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and pushy or is teacher failing dd?

(152 Posts)
Mingnion Wed 20-Nov-13 22:22:54

Dd is six. Without sounding braggy, she's bright and could write and do sums and read basic books before beginning school. I like her school and she enjoys it but I don't feel they do enough to encourage the children to learn. For example, dds reading book is about five times easier than the books she reads at home and is rarely swapped more than once per week, though it was stated at the beginning of term it'd be swapped three times per week minimum or more if book was read sooner. We were told they'd have a spelling test every Monday and dd always knows them for the Monday but sometimes the teacher doesn't do the test until Thursday/Friday. I appreciate that if the child knows the spellings it shouldn't matter when the test is but the delay between tests means they're actually only getting six spellings every two weeks or so which I don't think is enough, plus dd feels unmotivated when the test isn't when the teacher said it'll be. After the test there is no record sent home of any mistakes so I cannot praise dd/revise any mistakes. Dd is, at the moment, really enthusiastic about learning. Every night she wants to do half hour of a maths workbook, read to me, research history/geography info on the internet etc. But she comes home from school not really having learned anything. Aibu to think dds teacher should be a bit more on the ball when it comes to reading books/spellings and encourage dds enthusiasm rather than ignore it?

YouTheCat Wed 20-Nov-13 22:24:50

If it concerns you that much why don't you volunteer and help change the reading books. It is a very time consuming task.

Your dd is enthusiastic and happy. So long as she is learning as well, I can't see the problem.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 20-Nov-13 22:29:06

"We were told they'd have a spelling test every Monday and dd always knows them for the Monday but sometimes the teacher doesn't do the test until Thursday/Friday."



You need a hobby or something.

Your kid is happy and clever.

There is no problem here.

Financeprincess Wed 20-Nov-13 22:30:50

Pushy. Sorry. This is just one of the reasons why I feel sorry for teachers.

Mingnion Wed 20-Nov-13 22:32:54

I have volunteered, actually. She's enthusiastic about learning at home, not at school because she isn't remotely challenged and is bored.

Jinsei Wed 20-Nov-13 22:35:35

You do sound rather pushy, I'm afraid. grin

Maybe just relax a bit, and see how it goes. Your dd is excited about learning, so hopefully that means that the school is doing something right.

And school reading books really don't matter. Just take her to your local library.

idiuntno57 Wed 20-Nov-13 22:35:41

pushy I'd say


gwenniebee Wed 20-Nov-13 22:36:29

But she comes home from school not really having learned anything.

Really? Just because she tells you she hasn't learnt anything, that may not be the case. It may also be that the lessons are so much fun that she doesn't consider them to be lessons - my lot often say "we haven't done any work today". Then I point out what they know now that they didn't know at breakfast and they say, "Ohhhh yeaaahhhh......".

Spelling test I can understand is irritating but I think very few people understand the practicalities of a YR/1 classroom - some times there is just too much to get in.

Jinsei Wed 20-Nov-13 22:37:27

OP, in the nicest possible way, is she actually bored, or is she saying that she is bored because she's picked up on something from you?

toobreathless Wed 20-Nov-13 22:38:12

I think it sounds perfect- as you say she is enthusiastic about learning.

I would continue supporting her school work and enjoy doing some things to supplement her learning at hold if you feel she isn't stretched enough? Museums, more challenging books, musical instrument etc.

YouTheCat Wed 20-Nov-13 22:38:55

You do know that infant school is about loads more than just learning to read and write?

Why kick up if she is happy?

You seem to think the teacher has a bottomless pit of time - she won't have at all.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 20-Nov-13 22:40:41

It's funny how people like to boast about how bored their children are at school, as though being bored is a sign of intelligence.

Hint: it's not.

Worried3 Wed 20-Nov-13 22:47:23

Well, I disagree with most of you. If a teacher says at the beginning of the year that x will happen, but it consistently doesn't happen, then I would be enquiring as to why this was. If there is a reasonable explanation (e.g. child not ready for more than they are doing), then fine. I don't see why it's wrong for parents to raise concerns they have- surely teachers would rather know about these concerns so they can reassure the parent or address them.

My DD (aged 5) has a new reading book every day, and also spelling/writing practice most nights. So it can be done. If the child is happy, then that's good. But the OP says her DD is getting bored as school- that's not a good sign to me, even if she is otherwise enjoying school.

I'd be having a chat with the teacher- enquire politely as to why x and y are not being done, when at the start of the year the teacher had said they would be. I don't think it's unreasonable to highlight your concerns re DD boredom with the teacher- the teacher may be able to reassure you.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Wed 20-Nov-13 22:58:58

I have often wondered what does happen to the DC that are very early readers etc.

I knew a few mums ( please, not saying this is you at all op) who really worked hard to get their pre schoolers up and learning which is great. I tried with mine but didnt get anywhere grin.

However, it did cross my mind, where are they going to go anyway when they hit school? They still have to go at the pace of the others.

I have heard grumbles from these mums that their DC are not being listened too or streched.

Its all very confusing...I can totally understand that they have to get the others up to speed, so what can they do with the more advanced ones?

I suppose in a private shcool with small classes you can tailer their needs more, I just cant see what the solution would be in a state school bar moving them up a year?

I would think the only thing you can do bar talk to teacher is sort of home school her youself.

uselessinformation Wed 20-Nov-13 23:04:22

Spelling tests are not useful for teaching children how to spell anyway. The teacher probably only gives spelling lists because parents expect them so it is written somewhere in school policy. She probably forgets the tests because she knows they are meaningless.

Thymeout Wed 20-Nov-13 23:30:05

Elf - no, the children should not all be going at the same pace. There should be some differentiation, so the early readers don't have to mark time until the others catch up with them. This is Year 1, not Reception. The class teacher should have some idea of the children's capabilities before she even met them. There should have been a handover from their previous teacher so she could already have planned suitable groups of similar ability.

I don't think OP would be at all unreasonable to ask for reassurance about the reading books being too easy or not being changed often enough. Also the lack of feedback on spelling tests.

Have you had a parents' evening yet, OP? If not, ask to speak to the teacher in the hope that she can put your mind at rest.

Jinsei Wed 20-Nov-13 23:40:48

However, it did cross my mind, where are they going to go anyway when they hit school? They still have to go at the pace of the others

My dd could read fluently when she started school, but I never felt that she was held back. It did take her reception a little while to suss out how well she could read, and the reading books they initially gave us were a bit pointless - though ironically, they had actually tried to differentiate. It wasn't an issue, though. She just read the school books quickly and then moved on to more interesting material of her choosing.

bellybuttonfairy Wed 20-Nov-13 23:46:42

Goodness! Shes only 6. The most important thing is her socialising. Is she interacting with her peers? Is she confident? Is she learning her social skills. These are so much more important at this age and will set her up for life.

Its great that she is so bright that she finds her school work easy. She'll start to shine when she gets older.

Great that you have time to do research and maths with her at home but I really wouldnt push the teachers into doing things differently for your daughter.

FredFredGeorge Wed 20-Nov-13 23:54:49

You seem to think spelling tests = learning. It's not, spelling even if it was once a useful skill is now not all that useful at all - you probably typed that in a box where all your misspellings were either corrected without you noticing or a red squiggly line appeared underneath.

Getting demotivated when the spelling test isn't when the teacher said it would be, failing to ask the teacher to swap reading books when she's bored of the one she's reading etc. Are the things you need to teach your child about, not spelling, she needs to learn the confidence to demand her own teaching from the teachers and the adaptability to deal with minor changes in routine.

And why does she demand "30 minutes of maths workbook" ? Wouldn't she either want to do it, or not want to do it, not weirdly want to do a particular number of minutes of it?

bumbleymummy Thu 21-Nov-13 00:21:44

I don't think YABU at all. I wouldn't be happy with that either. I would continue to do extra work at home to stretch her but the school should be doing this. I think I would speak to the teacher about it. Do you have other alternatives to this school?

TreaterAnita Thu 21-Nov-13 00:39:21

My son doesn't start school until next Sept, but currently his reading is limited to spotting the initial of his first name so I doubt he'll be outstripping his teacher when he starts school (though I should add that I'm still achingly proud of him, as he had a very rough start in life medically, so to me he's a genius).

My point in posting however was that I was a naturally academic child, learnt all my spellings over night in Reception, galloped through books, that kind of thing. I went to a primary that was very mixed socio-economically, so we had some kids who got lots of support at home and some kids who were essentially neglected, one of whom I remember very clearly as he was incredibly bright but had a terrible childhood (and I now think probably ADHD, but that wasn't really heard of when I was a kid) and to be frank I'm amazed that the teachers (there were no TAs) managed to teach us anything at all really when they had such a mix of abilities and needs.

So, my actual points are:

Maybe the teachers can't deliver on their expectations of what your daughter could be doing because they have to meet the needs of every child in the class, all 30 of them, not just the bright ones. I think that in a nutshell is why some people choose to go private if they can afford it.

I can't ever remember being bored before about year 5 maybe, when we started doing whole class reading for things like history (very lazy teaching, hope they don't do that now) and it felt like a month to go round the whole class until I got to read my one line from the text book. I used to entertain myself working out which sentence would be mine. I doubt that your daughter is suffering from this at 6 and I'm sure teaching is a lot better now.

Finally, if you don't feel she's being pushed at school, just read and do stuff with her at home. My parents did this, stood me in very good stead, and it sounds like she enjoys reading and academic things so she should be happy to do it with you.

The main thing is that you say she enjoys school. I heard a R4 documentary on education a year or so ago where some academic suggested that you could basically stick the bright kids with lots of books and support at home in the playground for most of their primary education and they'd still cope fine from 11 because primary is all about the basics, and they'll just soak that up. I think that's an overstatement personally, but I do think that if your daughter enjoys school and loves learning she'll be absolutely fine.

Bogeyface Thu 21-Nov-13 01:31:46


I have 6 children, with a mix of SEN, G&T and average. They have all been to state schools and they have all be taught to their abilities.

If your expectations are not being met then I would suggest that your expectations are unrealistic regarding your DC.

rabbitlady Thu 21-Nov-13 05:41:10

set up your own programme of study to work through with her in your own time.
half an hour daily during the week, one hour at weekend, one day off. be ready to put your programme on hold if she has a big project from school. replace 'lessons' with interesting visits and activities quite often.
expect to continue this throughout primary. make sure she gets into a suitable independent secondary school.
listen to her, follow her interests and encourage them.
she will not receive 'education' at school, only 'schooling'. the education part is your job.

TantrumsAndBalloons Thu 21-Nov-13 06:19:47

I find it very very hard to believe that a 6 year old is coming home saying she is bored at school and not learning anything.

The reading book- I would imagine that it is very difficult to deal with the practicalities of changing 30 reading books 3 times a week, to listen to 30 children read 3 times a week because surely teachers have to know that the child has read and understood the book before changing it?

There's no point wanting the book changed every day in order to get through all the book bands first, if the child doesn't understand it.
Reading the words on the page is not the same as understanding the story. It just means you recognize the words.

Go to the library, read some more difficult books with her if you think that's what she needs.

I am very wary of identifying children as gifted at 6. Some children have been taught to read or taught numeracy at home before they start school which obviously puts them a little bit ahead of their classmates to begin with but IME this tends to even itself out.

If your DC is demanding to do half an hour maths every night then clearly you are doing the right thing by encouraging a love of learning.

I do tend to think though, in year 1, it's not just about cramming as much information into their heads as possible, or getting through the reading bands first, or identifying gifted children, or getting 10/10 on a spelling test.

They learn an awful lot when it looks like they are not actually working.

wigglesrock Thu 21-Nov-13 06:25:39

I have a daughter exactly the same age & in the same position but I'm really happy with her school. She's 6 - school is not all about academic learning at the age. In your OP you haven't mentioned anything else about her, is she a happy enough wee thing?, good with friends, happy enough in the playground?

My daughter could read before she started school (she did it herself with the help of her older sisters homework books confused ) I'll be honest, I don't really know how she did it - it was like one day she could read! I have an older child who couldn't read before school but now at 8 is a voracious reader.

Dd2 get homework - her school doesn't send spellings home until Year 2 (P3 for us). They get one reading book a week however her teacher gives her a book that is part of the older kids library. This week she brought home a book that her big sister read last year (there's 3 school years between them)

I buy her books to read at night that would be in an older age bracket, although she loves an encyclopedia/ reference book. She's never bored in school or out of it.

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