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I don't want to be that annoying parent but....

(49 Posts)
Bananamash Wed 14-Sep-11 21:42:25

DS has just started a new prep schol, having moved from a good local state school. He is now in Y3.

He has only been there a jus over a week so i am proably worrying over nothing, but I am suprised at the level of work that he is doing. It is much lower than he is capable of. The reason we moved him from his old school is because he is a lazy so and so (!) but very bright, and he was not self motivated enough to do his best in his previous school. (It was a very full busy class, and he had worked out that if he kept his head down the teacher was too busy to chivy him, so he could get away with chatting to friends, gazing out of the window etc).

For example, he was on free reading at his old school. He LOVES reading- it is something he enjoys doing and has always tried hard at. He wants to do it, unlike written work. His favourite books are BeastQuest (altho i think he has outgrown them in some ways he still loves the stories but reads them within an hour), The chronicals of avantia, The Roman Mystery series etc. When he was assessed for entrance by the school last year, they told us his reading was "exceptional" (i was over the moon!)with a reading age of 9yrs and 5 months. He was 7.5 at the time. However, since starting last week he has come home with Oxford reading tree books, stage 12 for two days and then moved onto stage 13. These books seem much easier than his choice of reading at home, although I will readily admit that he enjoys them. He currently reads a whole book per night. They are supposed to read for ten min every night, but he wants to finish the books. It takes him about 15 min. Should i be worried that they seem to have put him down some levels?

Also, his handwriting- which was never neat, has really slipped. They are supposed to pracice handwriting every morning but he doesn't get much of a chance as he is always changing his reading book!

Reading it back, I am sure I don't really need to say anything now and will just leave it for a few weeks for the teachers to suss him out and vice versa. Written down i am making a mountin out of a molehill. I suppose i am just panicked that he will revert to his usual- and do the least he can get away with- eg the messy writing. I suppose there is extra panic thinking that this is costing a fortune so i really don't want the same problem as at his previous school, I really want him to be encouraged, pushed if needed, to try his best.

pictish Wed 14-Sep-11 21:45:48

If you're real, then you already are one of 'those' mothers.

usualsuspect Wed 14-Sep-11 21:49:52

Sounds like you have wasted your money

iggly2 Wed 14-Sep-11 22:18:24

What is your personality / work ethos......I do not think a school can be entirely to blame for someones approach to work

CustardCake Wed 14-Sep-11 22:28:12

If they were pushing him hard from day one it might please you but it wouldn't please him. It is more likely they will spend these weeks letting him coast a little so he can concentrate on fitting in and friendships. They are assessing him all the time I am sure and will ramp up the work as the term progresses but if they go in tough on day one they will turn him off and stop him from feeling settled and make him panic about whether he will be keeping up.

If you still feel that he isn't being challenged after a suitable settling in period (a minimum of 6-8 weeks) then you can always go and ask about the procedure for moving up levels. You have to give them a chance to get to know him and for him to feel comfortable there.

Jesusgirl Wed 14-Sep-11 22:33:23

I agree with custardcake. He needs to settle into the new school 1st and if they're bombarding him with heavy work in the 1st week, he just might develop a dislike for the school right at the start and if he's unhappy there, he's never going to fulfil his potential.

I'm sure they'll gradually increase the level of work to suit his ability. But obviously if after a few weeks, you don't see any change, then by all means, speak to someone.

seeker Wed 14-Sep-11 22:39:59

Hmm. Sounds like you have fallen into the "I'm paying so it must be better" trap.

I would make an appointment to talk to the teacher - but bear in mind htqt in most schools, a reading age 2 years ahead of actual age is by no means exceptional.

whenIgetto3 Wed 14-Sep-11 22:56:34

Depends what the school policy is, our prep school has 4 extra levels in reading to our state school. It means that when they first arrive they get progressively harder books until they work out what level they should be on. Your DS sounds exactly like mine (actually made me think I had been on the wine earlier and posted under another name) grin mad into beast quest, lazy and intelligent when he can be bothered, think it must be a Yr 3 boy thing. It may be that as he settles and gets more confident in his surroundings he will settle down to work as well, if he is being lazy then they will soon pick up on this that is the main advantage of the smaller class sizes. They will also be unsure of his level of work as he is new, our school doesn't even ask for transcripts from old schools as they say it is better to work out where a child is themselves as every school has a different perspective on what is good or excellent.

I would give it a few weeks to settle, at the start of a new year they are reassessing where a child is and what level of work they need. The handwriting may be just a case of getting used to routine, ours get their handwriting as prep every day, however, prep doesn't start in earnest until the third week of term for the Yr 3s.

EdithWeston Wed 14-Sep-11 23:02:23

I'd give it a few more weeks to allow for settling time.

It is possible that in new surroundings he did not acquit himself as well as he should have. The teacher can only go on what he has shown. That he's already moving up the levels suggests that they are flexible about how long you stay at a level (no "you have to read XX number of books before it'll be considered") and that they have seen he's doing better than first impression.

Just keep reading whatever they send. Write up his reading record in a way that shows he's finding them easy. Add what he's reading for fun. I suspect this will all right itself rapidly.

All moves between schools carry the potential for teething troubles.

piprabbit Wed 14-Sep-11 23:16:41

Given that ORT level 13 equates roughly to a reading age of 9 years old (according to ORT reading chart) - I'm not sure why you think there is a discrepancy between their assessment (reading age 9.5) and the books he is being given.

TBH it's hardly exceptional - great that he loves reading and wants to devour books - but not unusual.

Why not let the teachers finish assessing what he is capable of before you wade in?

mummytime Wed 14-Sep-11 23:17:04

Sorry but alarm bells would have rung for me when they called a reading age of 9.5 at 7.5 exceptional. Look hard at the school, and what schools it prepares the boys/children for. Then ask which schools your son should be aiming for.

NQWWW Wed 14-Sep-11 23:22:13

He has only been there for just over a week! Give the kid a chance.

MumblingRagDoll Thu 15-Sep-11 00:18:59

I am opposite to you in that my DD has just left a prep for a state and is in year 3....so I have seen both sides.

In her prep she was on a reading scheme and also had shocking writing..bizarrley her writing has improved within 2 weeks at her new (otstanding) primary...she also is now allowed to choose her own books and like your son has a reading age of 9 point something.

I can only put it down to the fact that preps are VERY thourough...good ones anyway....have you seen their results at year 6? Where do the kids go? Are there many scolarships won?

sugartongue Thu 15-Sep-11 09:36:15

Just to reassure you, DS has just started yr3 in his prep school and has had barely any homework yet and they are clearly not working them very hard just yet. But I also know that the school is VERY keen on homework and once they get up to full speed he will be pushed a lot. They're just easing them in gently after the summer. It may well be that your DS's school is doing the same thing. Give it a few weeks before you decide there's a problem.

CaptainNancy Thu 15-Sep-11 12:51:38

They've only been back a week, had a long break, and he transitioned to a new school... give him chance to settle in.

Insomnia11 Thu 15-Sep-11 13:27:32

DD1 finished all the ORT levels and was on independent reading half way through Y1, which she was 5.5...

[^gets coat^]

Insomnia11 Thu 15-Sep-11 13:28:47

"When" she was... doesn't get it from me

Maarias Thu 15-Sep-11 14:03:03

Hi, I just wanted to add I am kind of in a similar position. My son has moved from state to prep into year 1. I am also a bit concerned about what level he is on etc. and whether he is being sufficiently challenged given that he's quite bright. I would have to say that I am reassured by knowing that the boys all go on to great schools, with 8 scholarships and 8 going to grammars last year. I kind of feel like they know what they're doing given those results so am happier to take a back seat than i was at his previous primary.
As others have said, it's still early days. If you are still concerned maybe raise it after half -term?
We have a parent/teacher consultation in October so will discuss things then I imagine.
Good luck with everything.

gramercy Thu 15-Sep-11 14:59:46

I went for a sneaky tour of the very posh prep school near me. I took dd. I asked to see the work of the most advanced child in the class (year 3). Dd's eyes bulged and she hissed to me that it was "only year 2 stuff".

I then asked to see the work of the best child in year 4 (no shame, me, when I had no intention of sending dd there anyway!) and even that work was well beneath the work that dd is doing at school.

I know there are preps out there which would stretch academically able children, but I learnt you should never judge a book by its cover - or in this case a school by the number of kilts and caps outside.

ChinaInYourHands Thu 15-Sep-11 16:38:47

I'm sorry but at my ds's school (he is also in y3), the great majority of kids in his year group have a reading age of over 9, and about 12 kids in the year group have a reading age of 11. This is a state school. If a private school said that 9.5 at 7.5 is exceptional, they were perhaps trying to flatter you and get you to part with your money?
In any case, I do agree with the ones that have suggested you sit tight for a few weeks and allow change to take place.

ragged Thu 15-Sep-11 16:56:12

In a private school I dare say you've got more latitude for being one of those parents... and why not?

I would give it 6 weeks before saying anything (assuming he's happy enough in himself). I moved DS from state to private and he's not half as challenged as he should be, but I've got other reasons to keep him where he is for now, though.

seeker Thu 15-Sep-11 17:41:38

Chinainyourhands- where on earth is your school? The great majority on year 3s having a reading age of more than 9? really?? What's the secret? An arcane admissions procedure of some sort?

mrz Thu 15-Sep-11 17:46:39

I would expect most year 3 children (7-8 year olds) to have a reading age of 9+ my most able readers have started Y3 with reading ages in the low teens and they aren't exceptional by any means.

camicaze Thu 15-Sep-11 17:47:54

You're allowed to panic - after all it was a big decision to make. I'd panic too! Of course everyone is right, its too early to judge.

diabolo Thu 15-Sep-11 17:52:31

china - I wish the state school I work in was like that. Actually I don't. Imagine the alpha-mummy pressure!

OP I also moved my own DS from state to private at Year 3 for many different reasons, but he seemed to be challenged enough there from Day 1. He was also dreadfully lazy (and still is in many ways at home).

Give it a few weeks, and then, if you still have concerns, make an appointment.

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