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(26 Posts)
Teacher12345 Fri 19-Jun-20 18:13:10

Hi All
My DD starts school in September and the school are ringing us one day next week to discuss any concerns we have and pp+.
Before lockdown, DD could hold a pen but couldn't form any letters. Could recognise most letters and numbers but not at all confident and couldn't spell her name. Realistically, you would think she is a summer born about to start but she will actually be one of the eldest in the class and most summer borns I know are ahead of her.
With some one to one support over the past 3 months she can almost write her name and is okay at writing alot of the letters and numbers. She can do the aplhabet and almost count to 20. She has come on so much but is still far behind academically and emotionally. I am thinking of asking for one 2 one sessions for her using the PP+. Is this realistic? Is there anything else I should be asking for?

OP’s posts: |
Mummyshark2018 Fri 19-Jun-20 18:30:28

Is your dd starting reception in September? If so what you've described is very normal. There will be lots of kids who dont recognise any letters and who can't write their name. School will/ should have interventions to support handwriting and a range of other intervention in place anyway. often they pool together PP money to pay for an intervention TA or teacher to deliver these. Is there anything else your dd would benefit from- like equipment, therapies etc?

Teacher12345 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:00:28

She is starting in September yes. Many of her friends at preschool can do much more academically which has concerned me although I know she won't be the only one who struggles. One of the problems is that if I leave her side for 2 minutes whilst she is doing it I come back to find that she has scribbled all over the page instead of tracing the numbers. I feel like without one 2 one, she may not focus. Not sure about equipment or therapies as she isn't showing as needing anything specific.

OP’s posts: |
Mummyshark2018 Fri 19-Jun-20 20:57:46

Sounds like she's doing well though it's hard not to compare with other children though. The most important thing for going into reception is supporting her self help and independence skills and emotional needs - preparing for school, toileting, hand washing, dressing etc. It's a worrying time but it sounds like the senco recognises that she qualifies for additional support and hopefully will put that in place. I wish you all the best and I hope she thrives at school.

donquixotedelamancha Fri 19-Jun-20 21:19:36

That is well within the normal range for a child of that age. Kids develop very differently when so young.

I think one to ones are always a really effective use of PP+.

drspouse Fri 19-Jun-20 21:25:46

My DCs are adopted and went to a fairly middle class nursery with lots of pushy parents. One of mine knew his letters before starting, the other didn't. They both loved Reception and tried really hard. One has much greater problems than average with writing but they both got all the attention they needed in Reception.

DingoDing Fri 19-Jun-20 22:03:09

My DD couldn't write her name when she started school. She didn't know any letters and needed extra help with phonics / reading all through Y1. It's hard not to compare when there are 4 yr olds reading pretty fluently but some children just learn those skills later than others. She's in Y9 now and in top sets. Lots and lots of children have this experience and catch up a bit later. The main thing for us was to keep her interested in reading and not let her feel stupid.

Jellycatspyjamas Sat 20-Jun-20 15:55:36

She’s just 4, in many places she wouldn’t even be starting school yet - she will have time to get there so please try not to be comparing her academically so early on. In your position I’d be interested to hear what the school have used the money for in the past and where that’s been seen to be effective. They might also want her to be in school for a while so that they can understand her needs better in an educational setting and from there look at what extra funding might help with.

All that as a way of saying try to relax a bit, don’t be too anxious about where she is, teachers are well equipped to catch kids up and sometimes it can be very beneficial to take a more gradual approach, and can be harmful to hurry.

Moominmammaatsea Sat 20-Jun-20 22:49:58

Hi OP, I write as an adopter of two children and 12 years in. Honestly, your DD sounds like she’s doing really well and is absolutely bang on for a four-year-old. Please, if I could urge you to do one thing it would be to prioritise your child’s emotional health and well-being over academic success (not to say that it’s impossible to achieve both but it’s so much harder for our children).

Never forget that old adage that comparison is the thief of joy and try to bear in mind that the summer borns you mention have probably not suffered the adverse experiences our children have and their secure attachments to their parents are pretty much a given.

My second DD starts school this September and I have massively curbed my tiger mother instincts with regards to the academic side of things and instead I’m focusing on the basics like her being able to dress and undress quickly for PE, recognise her own belongings and be fully independent in toileting and hand washing etc - all things my Early Years teacher friends tell me are their priorities. I’m also a bit jaded from helping my eldest DD in her Y7 distance learning endeavours so there is absolutely no way I am spending any time doing sodding Biff, Chip and Kipper books with my youngest; life is too short and there are too many lovely nature walks to go on.

My eldest DD was behind in reception but she is now at a super-selective grammar school, which, I know, is a remarkable achievement for a child who is care experienced.

Teacher12345 Sat 20-Jun-20 23:41:17

Thanks everyone. I kind of think people are missing the point of my post though. When I say we are trying hard with her, we are playing snap and pairs with flash cards and putting them in order of her name, the abc and letter tracing.
I’m like a duck. Calm on the surface but panicking underneath!
I just wanted to know if there was a better use of her pp+ than one to one?

OP’s posts: |
Teacher12345 Sat 20-Jun-20 23:44:06

Also, nursery have told me she is behind in some areas so I’m not imagining it.
We have worked really hard on her emotional development but to be honest lockdown has hampered any social aspects but I’m sure all the kids will be in the same boat there.

OP’s posts: |
Moominmammaatsea Sun 21-Jun-20 00:10:29

To be fair, OP, that’s not really what you’ve said in your original posts, where you’ve mentioned about tracing over numbers etc and your little one scribbling instead if left unattended. I think you have had gentle responses to your post, all in the spirit of suggesting that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter if your child is behind or not. School is not the be all and end all.

I think you have had some really good advice about waiting and seeing how your child settles into school before deciding how to spend the PP+. What I would say is that it’s refreshing that a school actually wants to spend a PP+ allocation on the child for whom it has been directed.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 21-Jun-20 00:18:09

Also, nursery have told me she is behind in some areas so I’m not imagining it.

I don't think anyone feels you are imagining it, just that it doesn't sound massively behind and you will be surprised how much kids develop when they first go to school.

It's great that you are doing all that and it sounds like you have exactly the right idea. I can't see anything better than one to one work in the first year unless there were very specific needs.

londonscalling Sun 21-Jun-20 00:58:59

Despite having special needs, my son's school don't want to spend his PP+ on him and instead are trying to put the funds in a pot to benefit the whole school!

Jellycatspyjamas Sun 21-Jun-20 07:49:05

Also, nursery have told me she is behind in some areas so I’m not imagining it.

It’s likely she will be a bit behind - she has way more to process than other children her age, has had way more challenges come her way. She will come on a lot with the structure that school gives her - she is 4, I’m in Scotland here she would have another year before she’d be in school, she has her whole school career ahead of her. It’s fine to keep an eye on how she’s doing and to think about how to help her in learning. Folk here have tried to reassure you, I’m not sure why you’re being so defensive.

At this stage, investment in her emotional development will pay dividends in supporting her academic learning - the two are interwoven so I’d be exploring what the school can offer to help there and possible use some of the funding for emotional development.

Teacher12345 Sun 21-Jun-20 08:20:36

Sorry for being a grump. I appreciate the advice but I find it frustrating that people always minimise my concerns for her. I am much less concerned for her since lockdown than I was before. She has come on loads but has had a lot of individual attention that she doesn’t get at nursery and won’t at school. I agree a term a school will help everyone see where she is and we are incredibly lucky that the reception teacher is also the school SENCO.

OP’s posts: |
UnderTheNameOfSanders Tue 23-Jun-20 18:58:33

It doesn't particularly sound to me like she will be behind when viewed within the whole class (depending on the demographic of course), even if she is 'behind for an autumn born girl'. Certainly at the primary my DDs went to, as described she would be in the top half on starting.

I too would go with saying let them see how she settles in and then go from there. Again, it is fantastic they are being proactive with this.

At primary my DDs between them had interventions such as:
- Emotional Literacy
- social skills
- maths intervention
- handwriting intervention
- motor skills support
- priority access to a drama group (could have had it free but we chose to pay anyway)

Ted27 Tue 23-Jun-20 20:15:40


My son was much older so I have no idea whether she is bang on, in the normal range or behind.
Its also going to be true that many more children are not where they should be because of the impact of lockdown.
PP is not ring fenced to the child so I do think its hugely positive that the school want to talk to you about any concerns and use of PP and you should take advantage of that.
Its worth remembering that its a relatively small amount of money so pooling it can often pay for a TA to work with several children,
Talk to the school, tell then your concerns, if you think she would benefit from 1-1 then thats what you should ask for.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Tue 23-Jun-20 20:27:27

ted I thought our type of PP+ is more ring fenced than normal PP?

Moominmammaatsea Tue 23-Jun-20 20:34:06

@UnderTheNameOfSanders, can you hear the sound of hollow laughter from where I am to where you are? wink As an experiment, pick out half a dozen schools within your catchment and check out each of their PP/PP+ expenditure statements. If they are not all wishy-washy virtually identical cut-and-paste paragraphs of SEN/PC bingo sentences, then I will literally eat the sun hat of your choosing.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Tue 23-Jun-20 20:51:25

Moo I know what you mean, however I have always been pretty happy with the additional support given to my DDs at both primary and secondary.

Moominmammaatsea Tue 23-Jun-20 21:45:47

@UnderTheNameOfSanders, to be fair, my DD1’s secondary school (she’s currently Y7) has been really good in terms of the SEN support (she is registered blind) and consulting me on how best to spend her PP+. When her Y8 modern languages trip was announced, the lead teacher rang within the hour to ask if I would like her funding to pay for her trip (that’s a big fat yes, please!). Ironically, it’s a super-selective grammar school so it kind of feels counter-intuitive that the pastoral care and the commitment to meeting their PP/PP+ (we also qualify for free school meals).

On the other hand the two primary schools she attended (she had to leave the first due to severe bullying) were comprehensively crap and never spent a penny on my DD because she was ‘meeting targets’ (or some other Ofsted speak).

Moominmammaatsea Tue 23-Jun-20 21:47:14

Sorry, missed a bit of my sentence feels counter-intuitive that it’s so good and caring.

121Sarah121 Wed 24-Jun-20 08:34:02

My son starts school in August aged 5 (we are in Scotland). I would not worry about what she can do academically. She is doing brilliantly! You should be so proud. smile

My daughter is a few years older and really struggles with reading. It really affects her confidence but I tell her not to worry. She is at school for 13 years to learn to read and write. Who cares if she can’t do it after a year? She has plenty time to learn! For me, it’s more important that she is happy at school. Her self esteem is worth so much more than anything.

I think 1 to 1 sessions would be amazing but I’d also see how she gets on. She might not want or need that but money better spent on something else. Who knows? I’d take the lead from the school.

My son is doing well. He loves watching his sister doing her school work and tries to copy. However, he is way behind emotionally and behaviourally. My biggest concerns is he will bite the teacher and trash the classroom!

Weatherforducks Wed 24-Jun-20 12:00:38

Any extra support you can get for your little girl would be great for her, I think you will know more once she settles in. Our school uses the PP+ for extra hours for the TA's so any child that needs extra support can get it, so I don't think that one 2 one sessions seems unrealistic or they could schedule time every week with a SENCO, so your little girl has a person who can support her regularly throughout school with whatever.

One thing our school does instead of the traditional parents evening are observation weeks. Where they will really focus on observing a few children each week and then they invite the parents in to discuss areas of strength/weakness. This has helped us to support learning better at home.

When my lad was in nursery it was obvious he was behind his peers for sounds/reading/writing, and to be fair when last September came I was just relieved to get him through the door, because he was very anxious. I am not trying to minimise your concerns but your little girl sounds ahead of where he was before he started. Up until Christmas he did not hold his pen properly, and I too was concerned that he wasn't getting the attention he needed. But school have 30 kids to deal with, so I think as long as you know what they need to focus on (by keeping open comms with the school) you can do a little at home to support. By the end of January he held his pen like a pro.

School have since said...he is a little behind with his writing...after what he has had to deal with in his life, I think that is bloody marvellous!

Reception for my boy has been much more about friendships/conflict resolution/patience/working together/kindness - and his first school disco! rather than reading/writing (although they have done that in buckets loads too). He won a headteachers award for 'Being a good friend" - he supported his friend when his friend was scared of having the flu vaccine. I thought it was lovely that the school recognised this rather than just the usual academic ability.

...and his attention span is approx 20 minutes, 31 seconds - I think it is no coincidence that cartoons/TV programmes/BBC bitesize lessons are often 20 minutes. So throughout lockdown, we have done just 20 mins max reading/writing at a time, then play.

All the best with it, you are right to be concerned and opening up the communication with the teachers now about what is possible will help settle your worries and hopefully make for a good working relationship between you and the school, but please do not overly worry (I know easier said than done).

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