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Making best of a bad situation

(22 Posts)
rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 19:18:14

Some of you will know the back story. For those that don't the answer is not to move DD, we've tried. We have to deal with what we've got, for now at least. DD will be having her current teacher for another year, and maybe another 2 years. DD is in yr R. The relationship with the teacher is strained / non-existant.

Our problem is that DD is being failed certainly in literacy and maybe in numeracy by the teacher. She has not progressed in numeracy since starting at the school. She is not interested in numeracy and she's not encouraged. We do our best at home but she's just not interested. OK, we say, lets leave it, let nature take its course, she'll come on when she's good and ready. We're not happy with this but maybe thats the way to go? The teachers attitude is the issue we have I guess.

Literacy the issue is way beyond this. DD is now reading chapter books at home with no problems at all. This isn't a boast, its a fact. She reads them out loud and answers all the questions we ask her. We've been to the library and she choose some ORT level 10 books. I was a bit hmm but let her bring them home. She LOVED them and wants to go and get more. She can read then fluently with fantastic expression. She can answer any questions we care to ask her. The problem is at school she's reading level 4. She's now doing it for the sake of ticking the boxes. She apparently must read every sodding book in the level before moving up. She's ploughing through all the Ginn Level 4 at the moment and still has the ORT level 4 to be given to her.

She took at home book in ( this ) 2 weeks ago and was "caught" reading it to a group of yr 1 and yr 2 girls. The TA was apparently astonished and got the teacher to listen to her read. This was what got her off level 3 onto level 4 hmm. I know that she can read this fluently with very few words she has to sound out (the odd old fashioned word here and there). There is a huge discrepancy between what she is reading at home and what she is reading at school now, not just 1 or 2 levels. We've been to the teacher (when there was about a 3 level discrepancy) and was told she must read all the books in the level before she moves up. The teacher was very defensive.

We can't continue to sit back and watch her being failed like this. But going to the teacher will be a waste of time and lead to more bad feeling. We can't leave this to a new teacher in September because there isn't a new teacher in September. We have to go in again don't we? I was thinking about phrasing it more along the lines of "We are concerned the dd isn't reading at school to the best of her ability and would like to discuss why this might be.". How does that sound? Or do we say more "What is going on here, why isn't DD being given appropriate level books?".

blackeyedsusan Sat 18-Jun-11 19:33:10

did just the same with the head teacher recently. concerned that dd does not have the confidence to read at school... (red band 2 at school and gold, dipping into white at home) nothing has changed, so i am not sure that you will see any difference.

i think I would try the first approach and ask specifically what dd needs to do to progress, ask if it is a whole school policy to read every book in the scheme. if so you could go to the head to discuss this. if you try the first with the teacher, try the second with the head teacher if it doesn't work.

missed why dd can't move to ds's school, sorry. <nosy emotion> <too lazy to check emotion>

IndigoBell Sat 18-Jun-11 19:58:49


Hmmmm. A very difficult situation.

<<Racking Brains>>

1. Decide it doesn't matter what level books she brings home - the fact that she can read is the important thing. Being on the wrong reading book does not necessarily mean she's being failed in literacy.......

2. Talk to the teacher - somehow phrasing it as concern for DD

3. Flatter the teacher. You are so impressed with how well she's taught DD.....

4. Go over her head and talk to the HT / SENCO / G&T co-ordinator

5. Be a total PITA and ask the HT if she could have an IEP (or whatever it's called in your school) for being gifted.......

Rosebud05 Sat 18-Jun-11 20:15:32

I wouldn't worry about her literacy - she can read and if she's marking time reading books levels below her just think of it as sealing the foundations - no reading scheme can last forever!

I'd be more concerned about her numeracy, as it sounds like this does need some attention.

How else is she doing in school? Is she happy with friends and does she like going there?

rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 20:34:35

No she doesn't like going. We have tears every morning and evening. She doesn't have many friends, and has been teased for having a "stupid" brother and a "naughty" brother. She has been asked by the teacher a number of occasions if she likes school and she always says yes. I've spoken to the HT about her happiness and they are insistant that she seems happy at school and certainly not an unhappy child.

She's not sleeping well and looks shatters all the time. We can see she is unhappy but we can't do more than we're doing to try and make it better for her. All she wants to do is read. She rarely plays with her toys. According to the teacher she just reads at breaktime with the 1 friend she has or by herself and seems happy to do that.

Rosebud05 Sat 18-Jun-11 20:38:30

Is she unhappy because she doesn't have many friends or the behaviour of other children towards her ie the teasing?

These are areas the school can and should take actions to address - maybe this is the way to go.

rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 20:40:41

Indigo Thanks for your options:
1) Yes, that is an option but how do we know she's not being held back or failed in other areas?
2) We're thinking of this in the "We're concerned about why she's not reading to her full potential at school" sort of stance.
3) I doubt I could actually bring myself to say that!
4) She is the SENCO (hence all the problems with DS) and HT is spineless and won't lead. We are not alone in this problem. HT stood by and let the dangerous failings continue with DS because of her spineless leadership.
5) See number 4!!

So we're realistically looking at either 1 or 2.

Have you HE? That is still an option short-term but I don't see how we get out of it long-term.

BarbarianMum Sat 18-Jun-11 20:43:31

Then the problem is much more serious than which level reading book she's on, isn't it?

She may naturally be a bookworm (I am) but reading can also be a way of escaping from a sad and lonely environment (I used to read at break time when I was being bullied by my friends).

What do you think is making her so unhappy? << we can't do more than we're doing to make it better for her>> I don't understand - I guess I should go and find the backstory thread.

Portofino Sat 18-Jun-11 20:46:59

She's in reception? Obviously bright, but is being failed by the teacher? Did I understand correctly? I would be working on her social skills and trying to get her to relax a little more.

rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 20:50:38

Rosebud We don't know. She won't tell us. She doesn't get invited to parties (left out of a whole class party, only 2 came to her party) and play dates. Other parents have said to me, in her presence that they won't be letting their children come to play because of DS. We desperately want to move her but we can't. The school say they can't work on anything because she won't tell anyone. They as much as say that we're just imagining her unhappiness because she's happy in school. But they said that about DS. He was apparently happy in school but would have 2hr tantrums in the staffroom. We don't have trust in the school which is an issue for us when it comes to dealing with problems.

rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 21:01:52

She now has a councellor and hasn't spoken to them about anything other than her brother and she's had 3 sessions now. We have given her as much 1:1 time with us as possible as attention at home can be an issue because of DS's issues.

Portofino How do we work on her social skills when we can't get anyone to come over and play?

The problem is more serious than reading level but we can't fix the problem and move her. We've looked at every single other school and we're stuck at the moment. We've spoken with the LEA and we're investigating school transport options and on a waiting list for another school. If DH gets a pay rise in the next year then we can move her to a school a fair distance away and afford before and after school club. We need to work with the situation we're in and certainly if she was happier with the work bit of school she might feel happier (long shot but she does love her books and does complain about the school books all the time).

Diddee Sat 18-Jun-11 21:09:55

Oh Rebl, my heart really goes out to you, this is such a hard situation you are and it must be so very hard for you to send her each morning - but why ARE you sending her each morning? The thing with our education system is that it is a 'one size fits all'. To be honest, some children just do not suit the education system and it is not wrong to take them out of it at all. Literacy - yes, it does sound that the school are failing your daughter - whatever anyone says about reading books, it is important that the school give her a reading book that is enjoyable suitable for ability. It sounds like they are not. Not every book she reads needs to be stretching her, because after all we do read for enjoyment but within the book banding context, where they are teaching her to read she should be given a book which does actually help her to improve.

Just try to be a teacher of 30 reception children for a moment - the day to day teaching of the children is only the tip of the iceberg - there is so so much more that teachers do outside the hours of 8.30-3.30. It is very difficult to treat each child as an individual and provide for their individual needs when there are so many other children.

So, if you put your daughter's needs first then why not take her out? 1) She is not happy 2) She is not learning in the way you want her to. So what is she gaining from this experience? It sounds like you can not get her into another school so why not home educate? That way you can provide her with the emotional support that she needs, you can meet her academic needs and you can help her with socialisation that she needs(and NO, home educated children are not stuck inside all day unable to play with other children). Social skills are mainly taught in the home anyway, that is why there are so many children with social problems who have been in school since reception. I am not anti schools in the slightest, nor do I think that home education is always better, infact I was a primary school teacher who is now home educating and I can see it from all sides. But do what is best for your child, for one child it may be school for it does sound like for you child it may be home education.

LetThereBeCake Sat 18-Jun-11 21:10:20

Can she go to the same school as your DS or do you deliberately want to keep them separate? She'd get priority on a waiting list with a sibling.

rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 21:30:44

LetThereBeCake Everyone, including us say that dd and ds being in the same class is detrimental to both of them. She takes it upon herself to look after ds and the pressure she puts on herself is too much. For ds having dd there means he just doesn't even try to speak or get his own water or make his own friends. These problems are still in the home but we're working hard on them. They were large problems in preschool and in the local school before ds moved. We live in a very rural area with mixed yr classes being our only options, no 2 form entries at all.

dikkertjedap Sat 18-Jun-11 22:01:39

would it be possible for your dd to go to some after school club/class, like ballet or scouts or swimming etc. that would also give her an opportunity to mingle with other children and make other friends

rebl Sat 18-Jun-11 22:07:33

She goes swimming and does have 1 friend from there but not enough to invite them over yet. She's just started Rainbows so maybe some friends will come out of that.

dikkertjedap Sat 18-Jun-11 22:14:03

That's great, ultimately I think it is not about having lots of friends but a few good ones. Hopefully she will achieve that sooner rather than later. Will she go to Rainbows and swimming during the Summer Holiday? If not, would you be able to organise for some friends or possible friends to come and play during the Summer or to meet up at a set time in the swimming pool/playground? Good luck.

blackeyedsusan Sat 18-Jun-11 23:59:32

can you home educate whilst she is on a waiting list for somewhere?

(how is ds getting on?)

going to the senco isn't an option because she is the senco.... have i remembered correctly?

PastSellByDate Sun 19-Jun-11 06:38:07


First off I also feel really sorry for your predicament - especially as people are judging whether their children should play with your DD based on your DS's behavior. It's incredibly hard on her.

The maths thing is an issue - but it is not uncommon to do very little in the way of maths in Class R - just simply counting up, possibly even by 2s and maybe a few forays into simple addition. That will pick up in Y1. There are all sorts of programmes if you are worried - I have written to praise Mathsfactor (I am just a Mum) but it helped my DD (Y3 - started in Y2) tremendously - she's caught herself right up and has just made top group at school (I'd never have believed that was possible 18 months ago) and the straightforward building blocks/ lots of practice system makes sense to an oldy like me.

I think sending your daughter to Rainbows, etc... is the key but you have to accept that friendship building is slow and steady. Also remember even in Class R kids are still at widely different levels socially and many simply play alongside not with other children. Friendships take time and encouragement.

I would suggest at the next party that you consider a girls only small-group party and make that patently clear to whoever you invite. Fib a bit and tell those invited that your daughter wanted a small girls only party. This will reassure parents who have issues with your DS (regardless of the right and wrong) and most likely will result in people coming.

Finally - keep telling yourself 'this too will pass'. Focus on what you can control. Your family and extended relatives/ circle of friends should really be the centre of things. It's important she understands that school isn't everything or all the time and it changes each year. It's actually an essential life skill - and takes a lot of the pressure off. If your school has more than one form, next year she may have a new group of friends anyway. A new teacher, a summer of play and sunshine (let's hope!) and some time away from this year's situation will probably do the both of you the world of good.

There are only a few more weeks - once you're down to 20 school days (fingers and toes on 2 hands and 2 feet) left why not make a chart and cross them off! It's good maths practice at least.

I'm not quite clear why your DD has to have the same teacher for another year or two. Perhaps the solution is to go to the HT and say that it's nothing personal, but you're really struggling to get your DD to feel positive about school and think it may be helpful if she were to have a fresh start next year with a different teacher? If there is only one form, then of course there's nothing you can do - but in the meantime fingers crossed on your DH's promotion.

IndigoBell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:57:30

HE for a while. Let things settle down, let her get happy again.

In the long term, either a place will come up at a diff school, or DH will get a payrise or you'll put her back in the awful school, or she'll become more self confident, or you'll keep her at home - who knows.

But don't keep doing this to your DD. She's not learning anything and she's miserable. Keep her home, for a while,......

Diddee Tue 21-Jun-11 14:35:40

Good advice IndigoBell, I really think it is worth considering....

rebl Tue 21-Jun-11 19:05:54

We are seriously considering HE for a while. We're trying to work out our last ditch option at another school this week. But its a private school and we would need her to be on a hefty bursary for us to be able to afford it.

DH has decided to start writing in dd's reading diary and try and open a dialogue with the teacher over reading. Its the most bizzare conversation from both him and the teacher hmm. At least he's trying but I fail to see where its heading!

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