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'Sideways stretching' - the reality......

(10 Posts)
gingertoo Sun 20-Sep-09 17:39:00

I started a thread a while back asking for a bit of advice re sideways stretching here:www.mumsnet.com/Talk/gifted_and_talented/794662-DS1-is-going-to-be-39-stretched-sideways-39-next?pg= 1

Well, we went along with the school and agreed to DS1 being 'sideways stretched' during YR6 and it's not working..

We have been doing our bit - he's now learning an extra instrument and has just started doing the bronze 'Arts Award'. He's learning French (not done very much at his primary) and he's joined a junior orchestra. He also does Scouts. He's very happy with all of this, is making some great new friends and has even talked of starting a rock band!!! So far, so good.....

...but school do not seem to be keeping up their side of the bargain. Maths is his 'gifted' subject and he's bored stiff. They are not stretching him at all! He's free wheeling. He is being set the same work as everyone else in his year (which incidently is the same work / worksheets that he did with last year's Yr6 when he was Year 5) and when he finishes it before everyone else the teacher is getting him to empty the compost bins or tidy the bookshelf hmm This is really not what we expected from 'sideways stretching'!!!!

So, I suppose I'm asking those who have experiencce of this - either as parents or teachers - what do I do next? Parents evening (to discuss children's individual targets) is in 2 weeks. I need to be clear in my head by then how to tackle this. What can I expect the school to do? Am I being unreasonable to expect them to do more with my son?

englishpatient Mon 21-Sep-09 11:43:34

I really feel for you - depressing reminder of my DD's experience. I don't have any magic answers for you because our school didn't really improve things... DD kept going by looking forward to her new school in yr 7! (Which has been great for her, incidentally.) REALLY sorry not to be more helpful. I am now thinking about DS (6) and feeling gloomy!

englishpatient Mon 21-Sep-09 11:48:40

Sorry, that was very negative.

What you are doing yourselves sounds brilliant and will certainly be beneficial to your son, both for his happiness and for keeping a love of learning.

I think you should certainly ask the school why this is happening and ask for targets to be set for him - with dates (eg. "end of this half-term"). I can't say this worked for us though!

gingertoo Mon 21-Sep-09 15:53:40

Thanks englishpatient.
I think you're right - I need to ask the school to give specific targets for ds1. Just telling me he's going to be 'sideways stretched' is not going to be enough - I need to know how they intend to do that....

He is very, very keen to learn and I really don't want him to lose that. At home he's got hold of his step-sister's GCSE Maths revision book (that she didn't even look at but that's another story!) and he's quite happily working through the revision sections and answering the questions - teaching himself I suppose - but at school, the place where he is supposed to be learning - he isn't. That, like you say, is quite depressing....

englishpatient Mon 21-Sep-09 19:34:37

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for targets for him - after all, they will be setting them for the class as a whole (or in groups) so if he's gone beyond the "hardest" general target, they should be able to say what he is supposed to learn next!

Do you think they would be open to your suggesting he does the maths revision book in school maths time? (That's if you're happy with that and they don't seem very proactive about targets for him.)

How have they been during the rest of his school "career" so far? Is he with a new teacher this year?

gingertoo Tue 22-Sep-09 14:26:30

They have been fairly good with him so far as he has been able to work with older year groups for Maths. It's only now that he's in Year 6 that they seem at a bit of a loss what to do with him!

I like and respect his teacher. She is very friendly and open to discussion so (thankfully!) I won't have to go in with guns blazing...

I think you're right - he needs something extra to do in Maths time at school. He doesn't seem to mind doing the same work as the other children - it's probably good for him to revise and consolidate his knowledge but he is getting this work done very quickly so this is where he really needs something to do that extends him (not emptying the compost bins!!)

The GCSE revision book is an option, but I would love the school to provide something which extends the topic that the whole class are studying - he is very self motivated and independant so would (hopefully) just get on with it. (I am very aware that DS1 is not the only child in the class btw and that the teacher is busy - I'm not expecting miracles, just a bit extra to keep him engaged and keep him learning!)

Snorter Tue 22-Sep-09 16:30:10

there have been some very useful threads on giftedness in maths, and school stretching, on agora.me.uk

(But I appreciate you may already visit that forum.)

Does he do the primary maths challenges?

DadAtLarge Tue 22-Sep-09 17:08:43

Shame about agora.me.uk. Seems an abandoned forum. No access to forum threads if you aren't a member, just half a dozen new members in all of 2008 and the threads are not even cached in Google so you just can't access them.

exexpat Tue 22-Sep-09 18:03:19

Is he the only particularly able one in maths? Last year my DS was horribly bored in yr 6 maths, but so were several others, and in the end they got a teaching assistant to take them out of class once or twice a week and do some algebra. Difficult to justify if it's only one, though... Is he registered on the goverment G&T website, and would the school agree to him doing some of the extra work available on that?

TBH the whole of yr6 seemed to be a bit of a waste of time - all SATS revision - and DS is enjoying yr7 much more.

DadAtLarge Tue 22-Sep-09 20:07:41

exexpat, unfortunately the government G&T website is a joke.

The activities there are basically not there. This site simply "frames" other sites. For example, the cool maths site runs within a window on the YGT site. Why bother? Simply go directly to the original sites rather than the (possibly illegally) framed content and enjoy using the resources in full screen mode.

And the forum. Hah! You can't browse till you register. Jump through the hoops to register, do the confirmation steps etc., patiently and when you get in you'll find one single post saying that the forum is closing on July 31st 2009 because they're "improving" the site.

There are a lot of good sites around for maths and many of them have been discussed here in previous threads.

gingertoo, did you take my advice in the other thread to read up on the G&T, get the school and LA's policies on it, get your DS on the Register etc? Why don't you now take it up with the G&T coordinator or ask to speak to the Leading Teacher, Head, LDG Head or even the LA's G&T representative if you're still not satisfied? It doesn't matter how nice his teacher is if he is not learning, she may not have even asked for the G&T coord's support.

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