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Northern Ireland Primary Schools

(4 Posts)
Crocodileclip Mon 21-Nov-16 15:45:12

Hi, just wondering if I am alone in being worried about my kids progress in Primary school after reading threads on here. My DS is in P3 and I don't really have any experience of what level he should be working at in maths and reading except what I read on here. By mumsnet standards my son seems to be very behind. He is reading ORT level 6 (has been since P2) and his maths homework is number sets to 10 and some very basic addition and subtraction to 20. He's not a genius by any standards just a fairly normal boy but I'm pretty sure he is capable of more than school are asking of him. He certainly reads more complex books in his own time. My question is, do you think this is his particular school or do Northern Ireland schools take things a bit slower in general than their English counterparts? The teacher treated me like a pushy parent when I brought up some of my concerns at his parent teacher meeting. She thought he was making good progress and that I had nothing to worry about.
Would really like some perspective from other Northern Irish parents.

Crocodileclip Mon 21-Nov-16 19:33:21

Bump incase anyone around

wigglesrock Tue 22-Nov-16 09:46:13

I think it's difficult to compare two very different educational systems. I have 3 kids - one in P2, one in P5 and my eldest just went into post primary in September. My P2 is certainly reading at a "lower level" on the ORT bands than your son, she has no real love of reading, she gets a bit bored with it, she will listen to stories all day long but doesn't read to relax iykwim. Whereas my P5 would read all day every day if she could. She reads beyond her years - she's happy to do the reading that school provides, she reads "older" books at home and has always brought a book from home into school with her to read in school in free time/playground/free reading time in school. My P2 is doing adding/subtracting, 3 number sums at the minute - working with money, price lists etc has been the main focus of her homework lately. She did struggle at the start, I thought they were too young in the class for it (I don't think my elder two touched anything like that until P3 - towards the end of it), but funny enough it seems to have "clicked" with her this week - she flew through her homework yesterday.

It's difficult on MN because it's like anything on the internet, its all very subjective. I'm know I'm a bit wtf when I read about the amount of after school activities some kids do - I don't know how some people find the time never mind the money grin, When my older two were in P3 I always thought it was a bit like a building year - all the new stuff they'd learnt in the first two years was revised and went over again and again - key words, handwriting, basic maths, reading skills, behaviour because I found a big jump in P4 and P5 especially P5. Like I mentioned my P5 is a prolific reader, she understands context and emotions in a book but she's started to do comprehensions now and it's new to her. She needs to learn the skills to answer questions (this was a big part of the transfer tests preparations in the school for my eldest). Having a solid, backwards/forwards base in reading (even if it seemed a little dull) has helped her and she's learning to use the skills for reading to help her decode questions.

I've waffled on enough without really answering anything grin. I do think that it's like comparing apples and oranges trying to compare the different school systems and obviously the post primary selection is a fiasco here but the transfer tests are here to stay and different schools (never mind the maintained/state divide) have different focuses in the early years of primary and I know in my kids primary different teachers focus on different strands of reading/maths.

Crocodileclip Tue 22-Nov-16 20:10:38

Thanks wigglesrock. I think I probably need to stop reading Mumsnet education threads. DS is my eldest and I don't really have any experience of Primary schools in Northern Ireland since I was at one myself. I lived in England for over a decade though and have friends there with kids at Primary school. I know my DS is behind where similar aged children are in England but I'm not 100% sure if that is just DS school or if the two education systems work at a different pace at Primary level.

I agree that our post primary system is a mess. My DS is only in P3 and I am already worried about whether or not he will be fit for the transfer test. Where we lived previously in England there were some very good Comprehensive schools and I wouldn't have had this worry.

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