How does your school extend able children?

(12 Posts)
WhattodoSue Tue 26-Apr-16 08:42:44

My DD is in Y2, and isn't g&t compared to very many of your children, but she is doing well, and is a particularly good (and avid) reader. I posted before about the fact that she had complained that Maths and Reading were too easy and boring. So last night I was able to speak to her teacher. Her teacher was lovely and listened to everything I said. With regards to reading, she agreed it was a problem, and so she is going to refer up. But I was wondering what happens in other schools when children have finished the reading scheme (ours go up to ORT 15). Because she is in Infants, the school don't have anyone else in that situation. I am sure they have their own ideas, but I really wanted to get other people's experience. At home she has become moderately obsessed with read theory.org. She is a bit all over the place in terms of level on that but she loves it. For Maths, the school uses maths mastery. It sounds like an interesting system, but it does feel like they are teaching to the lower and middle ground. They are going to give her more reasoning stuff to keep her happy. I should add that she has enjoyed it much more this term because they were doing fractions. But I can't help thinking that just more reasoning problems isn't really extending her, although it is a really important skill to be able to make her reasoning explicit (which is a requirement of the reasoning tasks). So again, how do your school's extend their able mathematicians? Thanks!

BestDayEver Tue 26-Apr-16 10:45:24

You could try pointing your school at Nrich (nrich.maths.org). Not much has been given by our school as extra but they have use of Mathletics. DD is in Year1 though and we are not to worried at the moment.

In terms of books they provided us with a list of possible books that could be used to stretch her - the problem with the reading bands is that as well as them becoming harder to read the content is also more mature and sometimes not entirely suitable. At home DD has been reading Narnia, Roald Dahl (and many rainbow fairies books...)

lljkk Tue 26-Apr-16 11:07:52

Isn't there some new policy where kids aren't supposed to access material outside of their designated year group material?

In past... yr3-6 they had times table challenge, oral competitions within & between classes. They .... set for maths? So high ability kids all working together on extended material. In yr6 there was a specific L6 group (all boys, all got the L6 for KS2 SATs). In yrs 7+ there are inter-school competitions to go to.

var123 Tue 26-Apr-16 11:50:14

Y2 - the NQT didn't. She said DS2 would have to just re-do everything he could already do.
Y3 - a year spent proving times table knowledge and filling in any gaps..
y4 - same as year 2
Y5 - specialist teacher brought in for the top set - but then the class teacher decided that was 60% of the class, so not much help. All classwork (maths) was still times tables.
Y6 - same specialist teacher but the more competent class teacher redefined top set to be top 4, as she could cope with looking after the other 12 herself. Level 6 sats were a god-send for year 6 G&T, but they've been done away with now.

var123 Tue 26-Apr-16 11:53:23

Yr7 - willing to teacher level 7 plus UKMT
Yr8 - level 8 plus UKMT (but still not much time spent on new stuff)
Y9 - level 8 (again) and even some bits of level 7. UKMT was good.
Yr10/ 11 - GCSE but DS1 hasn't got there yet. I am not holding out much hope (you learn to adjust your expectations of mostly being challenged down to hope of just being challenged once in a blue moon).

Roseformeplease Tue 26-Apr-16 12:00:19

Get her to read, read some more, and then read another book. Try to get her reading non-fiction, on issues that are age appropriate and look at the writer's stance (pro-zoos? anti? Their arguments?) Pick apart how you KNOW what they think. Their are several online newspapers aimed at younger pupils.

With fiction, try to begin talking to her about the idea that characters are not real - they are created and HOW they are created? Through actions / words / relationships etc.

Both of these things will help to stretch her English. I was that child and my parents just used to quiz me all the time about my reading, ask me to defend my views, use evidence etc. I am now an English teacher!

WhattodoSue Tue 26-Apr-16 12:53:49

She doesn't stop reading. We have had to get her banned from reading at play time so she actually spends the time playing with her friends instead. The difficulty is how the school engages with her reading, because it is depressing when a child who you have to generally force to stop reading, is having to be coerced into reading the material from school because it is "too easy and boring", not least when the active disinterest extends to the reading she does in school. Her teacher suggested that she do book reviews at one point, on her own reading material, but that was vetoed by the reading coordinator (who doesn't really know DD). However, we are re-investigating, with the school, how they deal with her (and what her reading level is), so fingers crossed we will make progress. But that was why I was wondering what other schools did, just to have some idea of what I could (optimistically) expect.

var123 I can't help thinking your experience is pretty standard, sadly, but she's only Y2 - so I'm still ready to fight the fight (if needs be). I will probably be reporting something similar to you by the time she gets half way through secondary school. But I hope not (one can only hope!).

lljkk I have half an idea you are right. That is certainly what maths mastery seems to support. What I find slightly frustrating is that it does seem to me that it is a one-model-fits-all, in a situation where one model will never fit all. But the school are responsive, and so I'm hoping we can find a solution. I'm also wondering if it might be better in juniors. But again, probably just my excessive optimism.

var123 Tue 26-Apr-16 13:24:47

Every year - except year 2 - did something. The problem was that the something would often taken longer to describe than what it was. Let's say at primary school there were endless "extension sheets" and the odd day or half day each year attending inter-school competitions etc, usually in the Summer term.

Parent-teacher consultations weren't much fun. The teacher would tell me what DS had been doing having given me a chance to go through the books before. I'd sit hearing stuff that we both knew Ds1 and Ds2 could do half their school life ago. usually I'd be trying to control myself from saying something about the fact that the spellings I've just seen were correct but had been marked wrong or that the geography book consisted of 3 pages of work, which was a waste of a book for a start...!
Then they'd set the next targets. I'd fume. DH would glare at me to say just sign the sheet. We'd get home and have an argument about the meeting. We'd agreed that the boys weren't actually learning anything but disagree about whether I should have just smiled sweetly and ignored it or not. In the end, he'd say that their education is up to us and then he'd ask me to teach them at home in the evenings and after school.
I'd do a few hours and see the boys just gobble up things quicker than I could devise them. Gradually, i'd just give up and they'd go back to playing the xbox. Then at the enxt teacher-parent evening, the teacher would ask how I know that they can already do the things she was promising for the next year and I'd explain. then sometimes the teacher would tell me to butt out and leave the teaching to the school. So, I'd fume.
Then DH and I would argue. And on it went in a vicious circle.

I didn't cry at the leaver's assembly. I just sat there thinking thank God this is over and what a shame that these childhood years were so stressful.

TrainBridge Tue 26-Apr-16 13:39:17

My experience has been better than that, but dd1 is way ahead in English, which seems easier to extend than maths. She reads one to one with the teacher (and has since YR, I kept thinking that someone else would catch up and she could do group guided reading but it hasn't happened yet and she's Y3).

She has challenges set for her classwork and home work, so while they are usually fairly easy for her there is the occasional one that's challenging, plus she is expected to produce more and higher quality work in all the writing related subjects. The school focuses a lot on effort, perseverance, growth mindset etc which is very helpful in theory but in practice usually has to be applied to PE or other non academic activities.

Her best years have been with experienced teachers who've got extension resources already to hand, NQTs (while lovely) have struggled to provide anything she found challenging.

But it does free her up for tons of extra curricular stuff, which she loves and which provides challenge and competition. So we feel the balance is right, at the moment. If not, we would (and have) had a chat with her teacher and (if necessary) the SENCO.

TheWanderingUterus Tue 26-Apr-16 16:25:51

DD was allowed to read what she liked from Year 2, it didn't have to be from the school library and she brought in a lot of her own books. In Year 4 she had a teacher who encouraged and challenged her and got her to read things like Journey to the Centre of the Earth etc. DD was classed as a free reader by the school at the beginning of Year 1 once she had finished ORT Level 11. tHe school didn't force her to read any more ORT levels after that. DS is now Year 1 and he is on ORT 12, but he has free range in the KS1 school library to choose his reading books. Same school but they had less money when DD was in Year1, so only had ORT to 12.

For maths they set into three groups from year 5. The top maths group is the smallest and is taken by the deputy head or a member of staff with a degree in maths. From Year 6 the top 8 pupils are sent to maths master classes at the local secondary, with the top 8 children from three other local schools. DD loves these, they expand and stretch them. They also go as a class to the local secondary three times in Year 6 - this is for technology e.g. 3D printers.

The school do enrichment days for the most able children from year 5 onwards, in partnership with another local school. They have two for each subject including PE. DD has done two this year (English and maths) and did five last year (maths, science, geography, English and French).

we have found the biggest discouragement to stretching, challenging and advancement hasn't been from teachers, the school or DD - it has been from her classmates.

NewLife4Me Tue 26-Apr-16 16:30:43

I would just leave her be at school if they won't extend her.
At home let her read what she wants to, take her to the library and let her choose for herself.
I don't know if any of my older dc were beyond their years we were never told but they always found their school books easy.
I just got lots of books for them irrespective of level.

irvineoneohone Tue 26-Apr-16 16:31:43

I thought children caught up in reading in YR3. But I just found out recently, that he does guided reading with his own book from home.(must be a group of one). I knew he was bringing books to school, but never knew it was for his lessons. I gave up on maths extension, but now I'm not sure about literacy as well.

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