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What is your school doing with their highest achievers under the new NC?

(196 Posts)
amillionusernameslater Tue 22-Sep-15 16:29:17

I'm very hmm about the new approach to G&T pupils of deepening not letting them learn new things.

What are others' schools doing with those who are well ahead of year group expectations in maths in particular?

irvine101 Tue 22-Sep-15 16:52:13

My ds's school seems to be exactly the same.
I am kind of lost at the moment regarding what to do about it.

I was told by the teacher about deepening as well, but how deep can you get? Also told that he shouldn't learn new things, but how can I stop him learning himself?

I would like to know what other schools are doing as well.

amillionusernameslater Tue 22-Sep-15 17:04:50

Yes these are children who love to learn new things! It seems such a waste.

Sure, do some deepening but some new learning too.

teeththief Tue 22-Sep-15 17:11:40

fuck all This is driving me mad, as well as driving both of my children to tears with boredom and frustration (even my 10 year old DS has been in tears over it). They're both just repeating things they did 1/2/3 years ago. It's absolute crap and had actually come on to ask the same question after being told 'they can't learn above their year group'. Surely that can't be right?

var123 Tue 22-Sep-15 17:16:41

Is deepening the new word for mastery, but with the bonus that there's no end point in deepening, unlike mastery.

Mastery - implies there is a point where you can be declared to have arrived at the destination. You now know it inside and out, from back to front i.e. you have "mastered" it.

Deepening - you have a deep subject knowledge, but there's always something more to learn.

If only they put the sort of effort into teaching that they put into finding ways to avoid it.

amillionusernameslater Tue 22-Sep-15 18:24:09

It seems that all those children in our class who have reached whatever hurdle they have to get over now in maths have not learnt anything new so far and are given word problems every single lesson whilst the staff sit with the lower groups. For three weeks...every single lesson. They love a maths problem but every day? Nothing else?

Lurkedforever1 Tue 22-Sep-15 20:55:54

There's a thread in primary about the new curriculum, and according to some links posted there is nothing to say kids can't move on once they've demonstrated they understand it. However we all know that if a school wants to use it as another excuse to ignore able kids, it offers a lot of possibilities. 'Rich and sophisticated problems' will just be another way of saying 'repeat something you grasped years ago ad finitum'

irvine101 Tue 22-Sep-15 22:08:45

So, it seems like happening everywhere.
It's just so frustrating that higher ability children are not given same opportunities to go further compared to other children.

I thought my ds was one of the lucky one last year, having the teacher who said something totally opposite of this year's teacher, but she left school!
He didn't learn anything new at school last year, but she was at least focusing on what he was weak at.
This year, he's doing something he can do in his sleep.(maybe a bit of exaggeration!)

I don't think I will stop him doing maths at home.

QueenVictoria11 Tue 22-Sep-15 22:38:35

I'm at my wits end about this. School have said no to any learning outside year 2 maths objectives. Have been told by class teacher that I have to speak to the headteacher if I don't like it. DS had targets in year 1 to use his knowledge of times tables to tackle word problems, now he's been doing number bonds to 20 for 3 weeks and challenge is to add several single digits to make 20 in as many ways as possible. He is bored. Maths is one thing DS loves and as a little boy with ASD he needs to be helped to make the most of his strengths.

Not sure there is any point in repeating myself to the headteacher as I know what answer will be. It's ridiculous and too many schools seem have misinterpreted new curriculum for whatever reason.

Any thoughts or advice would be really welcome. I just don't get it.

irvine101 Tue 22-Sep-15 22:56:57

I can feel your pain, QueenVictoria11.
My ds(yr3) does not have ASD diagnosis yet, but have lots of traits.
Maths is only thing he passionately enjoys.

He was given a report saying "He has secure understanding of place values" in reception reports, but he is doing it again!
He can recite times table since nursery, but he is doing it again!

He already started to say that he doesn't want to go to school. I am very sad.

QueenVictoria11 Tue 22-Sep-15 23:12:30

Hi irvine.
Glad someone gets how I feel about this. Your situation with your DS seems very similar.

Seems such a waste and school won't listen or budge.

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 06:50:36

Honestly, i don't think what you are seeing is the difference between the new system and the one that has just gone.

Ds2 has just gone up to secondary school, so he's spent the last six years in the old system and he spent 4 of those years practising what he already knew. The exceptions were years 1 and 6, when he just so happened to have teachers who had an interest in teaching the more able children too. Even then, he could have easily managed a faster pace in year 6, but after 4 years of stagnation, we were grateful for any movement at all.

(BTW Times table practice was the main stumbling block. Ds2 knew all of his by year 2, but they were still the main focus until the end of year 5. )

It could be worse though - did anyone watch Educating Cardiff last night? It was about pupils in the bottom set for maths. The objective set for a 13 year old which would allow him to move out of the bottom set in year 8 was to learn his times tables. What exactly did his primary school do if it wasn't teaching the times tables?

QueenVictoria11 Wed 23-Sep-15 07:18:41

Yes, saw Educating Cardiff. I am sure there are children who are much weaker than Benjy as well.

Youre no doubt right var123 that some teachers and some schools have always repeated work and not stretched more able students, but now they appear to have government support not to do so, or at least, that's the way some are interpreting it.

teeththief Wed 23-Sep-15 07:52:09

Queenvictoria...How SHOULD they be interpreting it? I've got a meeting with the maths subject leader tomorrow and want to arm myself!

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 08:10:11

The individual teachers aren't doing what the government wants them to do, they are doing what they want to do. (Plus ca change!)

All that you are describing is the latest way that they are using government advice to justify their actions. I spent the last 6 years trying to get some teacher or other to teach one of my children and every single one of those teachers has managed to take distorted view of what the government has instructed as a way of justifying their unwillingness to teach.

I don't know how to get them to do what they don't want to do (God knows I have tried to find a way), but I do know that arguing the toss with them about what the government meant is not the answer. It is just playing into the unwilling teacher's hands. Its not their only technique for distracting the parents, but it is one of the main ones.

(FWIW The big three are:-
1. It will be better next year
2. Your child IS making progress (its just invisible to the naked eye)
3. We are doing what the govt has told us to do.)

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 08:19:46

4. learning isn't a straight line, sometimes it plateaus.
5. You are deluded about your child's abilities
6. he may well be able to do it, but he hasn't spontaneously demonstrated it 3 different ways to me (because I won't give him the opportunity)
7.You are hot-housing or a horrible parent in some other way
8. He got a question wrong 3 weeks ago. That proves the work is challenging.
9. I'm the teacher and I decide what your DS can and should do, so back off!

... are some of the others!

Lurkedforever1 Wed 23-Sep-15 09:11:20

To back up what var123 says, dds primary were very good and let her progress well above her key stage, never mind year group. And that wasn't done just sticking to the curriculum, she got proper breadth and challenges, not just the usual excuse for breadth. And not just obtained in one big leap either, it's been consistent right through.
However, I still found a secondary who was quite willing to argue that I and her primary school, including the degree level maths teacher she'd had lessons from in primary school were all deluded and she wasn't actually that able, and would need to deepen her knowledge. And I was informed even if she arrived with the gcse, something I considered doing if I was forced, she'd still need to 'master' things. If it had come to that I might have won a fight to get her allowed to learn something else, during regular maths lessons, but not actually teaching her. And from what I could gather, it wouldn't give me any rights to appeal for a school that hasn't been slammed by ofsted for persistently failing the most able. Luckily she didn't end up being forced to go there.

The old curriculum just gave no defined rights to demand adequate education for able kids. This new one surpasses that because it offers even more excuses to ignore able kids.

AnotherEpisode Wed 23-Sep-15 09:46:56

Thank you for this thread. I have been dealing with the same situation with one of my children in particular. Again, he is very advanced in maths (he doesn't get it from me) and he's been going over the same thing for 3 years to acquire more 'depth'.

Maths mastery makes sense but I can honestly say he has mastered, re worked, rewritten and played basketball with the things they are doing this year, two years ago!

Can I basically ask what you do?

We do some work at home, but not actually that much! I'm talking 15 minutes here and there. A lot of his learning is led by him because he is genuinely that interested but I get the impression the teachers believe I'm a pushy parent.

I have spoken to them in the past as I worry he may loose this love for learning and that the 'talking' that happens is class is just a symptom of boredom. It's not an excuse and actually he is a really good boy I want it to remain this way and I feel unless I am proactive with this, I will be singing the inevitable song by year 4!

Interestingly my DD is a very advanced reader and writer and I feel that is supported OR easier to support as the teachers just have to literally give her a different book and she can write as little or as much as she likes!

Any advice?

Racundra Wed 23-Sep-15 09:58:15

I think that's the crux, isn't it? It's very easy to stretch able readers/writers, stretching those able in maths takes a lot more planning (and possibly extending teacher's own knowledge).

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 10:16:58

I can't say I've had fantastic success. Ds2 loved maths and did it for fun at home using online programs in year 1 & 2. Now in year 7, he isn't that keen on maths lessons, but I think it is because he associates it with boredom.

I've noticed that he still finds it absorbing when he is learning something new (he has a habit of trying to grab DS1's books). However, I think part of this is just trying to prove that he is better at maths than DS1 - who is top of his year for maths himself, so its quite a target Ds2 appears to have set himself.

Things to do... chess, programming, books like Murderous Maths or Think of a Number. Showing an interest, but biting hard on your tongue when he only gets 99%. (I am a bit inclined to want to turn to see what one he got wrong rather than plough through the ones he got right). I used IXl for a while but after KS1 the boys stopped wanting to do it.

Oh... and the favourite car game... I ask a question and they take turns in answering them e.g. name the next three numbers in this sequence e.g. 17,19, 23, 29,... or 1, 8, 27,... These days I make them do simultaneous equations in their heads but they still beg me to ask more questions.

QueenVictoria11 Wed 23-Sep-15 10:18:20

Not too sure teeththief but OFSTED would want to see progress.

Your list is so true var123.

This morning I spoke with headteacher for about 1 minute and experienced 2, 3 and 9.

She also told me that she would get the LA advisors in to have a meeting with me so they can tell me how it is.

I mumbled some agreement and slunk off.

Feel like I've been bullied now as well as fobbed off (another for the list) and don't want this meeting - unless anyone wants to join me!

I do stuff at home with ds AnotherEpisode. DS likes apps doodle maths and squeebles times tables and I do some workbooks but not very regularly as working full time and being a lone parent means there's just about time for a meal, chat and bed after school and the morning is a stressful blur. That's why I look to school to give him the right opportunities to learn.

Lurkedforever1 Wed 23-Sep-15 10:51:14

queen have a look on the actual dept of educations policy and guidelines and curriculum. Preferably printed off and taken to your meeting. Then at least you'll be armed if they start misquoting at you. And with the actual curriculum, your evidence of what he's doing at home and then evidence of the lower level he's doing in class. The progress one is easy for them to avoid, as they will just have under assessed him previously, therefore they can claim credit for him progressing.
See if you can find any evidence of this happening with other able kids at that school. Eg what does the ofsted say about the most able, how many l6's were achieved by past year 6's, how many kids do they enter for the primary maths challenge. The last two aren't entirely fair as its cohort dependent, however if the school is otherwise average in terms of every other group (Sen, other sat levels at ks1 and 2, fsm) then logically they should have at least some high achievers.
Not that it will make much difference if the school don't want to, but at least you'll feel like you're doing something. And some schools will make an attempt if you make enough fuss.

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 11:27:48

I had a HT try to bully me once. It did not end well.
She pounced on me at drop-off and insisted that I came in immediately for a meeting that I'd requested the previous week. (So, no time to prepare which i sure was the point).

The HT told me to go round to reception and sign in. She then kept me waiting in reception for 20 minutes before breezily arriving to collect me and telling me (as she escorted me to her lair) that i needed to make it quick as she was busy.
Unluckily for her, the 20 mins gave me time to gather my thoughts and think about all the intimidation tactics I had seen her previously use on me.

Once in her room, she asked me to tell her from the beginning what I wanted to talk about. I knew that she'd try to keep me talking for as long as possible, then seize on some trivial point and after 5 minutes tell me my time was up.
So, I replied that I wanted to continue the discussion we'd been having when she'd told me that I needed to book a meeting. She demanded that I go through it again. I reminded her that she had just told me that time was limited, so I thought it better not to waste time reiterating what she already knew. Moreover, I had nothing more to add. Instead I wanted to spend the available time listening to her response. She ordered me to go over it again for her. I stared out of the window, awaiting her response. She shouted at me. I continued to wait.
She then relented and said that DS was making good progress. I pointed out, that according to her own statistics he was making no progress. She said they were out of date. I said you only gave them to me last week.
She then said that the real issue was that I didn't respect the teacher because she was so young. I replied that I was surprised to hear her say this, but since she had, I could assure her that I had every respect for DS's young NQT teacher. I understood that she was still new to the job. However, I had serious doubts about how well she was being supported by the HT, which i considered a serious failure of her professional and moral duty (and I gave some examples).
At that point the HT threw me out of the school - yelling at me in the corridor all the way back down to reception and nearly having a seizure when I opened the door to leave without first gaining her permission to touch the door!!

irvine101 Wed 23-Sep-15 11:32:35

Queen, hope it goes well at the meeting!

I realized that there is no point of expecting something extra from school now.

It's really up to individual teacher to decide what to do, and some teacher never understand or admit that for some children, maths is fun.

I am really dreading that situation may never change for better in the future.

I hope some teachers come along and give us some advice, and tell us what we can do to help children as parents! (Ds's teacher said don't make him do maths, let him do some fun stuff instead. )

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 11:36:33

irvine101 - that's number 7 on my list. You think they'd make a new playbook, wouldn't you?

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