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Any thoughts on school issues?

(8 Posts)
skldilemma Fri 25-Apr-14 11:27:01

Hi, my DD has been with us since she was 2 years old, now 6 and in Y1.
We did a lot of research when choosing her school. It is not considered a great school locally, average SATs results, large intake for this area (60 per year), very mixed intake compared to many more "middle-class" schools in this area.

However I was very inspired by the Head when we did the visits and felt the school would be a nurturing environment & still happy with that aspect. I also felt my daughter would fit in well as could see that well set-up for dealing with all kinds of children, some with difficult behaviours. She has settled well and made lots of good friends. She would much rather stay at home than go to school but seems OK once there and certainly enjoys social side of school.

At nursery she met her "goals", or was just achieving "normally" or whatever correct term was. But since starting school she has gradually slipped behind until now quite below "average" particularly as Autumn birthday eg still on Yellow band reading books, level 1c overall. School don't seem overly concerned which I'm not happy with. I have also been unhappy with school as didn't seem to know about new funding for adopted kids, although been applied for now. Also I don't think I am likely to have any input into how money could be best used for my DD (which I appreciate would be perhaps an exceptional thing to expect).

So all in all I am no having many thoughts about changing schools. I doubt this will be easy as think most (good) local schools are full. She is also very settled and happy in friendships and obviously this is extremely important. Any thoughts about best way forward? Not thinking about much else at the moment!

Littlefish Fri 25-Apr-14 11:34:21

Could you ask for another meeting with the teacher and ask in very plain terms what the school is doing to ensure that she reaches a level 2b by the end of year 2. As a current level 1c, she is probably predicted a 1a or possibly 2c at a push. As your dd is in receipt of pupil premium, the school is expected to pay particular attention to her progress and that of all the other children with PP.

(As an aside, I'm a teacher and my Headteacher only knew about the pupil premium payments for children previously in local authority care because I told him about it, having read about it here on Mumsnet. I consider my Headteacher to be well informed, but he had managed to miss it.)

Only you can really know whether your dd's need for security in her social relationships outweighs any academic reason for moving her.

Kewcumber Fri 25-Apr-14 11:56:30

Lots of schools aren;t aware of the pupil premium for previously LAC - I actually informed our head - as bizarrely its actually the responsibility of the paretn to apply not the school even though (as you say) there is no necessaity for the school to consult with the parent about how its spent.

DS is in yr 3 and hasn't ever had a problem academically although he was a bit of a slow starter. He has had others issues in school which have increased with age and he doesn't deal with change well at all. In your shoes I certainly wouldn't change schools as I'm sure in DS's case the uncertainty and upheaval of changing schools would impact him quite significantly.

Only you know how your DD might respond to such a big change and as you don;t have another place anywhere you can;t be sure she would be moving for something worthwhile.

I would certainly be exhausting all avenue at any current place before considering a move and I think you need to arrange a meeting with her teacher (as Littlefish says) and if you aren't happy with the outcome of that then the head.

As the mother of a child who has had increasing issues (non-academic) with school I'd really counsel in favour of a settled social structure as thats far harder to acheive in my opinion than the academic results which can be worked on much more easily.

skldilemma Fri 25-Apr-14 12:28:31

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes I think first thing to do is to request a meeting. I will ask what the plans are with the PP+ money and specifically request that it be used in a way to try and improve her academic progress.

I agree that the social side is harder to work on than the academic. She is not good with change, as so many of our kids understandably aren't. So a move is I suppose the last resort. It is just so frustrating as we do believe she has it in her to achieve so much more. We are going to do more at home with her in terms of fun educational games, making up story books etc. These are things she likes to do anyway, they will not be presented as "work"!

However if it things continue as they are and we do look further into a move, would we be more likely to get a place in another school with DD having criteria 1 in our LA?

Kewcumber Fri 25-Apr-14 12:48:07

I think she would become a priority on the waiting list if my understanding is correct.

In our case a move would absolutely impact on his academic results even though on teh surface it would be a social issue so I think you need to think carefully about whether a change would actually distract her/you/teachers from improving her academic results.

She's only in year 1 - I'm not saying you need to ignore her underperformance but certainly with some sustained and gentle pushing of the school by you I don;t see any reason why she shouldn't catch up.

tethersend Fri 25-Apr-14 23:03:05

If you did consider a move, you can get a school place at a community school of your choice even if they are full, provided your DD was previously a Looked After Child. Your DD would not need to go on the waiting list.

Children adopted from care are 'excepted children'- they are excepted from Infant Class Size regulations which keep class sizes at 30 in YrR-2.

Have a look at the admissions code, paragraphs 2.14 and 2.15.

Having said that, I would not advise moving schools unless absolutely necessary. The are a number of ways in which the school can support your DD. You are absolutely right to focus on her progress and the fact that it is slowing down. The Pupil Premium Plus is a significant amount of money, and the school should consult with you as to how best to use it. I would use the data from the EEF Toolkit as evidence to support interventions, although sending staff on training could also be a good use of the money.

unusednickname Sat 26-Apr-14 22:59:45

What's the quality of marking like when you see it? Does she have opportunities to improve her work once someone's seen it? Is feedback clear and do you see improvements from one piece of work to the next which would show that the feedback she gets is having an impact? When you see the teacher does she seem to 'get' your DD and know what she should be working on?

I ask because it's the thing which will have the biggest impact. PPP is great but the school might try to use it for more of the same quality of teaching which would probably be counterproductive.

skldilemma Sun 27-Apr-14 10:52:05

Thanks for that information tethersend, the toolkit looks very helpful, will look at it in further detail when I get the chance, do you have any idea of costs involved? Also that is great re admissions, although I am thinking if she became number 31 in a class of 30 she and our family would be none too popular with other parents! (not that I would care so much personally, just wonder if it would affect chances of her making new friendships).

Your questions have made my heart sink a bit more unusednickname as my answers are - don't see any marking, don't think so, no, no and no!
The feeling just won't go away that we've messed up on school choice. Sorry to drip-feed but other parents have been also been less than happy with teaching in Reception and Year 1 and some others talking of moving (which is adding to the unsettled feeling). One of the parents met the head and turns out proposed Y2 teacher also not highly rated with parents with older kids in school who have experienced her so looks like may have a poor KS1 experience altogether. KS2 teachers seem a bit better, but is it foolish to wait until then to see if things improve?

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