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Meeting G&T coordinator - any tips on what might help my ds?

(22 Posts)
fimbles48 Sun 26-Apr-09 10:01:12

I have a meeting next week regarding my ds, who starts reception in September. The school asked for basic info on my child and have then suggested this meeting based on what I told them my ds was doing! I am surprised, pleasantly so, that they are taking such an interest early on.

However, since my main aim is that he is happy and socially catered for, I am not sure what to say at the meeting. Making sure they really know his level of literacy/numeracy perhaps, so he gets the right level of work? Seems a bit obvious! I don't know whether anyone has any suggestions of things that helped their dc settle well - did they get taken out of class for individual sessions, or is that a bad idea in reception? I just want him to be happy.

crkm Sun 26-Apr-09 20:06:41

Its good that your school is taking your ds abilities seriously. I would imagine they want to see for themselves what he is capable of and see how his social skills are too.

When my ds started in reception the teachers were aware of his abilities and catered for him - he had one-to -one for his numeracy as there was no point in him doing the general reception learning. He was also given reading books at his level from day one. I wanted him to do his numeracy with the year ones because i thought he needed to be with children of a similar ability. This did not happen. However now he is in year one and i fought for his right to work with children of the same ability - as the school G&T policy states! - and the school agreed eventually!! He is very happy now working in the top stream for year 2. It is much better for him than always working on his own!

I suggest that you keep talking to his teachers when he starts, go in and let them know that you ae taking a good interest in what they do for him. Remember that foundation is as much about learning through play as numeracy and literacy, and that it is easier to start pushing when they are in year one. As long as your ds is happy and settled in reception dont worry too much, get to know the school and staff, get hold of a copy of the schools G&T policy, and make your face known in the school!

good luck x

fimbles48 Mon 27-Apr-09 09:32:44

Thank you for such a helpful reply. It's great that your ds has been so well catered for. Maths seems to be a particular problem: I am sure reading will be much easier as long as they just give him a suitable book!

I am also interested in your comment about one-to-one maths in reception - that sounds amazing. I'm not sure if every school could manage that though. My ds is very ahead with maths (he is working at level 3 at the moment) but I am not keen for him to be pushed on just yet. Maths is one of those subjects where you can just keep accelerating but it isn't always helpful; so I am hoping that they can keep him going with lots of problem solving and applying his mathematical knowledge. Easier said than done, though, as he is just always doing maths!

I totally agree with your comments about reception being about more than literacy and numeracy. I see it as learning to be at school rather than just learning. However, he will need some appropriate activities to keep him interested, so hopefully he can have a balance.

Thanks again, it will be interesting to see what they suggest.

crkm Mon 27-Apr-09 20:50:09

My thoughts were similar to yours in that in literacy my ds works to his ability anyway - when writing his stories, and he is a free reader. in numeracy he needs to be taught methods and solving problems, which is why i pushed for him to be taught in the next year in numeracy and not literacy. He is also working at a level 3, but is obviously older than your ds who sounds amazing!!

He got one to one because he was so far above the others - many of whom were just starting to recognise 1 -10, he could recognise up to 1000 before he was 3! He would be taken out by the Teaching assistant for 15 minutes a day. I was very greatful for this as i knew there were parents who were fighting for one to one for their kids who were struggling. I did feel guilty - but kept telling myself that my son has a special need too.( I got into trouble on this forum for saying that a while ago - so don't want to shout it out wink)

My boy always has his nose in a maths book too! would rather be doing that than watching tv or playing!!

fimbles48 Tue 28-Apr-09 11:21:38

It's useful to know how they managed the individual sessions, with a teaching assistant. I might ask if something similar would be possible for my ds, but like you, I appreciate that children at the other end of the spectrum will be a priority. If possible I would prefer him to be kept with the rest of his class and a differentiated activity be set, but that is a lot of work for the teacher.

He is very good at working by himself on a computer (in fact, that is how he has learned most of his maths, with the KS1 bitesize site, education city, ICT games etc.) so they could always stick him in the ICT suite!

Anyway, I'm seeing them tomorrow so I'll soon have a better idea of what they can do for him. Thanks for your help!

madwomanintheattic Tue 28-Apr-09 11:27:51

crkm - ah, but 'special needs' can be helpful in this circumstance. dd2's statement of sen means that she has a TA anyway, so it's far easier to differentiate work for her higher ability.

i just let it ride until the first parent's evening of the year tbh. i had mentioned to the staff at the yr r meet the teacher thing that she was reading cs lewis lol, (and laughed) but i trust the school enough to let them make up their own minds. they assess all the kids when they start anyway, and to be honest, yr r is so play based with the new curriculum that not much differentiation is needed until yr 1 these days...

crkm Tue 28-Apr-09 20:47:52

madwoman - thats interesting because i was told that my son could have an individual learning plan in order to ensure his educational needs were met. 6 months later i was told they couldn't do it for him as the education system doesnt allow for higher ability children to have ILP's. The senco at school was not aware of my son or his abilities and people laugh at me when i suggest he has a special educational need!!

madwomanintheattic Wed 29-Apr-09 11:19:26

lol, slight confusion, dd2 has both - a special educational need due to a physical disability, but is also g&t. so the TA that is employed to enable her to access the curriculum because of her disability, is able to supervise differentiated ability work too - a bit extreme lol.

more able kids will generally just get different targets set for them in the ordinary way (ie as they tick off the SATs levels the teacher will just be targeting the next one up. it's been a bit trickier here as we are in an infant school, so accessing level 4 work is more difficult than borrowing it from the next year group lol. they do manage though - and things like appropriate spellings etc will always be done at individual level in any case - most infant classes are 'streamed' in ability groups for certain things in any case. for SATs testing higher than level 3 they also have to specially request external assessment, as KS1 won't routinely test past level 3.

i don't know of any 'gifted' child with an iep/ilp because of their academic ability, but their actual targets (exactly the same thing really) should always be set to their own ability.

so dd2 has an iep for her sen, but that doesn't articulate her academic goals as her statement is not based on her cognitive ability (it's targets to do with fine motor control/ speech etc). for her academic targets the staff just use the ordinary tracking systems but target them appropriately. for example, they had to put rails on the yr 2 stairs so she can access the yr2 reading shelves lol. wink

sorry for confusion!

madwomanintheattic Wed 29-Apr-09 11:24:18

we also ran into the early years thing a few years ago with ds1. nursery wanted the lea to assess him as having sen for the same reason, but they were told there was no such thing as a gifted child at that point. i had no idea any of it was going on to be honest (dd2 was still very small and troublesome!) but they did tell me afterwards that the LA had turned down their request lol. this was at the same 'parent's open morning' where he was displaying his party trick of playing shops and working out how many different ways you could give the change lol.

he seems to be getting on fine with the usual system though...

fimbles48 Sun 03-May-09 20:37:06

crkm - just wanted to let you know how we got on as you were so helpful.

My ds was rather shy and didn't really show his true personality but I think this would be expected for a first visit. The teachers were lovely and have suggested that we first get him settled socially (however long that takes, be it half term or christmas) and then keep him in reception but move to year 1 for literacy and year 2 for maths. This seems a good compromise. I just hope the rest of the induction visits go well!

Thanks for your help and I hope your ds continues to thrive.

pigswithfludontfly Sun 03-May-09 22:50:31

Blimey....and I thought ds was pretty ahead for being able to read sentences with simple words and do a bit of basic maths....your two sound streets ahead.

That said, do you have any advice for me based on your experiences? I'm a bit worried that ds won't get any relevant work in reception when he starts in Sept. How can I ensure he does without sounding like a horrid pushy parent?

He is young for the year (late June bday) but can already read things like "the man was going to his blue car". He can count to 100, do basic maths, etc.

I'm just struck by the basicness of the curriculum for reception compared to what he already does. I know it's play based but I can't see him learning anything new (academically - I'm sure he will learn other things which are important of course).
Any thoughts?

fimbles48 Mon 04-May-09 10:04:10

pigswithfludontfly: please don't worry! I think I have spent the last 18 months worrying whether he will be bored in reception and now I see how much is open ended and play based, it will be fine. For example my ds will write tickets for games, price up items, devise fancy scoring systems and keep track of points totals all within his normal play. The main issue of course, is when they do the focused academic sessions, it needs to be at a decent level. My ds will happily play all day, but would get frustrated if he was expected to do 'proper' work which was too easy, if you see what I mean.

With regard to the school, my advice would be to write a brief note to the reception co-ordinator just saying 'ds loves reading and can read books such as....He enjoys numbers and his favourite actvities are....' Keep it factual and don't say things like 'he is very bright' - better to let them decide that! Just give them the facts and examples of what he is doing. If they ask to see you and ds take some examples of what he does. I took a book review my ds had written on one of the blue bananas books, and although it was very short, they could see what sort of books he was reading, what his writing was like and his spelling. Plus it was about the only time my ds got enthusiastic to talk to them!

Schools are very used to dealing with children like ours, there may not be many in each cohort but there will be some good readers and mathematicians each year, so they will get appropriate work. Good luck to you and ds!

pigswithfludontfly Mon 04-May-09 10:58:11

That's such a good way of phrasing it as it leaves out any subjective 'proud mummy' type statements. Will definitely do that. In fact I will say it/ write it depending on what I do, as if I hadn't realised there was anything out of the ordinary about it.

Likewise ds will be happy, I have no doubt, with the play based activities, but when it comes to say, learning letters in the first term, it will bore him silly. That said it might do his confidence good at first so not the end of the world.
My main concern is that he is happy, sociable and yes, makes a little academic progress too.

Very useful - thank you.

fimbles48 Mon 04-May-09 11:17:38

Glad I was of some use! I am new to all this as ds is my eldest (have ds2 starting next year as an august boy and will be a different challenge altogether!)

Where are you based, btw? Just wondering if any of these boys are near to us as I would love to get my ds meeting up with some similar characters. We are in south hampshire.

pigswithfludontfly Mon 04-May-09 11:33:50

Nowhere near you I'm afraid. Your best bet is probably the NAGTY?

Or see if your council has a G&T co-ordinator (although I'm not sure their remit will cover this sort of thing).

I have to say that I'm actually glad ds is a summer born as he will seem more 'average' than he otherwise would at least in some areas. If he were almost a year older than he will be when he starts reception the issue of where he's at versus the standard curriculum would be even more acute. This way his age masks things somewhat - a good thing.

DadAtLarge Fri 22-May-09 15:01:11

>>people laugh at me when i suggest he has a special educational need!!

SEN in the UK refers to children who have physical disabilities or learning difficulties (download pdf from here). Children of High Intelligence, gifted children, prodigies or any other above average performers may have special educational needs but do not fall under the SEN definition in the UK education system.

DadAtLarge Fri 22-May-09 15:01:45

PS: I feel your frustration.

cory Mon 01-Jun-09 08:54:20

note that some LEAs actually refuse to statement children with merely physical disabilities

my wheelchair bound dd got virtually no help for several years because she could not be statemented= the school could not be forced to fork out

our only resource would have been to sue under the Disability Discrimination Act

DadAtLarge Mon 01-Jun-09 09:18:24

That is disgusting. I appreciate that taking care of DD doesn't leave much time to pursue legal action. Have you considered approaching a Disability charity to take it up as a test case?

I do know that it's difficult getting statemented and that even when you do get one it is no magic ticket. Without going into details, we do have a large family and I do have siblings and cousins in your position. However, not providing the means for your DD to get to her class has got to be one of the clearest cases of discrimination.

cory Mon 01-Jun-09 09:25:05

To be frank, we would have sued once we found out, had it not been for the fact that we knew by then that the headteacher (who was causing most of the trouble) was retiring (ironically enough, on grounds of ill health). It seemed unfair to saddle his predecessor with a lawsuit that was nothing to do with him. Dd is now at secondary school, where they are being very helpful. But I know hardly anyone with a disabled/SN child who hasn't found it an uphill struggle.

cory Mon 01-Jun-09 09:26:51

our friends whose dd has Aspergers had to fight a long time to get her statemented- pretty obvious what that was all about

statement= legal obligation to provide money= LEAs not going to like it

and it can be surprisingly hard to prove that your child with SEN has to have a certain type of input: they are going to try to fob you off with less because money is limited

lijaco Tue 02-Jun-09 22:05:18

dadatlarge g & t is actually seen as a special need. I can agree with your thoughts on that one. I see it more that your child has a special need and that it should be identified. It is this superiority of a label that is annoying when really a lot are not actually g &t. The label is uncomfortable.

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