Advanced search

Get £10 off your first lesson with Mumsnet-Rated tutoring service Tutorful here

invisible child

(27 Posts)
Mischif Tue 05-Jul-11 21:02:37

what do you do if you have an "invisible child". What I mean is they read way beyond the books they are given, it's irrelevant to the teacher if they are upset, the teacher doesn't notice their achievements, or that they've not wanted to come to school for two months, and now that the new classes have been decided, the teacher hasn't paid any attention to the fact that this child has been unhappy/on the sidelines for a year and that it will hugely affect her if she's not with the friend that it's taken a year for her to make.

Selks Tue 05-Jul-11 21:04:45

Speak to the school, clearly. I'm surprised that you need to ask.

Hassled Tue 05-Jul-11 21:07:28

Yes, talk to the class teacher, then the Year Head, then the Head. Be pushy, be persistent, be polite. Ask for strategies to be put in place - what can they do to make your child enjoy school? How can they help to make him/her happier? How will they monitor it?

Mischif Tue 05-Jul-11 21:15:56

thanks self - why bother posting?

Hassled - I have tried but we've had three class teachers and four assistants in a year and there really is nobody to ask. We've had parents evenings but because the staff are so temporary, it's very difficult to know who to approach. I don't want to complain about anybody individually but when you have a child who just doesn't really demand much, or stand out, in a low staff situation, what are you meant to do?

Selks Tue 05-Jul-11 21:20:45

Self? Me I assume you mean. I posted because I thought it was a valid asked 'what do you do....etc'.
My response stands - you do need to speak to the school. I appreciate it's been difficult to find the right person to speak to, so I'd approach the head if I were you, explaining that it's not a complaint but you feel that some of your DD's needs are being missed. It's the only thing that you can do. Don't let it ride.

Mischif Tue 05-Jul-11 21:31:41

Thank you. Am feeling quite upset about it really - don't really know why you're suprised I need to ask. I don't feel there's anything really tangible to approach the head about. It's just a general thing that because she doesn't "sell herself" or talk about her interests or achievements, she's largely ignored.

Recently they did a reading test and moved her up two levels in a day - not because she's massively improved in a short time - but because they have no idea of the level she's achieved. I'm just wondering how I can get them to notice her more.

HooverTheHamaBeads Tue 05-Jul-11 21:36:15

I'd be looking at other schools if it were me TBH.

Mischif Tue 05-Jul-11 21:49:07

Thanks Hoover. There aren't really any choices for other school places where I live. It's just really frustrating because I know she's reasonably bright, but it's not pushed. She just drifts.

Selks Tue 05-Jul-11 21:49:49

Sorry to hear that you are upset and I'm sorry if my first post came over as curt; I suppose it was. I said I was surprised you needed to ask because talking to the school is the obvious thing to do and you didn't mention in your first post that you'd done that. But never mind me anyway. The most import thing is what happens now.
It doesn't have to be a 'tangible' thing to speak to the head about. You are concerned about your child in school and that is enough to warrant a conversation with the head. Just tell them how you are feeling.
I'd say that you need to give them a chance to improve how they relate to your daughter before you impose the disruption of changing schools on her.
Your feelings about your daughter are valid, and the school should welcome you raising them. Good luck.

Mischif Tue 05-Jul-11 22:07:57

Thanks Selks. There isn't a choice here to move schools. We are at an Ofsted "outstanding" one, would you believe. And despite all the staff changes in her first year, she has learnt to read really well. It's just when you speak to them - had a parent's consultation today - it's as though they hardly know who your child is. A few times now they have let her out of the door when I'm not there to collect her. There's just a real feeling that they're anonymous. At the consultation with her teacher today, she talked a lot about how my dc had really come out of herself since she had made a new friend. But then had no idea whether they'd be in the next class together come September - as though the decision was nothing to do with her.

Fairenuff Tue 05-Jul-11 22:22:06

My DS was very similar in pre-school and Primary School. One teacher told me she was a 'grey' child.

She was a bright, quiet, polite, well behaved child, happy to observe, always backed down from conflict, etc. Now she's about to start GCSE's and has blossomed into a clever, mature, thoughtful, kind, generous, well balanced child with a good sense of humour.

Other children value her friendship and she has her own mind and does not follow the crowd but questions her own actions. I am extremely proud of her (can you tell) and would not change her character one bit.

Fairenuff Tue 05-Jul-11 22:31:22

Meant DD

DS is a whole other story . . .

Mischif Tue 05-Jul-11 22:33:47

Yes, Faire, I think I have a "grey" child. It's just so frustrating that they don't recognise her. Your post gives me hope.

HooverTheHamaBeads Wed 06-Jul-11 10:32:23

If they have had three teachers in the course of the year that is very poor indeed. What are the plans come September - will she be going into a new class with a permanent teacher?

I'd try and encourage out of school activities too. Finding things she enjoys doing will give her a confidence boost and will make her life not just school if you know what I mean.

But I'd talk to the HT too about it, doesn't have to be a complaint as such.

knitwitter Wed 06-Jul-11 11:06:39

Please don't think you have a 'grey' child. I think it's awful that a teacher would describe a child in this way. Could you try talking to the teacher your DD will have in September? I'm sure she would want to know about a child who doesn't want to come to school. That might put both your minds at rest and you can enjoy the hols.

BeerTricksPotter Wed 06-Jul-11 11:21:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cortina Wed 06-Jul-11 13:00:25

I have a similar child I think. Always they say although yes, they've reached their target/are really ready for the next level etc let's keep them where they are to REALLY consolidate so come next year/next term, delete as appropriate, they'll REALLY be ready then. And so next term/next year comes around and over time invariably they're a level or two behind similarly able peers.

I think these children do come into their stride later but it's interesting some children everyone decides to err on the side of caution with while others are deemed resilient risk takers and are seemingly pushed ahead. I'm told the 'quieter' child in this sort of scenario won't be disadvantaged long term, I am not sure. A message is being sent, 'you're a bit of a vanilla, obedient plodder' 'look at X over there a real fire cracker, no more able perhaps, but ready for the challenge don't you think?'

sittinginthesun Wed 06-Jul-11 14:13:33

Can you be a more visible parent? I don't mean complain all the time, but make yourself known to the school (get involved whenever they are for parent volunteers etc).

I am pretty certain I am not considered pushy at DS's school, but I do tend to know what is going on, and the staff are quite happy to have informal chats when they see me in the playground etc, whether it is about DS or just about the weather.

In the short term, if I were in your position, I would make an appointment either with the head or next year's class teacher, just to say how concerned you are. And be quite frank about it - it's not complaining about an individual, it's just smoothing the way for next year.

Elibean Wed 06-Jul-11 14:17:00

I would agree with that - my friend's dd got overlooked a lot in Y1, she is bright, quiet, well behaved, and basically no trouble. Her mother has made a point of talking to the teacher this year a lot, explaining (not complaining) that her dd isn't confident about pushing herself forwards, asking for help to encourage her, etc.
The teacher has responded well, my friend tells me (with tears in her eyes) that someone has finally 'got' her dd and her dd, of course, has made huge strides as a result.

Elibean Wed 06-Jul-11 14:17:50

btw, this girl is my dd's best friend - and there is no way I would ever, ever describe her as 'grey' shock

She really isn't. She's a quiet stunner, on many levels smile

erebus Wed 06-Jul-11 16:31:43

DS2 was/is one of those- but fortunately it was noticed by his offbeat, dynamic Y1 teacher who for instance always had DS2 sit beside her on the group table so he couldn't 'slip beneath the radar'. As a result of this I have made sure I have alerted every new teacher that he is easy to overlook. He is quiet and well behaved but, unlike every one else's here wink NOT bright. He's a 'C', sliding in 'D', esp in literacy (we start Kip McGrath this evening but that's another post!). I'd been led to believe schools focussed on such DCs wot wiv SATS 'passes' etc looming, but the school seem to think he'll 'pass'. Just. So no one has paid him much attention, really.

So like everyone else says, make your feelings known. Be the squeaky hinge!

Cortina Wed 06-Jul-11 16:41:36

Erebus please don't label him. Currently he may be a 'C' there's no reason for him not to rise to a B or an A assuming there are no severe SEN issues that might impact academic performance. Our local non selective prep gets practically 100% to level 5 at KS2, having seen the quality of the teachers and class sizes I am unsurprised and only sad my son can't benefit. What one can learn most can learn. Many 'average' pupils there go on to get A*s at GCSEs everyone believes they 'can' early on, including the teachers.

Everyone can get incrementally better, I am living proof. I just hate to see children labelled and they get bar coded so young it seems. Decisions are made about 'low' 'middle' and 'high' ability pupils often as early as reception and year one and by and large 'low' ability pupils don't become 'high' ability pupils over time.

erebus Wed 06-Jul-11 19:48:09

Mm, but there has to be some realism here! DS2 is emotionally and socially below average for his age and he demonstrates mild dyslexia symptoms.

He's not been 'labelled' unless you call being measured and found wanting 'a label'.

No, he's not 'bright'. Bright to me means considerably 'above average', and it's a term bandied around on MN to mean only above average. It actually means that 50% of DCs will fall below the average, 50% above. There's every indication that DS2 hovers around the middle, particularly in the key area of literacy. I know he can do better than 'borderline pass/fail' which is why I am sending him to private tuition.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that DS2 is currently doing the best he ever will do: he might suddenly grasp it, he may not. He knows that we are 'investing' in him because we know he isn't performing 'his best' in literacy. That's hardly a counsel of doom, is it? And as for there being 'no reason' why he can't get a B or A, well of course there are many reasons! Poor teaching, being overlooked in class, disaffectation as a result.

I am also aware that DS2 would almost certainly be performing better were he in a small-class sized private school. There'd be no 'being overlooked' if we were paying the teacher's wage directly!

badbadmummy Wed 06-Jul-11 20:11:36

I have an invisible child toosad Her Year R teacher 'got' her, as did her Year 2 teacher, but Year 1 and now 3 have been static 'meh' years with little or no progress made. The only positive is that socially she's happy. However, this year in particular she seems to have given up tryingsad as her teacher doesn't seem to expect any decent work from her. I've tried talking to the teacher - mutual antipathy now - and have written to the Head saying she must be with at least one close friend next year and have a teacher who will inspire and challenge her. If this doesn't happen it may mean a change of school... She hasn't been selected for any sporty activity or choir, I just don't think they 'see' her.

I don't really know what the answer is, I'm just in sympathy!

Mischif Wed 06-Jul-11 21:04:54

I think that's it badmummy, they really need a teacher who gets them, otherwise they just drift along, not doing much, not being picked for anything. I think there is some truth in the poster who said about being a more visible mummy - I do tend to stand back I think. Will definitely try to be more noticeable.

Many thanks for all the replies, it's nice to know it's not just us.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: