Advice regarding Year 4 please(11 Posts)
I'm new to mumsnet.
My dd is in Year 4 and is a bright and hard working little girl. The School she attends has a very mixed intake (60% disadvantaged) and a some children find learning and behaving difficult. My dd is doing well academically and has always received extension work in previous years.
She left Y2 as 3b and Y3 as exceeding +. I have just attended parents' evening and her new teacher said dd has been levelled as Y4 secure+ (new school levelling)? and is at a mastery level for the year group. She added that in the new curriculum dd can't go on to Y5 levelling. I asked if dd would be stretched sideways as she had been in previous years. Her teacher asked me what extension tasks I would like dd to be given, I answered honestly that I didn't know and we just moved on to something else.
I am very relaxed about my children's education, as long as they are happy, trying their best and behaving well, I'm a happy mum. In four years I haven't had to raise anything with the school, pleased with teachers' and both my children have always been happy. For the first time, I am a little concerned as my dd has mentioned that after completing her maths task she moves to a different table to help three classmates who find maths a little tricky. Dd said she sometimes enjoys this but she can find it stressful as they find it hard to listen. She said she would like extra work sometimes as has happened in previous years. I know assisting other children will be beneficial in terms of stretching sideways but I'm wondering if this should be mixed with additional work? I am aware the School performed very low on new assessments and priority is getting the Children to expected level. Imo the school do an amazing job with the more vulnerable pupils and the TA's are deployed to these groups. I understand this and do agree that resources and staff time should go to those who need it most, I just can't help feeling worried my dd may not reach her full potential or could become a little bored and lose some of her natural love of learning.
My hubby and I are not sure if we should monitor things until the Christmas break and then ask the teacher for an appointment to discuss things or ask for one sooner? This is the procedure to speak to the teacher in our large school.
Just to add we're not in a grammar area and dd will be going to the local high school so there's no pressure with getting her to a certain level.
Sorry for rambling on. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
We would give extensions and not ask her to help others. I'm a bit shocked actually and hope it isn't a regular thing perhaps it was near assembly time. The only benefit to your DD would be that she can explain how to do it. I would see how things are in another month or so as the teacher is just getting to know her. Don't do it December because things change because of Christmas either go in November or wait until January.
Your daughter has the right to make equivalent progress, however high her starting point. Peer teaching can certainly be valuable, especially in maths as it requires a lot of mental calculation and reasoning skills. It's also great for children who lack confidence or who need to develop speaking and listening skills. However, it shouldn't be the only diet she receives for maths extension.
It shouldn't really be for you to supply the resources for sideways stretch but, if the teacher asks again what kind of extension tasks, there are plenty of free open-ended problem-solving challenges on the nrich website, White Rose Hub and NCETM provide free mastery question demos and the school can choose to invest in other resources on the market. More broadly, she should be finding patterns and applying her maths in a range of contexts including in computing and science. I'd flag it up at the start of the half-term.
As an occasional thing this wouldn't bother me. It can be good for children to explain things to each other and discuss methods and reasoning. I would not be happy if this was a regular thing. It is not your daughter's job to support other pupils and suitable extension tasks should be given. I think you've got the right idea, monitor it for a few weeks then go on for a chat with the teacher.
I should mention this to the teacher if it carries on. This happened to my DD a lot in year 6 and we did eventually mention it, only to be told that dd was where she needed to be and that she didn't need extending. Upon staring high school it was quickly evident that she hadn't been taught enough in maths and it took a few weeks of us helping her at home to cover the ground that had been missed.
Thank you all for taking the time to respond and for the very helpful advice and resource examples.
After the half term break, I am going to book an appointment with dd's teacher. I think I may have been spoilt by previous teachers' as they have always lead the parents' evening, explained about the extension. This parents' evening was completely different and I left feeling a little embarrassed that I didn't have the knowledge to make any sensible suggestions for extension work.
As a family, we do lots of general learning and all love reading but aside from set homework, we do tend to leave the 'traditional' learning to the School.
I'll give you a couple of suggestions:
When reading harder books with a child, get him to point to words as he goes along. If he knows the word, or can sound it out, he can say it. If he doesn't know the word, he can hover his finger over it, and YOU say the word for him. Don't stop to analyse or discuss the word at this stage, but try and keep the 'flow' of reading going. Review difficulties at the end, if you wish to. This way, he has the satisfaction of reading more difficult books, without the fear of getting 'stuck' on words.
For older children I sometimes recommend what I call "Value Added" books, that is they have an aspect in addition to just reading a story.
The best one is Arthur Ransome's "Coot Club" set on the Norfolk Broads in 1930. All the places in the book are actual locations, and can be found on the Ordnance Survey 2-1/2inch map of the Broads. All the villages, rivers, lakes, pubs and windmill pumping stations can be seen on the map. Apart from some railways being closed, and there now being more main roads, little has changed. It also gives interesting insights to the social history of the '30s: the children want to contact friends in a nearby village, and say if they post a letter in the morning, it will get there by the second post in the afternoon! When they buy provisions at a riverside shop, the shop-boy carries the goods down to their boat for them.
Another book in a 'real' place, is "Watership Down". The rabbits' home threatened by development is actually on the outskirts of Newbury, in Berkshire. There are several web sites about the locations, and even guided tours sometimes to places featured in the book.
OP I could have written your post. I'm in exactly the same position with DD2 in year 4. Am told they cannot teach any of the year 5 curriculum. DD apparently has access to extension tasks. When I looked through her maths classroom workbook I noted she hadn't got a single question wrong since the start of term, great for her confidence but suggests she isn't being stretched at all. There are initiatives from year 5 onwards for the more able kids to have specialist additional maths tuition but seems in year 4 it's just treading water. Trying to take a relaxed approach as she's only 9 but feel it's a shame the school can't do more now, I know she'd relish the challenge.
I would ask exactly what the extension tasks are and what breadth is being added to the Y4 maths curriculum to meet the needs of your DD. It appears there is a real problem with too many teachers not being able to teach a more in depth curriculum through lack of training and confidence. It has nothing to do with more being available in Y5. That is really just saying the Y5 teacher is a better maths teacher! I would really delve into what extension means - and what in depth work she has actually done. How do you know what was in her work book wasn't just the normal curriculum?
I was in a very similar situation with my DD (now year 8). She was classified as gifted and talented, but they very rarely did anything with that classification. To me it just meant she was left alone and not worried about. Very similar sounding school. They were under a lot of pressure to raise attainment of the more disadvantaged pupils, which is good, but she was basically left on her own from about year 3 onwards, partly because of the school's own pressures and partly because she had some very new and inexperienced teachers who could barely maintain the classroom. DD was often teaching others how to do things. Saying that she had one NQT in year 5 who was amazing and totally looked out for her, but I wouldn't say that was the norm. That teacher left after 1 year because she was so frustrated with how the school was run. She was a brilliant teacher for every child. The parents all loved her. That was DD's only good year.
I thought of her school from year 3 as a social education and ended up getting 2 tutors over the next few years. One for Maths and one for English. I gave them the brief to just inspire her because she was bored at school. She loved it. It wasn't based on any exam prep, but she did do well in her exams at the end of primary school. It just gave her the attention she needed, it wasn't just me doing it, and it made her really independent in her thinking which has served her well in Secondary School.
She was also a voracious reader so I kept on top of that and used online resources to find things for her to do outside of school that would enhance her learning.
Thank you for taking the time to respond and for the very helpful advice. I have picked up lots of tips on how I can help DD and what I can realistically expect from her school.
I have spoken to DD's teacher and she was very honest and said she is still getting her head around the new curriculum and has approached the Year leader for support in preparing extension task for the more able children (DD's teacher is in her 2nd year of teaching). I'm pleased with this as the Year 4 lead is DD's Y3 teacher and she always inspired ans stretched DD when teaching her last year so fingers crossed.
Unfortunately, we can't afford to pay for a tutor at the moment but this will hopefully change in the future. I know DD would love to have a special dedicated hour with a tutor. I do try and give this time to her and we love reading and studying history together but being honest I'm probably not inspiring her in any useful way.
I have ordered some Y5 cgp maths and english workbooks and DD is enjoying completing these and I am hoping to find a resource website I can subscribe to which is affordable for us. If anyone can recommend any that would be great.
DD is also a verocious reader and we have a house full of books but they are probably all similar as I tend to buy sets I know she will enjoy. To vary her reading, we have now set time aside every fortnight to visit the local library and she can browse and try all different genres of books.
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