my child reads and write at top level, but her Phonics group is not!!!

(349 Posts)
B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 15:12:22

My daughter is a very bright child at Y1...she is reading and writing very well...however when it came to grouping them, she is not been located in the top group in Phonics, although she reads the same level and writes the same as those children on the top group. This is very confusing for her amd me, as I dont understand on what basis this happened. She can be at times shy and she observes her peers very well and learn from them as she is bi-lingual. In the gropu she is in now, the difference between the level she reads and the level of some other children is huge...perhaps 7 colour reading band!!!

This has affecte dmy childs confidence as she thinks she hasnt been good enough, or why she is reading the same book as her reading partner, and he/she is in another group. ALl confusing for me, I am gonna talk to the teacher tomorrow, and I dont know how to say it. i dont want to convey that I dont trust their judgment, but this is gonna hold my child back and crashes her confidence, as the groups are gonna stay the same until the end of teh year! Can I ask the teacher to move my child to the other group? Is Phonics the knowledge that they learn to apply to their writing and reading, so how can she read and write higher than her phonics knowledge? She is already reading sounds that she has not been officially taught, by working it out on herself....

IndigoBelle Mon 10-Dec-12 15:30:18

It is perfectly possible to read well and not be good at phonics.

She will have been given a phonics test, not a reading test to determine her phonics group.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 15:35:31

Yes, b4r4, you have in many ways answered your own question. Phonics can have elements of its own specialist subject about it. And as you put it quite well, there are children who know more about "how phonics works" than other children do. The children who know more might not be able to read books as complicated as a child who knows less about phonics but the one who knows more about phonics will be able to answer phonics related questions better.

Of course you might not think being able to answer phonics related questions matters at all (if you can read really well.) I don't think it matters because I can read really well and I can't answer any phonics related questions! But you and I are not school teachers and you and I are not education secretaries and they think that it does matter, (even if you can already read well.) Personally I think that's silly. But that's just my view.

If I was you (and I wanted my daughter to be a phonics whiz, which I don't, but you seem to) I'd teach myself all about phonics and then help my daughter to learn anything that she doesn't already know. And I'd give her phonics quizzes at supper time and write little phonics questions on cards and place them under her pillow. Or you could tell her it's all nonsense and to stop worrying about it, (my preferred option.)

Farewelltoarms Mon 10-Dec-12 15:54:53

My child is in y1 and wouldn't have a clue which group she is in, let alone allow it affect her confidence. If I were you my beef would be with the teacher for allowing it to be clear which group is at what level.
Or is it possible that you're the one who has told her she's not in the 'top' phonics group?

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 17:15:48

How do you know which group she is in and where did you get your detailed knowledge of the ability of other members of her class?

jelliebelly Mon 10-Dec-12 17:19:09

How on earth do you know so much about groups and classmates ability? I obv live in blissful ignorance! Phonics and reading often v diff ability ime.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 17:39:32

Thank all for your replies. My child is friend with many other kids and when going play dates they read! Mine doesn't stop reading on a train as she sees people with their paper all the time. I have not told her she is not in top group at all as I didn't know they were grouped! She is asking why is she not in the same group as the rest of her friends who are reading and writing the same books! I don't lime to teach her at home ahead of her class and I will never do it! She does her homework at home when they have and reads!
My main concern was that the groups stay the same unt the end of the year! And she being herself knows and sees what some other kids are reading by saying that he/she reads "Sid did it" book, mum that's too easy!

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 17:40:36

Maybe she is remembering words as a whole or working certain words out herself according to the context of the sentence or even the pictures in the book.

She may well understand what she has read and answer comprehension type questions but does not work out the words phonetically so is in a lower group...

I would ask the teacher how you can help with this and maybe which sounds she is weaker in...

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 17:55:02

Neither you nor your daughter knows the criteria the teacher has used to organise groups they may not be grouped by ability

Hulababy Mon 10-Dec-12 18:01:32

You can by all means speak to the teacher to ask how phonics work, and maybe even ask how the groups are decided, and how your DD is at phonics.

However, being able to read doesn't always mean a child is good at phonics. Maybe, following assessments in school, the teacher has discovered a gap in your DD's phonics knowledge and feels she needs to place her in the group that will fill those gaps effectively.

The groups should not be static. How do you know they won't change? When we still did phonics grouping (no longer do as of this half term) we changed them half termly at a minimum based on the most recent assessments of each child.

There is, imo and ime, no way being in a slightly lower group for phonics will hold a child back. It also shouldn't knock their confidence if handled appropriately.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 19:05:10

The teacher said each group has a program until the end of the year and those started higher remain further ahead . That's exactly what I don't understand. It shouldn't be a linear process. My child might develop a higher capacity in a few weeks to take more in, even if there is a gap in her phonics now. Given her advanced reading and writing. How can I put this right?

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 19:22:19

If you think it will help you can turn your daughter into a phonics expert at home.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 19:23:23

I would be very concerned about the teacher

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 19:26:24


learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 19:27:40

Which teacher would you be concerned about?

OP - your child is in Year 1. Her feelings about the school come from you. If she feels she is in a lower group and that's knocked her confidence then that's because of your reaction. SO wind your neck in please.

Do you appreciate how frankly daft you sound to be making a fuss about this? Is your child learning? Does she understand what's expected of her at school? If the answer to those questions is yes then you're fine. In mant sensible countries she wouldn't even be in full time education yet.

Please don't make a foll of yourself demanding she move groups. Save that for when she's 14 at least.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 19:32:31

Northern, the OP isn't making a fuss. She's concerned for her daughter's self confidence and is asking advice. And she's not demanding anything. So, you wind your own neck in!!

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 19:37:20

The teacher who said each group had a program until the end of the year and those who started higher would remain further ahead, learnandsay.

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 19:49:37

I would also be very concerned tbvh.

About the fact that a child cannot move from group to group, groups (if the class have them) should be very fluid at this age...

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 19:52:53

And as mums, both of you, what would you do with that concern?

Learnandsay - she said she will talk to the teacher tomorrow and ask that her daughter move groups. This is apparently because in the parent's opinion her brilliance isn't being catered for. I call that making a 'fuss'.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 19:59:49

I would ask the teacher if it is the school's policy to set a ceiling on children's progress/achievement.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 20:00:39

I would not ask if my child could move groups ...but I would be unhappy that there were groups in the first place.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:05:11

But the school/teacher is not going to change its group policy on the basis of an unhappy parent. So, isn't moving groups a more practical outcome?

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:07:32

Northern, if you're talking about the first posting in this thread she asked could she ask for her daughter to be moved.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:09:54

That's exactly what I mean: learnabdsay , mrz and all. I am not making a fuss , last year at reception she changed groups many times, roughly every half term and do long as she was happy and moving forward I was happy. As I said I never liked to teach her at home things that agent been taught at school but when I realised groups stay the same then I booked to see the teacher to ask why?
She didn't get her feeling about her class from me ad I havnt got a clue what's going on and she only tells me things here and there.
I need advice on shall I really tell the teacher to move her if possible or shall I leave it . How can I tell my cencern to the teacher about this streaming that never is gonna cross / reach the other groups in a way that doesn't offend, and be constructive.

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

b4r4, I don't think you're making a fuss at all. You're just asking questions in a forum, which is what a forum is for. But lots of people get attacked for speaking out. It goes with being in a forum also!

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:15:11

I would get a list of what the teacher wants your daughter to know and then make sure that your daughter learns everything on that list if it means so much to your daughter to change group.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 20:19:52

Does moving groups remove the ceiling on progress or does it just have another ceiling. If it is school policy rather than just this teacher then I would be alarmed.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:26:40

What should I be point of start? Asking about their assessment? Telling that my child understands and is not happy about her group and it affecting her confidence? Shall I as you Learnabdsay say get the list of what she needs to know? I really don't know how to put it all right ... Shall I question their policy ?

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 20:26:56

I would not make a fuss, but would speak to the teacher and clarify if the non moving within groups is true.

I would also ask which phonics sounds she needs help/more work on.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:28:32

I am not too sure! Obviously the top group perhaps doesn't have a ceiling! Last year there were groups but very fluid and changed regularly.

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 20:30:22

You need to come across as if you are working with the teacher/school...

So ask the teachers opinion on why her phonics group is lower than her reading...

What you can do to help in this (weak areas etc)...

And check if there is no movement within groups....

There is no point going in full guns blazing if your child is indeed weaker in phonics iyswim (just wait until she is stronger then go for it wink)

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 20:30:47

They stream at the school my daughter will go to (doing rwi) but I think they assess regularly as they have someone who only does assessments. They are able to move between streams apparently (and for maths year 1 up) no idea how that works in practice though.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 20:32:26

Are you sure that your dd hasn't been put in the group 'above' her friends? How on earth do you know so much about the reading and writing abilities of the rest of the class?

It may be more helpful to refocus as you did in YR on what you dd is learning, how she is progressing and how you can help her at home. If she is reading and writing well and making progress, then she's in the 'right' group for her iyswim.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:37:12

It seems (Simpson) that my daughters question is the key then: she asked why such and such are reading with me the same books and writing the same but they are in the other group, mum? Are they faster? And I said mum it is not a race, it is not running! You are doing brilliant and there are groups because your teacher can't teach all at the same time! So it seems I should ask the same that why her phonics is lower than her reading and how can I help?

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:38:24

I get the impression that the teacher has told her that her daughter isn't in the top group for phonics and that once stratified the children would remain that way for the whole year.

I agree with simpson, b4r4. I think you need to "pretend" to agree with the teacher's groups and ask what your daughter needs to learn, so that the teacher is keen to tell you what needs to be done (and she doesn't feel as though you are criticising her.) And then, once she has given you a list of all the things that your daughter needs to know then make sure your daughter learns that list.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:40:10

And as for moving between groups the teacher told me herself!

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:41:12

b4r4, lots of parents can easily help with reading because lots of parents can read. But phonics is harder because lots of parents don't know anything about phonics.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:43:34

Can the teacher tell me exactly? Because if there is a program, then she perhaps can tell me if my child knew this, she would be in higher group up to the date, so in principle by the time I have the list, then that group has moved forward ahead . You see what I mean?

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:44:47

I don't know! You'd need to ask her. smile

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:45:25

How Can I help her with phonics? I know letters and sounds website. She sometimes plays there.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 20:47:49

Yes, the teacher should be able to tell you what your individual child needs to achieve and understand in order to progress.

Honestly, the advice that you gave your daughter about reading not being a race is spot on.

In your position, I would just ask what you can do to help your dd at home and go from there. Trying to get her moved up to another group is a bit of a distraction.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 20:48:47

You don't need to help her with phonics - it sounds like the school are doing their job very well.

You need to listen to her read at home, take books out of the library, instill a love of books etc - all the things that you're already doing.

IWipeArses Mon 10-Dec-12 20:50:27

I was surprised to find the children are put into groups in Reception, is this the norm?

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:50:30

Well, the best thing you can do is pay very close attention to a woman on this website called mrz. There are a few others, but mrz is usually the first person to respond. She knows everything there is to know about phonics.

The next thing you can do is read everything you can about phonics, starting with a posting on mumsnet by maverick. If someone else doesn't get there first I'll find it and post it. It's truly brilliant. Unfortunately for you I suspect it's not the straightforward bits of phonics that your daughter needs now. It's probably the more fiddly bits, combinations of up to four letters and things. But pay close attention to mrz. She'll keep you straight.

And don't worry. Honestly. It'll work out. You'll see.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 20:50:38

Ps. If the teacher tells me no movement between groups, then would I not look silly in asking how I can help her in reaching that group ?

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 20:51:09

The teacher may be able to tell you which sounds she finds harder and give you ideas games to, sticking a few words around the front room (with the same sound in and saying the first one to run to a particular word is the winner etc...

Rather than just reading (although not suggesting you stop reading obviously!!)

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 20:53:47

If she says there is no movement (and that would p**s me off tbh) then no I would not ask about getting to the level of the next group...

You want your child to be the best she can be not the best in the class iyswim...

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 20:54:28

Well, don't ask her specifically about moving groups, just get that list that I've been talking about. Don't mention groups until after your daughter has learned the list. Do you see where I'm going?

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 21:07:30

by which time the higher group have moved onto another "list" hmm

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 21:10:12

I'm not sure that any discussion about 'lists' will be helpful (or have much to do with reading tbh).

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 21:12:03

I see what you mean Learnandsay but the teacher clearly told me that my child is above average in reading and writing, so for me to ask for a list of what she needs to know more would have to be what she needs to know to match the other groups level. My question was when she admits she is above average then why she is put in average group with a very big range of ability. I don't believe in streaming, I think a class is a made of all children (specially at this age) with different interests and abilities. But now that they have done it, how an above avg child is in a big group where all children are average or below as far as one of the mums was telling me that her child struggles with reading and stayed in early reception books . Her child is also in the same group as mine. It just doesn't add up. I don't understand the grouping system.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 21:12:19

This isn't about reading. The daughter already reads well. This is about not conforming to the teacher's phonics expectations without knowing precisely what those expectations are. So, they need to be quantified.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 21:12:41

or phonics

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 21:16:21

I don't ability group my class. My tables are mixed ability for all lessons although children move around.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 21:16:52

b4r4, above average can mean anything, national average, class average, the teacher's experience of average? (I don't know what she means.) In so far as I understand this conversation it is about the fact that your daughter is not among the top children in the class for phonics. You're upset about it. She's upset about it and you want to fix it.

To do that (as far as I can see,) you need to find out from the teacher what your daughter needs to learn. And then your daughter needs to learn it.

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 21:19:47

How is your DD's writing/spelling??

That is probably a better (or more obvious way) to check her phonic knowledge??

And I don't mean that every word is spelt correctly but that they are phonetically correct ie how the word sounds iyswim...

For example my DD wrote "I luv yoo" which is obviously spelt incorrectly but phonetically correct iyswim....

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 21:20:44

Yes she can read thought, through, but I am not sure if u put "ough" she can sound it out!

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 21:30:06

Can I upload a file of her writing here?

sittinginthesun Mon 10-Dec-12 21:31:29

I would simply ask the teacher. Explain your daughter's concerns, say that you are not asking for your daughter to be moved, but just ask for clarification as to how the groups work. That's not being pushy, it's just asking.

Our lovely school does group from Reception, and the groups are flexible.

My eldest (naturally very ordered and quietly competitive nature) was fully aware of all the groups, and who was where since Reception. Some children just pick up on these things - he never mentioned it to his friends, it was just in his brain the same as birthdays and football league tables. I think that their position in the groups is very important to some children, no matter his the teachers try to name the tables etc.

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 21:32:26

I don't think you are going to get any more info until you speak to her teacher but be prepared to smile sweetly and gush about how supportive you are etc etc..and how you both want the best for your DD etc...

It's not worth getting into ructions with your DC teacher (trust me I have been there!!! And there is still most of the school year to go..)

Good luck, I * hate* talking to my DC teachers (although not so much this year as they have both got fab,approachable teachers tbh).

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 21:38:37

You probably can't upload the writing here, no. But you might be able to use this

I've never used it myself.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 21:39:52

Mrz -I've always respected your posts .sort of tangent but sort of connected question. My daughter is likely to go to a school that streams for an hour a day (I think. Its for phonics so however that takes off) with rwi across 3 classes. So they muddle all 3 classes for this. Similarly with numeracy from year 1 . Is this really really bad? Should I consider the other school? (I actually want her in your class!)

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 21:42:21

Thanks loads to you all for your honest and genuine responds. I will write once I have talked tomorrow. I don't want to confront the teacher... That's why I started the thread and as always it is helpful! Thx loads to u all !

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 21:46:54

CanIhave, how do you feel about teachers streaming for phonics when it is they who have taught the phonics in the first place?

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 21:48:27

I think it's different for maths at secondary level when the teachers are dealing with pupils from all over the place who are at the same age but at different abilities.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 21:49:09

I know it's something that RWI does and it's one of the things I dislike about the programme. Really it depends if your child is the able reception child sent off to Y2 (with all the pressure for a child who may not be emotionally mature) or the struggling Y6 sent to reception (imagine how good that is for self esteem)

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 21:51:31

My DC school stream for phonics and in yr2 mix the 2 classes together and split them all into 2 groups...

DD's reception class is split into 3 groups for phonics and 3 groups for numeracy (based on ability)...

I don't know what they do for yr1 tbh as I can't remember what DS did blush as he is now in yr3...

Haberdashery Mon 10-Dec-12 21:53:34

DD's school seems to group children by mixed ability and so far it doesn't seem to be a bad thing. Actually, I'm not sure mixed ability is the word or really what I mean - at this age it's more mixed tolerance re paying attention for an extended period.

sittinginthesun Mon 10-Dec-12 21:54:19

Mrz - I am interested in this too. What if you have a couple of children working ahead of a class in maths, and therefore coasting and used to being top of the class. Better for them to be middle of a higher year group to push them more? Just wondered what you would do?

plisplas Mon 10-Dec-12 21:55:57

I had a similar problem with my DS last year. I took him to the library. People working in our local library are amazing. They would talk to him about the books he had read or was going to read and that gave him a lot of confidence. I also started working with him in maths. He is now in Y2, top tables and what is more important, happy and confident.

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 21:58:05

Our library is superb and they have an early years education specialist on the staff.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 21:58:16

Why not set them appropriate work in their own class?

In my last Y2 class I had a group of children working at Y4 levels in maths ...

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 22:01:56

mrz, surely that's indicative of the class teacher's confidence in her ability to handle materials belonging to either a higher or a lower class. Presumably some teachers don't feel able or confident at doing this.

By the way, whoever sent a Y6 pupil to study phonics with a Y1 class should be shot.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 22:04:05

"Presumably some teachers don't feel able or confident at doing this."
then they shouldn't be teaching

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 22:15:34

That's a problem with the school, not RWI, I would say.

My dc's school has just switched to using it, and they mix the Y1 and Y2 classes, and the KS2 children who need it with KS2.

How do teachers simply differentiate within a class for all subjects including literacy and numeracy in for example like my dd's Y1 class where the reading range is from above lime level to pin and children arrive every half term with no English and having never set foot inside a school before whilst some are working at 2b or above in maths and reading? Where there's over 50% FSM, over 80% EAL and over 70% of the children are in the lowest poverty/deprivation band nationally?

I've seen how general topic work is skilfully differentiated, but not how one teacher and one TA can meet the literacy and numeracy of such a range of children.

That Guardian article doesn't really hit the spot with schools like this - you can't have over 70% of children on the 'bottom table' or whatever. And in fact it doesn't - the majority of Y1 children in the top Y2 phonics group don't have English have a first language and are on FSMs.

maizieD Mon 10-Dec-12 22:15:34

By the way, whoever sent a Y6 pupil to study phonics with a Y1 class should be shot.

Whoever has allowed a child to reach Y6 without the phonic knowledge they should have learned in Y1 needs to be shot...

(Yes, before you all shout at me, I appreciate that there may be extenuating circumstances, such as a child joining the school in Y6 with poor phonic knowledge)

To be fair to RWI, Ruth Miskin does emphasise that children who are falling behind should be given extra help at the time that they need it to keep up with their peers. Once RWI is established across a school there shouldn't be any need for such extreme mixing of age groups.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 22:27:12

Setting widens the gap between the top and the bottom of the class rather than closing it.

In my experience pink to lime is a pretty typical speed of ability and you differentiate by providing books at an appropriate level and I don't have a TA yellowsub.

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 22:29:09

Sorry maizieD but I really don't see why year groups need to be mixed

learnandsay Mon 10-Dec-12 22:29:28

Yellowsub, depending on how its inspections are going I'd imagine that the priorities for such a school are set by the head. (And to some extent the governors.) Our local school has an intake pretty similar to the one you're describing. The head there seems to be an expert in SEN provision and has really geared her school up for that task. She seems to be well respected among local teachers, (some of whom are our friends) even though they don't work in her school. The school is impressive in very many ways. But it has mediocre academic results.

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 22:30:10

Mrz - out of interest,how often do you listen to each child read and what do the other children do while you are reading with one?? Or do they read as a group??

(not having a dig - genuinely interested smile)

mrz Mon 10-Dec-12 22:33:33

The other children go out to play or to assembly while I'm listening to a child read simpson ...I hear all children read at least once a week usually more often and I do shared reading everyday where every child reads from a class book.

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 22:45:40

Is it yr3 or 2 that you teach?? I forget blush

DS is in yr3 and has been heard 121 twice this year but maybe another 3 or 4 times by the TA.

Not criticising his teacher though, she is fab...

He does loads of group reading though in class....

I just wonder how hard it is to differentiate mixed abilities in the classroom ( I ask as a potential TA,not a parent btw!!)

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 22:46:22

Twice this year with his teacher, I mean blush

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 23:04:25

The school she'd go tohas 3 forms in a year so they don't mix ages, just within classes. It does seem a lovely school with a very mixed intake. I would guess its likely my daughter given her background would be in the top group initially (purely as she knows sounds and is begining to blend and some children come in not having seen a book) so perhaps it will be to her advantage. I'd rather it didn't stay that way just based on family experience though.

The other school uses jolly phonics and keeps them within their classes (I saw differentiated work for maths on tables though).

Not that its the only thing I'd choose a school on, but being set and changing classes twice a day is quite a lot for a small child. Although apparently they do get to know a range of friends etc.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 23:13:15

Mrz, where would you advice me start the conversation with the teacher ? And how to take it?

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 23:23:14

Ask the TA (or whoever is at the door when you drop your DD off in the morning, if it's possible for you to have a chat about your DD's reading when you pick her up). I would mention reading so it gives your teacher a heads up to what you want to talk about....

simpson Mon 10-Dec-12 23:27:06

Then I would just say that you have noticed that there is a difference between her reading ability and where she is placed for phonics and can you do anything to help???

Let the chat flow from there, depending on what the teacher says...but make sure you ask how you can help your DD progress and ask any weaknesses she may have...and advice on how to progress on from here....maybe ask about how fluid the ability groups are for phonics...

Once you have got said "list" then make sure your DD knows it all before going back!!!

Rudolphstolemycarrots Mon 10-Dec-12 23:27:18

How do you really know that she is at top set level? I guess someone has to be the best in the middle group? Surely that's better then being the bottom of the top set?

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 23:33:03

Yes, I get that children are given books at a different level hmm but that's only a small part of literacy. How does one teacher meet the learning needs of children who have no English and are learning SATPIN etc at the same time and in the same room as those who are a high level 2 at reading and writing?

Genuine question. My friend's school with a similar demographic to ours brought in RWI last year and literacy progress has accelerated across the school. One of the reasons they brought it in was the ever increasing gaps between higher and lower achievers - these have closed considerably now. Too early to tell in our school, but hoping for the same.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 10-Dec-12 23:40:25

canIhaveagiraffe, my dd's school differentiated across reception classes for phonics, I think from about the autumn half term. It's a 2 form intake, so 4 groups. My dd is definitely one of the more highly strung kids, and she was unphased by it. They did some class phonics work, then split into groups for 30 mins or so.

You're right to say that children who have English as a first language, support at home etc are generally a fair way ahead of their contemporaries when they start school, but this should narrow if they are well taught. The children who were in the 'top' phonics group in reception aren't necessarily the same ones who are in it now, and some of the children who weren't able to recognise or write numbers when they started reception are now absolutely flying at maths.

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 23:46:11

She has been reading Turquise since the half term, it is too easy and I guess soon she will be on purple. I couldn't upload a file but this is what she wrote on early November: " once upon a time there was a boy called Jack he lived with his mother. They were very poor. One day jacks mother tolld him to sel the cow for muny . On the way he sor a man . It wos a wisood. The wizood givd him some majic bens."

B4r4joon Mon 10-Dec-12 23:50:21

This would be great if the groups were fluid. If they stay the same, means everyone else will stay behind the top group and they will be out of reach!

yellowsubmarine53 Tue 11-Dec-12 07:17:09

are you sure that children won't move between groups at all? Maybe check with with the teacher that you haven't got hold of the wrong end of the thread.

It would be worth asking whether your child would be moved if she finds the work in her current group either too hard or easy.

learnandsay Tue 11-Dec-12 07:19:21


once upon a time there was a boy called Jack he lived with his mother. They were very poor. One day jacks mother tolld him to sel the cow for muny . On the way he sor a man . It wos a wisood. The wizood givd him some majic bens.

Are the capital letters and full stops yours or hers? If they're hers then she's doing very well. Does she know what a sentence is? It looks from this piece as though she does.

But if you showed her

I am tall.
The tall man is
We are all tired and
I'm fat and I have no hair.

could she tell you which ones were sentences and which ones were not and why? (in simple terms I mean.)

If she can do all that (and it looks as though she might be able to,) then she is, as you say, doing very well.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 11-Dec-12 09:29:51

(thanks yellow -reassuring it can work well! )

B4r4joon Tue 11-Dec-12 09:55:40

@Learnandsay, the punctuation is hers. I will check to see if she can tell which ones are a sentence. She also changes her tone of voice when she reads phrases in quotation etc.
@yellowSubmarine: in my very short 10 min parent evening the teacher told me that a child might move down a group if they need extra support, but not up!!!! Makes me really angry I have to admit!

yellowsubmarine53 Tue 11-Dec-12 10:56:08

That sounds most unusual and inappropriate.

Do you think your child's learning needs are not being met in her current group?

B4r4joon Tue 11-Dec-12 11:11:47

I am not too sure, I think she really has the potential to go forward and she is doing point is now that they have grouped them why one group consists of very similar higher ability children, and the one that mine is there ranges from (perhpas my child is kind of top of her group), to those still reading red. SO I guess her phonics lessons, are more tailored to let the bottom group catch up, IF the teacher teaches at her level, perhaps the lower part of the group would not benefit!

learnandsay Tue 11-Dec-12 11:19:44

Maybe if the teacher was explaining her grouping system on mumsnet it would sound very different. At the moment the teacher's system just sounds odd, unfair and a bit stupid. But we've only had a partial view of it.

But, in a way, the teacher's real system is not what this thread is about. This thread is about how can the OP support her daughter and how can she enquire whether or not her daughter's needs as far as phonics learning are being met or not and if they are not being met then what can she and the teacher do about it? (The groups could be irrelevant in the end. There are lots of other ways of learning.)

Houseworkprocrastinator Tue 11-Dec-12 11:20:56

I think you shouldn't feel nervous about asking the teacher, i am sure that she would rather explain things to you than have you sit worrying about it.
I would be very surprised if there is no room for movement within the groups, is it possible she was saying that the groups work will be consistent for their level throughout the year not that the children in the groups are static? (if that makes sense)

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 11:07:22

Hello all, I was so shattered yesterday that I couldnt write. I talked to the teacher starting that I understand there is difference between her reading, writing and phonics, and my child is aware of it and it might affect her confidence. The teahcer explained that in the informal assessments they did in the first half-term, those who knew completely phase 5, are in the top group and there are sounds in phase 5, (wouldnt know on top of the mind) that she has not quite mastered. So basically the other group has started phase 6, and therefore this group will remain behind until the end of teh year, as the program is set weekly.
The teacher said i must trust her and she will never hold children back. I told her my child in bi-lingual which is a good thing, but she was categorised last year as ESL ( i didnt care then) but I want to make sure that this is not taken as negative and is not something she will carry on.
I asked so the present gap will never close, and how do we know that they dont change in a couple of weeks, interms of their attention span and concentration. I even brought example that my child recently likes to read on the train like adults...and I also said that her present group seems to be very wide (as I understand from my daughter) so how does that work. and the fact that she can never be good enough for the other group could knock her confidence (as it has already).
she didnt have any answer. and had a go on me that I have taken her valuable time and she is a professional and I am one of thos parents who takes their childrens words as a gospel! I smiled, apologised that i had taken her valuable time and said I never meant to take your valuable time, I am a parent with questions and things that I dont undersatnd and want to help my child. And I also told her I am not taking my childs words 100% thats why I am here. I am being honest and open. She said you want your child to be the best of the class!!! I said no, I want her to be the best of her potential! happy and confident. then she apologised that she lost it! and I tried to make sure we finish okay, but I was so pissed off...I mentioned at reception there were also groups but they would move between them half-termly, and she said Y1 is different.
I guess if I need to work on her phase5, I also have to ask the teacher again, how much of phase 6, the group will cover by the end of this term, so I know I need to work on that perhaps a bit during the holidays. Then I guess I am better off writing things, so that I dont get this type of reactions anymore. I didnt want it to be like that but she suddenly started.
Are thingss that happen in the classroom are secrets? why shouldnt I listen to my child's concerns. What kind of message they are trying to give, if for the whole year kids are going to stay in the same group? this doesnt leave any incentive for improvement? If my child wants and thinks she should be in the other group, why not helping her to be there?

Perhaps I should make sure she knows all phase5, and (if the teacher tell me, that biot of phase6 they covered), then I will go after the holidays. This is demoralising, it is a school I fought to get a place in appeal, and now I am so disappinted.
Thats was a story, in Balamory!

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 11:09:29

IS the program so rigid and written on stone? or should it be based on how children can take it!

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 11:12:24

By the look of things, it seems that the program is a gospel!!!

learnandsay Wed 12-Dec-12 11:21:37

You would be better off completing all of phase 5 and all of phase 6 at home and let her study the current phase 5 at school as well.

To be honest I thought this would happen. The teacher thinks you're criticising her (which you are in a way,) and that's why she got upset with you. But, in the end I don't think there really ever was going to be a way for you to get what you want (which is your daughter in a higher phonics group) if the teacher disagrees and wants her in a lower phonics group without somebody (or everybody) getting upset. But in the end it's up to the teacher because you can't put your daughter in the higher group. And when people fight out their different opinions like this it sometimes goes much worse than it needs to. Because if the teacher is sore and upset now, even if you cover phase 5, phase 6 (and assuming there is one) phase 7 and maybe even phase 8 absolutely faultlessly, she might still come up with some imaginary reason why your daughter can't move up a group. She doesn't sound that open to taking parent's opinions on board, I'm afraid.

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 11:31:46

what is phase 6? I looked it up and it is suffixes and prefixes am I right?

learnandsay Wed 12-Dec-12 11:33:17

If the teacher had wanted to help you in your efforts to move your daughter up a group she would have offered you support and guidance before now. It sounds from her comments about 'you have to trust her and not take up any more of her valuable time', as though she doesn't like you getting involved in how she teaches phonics. Unless you win her round I can't see how this can go well for you and your daughter. And I can see it eating away at you because you feel that your daughter is being treated unfairly.

She probably is not being treated unfairly if it really is true that she doesn't know all of her phase 5 sounds. The teacher is actually probably right.

(But to be fair to involved parents, the teacher could also be more encouraging of parents who want to support their children at home and advance their phonics knowledge more quickly. I don't think alienating parents and making it clear that their concerns are a waste of valuable school time is the right way to go about things.)

learnandsay Wed 12-Dec-12 11:34:36

What phonics course are they following?

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 11:45:28

I see what you mean Learnandsay, but being a teacher is a hard job I appreciate it, but why should she be sore and hold a child back (at least in her grouping) to give an interested parent (who doesnt know the school education system in this country) explanations of why things are the way they are. I am not new to that setting, my child has been there since the age of 1.5 in the same children centre in the same premises as the school. I have had meetings with her carers and last year teacher, but was never told that I am taking their valuable time at the end of the class. I even helped the children with their reading last year voluntarily, so perhaps thats why I know many of them and how they do. But last year's teacher would give updates weekly on a paper, that what sounds each groups are covering, what do they do for literacy etc.
This si different. If she takes things on my child I would be devestated. She was even labelling me, and I am concerned that my child stays in the not good enough label for a few years as she said until perhaps the gap closes.
I am working mum, who tries also to be on board with my childs education, whats wrong with that?

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 11:48:51

I dont know what phonics course. I think it is synthetic phonics. Last year the teacher told us about letters-and-sounds website.

learnandsay Wed 12-Dec-12 12:04:12

Here are a couple of threads about phonics teaching. If the teachers are finding it tricky there's a chance that you might too. But you can always look.

You might try taking the teacher's advice and leaving her to teach her class in her own way. I know it's tempting to want your daughter to be in the top phonics set. But isn't it right that she isn't yet there if her phonics knowledge is not as good as the phonics knowledge of some of the other children?

Can you afford a tutor? Maybe you can find a tutor who knows about phonics. You can teach yourself about the contents of phase 5 and 6 and then ask the tutor questions. If you like her answers you can hire her and she can teach your daughter the phonics that she needs to know.

(Or maybe you just leave things as they are.)

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 12:20:15

I can't afford a tutor and tbh I dont think it is neccessary. I would rather doing a bit myself with her (am trying to educate myself) and let her have fun doing her drawings and other stuff. But very disappointed overall. And I take your word and dont ask her how much the other has covered during this term, as it seems pointless. She said she can give me the phase 5 sound mat!!! I already have it and I dont think it supports me on how to do things.
I could speak to the Y1-2 Phase leader or head teacher , but I dont want things to go back on her. She is a very sensitive child.

CecilyP Wed 12-Dec-12 12:20:49

As I see it, the situation is exactly as the teacher told you. The top group knew all the phase 5 sounds, so could move straight on to phase 6. The next group have to revise some of phase 5 before they can move on to phase 6, which I am sure they will do shortly.

While the programme may not be so rigid that it is set in stone, it sounds quite formal, so specific things that are covered in a particular order; so that if a child was to move groups, they will either have missed an important part of the work, or the teacher would have to re-teach the work covered so far just for the benefit of one. As it is, your DD is in a group that will be working on the same syllabus, but just a few weeks behind. The children will all finish up being able to read, so no-one will be able to tell who was in what group in a year's time.

I guess if I need to work on her phase5, I also have to ask the teacher again, how much of phase 6, the group will cover by the end of this term, so I know I need to work on that perhaps a bit during the holidays.

Why do you have to do that? That is what the teacher will be doing with the group your DD is in. The only reason for you to do that is because you are so desparate for your DD to be in the top group - why? Just for the sake of being in the top group?

It might be some consolation that Letters and Sounds only contains 6 phases, so once they have finished phase 6, the teacher's current groupings will be redundant and children will be grouped for something else and your DD may well be in the top group.

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 12:30:28

I dont want her to be in the top group for the sake of it. She thought why she is reading and writing with the same lot is not in the same group, asking me if she is not fast enough? Then I learnt about it all...she reads and writes with those of the top group, so she is puzzled why?
I have not been teaching her anything at all so far....apart from reading with her and taking interest in her homework.

hatsybatsy Wed 12-Dec-12 12:40:37

B4r4 - take a deep breath.

you have a year one daughter who is bilingual and bright and clearly making excellent progress.

the teacher has explained to you quite clearly why your daughter did not make the top group - and you have had some good advice on here as to how you can support your daughter at home.

I'd let it go personally- this is not about holding your daughter back. Phonics is just one part of reading and whether she's level 5 or 6 she'll be fine in the long run. (who even knew there were phonics levels?)

try to relax - this is a long path for you and your daughter

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 12:56:20


simpson Wed 12-Dec-12 14:11:55

Look at the letter and sounds website , it lists all the phases (there are only 6 btw).

My DC school do not teach phase 6 till yr2 usually...

I would do as LandS says and just crack on with phase 5 and 6 at home (if you want to) and not worry about what is going on the the classroom (WRT which group she is in, not the actual work she does at school iyswim)...

Houseworkprocrastinator Wed 12-Dec-12 14:32:27

I have to say that even though her explanation of the grouping is perfectly valid and you should not worry about that, i would be cross about the way she spoke to you. this is not an acceptable way to speak to a parent about their concerns. School should not be a secret and teachers should be willing to explain and help parents support their children. I would have thought that most teachers would not have reacted that way.

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 14:55:31

@ "Housework"! I know. I really felt so bad. I had never let anyone talk to me like that, but I just had to swollow it, becasue my child is in their hands. TBW the school teachers that so far I had come across with was not like that at all. Always talking about parent-teacher partnership....I was shocked...I was going to say "is that not part of your job to communicate with parents"? She was cross with my level and depth of information I guess which I thought was so simple...If other parents feel happy to exchange ideas and speak about how their kids does, why shoudl that bother the teacher?
In fact the onw of the mums whos child was and is struggling a bit told me the other day that the chid is still reading red and she was simple as that, and I knew that her child is in the same group as mine, so basically they took some from the top and a small SEN children and the rest are together. The teacher told me the other groups are taught by TAs and I have taken this group becasue of the width....confirming I was right that her group is a broad one...........anyway this just makes me think would she speak with all the parents like that???? I wouldnt think so!

mrz Wed 12-Dec-12 16:57:29

If the school is following Letters and Sounds most Y1 children will be following Phase 5. Phase 5 covers all the alternative spellings for sounds. Phase 6 is a bit of a nothing phase which could be taught at any point and covers suffixes and prefixes.
It sounds as if there is a small extension group of children and an intervention group and the bulk of the class including your daughter covering phonics work expected for most Y1 children.

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 17:20:04

Thx mrz, I think they started or perhaps finished phase 5 at reception at the group my d was, and she knows them, I opened the website and she tells the sounds on their own and within a word. Not always perhaps. So do you mean that the sounds are finished ? How about ough sounds, they are not in phase 5 mat I've got.
Amy comments or advice for me on how to communicate with the teacher or not?

mrz Wed 12-Dec-12 17:40:54

All 44 sounds have been taught by the end of Phase 3 if you use Letters and Sounds. Phase 5 teaches the common alternative ways they are written in English. Phase 6 does not teach any of the less common alternative spellings for the sounds.

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 18:58:53

We were told that letters and sounds as a reference for games but I am not sure if that's what they DI. Phase mats are printed from sparkle, how should I know if that's it.

mrz Wed 12-Dec-12 19:01:31

Did the school send home Sparklebox printables? shock

Can I ask what reading school books the school sends home?

simpson Wed 12-Dec-12 19:16:31

Our school uses sparkle box too sometimes shock

I think I may have to pint DD's teacher to google....

I don't suppose there's any chance of you letting this go is there? Your child is in YEAR 1. She sounds capable and delightful and the best thing you can do is enthuse about what she is doing, not worry about her being held back. She's in YEAR 1. Putting their shoes on is still quite a step for some children and it will all turn out fine in the end.

sittinginthesun Wed 12-Dec-12 20:06:52

I agree with Northern - the teacher has explained the grouping. Your daughter is doing well, and is getting a solid foundation in phonics.

TBH, if you want to do extra stuff at home, you are probably best reading lots, encouraging imaginary games, and making up silly songs.

It's a long journey. I have a Year 1 and a Year 4. Believe me, no one can remember now what groups children were in in Year 1. The children who are doing well are those with a thirst to learn, and can concentrate, even when there are distractions.

My eldest wasn't in the top group for phonics in Year 1, but made steady, solid progress. He is however now top of the class for literacy (teacher told me at the last parents evening as we were discussing extension work). This is because he enjoys it, not because he knew his phase 6 phonics by end of year 1.

B4r4joon Wed 12-Dec-12 20:18:37

Rigby star, pm plus, phonics bugs also occasionally Oxford reading tree. But majority is pmplus and Rigby star

Tgger Wed 12-Dec-12 20:52:34

I don't even know which group my DS is in in Y1. I don't know if they have ability groups or not. Ignorance is bliss sometimes smile. I don't think it matters, does it?

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 07:46:08

PM was originally an intervention scheme linked to Reading Recovery and very much a Look and Say programme ...rather than one supporting systematic phonics teaching.

Tgger I confess I hadn't a clue where my children were in primary school until my son's Y6 teacher said he was the most intelligent boy she had taught in 30+ years of teaching ...but even that's subjective.

fruitstick Thu 13-Dec-12 09:31:34

I'm not a teacher, or any kind of expert.

However I'm not sure that children are strictly streamed into ability groups in Y1. Ours were loosely like that (although we never knew which was which).

In Y1 it might be that the teacher felt that your DD was quiet and would work better with this particular group of children.

My DS is in Y2 now and was moved out of top group because he spent the entire time chatting to his friend confused.

But actually, there's not that much difference and it's such a small part of their education.

mam29 Thu 13-Dec-12 19:35:23

I hope you work it out op

doesnt help lots state schools do it diffrenet ad use different programmes.

My dd found transition from reception to year 1 hard.
I dont think they grouped for recption but they grouped year 1/2+.

year 1 last year they introduded phonics test which all year 1 will do this year.

Prior to the test i was told dd was struggling with reading/phonics and she was intervention group blending sounds.

she got 36/40 so passed.

Then the phonics groups in year 2 were set 3with her class

passed test-largest group with teacher
just missed passing-with ta
failed badly-senco

but dd ended year 1 on low reading level of 3 ort
but nc level was 1b.

I was unhappy with year 1 when tried to query how and what goes on year 2teacher got really defensive and was awful.
dd was bottom group for maths and lirteracy yet as top for phonics.

we did lots work over summer and felt she had improved.
dd was worried about never catching up with freinds.
during summer term year 1 she knew what everyones reading level was and what box number really knocked her confidence.

we ended up moving after just term of year 2 as couldent work with teacher wasent satisfied what they were doing were right, they had no action plan worried she would fall behind.

new school is small phobics group is mixed year groups set on ability just 5groups from reception-year 6. theres year 2, 3 and 4 in dds group been told her phonics is good knows all her sounds. her readings improving and her maths uite gooduite opposite to old school so confused but dds confidence has grown .

I dont think its new school do not stream they have groups for

guided reading

but i dont think its as obvious. competative and the groups are smaller, ta and teacher seems more nurturing and less formal than old school

I guess the school will be focussed so getting as many kids as possible to pass phonics test.

I agree in some differentiation but agree with mrz how do we ensure they gap between the ability cohorts does not widen.

In all fairness to old school the groups were fluid and prior to moving few weeks before she moved up a table for literacy but they were slow with reading levels giving her books that were too easy.

I dident want her to be top in class wanted her to achieve her potential which i doubted would happen so moved her she had bad year 1 dident want that to determine all her groups for next 5years.

I too loved her old school so wanted her to get in.
But it changed and just wanted to work as partners and the way they handled us and things they said were dismall.
Maybe if they had been nicer,more respectful we would have stayed. we even met with the head.

alcofrolic Thu 13-Dec-12 20:12:13

mam I don't see how a school can mix years R-6 for phonics. It must be obvious by Y3 that something is going seriously awry with phonics teaching at the school if most children haven't mastered sounds by Y3. It is also dreadful for the children's self-esteem - an 9 year old with Y2s - how do they feel? shock KS2 should be doing their own intervention rather than sending children to KS1 groups!

We do RWI and have 8 groups running within KS1. In Y3 they do the RWI comprehension and use Freshstart as an intervention programme higher in the school. Children still experiencing problems will have pre-learning, and additional literacy support in KS2.

After 2 1/2 years of RWI, we are noticing a massive improvement in reading levels year on year, with the less able children now reaping the benefit of the programme in the early years. (There are other problems that arise in RWI and it's certainly not perfect, but it does what it says on the box for reading!)

mam29 Thu 13-Dec-12 20:18:57

alcofrolic its very small school and i gather the gaps are not as extreme so year 6/5would mostly be in top group.

bottom group would be reception/year 1.

not sure id my dd in group 2 or 3 from bottom shes year 2 said mostly year/3 in her group maybe 1/2year 4.

its mixed classes for every year apart from reception.

I thourght read/write was good for ks1 but not so good for ks2 unless used as an intervention.

alcofrolic Thu 13-Dec-12 20:25:56

But why would children in year 3-6 need to be doing phonics? At the end of Y2 we may end up with about 5 or 6 children out of 60 (generally SEN and EAL) who need phonics intervention in Y3.

There is no way that upper KS2 children should be needing phonics lessons. What is going on?

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 20:36:07

ask the secondary staff who are having to begin teaching phonics to children in Y7

alcofrolic Thu 13-Dec-12 20:43:39

And why is that happening? Poor phonics teaching in primary schools?

mam29 Thu 13-Dec-12 20:45:15

I dont know assumed normal was told by head all kids from year r -year 6 do their sounds together in ability groups.

I can only speak for my dd whos nearly 7 and rightfully so doing sounds all I can assume maybe is maybe its other elemenst of litercay at upper keystage not purly phonics.

it gets good sats results for english/literacy so dont think has huge problems.

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 20:53:38

Yes 7 years on from the Rose review some schools still aren't teaching phonics well.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 20:55:23

Yes, but we don't know how many children are having to be taught phonics in Y7. We don't know whether they are having to learn basic phonics or some of the more involved features. And we don't know which children are having to learn phonics in Y7. It would be good to know all of these things.

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 21:00:41

ask those like maizeD who are picking up the pieces learnandsay

maizieD Thu 13-Dec-12 21:15:52

Yes, but we don't know how many children are having to be taught phonics in Y7.

I can only speak for my school but we get up to 20% of our Y7 intake with poor reading skills (percentage varies year by year). I would not say that many of them need to be 'taught phonics' in that they have to start from scratch (though I gather from other forums that this could be the case in some urban secondaries) but a significant number have big gaps in their phonic (i.e. letter/sound correspondence) knowledge, which have to be filled, and are unable to sound out and blend multi-syllable words (or even unfamiliar single syllable wordssad). Some are very skilled at guessing words from pictures and some are just very skilled at guessing; guessing words which have nothing whatsoever to do with the text or the letters on the page in front of them!

Where the 'phonics teaching' is essential is in the practise of decoding and blending for reading; these children cannot read competently without this skill and no other strategies are of any use to them.

If they hadn't had incomplete letter/sound correspondence teaching, plus a 'mix of strategies' for word ID, in primary school they wouldn't need it now. Most of them have absolutely no 'conditions' which retard their learning.

alcofrolic Thu 13-Dec-12 21:15:53

That's the point I was trying to make, mrz. I think mam should be a little concerned that the school is still teaching 'phonics' in year 6. It implies something is going wrong in the early years and KS1.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 21:20:24

20% poor reading skills in Y7? Doesn't that mean that the long tail of underachievement is alive, well and undented?

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 21:22:45

I'm not in favour of streaming for phonics alcofrolic and can't think of any benefit to a Y6 to be working with Y1 but lots of harm to a child's self esteem

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 21:28:36

Some are very skilled at guessing words from pictures

I'd never hear of eleven year olds reading picture books before. These children show no signs of SEN? Are they native English speakers in the main?

It sounds as though they come from a community which has low academic expectations. Would that be a fair guess?

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 21:38:22

I'm afraid not learnandsay

Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 21:44:00

That's the reason for the level 4 expectation at Y6 I think. To ensure said 11 year olds can access the curriculum at secondary school. I'm guessing this 20% are those that haven't achieved this level for whatever reason (not knowing about levels, presuming level 4 is high enough grin.

If anyone read the Evening Standard today it had an article about a school that went from near the bottom of the literacy tables in London to near the top, due to a real drive by the school and the Evening Standard campaign to drive literacy standards up. Interesting reading. They had an army of volunteers who went in to listen to the children read, and also the school planned trips out to give children a breadth of life experience to make their writing richer.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 21:45:13

Are you seeing the same patterns as Maizied, mrz? The description of an eleven or twelve year old struggling to read a picture book doesn't sound like a person from a bookish household. (I know that my sister never learned to read and she came from an incredibly bookish household.) But I've always thought that she was a bit of a one off, (and that my parents were a bit odd.) But, just to be on the safe side, I'm teaching my daughters to read myself.

mam29 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:48:43

I have parents evening tommorow can raise actual question then im intrigued but not overly worried theres only 20kids per year..

I saw tv programme about secondried teaching kids phonics how to read and phonics in year 7 so it must happen.

I guess phonics has become more commonplace last few next few year 7intake be better maybe.

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 21:53:33

The secondary school our pupils move to said none of our pupils required support with reading/writing/maths in Sept.
We achieve high 90s% level 4 or above year on year for reading and our children aren't from bookish households

mrz Thu 13-Dec-12 21:55:18

We've taught phonics in my school since the mid 90s using Jolly Phonics and this year have adopted Sounds-Write.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 21:57:38

OK, but I'm trying to understand why a fifth of Maizie's pupils have no obvious signs of SEN (ESL?) and a significant proportion of them are nevertheless struggling to read picture books at age eleven/twelve. They sound almost like adolescents who have never seen a book before.

Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 22:13:29

Because if teaching is not rigourous enough and children will not have learnt to read by the age of 11. They are left floundering and as maizie says, many who are intelligent and mature in other ways, will have come up with all sorts of ways to disguise this problem.

Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 22:13:44


Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 22:15:01

"then", not "and". Really should read what I have written before pressing post shock.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 22:21:18

I understand perfectly what you're saying, tgger, with or without the typos. I think this was one of the problems with my sister. Nobody realised that she couldn't read. Although I'm not sure how many people checked.

But many bookish families write cards, play scrabble and do lots of activities which involve writing and reading. I would have imagined that, in general, in such families it more rapidly becomes apparent when a child is unable to participate. (But maybe not. Maybe children become good at hiding their difficulties from the family too.) I guess my sister was good at it.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 22:22:42

In a sense, although it's not a reading test, that's one of the advantages about the phonics check. There's no getting around it.

alcofrolic Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:47

mam Because of the national emphasis on phonics, the school should have addressed any problems over the last few years, and should have next to no-one in KS2 needing phonics teaching (except maybe for those children with significant learning problems or who are recent immigrants).

I'd be interested to hear what the teacher says to you!

mathsconundrum Thu 13-Dec-12 22:42:57

DD has been in a lower guided reading group because she's shy (teacher thought it would help her confidence if she was in this group). It's the story of mine and dd's life shyness being mistaken for lack of progress. Now, after a meeting with the head, dd's in higher reading group and loving the challenge.
For each swimming level I've had to have the swimming coordinator separately assess her because teacher has mistaken shyness for lack of swimming confidence. And hardly any lines in school nativity because teacher didn't perceive her to be confident enough. DD was so disappointed as she'd have loved to have had a bigger part.

simpson Thu 13-Dec-12 22:48:38

What is sounds write??

I read with yr4 kids in my DC school and read with 10 kids today and none of them knew what I would consider basic phonics tbh and were reading books easier than my reception DD.

I know that I was asked to read with the struggling readers though (and yes, they will read/have already read with their teacher too this week).

Personally, I have no problem with streaming phonics within each year group but to put yr6 alongside much younger kids really cannot do the yr6 kids any favours re self esteem etc...

My DC school have achieved 84% level 4 in yr6 for the last couple of years....

Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 22:58:07

84%, so not far off the 20% that maizie sees struggling........things are going wrong are they not simpson if you have 10 Y4 kids reading at less than average Y2 level? Presuming they all don't have SEN. The school I mean?

Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 22:59:34

Which is why the phonics test and the NC levels were introduced, to higher expectations and to say "this is not good enough". Oh dear, think I am climbing onto my horse. Better sign off and go to bed grin.

Tgger Thu 13-Dec-12 22:59:57

I don't really like either, but I hate low expectations more.

learnandsay Thu 13-Dec-12 23:01:23

16% at 3a would still be 84% level 4 and that 16% wouldn't be struggling to read picture books.

mam29 Thu 13-Dec-12 23:01:35

Mathscondundrum that sounds really worrying how childs personality can hold them back acedemically or limit opportunities based on perception.

I will ask and report back.

year 6 sats level 4 last couple years is 86%

I dont know how many year 6s are in lower phonics groups
theres only 20 of them. the year 6/5taught in mixed classse and some year 4 with year 5s.

All I can say is its widened daughters freindship groups and she seems to enjoy it more than when she was just in yearly groups.

simpson Thu 13-Dec-12 23:30:57

I don't know if any of these kids have SEN.

I definately think a child's personality can impact on how they do at school (certainly in the earlier years).

DS is very shy and quiet (although as he has got older he has improved). It was so bad that his first parents eve in reception his teacher made me cry blush although I managed to get out of the building first!!!

He would not answer questions in class even if he knew the answer because he was afraid of getting it wrong sad

He was reading really well at home but it not feel confident to read as well at school (took me a while to work this out tbh).

But his fab teacher he had in yr2 (although only for the first term as she left the school) saw through his shyness and lent me books from her own kids collection and worked on his confidence etc and now in yr3 he is doing well (although still quiet and his teacher now works on getting him to smile more and even when he is enjoying himself he looks like it is torture -I saw this at sports day!!)

DD on the other hand, does not shut up and the school have quickly picked up on how bright she is but I do think a lot of that is because she is so confident...

maizieD Thu 13-Dec-12 23:59:55

OK, but I'm trying to understand why a fifth of Maizie's pupils have no obvious signs of SEN (ESL?) and a significant proportion of them are nevertheless struggling to read picture books at age eleven/twelve. They sound almost like adolescents who have never seen a book before.

If you can't understand it, lands, it is because you have never worked with children who struggle with reading at secondary school and you don't understand how powerful teaching by phonic principles is and how much not teaching by phonic principles can impair children's reading skills.

The bit about 'struggling to read picture books' is a figment of your imagination.

It is extraordinary that it should be assumed that children who haven't learned to read competently are SEN. Most of them are perfectly able children (maybe not as highly intelligent as MN dcs, but still quite able). Perhaps if people had actually worked with these children, instead of assuming that their experience of attempting to teach their own child makes them an expert on 'reading' and reading related problems they might actually believe that I know what I am talking about.

Apologies for ranting, but when I come home every day after working with poorly taught children and have to fight my corner on MN over the necessity for good phonics teaching right from the start, for all children because you don't know which ones are going to be damaged until they actually are damaged, I, just occasionally, get cross about it grin

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 06:43:24

"OK, but I'm trying to understand why a fifth of Maizie's pupils have no obvious signs of SEN (ESL?) and a significant proportion of them are nevertheless struggling to read picture books at age eleven/twelve. They sound almost like adolescents who have never seen a book before."

I suspect like many children they have seen lots of books over the years but have never worked out how to read the words. They will have been told to look at the picture, to look at the first letter,to remember lists of useful words like Biff, Chip, Floppy, a, the, said ... but they won't have been taught what to do if they meet a new word beyond stare at it until an adult gets fed up and tells you.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 09:27:35

Yes, Maizie, you're right. If one fifth of my eleven/twelve year old pupils didn't know how to read I wouldn't have the first clue what to do about it. I think I'd sit in the middle of the group and cry. You did say further up the forum that "many of them had become experts at guessing the words from the pictures," or words to that effect. So, since we're talking about Y7 I thought you were explaining that you were reading picture books with Y7. (I don't know what you're doing. I've never seen it.)

mrz, that description of Look & Say isn't one that I recognise. Apart from my brothers, who went to a Montessori nursery, (discounting today's children) I've never known anybody, except my sister who couldn't read. And to the best of my knowledge none of the people I know well have been taught to read using phonics. The reading that I know doesn't involve staring at a word until some angry adult tells you what it is! It involves making words with wooden letters, reading rhymes, reading favourite books. having words written on walls, spelling, playing word games, reading Ladybird books, Janet & John, Dick & Dora (or whatever those books were called.) The Cat in the Hat, and endless other books. It's a happy time. In my sister's case her pre-school life was chaotic. I can't help but think that if most of Mazie's 20% had gone through the same Look & Say process that I went through most of them if they had no SEN would have learned to read. If the environment is nurturing stable and has learning to read as a serious goal, as mine had, I fail to see why it can not be successful. It was in my case and in the case of so many others. I'm not discounting phonics as a great way to teach. But I don't see blaming other teaching methods as being correct. They may or may not be partially responsible. I don't know. But I'm willing to bet that there are far more significant features than teaching methods to blame for intelligent children not being able to read.

maizieD Fri 14-Dec-12 09:47:36

Oh dear, lands. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at your last post confused

ninani Fri 14-Dec-12 09:52:13

learnandsay you mentioned impoverishment, immigrant background (as far as I can remember so forgive me if I am a bit inaccurate!) as your guess for underachievement.

Last year I read the report of a local secondary. It said that the school was making steady progress. However, the students who didn't make any progress at all, especially in literacy were WHITE BRITISH. According to another local primary school's report the students making the best progress were of Black African and Pakistani background. Also how many times haven't we read about excelling Chinese students in free school meals? It seems that quite a lot of immigrants have high expectations of their children expecting them to become doctors, lawyers, engineers taking full advantage of free (certainly not universities any more sad ) good quality education in this country along with good prospect of finding such jobs.

Unfortunately what a lot of local people do here is blame the immigrants for taking their jobs while they do nothing to encourage their children to try hard apart from walking their dog in the morning sad

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 09:58:35

ninani, I think the phrase you're referring to was "from communities with low academic expectations." I did mention (ESL?) That was trying to get somebody to suggest well known reasons for the 20% struggling. I had no idea if the pupils had ESL or not. Maizie did already say they did not have SEN.

To be honest, unless somebody gives me more than generalisations I'm never ever going to get my head around this 20%. I just don't get it, not by a long way. (I know Maizie's going to shout at me again.) But I don't get it. I really don't. And there has to be more to it than lack of phonics. There has to be something about the way these children are being brought up. There has to be.

SoundsWrite Fri 14-Dec-12 10:26:02

You may not get it, Lands, but it's there and it's been there ever since I began teaching in the seventies.
Everything that mrz and Maizie say chimes exactly with my experience - a huge long tail of underachievement and children who constitute that tail who can't read and write because of the multiplicity of maladaptive strategies taught them by teachers who don't know how to teach reading and spelling.
Amongst the SENCos of large secondary schools who attend our trainings, they report the enormous numbers of children entering Y7 with reading ages lower than their chronological ages. Over 60% is not unusual. Of course, not all of those children will struggle. The commonly agreed reading age required to cope with a secondary curriculum is about 9:6 (though that's hardly anything to write home about). Naturally, the number of children who have reading ages below 9:6 is lower than 60% - anything from around fifteen percent to as much as thirty plus percent depending on area. And, what do we see in these children, all the things that mrz highlights.
You might also ask yourself why you never come across people who are illiterate. You see I don't either in my social life. In my professional life as a teacher, a teacher trainer, and a tutor, until recently, of early years students on a degree course, I see this kind of thing all the time.
I'll never forget the woman who rang me about her husband, who couldn't read. Every time they went to a restaurant, she would read the menu to him by saying things like, "Hmmm. I don't know whether to have the soup or the salad to start. Or, should I have the XXX?" of course, in this way, he was making a choice without losing face. He'd also go to work every day with a copy of a red top and pretend to read it. He was so embarrassed about his plight, she couldn't persuade him even to come for a consultation.
In other words, people who can't read and write very well or not at all go to enormous lengths to hide it!

CecilyP Fri 14-Dec-12 10:53:50

I think what lands is asking and still nobody is answering is that why are those particular children part of that 20% and not part of the other 80%. Why does a 'multiplicity of maladaptive strategies' effect them but not the other children? If they have no SEN, no ESL, there must be something.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 11:03:34

I don't think a forum is really the place for these sorts of issues because a glib answer to the 80/20 divide is: the 80% were taught well with phonics before they reached Y7 and the 20% were not.

But that's just lip moving. It doesn't actually address any of the issues in the 20%'s lives. And they can't be addressed in a forum like this, (I don't think.)

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 11:03:55

My stepson 14 year 10 his readings poor.

he reads in similar way to my 6year old

guessing words
sounding them out
really slow.

he hates reading

spellings hes forever asking us how to spell simple words that if sounded out phonetically should be fairly not sure if hes just lazy or really bad.

I have known his since he was 5

on weekends we had him we tried all sorts even offered to pay for tutor.

he was very naughty boy in primary
he got into good secondry but blew that ended up in social exclusion unit for a year where from sound of it dident do much academic.

when he was year 6 did reading test online he was at same stage as 6year old. he can read just very weak i cant even imagine he could read a harry potter book. he loves computer games, going out with mates hes just not bothered.

his mum keep saying hes dyslexic but this not been formally recognised.

the factors here he lives on rough predominantly white estate with his mum and step dad who dont care much for school work.

his mum always blamed the school but since spoke to someone else who child went there and said it was good school.

Hes never wanted to he shuts off from very early age any academic word tried games, work booklets the lot I couldent motivate him and part time any progress we made he never kept it up.

Having worked in quite a few white deprived areas can immigrants themselves not the issues many of the the families take education very seriously.

I do think theres issues over resources if school has high esl as lots polish here needing tas but im asumming schools get extra funding to cope with that.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 12:03:42

Bingo, mam29, that's what I've been saying all along! Communities (or at least a family/mum with low educational expectations.)

I don't know how many boys who get excluded, trash school property and have spells in and out of pupil referral units and can't read do later learn to read using either phonics (or any other method(s).

SoundsWrite Fri 14-Dec-12 12:04:10

I don't agree that the issues here can't be addressed, Lands. I think they can. What is more difficult (of course) is how to go about solving the problem. And, by the way, I never said that it was as simple as an 80/20 divide. It's much more complicated than that. Although many children do learn to read to a level that will get them through school, they still aren't necessarily able to read anything, much less spell successfully.
Mam's description of her stepson is typical of many children, an example immediately recognisable to teachers like Maizie who try to rescue them from their illiteracy (and worse!). And, of course pupils like this affect a posture of preferring to go out with their mates/play computer games/etc. because reading is something that they feel they always fail at and why on earth would anyone want to subject themselves to that humiliation.
And, Cecily, maladaptive strategies doesn't just affect the 20%. It affects a lot more than that. What are maladaptive strategies? In the main, guessing. Why? Because teachers tell children to guess when they get stuck on a word. They do this mainly because their training hasn't taught them how to approach errors properly so they tell children to look at the first sound and guess. But, guessing isn't reading!
I would expect any properly trained teacher to be able to intervene successfully every time a child makes an error in their reading and in a way that is positive, by which I mean that the child is also given a chance to learn something for the error. Teachers need to be taught what to do when a child makes a phonic error, leaves out a sound when they're reading a word, reads a /d/ for a /b/ and vice versa, etc, etc.
Obviously, there's much more to teaching reading and spelling than that and it helps if it's done properly in the first place. However, many people on these forums do ask specific questions about the difficulties their children have and, apart from one person I can think of, there are quite a few people who are able to offer advice that works smile.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 12:13:01

Well, quite, soundswrite. I didn't mean the issues can't be addressed in life. What I thought, (until mam29 proved otherwise,) was that we weren't going to get a profile of a 20% child or the 20% children here in the internet forum.

What we had done was just trade generalisations for generalisation and no questions were getting answered. We weren't finding out what it was about the lives of these children that meant that they couldn't read. I wasn't taught to read using phonics. But I'm pretty sure if some of these boys had been learning via Look & Say with me, and they had been reading their Janet & John books and reading the rhymes on the wall with the class, and they had been making the words on the floor with wooden letters, then they would have learned to read just as we did. But instead they're climbing on tables, bunking off school, fighting, biting each other in the corridor. Well, of course they're not learning to read! But that's got bugger all to do with phonics!

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 12:33:57

Of course we feel bad that hes so behind but we cant seem to influence or change his course. His mums always blaming others never taking responsability and lets him do what he wants.

during primary he was in anger managment.very disruptive in class, attacked a teacher, got suspended for 2weeks.

He was assessed for adhd/dyslexia to which hes not got both.
He has no obvious disabilbiloities or anything that would prevent him from doing better. He does what he wants and is bit out control.

I cant blame his primary teachers for struggling with him.

when he got accepted to good 1/3secondries in his town ex gramer most academic they started catch up lessons for him we thourght maybe the other kids good behaviour and work ethic rub off on him.

but he dident he went through extreme naughty behaviour like he wanted to be expelled year 7 and and 8, when we asked his mum she kept saying hes fine.

The pru centre he went to sounded awful. mostly boys, couple of kids from care system, his behaviour got worse when quizzed what work he did we were not really sure.

hes now in comp no 2 with learning support unit but the intake is much mixed deprived than old one so his mates that go there are ones on estate where he lives they all want to do same pointless things. hes very immature for his age and easily led.

He can read just not flunetly so would say hes probably good few years behind his age. hes picked soft options at gcses.

btec hospitality
hes in lower sets for scinece.maths english .
cant remember is 4th option.

havent seem much eveidence of him trying harder due to his bad beahviour not seen him in few months,

Im kind of hoping hes one of few and not many as uk be sad place if so many kids failed but many comps here dont even get 50%a-c pass rate so do wonder whats happening with 50%. my local cmp has 43%pass rate secondries cant perform miracles can they if tehy come from primary so far behind. in states they hold them back a year maybe thats a good thing.

our upbringing, where e live and our childs upbringing/schools very different so hoping outcome be better for mine.

SoundsWrite Fri 14-Dec-12 12:52:22

I think that if these kids had been learning Look and Say with you or with anyone (I don't want to personalise this), there would exactly the same thing we are seeing today because most of the casualties turning up in secondary schools have been taught Look and Say.
The research on the disastrous results produced by whole word approaches is as robust as the theory of natural selection. And, I'll let you into a little secret: when I trained as a teacher, I was encouraged to use Look and Say. I did and every year there were children who hadn't learned to read. Only then, they part of what was though acceptable. It was the kids' fault. Or so everyone maintained.
What opened my eyes was teaching English as a foreign language and having to learn how the sounds of English related to the writing system.
The problem is that there are also phonics programmes around that are very poor and don't do much better than Look and Say, so people get confused.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 12:59:53

I don't want to personalise it either (per se.) I'm just using myself as an example because my Look & Say experience was very positive. And while blaming the child might be an easy get out of jail free card, so too is blaming the teacher or blaming the method that she uses. In fact slinging blame around in all directions is precisely the reason why I said that we're never going to get to the bottom of the 80/20 in an internet forum because it's far far too easy to say:

The reason for the 80/20 is (put your favourite pet hate here). And then press send.

SoundsWrite Fri 14-Dec-12 13:08:42

I'm not at all surprised if your learning experience with Look and Say was positive, Lands. It is for some people and those people go on to read and spell very well indeed, though, as I'm sure you'll agree, it's almost impossible to say whether other extraneous influences are important or even crucial. Actually, sometimes, when I look at the claims made for some phonics approaches, the same can also be said.
I am also careful not to go around 'blaming' teachers either. I think that teachers are such busy people that they don't have time to look at evidence in a detailed way. I've always said that it's a question of training. And training isn't done in the five minutes that many heads seem to think it takes to achieve good results.

choccyp1g Fri 14-Dec-12 13:14:25

Many years ago (in the 70s) my father got a job as a teacher for what they called the ROSLA children. (Ones who would have left at 15, if they hadn't raised the leaving age to 16.) He was supposed to teach a range of useful subject like gardening, basic maths etc.
In the first lesson he said, "anyone who can't read come and have a chat with me after" One girl did, and he showed her how to read by sounding out the headlines in the local paper. Her exact words were "Bloody hell sir, so that's how you do it" Somehow she had got to 16 without realising how the letters (Which she knew, especially in capitals) made the words.
Presumably, she had learnt the letters in infants, and then missed the day when they showed them how to blend, or not got the hang of the "look and say" method they were using then.

maizieD Fri 14-Dec-12 13:58:10

I had no idea if the pupils had ESL or not. Maizie did already say they did not have SEN.

Our school is 99.9% white British. We have currently about 5 ESL pupils (the most we have ever had in the 13 years I have worked there).

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 16:28:28

"^mrz, that description of Look & Say isn't one that I recognise.^" with respect learnandsay how many primary classrooms have you been in during the past decade? The method I'm describing was labelled "Searchlight" and was the method advocated by the National Literacy strategy

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 16:35:17

My understanding was that Searchlights was a mixed methods approach. But I wasn't talking about Search lights I was talking about

"the child just stares at a new word until an adult gets angry and tells them what it is."

That's not a reading methodology. It's not a teaching methodology. I don't recognise it any more than I recognise the description of angry adults crossing offices to correct their colleagues' spelling. If adults are getting angry and telling the children what the words are then they're doing it wrongly regardless of what teaching method they're using.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 16:36:25

The problem with the 20% of children who are being failed is there is no way to identify which child is going to struggle and which child isn't until it happens. They come from all communities, all social and economic backgrounds and they are being failed!

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 16:43:33

That's part of the reason why I'm so pleased with mam29's post, because generalisations don't get this conversation anywhere. It just goes round and round in circles.

In the case of mam29's example we can see why the child can't read and it has nothing to do with phonics.

simpson Fri 14-Dec-12 16:48:47

My best friend is a single parent and is constantly busy (doing errands for people,she is too nice to say no!!) and she works part time. She also has serious health problems ATM.

She has 3 kids (one who is grown up, a teenager and a 7 yr old).

She never listens to her youngest read and she always has a million other things to do (she feels bad about it) and so her daughter is ok (ish) at reading but behind where she should be. Whether this is linked to not getting support,I don't know...

Another mum I know from my DC school believes that it is the schools job to teach her DD(7) and not hers so does not support at home either (her DD is in the bottom phonics group in yr2 and scored 7/40 in her phonics test in yr1). Again, whether this is linked,I don't know....

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 16:54:01

As far as I'm concerned any primary parent who believes that it's the school's job to teach and does the minimum as a result gets what they deserve. And if their children turn out drug dealers on convicts as a result then they've only got themselves to blame.

IWipeArses Fri 14-Dec-12 16:59:33

We're always being told we have to trust the teachers, they're experts etc. it's no wonder people leave it to the school when it's all talked about in such jargon.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:01:26

What jargon IWipeArses? sounds? spellings?

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 17:09:01

The problem with the 20% of children who are being failed is there is no way to identify which child is going to struggle and which child isn't until it happens

Actually Dr Levinson did a trial where he measured the eye tracking ability of 3 year olds, and succesfully predicted, with 95% accuracy, which of them had dyslexia.

He screened 1,500 kids in New York and found that 20% of the had the eye tracking problems that would later cause them to have dyslexia.

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 17:10:32

Eye tracking problems weren't the cause of their dyslexia - eye tracking problems were a symptom of an inner ear problem - which do cause dyslexia.

Of course eye tracking problems certainly made learning to read harder....

maizieD Fri 14-Dec-12 17:12:45

"the child just stares at a new word until an adult gets angry and tells them what it is."

That is not what mrz said, lands. If you don't interpret other people's communications properly how can we have a conversation?

Mrz said: but they won't have been taught what to do if they meet a new word beyond stare at it until an adult gets fed up and tells you.

There's a world of difference between 'fed up' and 'angry'

'Telling' a child a word is one of the key techniques of look & say/mixed methods. It is completely contrary to what we know of how we learn things.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:14:28

But not all the children who fail to read have a physical reason Indigo ..they just haven't been taught.

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 17:19:32

mrz - it's impossible to tell how many kids who struggle to learn to read have a physical reason.

Because nobody ever checks them for physical problems.

They can be both badly taught and have eye tracking problems.

Just because with good teaching they learn to read, doesn't mean they don't have dyslexia.

It just means it will be a few more years (if ever) before their parents realise there's a reason why their child isn't doing well at school and mucks about in class.....

It is totally possible the difference between the 80% who learn easily and the 18% who only learn with excellent teaching is always underlying physical problems.

IWipeArses Fri 14-Dec-12 17:21:58

Jargon such as 'split digraphs' from a thread the other day for a start. grin

Foundation Stage
Phase 1-6 Letters and Sounds
book bands, ort, tricky words over which not everybody agrees apparently etc.

It's specialist knowledge that I had not heard of before I had children. It's a jargon minefield, like any specialism is. It disempowers parents who aren't confident enough to read into it because their own schooling failed them.

And I've read so many threads over the last 5 years where people ask how to teach their pre-schooler, or help their older child to read and are told to leave it to the experts when the child gets to school.
This thread is an example of that.

maizieD Fri 14-Dec-12 17:23:48

That's part of the reason why I'm so pleased with mam29's post, because generalisations don't get this conversation anywhere.

mam29's SS sounds very much like a number of the children I work with. I only have to look at their primary files (or know which school they have come from) to know that their poor reading skills are largely a result of how they were taught...

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:26:49

^ it's impossible to tell how many kids who struggle to learn to read have a physical reason.^

which is what I meant by The problem with the 20% of children who are being failed is there is no way to identify which child is going to struggle and which child isn't until it happens Indigo. Teacher and parents can't predict which child will succeed and which will fail with any degree of certainty ...and yes those early good readers can be among the 20%

maizieD Fri 14-Dec-12 17:27:45

It's specialist knowledge that I had not heard of before I had children.

We've all had to learn it once we had children in the 'system'. It's not hard. Every profession, hobby, sport etc. has its own specialist vocabulary.

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 17:30:53

Teacher and parents can't predict which child will succeed and which will fail - no teachers and parents can't - but other people (like Dr Levinson) can.

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 17:34:14

Dr Levinson's medical centre

Of course he's only one of many people who can tell who's going to have dyslexia before they fail......

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 17:36:32

But. Maizie, mam29 seems to be suggesting that there is another child of whom she knows whose mother is delighted with the education that her child is getting. In a sense that doesn't tell us much. (The other mother might be delighted that her child cant' read either.) But let's suppose that the other child is coming along nicely. Mam29 seems to be suggesting that a number of children are getting the same or a similar education and some are turning out well and others are turning out badly. That makes sense to me.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:43:24

Jargon such as 'split digraphs' from a thread the other day for a start. Would you have a problem with the jargon of "equation" in maths?

Foundation Stage - isn't jargon it's a name just like "IWipeArses" It's called Foundation because everything builds upon it.
Phonics - is a subject just like History or Art
Phase 1-6 Letters and Sounds - is a Government publication
book bands - I suppose they could call them book groups but they went for both words starting with the same letter
ORT - is the name of a published reading scheme

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:45:45

Indigo what do you think is the realistic possibility of Dr Levinson or people like him testing every child in the UK and of course there is the 5% they can't identify ...

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 17:49:21

You don't need to test the ones that are doing well, only the 20% which is not.

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 17:53:05

mrz - With a neurologist I recently tested 15% of a school who were having difficulties learning to read.

All of them had cerebellum and eyesight problems.

The tests we did were easy to administer. There is no reason at all why SENCOs or others couldn't be trained in how to do the 15 minute test we did.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:53:09

As I said earlier not all those early readers continue to read well and some end up as part of the 20% statistic learnandsay.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 17:56:31

But you don't start testing until the children show reading problems. You did ask a straw man question about testing every child in the UK. Depending on the test, I'm sure it's possible. The phonics screening check is going to test every child (of a particular age/stage) in the UK.

But it's not necessary.

Houseworkprocrastinator Fri 14-Dec-12 17:58:17

"As far as I'm concerned any primary parent who believes that it's the school's job to teach and does the minimum as a result gets what they deserve. And if their children turn out drug dealers on convicts as a result then they've only got themselves to blame."

That's a bit harsh. It is the schools job to teach the children regardless of what support they get at home. If a child does not get the support at home it is not that child's fault and the schools have a duty to make sure all children learn not just the ones who have supportive parents.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 17:59:27

I'm not sure how it explains our situation as we achieve between 92-96% level 4s or above for reading and many of those displayed early reading difficulties.

IndigoBelle Fri 14-Dec-12 18:01:41

The test we did was this type of thing.....

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 18:01:58

I have no idea how you do it. But I should imagine that you have a head who's in control of the school. I have heard of some schools where children seem to be allowed to assault both each other and the staff.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 18:14:35

I don't think any school "allows" children to assault other children or staff but assaults happen ...I've been bitten, kicked and punched plenty of times of the years.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 18:22:53

I think some pupils are not interested in learning anything, and are only at school because the law requires them to be there. Some of these children are extremely disruptive and I don't think the teaching methodology makes an iota of difference to that. How does a head deal with these children? I know it's illegal, but it has been reported that heads are sending children home with notices not to return to school, effectively excluding them. I would be one of those heads. Somebody told me about a head who supplied violent children with plimsolls to throw at staff because when they threw their school shoes too many people got hurt. That is a policy which condones assault. I'm certain that order is required in a school before anything can be taught regardless of the methodology being used.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 19:10:46

If only it were that simple learnandsay ...I dare say some schools would be empty. Fortunately there are laws that prevent heads sending children home with notice not to return.

We have excluded one very troubled child as a last resort to try and get him the help he needed in the last 20 years

simpson Fri 14-Dec-12 19:13:44

My DC school have a sanction room to send kids to if they misbehave.

Seems to be working well so far...

IWipeArses Fri 14-Dec-12 20:27:36

mrz, I'm aware of what they all mean now, but they aren't terms one comes across in daily life until your child enters the current system.
We didn't have Foundation Stage when I was a child, I was aware they now had Nursery and Reception, but half the material from school comes with FS1 and FS2. Unnecessarily complicated imo. Having learnt more about the current teaching of reading I can see how it works, but I can only imagine how esoteric it must seem to many parents.

maizieD, school is pretty universal in this country, hardly a minority interest.

learnandsay Fri 14-Dec-12 20:36:14

iwipe, it's probably not necessary to give the different age-groups fancy names. The civil service could just refer to the children by age group. I think in the old days they did do that, or at least by school year. As far as the terminology of phonics goes, is it necessary for parents to know it? I think that depends on how good the teachers that their children have are at speaking in laymen's terms. Some professionals are hopeless at speaking in laymen's terms and, unless they're spouting jargon, seem to feel that they're somehow not doing their jobs properly. (Or maybe they are simply devoid of imagination. Who knows?) Is it possible to get the points across without all the jargon? Yes. Is it likely to happen? Sometimes not.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 20:36:37

Well my school wouldn't mention Letters & Sounds or those stupid phases or ORT or book bands or split digraphs or FS1 or indeed FS2

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 20:55:14

Bit of update for you guys

1stly I was mistake there is 5phonics groups in the school but covers reception to year 3 with coupel struggling year 4s so not upper keystage 2, dident get opportunity to ask what they do wasent relevent.

2nd part about my dd is like ops problem but in reverse yes odd I know.

dd passed phonics test year 1 so in old school was in top phonics group with 15others and taught by class teacher.

shes been assessed in new school and they say shes very good and phonics is in top group so some year 2s and 3s combined maybe 1 or 2 year 4s.

But shes weak at reading.

old teacher said was reading comprension new teacher says fluency and confidence.

Shes starting in jan 1 to 1 intervention with computer programme and ta called rapid read. Anyone heard of this?

We reading every night at home band 6 so variety of publishers ginn level 5, ort 7 , some others and bug club.
We also doing online bug club. I would say her readings ok shes just lacking confidence so glad new school have action plan and not like old school fobbing me off saying everythings fine, butt out dont interfere we dont trust parents or want you to know anything approach.

Also spellings although spelling phonetically shes getting some simple words wrong so shes in small intevention group with few other kids and ta think was called snappy words on how to use phonics and improve spelling.

One dd older freinds at old school was told shes year behind on reading and writing at parents evening other month so think it does happen and she has no special needs infact very similar to mine lacking confidence .My dd felt very upset she was so much lower reading levels and groups compared to many of younger peers in same year group.

As for stepson/

attack on teacher was he scratched her during a row.
he was forver disrupting the class, bored, not trying acting the clown.
His mum of course blamed the teacher and the school itself.

of course hes now year 10 so been 4years since he was at that primary.

Then randomly was talking to cousin other week.

I had forgotton she had lived same town as stepson.

co-incidentally has a stepson slightly different situation to me.

Not sure what happened with his mother think she has issues and gave away custody to childs father.

He had moved a couple of schools when he lived with his mum
then moved in with his dad and my cousin and they moved least 4times so think hes on primary school no 5 or 6even!

Shes implied hes struggling and behind but when i mentioned stepsons old school she talked fondly of it and said it was good but everyone has diffrent priorities and different version of good yet i guess shes been to afew to make fair comparision plus her stepson wasent there long.

As it wales cant even give you any sats for how the school performs.

Interesting to note wales is behind england in educational standards. I grew up in wales went school there and dident like 2/3schools I went to.They dont have huge range of choice we get in more urban areas.

I dont know why in some schools some kids get failed and others do well.I ask my self the question as many of dds freind doing well there but sadly mine dident and since leaving heard more and more stories about the ones who are struggling. maybe parents dont like to talk about it so the problems of poor literacy remain hidden taboo and never openly discussed.

A new girl started from canada in september she hadent done phonics but could read but required phonics intervention. yet her reading level was quite high and she had done 1less school year than uk as no reception.

Maybe diffrerent schools do suit diffrent personalitys.

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 21:27:40

I just thourght I clarify extra detail stepson

his eyesights fine
educational phcholgist says hes not mad attention seeking maybe.
hes not got adhd, dyelexia or any type of autism.

hes been in and out anger management sessions few times think it was ta going through techniques in primary to calm himself down.

The attack on teacher in primary i think was genuine accident gone too far.he did have history of fighting, rowing with other kids and dident appear to have many close freinds.

he lived with his mum and step dad whos been there since he was 3.
his elder half siblings are teen mums , live elsewhere and dident go great academically either.

His mum and step father both work so hes kind of only child so dont see not enough attention being problem.

we have tried to do things with him in time we had him

he has no patiance
does not try
hes no interest in learning or reading

we come to conclusion there so reason why he couldent do better he just cant be bothered and worry at year 10 hes running out o time and will regret in in future.

I have 3kids 1school age and last school had lots homework and often used to hear stressed out mums trying to fit everyones homework in.

Every prospectus, open day or website for schools now seems to include something called home school contract which detemines behaviour and agreement to complete homework but know some parents never do and there doest appear to be any consequences for parents who cant be bothered only things schools orry about is attendance and lateness.

I agree jargon of phnonics phenomes, grenphones, split ee, time words do make it seem complex.

Me and oh learnt through look at say he was 70s child me 80s.

I did leave infants bit behind in maths but could read and write ok by year 3.

When we looked round at schools for our eldest in 2009 she started 2010 one school proudly states how they did jolly phonics like it was something special.

Also people mention phonics and synethetic phonics which is best.

Im not sure how many different phonics programmes there are readwrite and jolly phonics only ones know off top of my head.

Dont they say girls and boy learn differently with boys being more auditry so sounds ie phonics maybe best approach and girls more visual.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 21:35:17

mam29 phonics is about the relationship between sounds and letters so it's auditory and visual hmm

simpson Fri 14-Dec-12 21:44:05

Mam - I do wonder if your DD's other school have something to do with her lack of confidence re reading.

Were you not saying she was obsessed with levels etc?? So it must have knocked her confidence to be on lower levels than her friends. I hope that having a new teacher this term does not hinder her (from a confidence point of view - not a teaching point of view iyswim). I know it took my DS a while to feel confident enough to read well with a new teacher (not so much now,but he is in yr3).

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 22:01:58

thanks simpsons yes most of year 1 and especially summer term she was fixated with levels.

term 1year 2 she was very anxious and worried.

whe tried to raise my concerns was told this is what year 2 like oits important /busy year and need to get them junior standard,

THE Split classes ,erging with younest in year combining again but being ahead and on top table upset her too.

They were in reflection quite negative,
I understand teacher has to differentiate but was very obvious in her class what groups meant what and they had different homework.

Im pleased new school intervening and just looked up this rapid reading scheme looks good ,pleased shes getting some one to one as well as lots reading at home.

its sad new year 2teacher that she likes is leaving end of this term.
so jan she starts year 2 teacher no 3 who will teach her longest but classes, lessons will run same and tas the same.

I did worry a move may set her back but felt her old school was doing nothing and damaging self esteem then was worth risk and socially shes so much happier and teacher said her confidence has grown last couple weeks shes no 2nd oldest in mixed year 1/2class. she as in middle of age and ability of pure year 2 class before.

Teacher said she feels its confidence and she anticipates with intervention she will get upto 2b from 1b by end of year 2.

Im annoyed ith myself i had concerns over reading end reception as told not to worry.

1st parents evening year 1 told everythings fab dont worry.
2nd one few weaknesses doing phonics intevention dont worry.

then end of year 1report july saying shes struggled year 1 and slightly behind in all subjects.

tried to raise it start year 2 told not to worry. in all fairness they may have raised her nc grade but was unsure if her self esteem have been intact by end of year .

hopefully now shes happier
pretty much has fulltime ta in her class compared to old
less truct diffrent style of learning, tesching less formal, more hands on, smaller groups ill all benefit her next year she be in mixed year 2/3class.

I feel sad shes struggled but pleased shes finally getting some extra help.Shame had to leave a school to do that but know i made right decision new school want her to be confident and instill love of reading they not fixated with levels.

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 22:11:48

I think this is 1 of the interventions they using for relating her phonics to spelling-small groups and ta delivering

and this is one to one interevention with ta and computer

keeping pearson going school does online bug club too.

mrs z as teacher do these schemes look good to you?
any experince? the case studies look promising results,

seens odd dds very good phobics top group yet struggling reading and spelling like there been a dis connect somewhere.

totally reverse to op dd who low for phonics but high level reader

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 22:21:02

We use the Rapid Reading books in school and they are very popular I'm not too keen on the computer programme or Sound Discovery but that's just personal preference

IWipeArses Fri 14-Dec-12 22:32:56

Funny you mention Canada mam, I started school in Canada, so had no schooling til I was over 5. Two less years as pretty much everyone sends their child to nursery these days. The first year in Canada is Kindergarten, which was play based, so nothing formal til Year 2. grin

According to the meeting we had with teachers last week the slightly rejigged EYFS standards mean they can now start literacy proper in nursery. confused

mrz, I've a hand out here from another local primary explaining how the children there are taught to use the terms phoneme, grapheme and split digraph.

mrz Fri 14-Dec-12 22:45:51

That's their choice IWipeArses they don't have to.

IWipeArses Fri 14-Dec-12 22:49:23

But they do. Whether or not they have to, they do. And how many others? It's cultural.

mam29 Fri 14-Dec-12 23:10:17

The girl from canada was actually from uk.

she did half term in uk reception then moved due to parents job.
hse then transfered back into beggning of year 2 could read but was loer group and extra help on phonics.

Lack of phonics or less time in school dident stop her from reading.

dds strength in phonics as not helped her become a good reader

guess every childs different.

I never felt like dd lacked capability think it was the learning approach.

so odd in state sector england with nc every schools doing different thingsmaybe the approach has to be catered for demographics abd ability chort of that school or class the pushy aaproach in high performing suburnan leafy primary may not work as well in more mixed inner city primary.

she had youger sibling ho had to start year 1 and skip reception so had never done any school and he was offered extra help too.

dds old school from the very few weeks of 1st term in reception they ere bringing home sounds and reading books.

dds freinds infants dident do any start on reading until after xmas and had no homework policy.its hard to say as infants dident see results but the feeder junior gets very good results.

Thanks mrz for feedback.

im just relieved they identified weakness and have a plan as felt quite worried last 6months over it.

simpson Fri 14-Dec-12 23:22:32

Sounds like the new school is really going to help your DD mam.

My DC HT is canadian. I did not realise they start school later tbh blush not that it makes much difference really as she is working in the UK now obviously. But interesting to know....

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 08:06:28

Quite normal over there to not be reading at 7. (Or at least it was in the 80s, can't speak for now). Two of my non-reading by 7 cousins are professional writers.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 08:51:30

I think you will find things have changed since the 80s IWipeArses after Canada identified a "literacy crisis"
Kindergarten and early interventi on: Ninety per cent of eligible Canadian children attend kindergarten, which is available but not compulsory in all provinces and territories. Kindergarten is the first school-based opportunity for early interventi on with children at risk for reading difficulties.

In the K–3 years, all children should be taught to read in their regular classroom.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 10:45:15

They're still not trying to teach 3/4 year olds to read then.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 11:19:54

If school started later in the UK then we wouldn't be trying to teach three and four year olds to read either.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 13:36:07

No and neither are most teachers in the UK IWipeArses.
learnandsay school in the UK starts the term after the child's fifth birthday earlier than that is up to parents. I seem to recall you started teaching your child 2 years before school?

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 13:40:55

mrz, they learn to read in Reception. Most people send their children to nursery and Reception, where they are taught phonics and given reading books.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 13:49:01

Most children don't start learning to read until reception where there will be a mixture of 4+ and 5+ aged children.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 14:08:20

No matter what age school starts I would always have magnetic letters on the fridge door, wooden numbers and what have you. But I wouldn't call that teaching reading. However, if formal schooling didn't start until seven years, I'm sure I wouldn't start actually teaching my child to read until she was five or so, unless she showed an interest earlier. It's funny. My one year old picks up books, mainly upside down, turns the pages over and says "baba, dada, ggoo, goo, goo" on each page until she's got to the end of the book. Of course she's copying me and her sister when we read the same books. (She thinks she's reading!) I have no idea at what age I'll start teaching her. Her sister learned the abc song at nursery and seemed to have an appreciation of what letters mean. And she had this before I started teaching her. The one year old goes to a different nursery where they don't seem to do any letter and number work. So maybe for the little one teaching will start later. I don't know.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 14:21:35

I wouldn't want my daughter to start school a year after the other children have already formed friendships. Early friendships both in school and in nursery have proved invaluable. Of course there's also a cliquey mums angle which has nothing to do with anything.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 14:53:12

Yup, 4 year olds, as I said. And the Nursery teacher seemed very pleased about the recent changes in EYFS that means she can do more formal work now.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 15:04:05

Then she needs to read it more carefully

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 15:08:24

I have to wonder what percentage of early years teachers stick to the guidelines then. My nephew was doing Jolly Phonics in nursery.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 15:12:50

You seem very unfortunate in your association with "pushy" schools

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 15:13:28

My DD did JP in nursery and the new nursery class this year are starting it after Xmas.

I think it's quite relaxed and learning the songs for it to go with each letter at this stage.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 15:17:43

The other school, the one my nephew attends was traditionally known as the more pushier academic primary, but the smaller one my son attends has been much more formal than I'd been led to believe, since a different, more traditional teacher moved down into early years.
It is very unfortunate. grin

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 15:22:44

"I have to wonder what percentage of early years teachers stick to the guidelines" but they aren't guidelines IWipeArses, they are legal requirements so I would imagine only very foolish teachers are going to knowingly break the law. Of course there are schools were staff are under pressure to rush children and introduce concepts they aren't developmentally able to understand.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 15:28:42

Lots aren't ready at 4 or 5 either though.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 15:35:06

Having taught reception for two decades I would disagree that lots aren't.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 15:37:30

The 'bottom' table in DS class has the most children on it.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 15:40:11

does that mean they aren't ready?

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 15:40:58

I've got to say that would be another negative for the school ...bottom table shock

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 16:27:59

I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure that our school doesn't do anything horrid like have top tables and bottom tables. But if it did that would sure be an incentive for me to prep my child at home. Would you want your child sitting at the bottom table?

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 16:54:19

Not sure what they have in reception but from yr1 onwards they are put onto ability tables.

The children are not told but work it out pretty quickly (who is where - well DS did anyway grin)

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 17:00:05

We don't have ability tables in any year group and children move tables lesson to lesson (or even activity to activity)

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 17:01:42

The bottom table blows goats really badly. What's that all about?!!

mam29 Sat 15-Dec-12 17:31:51

im not sure about reception dont think that was set.
I dident realise about tables until half way through year 1
at end of year 1was told dd bottom table.
she started year 2 on bottom table really made her feel rubbish as .lot of her freinds were on higher tables.

new school doesnt really do bottom /top tables within class although its mixed year 1/2 so all year 2 sit together. but some things like guided reading, phonics and handwriting is ability set but much more discreet and less competative amongst the children than old school was.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 17:41:17

I think some of the teachers should be made to sit on the bottom table for a few months and let's see how they feel about it.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 19:02:18

I'd love to sit on the bottom table (if I had one) it would be a change from standing all day grin but seriously I think teachers often feel they are "on the bottom table" by articles in the press, statements from good old Mr Gove and parents. Apparently I'm a bad teacher because I let a child wear her wellies all day hmm

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 19:20:08

I can't speak much about Mr Gove because I don't know much about him beyond the fact that he's presiding over education in a period where half of the system seems to be taking the other half to court which is so bizarre that if it wasn't so sad it would be funny.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 19:45:44

Who said that about the wellies?!

It's not called the bottom table, all the tables are named for animals, but it's obvious which table is the top table and which is the bottom. Not too sure about the other two tables.

sittinginthesun Sat 15-Dec-12 19:50:31

Mrz - sorry, another question. smile

One of the things my ds likes about the ability groups, is he is usually working with children who are at a similar level, and are focussed on their work.

So, in maths, for instance, he sits with a boy who he works very well with. They enjoy the work, and bounce off each other.

In subjects such as history etc, they mix the tables up. I do agree this is fine, but the children do moan if they are sitting next to a child who messes about, and doesn't enjoy the subject.

Also, how do you get around the situation where a child who is working at year 6 level is sitting with a child who is at year 3 level? Does this not demoralise them more than having separate groups? I'm not sure half the children in the class are fully aware of the spread of ability at the moment.

Just wondering how you manage it?

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 19:51:51

The mother of a child in my class in her letter of complaint

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 20:00:51

Just because they are sitting together doesn't mean they are doing identical work. The level 3 child may have resources to support their work or they may use different methods of recording, the teacher will use questioning aimed at each child's ability and done well it shouldn't be obvious to anyone.
Last week I was observing in KS2 and in one lesson the Y6 class moved groups/partners 3 times. The whole lesson was slick and the children were buzzing and not a single disruption they aren't allowed.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 20:22:22

If the teacher is imaginative I'm sure even the silliest boy can focus. For example if he's only interested in dinosaurs, soldiers or aeroplanes then he can be working on one of those subjects in his history lesson.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 20:32:14

I'm afraid not learnandsay

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 20:34:39

Oh no? Why not?

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 20:41:03

In yr2 they have to cover The Great Fire of London so all the pupils do the same thing...

My DC teachers probably wouldn't know what floats my kids boats outside of school as they have set things to teach (not so much for DD as she is in reception).

I also know that yr1 were learning about Florence Nightingale the other week when I was reading with some of them.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 20:46:08

because it's unlikely you are going to have level 6 and level 3 in a Y2 class more likely Y6

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 20:53:21

Also if my some miracle there was a level 5or6 child and a level 3 child in the same class (say yr3 - unlikely but just as an example) both kids would be interested in learning about the Romans and Myths and Legends (which is what DS has done in yr3).

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 20:57:37

According to Pepys' diary, on the orders of the king, Lord Arlington and the Duke of York had soldiers pulling houses down in order to create a wind break in order to stop the fire from spreading. (It didn't work.) Soldiers and their work is a constant thread throughout civilisation. I'd rather have a child who knew much about soldiers, their families and livelihoods throughout history than one who only had a patchy grasp of history or no grasp of it at all.

sittinginthesun Sat 15-Dec-12 20:59:21

Sorry, I was thinking of my son's year 4 class - and was talking about years rather than levels.

I totally get it with history etc. I'm just wondering about maths. If a child is working on measuring area on 3D shapes, and is sitting with a child who is struggling with the basic concept of measurement, or a child measuring area on 2D shapes, surely they would see what the other children on their table were doing, and compare? Would this be better or worse than working in a separate group?

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:08:06

They don't have to do the same work just because they are at the same table. At the end of the lesson both children can explain what they did in their task.

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 21:08:23

Sittinginthesun - I do agree with you on that point. Things like phonics, guided reading, literacy and numeracy should be streamed IMO as then the child is working alongside kids at their level.

I would hate my child to be with some high flying kids sitting near her, to make her feel she was not coping sad

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 21:10:34

And yes numeracy could have one group of kids learning to recognise their numbers, one group of kids doing number bonds to 10 and another group doing number bonds to 100 all within one lesson.

Not quite sure how a literacy lesson(or phonics) could be differentiated though...(sure it can,it's just that I am not a teacher obviously!!)

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:13:37

Fire of London would possibly be taught in Y1 or 2 learnandsay
but older children have to be taught other skills

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:19:29

Which other skills? Reading from Pepys' diary is reading from a primary source. I'd be interested if there's any primary school aspect of history which can't be studied through the lens of soldiers and their families.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:22:49

it's too narrow a focus

sittinginthesun Sat 15-Dec-12 21:25:48

Learnandsay - with any luck, you'll love the history teaching in primary. I don't know a single child who doesn't enjoy the topic work. Tudors, Egyptians, Aztecs, Space Race (not many soldiers on the moon wink). It's all mixed in with art, literacy, dance as well as the factual stuff. They lap it up.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:28:47

As I said before, I'd rather have a child know a lot about soldiers and their families throughout history (if said child was only interested in soldiers) than refuse to engage in history lessons. And, no, if the soldiers' upbringings, surroundings, family fortunes, their medical treatments, their diets, their transportation, accommodation, their pensions, their rewards and recognitions throughout history are all taken into consideration it needn't be a narrow focus at all. Soldiers and their families are people. They had interesting and varied lives and those lives can be used (admittedly by an imaginative teacher) as a leaver to allow a narrowly focussed child to examine a wide variety of circumstances.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:31:40

It's like saying a child is interested in addition so lets not bother with multiplication, division, subtraction, shapes, measure, data handling, coordinates etc

mam29 Sat 15-Dec-12 21:32:04

I dont think dd has done great fire of london.

year 1 she did project on ireland.

History as castles. which shes repeating again in new school as mixed yera 1/2 class and they rotate topics every other year.

also new school call it a thematic curriculum all linked.

only science, numeracy and literacy are taught as stand alone subjects.

they dont calle the top/bottom tables but as told by her old teacher yes shes at bottom.

they were shapes or colours. new schools has animals.
new school also encourages floor work.

its very informal and hands on learning.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:32:25

Not many soldiers on the moon. Too true. But the race to land on the moon was locked up in the Cold War and the race to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, (soldiers again.)

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:33:53

We did Space this term in Y1 and I've taught Aztecs/Mayan linked to Chocolate in Y2 and

sittinginthesun Sat 15-Dec-12 21:37:18

DS's teacher said the best thing about the Aztecs was the chocolate.

We actually had a homework to make hot chocolate. grin

sittinginthesun Sat 15-Dec-12 21:39:47

Actually, thinking about it, Rainforests was all about chocolate too...

Our school's take on history and geography is an alternative to soldiers I suppose.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:41:40

It's like saying a child is interested in addition so lets not bother with multiplication, division, subtraction, shapes, measure, data handling, coordinates etc

I don't think that it is, because every period in the history of civilisation has had its soldiers and by including their families the pupil is able to examine both civilian and military life in any period of history. (Also much of western history is recorded by great soldiers or their biographers.)

In the case of addition, if I had a child who for some unknown reason, was obsessed with addition and refused to consider any other form of calculation then I'd try to express as much of the problem as possible in terms of addition. It could be done in terms of repeated addition for multiplication. Division could be seen in terms of adding sufficient quantities of the divisor together. I don't know how the pupil would react to a remainder. I can't think of how coordinates would be handled in terms of addition, but I have ideas for shapes, data handling and measurement.

IWipeArses Sat 15-Dec-12 21:42:57

You could teach quite a lot through the medium of chocolate. If one was so inclined.

simpson, the problem with streaming, is that the children will be aware of who sits on what table and that they do that for a reason. Rather than having their individual quirks, all the children are pigeon-holed. They are aware of the differences, in nursery they all knew which children still wore nappies.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:45:35

I linked chocolate to rainforests, fair trade, advertising, design and senses.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:47:09

sittinginthesun the obsession with soldiers is a hypothetical situation about teaching an imaginary child history if his only interests are soldiers, dinosaurs and aeroplanes. And said child, if he is not engaged will insist on disrupting the class and creating havoc.

I believe it's possible to teach a child enough history to have a very wide-ranging understanding of different periods in history and the historical timeline by concentrating on soldiers and their families.

Feenie Sat 15-Dec-12 21:48:30

hmm Have you been drinking, learnandsay? grin

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:53:53

Cheers, Feenie. What's the matter? Have you some aversion to soldiers?

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 21:54:34

"the obsession with soldiers is a hypothetical situation about teaching an imaginary child history if his only interests are soldiers, dinosaurs and aeroplanes. And said child, if he is not engaged will insist on disrupting the class and creating havoc." and teach him that disrupting the class is rewarded by doing something he wants to do rather than what all the other children are doing ...good life skill

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 21:59:24

I'm not sure that that's true because I thought I'd diverted him early on. Initially he didn't want to study history at all, because

"history is boring!"

Thump, thump, whack, whack.

So what do you like?
Aeroplanes, soldiers and dinosaurs.

Well, in the Great Fire of London the soldiers pulled down the houses....

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 22:03:24

Mrz - exactly, the child needs to learn that sometimes they learn things as a group rather than what floats the invidual childs boat iyswim.

It is up to each teacher to make the lessons appealing.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:03:33

"^ Initially he didn't want to study history at all, because^

"history is boring!"

Thump, thump, whack, whack.

"So what do you like?"

thump, thump, whack, whack

Feenie Sat 15-Dec-12 22:06:44

What you're suggesting though is actually limiting a child's learning, learnandsay. Not something most teachers would be comfortable doing.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:07:13

Well, yes. I can't see how that one is going to turn out well!

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:08:56

Maybe, Feenie. But at least we're studying soldiers. Before that we were having some kind of a fight. It's progress of a sort.

Feenie Sat 15-Dec-12 22:11:08

I can see why you think that. But it really wouldn't be a good thing for the child.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:12:40

And a better alternative is what?

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:13:09

and the child at the back of the class thinks to him/herself he gets to do what he likes for being naughty hmm think I'll try that

Feenie Sat 15-Dec-12 22:15:04

To gently open up the child's horizons - by many means, but not by colluding with him to see that you can always get your own way if you really want to. It's not a helpful lesson, and the lack of meaningful learning does him more of a disservice really.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:15:23

not letting the child thump thump whack whack in the first place

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:18:23

Possibly, mrz. I suppose it depends on what we mean by do what he likes. We're studying the Great Fire of London. Initially the child doesn't want to join in. But now he's joining in because soldiers played an important role in trying to manage the fire. So he's joining in as a normal member of the class. Sounds OK to me.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:19:33

And how do we stop him thumping and whacking?

Feenie Sat 15-Dec-12 22:19:34

For now!

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 22:27:49

If he is in yr2 and learning the Great Fire of London, he should already know that he cannot thump and whack at school.

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 22:29:44

It's like teaching a child thats its ok to have a hissy fit and they will get their on way....

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:31:17

OK, but this is a hypothetical child. Let's suppose his mother has just moved him from the school where the headmistress supplied violent children with plimsolls to throw at staff. And he has no idea that attacking his teachers is wrong!

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:32:07

by what he likes I mean "soldiers" only child 2 only likes moshi monsters and power rangers ...
A gentle reminder of the consequences if he continues thumping and whacking and a few minutes to consider his options out of thumping and whacking distance

Feenie Sat 15-Dec-12 22:32:13

Takes wine off learnandsay.


learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:38:44

But surely the easiest option out of whacking and thumping distance is to stare out of the window and not do any boring history.

I'd struggle with moshi monsters and power rangers, but try to offer outlaws, mythical monsters and heroes as a substitute. But if it absolutely had to be moshi monsters and power rangers I think I'd be defeated.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:41:40

Or, rather than give up straight away, I'd try to place a power ranger in the role of the Duke of York in Pudding Lane commanding the soldiers to pull the houses down. If that idea fell flat on its face then I'd consider defeat.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:44:41

Staring out the window is rewarded by doing the work in his own time so no breaks

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:46:56

No breaks?! Gimme my ffin break, you
thwack, thwack.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:48:18

no break for the rest of the week

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 22:50:12

Just you try and stop me going out!
thwack, crunch!!

What are you lot staring at?!!

Crack, crunch.

Haberdashery Sat 15-Dec-12 22:54:15

The thing is, learnandsay, that if you have to go to the lengths of bringing power rangers and Moshi Monsters into it you've basically lost the battle before you've started. The great fire is not actually boring or engaging material.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:54:25

You've not been in many primary schools have you learnandsay

Haberdashery Sat 15-Dec-12 22:55:16

Sorry - that should say UNengaging.

mrz Sat 15-Dec-12 22:57:25

The best way to win them over is to make it so good they think they are missing out ...

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 23:07:39

Haberd, you're probably right. But let's just say for a hypothetical moment that we've got children who have trouble communicating and have very few interests. (That's not unreasonable. They do exist.) And let's just say that I'm having a deal of difficulty getting one child to study the Great Fire because he says that he couldn't give a monkeys about the ffin fire. Ultimately I agree with him, actually. It happened a long time ago and won't affect his life in any way. I can't see how I would persuade him that he should care about it. But what if studying it was fun for him? (Given that his communication skills are pretty limited.) What if he could see, from his knowledge of the heroics of the power rangers and the equal heroics of the Duke of York, that the things that he admired in his plastic toys were also qualities in real people. (Which is one of the goals of teaching history.)

mrz, no. I haven't been in all that many schools. But I do know that heads want to expel more pupils than the law allows and I also believe (if one can believe what one reads on mumsnet) that one headmistress supplies shoes to throw at staff. So, at some point, the violent unresponsive pupil has to be faced. And ultimately how that encounter goes will be determined by the policy of the head.

Haberdashery Sat 15-Dec-12 23:22:36

There are 29 other children in the class, 27 of whom are at least tolerating the great fire without power rangers and 10 of whom would positively resent the introduction if power rangers.

Haberdashery Sat 15-Dec-12 23:23:23

Of. Bloody phone.

learnandsay Sat 15-Dec-12 23:32:22

I don't know. Presumably the children are familiar with one another and they know by now that Jonny Foster (who has communication difficulties) only talks about moshi monsters and power rangers. (These children have been together for anything up to three years by now.) So, to them, the teacher explaining how the Duke of York (or said power ranger) stepped in and managed the fire would have become a normal aspect of the teacher's communication with Jonny Foster. The other children know perfectly well that the power rangers didn't help to manage the fire. They're also happy studying the topic properly. But Jonny Foster isn't. That's the point.

simpson Sat 15-Dec-12 23:59:15

But tbh the teacher should not be bringing in stuff that didn't happen (I know you are just giving an example) but it is the teachers job to make the lesson exciting.

DS's class has some challenging kids (one of whom takes himself off to a corner to poo in his pants, another who plots how he can escape from the school on a daily basis) but they all loved their history lessons because it was made exciting for them (talking about when DS was in yr2 last year)...

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 00:08:30

Ok. If the lessons are so exciting that Jonny Thwacker and Jonny Foster can be engaged and involved without including nonsense about moshi monsters (and not so nonsensical info about soldiers,) then that's all to the good. I can't help thinking that there are some pupils that are unengageable regardless of the tactics used. If I was the head I would set about not only having them removed

simpson Sun 16-Dec-12 00:25:42

You would want young kids (age 6 or so removed from a school??) shock

These kids for whatever reason need the school possibly more than most kids as they may have troubled home lives or whatever and they need school.

Trust me,one of the kids I mentioned earlier was beating my child on a daily basis for 6 weeks (lesson to him to tell me/ teacher,lesson to teacher - notice when my DC behaviour suddenly got worse,lesson to me to pay more attention sad). But once we (the school and me) had got to the bottom of it, they sorted it quickly...I would never ask for the bully child to be removed(just the school to deal with the situation - which they did).

This was all at the beginning of yr2 and we have never had another problem and he is currently in yr3.

simpson Sun 16-Dec-12 00:26:09

Sorry for lack of spaces, iPad not happy hmm

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 07:55:20

We don't remove children from class but keeping a child near to me or at a table at the side of the class would prevent them injuring other children in your scenario.

learnandsay Sun 16-Dec-12 08:47:29

I'm not saying Jonnys Foster & Thwacker don't need school desperately. But what I am saying is (a) do they know that? (b) Somebody posted about a child throwing scissors across the classroom. If my daughter had her eye put out because somebody didn't remove Little Jonny Thwacker from the school at the point that they should have done....


mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 08:55:30

learnandsay it isn't easy to remove a child from school (unless you work in Jabed's school on the Education forum)

mrz Sun 16-Dec-12 08:57:35

as for throwing scissors and giving children plimsolls to throw those are extremes not everyday occurrences but obviously the ones that make headlines

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 17-Dec-12 10:05:11

What if your dd was the one who threw the scissors, lands?

What action would you expect the school to take then?

learnandsay Mon 17-Dec-12 10:24:36

Remove her from the school. A child who throws scissors has no business being there.

learnandsay Mon 17-Dec-12 10:29:37

My daughter has children's scissors and she brings them to her parents to be put up high or put on the dining table when her one year old sister is around the house because she knows that her sister could have an accident with them. So if she was throwing scissors across a classroom not only would she know that that was wrong but she would also know why it was wrong. If she knowingly did something that bad then school is the wrong place for her.

B4r4joon Mon 17-Dec-12 12:06:43

The teacher came back after been sick since our meeting last Tuesday!!! Smiled at me, I did too at the morning dispatch today, and asked her if she is better now.... with all the discussions going on here, it feels very awkard seeing her...It feels a broken relationship/partnership...!!! My daughter was happy to see her, and had already made a Get Well Soon Card for her...I have to work on her shattered self-steem, alongside Phonics Phases. She keeps telling me NO, IT IS NOT, whenevr I tell her wow, this is brilliant work, or you are doing very well!!!!...

learnandsay Mon 17-Dec-12 12:43:08

b4r4, can your daughter tell you why she thinks something is not good? Can she show you something that she thinks is good, and can she tell you why she thinks one is good and the other is not? (That's pretty advanced stuff. Lots of adults struggle with explaining subjective judgements, and with good reason.) But, if she doesn't (or doesn't seem to have) any real views on what is good and what isn't and why, it's possible that she's using

wow, that's brilliant!
No it isn't.
Yes it is.
No it isn't.

as an automatic dialogue, rather than genuinely feeling that her work isn't any good. That may not say much about the work but more about how she's feeling in general. If I suspected that about my daughter then I'd do activities with her which had nothing to do with school work. I'd do things which she took natural delight in.

B4r4joon Mon 17-Dec-12 13:06:26

Will, do for sure, but what makes me connect the whole thing, is that she was not like this is only recently, that she feels like that. I hope it is just a phase...

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 17-Dec-12 17:27:39

B4r4 I find it's often helpful to be really specific with praise - they seem to take it in more eg "That's really brilliant" can easily be an off the cuff remark, but if you say "Wow, that looks like you've worked hard" - and then add a particular comment eg "you've made the story very funny," OR "it 'exploded' (or other example from their story) - what a good way of describing it, that sounds very exciting!"

If they are feeling sensitive, then don't go too over the top with praise as they won't believe you if they feel as though they are struggling. Just find one thing that seems great to you and focus on that. Hope she's feeling more confident soon.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 17-Dec-12 17:55:25

So a child who throws scissors should be removed from the school lands?

For how long do you propose?

And what should be done for the rest of their school life, do you think?

Just intrigued as to where you're going with this one....

B4r, there's a general truism with praise that says that you praise the effort rather than the outcome. The effort is the part that the child can affect by their own behaviour, whilst the outcome is sort of less in their control. It's more than 'it doesn't matter how you do as long as you do your best' and more like 'I can see that you've worked really hard at making sure that all your sentences start with capitals. That writing looks really grown up' etc.


learnandsay Mon 17-Dec-12 19:03:50

yellow, I'll join you in another thread for that topic if you like.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 17-Dec-12 20:35:59

I await with interest....

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