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feeling a bit nervous entering here

(11 Posts)
Poodlehorse Tue 30-Aug-11 09:50:18

Don't quite know where to start but this might be loooong.
DS is 6.6 and very young for his year, we put him in his proper year group even though here in Scotland it seems almost fashionable to keep the Jan/Feb birthdays back a year (Feb 28th being the cut off here). We felt we had to as nursery was driving him bonkers and we thought his behaviour would be an issue if we didn't. We were told it might be a hard year as emotionally/socially he might struggle. But when we decided to put him they told us we did the right thing. He just wanted to learn to read even though he had already taught himself a fair bit by then. His disappointment at the level of work was pretty obvious. They took until Jan to give them reading books - and I know he was in the first group to get. He found the whole thing rather insulting. His teacher couldn't cope with him, not because of "bad" behaviour really but because he fidgeted and didn't concentrate. She admitted though that he knew the answers if she questioned him so "he must be listening really", I suggested maybe he was bored because he knew that already but she was horrified. "but we only just started doing that he couldn't have known" No clue that he might learn at home, I was mildly insulted myself at this point. Because of all her concerns we ended up having to meet with the Head and I am afraid I have a pretty low opinion on Mrs Boxticker herself. To cut a long story short, it has been made clear they feel a need to label him with a condition but they haven't been able to find one that sticks yet. hmm He was physically abused by his teacher who has been removed and now on gardening leave and his so called problems have abated a fair bit as a result of her not being there. His attitude to school is much better and I am only now getting to the bottom of what that cow put him through for so long. And others. But that is a sideshow. New year new teacher - she is finding that he is not getting through his work, he seems to have issues with handwriting, it takes him ages, he can do it beautifully when he chooses to but will sit a whole morning doing virtually nothing and then when it comes home to complete can do it on 3 minutes. He CAN do the work easily and he is very good at mental maths, but if you get him to do written maths he can sit and look at it like he is stuck. I am a bit confused. He loves reading and is very good, he is completely bored of the stuff coming home for reading which is still mainly pictures. He reads Horrid Henry and Roald Dahl, he read 2 in a day and I didn't think he could have so started asking him detailed questions about the story and his recall was amazing. Yet teachers can't get him to do storywriting at school. I reckon if he could speak it he would do fine as he has the imagination, boy does he! He also loves all nonfiction and is working his way through the Horrible Science boxset at present, again he will come out with facts in context and keeps me right. His special subject is Space and he informs me he will be a space probe designer and loves to design them on paper with incredible detail (they are a hoot to read) and a lot of good science in them (albeit naive), he knows way more than I will ever know about the planets and the universe and has all those kind of programmes Sky+ to watch over again. Normally you would not be able to get him to draw but if it is about Space then he is away.
I have always known he was very bright but having googled concentration skills the other day I started to realise there was often a correlation between bright and apparent lack of concentration and that led me to G&T and the NAGT website, I looked at their checklist and it just described my son. I was so excited when I read it yesterday as I feel I have finally figured out what the problem is. Yesterday he took home a sheet to complete and his reason for not having done it in class was "but I did this last year, that is so silly her making me do it again isn't it mummy?" I had a look and yes he had done it last year and even last year I would have said it was boring and too easy. So his solution is don't do it blush, for someone I feel maybe g&t he can totally miss the fact he just has to do as he is told, I have told him before he isn't in charge of the class the teacher is and in his first year you could almost see the penny dropping of "oh, aren't i?"
I don't know what to do now, I want to support him, I feel I need some kind of confirmation of my suspicions, but I don't trust the school due to other things. We are in a very small country school and he is always going to be in a composite here which I don't think is helping although he seems to be listenign to the year up's work a lot instead of his own. I think his current teacher is ok unlike the last one but the Head I really am keeping at arm's length. I want to move him and we are supposed to be moving away and the school we had chosen has a G&T programme which I didn't tick the box for as I thought - well he is bright but I don't know if he is as bright as that, I don't want them to think I am up my own arse. And that is where I feel, trapped a wee bit, I don't know of any G&T support in the area. had a look on the LEA website but there is nothing. Used to work for them but never heard of such either. I think he isn't being picked up because of his behaviour. But that won't improve until he is being adequately supported. Does this ring any bells with anyone? I nearly put this under a different name as I feel really weird about this. My mum has been telling me for years there is something very special about him as his vocab is better than a lot of adults she knows (it is) but Ithought she was just an overly proud granny, now I am starting to think this has been staring us in the face for a while but we didn't see it exactly. Um...that is it for!

iggly2 Tue 30-Aug-11 10:25:35

Hope your wee man recovers from the last teacher, that was awful. Lots is very familiar with my miniIggly (concentration span, reading etc). I do think that the differentiation issue can be hard (I have seen my son's teacher run around like mad getting different work), NO EXCUSE THOUGH. I have found that later on this year (so admittedly 5.5 onwards) he realised he had to concentrate (though he can be embarrassing and fidgety whilst out with mum!). He may get better there, just do not undermine teacher he needs to know she is boss. Scotland has no G and T set up they are "labelled" able(I think in lots of cases in England it is hit and miss, a name only).
Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act (2004) requires they are provided for educationally (but do not know if this requires educational psychologist reports for certain extra funding IYKWIM). "SNAP" appears to be the equivalent of NAGC (which until recently) did not have many events in Scotland. Not sure a label is of use unless it gets something done. I think you may have to think what you want.

iggly2 Tue 30-Aug-11 10:26:19

Can you get him to do the work on time. Bribery?

iggly2 Tue 30-Aug-11 10:31:44

Ohh ..... I meant to suggest Astrosaurs by Steve Cole for books if he loves space! It's about dinosaurs in space and my Ds loves them.

Poodlehorse Tue 30-Aug-11 10:58:02

thanks iggly, totally agree about the label thing. I just feel the school see negative behaviour and oh yeah he is bright too and aren't seeing a correlation. Was trying to find out if NAGC covered Scotland as it didn't look like it but I hadn't yet stumbled on anything that said who did. Had started to think the G&T thing wasn't the same here too. It is always so very frustrating to be different up here from the rest of the country. Will look into SNAP. Agree he needs to know teacher is boss. Do try not to show my feelings about the school. I am currently trying to do a star chart for getting work done on time but he has never really responded well to them, if he gets enough stars there is a boomerang being bought (his choice) at half term. I am not convinced I am very good at designing them though. And DS is artful at finding loopholes IYSWIM. He wants to learn, he wants to be good at school, he wants to please . I am trying hard to give him praise where apporopriate as he needs his self esteem built up after last teacher who he had for nearly two years until she snapped (to be fair she wasn't coping with a lot and I can see how DS could push someone to the edge but that is no excuse for hitting him for fidgeting).
Astrosaurs, I have that on my list of potential books I think he might like, but thanks for that - it is always great to get reading suggestions for him. I will maybe look at getting a few for Christmas (but buy them now in case we get snowed in for weeks again before then and I can break them out early).

thanks Iggly, you have helped a great deal, just knowing that it does sound familiar to someone helps. We have felt a bit lost for 2 years. Before that we didn't know other kids couldn't do what he does etc. Probably as we both could at school too, I had a similar reading age to DS. I certainly didn't fulfill my potential though blush as I just chose to coast. But did get the work done and was very compliant and eager to please. Think I was just very bright rather than gifted.

Poodlehorse Tue 30-Aug-11 11:28:09

right had a look at SNAP, hmmm, they make reference to the NAGCinScotland, from reading it I thought this was a separate organisation and a quick google suggests it is in Glasgow. But no website. And SNAP link you to the NAGC main site, have they merged does anyone know?

iggly2 Tue 30-Aug-11 11:52:16

Can he do lots of extracurricular activities esp sports (I have resorted to 3 hours day at times!). Bear in mind excess energy can be a thing lots of little boys have (bit of a generalisation but the boys I know tend to be a little more energetic than the girls). Also can he learn an instrument through the school. This gives him a little 1-2-1 time with a teacher that all children like and he gets something to concentrate on he has to sit still. Ds learns the piano.
I think SNAP maybe set up with Glasgow Uni, but they maybe good for advice and events (though may have to go through the school). I think the NAGC had a similar thing with York University. I do think that NAGC originally did not take on in Scotland that well till recently (there is only now a Scottish forum). I think NAGC tried to have 2 separate branches (Scotland and UK) with little success and that the UK branch has now started to encompass the Scottish branch. I think you may have to make some calls as it does seem different up there!

nenevomito Tue 30-Aug-11 12:01:14

I'm not sure how it works in Scotland, but my first thought would be for you to speak to the school and ask about getting the Educational Psychologist in to do something like the BAS II (British Ability Scales II) test with your DS which should give a good overall assessment of his overall level of ability, but also where his particular strengths lie. You may well find it easier to get his current school - or another school if he ever moves - to support his learning properly if you have something formal in place to highlight where he is.

If the school aren't interested in that, would it be possible for you to look into it privately?

My DS has had that done by the Ed Psych and we're also in the NAGC where we've had telephone consultations that have been really useful in terms of what we can do at home and how we can tackle some of the issues you describe.

Poodlehorse Tue 30-Aug-11 13:44:20

thanks to both of you, energy wise he is and he isn't very energetic. Being an only child I think he has learned to play quietly on his own (too much) so whilst in some ways he is nonstop he isn't in any way hyper and dislikes too much noise and complains of this distracting him in the classroom. he is fine with fireworks but hates noisy crowds and is painfully shy. But getting a little better. I take him swimming, loves his Beavers and he is doing on afterschool sporty thing with the school for the next month but then that finishes (assume a funding issue but also weather related as it will be outside). I find we are very isolated here geographically for any social things, we live in the middle of nowhere and miles from a reasonably sized large town. This is one of the main reasons I want to move is I feel he and I need more people around us as my DH works away. We were talking yesterday about him starting karate but he wants to go to a class where my friend's wee boy is rather than here in the village as the other kids that go are a bit on the rough side. It is a bit of a faff but not undoable. Music - I asked him when he turned 6 if he wanted to learn something and he said he didn't but I do think for lots of reasons it would be very good for him, but wonder if there is any point if he doesn't want to as you can't make this kid do what he doesn't want to - many have tried and failed. He works brilliantly 1-2-1.
I am going to have to have a chat with DH how to proceed, I would feel more comfy getting his next school to assess him since I know they have a G&T programme. I have lost so much trust in this school due to the way things have been. Or we could get it done privately sooner. We are looking at another year here.
BH do you have family or individual membership? Do you know what the difference is other than cost? I am thinking family would be best as when we move it will be overseas and I see it covers international as well. I think I might join as I fancy a good mooch around their forum and also I am tempted by some of their factsheets which I wonder if you get access to free once you join. I want to know about the handwriting one the most. Think I might set DS a wee space-themed task that involves a bit of writing and see if he can come up with the goods that way - ie when he is interested in the topic.
Oh it is just so nice to feel I am not alone and can come on here and talk to people that aren't going to think I am up my own arse for thinking he is gifted, which isn't the most helpful of labels but I am not sure what would be better.

nenevomito Tue 30-Aug-11 14:25:20

We have a family membership so we can all get involved. I've not used it as much as I'd like to as there's not much going in where I am based, but its been a good source of info.

neverknowinglyunderdressed Thu 01-Sep-11 14:27:08


Your journey sounds somewhat similar to mine. I too have my kids in composite classes in small school in rural Scotland. The school thought they had behavioural problems, I refused to accept that and paid to have them tested by an Ed Psych. This has forced the school to take notice, whether or not much will come of it I am not sure.

Think getting him tested will be best thing to do now. That way you can see what you are dealing with. If he scores above 130 (top 2%) he should be entitled to special provision by the school. An Individual Education Plan IEP should be developed in concert with the teachers, the child and you, with measurable targets. (I'm going in to school tom to discuss this.) This should mean that they test his level, compact the curriculum, so not to waste time going over things he already knows. Give him different more challenging work, or work with older children for some or all of the time.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the 'Guidance for addressing the needs of highly able pupils' document produced by SNAP. Then you will know what to talk to the teachers about (and in their terminology) once you have him tested. IQ test with Psychologist was £300 in Edinburgh. But you may be able to get a referral through the school/L.A.

Hope this helps

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