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Problems with schools and differentiation - where do we go now?

(31 Posts)
hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 11:23:33

Well, as the name change suggests, I am rapidly losing the will to live with this.

We have changed schools and it seems even less suitable than the last one.

Please share your school nightmares so that I know I am not alone.

We really want to get it right for DS, I am now worried about the long term consequences for him. Has anyone had any support from any external bodies in both choosing the right school and ensuring the right level of work/differentiation for someone who hits IQ and subject standardised test ceilings.

Regular poster who does not want to 'out' herself, would love to hear of some happy endings and how you dealt with things. Feel free to PM me.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 20-Sep-13 11:48:33

oo good in at the start of a g and t bingo

shall we start with, they all even out in the end? but only because some schools make no effort to find the ceiling of a child's knowledge and understanding

sorry, no happy ending here. I have heard of a couple of schools that are getting it right for one or two children, but it has come at the price of many meetings and the good old standerd "we have lots of bright children here."

Enb76 Fri 20-Sep-13 11:53:05

I think changing schools all the time is probably detrimental. If the child is G&T just the do extra at home, use Khan academy etc... Use school as his "socialisation skill" lessons which is what many G&T children miss out on.

IslaValargeone Fri 20-Sep-13 12:01:40

Is home educating a possibility at all?
Enb has suggested expanding with activities outside school, but I don't know that always works, as for some children it means 4 hours of bored lessons at school and then intellectual stimulation at home when he might want to be at cubs or whatever?
I presume school have been no help at all then providing different work?
We ended up home edding but we had bullying thrown in so for us it became a no brainer. I'm just glad we were in a position to do it, by being able to get by on one income.

hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 12:12:28

Ha ha blackeyedsusan, you obviously know my schools! Finding the ceiling of a childs knowledge and understanding creates value add problems, so even if they do know it, it may mysteriously disappear off records!

hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 12:18:00

child's - I have been educated myself, honest!

And with that start yes, IslaValargeone, would love to homeschool, DS would love it, so would I, but he is a social animal and it just would not be fair longer term.

After a day in school, I could support, but want him to be having fun. I think it unfair for a child to go to school for the social experience only to be tutored in the evenings.

JakeBullet Fri 20-Sep-13 12:29:43

Tbh OP I feel your pain....and my son has learning difficulties so we are at the opposite end if the scale.
It appears that if your child is not middle of the road then most state schools seem to struggle with differentiating for them. Even worse is the fact that although schools legally DO have to differentiate, it appears that they are not obliged to ensure the the child reaches the best ability he/she can.....just ensure they can achieve.

I am a bit tad fed up with it all as you can imagine and I am certain it is the same at the other end if the scale.

IslaValargeone Fri 20-Sep-13 12:30:27

Don't be put off by the social aspect hadenuff, you could always put some feelers out for home edding groups where you live and go and check them out in half term for example??
You can see how often they meet, what they do etc. I'm sure they'd be welcoming and you certainly wouldn't be committed to anything but it might give you a feel for things?
That being said if your ds actually likes school then that's different obviously.
I do think you are right about tutoring after school, I just don't think that's on.

After 3 schools 2 of which were a complete disaster we did HEd.

Here is our horror story OP, you are not alone.

DS started off in small private pre-prep in a class of 6 children. He loved it but the school closed. Not enough children.

School 2 was a complete disaster and they failed to differentiate.
School 3 was the very worst, they failed to set work, mark homework, the teacher admitted she didn't know what to do for him and the head of year was loath to either advise her or make provision. His work books went missing when we asked to look at them, the test scores vanished, the sats results went poof. At the end of year 4 five other children were removed from the school for similar reasons.

He had been asking for home ed ever since week one in school 2, we resolved to do this and he flourished. He started studying for his IGCSE maths at 10yrs which he loved. We went to several home ed groups and some classes where he was placed in with the teenagers, he was in his element and found his confidence in social situations.

In terms of school and the social aspect, I would advise talking to your child, his/her friends and teachers and observing your child's interactions with their peers. My son was bullied at both state schools for being bright, he lost his confidence and he was puzzled by the immaturity of his peers. Most his teachers thought he was "interesting" to talk to but a complete pest in lessons for answering for the class, jumping in with answers, questioning too much and asking for extra work. No one likes a smart arse esp when they feel under pressure to provide for 29 other children.

He is now back in school in year 8 in an excellent school. His peers have caught up in terms of social maturity and he has many friends. Because they have set the children from term one in yr7 he is now adequately catered for. I really wish I had never made him suffer primary or set him loose upon the poor newly qualified teacher in yr 4. She left soon after, I suspect she was on the verge of a breakdown!

passedgo Fri 20-Sep-13 13:00:25

Have he had an Ed Psych assessment? If he may be able to get a statement which should support him.

Remember children don't progress at the same rate. They have lulls and plateaus, don't expect the trajectory to stay the same. Some children start off slow and speed up later, others are way ahead to begin with and then level off.

passedgo Fri 20-Sep-13 13:00:55

*Has he

hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 13:03:14

Crikey Elizabeta - glad it worked out in the end. School 3 sounds absolutely awful - was that state? Don't tell me it was Ofsted 'outstanding'! Access to school work difficult - we had that, but the new one are very open.

Current school sounds good - is that state? How did you hear about it? Local school?

hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 13:13:45

passed go - was that to Jakebullet? My DS has been assessed but as far as I know you cannot get a statement for being gifted.

Jakebullet - hugs to you. I sometimes feel that I should not get frustrated as I know other parents have very similar worries and concerns, at the other end of the spectrum. It just wears you down though doesn't it? Have you got a statement? With a statement there are educational bodies that can help aren't there? Yes, I think it is wrong that there is no obligation for a child to reach anything like their potential, as long as there is some support, or they are making some progress. I have a friend whose son tests within the gifted category, but he has some problems which remain unsupported. He will be lucky to achieve normal age related expectations at 11. I know the mother gets upset about the battle with the LEA and she has had to give up her job to continue the battle.

What a guess hadenuffnowwiththis it was ofsted outstanding in a leafy suburb with a lovely HT and beautiful playing fields and brand new buildings. It was state and it is now the best best state primary in this part of the county. The reality is though very different.

We are v.happy with the secondary school. A year before ds started the employed a very good H.T from a local public school. He has vision, energy, lots of new ideas and improvements are happening very fast. The ethos of the school has changed and is changing for the better. They seem to set unusually high expectations and so far ds is happy,

Au79 Fri 20-Sep-13 13:25:12

I question the assumption that a child like this would regard after school tuition at his level as something he shouldn't or won't enjoy.

This is from the perspective of a mum who has spent the first ten years of my DDs life trying to make her play with other children. She would rather read, write, or watch TV. This summer instead we spent prepping her little sock off for selective 11+ exams. She loves learning, worksheets and testing herself, and hopes to get into a good school. Her school mates know nothing about it.

She has transformed-she is happy and confident, has enjoyed every minute, loved sitting the exams, and bounced back into y6 at school- to be told off for questioning the teacher's maths statement. To add insult to injury, the next lesson had a different teacher, who told her not to make any
faces, and we didn't want a repeat of the maths lesson. Dd came home angry at being discussed in the teachers tea room, and also pointed out that boys could make any face, noise or trouble they liked and didn't get treated like that.

We will persevere with school for social reasons, but it is annoying- every child deserves to be treated as an individual, and to learn something new every day at school.

*they employed

Au79 Fri 20-Sep-13 13:26:54

Sorry about double post -weird!

JakeBullet Fri 20-Sep-13 13:52:21

My son does have a Statement yes but even then it is a fight at times. It seems that "middle if the road" is deemed an acceptable achievement for children. This is not a whinge about schools by the way, they have a limited budget to do everything. It is hard not to feel frustrated though if you know your child could achieve more if the support is there.

My friend has a child with dyslexia and dyspraxia, an educational psychologist says her IQ is "off the scale" but quite honestly as long as she achieves "somewhere in the middle" then the powers that be will deem they have done their job. As she achieves "in the middle" she is eligible for no extra help at your child there is little differentiation for her to offer anything extra for her abilities. Thankfully my friend is able to offer lots outside if school to try and make up for this.

It is very frustrating.

hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 14:04:22

Yes, AU79 DS does absolutely love learning, but he also loves playing and it is trying to get that balance. The 'middle of the roader' does not have to have after school tuition to ensure they achieve their potential. In my day we did not even get homework until secondary school!

hadenuffnowwiththis Fri 20-Sep-13 14:06:02

Has anyone used an external agency in a school search?

How old is your ds hadenuffnowwiththis? is he happy or does he ask for extra work? What does he say about his lessons at school?

No I haven't used an external agency. I listened to recommendations from friends for primary, for secondary I ignored all of the advice. People look for different things from a school.

If you are going to use an outside or expert opinion what about getting ed psych assessment and then putting that in front of the school.

richmal Fri 20-Sep-13 14:20:12

BlackeyedSusan "we have lots of bright children here." grin Yes, we've had that.

Interestingly, according to government guidelines on KS2 results, "all pupils with level 6 are treated as having made two levels of progress since they have achieved the highest level possible." So there is no incentive to get children beyond this level.

We ended up doing home education, but will be sending dd back to senior school.

FavoriteThings Fri 20-Sep-13 14:21:23

First off, let me say I know nothing about all of this. Just browsing and lurking really.
How old is your son
Have you spoken to the LEA
Would you be willing and able to move areas if necessary
Have you posted in the student room? There may be some in there who were pupils in your son's position.

I am just trying to put myself in your shoes, and thinking through what I might do.

harticus Fri 20-Sep-13 14:22:36

What external agencies are there that can help you with school searches?

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