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Needs more stretching at School - Advice Please

(68 Posts)
technodad Sun 03-Mar-13 21:42:58

Hi all.

My DS is 7, and whilst he is not necessarily gifted and talented, he is in the top couple of kids in his class for every subject (except sport...). He is certainly bright, and is reading books like The Hobbit, having finished the first couple of Harry Potters (the less scary ones).

At home we give him him some extra curricular education (museums, learning to write very simple computer programs, basic French, etc), but to be honest we don't do that much.

The problem is, he just doesn't get stretched at school at all. He comes home saying that he is bored, and that he never learns anything from his teachers. The next term's activities will only cover things he already knows.

I really worry that his experience at school will teach him that school is easy, and that he can get by in life just coasting (which will massively damage his potential in life). We have mentioned his bordom to the school at every parents' evening and we are always told that he will be stretched next year….but next year never comes.

Is there anything we can do to get the school to stretch him further?

Would there be any assessment that we could get done on DS which might help highlight his boredom to the school?

How feasible might it be to get a bursary for DS to attend a local private school?


ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:04:36

He tells us that the work is too easy. They give them a printed sheet with one line on it and ask them to write a sentence about it. I ask him why he doesn't write more and he says "because we are only allowed one sheet and it only has one line on it". grin grin
Methinks ds is having you on!
And he 'knows all about' the topics! Clever boy!

Techno you didn't read my post properly with quotes from Ofsted and the teachers' standards. 'Good teaching' as you so rightly say, differentiates for different abilities - this is part of the 'Ofsted tick-box and part of the teachers' standards.

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 21:09:28

I am not sure I understand your point.

How is my DS having me on?

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 21:10:58

Presumably you are saying that it is just a bad school with bad teachers - maybe it is.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:16:51

I can't believe that any school at end of key stage is going to tell a child that they only have to write one line (or tell them not to join their writing). Schools have targets to meet!

You say that your ds knows everything about the topics they do and never learns anything new. What topics are they? shock

gwenniebee Fri 08-Mar-13 21:16:53

Have you tried speaking to his teacher? Might be interesting to get his/her take on it.

I had a "gifted" child in my Y3 class last year. He was certainly very bright, he did need stretching and he did need (and get) differentiated activities from me. However, he was also spinning his mother some incredible lines about his experiences at school.

iseenodust Fri 08-Mar-13 21:29:04

I think you need to talk to school because things like writing a well constructed story of some length is a skill can that can be stretched beyond primary level. Also I've always heeded advice not to race the curriculum so I wouldn't be starting French with your DS at home. Let him learn that with his peers. Give him choices over a musical instrument, astronomy, marine ecology, something different and then tire him out with some sport.

OP to answer your bursary question. We have just got DS 8 into an academically robust indie. Their literature says apply for bursaries if family income less than £48k and no other assets. Doesn't say what you are likely to get though and I think it said for entries in yr7 & 6th form (ie not yr4).

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 21:39:54


Why do you keep saying that me or my DS are not telling the truth.

They are given sheets with limited space to write on, rather than writing in books. The sheets are the stuck into the books. They are not allowed l do joined up writing.

It is OK for you to think I am an arse, but all I was doing was asking for advice to get the best for my child. If you have none to give then please walk away from the thread.


gwenniebee Fri 08-Mar-13 21:46:01

I am not saying that you are an arse. I am not saying that your DS is not telling the truth, but I am saying that from my experience as a teacher, children do not always communicate very accurately to their parents. This is not to say they lie (although sometimes they do) but it is to say that things get lost in translation.

It works the other way round, too. A child tells me something about home and I sometimes have a duty to investigate this, and more often than not it turns out to be a tall story.

OP, you have not answered my question as to whether or not you have talked to the teacher. Your DS may well be telling you the truth as he sees it, but he may not understand the motivation behind the tasks he is being given. You and the teacher should be working as a team to engage him in his learning, but your tone is very much "me vs them".

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:50:50

I'm not saying you are an arse, although I do question your ds knowing 'everything' about a topic - that does sound like an arse to me.

However, I do teach Y2 and I know the Ofsted requirements for the end of Key Stage One. Therefore, I question the 'constraints' being put on your ds regarding his progress (such as the one line of writing, and prohibition of joined handwriting.) All state schools are living in fear of Ofsted at the moment - the framework is based on data and progress. I can't quite square your comments about ds' school with the standards every school in the country is required to reach.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:52:00

(Hey, gwen, are we the same person?)

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 21:53:52

It is definitely not "me vs them" but I can't explain why this is the case because it might reveal who I am. But we do a lot for the school.

We discuss it with the teachers every parents evening and it never improves.

7to25 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:55:49

Hi technodad,
I have one very bright child who is now grown.
When he was in primary school, about a year older than your son, I was having big problems with bad behavior at school caused by boredom. His teacher said she would see him on Crimewatch! (not managed that yet)
I paid for him to go to a tutor to "stretch" him and he was a lot happier. Can I also suggest music lessons?
He went to a private school for secondary but was only really happy ay university .......he is still there.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:57:46

techno why do you say your ds knows everything? That is impossible for a 7 year old!
If I had a parent at parents evening saying that his child 'knows everything', I would have a bit of a splutter behind my hand and suggest they did extra research at home.

gwenniebee Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:15

Hey ipad... you never know!

OP, I think you need to try and talk to the teacher again, not just at parents' evenings. I can understand your frustration if you feel you are raising issues and it's not getting anywhere, but I think communication with the teacher is the first step. And then (and I don't say this lightly because it normally annoys me!) if you don't get anywhere with the class teacher, then it might be worth raising your concerns with the head.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 22:00:30

If nothing else, techno, you can take those quotes from Ofsted and the teachers' standards in to your ds' school and ask why differentiation isn't happening.
Is it a 'good' school? When was the last Ofsted?

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 22:01:25

Thanks 7to25

iPad: I never said he knew everything. Like I said, if you don't want to help, just don't post.

If you are posting because I have caused you offence somehow, then I apologise.

gwenniebee Fri 08-Mar-13 22:02:08

I do agree with ipad about the "knowing everything", though.

Maybe he could be challenged (by you) to come home from school with a new fact every day, with a reward at the end of the week for five new facts, so that he doesn't just say "there wasn't anything"?? Just thinking what I might say to a parent who came to me saying the sorts of things you're saying. You could even get the teacher in on the "game" so that he/she sneaks some incredible fact in to the lessons.

gwenniebee Fri 08-Mar-13 22:02:39

x-post, sorry.

I need to go to bed - good luck!

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 22:02:39

Gwen - talking to the head...... Gets nowhere sadly.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 22:03:12

Quote from techno

Well, the school tells us their teaching aims and topics for the next term and he knows them all already because we asked him and he answered correctly.

coldcupoftea Fri 08-Mar-13 22:14:38

He says he's not 'allowed' to write more than one sentence? In year 2? hmm I think he has the wrong end of the stick. I would ask the teacher, in front of DS: "DS says he's not allowed to carry on his work on another sheet of paper if he has more to say, I told him that he must have heard wrong, isn't that right?"

As for knowing the topics, our are things like volcanoes, poetry, the Egyptians etc... subjects that I can't imagine even the brightest 7yo knowing 'everything about'.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 08-Mar-13 22:18:16

DS (Yr 2) is smart but not G&T but I despair sometimes about the homework he gets and some of the "learning targets" as he's been able to do them for months, if not years. Eg this week's maths homework is based on the ten times table. But there are lots of things that he's behind on (eg his handwriting) that he needs to focus on. OP, I'd guess that there are things that your DS does need to work on too.

Otherwise, has he started playing a musical instrument? Or maybe join the Scouts? Or do Perform? Ie something non academic but that should help him develop in other ways

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 22:27:40

Cold cup: shouldn't the teacher recognise that some can do more than a single sentence and make sure the child understands that they can ask for more sheets. Why should a child have the initiative when the teacher doesn't.

Behaviour breeds behaviour!

technodad Fri 08-Mar-13 22:31:55

FSG - sadly he has never had homework other than reading (which he is well beyond).

Musical instrument might be a good way forward. He refuses to join scouts because he won't promise to god (because he is atheist).

The problem is, he is still tired after school and it is frustrating that the best hours for learning are not made the most of. We do lots of home education, but I don't want to push him too much during his "free time".

seeker Fri 08-Mar-13 22:44:00

What national curriculum level is he at?

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