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)?

blackeyedsusan Thu 06-Dec-12 23:30:26

I think you need to find out what the teacher is doing first... have you asked her?

dd needed to learn to work independently. she also needed to work on handwriting. we kept everything else ticking along in the mean time.

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 08:59:40

This subject comes up quite a bit. To see where it has been discussed on mumsnet before you might want to try googling "mumsnet differentiating work" or words to that effect. And also have a look at some of the discussions on the gifted and talented board. But my own view on the subject is you're better off boosting her education at home.

redskyatnight Fri 07-Dec-12 10:08:18

I agree with talking to the teacher first. What areas is your daughter strong in? Is it across the board, or is it (for example) her reading in particular?

In my DC's year 1 classes there was very strong differentiation
For example in maths the lowest ability group might be working on counting and ordering numbers; a mid range group might be working on number bonds to 10; and the highest ability group would be working on adding 2 digit numbers together.

lostintoys Fri 07-Dec-12 10:58:56

When in year 1, my child worked with the top group year 2s in a mixed yr 1/2 class, but when I asked what would happen when he moved to year 2 I was told that he would have to redo the year 2 work that he had already done as he was the only one working at his level. We moved him to a different school with excellent differentiation and he is stretched appropriately.

BarbarianMum Fri 07-Dec-12 12:09:48

At our school it is generally done by in-class differentiation. So in Y1 maths a group would work say, with numbers up to 100 during addition, whilst other groups might work with numbers up to 20, or whatever, depending on ability and attainment. Literacy is much easier as they can read and write to the best of their abilities (your dd can write longer, or more complex, or better plotted stories with more challenging vocab regardless of what her peers are doing).

fleacircus Fri 07-Dec-12 12:11:26

I would talk to the teacher about what you can do to support at home. DD is a strong reader and according to her teacher the content of her writing is good - I don't really know what other children her age can do, so hadn't particularly noticed. We've also begun to realise that her maths is ahead of what is expected of her, although I don't know how much. We try to support at home without interfering with what she's doing at school - so, as her reading is good, we read a lot of non-fiction with her and then follow up any threads of interest. We also give her plenty of opportunities to write at home (she's very eager to do this) and have looked at how she can plan what she's going to write before she starts, and talked about some punctuation rules - but again, following her interest, so I noticed she'd started using apostrophes and we talked about what they show and how they're used.

It is hard trying to find the line between being supportive and being a pushy nightmare though - I'm a secondary teacher so have plenty of experience of pushy parents, I hate to admit that I'm gradually turning into one!

noisytoys Fri 07-Dec-12 12:20:11

DD is the brightest in her class by far. She is in reception and goes to year 1 for maths and year 2 for phonics and has a 1-1 TA for some bits. I have no idea what they will do next year because it is a separate infants and junior school. I don't want her doing year 2 phonics for 3 years

noseynoonoo Fri 07-Dec-12 14:05:18

Thank you everyone who replied.

blackeyedsusan I have asked the teacher - focus on neat handwriting was the response . Anything that had been suggested by previous teacher was something new teacher did agree with/believe in.

learnandsay Thanks for heads up on G&T board - didn't know there was a board.

redskyatnight DD is good at most areas such as literacy, numeracy, sports. I' say music is her only average area, though not due to a lack of trying on her part.

The children do sit on specific tables - so DD is on a table with same 5 people who are the 5 most able but I don't think this changes for different subjects.

fleacircus I did ask how we could help at home but teacher said we didn't need to do anything. To be honest, at this stage I want home to be relaxing time although she does plenty of reading and writing at home.

A friend said I should speak to the SENCO.

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 14:17:52

I have to admit, this concerns me a bit for next year (DD is in reception ATM) but is currently doing yr1 work (with one other boy who is on the same level as her) with a TA that they both share...The school seem very good at extending her and she has weekly spelling tests, extension homework (which she likes doing and it gives me an idea of how they must extend her in the class).

Currently she has a truly fab teacher who also had her in nursery (attached to the school) and extended her as much as she could then too (despite the HT having a policy of no reading books to be given to nursery children hmm).

I don't want her to repeat what she is doing next yr iyswim....

Can you find out who is the G&T coordinator at the school and speak to them?

In my DC school,it is the deputy head and he has admitted that they will have to put something in place for next yr (when she is in yr1) so I will wait and see what happens and speak to him much nearer the end of the school year.

noseynoonoo Fri 07-Dec-12 14:25:39

I didn't realise there was such a person as G&T coordinator - that's how much liaison we've had - but have phoned the school just now and reluctantly(?) they let me know who it is. The role has apparently changed recently to someone who is new and seems like a 'good egg' so I'm going to try to speak to him.

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 14:29:04

Fingers x you get somewhere!!!

I did not even know that our school had one either tbh (and DS is in yr3!!) it was only because DD's reception teacher was running late at parents eve and the deputy head came over to me and told me she is on the G&T list and I can speak to him if I have any problems...

noseynoonoo Fri 07-Dec-12 16:57:05

Progress! Form teacher not in today but spoke to teaching assistant after school. She said the G&T coordinator was someone different and has just phoned me back now to arrange a meeting just before end of term.

pecans Fri 07-Dec-12 17:21:07

I'd be interested to know what the G&T coordinator suggests. When my dd was in Y1, the G&T coordinator had no input whatsoever. But dd had the most fabulous teacher who helped her with things like using speech marks etc - she was always challenged and excited by what she was learning. We moved schools and our current school seems less differentiated and she seems way less interested. I have started focusing on handwriting and spelling (when i remember) at home because she seems to have gone downhill in those areas.

DD2 is also top of her class. She is doing some sort of special literacy work with the TA and one other child, and her teacher talked a lot about how intelligent she was and how they wanted to stretch her at parents evening, which was reassuring. dd2 certainly talks about special things she does with this other dc and a couple of dc from the other class.

I do think it is impossible to find out how your child is being stretched without sounding pushy though.

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 21:23:45

Fab news!!! Let us know how you get on....

Iamnotminterested Fri 07-Dec-12 21:48:04

simpson, getting REALLY bored of us hearing about how super fantastic your child is, ditto others who bleat on about g and t co-ordinators in R, ffs. Yes your child may be able to sound out some words buy it doesnt make them untouchable. God, how hate reception.

noisytoys Fri 07-Dec-12 21:58:15

If you don't like it, don't read it. I don't see why people have to hide that their children are gifted like its a kind of stigma or all in their parents head. My DD has the highest recorded IQ for her age in the country. I only know that because the health visitor referred her to an ed psych. I'm not ashamed about that because someone I have never met has a problem with it and Simpson shouldn't be ashamed and keep quiet about her DD

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 22:00:34

Ditto. Don't read it then, there is something you can do which is hide threads if you don't want to read it.

The OP asked what to do in her situation and I told her, end of....

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 22:02:26

However I will say that I am totally realistic, just because she is "supposedly G&T" ( according to the school - of course she is amazing to me, whatever she can do wink it does not mean she will be when she is 7, 11, 16 or whatever...

noisytoys Fri 07-Dec-12 22:06:30

I would be surprised if DD didn't grow up to be gifted. That's not to say its a guarantee that she will be, just she is one of them once in a generation children who make international news. That will probably out me but it makes me so angry when people say parents shouldn't talk about their child's achievements if they are g+t and they should be quiet about it and treat it like a burden

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 22:08:00

Noisytoys - Is your DD in reception too??

noisytoys Fri 07-Dec-12 22:12:40

Yes she's 4. I will probably get flamed for that too. She was in the local paper when she was accepted as the youngest person in Mensa only because my DF knows someone who works for the paper and they thought it would make a good story, like many local stories that aren't really a big deal. Within 24 hours it was on the news in 14 countries. I didn't realise it would become such a big story before I get flamed for selling DDs soul to the media or something I just thought it would be local paper

bamboostalks Fri 07-Dec-12 22:18:26

I am not attacking you here but why on earth would you have your dd teased for Mensa. Why bother? What possible advantage is there? Also, fwiw there are many stories of very gifted youngsters who do achieve their predicted to entail, it's actually commonplace.

bamboostalks Fri 07-Dec-12 22:19:00

To entail? Meant potential.

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 22:20:21


My DD is 4 too (but is 5 in Jan). Not got her tested though as there is no need to tbh and I don't have the £££.

She is happy so I am happy iyswim.

Although she is definately G&T at doing the most disgusting poos in the toilet and smearing it everywhere as she gets off the loo as she is so tiny <<boak>>

I have spent an hour cleaning the loo (again) this eve!!

noisytoys Fri 07-Dec-12 22:23:56

I didn't have her tested for Mensa. She was referred to an ed psych at her 2 year check by the health visitor who did an IQ test as part of her report. The ed psych recommended Mensa because they have close links with NAGC and Mensa accepted the ed psych report for membership. Membership at her age is £1 a month so nothing to lose. I wouldn't have even thought to do it otherwise nor would I have gone out of my way to do it

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 22:26:07

My dad tells an amusing tale of attending an evening course at warwick university some years ago. The adjacent lecture theatre was overflowing to the point of bursting with folks - when he asked what was going on he was told it was a lecture on 'how to deal with your gifted child'..... There was also a fascinating series on radio 4 last year following up on child prodigies, now grown up. Most of their tales were sad.

As a mum of 2, who prob would have been G&T had it existed in the 70s, please just keep it real, make sure not all the eggs are in the academic basket, encourage all the interests just are you are doing but never lose sight of the bigger picture (which is to be happy and sane in life). Many of the kids I remember doing well at primary school didn't end up doing anything unusual even by univeristy level. I also have a nunber if highly successful academic collagues who were (sometimes very) late developers.

sorry for the lecture, a busy and stressful week...

adeucalione Fri 07-Dec-12 22:37:28

OP, I would expect the teacher to be differentiating every lesson for the most able, although this may take the form of differentiation by outcome or asking her more challenging questions in the plenary (so not necessarily something you could tell from looking at her books).

In maths and science I would expect your DD to complete the basic work and move on to an extension activity that stretches or broadens the learning objective.

In literacy she will be encouraged to consolidate the skills needed to achieve the next NC sub level. At our school the children have their targets pasted into their books, so your DD may know what hers are.

All of this will almost certainly be happening as a matter of course, and if your DD is progressing and happy then you have nothing to worry about; if not, ask for specifics from the teacher.

allchildrenreading Fri 07-Dec-12 22:41:30

Underlying all this is the misery for the child who is subjected to 'dumbing down'. There are heaps of 'sideways' approaches that don't entail pressurized learning, but what is difficult for a chlld is to be constrantly understretched. The potential is so enormous in the early years and the disillusion is very real when leaden, repetitive, mechanical approaches are all that is on offer. Children who are bright sbould be given as much care as those who need 'catch-up' provision:not more, not less.

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 22:51:18

I think we need a bit of perspective here. When we're saying that our four or five year old daughters can read the Ladybird edition of Red Ridinghood we're not saying that at that point she should be considered for a chair of physics at Cambridge. What we're saying is that maybe the next book should be the Ladybird edition of The Three Little Pigs.... (And then the chair of applied mathmat) sorry.

mrz Fri 07-Dec-12 22:55:52

Mensa won't test until 10.5 years bamboostalks

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 22:58:00

like it learn and say.

I just don't get why everyone is in such a rush, surely if your DC is doing well it's just great, a lovely opportunity to get on with some lovely books at home and absolutely no stress over academics/trying to learn phonics etc rather than anything to be concerned about?

mrz Fri 07-Dec-12 23:05:33

The other perspective is a child is only in school for a few hours a week so there is an enormous opportunity to stretch children in areas that just aren't available in most schools. It is highly unlikely that a child will encounter mechanical, leaden, repetitive approaches in an EY setting but neither are they going to have access to nuclear physics 101

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:08:50

I'll be honest with you, monkey, I believe today it's all caught up in targets; everybody has to meet them. But yesterday it wasn't any different. I've a dear rural friend who tells me sad stories of academically gifted children who were taken out of school to work on the harvests and whose families (I presume fathers) objected to them being in school because that meant that an able hand was missing from the field. Aren't we all caught up in our environment? Personally I think it's all a little silly. But let children read and write if they want to read and write and I, for one, will deal with tomorrow tomorrow.

cassell Fri 07-Dec-12 23:16:02

Monkey - have you known the misery of being a bright dc who is bored rigid at school and miserable because you are constantly told by the teachers to repeat work you could do standing on your head because the rest of the class have not caught up yet and not allowed to read the books you want to (and are perfectly able to) read because they are deemed beyond your class? That's why it's important - so that bright children are encouraged and supported to achieve their best and enjoy their time at school. It's not about doing exams early or anything like that (IMO) it's much more about meeting and encouraging the thirst for knowledge instead of turning the dc off learning because they are so bored.

OP - don't worry about being seen as a 'pushy parent' sometimes you need to be for the benefit of your dd. My DM had a constant battle when I was at primary school to get the teachers to give me work that would stretch me and allow me to read the higher level books etc and I remember and value her input - my time at school was hugely improved by her 'pushiness'. I vividly remember starting school at 4 and being so disappointed that I was made to repeat things I could already do. A decent school and a decent teacher should be able to provide your dd with the work and attention she needs. Unfortunately there are teachers (like some posters on here) who believe in teaching to the mediocre and almost seem to take a delight in holding back bright children (certainly many of my teachers did). I'm in the process of choosing a primary school for my ds1 and am depressed to find that not much seems to have changed.

Good luck with meeting the g&t co ordinator, I hope s/he can step in to ensure your dd is given the greater challenge she needs.

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:26:40

Cassell, I think monkey's original point was that Warwick's lecture theatre was bulging with proud parents, just as mumsnet's gifted and talented section is bulging with proud parents. Parents have a reason to be proud, their children are keen and bright. But if every parent had equal access to preferential schooling, as you are so pleased that your mother wrestled out of a school for you, then what sort of resources would be left for every child whose mother wrestled extra resources out for her child? Rather than fighting the school, I believe a mother who thinks that she has a bright child should get her bum down to WH Smiths, buy some educational manuals and spread them out on the kitchen table.... (or get a tutor.)

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 23:34:29

Sorry if I have understimated how bad some schools could be: I just never saw anyone bright being bored at (my state primary) school, it's such a busy place even for the brightest. Especially not at such a young age.

I don't think the OP is being pushy, I just wouldn't see that 'being stretched' at school is entirely necessary in year 1, and certainly could be achieved at home if the child was interested.

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 23:36:29

learnandsay i think we sing from the same hymn sheet.....!!!

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:45:14

Well, maybe if they'll listen to us, monkey, (which I sincerely doubt that anybody will) then this year WH Smith's educational department will have a bumper year! (I raise a mince pie to you.)

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 23:48:10

Well,I don't believe that my DC school are hugely good at extending the bright children once they get into KS1 (hence my concern) but my main concern is that DD is happy (she is only in reception now) and "wants" to read or whatever she wants to do iyswim,although reading seems to be her passion ATM.

However I do think that things open massively once they get into KS2 later on...

My theory has always been that the school teach my child how to read and I teach my DC a love of reading, but DD had other ideas!!!

And yes,quite frankly I obviously don't want her reading physics 101, I just want her to be happy and progressing well in school (and don't think there is anything wrong with that).

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 23:50:05

Learnandsay -check out the £££ shop, they are cheaper and have some books which DD loves, some of them are wipe clean,to be used again....

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:52:33

A mince pie to you too, simpson, my dear. Hope all is well.

cassell Sat 08-Dec-12 00:05:15

My mother did do a huge amount of extra work with me at home as did my father, across all topics. That did not get away from the fact that i was bored and miserable for 6 hours a day. It was not extra resources I wanted at school simply to be allowed to read books from eg year 2 when I was in reception and do the work from year 2 etc. I hardly think that moving me up a year (which was one of the results she achieved) disadvantaged anyone else - in fact they probably got more of the teacher's time when I wasn't there complaining every 5 mins that I'd finished the work and wanted more wink

There are plenty of resources it appears (and all the schools I'm visiting now go on about this) for those with learning difficulties - well fine, they should be supported but why should bright children suffer as a result? Why can't the resources be provided more fairly? Bright children have as much right as those with learning difficulties to work at an appropriate level.

<demanding child turned into pushy parent>

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 00:11:39

<<cheers>> LandS!!

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 00:18:29

I see no need for labels age 4,5,6. Am with monkey and las. Breathe, enjoy, engage with your child. Job done grin

noisytoys Sat 08-Dec-12 06:46:59

I think the issue is, if a child is assessed to have an IQ in the bottom 0.1%, quite rightly I would expect some different provisions to be made so they are learning at their level without being expected to learn at the level of the rest of the class. Why them does a child with an IQ at the top 0.1% have to learn with the rest of the class? Thankfully DDs school feels the same and does differentiate work for DD

mrsshears Sat 08-Dec-12 07:11:58

Well I think it's best to start as you mean to go on and tackle the issue asap with children who are gifted/working ahead.
My own dd is 99.9th percentile and is nowhere near as far ahead as she was in nursery, still ahead and is predicted 3's in her sats but nothing like in nursery, its a long story but school are not dealing with dd well across the board not just academically and we are permanently contemplating a move.
Schools need to identifiy these children early on and provide for them to stop other issues setting in imo the earlier the better.

SantasBitch Sat 08-Dec-12 07:29:38

My daughter was the same as yours in Reception, Yr 1 and Yr 2. She entered Reception as a free reader and was light years ahead of her contemporaries. They allowed her to use the junior school library and she had "extension" literacy classes (I say classes, she was on her own). Her maths was also at a similarly advanced level, and she was given work to stretch her. On entering Year 3, her reading age was assessed to be that of a 15 year old (and apparently she had the highest reading age in the school) and she did English with the year 5/6 class. Impressive, no? Like your kids?

DD1 is now 14. While she is undoubtedly bright, and has a gift for creative writing, her contemporaries have now all caught up. She is no longer "the bright girl", she is comfortably in the middle of the top set for all of her subjects except maths (where she is in the second set). No question of her being G & T now. So children do change - while your child might not be any less bright, prepare for him or her to be overtaken and a raft of others to catch up at some point.

Oh, and I have an unread copy of "Raising a Gifted Child." PM me if you'd like it!

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 08:39:18

I can't help thinking that these stories of clever children being caught up or overtaken are entirely the fault of the parents. If a seven year old has the mathematical ability of a fifteen year old she can solve problems, understand simple geometry and if they're explained clearly and simply enough she can understand basic equations, (or depending on how creative her teacher/parent is, understand harder equations.) If she's only being given times tables to learn and primary school maths, then of course her classmates are going to catch up, doh!

So, the fact that she wasn't given work the next level up is entirely the fault of her silly mum. Nobody can expect primary schools to teach seven year olds algebra. But mum can.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 09:12:18

Cassell, your own childhood experiences are hopefully a thing of the past as the vital importance of differentiation is well understood, taught by teaching training providers and, more importantly, easy to implement. I have experience of a number of schools and have never come across a teacher that didn't care about differentiation or take pride in the achievement of the brightest pupils; copious assessment points and spreadsheets ensure it.

Unfortunately some parents do not always understand how it is done, grow restless when their child's lead begins to wane, want something that teachers know is not in their child's best interests or simply have an unclear picture of their child's abilities.

Clever children don't usually get bored; their lively minds take an idea they already know all about and take it to the next level, they write amazing stories, they wonder what will happen if they move the decimal point, they want to know what space is made from. You see these children launch into secondary school and know that they will do amazingly well.

Meanwhile the clever children with the wrong attitude - arrogance, self esteem reliant on achievement, disdain for less able peers, inability to work in a group, easily bored, no interest in subjects they or their parents consider unimportant, no respect for school staff etc go on to flounder. In Y1 I would urge parents to concentrate on all of these attitudes and the rest will come.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 09:19:50

We're all flinging generalisations around as if they were going out of fashion but, adeu, please could you give an example of an arrogant pupil with high self esteem who floundered simply because of it?

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 09:21:38

I also wonder how a child can use their imagination to come up with their own extension work in a phonics lesson when they have known the phonics for 2 years??

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 09:21:54

If arrogance and high self esteem were barriers to learning then presumably private schools would all be closed.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 09:30:28

There is research (a series of studies first carried out by Carol Dweck in the 1980s) which suggests bright girls in particular are more likely to "flounder" when they meet something new or what they perceive as difficult ...
"She found that bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up - and the higher the girls' IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel."

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 09:32:54

simpson I would ask if the child knew all 180ish ways to spell the 44 phonemes and if not could they find other ways the sounds they know can be written.

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 09:46:05

I am not saying DD knows all the phonics (far from it) just that she would already know what they were doing in yr1 iyswim....

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 10:17:42

Well in Y1 they should be teaching the 180ish ways the 44 sounds found in English can be written ... and looking at heteronyms and homgraphs

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 10:21:49

Sorry, mrz you have lost me, I don't know what any of that means blush

<<rushes off to google>>

I know as I had DD at home yesterday (off sick, she drove me up the wall!!) and she told me about OW as in know, show, grow etc which I think is a new thing she has done at school (might be wrong though!!)

cazzybabs Sat 08-Dec-12 10:24:45

(and be able to use them in context - which is the b8it most of my children (in my class) struggle with).
TBH there are so many ways to stretch children - I do lots of problem solving with my able group, lots of reading and discussion., Writing different genre - different focus on punctuation depending upon ability. Really ensuring they understand things by getting them to explain things to a peer etc etc

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 10:44:49

mrz, I'm looking at Licht & Dweck 1984 now. I did say many posts up that it depends on how algebra and geometry is introduced to seven year olds. Of course if mum asks her daughter to solve the equation of the rate of the expanding universe it's going to tun out badly! I don't think Licht & Dweck need a research grant from a top US institution to figure that. But if it's done sensibly I can't see the problem. (I'll read on and let you know how I get on.)

educator123 Sat 08-Dec-12 10:52:22

Learnandsay - what if the parent doesn't have the ability to teach/stretch the child?

I know from a parental point of view I often worry about confusing my children by using systems I was taught instead of the systems used now.
I do not view myself as unintelligent but I would still need guidance to 'teach' my child.

Also it was mentioned about children not being a school much. I tend to disagree as my two eldest children (still in primary) are coming in from school at around four and more that ready for bed by 7p.m. factor in dinner, baths, downtime etc between those two times and there isn't much time leftover for additional teaching.

To be quite honest I don't think is should be necessary either. I would be ideal for each child to be working at their personal level during school hours and have time to just be outside of the school day.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 11:40:32

I dont get all this angst on this thread. DD could read fluently within a term of starting school. I mean very long words like "architecture" She did used to chat a bit because she was finished a lot earlier than others, but I wouldnt spend hours reading with her at night, just let her get on with reading what she wanted to do. She did it by herself not being pushed by us.

But teachers would find her a little exasperating with the chat but they also appreciated that she gave a lot to the class, she was the one they used to bounce off of to liven up the class and start a debate. When the teacher had a sore throat she used DD to read to the class because she would do all the voices of the characters .

All this with no extra work for us and no stretching from school

She was in a g&t for maths and had some sideways extension later in year 5&6 but G&t was fairly new then.

I can't help thinking that these stories of clever children being caught up or overtaken are entirely the fault of the parents

If they are only ahead because of parental pushing then I would say they are not as clever as the parent thinks they are. Also as children get older different skills come into play ie ability to analyse situations and not just regurgitate what they have read etc.

My DS was one of those that caught up and over took. He does have dyslexic problems so didnt click with reading until he was 7 when he did pass a lot of children who were reading well in reception. I used to help out with reading so I knew which ones were reading well as I was usually given those to hear.
But intelligence wise he is up there with the best in his secondary school.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 11:55:53

I did ask how we could help at home but teacher said we didn't need to do anything. To be honest, at this stage I want home to be relaxing time although she does plenty of reading and writing at home.

Thats exactly as it should begrin

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 11:57:36

I think we need to explain what we mean by pushing and what we mean by catching up and overtaking. Upthread we were discussing a seven year old who was supposed to have the mathematical ability of a fifteen year old. Now I don't know how the child got to that level.

Let's suppose that (a) the child isn't very bright and had just been given endless maths workbooks since she was a toddler. Now let's suppose that the parents aren't very bright either and once maths capability became necessary they couldn't stretch or push their well-primed daughter any more because they didn't understand the maths themselves. Then they will need to get a tutor who can carry on where they left off. Then the child won't get caught.

(b) The child is just good at maths. Get down to WH Smiths education section and buy her maths materials. The other children are only going to catch her up if they can do both their school work and her extension work both at the same time. There may be some brighter children in the class, (and why not?) and they might be even more able than our hypothetical girl. But the typical pupils won't be more able (ever) if our girl proceeds at an even rate indefinitely.

onesandwichshort Sat 08-Dec-12 12:01:25

mrz - the Dweck stuff is interesting because to my mind it is the single best argument for serious differentiation within the classroom that I can think of.

If a child is - say - starting reception as a fluent reader and has a reasonable aptitude for maths, then they will spend the first couple of years of school not really being challenged, unless they are very lucky. They get used to the idea of school work as 'easy' - and because of the reading, their knowledge of other subjects is most likely ahead anyway. Then, a few years down the line, when they've got used to coasting, they are so shocked by having to work and try that they do throw in the towel. So the higher the IQ, the more likely they are to throw in the towel makes complete sense. It's certainly what happened to me; I coasted through school and was utterly shocked by university. but fortunately did an MA and learned how to work (a bit).

"Clever children don't usually get bored." So does that mean that a bored child is not clever? I just don't buy that. I was deeply, deeply bored in school. Sometimes I read in class, sometimes I was disruptive. But boy was I bored.

SantasBitch Sat 08-Dec-12 12:15:21

Learnandsay - you don't seem to believe that children develop at different rates! It's perfectly feasible that children (particularly boys) who seem not to be the sharpest tool in the box in the first few years of school can absolutely steam ahead in secondary. I'll give you the example of a friend's daughter. She was in the remedial classes for maths and English until she was nine. Her parents were told she wasn't academic and she should look at a career in childcare or hairdressing. She went to secondary school and absolutely took off - got a string of GCSEs and five As at A level - maths, further maths, physics, French and Biology. She's now at a RG university reading maths.

DD1 was definitely stretched (at home and school). But it turned out that she's not a maths whizz at all - she just coped with more at an earlier age because she developed sooner than others in the class. Her English - especially creative writing, is really outstanding (and it's not just me that says this - her teachers do, and she has won short story competitions) still and way above her years in terms of phraseology and vocab.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 12:17:38

I still dont see why they need to spend time out of school to stay ahead. If I had spent the time they might have been miles ahead, but I wanted them to have a life. FWIW my dd did used to ask for workbooks and take them to bed to do before sleep [strange child emoticon] and at 8 or 9 my DS was asking questions in science that the teacher was having to go away and ask her degree level DH. They are both known for their love of learning and knowledge, but I think spending hours trying to push them would have been counter productive. It makes very little difference to them whether they are top of the class or 2nd from top.
When DS started secondary school he came home and said he had joined the electronics club. Turned out this club was a 6th form only club, but obviously his interest and maturity showed that he would be fine in it.

Very bright children dont need that much pushing at all they do it themselves and tend to open doors themselves as well. The just need a little guidance in the right direction once in a while.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 12:19:51

I'm not sure about Licht and Dweck 1984. They're giving pupils work with passages or problems inserted at the beginning which have deliberately been constructed in order to confound them. Well, exams have passages and problems in them which are designed to confound pupils, aren't they? So, according to Carol Dweck's methodology all intelligent pupils should do badly at exams. Why doesn't this happen? Because pupils can prepare for exams. I'm sorry. But I think what Dweck is doing is plain silly.

Sorry, folks, wrong thread back there.

SantasBitch Sat 08-Dec-12 12:21:31

Equally, you can coach children, by force feeding them work books and extra work to be above the level of their peers (a friend of mine admits she coached her daughter "up the wazoo" to get into a top public school), but if the natural ability isn't there, in secondary, you can only get so far with this method. You can coach to regurgitate facts but not think for themselves. My friend's DD does not seem happy - nor does she have much spare time, and she is really struggling at her academic school, particularly when she is told by her mother that a B in Mandarin and maths is "not good enough."

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 12:50:56

Poor child, I think as others have said that when they get home they play or do whatever they want.

Both my DC say they miss each other when they are at school so just like to hang out.

Also the evening goes very quick once tea, bath etc is done.

Reminds me of a programme I saw on tv about families trying to get their DC into grammar school and one poor child was doing 6 hours a day on a saturday and another 6 on a Sunday as well as about 4 hours each week day shock

Surely what will happen is that as that child grows up and has some say over what he does himself, he will refuse to work and enjoy the freedom of not having to do anything....

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 12:59:35

Well, yes. I suppose one could strap children into those frames the French use to hold geese in and force feed them maths worksheets to make the academic equivalent of Foie Gras. But I'm presuming most parents wouldn't want to do this. (I'm assuming your friend, Santa, was a bit potty and had an educational chip on her shoulder.)

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:36:26

onesandwichshort the Dweck study has been repeated by other researchers with the same results and I'm sure most experienced teachers will be able to identify pupils they have taught who behaved this way.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 13:37:45

learnandsay - I could give you more examples than you can shake a stick at but it generally boils down to the fact that where self esteem is tied to achievement, they fall to pieces the first time they are presented with something that they can't do, find difficult or are simply not the best in the class at.

simpson - not a lot of self extension possible in a phonics lesson, I agree. The teacher will be extending the most able of course, through questioning and discussion.

There is a big difference between a clever child and a child that knows stuff because they've been talked to, and read to, and taken to interesting places - parents often get upset when their child begins to lose their lead, when cleverer children start gaining confidence and catching up.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:46:56

I have an example from yesterday ... an able child in my school sobbed because her best friend was the first person in the class to score 17/17 in our weekly "Beat That" (all the other children cheered and clapped but she couldn't bring herself to be happy for her friend). At the end of the lesson she came to me and whispered that she thought her friend must have cheated ... lots of pressure for a 6 year old who thinks she must always be the best.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 13:48:24

I think most children are clever. I also think that the more a child has been taught and shown the more it will be able to do. I'm not sure what you mean by catching up, adeu, (it's a relative term, and has no definitions in this thread) but it all depends on the relative rates of progression. I'd imagine that a child who hadn't been shown or taught much of anything who caught up with a clever, interested and motivated child who had been shown lots (say educated in applied maths by a maths lecturing father) wouldn't be clever, that catching up child would be truly exceptional. The terms catch up and overtake are meaningless unless defined.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:48:59

simpson - not a lot of self extension possible in a phonics lesson, I agree. The teacher will be extending the most able of course, through questioning and discussion. and the difficulty of words to be blended and segmented's very easy to differentiate in phonics which is why I don't understand setting.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 13:50:55

Have you any idea why the child thinks she always has to be the best, mrz? If the parents are pressurising their child to achieve something that neither they nor their child have any control over then they're silly.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:57:20

By catching up learnandsay I would suggest the example of a child in my class last year who started the year reading red book band with difficulty and left reading Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Cressida Cowell and Enid Blyton ...

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:59:18

She always has been the best ...she was best in nursery and best in reception and everyone in the class expects her to be the best the pressure is from her not her parents or the school.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:05:53

Being competitive isn't necessarily bad. But everybody, not only children, have to learn how to be gracious in defeat. That's a great lesson in life. It doesn't mean that one is not going to move heaven and earth in order to win next time though.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 14:21:08

There is a big difference between a clever child and a child that knows stuff because they've been talked to, and read to, and taken to interesting places - parents often get upset when their child begins to lose their lead, when cleverer children start gaining confidence and catching up.

That's what I was trying to say above. Those type of skills do not really start to appear in school until later. They may not be in lead when it comes to the basic. But those children will go on to be able analyse why a war started, not just tell you the dates it started and who it was between.
My ds probably wouldn't remember the dates, but his history teacher says he is the one child he can guarantee to be able to work out the reasons for it.
Bigger pictures skills are not really recognised until secondary, it's these children that take off and pass the ones that got reading and writing early.

hettie Sat 08-Dec-12 14:24:04

Hilarious that 'very bright' children don't need pushing and will find interesting things to do that challenge them because they are intrinsically motivated....
I was bored brainless at school, until university (post grad) nothing much was a challenge.... but I didn't achieve outstanding academic results because I never put any effort into anything. I got turned off from learning at quite an early age (bored) and only really found my way into it by doing a Master and Phd (much later on in life).....I might also add that I was a pain in the arse at school and went AWOL in my 20's for a bit....The conscientiousness part of my personality is pretty non-existent, so it's hard to buckle down and actually do stuff despite being very bright.... the two are not related. I would say it's very important to stop a kid getting bored in class, but social and emotional skills and learning how to apply yourself are just as important.
My last thought on this is there is an assumption that 'bright' people are destined for great things? I think parents of 'bright' kids need to be very careful to manage their expectations because great things for that child might turn out to be something that interests them, not necessarily something that comes with social or financial kudos......

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:30:50

Sorry, bruffin, you're starting to lose me completely here. Wars and their causes are notoriously difficult things to analyse and the noted historian AJP Taylor once put forward a theory that the causes of WW I came down ultimately to railway time tables! I'm not sure how most of our children would get on with analysing the Roman punic wars against Carthage for example, or the reasons for Napoleon's campaigns in Spain. Historians are still arguing about all of those things. It seems to me from a child's perspective what's possible is to pay attention and return her teacher's analysis of the war. But as far as I can tell a child has no ability to realistically analyse any war and not many adults have that ability either.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 14:38:33

I think there is a big difference in working out a reason and analysing learnandsay. So Bruffins son could work out that Rome and Carthage had a long standing mistrust and hatred but left each other alone until Rome decided Carthage needed to join the empire ...Carthage disagree and the rest as they say is history ...

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:45:16

That's interesting, mrz. When you say "work out" are we suggesting that the teacher tells the child nothing at all and just says: What was the reason for Napoleon mounting an extensive campaign in Spain? He then points the children to google or Encyclopaedia Brittanica and closes the library door?

I'll wait a few years and try that with my daughter. I can't begin to imagine what the resulting answer might be.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 14:45:39

hettie - of course it's important to challenge and interest clever children, but most won't dissolve if they are faced with 20mins of dull stuff to do (and I would hope that your own experiences of long boring days are in the past).

Indeed, coping with dull stuff can be a skill in itself. When my DC complain of being bored at school I ask them what the lesson was about and tell them about six different ways that they could've made that lesson interesting. I think it makes them resourceful, self motivated and conscientious - all skills that contribute to academic success later on.

learnandsay - I think that bruffin was just trying to say that anyone can parrot a date but a clever child can analyse information, make connections, empathise.

onesandwichshort Sat 08-Dec-12 14:46:59

mrz - I was agreeing with you. But, as I say, if Dweck is right, it's a big argument for stretching bright children and giving them space to learn to try, and to fail, early on, rather than it being a big shock later on.

The whole Dweck mindset is really important also for children like the girl you mentioned further up. DD has a tendency to perfectionism (and therefore not trying things she is not good at) so we have tried very hard to praise effort, not results.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 14:47:56

I'm just trying to say why children appear to take off at different stages. Some are good are remembering the facts and tend to look good in the early parts of education, but the bright ones that will be historians may appear to be late bloomers because analytical skills are not really appreciated until later.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 14:49:33

yes onesandwichshort I realised you were agreeing I was just adding more info sorry if it came out wrong

onesandwichshort Sat 08-Dec-12 14:50:03

adeucalione - I think those kinds of self extension skills come later on in school.

Currently DD is in year one. Her questions about time at the moment are about when clocks were invented, and what we would call the century when the-big-bang-which-didn't-make-any-noise happened. In school, they are learning the days of the week. Making that a challenge is a struggle, especially when large chunks of the day are like that.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 15:00:28

sandwich, if my daughter was asking questions like that I'd start a project with her to work out why there are seven days in a week and not six or eight. That's a subject she could eventually write a PhD thesis on. We'd talk a bit about what a century is and maybe about how time is measured, with sand, sundials, water clocks and so on. An advanced child could study the same subject as her classmates but just look at other details.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 16:32:38

I agree that a project sounds like a great idea for your daughter sandwich, she sounds lovely.

How long are they spending learning the days of the week? Surely no more than a minute a day? I would be very surprised if they were spending a lengthy amount of time on it.

Learnandsay - when I refer to 'catching up' I suppose I am really comparing children of similar intelligence (NFER scores etc); those with high levels of parental input excel initially but at some point they are faced with work that needs analytical rather than memory skills, and then the field begins to even out.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, I am just saying things that I can't say to parents in RL. I think that both viewpoints are entrenched and nobody is going to have a lightbulb moment and stop what they're doing because of what some anonymous person on MN says. But my DC are all at secondary school now and I really really do wish that I hadn't worried about all of this nonsense in the early years, although I probably wouldn't have listened if someone had tried to tell me either.

socharlotte Sat 08-Dec-12 19:19:06

Her teacher tells me that she is the most able in the class by some distance.

isn't that breaching confidentiality on the other pupils attainment ie you know know each and every pupil is less able by some distance.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 19:23:32

and pretty meaningless

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 08-Dec-12 22:39:15

Maybe it's not all that helpful to define the terms 'catch up' and 'overtake', because learning is a lifelong, holistic experience - a marathon rather than a sprint.

Joyn Sat 08-Dec-12 22:54:03

Having read this thread with interest, I'm left wondering why onesandwich is supposed to start a project with her dd, because she is bored in school & 'learning' things she has known for a couple of years. What if onesandwich is a loneparent, holds down a full time job, or has 3 other children to look after?

All parents want the best for their children, but we don't all have the time to take over from school & keep learning interesting. We all accept that education can't be tailored to suit every individual child, but the further a child is away from the standard expected level the less there is for them. If your kid is smart they'll do great in the top group, anymore than that it's a lot harder to get what they need.

Resources need to be focused on helping kids who are behind to catch up, but we are doing a great dis-service to able children, if they aren't offered any sort of extension. My biggest fear for my own children has always been that they will lose their desire to learn & their thirst for knowledge, because they spend so much time being taught things they already know or going over things again & again that they understood the first time.

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 22:56:47

I wondered how onesandwich seems to know exactly what goes on in the Y1 class for the whole school day. I'm pretty sure they are not "just" learning the days of the week etc, or not in my DS's class. He is far from bored.

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 23:00:28

Joyn -if it was possible to "like" a post,I would!!

I am a LP and once I have done the usual evening stuff, asked about their day, fed them,bathed them etc....the last thing I would want to do is a project on something (especially as I feel my child should be extended in school - if needed, although I am more than happy to support the school in any way I can...)

adeucalione Sun 09-Dec-12 04:23:26

I don't think anyone has said that sandwich is supposed to start a project with her child have they? Someone suggested it as a way of encouraging an interest at home, that's all. If a clever child is very interested in a topic then giving them access to books or the Internet and suggesting some independent research doesn't take very much time. And it's a bit rich to say that your child is bored at school but then leave them bored at home because you haven't got time to answer their questions either.

Children are always complaining of being bored. Don't yours ever say it at home, even when surrounded by books and toys? When I hear children saying this at school it is usually either a face-saving explanation for struggling with something, because they lack the social skills to fully engage with an activity, because they think they know all about a topic but go on to prove that they don't actually (spiralling curriculum) or because they know it's an ace way to push mum's buttons. Occasionally a child may genuinely know what you're teaching, which is when differentiation comes in to play.

Children will come home saying 'I'm bored' because they spent 5mins recapping something they already knew, a bit like when they say 'no one played with me today' because they were on their own or 2mins at lunchtime. Whenever a parent tells me that their child has been bored I am usually able to demonstrate quite conclusively that they weren't. That's not to say that there must be the odd dire teacher, getting away with terrible teaching in terrible schools, but I am just cautioning against jumping to conclusions.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 07:55:58

School doesn't have a responsibility for teaching our children what century the big bang was in, why the sky is blue, why grass is green, why the sun is hot and Greenland is cold and why mice live in our cellar but gerbils don't, or any of the four million five hundred and twenty six other good questions that children ask. Half the time we have no idea what the proper answers to these questions are and as parents we can either say, I don't know, dear, ask your father. Or we can say because that's the way life is, deal with it. Or we can open Encyclopaedia Britannica and google and get busy finding out. There's one type of response that I favour greatly.

onesandwichshort Sun 09-Dec-12 10:03:19

Ah, you see I'd read the project suggestions as what a good school would be doing with DD in parallel, and thought what a lovely idea.

But many other people have said up-thread, by the time we've got home (and had ballet and swimming lessons two evenings, a play date for one more), there isn't a whole heap of time left, and frankly I'd rather she was playing. I'd love to flexi-school her a day a week and do this sort of thing, but it ain't going to happen.

Adeucalione and Tgger - DD doesn't actually say she is bored; my question - which is going back to the Carol Dweck thing and making sure that she learns about trying and failing - is whether she is being challenged at all by her lessons. With the exception of maths, I don't think she is. That's the problem. And the longer it goes on, the more she will learn to coast and not try, and the more worried I am about this.

And I do know what's going on because DH and I have regular meetings with her teachers - at the school's suggestion. They know that there is a problem too, and to be fair they are trying quite hard to help, but time and resources are limited.

Joyn Sun 09-Dec-12 12:29:08

Yes one sandwich didn't actually say dd was bored - I was extrapolating - sorry if it looked like I was putting words in dds mouth.

My own dcs tell me they are bored (in particular lessons,) rather than with school. But it's particularly hard to learn in ks1 if a child can already read & is strong in maths. My dcs like the project/topic work they do in school & this is what I tend to 'run' with. When ds was doing the Egyptians I took him to the British museum to see the mummies & the Rosetta Stone & we looked at a book on hieroglyphs together but that's different to having to take on responsibility for ensuring a child actually learns to try & fail. I don't want to be the one doing that because the more I push him on in maths the further he's going to get ahead & the less he's actually learning in school.

blackcoffee Sun 09-Dec-12 12:41:03

mrz I totally agree that it is important to develop resilience as a bright learner - I was the child you describe at school, put immense pressure on myself - was 'stretched' by being moved up year groups, went to secondary age 10 - it all went sadly wrong in my teens. In retrospect I would have benefitted from developing social skills alongside my peers and to have learned that it is OK to try and fail, you just try again.

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 13:24:53

State schoold have an extremely hard time providing for the needs of the bottom 0.1% of children - I imagine this would would be equally difficult for the top 0.1% too. To a large extent, any particular school is going to be better at addressing the needs of the normal spread of abililties. The one extremely bright child that comes along every 4 or 5 years is clearly not part of the normal spread so how much is it really the responsibility of that school to adapt new learning resources and strategies for that one child?

I ask that as I remember in my teacher training year (secondary) there was one such pupil. The teachers had their hands up in the air. No one had a clue what to do. It was suggested that the parents put her into the 13+ to get her into the local grammar school because the good teaching, mixed-ability school she was in just could not cope adequately. The same school had a girl with Down's syndrome - they struggled equally with her in classes.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 13:51:39

Sorry but I disagree it's relatively easy to provide for bright/extremely able children.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 14:53:17

Doesn't that presuppose that the relevant teachers are willing to try?

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 14:53:23

Oh, explain? When you're teaching Y7 astronomy (planets, bit about gravity and the like) and the girl is working at A-level understanding of fusion (according to her physics teacher). How do you adequately provide for her needs? And I mean, in the context of a working school where you haven't infinite time to develop individual resources? I suppose you'll pull the old 'project' out of the bag. Project work is actually quite difficult to organise and pupils can get project 'fatigue' if over-used (this happened when I taught for a term in one of the grammar schools). If you leave pupils to do their own thing, success is dependant largely of the interests of the child in question. IMO they really need sufficiently stimulating material rather than just t'internet/couple of text books. Children (and adults) thrive on a variety of stimuli, particularly that of an enthusiastic person teaching them.

Bright kids are fine to diff for, I agree. But the one that comes along way off the scale....this type of pupil is not 'easy' to provide for. And I'm beginning to think, why should state schools be obliged to develop them to their absolute full potential?

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 14:54:04

^^ to mrsz

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 15:26:04

LeBFG, could the girl not simply join the A level classes for physics? How far ahead is she in other subjects?

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 15:28:11

Well since we are on the primary forum I wouldn't be teaching a Y7 girl ...but it's quite easy to set work at an appropriate level by working with teacher's from further up the school or colleagues in our local secondary to provide resources and there is always my Amazon account

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 15:35:54

Unless such a child has been coached (say by a physics lecturer father) in which case these conversations are irrelevant, it's very unusual for an eleven or twelve year old girl to understand A level physics without the relevant tuition. Such a girl I can only presume (if she hasn't been tutored has taught herself.) If she's teaching herself at that level then I see no reason for LeBFG's aversion to project work, since the girl is in effect setting her own project work anyway. All that's actually required is an appropriate teacher to offer guidance and possibly material. (The Open University might well be interested in such a pupil.)

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 15:48:15

Nah, the girl was supremely intelligent - far ahead in maths too. She was having an open-ended question conversation with the physics teacher who happened to be covering her general science class so devoted 10 mins to her alone. I only mentioned it as seconday is my specialism. But yes, the alternative to project work is do year above etc. I don't find this very satisfactory. What happens when they get to the year ahead and have already done all the work? What happens when you've taught up to A-level at 14yo? Is this 'easy' to provide for - not if it's outside your age group to teach - you still have to know a subject to teach it!

Kids thrive on interaction with people not books. Books can be a real disappointing cop-out. I believe this is particularly so with younger ages. Enthusiasm is often passed on. I always had a natural passion and interest in nature and animals - I would have needed an enthusiastic teacher to get me doing project work on the Egyptians for example, but I know lots of kids do this topic and get really excited about it....because of their teachers.

iamapushymum Sun 09-Dec-12 15:48:36

I think her teacher is being quite charitable.there isn't much about nuclear fusion in A level physics to understand!
and that's one topic in one subject! .Why not print off an A2 physics paper for her and see how she gets on.

Tgger Sun 09-Dec-12 15:51:25

I still find the whole mind set odd. Or perhaps I have underestimated your DD. Can she already write at a Y3 or Y4 level with excellent spelling and punctuation? Perhaps she can. I would say DS is more at a Y2 level, but this is only a guess from what I've seen, and there is plenty of room for improvement, and he is improving grin. I do not have regular meetings with his teacher smile. Parents evening was enough just to know he's working "above average". And I'm with mrz, it's easy to challenge a bright child, a tweak here, a tweak there, "now can you do this, and how about that?".

Perhaps if DS was a lot further ahead with writing skills as fluent as his reading I might have more concerns about being challenged, but even then there are thinking skills and social skills are there not that are developing all the time in Y1/Y2 and he is given interesting things to do in class (from what I have seen) that can be extended quite easily if needed. Hmmmmm

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 15:54:59

I didn't say do the year aboves work. I said work with staff and colleagues to set appropriate work and supply resources

Kids thrive on interaction with people not books is that ALL kids LeBFG?

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 16:00:43

LeBFG, I'm not sure where your argument is going. If ultimately you're trying to suggest that the school hires specialist tutors for this one girl, I'm sure no head is going to go for it. So, to some extent the answer is going to have to come from books and the Internet. You haven't explained where the girl is getting this knowledge from. If she has a teacher in the school with whom she is already having open-ended physics conversations then why can he not discuss her projects? For super-bright children the answer is inevitably a combination of people and books. Aren't we all just arguing about the level of the mixture?

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 16:01:04

Can't you see this was an example of her ability? Her class teacher knew she was way off the scale. The fact was she could have started A level and would have coped pretty well. Does this mean this would be an appropriate thing to do? In fact, she appeared to enjoy the school a lot - it specialised in music and she was a gifted musician too smile. I don't know if she transferred to the grammar school unfortunately, but illustrates the notion that learning in school isn't all about what you do in your text book.

I agree too that a bright kid in the normal spread of things should be easy to integrate into lessons. It would be a crap teacher/school that didn't do that.

Tgger Sun 09-Dec-12 16:03:22

My DH read A level physics books to himself when he was 8 smile. He'd saved his pocket money to buy them...

Tgger Sun 09-Dec-12 16:05:49

Just asked him what he did in the lesson, and he said he sat at the front so he could chat to the (science) teacher about more interesting things and he was lucky he had teachers who would do that. That was at Secondary school.

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 16:07:39

Would you prefer that I say most kids for every statement? If I wanted to say 'all' kids I would done so. Books are used so much as replacement teachers, particularly when the level is over the teacher's head. I find this lamentable.

learnandsay: I'm merely asking what are schools to do for the exceptionally bright? Is it really their responsibility that they reach their full potential? If I was concerned about these sorts of things, I would be looking for a specialist school. As I'm not the sort of person to worry about these things, then I would have faith in the intellectual interest of my off-spring to find things to do at weekends which I would support wholeheartedly.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 16:08:42

I prefer "some"

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 16:09:40

Not really, no. You gave a specific example of an eleven or twelve year old girl who could understand nuclear fusion at A level standard. And you asked what was to be done with such a child. You did not say: What's to be done with super-bright children in general?

So, I spent much time giving you examples of what sort of things I would consider doing with a child who (for no explicable reason) seemed to be gifted at physics at the age of eleven. That's what you asked for.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 16:10:40

LeBFG not all exceptionally bright children have parents who are able or inclined to look for specialists schools

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 16:21:58

mrsz - do they instead use their energy to badger schools? Actually (without wanting to get into something I can't back up) I do believe that all kids thrive more from human contact than books (and I'm unbelievably bookish) - the ones that don't (i.e. prefer books to human contact) neccessarily have something wrong with them (i.e. they aren't functioning like the rest of society).

learnandsay: I used an example to illustrate the problem and to differentiate what I see as an off-the-scale sort of kid from just the bright set. I refer to my Sun 09-Dec-12 13:24:53 post. mrsz said this sort of pupil would be easy to plan for. There is very little learning and a lot of understanding in physics - she didn't (I'm sure) have an extensive, unexplained knowledge base.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 16:26:21

mrsz - do they instead use their energy to badger schools? I'm sure some will and I'm sure others will try to support at home and others may do nothing at all....
so many generalisations and assumptions hmm

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 16:33:02

leanandsay, to adress you other points, you suggest providing work ahead of her year (A-level) which I've answered - this brings it's own set of problems. You say she could have continued conversations with the physics teacher - she only met him during a cover lesson. Even in this case, the teacher devoted 10 minutes or so to her uniquely as rest of class was engaged in book work. This is clearly not usual in most classes and suggesting teachers devote such time to an individual seems unfair to me.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 16:37:39

You may indeed have wanted to illustrate that. But in the end I'm not sure that that is really what you wanted because the main thrust of your argument seems to be: Don't give the super bright girl (or other super bright children) project work and books give them access to qualified teachers at the level the child aspires to.

Well fine. If such teachers exist, like they seemed to in your example, there didn't seem to be much of a problem there.

But where such teachers don't exist what's to be done then? Your answer seems to be send them to a specialist school? How is this specialist education to be funded? What if the specialist school is nowhere near the pupils home? What if the pupil is gifted in more than one area? Is a specialist school even appropriate or necessary? And what's wrong with books anyway, for heaven's sake!!!

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 16:41:25

You're right. If the girl is discussing nuclear fusion with the teacher in her Y7 general science class on a regular basis of course it's unfair. But it's not difficult to transfer the child to an A level group. (She doesn't have to actually sit the A level at that point.)

LeBFG Sun 09-Dec-12 17:35:15

I can see your confusion learnandsay - in part because of the cross posting I should think and in part because I'm going off on a few points. I'm suggesting that there is very little teachers can do for very bright children other than providing the usual range for the more able. There will be times where obvious extention/breadth work can be given - workshops even during term time.

People are complaining their super-bright kids are being failed by state schools. It's this I'm variously trying to address. I'm dispute the idea that advancement is neccessarily a good idea and I'm challenging whether it really is the role of schools to develop the full potential of all their pupils. For parents where this is a problem, I feel they should sort out the issue to their liking - private school/tuition...but my natural bent is to encourage them to not think of it as a problem and simply provide enrichment opportunities outside school. What do you think of that? smile.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 18:20:56

On the whole I'm inclined to agree with you on some points but not others. Personally I do believe (as I think I've stated in this thread somewhere,) that if a child is working above expectations for her age then it's her parents who should take responsibility for stretching her (in whatever fashion they can or would like to.) If the school can and will do it for them that's ideal. But in reality life is rarely ideal.

As far as can teachers stretch pupils? (In theory?) In theory of course they can! They can provide materials. They can collaborate with colleagues to mark and supervise the child's work. They can contact institutions on the child's behalf. In theory there is lots that a teacher can do if she wants to. It's not as though education was only invented yesterday. Does anyone expect the average teacher to actually go to any of these lengths? Probably not. But I'd expect the parent of any genuinely super-bright child to try their best to do some of these things. And if the child is really that bright she has probably worked these things out for herself and much more besides.

onesandwichshort Sun 09-Dec-12 19:11:05

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 19:22:33

onesandwichshort is that reading and spelling ages 4-5 years above her chronological age or working year groups ahead?

TwoHats Sun 09-Dec-12 21:14:10

My parents had very high hopes for me when my IQ was tested as top 1%, I coasted through school and got very good GCSEs without doing any work or putting in any effort. I then narrowly avoided being kicked out of college, my attendance was low enough to warrant it but, while my other pub going friends were actually expelled, I was given a strong warning but told my mock exam results were too high for them to consider actually getting rid of me. Seventeen year old me took this as authorisation to spend even more time at the pub, with my friends who, very handily for me, didn't have to worry about lectures anymore. I ended up dropping out and going to work in a supermarket. I did not have any self motivation or ability to work at learning the things which didn't come easily. Fortunately several years of utterly dead end work gave me some motivation and I managed to achieve something a bit better, I've certainly never fulfilled my early potential though. Being bright isn't enough on it's own to guarantee success, self-motivation and hard work will get most people further in the long run.

DS1 started reception able to read fluently, not sounding out, with good expression and comprehension, we haven't coached him, this is something he's pretty much picked up on his own. Which is great, but his teacher has already noticed he is less willing to try the things he isn't so good at, like handwriting. I don't think being able to write this early in reception matters that much, but being willing to try and keep trying, when it isn't going well, is important. I don't have any real answers but I don't want DS1 to follow the same path I have done. For now, it seems more important to play and enjoy life like a 4 yo should, I don't want to spend our time doing workbooks and making life miserable, but I do want him to learn that effort and hard work are important.

monkey42 Sun 09-Dec-12 23:23:26

i've been off this thread for 24 hours.

As i have said before though, other then dropping our a la twohats (which is quite extreme) there are not that many disadvanatges to being ahead, so long as the school are not actively bitchy. My own experience of being 'ahead' - first moved up a class, then skipped a whole year, then became the scholarship girl, then oxbridge etc , was only once of being got at by a teacher. Everyone else was helpful, but I didn't get bored or feel the need to be stretched, by school or anyone else. Generally at home I spent many an hour larking about with my best buddies ( who remain so to this day), taking full advantage of the fact i had finished homewoek in class etc, rather than reading extra quantum physics.

But the issues for me were never of reaching academic potential, i am still doing that now aged 42, hence not really understanding why everyone wants their 5 and 6 year olds to be in mensa or years ahead in reading, but of balancing that strange brain with developing in all the other ways , as alluded to by important to stamp out neuroses, encourage knuckling down to things that don't come so easy, and to make friends not enemies despite the academic success......there is way more to life

LeBFG Mon 10-Dec-12 07:03:03

onesandwich - I was about to compose a reply, but I think monkey had said all I want to say really. Think about what she's just written, esp the last paragraph.

Your worries seem to stem from your own experiences that you don't want your DD to repeat....but I've witnessed people who've experienced simililar to you and were bright/not-so-bright/stretched/not-stretched. It's down to personality. And your DD is unique. She isn't you or your DH. You don't know how she will turn out. Hope that didn't sound patronising - not intended to smile.

onesandwichshort Mon 10-Dec-12 08:07:15

Sigh. There's a teacher at school who think that because DD reads well and early that she must therefore have no friends and no fun and do nothing but be locked in a dark room being force fed knowledge. It's not like that - but the other aspects of her life are, generally, fine so I don't need to discuss them on here.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 08:20:34

To a certain extent home-educating school children is a self-fulfilling prophesy. That's why certain people make a point of stating on mumsnet that they don't do it. Because they don't want to shift their children (though probably able) too far ahead of their cohort. Because by so doing they will create a rod for their own back and their daughter's back in that she will be stuck out in front of her cohort, perhaps with no support from her teachers, and may be bored to tears in class. I guess if one's child is naturally gifted and teaches herself, then there's not much that anyone can do about it. The child will simply learn whether the parents or teachers like it or not.

I can't bring myself to believe that educating one's child is a bad thing, cohorts or not, ahead or not, supportive teachers or not. And I think any teacher who refuses to support and advanced child or is obstructive to an advanced child, whether naturally advanced, or home-educated, is a fool (and probably shouldn't be a teacher.)

LeBFG Mon 10-Dec-12 09:19:52

But working within the realms of what's feasible on a day-to-day scale at a state school, it may well not be possible to support a really advanced child to their full potential. I'm not sure if you are with me on that or not actually learnandsay. Clearly obstructing a child's progress is outrageous, but do teachers really do this??? Seems bizarre to me.

When I suggest supporting outside school, I'm thinking of allowing and supporting the interest in hobbies that are naturally attractive to the child, be that reading, ballet, music, astronomy...not specialist tutoring! There is nothing odd in this - I'm sure you're already doing it onesandwich. Have faith that this is all your child needs to develop at their pace. She'll (probably) just enjoy school for what it is - an easy ride, lots of friends, stimulating social interactions etc.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 09:33:04

A super bright child to her full potential? Technically it probably is always possible given that fathers can tutor their children to A level maths and beyond at home with no school resources at all, it probably is always technically possible. Yes. Whether or not any teachers are willing to do it is another question.

Obstructing a child, yes. I'm afraid it does happen. A complaint that I've heard more than once is that a Y1 boy has completed all of the Y2 syllabus. A parent asks for more extended work and is told that in Y2 her son will have to repeat Y2 maths because the teacher has no intention of giving him Y3 maths. In one such case the parents moved their son to another school. In fact if that happened to me I'd simply supply my child with the Y3 syllabus myself. But I'd make it absolutely clear that my child would do this work and not Y2 all over again. No parent can force a school to give her child extra resources. But a parent can object to her child being given unsuitable work. I would hate to fight a school in that way. But, my god, I would if I had to.

Tgger Mon 10-Dec-12 09:48:51

I like monkey's post. A lot. Thanks monkey for putting it so eloquently smile.

LeBFG Mon 10-Dec-12 10:04:45

In the example you give, leanandsay, I'm not sure that constitutes obstruction, it really just illustrates to me the problem of advancement - i.e. giving work to a child that will come along again in future years. You would end up with (at the extreme end) the Y7 teacher saying - but I can't just give her the A-level maths questions, I don't even know the answers myself. And what will she do at school next year... Extention work isn't neccessarily work from future years, as I'm sure you know. And I'm sure you know I was talking about developing potential at state schools, not in the ideal.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 10:42:15

I would indeed consider it obstruction for lots of reasons that I typed earlier. If a teacher said I can't give her A level questions because I don't know the answers myself then I'd think the woman a fool. She can give the questions and ask a colleague or someone who does know the answers to check them. Or she can find a resource which supplies both the questions and the answers. But if she just said no, that would indeed be obstructive. I agree that extension work doesn't have to be of any particular kind. Yes, true. But to tell a child to redo work already done is obstructive and unimaginative. And I would tell a teacher that she was being so. And then I would supply the child with the work myself.

LeBFG Mon 10-Dec-12 10:52:54

Ah, I didn't say redo work - that would be obstructive, unneccessary, lazy on behalf of the teacher and terrible for the morale/confidence of the child. I find it hard to believe teachers exist who do that.

I can only talk from my personal experience. Although I did A-level physics, I would never teach it. I would feel extremely uncomfortable giving work at this level to any age but particularly those that aren't even doing A-level lessons. Teaching and learning is more than answering some closed-questions and ticking off the answers. There should be an engagement on both sides - pupil and teacher.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 11:12:50

But in my examples the teacher isn't teaching the child any more than the invigilators in an exam room are teaching the pupils for whom they lay down papers. What she is doing is supplying the texts (which presumably are clearly labelled,) or supplying the questions. She has asked someone else who ^does^ feel qualified to do so to engage with the child about the subject matter itself. All that's being asked of her is that she goes to the effort of (a) finding materials labelled as previously described. (b) locating a relevantly qualified teacher who is willing to discuss the content of the pupil's work.

ie. the teacher just needs to put in some effort, (maybe quite a lot of effort) in tracking these things down. Would I expect this?No, of course I wouldn't. But then I wouldn't expect obstruction either. If the teacher wasn't ideal (as I've described) then the least I would expect was that she didn't try to obstruct my efforts to provide material for my daughter.

And if she did I'd rip a hole in her.

Tgger Mon 10-Dec-12 11:23:19

I tend to agree with learnandsay on this. It's "enablement" is it not, rather than "not obstructing". Good teachers enable their bright pupils and go the extra mile for them (rather like in a different thread is it about Finnish teachers doing whatever is necessary). So, for example, my sister was excellent at composing music for her GCSE/A level music. Her compositions were far above the requirements of the course. Her music teacher recognized this but wanted her to improve further. He didn't feel qualified to help so she set up a meeting for her with a local conductor/musician who has a lot of published compositions. Said person took an interest in her and helped her on further. Her music teacher then got her to compose a carol for the school carol concert and got two of the schools' most talented singers to perform it. Did the teacher have to do any of this? No. But it was good for my sister and others that he did.

Tgger Mon 10-Dec-12 11:24:01

Sorry a few she/he's mixed up there!

LeBFG Mon 10-Dec-12 12:06:24

Well, you see, I don't disagree with your example Tgger! Your example of enablement (which did go above and beyond what would be expected) is exactly spot on - the teacher didn't feel it neccessary to bring in work of another year. There are lots of examples of this, particularly in the more open ended subjects like english and the arts. Where a subject is traditionally more closed and teacher-led, like maths and science, this is a bit harder to engineer but still possible without bringing in work from years above.

Anyway, I think I'm repeating and repeating myself without making myself understood. So I shall call it a day smile.

learnandsay Wed 12-Dec-12 07:45:46

Well, lebfg,

according to this report you are absolutely right about not rushing children through the syllabi/curriculum, for some surprising reasons.

Although, the article doesn't seem to explain why going through at the right speed necessarily solves the problem either.

adeucalione Wed 12-Dec-12 08:36:34

And for balance here's a study conducted by Chatham Grammar School in 2006 that sees the accelerated curriculum rather more positively.

adeucalione Wed 12-Dec-12 08:39:13

I found that on the gt voice website - they do quite a good job of collating articles and research about g&t children, which some might find interesting.

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 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


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

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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