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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?


thefruitmonster Sun 16-Jun-13 10:18:22

Echoing the last poster, I know this is an old thread but found it hard to ignore.
techno: It's near on impossible to post stuff asking for advice that relates to your child being at the higher range of anything, without some out there 'having a go' IMO. It is completely unwarranted but unfortunately it happens and is un necessary for others be so aggressive. You are right to ask those who don't like it to just leave the thread alone.

I have a lot of personal experience of this, both as parent and teacher.

In addition.....IME there are some very bad teachers out there and schools' SMTs are where the changes can happen. However there ARE a lot of good teachers too who work tirelessly for the benefit of the children, of all abilities. Sadly though, just because of those who do a great job in the classroom does not invalidate the fact that there are some bad ones. Sad but true.
I think shared experience can help, especially when we reach out for help, but attack and basically telling someone they are lying is just not on.

Hope you get help and your DC gets what they need to help develop well in the ever changing society in which we now live. smile

dipdabdo Tue 11-Jun-13 06:22:19

An old thread but I just want to add something. Everyone is saying that its impossible that a Y2 teacher can get away with providing a stream of worksheets in which the children are required to give short (one word/ one line) answers. However, as a parent volunteer in Y2 who regularly sticks these worksheets into books, I can say that the OPs description is true. Once in. a while the children get a chance to write as much as a side of A5 but the one line answers are typical.

I really like the teacher who I help and I have great respect for her. However the OPs description accords with what I witness.

As to persuading a reluctant school to differentiate sufficiently for the children at the extreme ends of the spectrum... well good luck with that as I never managed it. IME yuan should expect to see some differentiation across three or five ability groups but if your child completely grasped the learning objective in hand the first time round, it doesn't mean that he won't have to keep coming back to practice it until the majority have mastered it too.

IMO this is no big deal once in a while but if its every single learning objective within a particular subject and its like this day after day, week after week, term after term and finally year after year, then its hardly surprising if the child in question experiences boredom.

FWIW my child's HT's only proferred solution was to give me some G&T workbooks that DS could do in the evenings. However, although he,d enjoy the worksheets if he was given them at school, its proven impossible to engage him in the evening when he's just grateful to be away from the boredom of school. Sadly, he used to love learning but that's almost gone now.

Jo1717 Mon 29-Apr-13 15:56:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 18:03:38

Techno dad- you haven't said whether it was the teacher or your child who told you that they were only allowed to write one sentence, for example. You haven't said how you know that he already knows everything he"s going to be taught all year. and you haven't said what national curriculum levels he's currently working at.

technodad Sat 09-Mar-13 17:02:03

I meant that he was beyond the books they provide, not that he is beyond reading.

I am signing off now. Thanks for those who have helped.

FriendlyLadybird Sat 09-Mar-13 16:53:55

techno - if you really want to do the best for your son, I think you are going to have to be a bit more open-minded.

Consider that 'bored' does not necessarily mean that he's finding the work too easy. It could be that he's finding it hard or that he doesn't want to do it. If he's bright he's probably worked out that 'bored' is a trigger word for you. So, yes, he's telling you that it needs investigation, but don't just accept what he's saying at face value.

There are a good four to five hours of learning time in school. I do not believe for one moment that they are all filled with completing in one-sentence answers on worksheets. Ofsted would have strung them up. However, don't imagine that the occasional discipline of writing only one sentence is a bad thing. Being concise is a skill, essential in tests and exams, and largely absent in young children who tend to equate length with quality.

I'm afraid your insistence that he 'knows all' next term's topics makes you sound ridiculous. When my DS was in Y2 I remember his topics included the Fire of London and Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole. These are not things it is possible to know everything about, and neither is it possible to ascertain by questioning that a seven-year-old does indeed know everything about them. Similarly, you say that he is 'well beyond' reading for homework. No one ever gets 'beyond' reading.

You also say that 'sadly' he is not given homework, but in the same breath that he's too tired after school to learn anything much. So, probably a good thing he's not given much homework then! Something must be tiring him out at school, even if it's not learning, so let him chill.

From your username and the story you told of your own education, I would say that you have something of a 'quantitative' mindset: "I know that, tick box, and move onto the next thing, preferably faster than other people". A lot of learning (even in mathematics) is about practice, repetition, working on the same thing until it's improved, approaching the same subject from a different direction, etc. If your son has the same view, it may be that he just doesn't understand when he IS being offered the opportunity to stretch himself.

technodad Sat 09-Mar-13 16:39:57

Come on seeker, I have replied, but noone believes me.

At no time did I say that he doesn't learn anything from school. I just said that he isn't being stretched to a level that I am happy with and every attempt to speak to the teacher results in no action.

I don't want to give any really specific examples, in case it might compromise my anonymity.

If people don't believe me, and don't want to give advice, the simply move along.

Thanks to all those who have helped.

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 15:42:29

And it is quite interesting that the OP has been back on the thread and hasn't addressed any of the queries

ipadquietly Sat 09-Mar-13 12:43:26

It's not a cross-examination.
We're asking questions because techno has described some unlikely Y2 scenarios, in view of Ofsted requirements and teachers' performance management targets.

Gruntfuttocks Sat 09-Mar-13 11:23:02

It seems to me that you have raised your concerns on a number of occasions and the school haven't responded. Time to look for a different school.
DS1 was very bright but the school refused to acknowledge or do anything about it. We changed schools and it was an overnight transformation. He went from bored and frustrated to happy and engaged, and it was well worth it.

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 11:09:28

I'm sorry if the OP feels cross examined. The problem is that some of the things he said don't square with other's knowledge or experience, and it's difficult to comment properly/helpfully without the relevant information. Which is certainly why I asked questions.

technodad Sat 09-Mar-13 10:47:44

Thanks Shakey.

It is nice that your DS' schools recommended the appointment.

Shakey1500 Sat 09-Mar-13 08:26:37

Why does it feel like techno is being cross examined?!

Obviously if the topic is maths and they are learning the 3 times table (for example) which his son already knows, he can claim to know all about the topic. The topic in hand.

Techno, my ds is 5 and we have an upcoming appointment with camhs due to particular "quirks" and learning ability. This has been recommended by the school. I will wait and see what springs from that but I think we may (at a later date) head down the private tutor route as opposed to private school.

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 01:25:20

Oh, and my atheist son is a cheerful and happy Scout. The Promise says "my god" and he told me that his god was Darwin so he was happy to make it.

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 01:23:53

three possibilities. Including the Spanish Inquisition........

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 01:23:02

There are two possibilities. Either this is a seriously crappy school, in which case you should move your child ASAP. Or your child is misunderstanding, or spinning you a line.

Of the three, I slightly favour the third, particularly if he is bright.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 08-Mar-13 22:49:26

Try piano - DS has just started, and it's a good age, provided they can read fluently

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 22:44:38

techno A single sentence isn't acceptable in Y2. I think you ought to clarify the 'expectation of one sentence' with the teacher.
Having worked in Y2 for the best part of 16 years (and knowing very well what the expectations are at the end of the year), I find that hard to believe.

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

What national curriculum level is he at?

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".

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!

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

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'.

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.

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

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

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