Why would a teacher do this?

(60 Posts)
numbum Sun 13-Oct-13 22:02:36

Before I post, I want to say I will be speaking to DD's teacher but wanted to make sure there wasnt an obvious reason for the teacher's actions (hence posting here!)

Y2 DD is able. Reading level 15/16 from school plus her own choice of books from the library. Writing had just reached a L3 at the end of Y1. Maths, she is on the G&T register but I think its in a low ability class and she is around a level 2b/2a.

Over the weekend she has been very quiet, crying over silly little things and refusing to do her homework for the first time ever. I finally managed to get her to talk this evening and she said she couldnt do her homework, is rubbish and 'has a mind that doesnt work as quickly as others'. On further questioning it seems as if she's been moved to sit on the SEN table.

She has told me who she is now sat with and I know they are the SEN children.

Why would her teacher move her to this table?

Periwinkle007 Sun 13-Oct-13 22:20:38

I would hazard a guess it is possibly that she is so far ahead of the others the teacher has put her there to give her different work? Is her homework suddenly harder?

OldRoan Sun 13-Oct-13 22:29:05

I agree it sounds like it could be to simplify giving her different work.

Is she particularly chatty/were the children on her table particularly chatty? Might the teacher have mixed the tables round a bit to try and stop cliques forming?

Might she be about to start a project and the teacher will be moving them all to mixed ability tables?

I think you are right to talk to the teacher. The teacher needs to be aware that your DD is upset and to reassure her and you about the reasons for changing tables.

numbum Sun 13-Oct-13 22:34:20

No her homework is still the same level.

I know there was some maths work she managed to do that the rest of her table struggled with but she isnt hugely ahead of the rest of the class (based on what other parents say).

She is a teacher pleaser at school and, as far as I know, isnt chatty. She flits between friends so not in a clique really.

They may have been pairing ha & la children to do certain activities?

numbum Sun 13-Oct-13 22:39:32

But she's the only HA child on a table of LA girlsyearapart and nobody else has moved tables (according to DD)

I'm not overly concerned. I'm sure there is a reason! Its baffling me more than worrying me

cece Sun 13-Oct-13 22:40:40

There are so many reasons why children are seated where they are - it's best to speak with her teacher. Not really much point in strangers speculating on here!

BrigitBigKnickers Sun 13-Oct-13 22:40:53

Ofsted now want to see evidence of how higher ability children are stretched and that they should come under the wing of the SENco. Could it be that the TA who works with the SEN children has been asked to encourage your DD too?

Or was it simply that she wanted them to work with different children. Sometimes bright children can gain valuable skills by explaining their thinking to others.

How long has she been on this table? Could it have been a one off?

cansu Sun 13-Oct-13 22:42:40

Maybe there has been a change around generally? maybe your dd was sitting there for one activity or one session? Maybe the teacher is trying to give a boost to one of the other children and therefore your dd needed to move temporarily?maybe there is a friendship issue she is dealing with? There could be several reasons. I am also a bit surprised that the children are always seated by ability in maths and English. Surely the children with SEN do not always sit together? why would your dd suffer from sitting with some less able children?

numbum Sun 13-Oct-13 22:47:38

cece my first paragraph was written because I knew someone would say what you have said. I WILL speak to her teacher but wondered if I was missing something obvious.

I didnt say she would suffer cansu. If she is the only more able child sat with lower ability children I'm sure there is a reason. I just want to know what that reason is

Ihatespiders Sun 13-Oct-13 23:08:21

Perhaps she's there to be a role model for another/others? When I change around my groups it's not just "ability" that I have in mind - I split up chatterers and pals, separate the 'easily distracted' from the distractors and put role models with those who could learn from them.

It's one reason why I change my groups regularly, so that the role models get a break too!

What I do though, is talk to the child and/or their parents first if I think there might be an issue or if my reason is less than obvious.

Anja1Cam Sun 13-Oct-13 23:19:27

I get the feeling that teachers sometimes seat children of very varied ability together, i am aware my fairly quiet and able DD has at times been seated with slightly more lively kids, probably in an attempt to calm them down... Mine never read anything into it, but these moves happen at least once a term, so it's nothing unusual. Maybe you get an answer on here from a teacher and it would be lovely if you could update us with you teacher's answer too.

Anja1Cam Sun 13-Oct-13 23:21:05

Thanks IHspiders you've just explained it!

Worried123456 Sun 13-Oct-13 23:26:56

I seat children according to personality more than ability. Did your DD chatter on her previous table? It could be something as simple as that.

MidniteScribbler Mon 14-Oct-13 01:35:04

It is extremely rare that I will seat students by ability (unless it is mixed ability). And there certainly would never be any such thing as a "SEN table". Disgusting idea.

What worries me more is the language your daughter is using. "is rubbish and 'has a mind that doesnt work as quickly as others". Where is she getting this from? She should certainly not have that impression of the students with additional needs in her classroom and I'd want to quickly stamp that sort of language out. Is there bullying occurring towards her or these students? These are all things which should be discussed with the classroom teacher as it's something which needs to be addressed very quickly.

keepsmiling12345 Mon 14-Oct-13 07:58:06

Agree with midnite the idea of a SEN table is outrageous and I would really question whether this is the case or you simply think it is the case. I am also extremely surprised that you "know they are the SEN children". My DD is also in Y2, I help in the class occasionally and I would never dream of making such a statement.

I think talking to the teacher aout why your DD is upset would be a good idea. I'd be interested to hea back once you've spoken to the teacher. I am still reeling from the idea there is a SEN table.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 14-Oct-13 08:29:37

My DD is very able at Maths and was a similar level in year 2. However, she just wrote the answer no working out. So to encourage her to think about the method by which she got the answer she was place in a group of children who did not find Maths quite as easy to work together.
DD was then encourage to explain how she I'd the problem to the other children helping her to see the importance of the working out and helping the other children through the steps of the method. Peer to peer learning.

yeghoulsandlittledevils Mon 14-Oct-13 08:41:29

G&T comes under the SENCO's umbrella, along with SEN. My dc had extra help from Senco from Y3/4 as needed more than just exrension work. If her normal working level is so far ahead of the rest of the class that she needs her own lessons, perhaps the class teacher needs her to be on a table where the teacher and Senco can find her easily and set her work. Y2 is pretty early though, and not a good idea to do this without giving an explanation to your child to reassure her.

If this is the reason, I would ask the teacher/head if they can have that seating arrangement only for maths, and she can go back to sitting where she was for everything else.

OddSockMonster Mon 14-Oct-13 10:04:48

May I suggest that you ensure your daughter doesn't see 'the SEN children' as having 'minds that don't work as quickly as others' and rubbish.

It's taken a long time to convince my son that he's not shit at schoolwork, just that he needs a little extra help getting his million and one brilliant ideas onto paper. Without the support and friendship of his peers, that convincing would have been much, much harder.

jussi Mon 14-Oct-13 10:05:24

I know not every teacher does this but I work as a supply teacher in primary and unfortunately, more often than not, the 'SEN' children are put together on one table.

indyandlara Mon 14-Oct-13 10:30:52

I have never ability grouped the children in tables. Mixed ability all the way.

moldingsunbeams Mon 14-Oct-13 10:39:31

Could it be because TA works with that table and teacher is offering your dd differentiated work which might need more explanation than other work? (grasping at straws)

I agree partly with oddsockmonster too, my dd is on the "sen table" and has the highest reading age in her class.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 10:41:55

Perhaps it's because she is quiet and well behaved they feel she is not going to distract the children and if she's more able then she could be getting on with it rather than chatting to kids or whatever.

I'm surprised there's a "sen" table surely the abilities would vary just like any other child and therefore they should be seated according to that (if that's how it works in the school) as opposed to being grouped together for merely having sen.

Or maybe that is the G&t table. Many sen kids are capable of being high achievers. Maybe the work is too hard and that's why she's upset?

moldingsunbeams Mon 14-Oct-13 10:44:06

All the schools I worked in when I was a TA sat the children with sen at the same table together , I think in our case it was purely so the TAs could sit with them and help them all at same time.

cranberryorange Mon 14-Oct-13 11:21:24

My Ds who has SN and SEN is sat at a table with the other DC in class with SEN. I made it clear i wasnt happy about it at parents evening last week but was given the death stare and made to feel as though i was making a fuss over something thats standard across all schools.

Its very interesting to read it isnt common practice.

Ds has lost touch with all of his close friends from reception and just sticks to his table group because he doesnt have the confidence to mingle. Its good that they're a lovely group of Dc but terrible that he no longer feels part of the bigger group.

He is very aware he's on the slow and cant do it tablesad

Op i agree with all the advice about just asking the teacher.

PastSellByDate Mon 14-Oct-13 14:02:44

Hi Numbum:

Someone posted above that the SENCo is now responsible for G&T pupils (and it sounds like your child has been identified as G&T by school) - so it may be that the SENCo is working with SN & G&T pupils, possibly simultaneously and this has not been well-explained to your DD and possibly she has overheard something said generally and assumed it meant her (although I'm not exactly sure I'd be happy as a parent of a SN pupil to learn they're being openly told their 'slow' - true or not).

However, your daughter now understands that 'she has a mind that doesn't work as quickly as others' for some reason - and I think this is concerning, it has unsettled her/ upset her and should be raised with the teacher & if no joy - then with Senior Management.

I'm not clear but if your DD is registered G&T, then this statement makes no sense and is deeply damaging. I know many schools are loath to label pupils G&T because in essence it puts pressure on them to appropriately differentiate for/ support the student - but my view is that as teachers are endlessly telling us 'they're professional' it rather strikes me that they should be more than able to cope with this (especially at ages 4 - 11) as well educated adults.

So my approach would be to arrange to see the teacher & whoever coordinated G&T learning at the school together, explaining you're slightly perplexed by some of the things your DD has recently been saying.

1) Double check that the teacher is aware your DD is registered G&T
2) Ask for clarification on what is going on with the tables
3) Ask for confirmation that your DD is getting work appropriately differentiated for her ability level - if you're really concerned ask for her individual lesson plans in English & Maths.

Schools have a way of making parents feel they're at fault/ in the wrong for querying things - but can I remind all parents out there that tax payers (you included) pay these people's salaries. Those without children or whose children have grown and gone are truly relying on schools to do a good job by each cohort - to identify & foster talent and to create a generation of well educated, productive citizens that can reach their potential - therefore your checking on this isn't just being a PITA - it's ensuring that public servants (in this case the teachers) funded by taxpayers are in fact doing their job and effectively for the benefit of your child, but long-term for the benefit of the country.

(I'm off my soap box now - sorry a few issues with a school that would rather not teach maths at all).

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 16:12:00

OP - you should talk to the teacher. Hopefully the teacher will then explain to you that your use of language is disgusting. SEN and Low Ability are not synonymous terms. You and your DD need to stop being so ignorant.

Oceansurf Mon 14-Oct-13 16:16:57

Every school I have ever worked in has a 'SEN' table. hmm It's so that they are all sat together to receive the extra support needed off the TA. They are normally all mixed together in the afternoons, but for numeracy and literacy, I would say this was fairly normal. Likewise, the high flyers all sit together. Sorry!

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 16:19:16

Ocean And what happens when the high flyers also have SEN, hmm?

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 16:24:09

But surely they are all going to need support for differing reasons as with the nt kids. Surely all kids struggling with maths for example would be sat together sen or no sen?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 16:28:59

Giles Of course. But that sort of common sense means you can't demonise kids. I'm guessing that what OP and her daughter delightfully call the 'SEN table' is actually the 'not good at maths' table. Or even, the 'not well behaved' table. Or it might be the 'well behaved' table - we just don't know, do we. And nor does she.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 16:33:57

It does sound like she's been placed accordingly and is maybe struggling with the increased difficulty and it just so happens that the children at the same level happen to be the additional need children.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 17:46:57

Giles or, maybe just some of the additional need children...

My DD2 - who has SEN, she's severely dyspraxic - has just passed the 11+ Most parents want their kids to be on her table. Not actually because she's clever but because she's nice. And she doesn't label or judge people.

HmmAnOxfordComma Mon 14-Oct-13 17:48:46

YY Russians - the 'SEN' table at ds's school would also have been the High Achievers one. He and his other AS friend were by far the most academically able in their year group.

If the OP means low ability, she should have said that. If she means SEN, they could actually be very academically able.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 17:55:23

Hopefully op will update.

I stand corrected - SOME, you are right.

A little curious as to how she knows do much about the academic abilities of the class. My dd tells me who she say with however I have no idea what the abilities of the table are.

How does she know it's a low ability class.

numbum Mon 14-Oct-13 18:03:17

Calling my 6 year old ignorant is just rude! Yes the children on what I, not DD, called the SEN table all have statements or IEPs for extra help and are low ability. I know this because I am a governor at the school plus my DD is friends with the children, I am friends with their parents and they talk to me about their DC!

My use of the words 'SEN table' wasnt diplomatic or pc so I apologise for that.

Anyway, I have spoken to her teacher today and he's said he moved her just for a few days last week as he was giving her extra challenges to do and wanted her sat with a TA. I mentioned her saying about the slower minds and he said she's misinterpreted something he'd said and he'd talk to her. He didnt elaborate on that and we ran out of time to talk so I didnt get to ask.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 18:04:21

And yet not as rude as you or your DD.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 18:05:07

Also - I'm horrified that a GOVERNOR would conflate having SEN and being of Low Ability. Thank heavens you aren't a governor at any school my DCs attend.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 18:08:02

What on earth could he have said to her? confused

numbum Mon 14-Oct-13 18:08:46

The 'SEN' table in DD's class are the low ability children. Hence me connecting the two in my post. There are no SEN 'high fliers' in her class.

My DD is not rude. You can bitch about me til the cows come home, I dont offend easily. Leave my SIX year old out of it though thanks

numbum Mon 14-Oct-13 18:09:27

I dont know Giles and it has been playing on my mind all day. I think I need to find out though

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 18:12:38

Yes I think you do. He should not be telling anyone that their minds are slower. Their job is surely to encourage children to work to the best of their ability whatever that ability is. And if he was referring to the children in his class then he shouldn't be divulging information about the children.

Feenie Mon 14-Oct-13 18:17:33

You shouldn't know who is/isn't on an IEP or know why they need one whether you are a governor or not, though.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 18:26:43

OP - you don't know that there are no high fliers with SEN in your DD;s class. You believe that, but you don't know it. Governor or no. You clearly thing child with SEN = low ability so your own prejudice may be blinding you to the facts. Many people are surprised when they find out that I and my DCs have SEN conditions - because they do not realise that you can have an SEN condition and a Cambridge degree, or superb GCSEs, or ace the 11+.

mrz Mon 14-Oct-13 18:32:53

It sounds like poor practice all round.

sparklekitty Mon 14-Oct-13 18:45:34

You DD does have a kind of SEN if she is G&T. It could be that the LA group always have an adult with then and therefore she would always have an adult to stretch her (I'm guessing she is doing different work to the others on the table)

ipadquietly Mon 14-Oct-13 18:52:06

Any information taken to our governors' meetings has children's names blanked out. There is no discussion about specific teachers, children or cohorts. Governors should be looking at trends, not personal data.

It is shocking that, as a governor, you are party to information about specific children, and, furthermore, that you are using this information to question classroom management. shock

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 18:58:26

It's an abuse of position. Apart from the discriminatory attitude on display.

keepsmiling12345 Mon 14-Oct-13 19:03:58

It seems OP still thinks her use of "SEN table" is purely "not diplomatic or PC" rather than demonstrating a blatant misunderstanding of how a SEN may manifest itself. I'm afraid I simply do not believe that you know all the children have statements or IEPs for low ability because you a friends with their parents. As I said, my DD is in y2, talks about all the children in her class, I am friends with vast majority of parents, and I wouldn't even begin to claim I know who has exactly what learning abilities or challenges.

And if you are a Governor and using any knowledge you've obtained through that role to query what table your DD is sitting on then I'm afraid I think that is unforgivable.

moldingsunbeams Mon 14-Oct-13 19:09:12

Please please please do not equate sen to low ability or I may implode.

On paper my ten year old is a level 2, she thinks she is thick and stupid and rubbish at everything, off paper she scored assessments (to discover what her issues where) at 14/15 years.

She is NOT low ability, she has a learning need which prevents her from processing from head to paper, the current one size fits all school system square peg in a round hole prevents her from working to that level on paper. When she leaves the bounds of school and is able to use PCs and spell checkers and programs which work around her writing issues she will fly.

Her mind is now slow at all. She was explaining to me not long ago how a heart bypass works. It is the signals from her brain to paper which let her down.

There are many children like her who mentally are bright but struggle to get it on paper.

My dad who is exactly like dd was call slow by school, in primary he was bottom of the class, in secondary he was too. When he left the restrictions of school and went to college he flew and finished his degree at the top of his class.

jojane Mon 14-Oct-13 19:10:50

My ds1 has SEN, he is extremely intelligent but has/had other special needs that might be in some peoplesminds associated with "low intelligence special needs" he has an IEP! For BOTH his high intelligence and his other needs such as fine motor skills and toileting issues.

Oceansurf Mon 14-Oct-13 19:26:13

Russians SEN doesn't mean low ability necessarily! Just needing support. Likewise, a G+T pupil, who is standing out work wise as being on their own, may well be on that table.

I think if you asked most teachers, they actually do group children by ability, especially in numeracy. You can have many different levels in one class. In other words, lots of differentiated work going on. If the guidance/questions are on a worksheet, you would waste half the lesson handing out the work if they weren't grouped together. Also, how awful and obvious would that be? Sitting on a table and watching your friends get a worksheet whilst you wait for the 'easier' one? Or worse, names being read out to come and collect the 'appropriate' work? Quite often, children aren't aware that they have a different sheet from the table next to them. Same lesson, just different questions.

Why are so many people so hmm about it? Surely you can see it makes sense?

mrz Mon 14-Oct-13 19:39:01

Having a TA sat at a SEN table angry bad! bad! bad! creates a dependency ghetto! Having a SEN table [rolls eyes] ...speechless!

moldingsunbeams Mon 14-Oct-13 19:41:00

I used to be a governor, I also used to be chair of governors, while we new how many children in school had sen, how many were on IEP we did not know who those children were or their names and I would be flipping furious if that information was shared with governors (I know it isn't at dds school) especially since governors can often be parents in school and therefore part to the jungle drums of gossip.

moldingsunbeams Mon 14-Oct-13 19:42:27

Mrz that is our problem with dd, the TA at the old school was lovely and amazing but she was sat continually at the table and now there is not one she struggles to work independently because she has never been given the skills how to.

mrz Mon 14-Oct-13 19:48:42

a good TA knows when to step in and when to step back ... planning for a TA to sit with a group day in and day out is bad practice...these are the very children who need a teacher most! and aren't getting one

EmmaGellerGreen Mon 14-Oct-13 19:50:49

What very poor practise that a governor knows what children have statements or IEPs and for what reason! Governors should never know details about individual children. Also disgusted that as a governor you can not tell the diggerence between a CHILD WITH SEN (not a sen child) and a child's ability. Also shocking practise to have children with sen at one table. I say as a governor with responsibility for children with sen. Suggest you should look to do some training!

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 14-Oct-13 19:55:56

Ocean Oi! It's not me equating SEN conditions with low ability! It's the OP. I know that SEN doesn't mean low ability. My DD2 is the very definition of a high flier - G&T in everything - and she has severe SEN.

MidniteScribbler Mon 14-Oct-13 21:37:51

Oceansurf - It makes no sense. For starters, any decent teacher isn't teaching using worksheets, so can we just bust that myth right now. A decent teacher will be providing authentic learning experiences that allow students to develop their understanding of a topic. And it works perfectly well with a mixed ability group of students. Google social constructivism. I've never groups students by ability level, it's actually not the most effective arrangement for all students being able to achieve their full potential.

The whole concept of a "SEN table" (apart from a desperate failure of person first language) is discriminatory and quite frankly, disgusting. A capable teacher shouldn't need a TA sitting with every student with additional needs at the same time, and this is exactly what leads to the sort of language in the OPs posts about 'low ability' because people can't wrap their heads around the simple fact that children can be twice exceptional. If a suitable environment is provided, all students should be able to work with mixed groups.

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