How are bright children stretched in Year 1?

(174 Posts)
noseynoonoo Thu 06-Dec-12 23:04:20

My daughter is relatively bright. Her teacher tells me that she is the most able in the class by some distance. However, she doesn't tell me what is being done to stretch her other than encouraging her to tidy up her handwriting. I have witnessed the teacher telling DD not to participate in some work because others will copy her rather than work it out for themselves. This is great for everyone except her. A few ways to stretch her were suggested by previous teacher but current teacher doesn't 'believe' in these ideas.

I appreciate that she can't teach DD parts of the syllabus in advance but can she be stretched in a sideways direction? I'm a bit intimidated by the teacher, I don't want to sound like a pushy parent but I don't understand how DD is reaching her full potential as things stand.

The school is making a point of making efforts to help children with special needs and on the G&T register but I haven't been told how this applies to DD.

What should I expect to happen?
How can I ensure that DD is stretched (whilst not looking like a pushy-mum)?

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 12-Dec-12 09:21:37

Nosey one of the things that happens further up the school is creative writing and what seems to enable some children to overtake others seems to be a breadth of experience outside school to draw on for this creative writing.
My DD is a bright little girl in year 4 ( we are really fortunate the school goes to 18 so a senior school maths teacher has been brought down to teach a cohort whose maths is particularly able).
What seems to be leading to further differentiation is that I have taken her to a wide variety of places and travelled by lots of different means of transport (Englihs Heritage and National Trust memberships are very good investments). We walk the dog and talk about the trees and the flowers and what they are.
This is now allowing her to have a wide base to build on.
We had an amazing two days a few weeks ago where we made a trip to the Science Museum and The British Museum to build on the work she had been doing on Forces at school and on the Egyptians.

My 2 DSs (Yr 1 and 3) are bright, and the older boy has taken part in a G&T activity. My view is that he is a bright, intelligent child with a great work ethic - but he is not Einstein, and he is happy with how things are going at school. His reading is excellent, but his maths is not in the same league (still a SAT level above what he was supposed to get, about which I was quite surprised). He is articulate and confident (recently spoke to about 100 adults in church who he didn't know, off the cuff, about poppies), and I hope he keeps those abilities / attributes as he gets older.

The younger child is possibly brighter, but I suspect lazier. Going back to the original OP, I feel that some of her concerns are very similar to mine. DS2 is told he has excellent handwriting (it's not bad, but the letters aren't formed properly....DS1 (who went to a different school in Reception and Year 1) had to do proper joined up writing at an early stage, and had homework. DS2 gets maybe 3 words a week to learn for his spelling test...eg her, bit, and. He knows these already, and I think that he should be doing a bit more. However, when I try to do a few extra, he knows that it is not compulsory!! I know I need to talk to the teacher about this, but I don't want to make a big deal about it, as both children are very happy and progressing well, if possibly slower than might happen elsewhere.

Manictigger Wed 12-Dec-12 11:49:23

Lonecat, I completely agree. Dd is oldest in year (Y1) and a really good reader and a bit ahead with her maths and writing etc but I'd rather that she was rock solid in the basics rather than being stretched more than her peers. Her spelling is still phonetic rather than correct and she still uses her fingers for counting rather than number bonds so I figure she's got a long way to go before she needs harder work. Like you I see my job as exposing her to other areas of life, visiting new places, reading different books, explaining how other people live etc and quite often this sparks her into wanting to practise writing about things or draw pictures of things she's seen. I don't really think it's a school's job to stop my child being bored but then I think dd is bright but nowhere near G and T - that must be quite hard to deal with.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 00:18:16

I'm not big on buzzwords, but isn't one of them "engaging" the children? Isn't the teacher supposed to engage all of her children? There's no point in me sending Little Jonny to school if he's going to sit and stare out of the window all day. So, I think to some extent it is the school's job to stop children from being bored.

noseynoonoo Wed 19-Dec-12 22:49:10

OP here - just wanted to update after our conversation with G&T coordinator.

G & T coordinator said that DD was significantly ahead of her peers and it had been flagged to her that DD was Gifted in English and Maths but she was working on the understanding that she was a good all-rounder. Her abilities were flagged in Nursery, Reception, and by her stand-in-teacher in Yr1. Her usual teacher in Yr 1 had never mentioned anything. I had the impression that the coordinator had never actually met my DD and had not had a conversation with the Yr1 teacher. She is not going to approach Yr1 teacher directly because of how overbearing she is. She is going to set up an assessment for her and then try to talk about next steps.

So, I felt that the school has been aware of her ability but that nothing specific has been put in place. We are going to have push all the way I think which is disappointing and at the moment there is no action plan (for want of a better phrase).

learnandsay Thu 20-Dec-12 09:27:23

Or you could simply put the same amount of energy into boosting her education at home. It sounds as though the school is both hopeless at and disorganised in the area of differentiating work for children who need it. So, even with pushing all the way, (and all the way back) all you might end up with are lots of warm words about (we really must do something) and nothing ever does get done. (I've heard of that before.) By which time you could have had the child sitting made-made GCSEs and making her own space rockets if you had been boosting her education at home.

iclaudius Thu 20-Dec-12 11:26:36

I agree its best to take the initiative at home ...kumon?

learnandsay Thu 20-Dec-12 11:28:48

kumon is discussed to death on mumsnet. I think it's one of those either you love it or you hate it subjects.

simpson Thu 20-Dec-12 11:38:48

I think that yes you are going to have to be a bit pushy sadly.

Did they say when the assessment is likely to happen??

I would also not put all of your eggs into one basket (re pushing the school) and do stuff with her at home (as others have said)...

bubbles1231 Thu 20-Dec-12 11:38:57

I would agree with the home thing. We had one year where we were shocked to see the decline in standard of DS's work. No progress whatsoever was made. He's a bright boy and has always done well. I think the whole class finished the year behind.
We decided that over the summer we would do extra work at home, whilst explaining that it was not his fault we needed to do it. He hit the ground running for the start of next year, and that was just doin 30mins each morning.

Tgger Thu 20-Dec-12 14:16:51

Yes, I think it's easy to do things at home. Eg I taught DS the other day how to do 10 lots of 900. And how to add up any two numbers with tens and units. Then I realised he doesn't know his number bonds that well, or any times tables so perhaps we might do a bit on those so he doesn't have to count on his fingers quite so much grin.

noseynoonoo Thu 20-Dec-12 19:22:28

I'm not going to be sending her to Kumon maths for a variety of reasons. I also don't see the point of sending her to school to learn very little and then pay for her to spend her spare time in academic clubs. I really think the bulk of her learning should be at school.

learnandsay Thu 20-Dec-12 19:31:03

I really think the bulk of her learning should be at school.

That feeds directly into the whole selective school, private school, oversubscribed school, prep-school choice/debate.

But, at this stage don't you really just have a reality debate? She's at the school that she's at and unless you move her she (and you) have to deal with the reality that you've got. And if the school is well-meaning but hopeless at providing her with extra and differentiated work then bashing them for being useless is only going to have mixed results at best. They probably want to do better for her but just can't. You probably can do a lot for her at home. If this was my daughter I'd educate her and to hell with my own private beliefs. When we're talking about my daughter I'd hate to think that her maths was still bad in adulthood because I'd been stubborn about my beliefs and refused to help her and instead spent my time arguing with her teacher.

learnandsay Thu 20-Dec-12 19:33:41

It is also easier to pointlessly argue with the teacher than it is to partially home-educate.

simpson Thu 20-Dec-12 23:32:42

Well, however well DD's school are doing with her in reception, I have to admit I am dreading yr1 as the school does not have a great record for keeping yr1 teachers...

Last yrs yr1 class (one of them out of the 2 classes) had I kid you not 6 teachers in the whole of the year.

The final teacher they had then was moved to reception (ie DD's yr but luckily not her teacher and has left under a cloud with zero assessments done for the new teacher to take over from)...

I have just found out today that yet another yr1 teacher has left/been asked to leave (I don't know) with very little notice.....

I await next year hmm

Tgger Fri 21-Dec-12 13:12:29

Oh no! That sounds awful simpson! What is going on there? A run of bad luck, or maybe they need to re-think their recruitment procedures!

learnandsay Fri 21-Dec-12 13:16:11

Doesn't it make you wonder where the head was when all this chaos with Y1 teachers was taking place?

simpson Fri 21-Dec-12 14:57:16

They seem to have a lot of young (NQT??) teachers who maybe cannot hack it...

HT is very young herself (has been there nearly 3 years and seems on the ball about most things) except year 1 tbh hmm

Tgger Fri 21-Dec-12 19:02:25

Is it worth writing to the Head re your concerns/asking the Governors to talk to her about policy of recruiting NQTs for Y1 and their lack of staying power? I think NQTs are cheaper so can see the appeal, and of course some will be fab, but it's doing the kids no favours with the rate of drop-out at the moment.

mrz Fri 21-Dec-12 19:20:54

I would be questioning management policy with that number of teachers in one year group

ilikemysleep Fri 21-Dec-12 23:26:25

I have only read the first couple of pages of this thread, but I wanted to throw a couple of things into the pot and see what people think.

1. Having an IQ done in a two year old, or a three year old, is intrinsically less reliable than in an older child. It demonstrates that a child is advanced (or behind) at that age but it does not always follow that there will not be a change over time. For example, children with delayed language will often get dramatically different profiles once their language 'kicks in'. My own younger son has mild verbal dyspraxia and had only a few words at 2 1/2, if I had had him tested then he would have scored very poorly. Last weekend I practised a new test on him (I do IQ tests as part of my job) and he is now getting a verbal reasoning score of 140, at 99.9 percentile, at age 5. On the other hand, the testing you can do on a two or three year old is limited and does not include any measure of executive functioning or working memory, for example, both of which are essential for success in school and which are not necessarily strongly correlated with reasoning skills. An older child will (on most tests) have an IQ score which includes these measures. As a for example, my eldest son's scores went down from 134 at age 3 to 127 at age 8. Still bright, but no longer stellar.

2. Having a child at 99.9 percentile is nice, but it's not THAT unusual. In a big secondary school of 2000, there'd be 2 at that level, and if you include the 99th percentile plus (because that extra couple of points doesn't really make that much difference) then possibly 20 or so within a couple of IQ points.

3. Lots of children who are left brained 'skill acquirers' score very well on IQ tests, especially in the early years. Some of these children do end up being 'caught up with' by their peers as they move into juniors and the emphasis of work moves from skill acquisition - where they excel - to skill application, where others, who have now also acquired skills, may be as good or even better. This happened to my eldest DS. Now he is in year 6 he is still a good reader, but it is no longer obvious that he joined reception reading fluently and his peers did not. The majority of children in the class can read completely fluently and they all read similar stuff.

4. IQ tests don't measure creativity, art talent, sports ability etc etc. If children with a high IQ need a statement and 1:1 teaching, why not children who are talented artists? Or talented footballers? Or is it 'better' to have a high IQ?

5. This is not 'gifted envy'. Said 5 year old son got an IQ of 139 at 99.5 percentile, despite only getting an average score in the copying task because he kept going over his lines trying to make them straighter (you have to remove marks for 'overdrawn' lines). Had he not 'overdrawn' his lines I suspect he would have been at 99.9th percentile. His attainments in maths, spelling and reading were above 99.9th. School know he is bright. He needs encouraging in creative work as he is not good at that. Academically, I would rather they stretched him sideways than vertically. Last year (aged 4) he was coming home with books he could read but he concepts were too hard, for example the relative miles per hour the fastest cars could travel. So we put him down a couple of levels. He can read, IMO he doesn't need to read more difficult words (yet) , he needs to fully understand the concepts and ideas in the books he reads.

Donning hard hat grin

simpson Fri 21-Dec-12 23:27:45

Apparently I will have a meeting nearer the end of the school year (June ish) WRT what is going to happen to DD when she goes into yr1 (as she is doing yr1 work now and yr2 phonics soon) so I guess I will raise it then....

Its a pity as apart from this problem the school is pretty good with keeping staff, they just seem to have a problem with yr1 for some reason.

The HT has been there for about 3 yrs and has never had a deputy, but he was recruited in July, so hoping things will improve as he seems very good....

noseynoonoo Sat 22-Dec-12 00:07:07

ilikemysleep

1. This is not a thread about IQ and I think it is strange that any parent would want to quantify it in those terms.
2. No one said my child was at the 99.9 centile but if she was, it clearly would be statistically unusual.
3. My child reads books at her level of comprehension rather than just trying to get her to read for the sake of it. To be fair to her school her Reception teacher emphasised the need for DD to read books she would understand conceptually rather than just racing though the bands.
4. I am not asking for my child to be stretched forward to 'win the race'. I have asked how she can be stretched laterally though.

ilikemysleep Sat 22-Dec-12 10:06:02

Noseynoonoo
Morning. I guess I should have read more than the first two pages, huh? Round about there people were discussing children in terms of IQ :-)

Standing down, as you were everybody....

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