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Any advice on what to do if your child is being let down at school and you're getting nowhere?

(15 Posts)
Kansasgirl Tue 25-Sep-12 22:53:51

Crappy Ofsted,bright child not SEN or G&T,school not bothered re attainment being a year behind.No communication.Moving not an option.

Sooo can you get support from County (or elsewhere)?

Feel like we're banging our heads against a brick wall and don't know what to do,doing nothing makes me feel crap sad.

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Sep-12 23:01:05

Read as much as you can at home. Reading opens up the world and will help youto help your child. There must also be a LA person you can complain to. Not sure as different system here but there will be someone. Have you written down your concerns and met the Head and class teacher?

simpson Tue 25-Sep-12 23:03:37

What subjects is it that you feel are the problem??

How old is your child??

If its reading yes I agree with rose read as much as you can at home etc...

I have just spoken to DS's teacher about him reading his own books rather than the school books...

Would speak to the class teacher too...

Kansasgirl Tue 25-Sep-12 23:05:19

Yes have seen head last year,seen teacher this year.Writing again but I think it's pointless,so wondering what next step is.

Kansasgirl Tue 25-Sep-12 23:07:54

Said child is year 4,reading is fine,tis writing which is unfortunate with writing being kind of crucial.I think I'm supposed to do nothing until school panics in year 6 pre SATS.

KTK9 Tue 25-Sep-12 23:53:24

Do they admit there is a problem? If not, then can you work on it yourself, just 10 mins. a day could make a big difference and there are a lot of threads on here in relation to encouraging a child to write and resources.

If they admit a problem, what are they doing? If you have spoken to the teacher and the head, surely the next stop is the Govenors?

Personally, we had similar problems and we changed schools, we were lucky in that there are two other schools very near us, but we chose and independent, which is miles away! Is there not another school in the area.

It sounds like more has gone on than you have said, if you have already spoke to teachers several times and written, what reasons are they giving?

seeker Wed 26-Sep-12 08:57:25

There are two issues here. One is how to help your child yourself, the other is how to sort out the school.

On the first, the thing to do is as much "useful" writing as possible. Letters to grandma,(prime grandma first so she writes back immediately). Writing the shopping list while you search the cupboards and tell her what to write. Write a story as a birthday present for Dad. All that sort of thing.

As for the school, what did they say they would do in the letter that went to parents aft OFSTED? Are they doing any of it? Are other parents pissed off too?. Could you go as a small group to talk to the Head? Always go in, in my experience, much harder to ignore a person sitting opposite you than a letter.

lljkk Wed 26-Sep-12 09:23:40

So he's only behind in one subject (writing).
And not hugely behind, just definitely behind.
Fine in (?all) other subjects.
Lots of "bright but not SEN and not G&T" children are like that, okay for some things but a bit behind in others.
Not quite what Thread Title suggests.
I would think just find lots of little ways to encourage writing at home.
I made DS (now yr4) write something most days these last summer hols. Am also keen on getting him to do as much writing as possible for each homework assignment (no matter how much he tantrums about it).
From what I can make out, most boys this age struggle with writing (lots of tantrums).
Gareth Malone did a whole TV series about it.

Apparently DS is "on target" for writing which astounds me because I think his writing is fairly rubbish. DS gets too anxious about getting it "right", and seems to have poor coordination & motor skills. So we work on those issues, too.

(Will probably have massive Xpost by the time I finish typing this)

Kansasgirl Wed 26-Sep-12 09:24:09

Thankyou so much.We're feeling very alone,upset and worried so good to know there is empathy out there.

Will fill in more but trying to find out more info re my worries.

simpson Wed 26-Sep-12 10:07:28

Does your child complain that it hurts to write??

If so then maybe the muscles are weak and there are loads of exercises you can do strengthen them...

Kansasgirl Wed 26-Sep-12 11:21:36

Actually he does Simpson(left handed too).

Lij your dc seems the same as mine.We don't get levels but when asked I think he scraped a 2a at the end of year 3.

However just been told he's not a good speller and is now doing Phase 5 again with the year below(along with many others).I totally disagree(have a literacy and teaching background) and feel it's because he simply hasn't covered or been exposed to what he should have done.He did Phase 4/5 phonics last year(Y3) off and on,no Phase 6 or Y3 curriculum even though I voiced concerns.Able reader(which I know is neither here nor there) and literate boy.Had a couple of bits of phonics homework home during last year which he found easy.First few phonic lessons this term he says are too easy-again(he's not an arrogant boy and is v honest).

I feel the lack of organisation,pace,continuation of projects set up means he started falling behind in Y1 and this has spiraled year on year.Have nagged but got nowhere.

I asked why if he was behind we weren't told and extra intervention put in place.Got told he isn't behind(there are loads like him) and not many year 4s have started the Y4 curriculum(so that's ok then).Got told the expectations in L&S are too high(but teaching friends tell me they disagree),I've been out a while so just don't know.Got told there are no plans to excelerate him through Phase 5/6 and Y3 curriculum and onto the Y4,however no extra intervention work either so we're in no man's land.

Lij you're probably right re title but just had scary meeting with scary teacher at school(cried as so bloody frustrated)blush.As far as I can see if this continues there are going to be serious issues in Y6 SATS re writing/spelling.He hates writing and they told me not to force him into it at home.hmmI want to avoid the last minute panic and cramming that seems to happen in Y6 SATS.

Crappy was prob a bit strong(school fell from Outstanding to Satisfactory)and they do lovely things,happy kids,no bullying and good behaviour on the whole but there is an air of arrogance and complete denial re any questions re progress and this. I'm fed up of being fobbed off and need to look further in order to get some kind of an action plan for my dc. Governors not an option(was highlighted in report that they don't hold teachers to account).

lljkk Wed 26-Sep-12 13:25:25

I think cramming & panic happens in Yr6 SATs no matter where they lie in the ability spectrum.
I felt like some of your description was bit micro-management, about things like what level phonics, Phase X or curriculum Y. I think I would just concentrate on improving from where he is now. I suppose maybe it's impossible to think that way when you've had lots teacher training.

Kansasgirl Wed 26-Sep-12 13:36:10

Thing is I don't see any plans being put into place,zero intervention.

If they were concerned,had targets,extra help/work in place and some kind of excelerated program lined up for him and planned out I wouldn't worry but there is nothing.If I sit back and do nothing I'll be kicking myself by Y6.hmm

seeker Wed 26-Sep-12 14:12:25

You have to get levels at year 2 and year 6- it's a statutory obligation. Go and ask for them.

And going from Outstanding to satisfactory is crappy.

PastSellByDate Wed 26-Sep-12 14:25:09

Hello Kansas girl

Your situation sounds totally like ours - our school is just coasting and doesn't push the children. Lots of verbage about developing at their own speed and bringing out the creativity in them - but I've yet to be really impressed by a field trip or a class activity after 5 years + at this school. Same field trips year after year - very little effort to link history/ geography/ science units with field trips - no attempt at showing real world application of maths.

The main advice I had from folks here on Mumsnet was quite simple and very liberating - if they're not going to help at school (and it sounds like your school has all sorts of issues) then you need to help at home.

Now I'm not sure what your situation is but these were our solutions:

We joined an on-line maths tutorial - We use mathsfactor, but others have written to discuss mathswhizz and mathletics with equal praise. Basically search them on google and have a look. They all offer free trials and because it's structured, you just have to keep a notional eye that they're putting in the time (about an hour a week for 5 mathsfactor homeworks).

We started borrowing/ buying lots of books that were age appropriate (for DD2 who is a strong reader) or reading age appropriate (for DD1 who is a weak reader). We insist on reading every night. Sometimes with us, sometimes us to them (so we're currently working through the Lemony Snicket series - but also discussing words and meanings, we've also read some of our own chidlhood favourites like Charlottes Web and last Christmas we read A Christmas Carol together) and most nights tuck them up in bed with a book with lights out 20 - 30 minutes later.

As lljkk suggested get him writing. But be sneaky about it. Thank you cards (great source of joy to relatives) and gets that practice in. Postcards on holidays/ days out. Writing in to competitions (don't just send that e-mail) from magazines/ books. Writing to Father Christmas. And we found we had great success 'cheating' on spelling words. Instead of writing 10 sentences for each word - we started a game of trying to use all the words in as few sentences as possible and a prize for a single sentence. If there's writing related work - just check to see that they're not writing the bare minimum. The result was better understanding of word meaning and use and some good fun with double meanings - we also got more writing in the end by accident.

With hands hurting - we also have a left hander - we actually twigged that the problem was our DD1 rarely writes in school. So we took her to a fancy office supply shop and let her chose and purchase a really nice little notebook. We also bought the stablo left-handed pens - which she finds very comfortable to use.

You have to accept this is going to take time - maybe years. But my advice is don't wait on the school to do something. You start with what you can (and it sounds like you can help a lot with English) and just try and add about an hour a day (which actually is less than most children spend on watching tv or playing video games). Gradually you'll make up that lost ground and your son will learn a truly crucial lesson - you get as much out of something as you put in.

finally use the power of a search engine. Literally type in preposition worksheets KS2 - and see what you get. There are tons of great, free resources out there. I even joined Times Education Supplement so I could access support materials - just sign up as a volunteer (if that option is still available).

quick list of great websites:

Woodland Junior school:
Great links for all sorts of areas of curriculum

Just select KS2 on the blue horizontal menu bar and then scroll down to appropriate area of curriculum

BBC Learning [BETA]:
Select KS2 on tab in orange box (middle left) and then just select appropriate area of curriculum and follow through to area you're after.

Ambleside primary:
literacy or numeracy hour have great links to excellent resources


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