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Can I ask teachers out there their opinion on acceptable progress in an academic year please??

(53 Posts)
Becaroooo Tue 28-Jun-11 11:42:19

...ds1 (just turned 8) has been in year 3 at his new school since Nov last year.

I am having a meeting with the HT and SENCO on thursday morning wrt ds1 and provision for him....he is currently being seen by the child dev paed who has asked for an EP report and for him to be seen by the spld team too.

Ds1 is a bright, well behaved boy who had significant developmental delay when he was a baby and who has struggles with literacy since its formal introduction in year 1.

I removed him from his last school due to the lack of help he recieved and the bullying he endured because he struggled (was called "slow", "thick" etc etc)

He is happy at his new school - which is great - but he is not really making any progress.

I have got his levels from his teacher this morning (prior to the meeting) and they are:

reading - was 1b now 1a
writing - was 1a now 1a
maths - was 2b now 2a

So if I understand it right, since November last year;
He has gone up 1 sub level in reading (and now is 2 years behind his peers).
His levels in writing are unchanged.
He has gone up 1 sub level in maths (and is now classed as average).

Thats not good is it?

I knew his level for maths would be better than his reading and writing but am shocked he has made no progress at all with writing and only 1 sub level in reading....the HT says they are "really pleased" with this.

How can they be "pleased" ???????

Am I overreacting??? ds1 has had no help since starting this school (aside from very patchy 20 min of 1-1 once per week)

Help!

ElbowFan Tue 28-Jun-11 19:20:19

It seems a great shame that the school has left it quite so late in the school year to recognise that your DS may need some extra help with literacy.

They may well be pleased that he has settled and has started to make some progress. He is happy where he is which is a good basis for any learning to take place. He's not so far behind that he can't catch up with assistance from good teachers.

I would hope that you learn more at the Thursday meeting and what plans they intend to implement to help him to progress.

Don't read too much in to sublevels progress, his happiness is much more important.

diabolo Tue 28-Jun-11 19:29:00

At KS2, children are expected to make 2 NC Levels progress from Year 2 to Year 6. (i.e from a Level 2b at KS1 to Level 4b at KS2). This means they should make 1/2 NC Level in 1 school year.

He is below average in English and making less than expected progress. The school should be doing more to help and I think you've got every right to be angry. He is only just average in Maths and this certainly doesn't mean that he is doing well. The standard of "average" Maths at any age is pretty, well.... average.

Sorry.

ElbowFan Tue 28-Jun-11 19:49:08

One sublevel progress is not unusual in Y3 diabolo. Did you see that the OP said that the lad had experienced significant developmental delay when he was a baby and was removed form the previous school due to bullying.
I think it is obvious that Becarooo is aware of his problems. Her DS is doing well FOR HIM, not by national standards, but he is happy and progressing.
I would agree that the school should have been doing more to help but being angry now is not going to help anyone.

Humourme Tue 28-Jun-11 21:07:58

Hi Becaroooo,

I was in a similar situation to you with my son due to glue ear, delayed speech in infancy and a school which which showed little interest. In the end I moved my child to another school and started following the Kumon Maths and English programmes - I highly recommend it and have had great success with it - for example in approx two years my son went from significantly below average to above average and actually left his lower school (age 9) in the top set for maths. It does cost though - to follow both programmes is about £100 a month but if you could afford it you could start with literacy and see how it goes or perhaps try doing work from the manuals you can buy in shops - I know that's not easy as I've been there - but unfortunately, you may find that taking action into your hands is the only way forward especially if your son falls into that category where he is poor at a subject but not so poor for anyone to do anything significant about it....

Good Luck Becaroooo and fingers crossed for your sonsmile

Becaroooo Wed 29-Jun-11 08:43:36

diablo I am angry but its not going to do ds1 any good if I rant and rave (much as I would like to)

elbowfan Yes. He is happy and we are really pleased with that, bearing in mind his experiences at his old school.

humourme Ds1 is currently being investigated for dyslexia and we are currently following a programme retained reflex therapy so I am not sure how Kumon could help but will look into it.

TickTockPillow Wed 29-Jun-11 08:57:23

1 sub level of progress or even no progress can be O.K because sometimes children have a period of more rapid improvement in previous or subsequent years to balance it out. 2 subs levels averaged per year is what they should aim for.

All you can do now though is to make sure that you go into next year happy about the support he will receive. It is too late for this year but don't be fobbed off into "waiting to see how he settles" for ages in Year 4 before they actually start to take it seriously. This may, depending on the school, involve an awful lot of pressure from you to get the school to do this. Is your DS on an IEP? Do you have regular meetings to discuss his progress and his targets. I certainly think that should be the starting point for the new school year if not.

Becaroooo Wed 29-Jun-11 09:02:14

ticktock He was put on an IEP and School Action in April (but I think this was only after he had been referred to the paed by the GP tbh)

I would like to achieve the following from the meeting;
IEP review
Ds1 to have access to the reading recovery programme in September
Ds1 to be put on School Action +
Find out what provision ds1 will have in year 4
He is currently on a programme called "Switch on" - no idea what this is or how much 1-1 he gets.

If I get none of the above, I will apply for a statement based on "inadequate progress".

Am looking into a programme/tutor for over the summer too.

working9while5 Wed 29-Jun-11 09:05:01

Given his history, he needs a referral to speech and language therapy services also.

A great many children with literacy difficulties have related difficulties in speech and/or language that may not be obvious without full assessment.

Becaroooo Wed 29-Jun-11 09:08:05

He was seen by a SALT when he was 5 and she had no concerns.

His vocab is excellent and his understanding also.

His academic achievement does not match his ability.

He will be seen by a SALT if I apply for an assessment I guess?

LIZS Wed 29-Jun-11 09:12:23

To be on SA+ would involve him being seen by an external agency again such as SALT. Has he been assessed by an EP ?

working9while5 Wed 29-Jun-11 09:25:44

That's good Becaroo, has a full language assessment such as the CELF-4 been done? (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals).

To really press the case and prove that academic achievement doesn't match ability, you want standard scores and a very full assessment. Although LEAs sometimes rely on age equivalents, really they are not the most sensitive measure.

It depends what the issue is. Good understanding and vocabulary are very closely linked to reading comprehension, but expressive (spoken) language and speech processing are more closely linked to decoding ability. Difficulties in any area of speech and language processing can lead to literacy difficulties.

He won't as a matter of course be seen by a SALT if you apply for a statement.

My bigger concern would be that nothing has been put in place. You won't get a statement or anything like one without all in-school interventions having been put in place. A statement provides resources above and beyond what is expected for a school to provide to remediate poor progression - they have to show they have pulled out all the stops and tried everything before it would even be considered. In our area, the levels your son has wouldn't be considered low enough for a statement anyway.

Becaroooo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:40:57

lizs Not yet. The paed has requested the school to get him assessed by the EP and the spld team.

One thing I am really concerned about is that - in a very brief chat last week - the HT intimated that they would not be gettign him assessed by an EP...why? The paed has requested it!!!!

Am very concerned that ds1 has been getting very little help or 1-1 and not sure how I go about getting it for him if he doesnt qualify for a statement????

Becaroooo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:43:07

working He did not really talk - in sentances - til he was 3.

Although - at the time I wasnt too concerned as I knew he understood me and his hearing was fine, no one seems to conect the two things IYSWIM? ie. his late talking (well, late everything!) and his issues wrt literacy.

Humourme Wed 29-Jun-11 12:07:23

Hi again Becaroooo,

I had my son privately assessed for dyslexia as I thought there were strong indicators. However, the results showed he was weak in some areas but not enough to classify him as dyslexic which therefore meant no extra help at school. He was also referred to a speech therapist in his first term at school but they deemed him not so bad as to do anything about it - (ie he had no actual lessons) they just monitored his progress for 18 months and then discharged him. All this time he was floundering, the inertia in the school made me furious - as expect you are when you know you have a bright child on your hands but something is holding him back. The truth is unless you get that statement you will get little or no help and it will be swept under the carpet. If you can bump start or speed up the process by having an independent test done for dyslexia or a cognitive test that may give you more ammunition in your quest for help.

Kumon is a repetitive system - you don't move up to the next level until the grounding at each level is firm with a high degree of accuracy- whether that's in times tables or basic grammar. I think much of what is needed in schools is emphasis on the groundwork but sadly the curriculum doesn't cater for children who need a longer time to absorb that groundwork or who are experiencing difficulties but who just fall in that category where they can get away with doing nothing about it. They are only interested in averages.

I have a friend with a daughter who is dyslexic and who followed the reflex sytem (or a similar one) - it has been very succesful for her! Hopefully that will really help your son toosmile I know it can be very dispiriting at times but you are doing all the right things, so keep harrassing them at school and try to get that extra help your son deserves. They may hate you eventually but your son will thank you for it!

working9while5 Wed 29-Jun-11 12:59:30

It is not that easy to get statements these days. I know of a recent case in an authority where a student with a P8 in reading and writing at Year 8 was not given a statement despite lots of evidence that all available interventions were not working.

The harsh reality of the system is that, as wrong as it may seem, unless your child has a difficulty that is severe and specific, they are unlikely to access a statement at this point in time. If they are performing in or near the average range they will not be likely to be given a statement and your only recourse is to go via the extremely adversarial Tribunal system. This is lengthy and again, there is no guarantee of winning anything and very little unless you have a huge amount of evidence to show that the LEA is not meeting minimum statutory guidance. The system is very heavily weighted against parents even when their children have severe and persistent life-limiting disabilities so - and this is being blunt in a way I couldn't be if I were to meet you in a clinic somewhere - if you can afford it, access private help. Use that private help to give support to teachers who are interested in helping your son at school as many teachers will be keen to help in whatever way they can.

Alternatively and/or at the same time, you can fight the system but it takes a lot of resources - both personal and financial - to win the battle.

As a HLTA I once worked with who herself is a mother of a child with severe disabilities said, she would not want any parent to risk their sanity, mortgage or marriage going through Tribunal to get the provision she offers for students with literacy difficulties (even though as provisions go it is quite good). I personally would not waste my time or my child's time trying to fight the system unless I was very sure that I could get something life-altering out of it and I was pretty much guaranteed to win. It may be that some additional tutoring makes a difference to your son (I know nothing of Kumon or the other therapy mentioned), or some private speech therapy or work with a dyslexia tutor.. or you could find out how to do some work yourself.

Sadly many parents with children with severe disabilities such as autism are forced to undertake to educate their children privately and give up work and make other huge sacrifices to give their children the best chance of success. It is a disgrace.. but I suppose I am saying in the context of that, while it's easy to say "go for a statement", it isn't something easy to do and the prospects of success for a child who is only a few levels behind is not good.
'
Forgive me if this sounds defeatest or alarming, but you could waste years otherwise. A good book to read is "Why children can't read and what we can do about it". There are lots of ways to support your child's learning in school. Do this now and in the meantime gather as much information about the extent of the problem as you can. But don't expect a quick turnaround.

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 13:43:06

Working - is Why children can't read and what we can do about it just another book about why you need to teach children using phonics? Or is there something else in there..........

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 13:49:21

Sorry, just read the description. It's just another book on teaching kids using phonics. Becaroo (and me) are well past this stage........ ie we've both tried and tried and tried phonics and it's failed.......

And in fact I'm really insulted by this line - she dramatically reveals how dyslexia and behavior problems such as ADD stem not from neurological disorders but from flawed methods of reading instruction

Some 'dyslexia' is caused by 'dysteachia' (bad teaching) - but not all. And that is not what is happened in Becaroo's case.

working9while5 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:36:54

Indigo, I wouldn't pay much attention to the blurb and the book isn't the be all and end all..

I don't know enough about Becaroo's case eg. if she has tried and tried phonics etc because from the OP it sounded to me that actually there's been very little intervention and her son is at a school that's not really done much about it. You may be aware of a backstory but I am not.

As I said up the thread, all sorts of reading issues are called dyslexia and some are caused by speech processing issues, some visual and some by poor teaching etc. In addition, not all people with dyslexia are poor readers - I have a student who can read and comprehend but can't spell at cvc level for example, most probably due to auditory processing issues. Becaroo needs more information about what's going on in the first instance.

The important message in "Why children can't read.." is that non-phonic based instruction that doesn't tackle decoding systematically is a problem and has created a great many readers who have good understanding but can't decode. As a first line of investigation, if I knew for certain my child had good language comprehension and vocabulary, I would want to know my child was accessing a high quality phonics programme to systematically tackle decoding.. if this has happened and it is yielding no success you are most likely looking at a different reason for the difficulty but it is the most likely answer for the majority.

For a great many students who are poor readers, synthetic phonics is a help. For some of our students with severe and persisting speech difficulties, we use a modified synthetic phonic approach that is individually tailored to gaps in their specific speech processing system, giving multisensory information about voicing, placement of articulators and manner of articulation and making what is implicit explicit (combined with intensive/fluency based approaches). It's building up a phoneme-grapheme correspondence so is really synthetic phonics but it looks very different to what happens in Year 1 and Reception in a circle once a day. There are different ways of applying a synthetic phonics programme, and for individuals who struggle, if it hasn't been intensive enough or tailored enough to make a difference it doesn't always mean that it is irrelevant. Even if you have a visual problem, once that's corrected the bottom line is that to read fluently you have to have phoneme-grapheme correspondence. Reading doesn't really work without it unless you are one of those very small group of people who can only learn to read through whole-word recognition (some people with APD/ASD etc).

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 14:49:45

Working - thanks for clarifying. I agree with all that you've said. smile

(You are right I do know Becaroo's backstory)

The fact that you need to learn to read by phonics is not news to anyone who follows MN Primary Board, or indeed anyone who has spent 5 mins researching dyslexia.

But there are some children, like mine and Becaroo's, who don't have the memory and processing speed to be able to learn either with phonics or with whole word (although clearly phonics requires less memory than whole word)

And these underlying problems need to be cured before the child can learn to read.

So how do you cure underlying problems that are stopping a child learn to read via phonics is the question we are both searching for answers to.......

working9while5 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:58:28

And one I wish I knew the answer to....

For the students I work with who have speech difficulties, we break it down further as above, basically below the level of the phoneme. In technical terms, we teach them about distinctive features of phonemes. This seems to help.. but is it the best way? I don't know. So much more research is needed. Also, it would help if so many different difficulties were not all called the same thing. Dyslexia is a symptom, not a cause.

For the student I am working with who can read but not spell, I really don't know. I understand, theoretically, why he has the problem he has but there is so little information on how to help. The children who really struggle are the ones who don't match the "models" and what's a model anyway? We have to take a "try it and see" approach and that's obviously not ideal.. but there really is nothing out there in terms of evidence for some of the difficulties our kids face.

Wish there was a better answer. If you find one, let me know!

cazzybabs Wed 29-Jun-11 14:59:31

Children who move schools tend to have a dip on levels plus he has SEN (as you have said OP) which means he may not make the expected 2 sublevels a year. You need to trust his teachers - if they are telling you they are pleased then that is good.

Go back and ask them for realistic expectations - can you expect him to catch up with his peers. What support will he get next year?

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 15:06:58

cazzybabs - Why on earth should becaroo not expect her child to catch up with his peers?

And why should she trust his teachers when they have such low expectations of him?

If a teacher is happy with a child who has a normal (or high) IQ and is working 2 years behind where they should be after only 4 years at school - then the absolute last thing you should do is trust the teacher and the school.

You have to have a seriously low IQ before it is reasonable to not expect a child to learn to read - and Becaroos child def does not have that.

cat64 Wed 29-Jun-11 15:27:33

Message withdrawn

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 15:58:08

Cat - you think it's fine that the OPs child can't read or write at the end of Y3? You think it's fine that he has made no progress at all in writing?

And going from a 1b to a 1a in reading in almost a year is not 'average progress'. In Y2 (when kids would normally be a 1b) kids are meant to make 3 sub levels. So that is a term's progress he has made in almost 3 terms.

School's will always try to spend their limited EP time on kids who throw chairs. And overlook any kid who doesn't have a behaviour problem.

But the point is that the paedetrician has asked the school for her DC to be seen by the EP - are school allowed to turn down the paed? The paed is trying to make a dx, and can't do that without the EP observing her child.

You all seem to think that if you are on the SEN register than nothing else matters. That if you're on the SEN register it's acceptable for you to be far behind your peers.

But it's the other way round. You got put on the SEN register because you were behind your peers. Not because you have any Special Needs - only that the education system has so far failed you.

It can't then be an excuse to stay behind your peers.

sad sad sad

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