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Another should I speak to the teacher thread - re KS1 maths, levels and lack of challenge

(10 Posts)
kittenmother Thu 09-Jun-11 10:44:35


Ds is in year 1. At the end of reception we were told his maths was extremely good and his best area. I didn't get a calibration of this beyond a mention that it was a couple of years ahead but this was vague.

He was the kind of kid who could count things out and do sums at age three. He also would do things like work out how many days there were until his birthday at that age in his head by counting through the days.

In year 1 he has a very inexperienced teacher (note who has made mistakes in other areas which she has had to correct) who said he made a few errors doing simple sums, so gave him a level 1b mid year at the parents evening. I was very surprised as this did not sound right for a little boy who does things like calculate square numbers and work with negative numbers. I have seen the APP stuff and know that they have to be secure in all areas not just eg. sums.

The teacher agreed that maybe he made the mistakes because the work was too easy e.g. 8-3!

This would mean he wouldn't even get a level 3 at the end of year 2 under the standard predictions.

Surely just because he made a few errors once or twice it shouldn't be such a big deal. Levels are just levels but more importantly he does not get work which challenges him at all in class or for homework.
At home he has stopped making the silly errors, not sure if he has at school.

Here are some examples of what he does/ says at home when he was making up his own sums:

"infinity minus two infinity would be minus one infinity wouldn't it?"

"five minus two times five would be minus five"

so the idea of him not being able to do 8-3 is crazy to me. And the idea of him only being a 1b when I have read through the APP assessment stuff seems very odd.

Should I raise this with the teacher and ask to have a quick chat after school in case ds is still making mistakes? Or leave it now the end of the year is nearly upon us?

redskyatnight Thu 09-Jun-11 10:53:17

I would be inclined to leave it unless he has the same teacher next year. I've found with my DS that they spent a lot of time in Y1 focussing on making sure basics were secure and they have really taken the high flyers forward in Y2. I suppose you could ask how the teaching of maths will be developed in Y2.

I wouldn't focus on the levels too much - 1b mid-way through Y1 is pretty good and from what I understand the teachers have to have lots of evidence to move them up levels - if your DS is (say) weak in just one area - or even that they just haven't covered it in school, that will pull his level down.

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Thu 09-Jun-11 11:00:24

My DS is struggling with working out in his head 53-21 and is also in Y1. He has been marked as a 1A in Maths?!! One of our DS' teacher is definitely wrong!

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Thu 09-Jun-11 11:00:57

Oh, and he has no idea what negative numbers are or that infinity actually exists!

Lizcat Thu 09-Jun-11 11:11:34

Again I wouldn't focus on levels too much. Year 1 we were told that DD was an able mathematician. In year 2 term 2 unusual exceptional ability was the descriptive term and this term we have been told that she is working at year 4 level possibly year 5. We have been encouraged to get her to take up a musical instrument and the school already teach mandarin as I believe maths, music and mandarin are a triad together due to symbols and learning all three can increase the rate of learning across the board.
My DD talks about Grahams to - I had to look those up.

kittenmother Thu 09-Jun-11 11:15:00

Maybe I could ask if ds is still making the errors at school as he isn't at home and then mention the other sums stuff to give her an idea of where he is at?
I feel she hasn't really assessed him properly. I wouldn't doubt most teachers on this and know they usually know better but have concrete evidence that it's different with this one!

Elibean Thu 09-Jun-11 11:26:59

dd definitely makes mistakes when the work is too easy - if anything, more than when the work is too hard. Sounds very likely with your ds.

kittenmother Thu 09-Jun-11 14:18:36

So what should I do - speak to the teacher? Or leave it for this year and start afresh next. I feel like he has learnt a sum total of nothing new in numeracy at school this year (other than some shape stuff).

kittenmother Thu 09-Jun-11 16:25:24


madcows Thu 09-Jun-11 16:34:11

I have to say I don't think there is any point is saying anything at this point in the year. At our school at least, the second half of the summer term is all about fun stuff - sports day, trips, etc - and they don't do much at all.

But I would get straight in there next term and make it clear that you have concerns that he is not being sufficiently challenged etc. Don't bother bringing up past levels, and what current teacher says. Start completely afresh. But then push, push, push. We did this - asking for extension work etc. - but have to say it has fizzled out, and we need to pick it up next year. We're hoping he'll be allocated the maths teacher who is notoriously scary, but really pushes the stronger ones!
Good luck!

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