This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
What Provisions For an Able Child in Reception?(21 Posts)
As suspected my DS2 is very bored in reception.
He’s 4 and in a lovely small state school in a class of 18 but the choice of Reception teacher is not the most inspired.
I had his first parents evening yesterday. Not only the teacher didn’t have anything nice to say about him, but she used adjectives that made me cringed and miffed.
She says he is ‘uninspired’, ‘disengaged’ and ‘too serious’.
He’s not doing phonics at all and does writing instead. He’s completely lost interest in reading and doesn’t look at the books when reading. He’s forgetting his maths that were pretty good.
He doesn’t play much with others in his class but I know he has friends in Year 2.
She offered no options in order to meet his learning needs. I ended suggesting that he at least does phonics with Year 1 (although he already knows Year 1 phonics).
At home, he started saying preemptively that he cannot do things he’s never tried and same at school.
His attitude could be part of his personality but his behaviour lately is unusual and I’m starting to wonder if school confuses him and makes him unhappy.
I’m meeting headteacher tomorrow. She’s very good, communicates warmly and is no nonsense.
What can I ask for.?
Do you have an outline of his abilities in every academic area and proof to support it?
No. He’s only 4 and 1/2.
I just know what he can do. And he’s always been early. Did 100 pieces puzzles at age 3, figured out Santa exist age 3. Discussed mortality age 3.
It’s not only academically. He’s just very logical and insightful.
You need to get it and show them then ask them how they plan to educate him at his level. My kid is the same age. I bought evidence so it can't be disputed. They aren't going to care that he can do puzzles and they aren't going to believe you if it's you just saying and they don't see that at school.
I don’t think proofs will be necessary. It’s a small school and the headteacher knows our family well.
I just ideas of what type of accommodations can be made for him to actually learn something knew and be stimulating and happy.
If they knew they would already doing something about it. Are you sure your son is ahead and that's the problem?
Sounds like a rubbish school/teacher to be honest. DD1 is in reception and her teacher identified straight away that she’s ‘ahead’ of her peers (reading chapter books fluently etc). She’s in a mixed yr 1/reception class and straight away they said she’d be better doing the year 1 work. She’s been put into a ‘fast track’ literacy group so that she doesn’t get bored. This was all done with no input from me, I didn’t mention anything about her ability.
I think you need to start by asking them how they think they can meet his needs and go from there.
What would you like them to offer? If he's not looking at books when reading he's not reading. Why does he need to do phonics if he already knows them? Perhaps he could do additional maths instead. How is his comprehension?
SoyDora: it’s great that your DD1 has a teacher who is proactive. My son’s teacher shouldn’t be in primary school, really. He doesn’t read chapter books. His reading has stalled because he’s now nerding out on Lego. He has long phases of obsessive interests.
He was like that with reading before Lego.
He could be left alone and not ‘pushed’ to work at his level or challenged. But now he sounds bored and unhappy. So I need to find a way for him to enjoy school.
Sugar: good point about Phonics. I’m just trying to have them do something with him that he’s good at so he feels engaged. He likes maths so I might suggest maths too.
He would be quite happily not be challenged but I don’t things it’s doing him any good.
If he is obsessed with Lego, can he read books about Lego? Watch you tube videos about lego? Use sites like studio? Literacy isn't just about readng books. Listening to spoken language, using instructions on internet to achieve something, playing games, etc.
Maths, there are many interesting sites like nrich.maths.org/primarynrich, which he can explore at home, and carry on doing some by his initiative at school as well.
Phonics, I don't know. My ds had decoding age of mid teens at the start of reception, but still enjoyed daily phonics lesson at school, and it was really short one anyway.
Is it play/imagination/social skills he's really struggling with?
Hi Op, did he attend nursery? Did you and the school get information about where he was in the EYFS curriculum (usually give it in months). You don't say lots about his social skills. I wonder what his play skills are like and can he make friends? Is he feeling socially isolated if you say he has 'friends' in year 2 but maybe struggles in current class? Although mainly play based (and this varies massively between schools) reception should be about building up children's attention, co-operation, social interaction and play skills. How are these things? Has he found the school transition generally overwhelming?
Thanks a lot for all the replies and suggestions!
I finally found an assessment done in February by previous preschool. He scored globally high above milestones. I have that to show.
His brother is in year 2 and he finds him at playtime and lunchtime. He plays with his brother’s mates too. He cutely asked me if it was ok for him to play with a girl from YR2.
His peers don’t have the same intense interests. He oddly turns into silly clown with his peers and seeks to make them laugh. With older kids he has a “big boy voice” (I’m quoting him!)
He plays creatively and does pretend games at school (only half positive the teacher said).
As he’s not 5 until end of May, I keep him home on Fridays. So Lego for learning has been crossing my mind. He’s started building sets independently so that’s something he’s getting sense of achievement from!
Also, lego can be good for maths too. It's very visual tool to understand the concept of numbers. Building something 2d/3d is great for understanding of geometry too.
It's a balance between joining in for the fun of doing stuff with friends, not being too bored, and actual learning.
When DD got fed up with sitting through phonics (as evidenced by mucking around, not being able to "work together with" a low ability partner, and not wanting to go to school) her teacher let her sit and do comprehension sheets during phonics time, which benefitted her reading too. Might be worth a try. Once they can read and write, they can do a lot more autonomously.
What is he reading in school? What is he reading at home? Again if he's being made to read well below his level, he may lose engagement, and may be worth going to teacher with some examples of home reading and ask if he can do some 1:1 reading at his own level or read with a different year.
I'm afraid we found reception was the easiest to accommodate as most children free playing most of the time, a lot of learning activities presented as games so DD was happy to join in even if not learning, and a lot of very different levels of work going on anyway. From year 1 it's been more whole class learning and harder to get school to engage at their level or even recognise their level.
thanks catkind for sharing your experience and ideas.
I met the Head on Friday and she apologised on behalf of the teacher that nothing positive was said about DS2 at parents evening.
She also committed to taking provisions within Reception class and make sure that his working to the level of his abilities. She says 1:1 teaching will be put in place.
She’ll see what assessments the teacher has made so far and compare this to his EYFS profile from Feb.
He’s bored and he doesn’t have the best attitude at school and doesn’t really show what he can do at school.
At home, he’s read read an Orange book band level yesterday because he liked the story. He could easily read better if he was fussed.
I’m slightly pushing his reading because as you say, once he can read his independent and he can nerd out about whatever he wants.
He’s pretty much “finished his phonics” but school probably need to check he uses them well.
Because he’s finding doubles and halves easy, I’m starting to show him multiplications.
I’m still having to do a lot myself because they don’t seem to know him at school yet. What the teacher said about him really confirms it.
I totally see your point about YR1 and beyond!
Carry on doing stuff outside schoolwith him that he finds interesting. Everyday stuff - playing shop to get ideas about pounds and pence, puzzles etc. My mum did that and it really helped me.
as others have said keep evidence of what you are doing with him outside school so that you build up a portfolio of things he has done/ what his interests are to push teacher. head sounds proactive and like she'll sort things out too
My choice was, with similar dd, to keep on with the teaching at home. However, children learn much faster 1to1 than in a class, so can soon get far ahead.
As far as the school recognising she was ahead, we ended up in something akin to the Monty Python cheese shop game.
"What she does at home does not count, as children work differently 1to1"
"Though she did well in the test, it is too near the end of the year to give her a higher test."
"We have no evidence she is at a higher level."
"She is the sort of child who only does well in tests."
"We cannot test her as it is done on teacher assessment only."
So in higher years you may have problems or you may be luckier than we were. I like Catkind's solution of being able to sit and do their own thing and we would have been happy with that, rather than relearning things she had done a year or two back.
We home educated for the last couple of years in primary. So this could be an option to consider if things are not working. Dd is now settled happily into a very good secondary.
One thing I would say is to listen about what is being said about social skills and decide whether it is constructive criticism. Only you know your ds well enough to decide this, but these are skills which are becoming much more prevalent in the modern world.
DD1 pretty much rattled around amusing herself in reception year (the school was not the greatest, teacher was coasting because she was the Head's best friend and we later moved her) - went backwards in terms of her writing, reading stalled totally as they would only let them read the "reception shelf" in school and it was just pretty crap.
I stepped back a bit because DD1 DID need to work on the social skills aspect of her development and gritted my teeth a bit while we hunted around for a better school. Ended up with a school move at the end of the academic year (there were numerous things that led up to this - not just one) and she absolutely flew when she got into year 1 academically, and year 2 is being the makings of her socially as well. Reads well at the top of her class (I'd pushed that along gently at home while school were being crap), solidly at the top for maths and can do work higher when required (she tends to struggle with confidence with maths so when she's asked me to reinforce things from school I've extended them upward slightly to drum home that you can bloody well do this easily and look how much further you can take this).
So although overtly it looks like all she learnt in reception was the skills of paper aeroplane construction - she did pick up a lot in terms of social skills and learning how to fit in within the school environment.