep my head down in the playground and not talk to anyone about levels, book bands or anything like that.

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 20:28:21

noisy we genuinely didn't do a thing with DD2 in Reception. I actually felt very guilty about it, because I'd given DD1 a lot of input during her Reception year, lots of help with her reading and writing and simple spellings. She was bright, but had to be shown and needed things repeating.

But, when DD2 started in Reception, I had just started a new job and just didn't have as much time. So I know that I didn't teach DD2 to read, or ever really run through her spellings with her. One day she could only read her name - 2 weeks later she could read Biff, Chip & Kipper, and by the end of Reception she was free-reading The Worst Witch/Roald Dahl/Milly Molly Mandy etc.

And, so in a weird kinda way I then never really bothered reading with her - because there just wasn't anything she needed help with.

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 20:37:21

one DD2's Y2 teacher was very snitty (love that word) - and refused to acknowledge that DD2 was anything out of the ordinary. Fair enough. Except at the end of Yr 2, her assessments were high enough for her HT to be thrilled, and she discussed possible funding for DD2 to get one-to-one with a TA (though didn't happen sadly).

Yet, somehow her teacher had completely failed to notice?

Having a naturally gifted child can even make you/them unpopular even with their own teacher hmm And, it's not like I was always at school badgering for recognition. DD2 is in Yr4, and I have only ever been into school once about her and her abilities. I work, so aren't even there at pick-up times, all that often.

Never, ever discuss her with other parents. Say little during parent's evening, just smile and nod etc. But other Mums help out in DD2's class, and so people get to know ...and some people really are resentful.

LaQueen Fri 30-Nov-12 20:47:05

And noisy what makes me so frustrated is that these sort of parents think you must have it so easy, with a very able child - and they think that when you do sometimes voice concerns/worries that you're just doing it for effect.

DD2 really struggled socially during her Yr2, because she got put up a year (stupid idea). She went back to wetting the bed FFS...but of course you're not allowed to show any worry over that because your child is G&T and so you just have to suck it up...apparently hmm

anice Sun 02-Dec-12 19:20:55

I really believe the head would really care if any child was being let down i her school. She was a fantastic teacher before she got promoted to HT and I just can't imagine that she would stop wanting to help the children.

However, when I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago, I got the sense that each teacher runs their own classroom like a mini-fiefdon. That can't be right, can it?

Don't we choose schools based on a whole experience, not seven individual, unrelated years??

As to what will happen to DS, my best guess is that I'll sit waiting for a reply for about 10 days and then gradually learn to not expect it. Then during the Christmas holidays, I'll take matters into my own hands and start teaching DS at home.

Maybe next year will be better??

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