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Despite the fact that, yes, I did set my son's homework on fire, and yes,

(44 Posts)
Cathycomehome Tue 18-Oct-11 22:41:45

I did tell the receptionist once when I phoned up the secondary school that I was the mother of another entirely unrelated child on the phone whilst distracted, as someone was talking to me at the same time about that child,

was I unresonable to send this email today? (Anything in brackets was not in the email).

Dear Ms X,

I have recieved a letter about X (son) becoming part of a paired reading scheme. I am a bit surprised by this, as, whilst I am very aware that X struggles with some aspects of English, particularly writing, he achieved a level 4a in reading (I know you only get to see the 3, 4 or 5 in the parent communication after SATS, but I teach at his primary school and HAVE seen the fine levels) at the end of year six, and his reading age was well in advance of his chronological age.

I am also somwhat disappointed that this has happened, as after I spoke to Ms Z (senco) regarding my concerns about his sets, she assured me that I would be made aware of any problems he was having sooner rather than later; this letter implies to me that he is having some sort of problem with reading specifically.

I also found the letter to be somewhat patronising in part, as the line about parental involvement with reading having a greater effect when fathers read with sons, as this "seems to raise the acceptability and normality of reading amongst boys" seemed to me to suggest that we, and our son, may be unaware of the importance of reading and that it may be somehow unacceptable and abnormal in our home.

Perhaps you could reply outlining why this particular intervention has been decided on for X?

My Name.

(Sorry, long).

rhondajean Tue 18-Oct-11 22:47:32

Presuming that as you teach at the school, you know for definite its an intervention for children who are having problems and not say, something all the children will be having a go at over the year?

I think Id be happy one of mines was getting more intensive support tbh, but annoyed if the school didnt tell me they were struggling, so my letter might have had a different tone to yours, but I get the point.

And as a teacher, I am sure you will realise how many parents dont read to their children - or even let them own a book - its only patronising to you because you already know better, dont take it personally.

DandyLioness Tue 18-Oct-11 22:48:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 18-Oct-11 22:54:40

Is he in year 7? Some schools pair all of them up, regardless of reading difficulties or not.

I have a child in my form who really does have a homework-eating dog.

LynetteScavo Tue 18-Oct-11 23:00:43

Schools are always sending out general letters regarding healthy lunchboxes, nits, reading etc that many parents may consider patronising. They send them out just in case there are any idiot parents out there who do actually need the advice.

I would have missed out the third paragraph. The rest sounds reasonable. (Apart from thinking you were someone elses mother. grin)

DandyLioness Tue 18-Oct-11 23:01:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 18-Oct-11 23:01:59

Dandy - I identified the teeth-marks.

WilsonFrickett Tue 18-Oct-11 23:04:45

I think you're on a hiding to nothing with the patronising stuff (although I totally agree with you having just received a 'homework contract' that stated 'reading is good'). At my school everyone does paired reading so are you sure it's an intervention?

DandyLioness Tue 18-Oct-11 23:08:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cathycomehome Tue 18-Oct-11 23:08:29

Nah - this is an intervention. "Please address any concerns to X (acting senco)", Your child has been chosen..." etc. Have already had issues with senco not addressing his organisational and self esteem needs(moderate to severe adhd, medicated).

Now, if they had identified a WRITING need and sent me a letter saying he was going to have support for that, I would be happy. His writing is shit.

Letter bangs on about reading age improvement. His reading age, as in mechanical reading as per Vernon and the like, is 15.2. (He turned 11 end of August). The end of year 6 reading test is comprehension as well as being able to actually decode the thing - for that he achieved 4a - very respectable, top end of average.

WHY have they put him in a group for a need he doesn't bloody well have, not told me what will be done in the scheme, not told me what the targets are (except "raising reading age) and sent me a load of patronising guff to boot. Plus, since they addressed the letter to "Parent/carer of X", where do they get off telling me how important it is that his father (specifically father, not male role model or whatever) reads to him? For all they know, he doesn't have a present father.

And breathe. grin

Cathycomehome Tue 18-Oct-11 23:09:31

Oh yeah - Y7 by the way.

FabbyChic Tue 18-Oct-11 23:12:24

If he is year 7 surely his reading level should be 5 or 6, Id say 4a is low for an 11 year old. Sorry, but Im just going on the results my children got, Id have been disappointed with a 4a and thought they were lagging.

Re the handwriting my son is 23 his handwriting is inelligible, yet he has a Maths degree, go figure.

rhondajean Tue 18-Oct-11 23:14:35

You are sure they dont still think you are the other childs mother??


I get why you are annoyed, but its an attempt to help, even if cackhanded, take a deep breath before you hit send, you might want to rephrase a bit.

The father thing, in this day and age, is incredibly tactless.

Cathycomehome Tue 18-Oct-11 23:19:16

Nope, a 4a is fine. Not great, not top, but solidly average. Expected level is 4 at end of Y6, ranging from 4c (just) to 4a (very comfortable for age).

His writing (not HANDWRITING, but that too) is one area in need of support. He did get the 4 at end of KS2, but it is weak.

Also, I have numerous oh my God it's that bloody nightmare mother for whom nothing is right friendly chats at school in person, on phone and via email with them, one of which culminated in an assurance from senco that I would be told ASAP about ANY problems he was having, academic or adhd related, and now I get this. Through the post. For a group that starts tomorow.

Hettythump Tue 18-Oct-11 23:28:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

RCToday Tue 18-Oct-11 23:29:28

Hetty - thats bang out of order

Cathycomehome Tue 18-Oct-11 23:31:17

Well she did, for some unknown reason, assume I was worried about my son's handwriting when I referred to writing, and told me what acceptable levels at end of year 6 were when I've been doing the bloody job for too many bloody years...

I'm not blinkered PFB either - my son is not going to set the world alight academically, but I do knbow that in that cohort he is bang on middle. (I DO know this - I taught them) grin

northcountrygirl Tue 18-Oct-11 23:41:57

Oh come on! Saying that OPs son was "lagging" because he didn't achieve the heady heights of her own children in Y6 is actually quite spiteful and mean spirited.

Amaxapax Tue 18-Oct-11 23:43:11

I'm an English teacher, and at my school the paired reading scheme involves pairing Y7 and Y8 pupils with KS4 pupils during registration two mornings per week. In addition to the reading, the older pupils mentor the younger pupils. It can be a lovely way to help less confident pupils settle in and begin to feel better about their place in the school.

If I were you, I would call and speak to the SENCo. Find out if she has identified a genuine academic need for him to be involved in the scheme - perhaps through some of the initial testing they will have conducted in the first few weeks of school - or if she feels his self esteem might benefit from interaction with and support from a well organised older pupil. It might end up being a really positive experience for him.

Cathycomehome Tue 18-Oct-11 23:53:46

You may BE his English teacher - I think this is the kind of thing. (I used to teach secondary English too, and I have an idea of what it will involve, although I did it ages ago).

Problem being that part of his ADHD late diagnosis and fairly recent medication (end of Y5), is that his self esteem is very adversely affected by being thought of as "thick" (not an attractive word, but kids say it, he's heard it, doesn't matter what we say to dispel this idea) and "different". He has had issues with school refusal in the past, and one of his MAJOR issues, as identified by primary school and consultant, and psychologist, and as discussed with secondary school senco, is that it is actually quite damaging for him to be taken out (in this case from what he tells me in tutor time) without sufficient explanation, warning etc. And he doesn't HAVE a reading need!

I was assured that any academic issues he was having, I would be given early warning about. His writing is bad, his reading is not, they (IMO from this situation) have seen that his literacy is weak and so lumped him in with poor readers.

This is a child who went from a level 2c to a 4 between end of Y5 (June) and end of Y6 when finally diagnosed and medicated, so as you can imagine, school has not been a universally positive experience. For any of us.

jamandposterpaint Wed 19-Oct-11 00:01:51

Fabbychic - a 4a is not lagging ffs hmm

OP, regardless of whether you believe your son needs this intervention strategy or not, surely any additional input to your sons education is a good thing, no?

Cathycomehome Wed 19-Oct-11 00:07:29

See above...

jamandposterpaint Wed 19-Oct-11 00:13:14

Which bit above would you like me to refer to ...?

Cathycomehome Wed 19-Oct-11 00:22:19

Sorry - the bit about intervention not always being a good idea at all for him, esp in these circumstances - ANY intervention not good, no.

jamandposterpaint Wed 19-Oct-11 00:25:04

Just re-read your post above.

Am I right in thinking that the Senco has made the decision to go ahead with this intervention strategy, despite being in full possesion of the facts from the psychologist re the possible damage it could cause to your son?

I think you definitely need to speak to the Senco and I think a face-to-face meeting would be more beneficial than an arsey (sorry but it does seem arsey to me) letter.

Things need to be looked at 'on balance' to get the right outcome for your son. Good luck.

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