Do primary schools still have to provide for G and T pupils?

(19 Posts)
jigglebum Sat 10-May-14 20:45:58

My son is very talented at maths, particularly number work. He is quite far ahead of his class and therefore for numeracy he is sometimes given a different task from the others in his class, but remains in his Year 1 class for the whole class work and some of the group work etc. His teacher has suggested he should be working with year 2 or 3 or even 4 for some of his maths, and although she has done some extra one on one stuff with him it is obviously difficult for her with a class of 30 to differentiate just for him all the time.

However, the HT has refused these requests to move him up for some numeracy on the basis the teacher should be able to differentiate enough for him in class. However, he often has to work on his own and I fear he is becoming both a bit bored and a bit arrogant of his abilities. He is bright overall and in top sets for reading, writing and phonics (which ironically they do set R, yr 1 and 2 for). When I asked his teacher about G and T provision at the school she said the HT teacher had told her there was no longer a requirement to have a G and T list. I asked what it has replaced with but she didn't know. I don't want to be a pushy parent but I would like to be more informed of what to expect and try to set some extra maths in place for him in year 2 as if he is bored he might start being silly and being turned off a subject he currently enjoys and is good at.

Thanks for your help

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 10-May-14 21:32:45

no there isn't any requirement to have a gifted and talented list or programme any longer. It is up to the school what they do. They do however have to provide differentiated work (whether they do this successfully is another matter of course) which it sounds like they are doing.

I would like my daughter (and I suspect at least 1 other child in her class who I know is of a very similar level) to have further differentiation but I think on the whole her teacher is handling it all quite well given the restraints she has to work within (I feel very lucky as her teacher is really lovely) I actually wouldn't like her to go out of the class for any work, I think it is important she stays with them but that is just my feeling for her.

carcharodoncarcharias Sat 10-May-14 21:34:11

Only the lemon to go with the G&T.

jigglebum Sun 11-May-14 09:28:59

Thanks nonickname I decided not to push this year as he was happy staying in class and being the top and I was not too bothered! I am not sure of him going up a class or two for maths but do think it would be good if he could work with others at his level sometimes so was wondering what other schools did.

dalziel1 Sun 11-May-14 12:16:26

The problem I have found is that the teachers will tell you that they differentiate, and generally they do, but they don't add "sufficiently" or "adequately" onto the end. If you get a great teacher, then you are lucky, but you are unlikely to get seven in sucession.
The upshot will be that your son will get top set maths work, but he will spend a huge amount of time doing stuff he mastered long ago which is dispiriting for both child and parent after a few years.

inthesark Sun 11-May-14 13:42:21

^^ This. Exactly.

The only thing I would add is that you also need ask how they are differentiating. For example, DD's class in Yr1 were doing greater than and less than; the teacher differentiated for the two v able children by giving them four digit numbers. But they understood the concept, so getting them to do that wasn't stretching them at all, it was just keeping them occupied.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sun 11-May-14 14:00:54

that is something that worries me about the differentiation thing.

jigglebum Sun 11-May-14 20:23:32

dalziel inthesark that is it exactly - he either does more of the same or bigger numbers of the same from what I can gather and although I recognise he needs to be sure of the basics I think he would relish more challenge. I have thought about doing Mathletics or similar at home with him but then I fear he will be even further ahead and bored! I need to talk to the HT I think - not the most approachable of HTs though.

dalziel1 Sun 11-May-14 20:57:07

Hi jigglebum (brave name BTW!)

I understand how you feel. DS2 is very similar. He learned the times table when he was six by curling up behind the sofa and reading a poster that was there that i'd bought to teach DS1 the times table. He read it for interest, apparently.
I knew nothing until he went into year 3 and the teacher wanted him to start learning the times tables and at that point, he explained that he knew them all. She tested him and he got 18/20 on a timed test.
Notwithstanding his weekly homework was to learn the times table one at a time and prove he knew he one by doing a weekly test. So he got 100% each week.
Then he had to prove he knew them by getting 100% on 100 questions in 5 minutes at the weekly test. He kept getting 97/98/91 (he was getting bored) but finally, he got the magic 100.
Then he had to be "extended" by learning 13x, 14x... finally year 3 ended when he was on 20 something.

I thought that we were done, but no. The year 4 teacher decided the class's focus that year would be to learn the times tables. She told me DS2 would be extended by learning 13x etc and square numbers. I complained. So then she said, that he was too far ahead and she needed to focus her efforts on those who would struggle to get 3B by the end of the year, so unfortunately, she would not teach him maths this year.

Now he's in year 5 and guess what he gets for maths homework every week? Yes, times tables!!

I've variously been told by the teachers and the heads, to not teach DS myself as that will move him on and make the discrepancy even bigger. At other times, they will look at the situation and see how they might improve things. Twice they've said he's too far ahead to be given any differentiated work. I've had numerous lectures on the importance of repetition. DS has been encouraged to do his work and then read (year 4) or wander the class offering his help to the others (year 2).
I was stunned last eyar when the HT gave me a book of extension work and suggested that I do this with DS at home to compensate for the lack of teaching in the class. Then a couple of months ago the same head told me that the school will not leave me to teach DS as that would me "abdicating their responsibility".

Basically they say one thing and then change their minds and say the opposite. With hindsight, i wish i had moved heaven and earth to find a way to get my son into a fee-paying selective school that would have done something with his talent because the state sector is just too stretched to deal with the outliers.

Rant over!

MumTryingHerBest Mon 12-May-14 01:05:06

dalziel1 do you have any grammar schools or state super selectives/semi-selectives near where you live? The exams for these are normally harder than what is covered in year 5 as they often test children on what they would have covered by the end of year 6. My DS will be preparing for the 11 plus after the Summer and I know the level of work will really ramp up.

You mentioned that you wished you had moved heaven and earth to get into a fee-paying selective school. Have you looked at private secondary schools or even local preps? Preps often go up to the age of 13 and private secondarys offer CE exams from 11+. It's certainly not too late if you are serious about this option.

MrsRuffdiamond Mon 12-May-14 01:11:07

I've had numerous lectures on the importance of repetition.

Me too. Only they call it 'consolidation', so it doesn't sound quite so boring grin

inthesark Mon 12-May-14 09:11:52

There is actually research (real, proper academic research) which shows that the more repetition gifted children are given in maths and science, the less they learn.

But there is no telling a school that doesn't want to listen. We moved DD to a prep school this year after she got the really awful teacher who didn't believe in extension work (to quote him, there was no point teaching the Year 3 work in year 2, because she would only have to do it all over again next year).

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 12-May-14 10:57:41

hmm yes I have heard the repetition and consolidation thing too. I think I need to look into this more.

mind in maths we have the interesting situation that she can grasp hard concepts but finds addition and subtraction difficult. I think she is getting confused with all the 'use numberline/square' stuff.

MrsRuffdiamond Mon 12-May-14 12:09:51

I should also have put a sad and probably angry face at the end of my post, because although I have to laugh at the sheer 'box-ticking' hypocrisy of having children on the G&T list (OFSTED will be pleased at our provision for more able pupils!), yet making them go over and over and over times tables which they had down pat 3 years ago, it really is a crying shame.

Yes, they seem to insist that children learn about 4 different ways to do each operation. What's wrong with column addition, subtraction, long division etc. if a child 'gets it'? Then they can move on to new and more challenging work......Oh wait, they've got to be taught 3 other ways of doing the same stuff first.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 12-May-14 13:45:45

it is so frustrating, she could do subtraction in her head before she turned 3, started preschool and they told her to use her counting nose (?) and she ended up forgetting how to do it automatically. goes to school and it is all these other ways to do it and now the poor child seems unable to do it without an aid of some sort. not unusual at that age to need an aid but bloody irritating when she could do it 3 years ago without one.

inthesark Mon 12-May-14 14:37:54

I will out myself with this but hey ho.

DD found some blank number line paper in the art box when in Yr1. I found it in her bag with I HATE EASY MATHS written on it in giant letters.

jigglebum Mon 12-May-14 16:01:24

Yes to the multiple methods - why is it needed if they "get" the one way they know. DS can do the column method and carrying numbers, but I know he will have to be confused by other methods during the course of his primary years until he will be left to get on with the way he has understood since year 1! DS's current extension work is to learn his times tables - he can do some but cant actually be bothered. His reasoning - no one else is doing it and I'll have to do it again when everyone else does it anyway. I have sympathy with his opinion.

I too wish we could afford private - as he would not be so far ahead at a guess and smaller classes would aid effective differentiation.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Mon 02-Jun-14 20:12:33

DS1 is Y2 and goes to a Y3/4 class for maths, and has done since Sept after spending Y1 with a Y2 class. Although he complains about the weekly homework that his classmates don't get, it has been the best thing for his maths - I have seen so much progress this year. Although he doesn't even seem that challenged by it, he just seems to "get" numbers in a way that I never could!

If your DS is saying things like that at such a young age OP, then I don't understand why the school won't put him in the older class. As you say, it is SO hard for the teachers to differentiate that much with a class of 30+. I go in to school to help and I can see how hard it is. His class teacher sounds supportive of him moving for maths - have you tried putting in writing your/teachers suggestion to the Head?

TooBigNow Wed 04-Jun-14 13:48:52

It was expained to me when I queried why DD had to learn stupid ways of doing calculations that it was basically for the less able children.

More able children have to learn the stupid way and then relearn the "oldfashioned" way later.

DD's first primary school wouldn't do anything to differentiate. Her second one had a small group of children working on Y8 maths when she was in Y6 which helped.

When she started in Y7, the first few weeks were spent on times tables!shock
She was bored stiff and I had to complain.

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