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What are my options with this?

(104 Posts)
LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 10:47:23

DS is in year 2 and his teacher is a NQT.
He is good at maths, but its not surprising as both his parents are good at it too (I have a degree in pure maths and DH's job uses a high level of applied maths).
At the end of last year - year 1 - Ds's teacher classified him as being at level 2b for maths (which i know is nothing special - although its pretty high for DS's school).
DS has been using my pc to play games etc and some of the time he is actually working on a maths website. I sit with him sometimes and I can see that he picks concepts up fairly quickly.

Then 10 days ago, DS came home and told me that he did some maths worksheets at school. Most children managed one or two, some managed three. However, DS went through 8 (and the teacher was surprised, congratulated etc etc).

I help out in the school and I can see that the teacher has a very wide range of abilities across all subjects with quite a few children who are struggling with year one work. So it must be difficult for the teacher(especially as she is inexperienced)?

I asked for a meeting with the teacher last week and I explained that I wanted to show her what DS does at home. (I happen to know that what he is doing at home is level 3 work but i didn't point it out - I just showed her what he has done - the work includes all aspects of maths, not just arithmetic.

The teacher's response was to say:-
Teacher: X needs to slow down. he works too quickly.
Me: Do you mean he is not reading the questions properly?
Teacher: No he reads them properly.
Me: Well is he getting the answers wrong?
Teacher: no he gets them all right.
Me: I don't understand?

At this point another teacher (who I think must be a supervisor for DS's teacher) cut in to say that what the teacher is talking about is technique. They explained the technique in question. However the next time Ds worked something out in his head, I asked how he did the calculation and it involved using exactly the technique the teacher was talking about.

What can I do?

I explained that my concern is that DS will coast through this year and learn bad work habits that will be a problem later when the work is more challenging. The tutor nodded and agreed that this is a danger.

I suggested that maybe the teacher could set work which I would do at home with DS - his writing is weak for example and there is no plan in school to work on it. However my suggestions were just greeted with silence and then I was ushered out.

I was doing my best to not upset them. I said i understood that he is just one of thirty and that the school could not make a special case for my child. But I see a problem in the making and they seem to agree with me, but won;t do anything about it.

Finally I asked if the school had a more-able child policy and if I might be given a copy. This caused both of the teachers to pause and look at each other and then the older one said "of course, but the HT may well want to be involved in letting you see it".

Apart from change schools - which I would if there was a decent school with a free place, but there isn't - what can I do so that my son actually learns some maths in school this year?

If the answer is that there is nothing, then please tell me.

Anenome Mon 04-Oct-10 11:00:24

Shocking! Make an appointment with the HT immediately...some schools are simly crappy with gifted and talented....the teachers sound awful looking at one another like that....your son needs you pushing all the way. IF you do not geta satisfactory anwer from HT consider moving him.

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:01:22

Anenome - thanks for replying. i was worrying that no one would answer as my OP is too long!

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:07:33

could you ask he does some problem solving - applying knowledge shows understanding. I use lots from NRICH ( stage 1 and 2. For my more able numbers they are using the same techniques as for the rest of the class but with larger numbers.

Doing 8 sheets as opposed to 2 isn't really helpful... but it is still quiet early in the year so maybe the teacher is still assessing where he is (also she only a NQT so still getting to grips with the class)

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:08:25

sorry I didn't mean more able number I meant more able off on materity leave and am trying to breastfeed, mumsnet and play with a toddler

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:12:41

that's a good idea cazzybabs. Do you think the teacher would though that i was trying to tell her how to do her job? I am very concerned to not get their backs up as I want to be on the same side as the school.

nymphadora Mon 04-Oct-10 11:12:51

Is it something about showing 'working out'? I was always in trouble at school for not doing that as I just 'knew' the answer and didn't like to waste time writing it down.

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:14:58

well you may put her back up or she may not know how to stretch him and be grateful

PixieOnaLeaf Mon 04-Oct-10 11:18:24

Message withdrawn

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:20:56

Maybe nymphadorabe but they didn't say that. It would make sense though.

I left the meeting with the strong impression that what I'd been a pain in the neck. That I'd demonstrated Ds's abilities to the point where they couldn't deny them and now they were backed into a corner of having to answer whether they would do something about setting him challenging work or not.

It wasn't what they said - more the silences. And the tutor's hand was shaking when she explained to me that maths is a broader subject than arithmetic, so i pointed the places in the report that I'd brought with me which showed that DS has been doing the whole range of maths.

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:21:08

Well ask where he is in the class - 2b is good for the end of year 1 - its not exceptional and no doubt there are lots of people who will tell you their child scored higher...however would be very happy if my child was the a 2b at the end of year means he should achieve a level 3 at the end of year 2

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:24:21

pixieonaleaf - i think you may be right.
It depends what the definition of more-able is, but how can i find this out without looking at the policy?
He is more-able (in maths and in reading) than the rest of his class and I know this for a fact because of the work I do in the classroom. However, maybe more-able is defined as relative to the whole population, instead of just relative to his class??

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:29:43

cazzybabs - I asked the teacher to define where he is in the class (rather than me making assertions) and she refused point blank. "I would never answer such a question because it is inappropriate in my experience".

Ok... I was thinking at that stage "what all FOUR weeks of it??" but I dropped it rather than say anything more. Apart form anything else I don't want to be accused of helping out simply to gauge my child's abilities against the rest of his class.

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:31:46

ohh fair enough, but it is a bit unhelpful - I always tell people where their child in the class because it helps with expectations.

nickschick Mon 04-Oct-10 11:32:38

Its only just October,if he enjoys maths and is good at it then thats great but what you tend to find in children that age that whilst ability in 1 subject can be excellent his ability in other areas will sometimes be less than average.

I think sometimes we just have to let things pan out and wait and see - just because hes not being 'pushed' as you feel in maths doesnt mean he will lose interest,with supportive and encouraging parents he will thrive.

I say this as a very OTT mum blush,a nursery nurse and a class room assistant both voluntary and professionally......incidentally just 'being' in the classroom doesnt give you an in depth insight into ability ,thats why teachers 'train'.

This is the best time of year in school let him just enjoy it.

He could do outside of school kumon classes or something.

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:33:12

well in my year 1 class last year (a non-selective private school) that would have put him in the top third

Do they use a maths scheme?

Checkmate Mon 04-Oct-10 11:38:28

I sympathise. A child who is well ahead for reading can easily just be given a harder book by the teacher, but children who are very good at maths do seem to have to sit through a lot of boring stuff.

I don't have many ideas, as frankly I have the same issue myself. I've been in to the teacher, and then the head this term. The head spoke to the teacher with the result that there are harder, problem-solving extension activities given to DS1 (a summer born 6 year old in y2) each maths lesson. He's still complaining its boring and too easy though.

He does to an independent school, which makes it easier to complain and more pressure on staff to change things. I'd still go to the head, though, in your situation.

We do loads of practical maths at home with all 4 of our DC. They prefer this to sheets and websites, ad we want them to learn the practical applications of maths.

Callisto Mon 04-Oct-10 11:39:54

This is exactly why I am worried about DD being in school and why home edding is always going to be an option for her. I really hate this one size fits all attitude and the teachers sound like they don't want to encourage any sort of individual learning. I don't have anything to suggest but I really hope that you manage to sort it out and that your son doesn't get turned off maths because the teachers won't stretch him.

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:40:59

I actually sit with the children to do reading. Last week one little girl couldn't remember what word the letters "the" spelled (as an example), most are reading the books DS was doing back in January. Its just a wide spread.
They also get maths homework and being little they often like to show me what they have done. They are usually looking for praise (which i give by the bucket load) or a bit of help.

The thing is I do this because I really love being with children especially when you explain something and they have that "eureka" moment. I don't do it to compare and contrast, but when you can see one child glide through the work and another struggle with some basic stuff, you just don't need to be a teacher to see that there is a wide span of achievement.

Checkmate Mon 04-Oct-10 11:42:26

Have you thought about home ed LublieAva?

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:42:33

maths plan - no, not yet as far as I understand. However, they will use Mathletics later this year once the licences have been sorted out (which i think translates as "paid for"!)

LublieAva Mon 04-Oct-10 11:44:04

checkmate - yes but its not really an option. I am useless at things like music and art and PE and I can't give him the socialisation that he needs.

PixieOnaLeaf Mon 04-Oct-10 11:46:42

Message withdrawn

Callisto Mon 04-Oct-10 11:48:14

Lublie - check out the Home Ed board here. You don't need to be able to teach music and PE and there is a growing number of people around HEing their children so socialisation isn't really so much of an issue.

cazzybabs Mon 04-Oct-10 11:49:21

yes but if he's not being stretched he's not being stretched

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