Year 6 Maths Meltdown :(

(35 Posts)
RockinHippy Tue 28-Jan-14 00:15:00

I'm very worried about my DD, her confidence has hit rock bottom with maths, very high SATs pressure in school - apparently school have to catch up on failures last year. Maths has always been a subject she loved & has excelled in.

She doesn't get on with the new Maths teacher, old school style of teaching & some of it very undermining & repetitive, test, after test - fast 10 minute 100 question tests (sounds a lot in the time but DD insists)

she's not learning anything new, but she sees that she is failing in these tests as she has health problems that make this format impossible for her further demoralising her - on top if that she lost her G&T status this year & has other heavily tutored DCs rubbing her nose in it that they have a higher grade this year. She is as frustrated as hell, but always wants to please & be the best, no matter what I tell her about SATs been for the schools benefit etc & just do her best - she is a massive perfectionist, anything less that top isn't good enough for her

I've pretty much given up with the school as though they care, their agenda is to up their SATs results & DD is just one DC who will do well enough anyway & entered the school at a high level etc, so no vast improvement either. Trying to talk to them, though they listen & seem to care, she has missed quite a but if school for health reasons, but its not affected her ability, but I don't feel they really get it at all - they say lots of very able DCs in class etc & she's missed school - Ive tried, maybe it will improve, but I'm just not really hopeful - trying to get DD to just see it as treading water in school & she will be out of there & lots if fantastic stuff to learn soon - it doesn't work sad

So I'm desperately trying to feed her interest & confidence boost at home - she was assessed privately - the feed back I got was that she is "exceptional" they had her doing year 9 work & she picked it up & mastered it instantly. She enjoyed it, but still not good enough for her sad

I bought access to IXL a national curriculum based online maths worksheet website - she loves it - raced through the year 6 stuff in no time - gives accolades & shows that the has mastered the whole yr 6 curriculum - so Im telling her SATs will be a breeze still not good enough for her sad

I leave her too it - she's having a great time attempting & getting right year 9&10 problems - until she gets one wrong

Melt down - floods of hysterical tears & berating herself for how stupid she is for over half an hour, she tells me 80% at a level way older than she is isn't good enough, she wants 100% sad - this is now a regular occurrence, its really scary to see & all my pep talk falls on deaf ears - I thought this confidence boosting stuff would help - its making it worse & I just can't get through & its scarring the hell out of me

I asked what she would say to someone her age who had just got 80% in a test aimed at 15/16 yr olds - she said, "wow, well done that is amazing" - I then asked what she should say to herself then - she replied "I'm rubbish, I fail everything"

How the hell do I help her see sense sad

Well heard last night at Parents' evening that the school have taken advice and because dd has a statement that documents the processing difficulties and the requirement for extra time then dd can have the extra time regardless of the fact that she's wouldn't struggle without it.
Her teacher said that she should have the opportunity to show what she can do just like the rest of them and the extra time will remove that time pressure because in school they give her extra time as a matter of routine.
So good news here at least.
I think the wrong school or an unsupportive school can have a huge detrimental effect on family life tbh. I know that when dd was so unhappy she brought that stress and unhappiness home and school seemed huge, now she's happy school isn't that big a thing in her life.
I'd be hugely concerned about her having repeated accidents, are these documented? does your dd confirm that they are accidents and it's not because of rough play in school?
I am sad for your dd because no child should be made so stressed and unhappy by a teacher who should do better. Talking to dd's teacher last night there is real warmth from her to dd and she celebrates her success as much as I do. All children should be entitled to that IMO.

RockinHippy Mon 10-Feb-14 00:48:19

So pleased for you & your DD insanity I love the attitude of your school & think DDs could learn a lot from it.

The bulk of the repeated accidents for my DD are just that, but I do sometimes wonder if its as boisterous in other schools - that said some accidents have been dealt with really badly & added to DDs anxiety in school in that she doesn't feel some first line accident staff just don't believe her - which has been born out by 3 bad incidents in a week just before Xmas, one of which wasn't documented at all & as a result I nearly didn't get it checked in A&E - turned out it was a full on punch that left her concussed & still dealing with sinus problems now & we don't yet know if that's going to heal angry the same week they left her hopping around all afternoon on an ankle injury that needed crutches & A&E thought was a probably fracture in the top of her foot -

So where as I used to think they were good with tithings like this & have been better with DD since, I found out this week they've done similar with another DCs who gas his legs jumped on angry

I'm in the thick if it here, exactly as you describe, DD brings it all home & has been worryingly fragile, but realising the school just aren't really hearing me at all over the SATs stuff - DD has been home all week & its taken that long for me to see her smile again.

Think its a battle we just can't win & we now have an appointment with another school tomorrow, its scary, but seeing DD crying her eyes out as we attempted a SATs practice paper, she's missed doing them at school & I thought it might help her realise how easy its going to be for her, tested with & without the extra time & she really does need it, but school still dragging there feet & I just don't understand why at all sad -

The teacher is not only bullying herself, but is encouraging competition between the DCs, meaning DD is getting the Mickey taken out of her by other DCs too for messing up simple questions, not because she doesn't understand the subject, but because she just can't think straight from pain & stresshmm she is just so frustrated sad

We had a SATs presentation for parents - the teacher even undermined the HT in front if DCs & parents & blatantly lied - I became aware of other parents rolling eyes & sighing at some of her comments & found myself doing something I really didn't think I would ever do in a school - I heckled her over a few lies blush

It also came out from DD that her other teacher has taken finished literacy work off her & made her do it again & again, as her writing wasn't neat enough - I thought this had been sorted & he'd backed off, he has, but has complained to the head that DD won't have enough work for SATs - now turns out its because he's decided he wanted perfectly neat writing or not at all, he's made DD rewrite some of it 3 times & then got very cross with her when she couldn't do any better - for 2 marks hmm

I've got to the bottom of why though & why only the bright kids - I read the latest Ofsted - the school has had a slap on the wrist for falling G&T & most able DCs at yr 6 SATs level & are all out to put that right - but they are completely missing the point that the amount of pressure they are laying on is going to be counter productive, because these DCs are generally more highly strung sad

RockinHippy Mon 10-Feb-14 00:50:58

Excuse typos, stressful week has me exhausted & autocorrect

Sorry I'm slow to reply, this thread fell off my lists and I don't look on here as a rule as I don't consider dd gifted. So sorry to read things haven't improved for dd at school.
There's no pressure in dd's school, not for those who can achieve a level 4 and above anyway. There's been no practise papers, no homework, it's been very much school as it usually is. They've had a theatre performance, celebrated Chinese New Year, done a production based on WW2 and dd went on the week long residential last week.
Very few won't achieve a good level four and there'll be a good percentage of Level 6 but not because the children will have been forced to cram for months on end beforehand because attitude to SATs is really relaxed.
I definitely think you are doing the right thing looking elsewhere, I've never regretted moving dd only regretted I didn't do it sooner.

RockinHippy Fri 20-Jun-14 15:26:18

Just trawling through my old threads as I know there's one I need to reply to that has just fallen off my list, realised this needs an update & a thank you to you too insanity

I DID pull DD out of school, home schooled for a term until I could get her in elsewhere - turned out the only local school with a place that we had applied to had similar issues to her old one as regards SATs & behaviour - so I ended up getting a phone call form an "educational inclusions" person, who offered us a place at another school which he felt would fit DD much better - there was no place there, but they made one for her smile

This is her second term back in school & what a difference a school makes, she absolutely loves it,has made lots of new friends & it's amazing how different the behaviour is at this new school - DD has not had an injury since starting there, so the longest she has gone injury free in a very long time. She goes to school with a smile on her face & loves hanging out with her new big group of friends out of school & is really enjoying the lessons too.

DD took ill SATs week,she forced herself into school regardless, even though the teachers tried to send her home, she wasn't stressed at all about the SATs themselves, though admits she probably hasn't done as well as she could have as she was so ill, but seems quite relaxed about that - completely different teaching style & honesty about what SATs are really about - she ended up in hospital, so she was really ill, but did it anyway

As for the CAF - her new school can't understand why we ever needed it & they have been fantastic at supplying all she needs to make her school work as achievable & pain free as possible, I have had to ask for anything smile

So thanks for your advice to remove her from school - it's made a world of difference & I have my DD back again smile

RockinHippy Fri 20-Jun-14 15:28:17

Not had to ask for anything

lougle Fri 20-Jun-14 16:25:46

Great news!

disgracefullyyoung Fri 20-Jun-14 16:55:03

Here's my 2 cents, Rockinhippy, based on what I know from dh (partially home schooled, got into Oxbridge for maths aged 14, now phd etc. etc.) and ds (at school, finishing yr 6, basic ability tests show he's also v good)...

Most really good mathematicians struggle a lot with maths at this level. Many teachers are awful and many approach the topic in a way that's completely alien and utterly repellent to their minds. Cue all sorts of problems, often resulting in perfectionism and low self-esteem when they're already conscious of being good at maths.

Clearly there's lots more going on in your situation, but I'd say one of the best things would be to try and find someone to teach dd maths on the side - someone who really gets that the kind of maths they teach in the curriculum is incredibly boring and who'll help her to relax and try approaching math problems in interesting ways. Basically, someone who finds the process more interesting than the answer, and who'll help her to get some distance from the school and its measurement of her ability. We've had to do this with ds, and the nice thing was that it tackled all the problems at once - the perfectionism, the low self-esteem, the boredom, the need to use his mind to explore his abilities with worrying about proving himself.

Obviously tutors can be pricey, but I bet there might be some things online for homeschoolers, or a maths student. If it's best to do it yourself, there's some good material published by the Mathematical Association. Good luck! PM me if you think I can help any further.

disgracefullyyoung Fri 20-Jun-14 17:06:59

Oops, posted without reading whole thread. That'll teach me! Nice news, OP smile

pancakesfortea Fri 20-Jun-14 17:21:52

Great to read a happy ending.

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