Anyone else encountered this regarding a child who doesn't speak English

(51 Posts)
MrsCampbellBlack Wed 14-Nov-12 18:06:26

Basically ds is in reception and recently a child has joined the class who speaks no english and so every day his parent and a translator accompany the child and stay all day with him.

Its a small class - only 15 children and I've never encountered this before and wondered if it was usual?

It seems to be unsettling for all concerned hence my query? I just wondered if anyone had experienced it how long it went on for . . .

CindySherman Thu 15-Nov-12 09:58:52

This must be so unsettling for the other children.

LadyMargolotta Thu 15-Nov-12 10:00:27

I don't see why it would be unsettling? Many classes have teaching assistants and many children need one to one help.

PiedWagtail Thu 15-Nov-12 10:03:07

Unusual ime. A boy joined my ds's reception class last year speaking no English and was on his own from day 1. And he managed fine, bless him.

Do you know for sure that it's the mum and a translator? To me, it sounds more like a bodyguard situation.

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 10:10:54

a lot of kids start school with no English, they can still access the curriculum, as they can count, do motor skills, learn phonics, learn to write and so on...

under 7 the brain works differently so they find it easier to pick up new languages.

Also many people learn languages by being immersed in it! like all the people who come to England!!

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 10:11:17

well not all, but some.

CindySherman Thu 15-Nov-12 10:11:54

The child has his mother sitting with him all day in Reception that is totally different to a TA and the OP says all the children are crying at drop off now.
They need to be pacing it down by now its November.

LadyMargolotta Thu 15-Nov-12 10:16:12

She doesn;t say all the children are crying at drop off.

TBH it's normal for some children at this age to cry at drop off, and will cause other chidlren to cry as well. It depends on how the parents handle it.

rrbrigi Thu 15-Nov-12 10:16:41

I think it is better for the teacher and your child as well. Because the teacher does not need to deal with that child behaviour, the parent can do this job. Imagine if the parent would not be there and the child would scream and cry the whole day, the teacher would not be able to teach your child at all.

CindySherman Thu 15-Nov-12 10:19:40

She did say her and other children were finding it unsettling that was the point of the OP.
I am not surprised. Children are going to be confused why their Mums can't sit with them all day. The child is screaming if she leaves for a few moments. It needs to be managed differently.

LadyMargolotta Thu 15-Nov-12 10:20:23

Anyway it doesn't sound like we are getting enough information to make a valid judgement.

We just don't know if the child has SEN or severe emotional problems. We don't know if the child is getting help outside of school.

HanSolo Thu 15-Nov-12 10:25:25

I have never come across this in state nor independent sector (beeen working in schools for almost 20 years). V unusual.
Quickest way for a child that age to learn is full immersion id have thought.

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 11:50:33

where is the child from? what language do they speak?

WitchesTit Thu 15-Nov-12 11:58:28

So did the other kids in the class get an explanation why there were suddenly 2 adults in class, whispering in a 'strange way' to the new kid?

Sounds nightmarish if you're only 4 and hardly likely to help the new kid assimilate.

learnandsay Thu 15-Nov-12 12:22:31

Maybe the child has other difficulties beyond not speaking English. I'm sure the headteacher has sanctioned this arrangement and wouldn't have done if she didn't think it was necessary.

botandhothered Thu 15-Nov-12 13:00:34

Is the child russian?

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 15-Nov-12 13:15:37

The child is Russian and I was told by the teacher it was the parent and translator. It is a small class and has been very settled - there is one teacher and normally 2 other TA's.

The child would presumably have done some type of assesment before joining the school or at least most children do so I'd be quite surprised if its a SN issue but of course I don't know for certain.

I'm pretty laidback but again this morning my child was very upset and so was another. And my child has been at the school in the nursery class etc for nearly 2 years and this is the first time I've ever had tears at drop-off so I guess I'm guilty of putting 2 and 2 together.

I'm not going to do anything - I do trust the teacher and the school but I did just think it was a bit odd and I do really feel for the child joining the class halfway through the first term and not being able to speak the language etc.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 15-Nov-12 13:17:54

I'm not sure what the class were told exactly - my 4 year old is not terribly reliable in giving me info about what's happening at school - he just seemed to have the impression that some mummies were staying and why therefore wasn't I. And of course I didn't realise what was happening as nothing had been mentioned to the parents and I'd just thought the extra adults were students/nannies doing drop off etc.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 15-Nov-12 13:19:20

God I really hope I'm not sounding pfb because truly I'm not - I really guess I just would have liked to have been told what was happening so I could have chatted to my child about it which we have been doing more now, eg, importance of being kind to the new boy and how scared he must be etc etc

gwenniebee Thu 15-Nov-12 16:03:29

I think, particularly when the child is only aged 4, you should have been told beforehand so that you could explain in the way you said in your last post.

With reference to this being common practice in private schools which was mentioned upthread, I can say that ime of teaching in private schools I have never come across this situation, although I have taught many children who have been landed in my classes with no English.

With reference to the question about how the child accesses the curriculum, "differentiation" is and has been a buzz-word for a while now in teaching, basically meaning that the teacher modifies their teaching towards different needs of pupils in the class. This applies to children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils too. It's pretty hard work for the teacher, but you can manage to help the child through the use of images etc. It is preferable to having a translator because the child has to begin to use the new language rather than relying on it being translated for him.

It may be, of course, that the school felt uncomfortable about sharing information about the new child - after all, if a child had other sen and had one-to-one help a letter wouldn't go home to all parents.

I think the school should explain a bit better so the children understand why the other adults are there.

We had a boy join DS2's class part of the way through YR who spoke very little English (Arabic speaker) and he didn't have any formal help. However this might have been because a couple of the staff (and DS2) all speak Arabic so there was informal support in place.

Elibean Thu 15-Nov-12 16:10:38

There is a non English speaker who started in Reception at dds' school last term, and a Mum (not his) who speaks his language has been in some of the time every day to facilitate transition. She has become part of the scenery for the children, and doesn't disrupt class at all - quite the opposite! (state primary, if it makes any difference)

I totally get why a just-4-year-old would need extra support at the beginning - but do think mum PLUS translator is unusual. Unless there are additional needs there.

botandhothered Thu 15-Nov-12 17:27:35

I have a little experience with Russian families. They are very PFB and hugely ambitious for their children.

This is unusual for the UK but they will think nothing of throwing thousands of pounds away to ensure their child is not left behind! Translator must be costing a fortune.

One russian mum I knew decided the pre school her child was at, wasn't clean enough, however as it was the best in the area, she chose to pay for a cleaner to go in and do extra cleaning,not in the UK, incidentally.

I imagine it is disruptive to have a child there with it's parent, but they won't care about that!

sleeplessinderbyshire Thu 15-Nov-12 18:38:20

Are you sure the translator isn't a bodyguard?

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 15-Nov-12 18:44:20

She'd be a very unlikely looking bodyguard but that certainly adds a frisson more excitement to the situation smile

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