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Is it ever a bad thing to provide extension work to an able child?

(18 Posts)
jollyma Wed 08-Dec-10 20:31:54

Ds has been identified to be part of a group of 3 children in his class to work once a week out of the class on more difficult maths. He then gets extra homework as well.

While I welcome schools efforts I have wondered if widening the gap between these children and the rest of the class is the best for them. Is it ever a bad idea to extend a small group of childrens learning? I feel that he is bright but not exceptional.

activate Wed 08-Dec-10 20:33:58

it's worse to be bored, to feel you know everything already and school can teach you nothing

jollyma Wed 08-Dec-10 20:48:11

I'm not sure he is bored but quite happy plodding along. There have been issues with him not getting enough written work completed and being able to get work done in good time.

activate Wed 08-Dec-10 21:04:04

Fine so pull him out of the extension group - tell school you just want him in standard lessons with standard work

exexpat Wed 08-Dec-10 22:55:51

How does he feel about it? Is he enjoying it? Or complaining about the extra work?

But tbh if the school thinks he would benefit from the extra group work, then I would go with it unless he is consistently saying he doesn't want to. You are never going to get a whole class working at the same pace and level, so if he's been given an opportunity to move ahead at an appropriate pace for his abilities, then that should be a good thing.

madwomanintheattic Wed 08-Dec-10 23:08:43

how old is he? school did this with ds1 when he was in yr 1. he's moved schools and the new school just use him as a TA really (he's yr 4 now) as they don't apparently believe in differentiating the curriculum in his case. apparently he's quite useful in explaining concepts to his peers when the teacher can't be bothered they don't get it. i know which i'd prefer, tbh.

they are however, doing it properly for dd2 - differentiating the curriculum as they go. same classes as her peer group, but she has an ipp which requires her teachers to have planned extension work for her within their lesson plan - ie slightly more taxing questions/ more lateral thinking etc.

dd1's plan is different again - they are apparently going to let her do some project work with higher grades to challenge her, but the rest of the time she will be with her yr group.

horses for courses, really. a lot depends on the teacher and the school. i tend to let them get on with it. grin

jollyma Thu 09-Dec-10 08:52:41

He is in year 3, they did some extension work with the top half of the class last year to try to improve the sats results and have now continued it with the top 3. Dont get me wrong i welcome schools efforts and realise i must sound ungrateful which i'm not. It just has made me wonder what happens when and if for whatever reason this provision stops do these children spend more time in class daydreaming iyswim?

He is really positive about it and feels special for the attention from a teacher he loves, not his class teacher.

Would appreciate any tips on what to be aware of in this circumstance. Thanks.

Hullygully Thu 09-Dec-10 08:54:32

It is a Good Thing.

lovecheese Thu 09-Dec-10 09:03:41

I would much rather my bright child be catered for in school with extra groups etc than money being used for "Enrichment" days when a couple of children go off for the day. IMO THAT is not on (DD1 was chosen for this a couple of years ago, but with hindsight the rational person in me does not agree with it)

jollyma Thu 09-Dec-10 09:22:55

I agree lovecheese, it does seem a better option to input little and often.

Madwoman, how has your son responded to the change? Does he just accept it or does he complain about the work he gets now? One of my reasons for concern is that the teacher he is likely to get next year doesn't have a good record and if the extra sessions stop i worry that if will sit bored for most of the year.

jacquiel Thu 09-Dec-10 16:06:25

from my perspective as mum of 13 year old :
Son liked maths in primary always got top marks, and was with older children in juniors (but the whole maths was differentiated with different aged kids together according to ability)
At secondary 'hated' maths, never did homework, very sloppy classwork. Frustrated maths teacher always writing home to us about how awful ds was.
Any tests or exams he always came top.- which annoyed teacher even more i think.
Skip to current year nine - he brought home a letter saying some more able pupils could choose to do a challenge sheet once a month - which is maths but nothing like what they are learning in school at all, not curriculum maths relating to gcse's - he suprised me and asked me to sign it, because he wants to do it! Go figure!

madwomanintheattic Thu 09-Dec-10 22:02:35

um, well, let's say his teacher called me in to ask me if there was anything going on at home she needed to be aware of, like a sick relative, as ds1 is often away with the fairies... some days he will complete the entire work in a flash, or he might just look at the filing cabinet or a crack in the wall and hand in a blank sheet of paper... ds1 is a law unto himself really, and i wouldn't like to day how much is under-stimulation, and how much is just him...

it's not an understatement to say that if he is stimulated he will work like a carthorse though, so i guess you could make a causative link. i wouldn't like to try and prove it though. he's been like it since yr r, with whatever other options they offer him...

jacquiel Fri 10-Dec-10 08:16:57

Ho ho ho
this 'extra work' i mentioned above - well, he got the sheet out last night (due in today) and struggled with a lot of it because it is so different - he had lost the sheet with notes on it too.
He did a couple of questions, then because he couldnt finish it all said he isnt going to hand it in not completed, and isnt doing it.

BeenBeta Fri 10-Dec-10 08:33:32

After a year of beging for extension work both in class and homework for DS1 the school finally caved in and gave him some.

He came home in tears one day describing the awful time he has in maths class. He finishes his work in 10 mins and spends the rest of the class looking out of the window with literally nothing to do. That is 3 hours a week of his school day just looking out of the window.

We were horrified. Extension work surely has to be better than that.

choccyp1g Fri 10-Dec-10 08:37:13

Pulling him out once in a while is no substitute for challenging him in class.

jollyma Fri 10-Dec-10 15:16:31

I think I would be much happier about it if it seemed to have more to do with the class teacher. The impression i get is that he is continuing with regular work in class and then doing the different work out of the class. There has been no mention of how the benefit of the extra attention will be put into the classroom work. I hope the teacher is keeping an eye on what he is doing with the other teacher so he is also challenged more in class.

Beenbeta, my ds is different from yours in that he often doesn't get the work in class finished so doesn't sit there twiddling his thumbs despite finding the work easy. This reinforces my doubts that working out of class is best because i feel he needs to stop talking, concentrate and put on paper what he is easily able to produce before being 'treated' to these extra sessions he enjoys. I have told him that if he continues to not get classwork finished the extra sessions will stop so hopefully that will motivate him to make more effort in class.

madwomanintheattic Sat 11-Dec-10 17:30:32

lol, jolly, that's ds to a 't'. grin

i do laugh when teachers ask me how they can motivate him in class. lor, ask me one on sport. grin

jollyma Sat 11-Dec-10 20:40:05

Completely naively i expected the school to have strategies to suggest to encourage him but we highlighted the problem in year one and were told it wasn't a problem. Then in year 2 the new teacher mentioned it as something she had noticed at the first parents evening, then did nothing about it! Hopefully we'll have more luck this year. V frustrating!

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