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Advice needed!

(17 Posts)
Hiddeninplainsight Wed 19-Oct-16 12:42:05

Okay, so I've name-changed. Some of you might recognise me, but I really need you to be kind, because I'm trying to work out how to best help my child. I don't want this to sound like boasting or being deluded, I know that DD hasn't got the really advanced academic ability of many of your children, but she is bright, and bored at school. I want the school to challenge her more (she wants the school to challenge her more). But I don't know if I can reasonably ask them to apply their G&T policy, because I am not at all sure really qualifies. I know you all can't really give me the precise answers, but short of paying a lot of money for a G&T assessment, I thought that at least asking a lot of people with a lot of experience would be a good start!

So, my DD. Her SAT scores were 114 for reading and 115 for Maths (KS1) last year. She got exceeding for Maths, Writing,, Reading and Science. I knew she was doing well with the reading. She didn't read before she started school (never tried to teach her), but by July of Y1 she had read all of the Malory Towers books, by the end of summer she had read all of the Enid Blyton School books (she spent days by the pool reading on holiday). She read her first HP at 6 1/2, and finished them all probably about 6 weeks later. She is a very fast reader, and has read lots of Diana Wynne Jones, all the Percy Jackson, is into Greek myths and Egyptian history as a result (all Y2). She loved the Hobbit (end Y2) and read book 1 of the Lords of the Rings (Y3). She enjoyed Anne of Green Gables, the Narnia books and the Secret Garden. She is reading less than she was, but when she finds a book she loves she still gets totally engrossed. Her comprehension is good - we were playing on the readtheory.org site, and she was averaging grade 6 last year (in y2). She was a very advanced reader for her age (when she was 6), but I assume that more people have caught up, although I think the Hobbit at 7 is possibly still reasonably advanced.

When it comes to Maths, I really don't know what she is capable of, other than the fact that she got full marks for her SATs. But, she is feeling bored and unchallenged, and it was the same last year. She is very fast (but not always very careful with her work), and wants things to be hard. She wants to have to think. She doesn't naturally sit there playing with numbers, but she does say that Maths is her favourite subject, and she is frustrated about the slow pace. They are currently all in mixed ability, but when the school did use top-table, she was still frustrated by how slow her partner was. I know this doesn't mean my DD is necessarily particularly 'gifted', but her best friend (bright too) doesn't like maths, and finds it boring, and so my DD doesn't want to admit to her friend (or perhaps in school) the fact that she LOVES maths, and really wants to do more stuff.

I have read stuff on what makes someone 'gifted', and she has some, but I'm just not sure about the others. I know for really brilliant children it is just so obvious. But what about for children that are just very bright (if she is)?

I know that many of you have some very very bright children. I guess I don't think that my DD is that, but I don't think anyone knows what she is capable of because she hasn't been stretched to find out. But what I guess you can't answer, but I wish you could, is at what level might a school consider a child gifted? She is not as clearly gifted as some of your DC, but I think she is surely clearly bright. So, any thoughts (even if they are that I should just let it go, because she is probably not close to what might be called gifted, and so the school won't change anything), would be great. Thanks!

irvineoneohone Wed 19-Oct-16 19:16:48

Why name change? I think I know who you are.
Anyways, I think your dd is gifted. Why hesitate to ask school? Nothing to loose.

irvineoneohone Wed 19-Oct-16 19:17:48

lose! grin

reallyanotherone Wed 19-Oct-16 19:27:24

I don't think it matters if she's gifted or not, a good school should find ways to challenge and extend children who need it.

Talk to the teachers. I don't think you need to bring up g&t- it's pretty pointless in most schools anyway, but talk about the fact she's finding the work easy, finishing it quickly, and sitting there bored. they should have ideas and further work for her to do.

Hiddeninplainsight Wed 19-Oct-16 19:52:32

I didn't realise how long that OP was until I read it on my phone! Sorry for the ramble.

Irvine I name-changed because I have been quite specific, and because I was worried about people thinking me deluded and madly biased. I thought you might recognise me though smile

I talked to the teacher today. She was lovely, but the school has interpreted the NC as not going beyond the age curriculum at all for Maths. I will see what happens between now and parents evening. I hope they will challenge her to explore what she can do.

reallyanotherone I do agree with you that it shouldn't matter if she is g&t or not, if they are meeting her needs. But because they have a g&t policy, I thought it might mean they would have to show how they are meeting her needs (if she were g&t) - and this only becomes important if nothing changes.

I guess what I really want is for my DD not to loose her passion for learning, and her curiosity. I worry that without challenge she will be slowly bored and uninspired out of it!

catkind Wed 19-Oct-16 23:52:09

If they have a G&T policy at school, does it say anything about how they identify/define G&T? From what you describe I would expect her to be identified as G&T at our school, for what that's worth, and whatever it is they currently call it.

But would also second not worrying about what they call it and just keep talking to the teacher about how to keep her engaged and challenged. Sounds like you've made a good start.

They're wrong about not being allowed to go beyond year group syllabus. But if they won't they won't. I'm actually more interested in DS (also year 3) getting asked multi-step problems, problems where it's not obvious how to attack it, and more open-ended sort of questions. Stuff to actually make him think. Going to year 4 or year 5 syllabus isn't necessarily going to be any more challenging from what I've seen of it.

Oh and if she loves reading and loves maths - have you tried the Murderous Maths books? They kept DS's interest alive last year and he's still got a lot more to digest in them.

Ellle Thu 20-Oct-16 00:08:29

Based on what you say your daughter should be already on the G&T list for her class at school. I think the way they usually work it out is as a top percentage of the class. With those SATs scores I don't see how she wouldn't be in the G&T list of her class unless everyone else in her class also got similar or higher scores.

But, as other posters said, whether she is G&T on school paper or not it doesn't matter as most schools don't seem to do anything with that. What matters is that your daughter is properly challenged and the teacher needs to know if the work is too easy for her that she is actually getting bored.

DS is in Year 3 and he got the same scores as your daughter in the SATs last year. At his school no one has ever mentioned a G&T policy to me, or what they do with it. They might have it, but I don't really know about it. However, DS is happy during classes, always engaged, curious, and eager to share what he learned and what they did that day at school.

Regarding maths (which is his strongest subject), I know based on what he tells me that they are sitting in ability tables. But even in his table, the work can be differentiated depending on the ability of the individual children sitting at the top table. The teacher provides additional challenging work in the form of mathematical puzzles or math challenges for those who finish the work first and have extra time to solve them. DS is enjoying this. And when we had parents evening the teacher showed me some of the work she had been doing with him, and I saw there is a system where the child can draw a circle with a colour (red, orange, green) to let the teacher know if he thought the work was too easy, okay, or difficult. I think it is a good way of getting feedback from the child to assess the work is right for them.

So my advice is talk with the teacher and let her know how your DD is feeling. Chances are the teacher hasn't noticed yet but once it is brought to her attention she'll be happy to do something about it.

Helpisathand13 Thu 20-Oct-16 00:17:58

Not sure actual G&T terminology exists in secondary education anymore. Now based on 'most able' and of course can apply to whole range of curriculum and extra curriculum areas. I'm glad you have approached the school and hopefully your DDs specific talents will be challenged and stretched. Extension work during lessons or additional/differentiated homework tasks should also help to support her growing capable mind, knowledge and skills. Good luck and if school are 'stopping' at a maths level to enable the class as a whole to catch up, I can see how this would leave DD frustrated and potential bored and disengaged, ask about extras to support her learning (and that of the others). School maybe able to offer small intervention groups for most able as they do for the pupils who are struggling.

Greenleave Sat 22-Oct-16 12:39:44

I was wondering and hoping my school would have had G&T scheme too...well in the past...now I am appreciated that it doesnt because my child turns out no where near talented (when she stops working). She now knows very well that she could only be doing well when she works. I swayed her away from being academic(having a book in her hand all the time), prefer sitting down doing/being challenged with difficult maths sentences(naturally good at mental maths so find it easy). School for us is more of having fun(we have a special group among 3 classes a and a special table among this group and it still failed to stretch them)

catkind Sat 22-Oct-16 13:09:31

Greenleave, if I've understood your post right that's really sad. So your daughter's stopped trying at school because she was never challenged? She's been swayed away from a love of books? She's been persuaded that academics are not fun? That does not show she isn't talented. It says to me that school are failing her.

Greenleave Sat 22-Oct-16 14:54:52

In no way I have thought of her as talented although she loves learning and loves being challenged. She is doing well and being happy and stops complaining about being bored then I am good, in terms of stretching at school then we stop expecting. This is for maths only as I find for English its so easy to extend your work. Each big write she could pour herself in her world and this has been encouraged and acknowledged. For a state primary then I have accepted there isnt much else expected. We are so busy with our other stuffs so hopefully a serious academic stretching will happen if she has a place in a selective secondary. She still loves learning, just not so much in maths and English as much. I still have someone burry her head in books and living in books world.

Greenleave Sat 22-Oct-16 15:13:10

Also I dont blame her school at all, had it a fee paying school then it must be tailored to our need. As a state school and there are curriculums, agenda. I know children who goes to selective prep/private are equally as good if not better. The concept of T&G doesnt have any meaning in this big world

Purplelooby Tue 25-Oct-16 22:32:00

To echo what is said above, all children should be being challenged and I would bring this up with her class teacher.

Also, gifted and talented in the school sense is very different to gifted in the IQ sense so don't compare to some of the stuff on MN smile

Bluepowder Wed 26-Oct-16 16:51:24

She sounds very bright and her school needs to be stretching her. You should politely ask her class teacher what they are doing. There are plenty ways of stretching children that don't involve an awful lot of effort on the part of the class teacher. Unfortunately, it can depend on the particular expertise of the teacher - my DD was stretched very well in maths in year 5 as the teacher was a maths specialist, but there was nothing for English, which dd was actually better at. Year 6 there was nothing at all and dd just got very bored.

irvineoneohone Wed 26-Oct-16 20:19:39

I think the problem here is the over use of term gifted.
I asked the question on other thread to a teacher new to MN, how he/she deal with gifted child. Their response maybe ok for top 10% of class.
Children we are talking about here is not that.
I don't think a lot of teachers know how to deal with them.
I just had a futile parent teacher meeting. Her way of extension was to challenge my ds if he can do x0.7, x 70 if he can do(*yes*, he can!) 7 times table already, or how fast he can complete 12 x 12 grid worksheet..... pointless imo, when he has instant recall, it's now about how fast he can write. Depressing.

Hiddeninplainsight Mon 31-Oct-16 17:14:56

Sorry for the slow reply. Thank you all so much for your comments. I found them reassuring in reference to whether I can consider it acceptable to try and encourage push them into providing challenging work for DD. They were depressing in terms of how successful I will be. Although the G&T policy is not really enforceable, I do think it is useful they have one because it means they have to address her needs. The main barrier will be getting them to acknowledge them though. My plan is to see what happens over the next 4 weeks, and to see what I can do in terms of gathering my own evidence. I am optimistic (probably totally blindly), but we will see!

It is such a depressing state of affairs that school should be boring and unchallenging because it is such a bad life lesson.

irvineoneohone Tue 01-Nov-16 15:47:00

Hidden, I really hope it goes well for you and your dd. And I feel like it would.
Do let us know how you are getting on. It's nice to know fellow MNetters are doing good, so there's some hope for us all!

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