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To be furious at ds's teachers?

(38 Posts)
ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 10:58:37

DS1 (9) is a bright little boy but lacks confidence. Last year at parents evening they told me that he has all the ability to be in the top maths group, but he's not fast enough and lacks self confidence.
He has just gone into year 5 and came home on Tuesday over the moon because this year he had been put in the top maths group. He had some homework, which he did well, only asked for help a few times and tried so hard.
Anyway, yesterday he came out of school really upset because his teacher said after having a chat with the maths teacher they want to put him back down to the middle maths group for a while. No explanation. Nothing.
So now he thinks he's rubbish at maths and not good enough. One week back at school and his confidence is at an all time low again. This is an important year for him as we will have to decide whether to put him in for the 11+.
I'm really not one of these pushy mums who wants him to be in the top group no matter what, but I think its so wrong to do this to him, especially when I saw how well he handled the homework. I wish they'd just left him where he was in the middle group, rather than build him up and knock him down again.
I’m so mad – I could have cried for him yesterday, poor little thing.

Katisha Thu 17-Sep-09 11:00:45

You need to go in and tell them this.

Roomfor2 Thu 17-Sep-09 11:02:00

Wow that is harsh. Your poor DS. That kind of indecisiveness on the part of the school is very damaging.

I would ask them for an explanation if it were me, and let them know the impact it has had on your DS so they can perhaps make an effort to build his confidence again.

Very bad of the school IMO. Confidence is a fragile thing. Little things like that can have a lasting impact, the school should know that.

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 17-Sep-09 11:02:18

YANBU. Is it possible that he can be reassesed later in the year and moved up again if necessary? I don't know how the system works in the UK, dd wasn't born when we left. It does seem a rather random decision to make and has upset him.
Buy him some chocolate buttons to add up and eat.

echofalls Thu 17-Sep-09 11:03:07

They maybe don't want to put extra pressure on him especially as he lacks confidence already. IMO he would be better off staying in the middle group and performing well than moving up to the top group and possibly struggling. Groups change rapidly in schools sometimes on a weekly basis.

I would reassure him he as long as he is doing his best it doesn't matter what group he is placed in.

FranSanDisco Thu 17-Sep-09 11:03:14

They have handled it badly. Can you go in and have a chat about how fragile his confidence is and that he needs reassurance that he's doing OK. Can they set some targets for him to aim for.

Carrotfly Thu 17-Sep-09 11:03:20

Very bad form.

Poor little chap.

ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 11:07:17

Thanks everyone.
I did try and see the teacher this morning, but she was on playground duty. I'll go in this afternoon. I don't want to come across as a pushy parent though and he has begged me not to 'make a fuss'.
I do understand that they don't want to put pressure on him, and I would have been happy for him to stay in the middle group where he seems to be doing well. I just can't understand why they moved him up just to put him back again.
Love the idea about chocolate buttons - I'll do that!

booyhoo Thu 17-Sep-09 11:14:15

i second al that has already been said. but i would also ask the teacher to explain to your ds in person their reasons. sometimes heraing it from mum doesnt make it easier but hearing it from the horse's mouth could satisfy him that its a genuine reason and that he isnt rubbish.

TwentiethCenturyHeffa Thu 17-Sep-09 11:22:51

This happened to me at school with French (and was announced in front of the whole class hmm). What helped was my Mum was very indignant and talked to the school so that my new teacher understood and worked with me to boost my confidence. It was very upsetting though so I feel for your DS He definitely deserves an explanation from the teacher as well I think. My teacher explained to me that there were so many people that were good that the top group was swollen and that because I was on the cusp, they felt I would be happier in the middle group. I always felt that they shouldn't have moved me up if they weren't sure I was good enough because it did far more harm than if they'd just left me where I was.

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 17-Sep-09 11:25:03

I would be very cross with them and would want a serious explanation of what they were playing at.

Given that they had already moved him up (rightly or wrongly) and that they were well aware that he lacked confidence I would want to understand how they weighed up cutting his confidence further against not pushing him too hard. IMO one is just as bad as the other - with the confidence issue being the front runner in this particular case as it is a known concern where the "too much for him" issue is speculation at this stage.

I would not allow them to explain it to ds, I would be concerned that they would fluff it up and cause even more damage to his confidence!

thedolly Thu 17-Sep-09 11:43:57

Maybe they expected him to have 'matured' more over the summer. Would it have been better for it to have been openly a 'trial period' in the top group?

Give the teacher a break and explain to your DS that the teachers are trying to make a decision that will allow him to make the most progress.

How you handle this will have a big effect on his self-esteem and crying for him rather than turning things around and looking for the positive will not help.

YABU

ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 11:46:05

He doesn't know I'm going to see his teacher. I think that will worry him more. I am going to try and see her this afternoon before I pick him up.
The way its been dealt with so far, I don't have much faith in the teacher handling it sensitively anyway so I'll probably tell him the outcome myself and just ask her to make sure he is not made to feel like he's not good enough again.
Thanks for all the replies. Its calmed me down and reassuring to know I'm not being daft as I can be a bit over protective of him at times (he's my PFB grin)

ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 11:51:20

Thedolly - fair point, they may have expected him to have matured more over the summer, but shouldn't they have waited to find out if he had before putting him in that group?
I'm not crying for him, I felt like crying when I saw how upset he was last night, who wouldn't feel that way when their child is so down?
I have spent all the summer holidays boosting up his self esteem and I have told him that as long as he does his best I'll be proud of him whatever he does but it feels like the school have undone all that in just over a week!

Mybox Thu 17-Sep-09 11:52:01

Be as pushy as possible here - why put him up a group just to remove him after a week or so.

thedolly Thu 17-Sep-09 11:55:31

They could just leave him there to flounder.

I am impressed at how quickly they have acted to rectify their error in judgement.

ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 11:56:09

Are you a teacher TheDolly?

scaryteacher Thu 17-Sep-09 12:01:02

For some children it's better to be the top of the middle group, rather than bottom of the top group, especially in a subject where you are not really confident. The teachers may feel this with your ds, as you obviously do.

thedolly Thu 17-Sep-09 12:01:10

I was (although not primary) in a former life.

I am thinking about it more in terms of being a parent though. I had a moment last night with DD(8) over maths homework that could have ended badly. I did everything in my power to find the positive in the situation and I think it worked.

I try not to be too quick to blame the teacher as in reality you have little control over how they do things.

diddl Thu 17-Sep-09 12:01:27

From what was said, though, your son doesn´t have the ability to be in the top group-not if he isn´t fast enough.

It sounds as if he went back so full of confidence that they thought he could handle it.

Mybox Thu 17-Sep-09 12:03:39

You think he should be in the top group so I'd go on how you feel. If he doesn't manage then you'll know in a few weeks. Some kids need the drive and push of keeping up rather than sitting tight as top of the middle group. A new experience may be just what he needs to get his speed & confidence up. Good luck.

pinkdelight Thu 17-Sep-09 12:10:49

Sorry, this is a bit of a tangent, but do they really stream kids for maths at age nine??? My ds isn't old enough for school yet so am a bit ignorant in these matters, have only my own schooling to go on, but I thought we'd moved further away from streaming since back then, not introduced it to primary schools! Why is there even a formal sense of top, middle and bottom at this stage? Seems unnecessarily stressful for children at a formative stage.

Sorry things are extra stressful for you right now. Hope they apologise and sort it out.

ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 12:11:07

I really don't know which group would suit him best and I am happy to go with the teachers judgement on that. I was surprised at how well he tackled the homework, which I would have thought was too hard for him at first glance tbh, so I assumed that he was able to cope with the work in that group.
My only problem is that they put him into the top group on Tuesday and then put him down again on Thursday. Surely that's not long enough to properly assess him is it? Its the affect on his confidence which is bothering me, not the fact that he's not in the top group.

ginnny Thu 17-Sep-09 12:13:38

I agree Pinkdelight - it is unnecessarily stressful for them.
I don't know if it is because this is an 11+ area and they stream them according to whether they will take it or not.
Whatever the reason I'm fed up with it all already and we're only 2 weeks into the term!

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 17-Sep-09 12:54:32

TheDolly, two days is not "impressivly quick rectification of a situation" it is not long enough to even let the poor boy settle in never mind see if he would respond to a more challenging work load. Goodness only knows what they were thinking.

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