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Year 2 not doing much at school yet

(20 Posts)
stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 10:10:54

Starting to get a bit concerned about the amount of work my year 2 ds is doing at school. According to him the most writing they are doing is the odd sentence, label pictures or do the odd caption. He is capable of doing much more than this. Last year he was writing pages of stories etc. and his teacher said he had already exceeded end of year 2 expected level. Is it early days yet or am i right to be worried. They have mixed his year with the year below.

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 10:29:48

I think you're not getting an accurate picture of what he's really doing.

Kids are very unreliable conveyors of info smile

Will you have a parents evening soon?

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 10:45:45

Yes i was hoping that was the case. Parents evening not for a couple of months yet. The problem is, his teacher has a bad reputation and i am starting to worry it is true, but really don't want to barge into school looking like a pushy parent.

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 10:50:11

If parents eve is a long way away, I think you could ask to make an appt to see his teacher after school to discuss how he's settling in.....

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 10:58:03

I did ask her last week how he was doing and she just said "oh, he's doing really well. He's fine". Then later my ds said "i don't know how we are supposed to get better at writing when the teacher does all the writing" (on the white board). I know teachers have to meet targets so could bad teaching really happen?

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 11:01:36


Bad teaching really does happen. Also mediocre teaching really does happen.

And it can be very hard to find out if your kids teacher is bad or not. (Until the end of year reports....)

I would certainly give it a few more weeks until you panic. (Until half term say)

And also before you panic - do you actually have any options? Can you move school if you're unhappy?

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 11:19:31

No, we can't move school - can't afford private and no 2nd car. I would be quite happy to do stuff with him at home to keep him up to scratch until next year but don't really know where to start.

gabid Tue 20-Sep-11 11:57:11

All I ever got from DS's Y1 teacher (last year) was that he was fine, not much from DS. She tended to explain what he enjoyed and did, even maths where I now know that he is slightly below average, but why didn't she tell me that so that I can support him? And how on earth do you know whether the teaching is good if you are not there?

On two occasions last year parents were invited to join a lesson (mixed Y1/2 class). I observed DS and his group of 5yo boys not being able to do the group activity after a story had been read and discussed, I didn't see much differentiation and was worried DS and the younger boys were being left behind. It was difficult to bring up with the teacher, but I had to say something ... not sure how she took it. But the next time parents were invited DS could do the work - but I still didn't see much differentiation in the lesson.

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 12:20:45

It is really frustrating isn't it. You just haven't got a clue whether they are doing what they should be until potentially it is too late and they are behind. I just feel that he did so well last year i don't want it all to go to waste this year.

gabid Tue 20-Sep-11 12:33:37

Yes, I do get frustrated! Since the summer I do a bit of maths with DS every day. The last couple of days I asked DS what he enjoyed most in school and and he said maths and literacy! So, I figure the extra 10 min must help him and I seem to get a bit more info out of DS. But now, all the information from school about maths was numbers to 50, and DS told me they were doing timetables, anything else he said didn't really make sense - aaaargh, its frustrating!!!

firstgreatholswiththree Tue 20-Sep-11 12:42:44

I have found writing to be the hardest area to improve with my DD. Mainly the unwillingness to write doesn't help. What I did discover was a little resource you can google VCOP (look under the images section). Basically it gives the child and you some ideas and the further down the pyramid they get normally the higher level of writing (vocabulary, punctuation, connectives and openers. You could start to write a diary and story at home and try to increase the use of adverbs and adjectives and just keep adding bits to it. I wish I had this ages ago. year 1 child is getting the idea now from year 3 child.

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 12:44:55

Is your ds doing much writing this year? Most days my ds says they haven't even done numeracy! I've started doing those carol vordamen books 1 or 2 pages a day for my own piece of mind really.

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 12:45:27

Sorry my ds is doing the books not me!

stardice Tue 20-Sep-11 12:56:19

That is really useful firstgreatholswiththree. Will definately print that. I find it hard knowing how to improve ds writing. At least you have resourse books etc to help with maths.

gabid Tue 20-Sep-11 13:16:15

firstgreat... - I like that.

KTk9 Tue 20-Sep-11 13:44:16

I think you should say something, just to let the teacher know that you are one of the 'interested' parents, who is willing to work with your child.

I so wish we had said something back in Reception when our dd didn't progress one iota, only to be told in Yr 1, that she had problems with her reading and the whole class were basically behind their targets, ('but don't worry the Yr 1 teacher is very good and will bring them up to the right level').

Yes they have almost caught up, with this brilliant teacher, and dd had extra reading with a specialist, but going into Yr 2, her writing is worse than when she stated in Yr 1 and I was doing a lot of work at home with her on it - but I know that poor Yr 1 teacher couldn't do it all!!

We took the hard decision last week, to move her to a private school, starting Monday. Luckily we can just about afford it, as only have the one child.

Yesterday, dd told me she had done some reading with one of the TA's, when she told me the book, it was one she had had back at Easter with her specialist reading teacher and when she told the TA this, their reply was 'well then you will be able to read it then'. Which my dd proudly told me she did without one mistake - and she did the voices!!!. She is still on two levels below of what she was reading with the specialist and reads at home, but they seem to be unable to progress her up!

If I had expressed my concerns back in Reception, we wouldn't be at this stage now. The head actually apologised to me for the standard of teaching they receieved in Reception, saying it was a Newly Qualified Teacher, who probably didn't have the confidence to do a little more with the children and how she (the head), wish she had stepped in sooner. I am grateful for her honesty and the apology, but it made me realise the impact of one 'poor' teacher.

Learn from our experience, go with your gut feel and mention it now, don't wait, and if you are still not happy at half term, take it a little further up the line and express your worries.

gabid Tue 20-Sep-11 15:05:28

I felt it very difficult to raise a matter that in effect criticised the teacher (lack of differentiation during lesson and DS not being able to do activities). I found she talked herself out of it and I didn't have the confidence to take it further as the school often tends to stick together.

KTk9 - I think that honest response you get was rather unusual in my experience.

forehead Tue 20-Sep-11 15:28:23

I am really concerned about the standard of teaching, so much that i have now started to tutor my three primary aged dc
I hate to criticise teachers, as i recognise that it is an extremely difficult job, but i am now beginning to think that i can do a better job than most of the teachers at my dc's school. The school is supposed to be outstanding. I haven't any idea what criteria OFSTED are using, but no way is the school outstanding.
I considered moving my dc, however there is the risk that the i would find myself in the same situation.
I would advise parents to help your child at home when possible.
My Summer born son (just joined yr2) could barely read at the end of year 1, so i spent the summer teaching my son how to read. He jumped five book levels.
I would suggest that parents find out what their dc are doing at school and supplement their learning at home.

PastSellByDate Tue 20-Sep-11 15:44:53

Hi Stardice:

I'm afraid I have ended up in the same boat as forehead - I'm doing supplementary work with my DDs at home, because for whatever reason they're just not getting it at school.

Whether this is bad teaching or whether this is a lack of reinforcing learning with homeworks and additional work sheets for those struggling I just don't know. My elder daughter struggles and needs extra practice but it all comes easily to the youngest and she's after more challenging work. What I have observed is that practicing does make a difference.

If you are worried about writing - here are some easy tricks to get them writing.

Let's send a birthday card to ....

Let's write thank you notes to your friends for your birthday presents....

Let's write grandma/ grandpa/ etc... a thank you letter for that great present/ book/ visit/ etc...

Let's write Santa

Let's write the tooth fairy

Let's send so and so a post card!

I find by stealth I can get my girls to do quite a bit of writing.

More recently, I also started to encourage them to write their own stories and make illustrations. They've made some really sweet little stories.

Also - just because the teacher says in KS1 the reading diaries are for parents to fill in - doesn't mean you can't encourage your child to write now and then - most teachers really won't mind.

mrz Tue 20-Sep-11 19:01:33

Oh I wish you were a parent in my class hmm
I spoke to a mum about her child who has produced no work since we started and got the response
"If he's not ready to write why should he?" He informs me his mum says I can't make him!

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