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What can I expect from the school in meeting Ds’ needs

(23 Posts)
BouleBaker Sun 17-Dec-17 21:46:19

He is 7 and in year 3. He has always been assessed as bright and school say he is very bright. He is doing maths at home several years above his school year and science tests online aimed at 11 year olds and getting full marks. He reads quite complex texts and understands them. He struggled to settle at school in Reception and Year 1 and was bullied a lot, which had caused some behavioural, attention seeking problems. We’ve worked with the school and these are mostly under control, only coming out now when he is tired, usually the end of term.

The trouble is the school have never acknowledged he might be bored. There idea of stretching him is to give him sums to 50 instead of sums to 25 but he can do these without thinking. What should I expect from the school? We could get an Ed Psych report but would this help?

Thehogfather Sun 17-Dec-17 21:53:31

Unfortunately you can't expect anything. You can hope you get individual teachers ( or occasionally a school) who want to try their best to meet his needs. But if they can't or won't there isn't any recourse to demand it.

BouleBaker Sun 17-Dec-17 21:55:24

Bugger. That’s just not right. So what can I do to help him? I’m not sure classes outside of school would help, he needs playtime and sport time. It’s just so frustrating.

Greenshoots1 Sun 17-Dec-17 21:57:51

Its a myth that intelligent children get bored at school There is a lot of truth in the old adage "only fools are bored".

BouleBaker Sun 17-Dec-17 22:23:54

I don’t agree “Greensleeves”. I was bored at school. The ed psych said to give me harder work. School said I should ask for it. I did and got shouted at. Anything extra I did because I was interested was put in the bin. It’s damaging. A child given 50 simple sums to do who is then told off for completing them in half the time and writing out new recipes instead is not being helped.

Greenshoots1 Sun 17-Dec-17 22:27:14

lots of children are bored at school, and a lot of what we have to learn is boring, but the more intelligent a child is the LESS easily bored they are

Beetlebum1981 Sun 17-Dec-17 22:36:23

Rather than quantity school should be trying to broaden his understanding. For example in maths, rather than just more questions they should be giving him problem solving activities which will allow him to put his learning to use in context. Nrich have lots of maths activities This is also a good site
In terms of other subjects it’s unfortunately really difficult to cater to one child when you’ve 29 other children teach to a pretty rigid curriculum.

Jayfee Sun 17-Dec-17 22:36:37

I got put up a year which was fine till I got to the final year at primary school and I did that year twice. They probably don't do that nowadays?

Thehogfather Sun 17-Dec-17 23:23:21

green clearly it isn't something you have personal experience of. The issue isn't that intelligent are bored with what they have to learn, but the fact they are already far ahead of that stage, and even with new topics/ concepts don't need it dissecting and then 73 different variations on the same exercise to grasp it.

Op- you can ask the teacher, and if he's had behaviour problems in the past through boredom then you have a fighting chance they'll listen to minimise disruption.

Maths is definitely the hardest to cater to at primary, unless the teacher is that way inclined or very experienced/ well supported they won't necessarily understand that their idea of differentiation may well be ridiculously simple for some dc.

Whereas other subjects aren't as rigid, and children have more scope to expand on the work set. It's a lot simpler, and less time consuming to tell your highly able pupil to eg find and include an extra interesting fact on the Tudors on top of the set work, regardless of whether the teacher is a historian, than it is to find maths problems that offer the exact level of challenge. And if the teacher has decided they won't teach outside the curriculum for that age then there is slim to zero chance of finding them a challenge within it.

timeisnotaline Sun 17-Dec-17 23:28:35

Totally not a myth greenshoots. My maths teacher used to complain I read my book half the lesson. My parents asked was I ignoring the extra work she had assigned me? Knowing she hadn't given me anything to do and literally just wanted me to sit there for half an hour. How can that not be boring??! Add in that the work I was given was pretty boring itself! Changed schools and things were much better.
Agree however there isn't a lot you can do. If they finish their work early you could provide some worksheets or a book and ask the teacher if it would be ok if he did those? Nowhere near as good as having a good teacher.

Twofishfingers Mon 18-Dec-17 10:41:37

DS is gifted in Maths (and doing very well in all subject, in year 6) and teachers have been good at giving him extra work in the classroom, they often split the class and give specific time and work to the more advanced children (especially now in year 6 with SATS around the corner). They give him special projects on top of usual work (for example, he really likes airplanes so they give him research projects to do when he has finished his work on any given subject).

Best thing to do is, in my opinion, stop 'blaming' your DS's cleverness for his bad behaviour. Please separate the two. Loads of middle-achieving children don't behave well too you know, and loads of very clever children behave extremely well, despite being bored on occasion. So work with the school on the behaviour, and work separately with the school to support more advanced work in maths.

Something else you should consider is that many, many children 'perform' better at home in maths, as there is one-to-one support from parents/tutor, with no distraction from other children. In class, children have to work things out by themselves, on their own, with loads of distractions so they will often perform not as well in the classroom compared to home.

Finally (sorry this is very long), many schools now work on the principle of 'mastery'. They won't move a child along the curriculum once a child understands a specific topic, they will try and encourage the child to learn it with more depth. Initially, I wasn't too keen on this but in good time, and talking to the school to really understand what this was about, I can see real improvement in my son's 'performance' as he really understands different ways of solving maths problems, often working out his own ways of solving a problem. Also he is a lot less stressed about performing at school, he is much more focused on really understanding, and explaining what he can do. I hope this helps.

gfrnn Sat 23-Dec-17 15:04:17

I suspect there are two components to your problem.

First you've said that differentiation thus far consists of "sums to 50". This is a quite a low level of work for year 3 and suggests that standards in the school may be low. As far as I'm aware this would be the normal level of work for year 1, and the national curriculum expects year 3 children to work with numbers to 1000, i.e. to work with 3 digit addition and subraction problems, as well as doing times tables, short division etc. There is a summary of year 3 work here. Sums to 50 would be boring and unchallenging even for an average ability year 3 child.

Secondly you've said he's bright, and that the school think "very bright" but these are not really quantitative statements so you don't know yet how bright. There is a big difference between top 10% and top 0.1% but you don't have the evidence at this point to say where he is. An assessment by an ed psych or other suitable professional may clarify this. The school should be doing their own assessments too. You (and they) can't really put in place appropriate provision until you know a bit more about where his attainment and ability really are. Be aware that an ed psych assessment can sometimes put schools on the defensive.

I agree with most of what TheHogFather has said - you can hope that the school will do something appropriate when given the evidence, but they may dig their heels in. It's pot luck whether you get a member of staff who gets what you're talking about.
I disagree with TwoFishfingers suggestion that you should "separate" his cleverness from his bad behaviour ( whatever that even means). Firstly I note you've said his previous behaviour issues were partly a result of bullying and are now mostly under control. Secondly if inappropriate provision for an able child is causing behaviour problems, then the problem should be tackled at the source, i.e. by correcting the provision. The child should not be expected to sit there and put up with it, and then be blamed if they act out.

Regarding the subject of "mastery" raised by TwoFishfingers , this approach originated mainly in Singapore and was used there in general ability classes to achieve high standards. However, it is generally overlooked that Singapore makes significantly different provision for the top 1% ( see Singapore GEP). Therefore it should not be blindly assumed that mastery is appropriate for high ability learners - the drill and repetition involved in mastery is unnecessary for them and may switch them off. Acceleration (not mastery) is the most effective evidence-based intervention for high-ability students.

Greenshoots1 Sat 23-Dec-17 17:24:14

green clearly it isn't something you have personal experience of on the contrary, it is something I have huge personal experience of

gfrnn Sat 23-Dec-17 19:13:35

greenshoots - the position you are advocating is refuted in the (US) national association for gifted children's document ""Myths About Gifted Students", wherein it is specifically stated that:
"Many gifted students may be so far ahead of their same-age peers that they know more than half of the grade-level curriculum before the school year begins. Their resulting boredom and frustration can lead to low achievement, despondency, or unhealthy work habits"
i.e. you are essentially ascribing to "Myth no 1 : Gifted Students Don’t Need Help; They’ll Do Fine On Their Own".
Further information supporting the NAGC position can be found in the sources by Winner , Feldhusen and hoagiesgifted.
Two direct quotes from these:
1. "Gifted children are usually bored and unengaged in school; they tend to be highly critical of their teachers, who they feel know less than they do, and they are often underachievers."
2. "academically talented youth begin with more favorable attitudes toward the academic activities of school but become bored because they do not get curriculum and teaching strategies at a suitably high and challenging level nor at a pace commensurate with their abilities."

gillybeanz Sat 23-Dec-17 19:20:20

You can't expect anything as your child is doing well.
There is hardly any budget for those struggling and in need of support.
At least your G&T child has a core subject in which they excel, it gets harder if it's a subject that isn't considered as important.

You could try doing it yourself, or paying for a tutor, but if your child is already gifted why wold you give them more, unless they ask for it?

RatRolyPoly Sat 23-Dec-17 19:20:51

Green you're a gf and you do this on all sorts of different threads. You clearly consider yourself the authority on more topics than I can count!

I'm afraid I can't answer your question OP, except that I missed out several years of schooling - although I don't think that's possible in the usual system of things. Challenging hobbies, whilst they won't give your DS any academic headstart, will exercise his brain though and hopefully that will reduce any classroom boredom.

user1471449040 Sat 23-Dec-17 19:29:20

I recommend Montessori schools. They'll allow - and support - your child to work at his academic level in maths without a fuss. At age 7, he'd be eligible for the classroom age 6-9 but at the same time he can be brought work or paired with a child aged say 9-12. But at the same time provide challenging work, individual work, opportunities for social skills e.g. whole group discussions, small group work, roles like tutoring other children who are at different levels. So say he did maths projects an older child and reading or art paired with a mixed age group. There are some in England, if that is where you are.

roboticmom Mon 08-Jan-18 20:43:51

We didn't teach our daughter at home on purpose so that she wouldn't be bored. Once she was 9 I got frustrated enough to have her do math at home, though. Don't know if there is a right answer. It is a shame to waste the opportunity for greatness in a subject but also a shame to spend 6 hours at school then come home to more work. At one point I had my daughter challenge the math final for the year ahead and she did well on it. But the teachers just say they cater to all abilities. That is when I took matters into my own hands.

zeeboo Mon 08-Jan-18 20:52:37

What utter bollocks @Greenshoots1 !! I am not gifted but have a high IQ and was put up a year as a child at school in the USA. The work was still too easy and I was bored. When we came back to the U.K. when I was 13 the only subject I was bored in was English which I excelled in.
When I needed to think in order to complete the tasks or listen to the teacher I concentrated and when I didn't, I chatted, showed off and disrupted the class with boredom or read a book hidden on my lap.
My son has ASD and was on the gifted and talented list at his secondary school. He was also bored and played the fool at primary due to some teachers refusing to give him harder work. His year one teacher had a great year as she sent him to get reading books from the year 4 classroom etc

Shen0102 Mon 08-Jan-18 22:42:30

get him to take a formal IQ test, there are centres who test people formally. if he does well take the results to some private schools and I can assure you that one of the schools will offer a scholarship. if your wages are under £60k in your household they might even give you a 100% scholarship (everything paid for including their expensive uniforms & meals).

This is what one of my friends did as the public schools can't do much. the public schools seem to have extra help for those under performing than for those over performing. The public school won't help you much personally either as they want your son to stick around so his grades can help their Ofsted score etc.

lifeover40 Fri 12-Jan-18 12:14:56

Have you looked at the organisation Potential Plus UK? They should be able to help you with advice regarding when you can expect from schools. I had my child assessed with them and the report really helped me to get the school to provide appropriate work.

This is the website:

heysunfish Mon 05-Feb-18 19:12:42

Schools (state or private) have no obligation to stretch and challenge the G&T. (Best not to use this expression w your children by the way.) You need to do this at home - not by teaching the curriculum, they will get this at school, but with puzzles and fun resources which will change with their interests and stages. Just keep searching and don't give up. Occasionally you will find a teacher/school that attempts to help, but never count on it. Just be pleasantly surprised if they do.

BuffaloCrumble Thu 08-Feb-18 07:43:40

My son is also v able in maths, and he is often used in class as a 'teaching assistant' to help other children when he's finished his own work. Nothing like having to teach someone else to secure your own understanding of a concept. Funnily enough, this was also one of the recommendations generated by his CAT test report. You could also ask if there are out of school maths opportunities for G&T maths - my son's school has sent children to days/holiday courses at other local primary and secondary schools - might be good even if you have to self fund.

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