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Help Needed With Son Not Doing Well At School

(14 Posts)
DTMsDad Sat 29-Sep-12 08:46:50

Hi. While researching the net I came across Mumsnet and there are really some helpful folk on here who know a lot more than I do, so thought I'd join and post and see what happens.

Anyway, DS has just moved into year 5 in Primary School and is below for all subjects except PE.

This might go on a bit so please bear with me.

Background Info:
Our daughter who is now in year 9, was also below when she left year 6, however the secondary school identified she had not been taught a number of the subjects she should have by the time she joined secondary school. We had many a battle with the head teacher over this at her primary shool. The deputy head told us she had taught our daughter everything she needed and our daughter was just not academicaly inclined. Despite a running battle DD is now in top sets for most of her subjects, (except the wishy washy ones, like cooking and drama). Finally this month the primary head admitted they had not taught all of the topics they should have done.

Back to DS. We have had run in after run in with DS's Head teacher at his primary school and he is on an IEP, which they failed to monitor corrctly last year, (year 4).

We feel they are just not teaching DS correctly and the head has refused an assessment of DS.

Everything we are being told is down to DS not learning and us as parents not teaching at home, though we spend hours with him, (often getting frustrated, both us as parents and DS) as it just doesn't seem to be sinking in. We have brought books and games and still making very little headway.

DS with the exception of Y4, had a series of supply teachers for years 1-3.

We just don't know where to go or what to do and the head is a waste of time. She has her views and she sticks to them.

DS is not like DD, we have no doubt about that, DD had the ability, she just wasn't taught properly, DS is a normal child, has no special needs, but seems uninterested in the subjects and isn't learning. Our fear is he will leave primary school and be in bottom sets for everything, which will knock on to his future jobs etc.

Sorry for going on, but can anyone give any advice that may help as we just don't know where to go and are made to feel like idiots by the head teacher. At first we took it to be all DS's and our fault, now we simply fire back accusations at the head and this is becoming unproductive and doesn't help DS one iota.

Thanks for reading and any advice you can give.

clam Sat 29-Sep-12 11:14:26

It might be better to re-post and switch reference to your son as 'ds' and daughter as 'dd.' You're at risk of being identified in real-life otherwise.
Just copy what you've written somewhere, then report yourself and post the amended copy.

rainbowinthesky Sat 29-Sep-12 11:18:27

Reported for you Jon so that names can be gotten rid of.

EBDTeacher Sat 29-Sep-12 11:39:20

I see you are probably going to re-post this to depersonalise it. However, I would say, if you can afford it, get a private Ed Psych assessment just to rule out any underlying problems. It may be that a particular aspect of DS's cognition gets flagged up which you can address. If the Ed Psych report is 'clean' you could then focus on his motivation and engagement.Maybe he needs a different style of education?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 29-Sep-12 12:35:28

Thanks for the reports about this. DTMsDad, we've edited your OP to make references to your daughter 'DD' (Mumsnet talk for 'dear/darling daughter') and references to your son 'DS' (you can probably work that one out grin)

We've also removed your real name from the end of the post.

We do think it's a good idea for our posters to be aware that everything they post on Mumsnet is public, and so it's best to be careful about adding in too many details that could enable you to be recognised in real life.

Best of luck with it


juniper904 Sat 29-Sep-12 17:13:03

Maybe you should get hold of the work he is supposed to be doing, so you can check what he has and has not been taught?

Do you know what schemes the school uses? If it's QCA, you can download them online so you know what your DS should be learning in the non-core subjects.

For maths and literacy, most schools follow the national strategies. Although the current government have archived the entire website, making it impossible to search, the stuff is still on there. Also, from this September, all schools are obliged to publish their yearly overviews on their websites.

Year 5 in my school are learning:

Narrative: Dramatic conventions
Narrative: Stories from other cultures
Narrative: Traditional stories, fables, myths & legends
Narrative: Novels and stories by significant children’s authors
Narrative: Older literature
Narrative: Film narrative
Non-fiction: recounts
Non-fiction: persuasive writing
Non-fiction: Instructions
Poetry: Choral and performance
Poetry: Poetic style
Poetry: Classic narrative poetry

in literacy.

beezmum Sat 29-Sep-12 18:55:33

It's hard to give advice without getting into the nitty gritty. In Maths you can do a lot by going back to basics and practicing easier stuff till he is really confidnet and then gradually building up. I think that is actually the easiest area to improve with a strong focus.

Chandon Sun 30-Sep-12 15:59:09

The school sounds a bit rubbish, TBH, in my experience a school is only as good as its head. If the head just doesn't care,and worst of all, has very low expectations of your child, you need to take action:

- move child to school with a good HT (don't know how hard that is?!)
- just "give up" and try to teach your child basic maths and literacy yourself.
- get a tutor/Kip/Kumon
- practise over weekends/hols with good books you can get from Amazon etc. Websites. Even 10 minutes a day can help.

until you have made a decision, keep in touch with the teacher and ask her how she is going to help him. Ask if he can get one-to-one etc.

You have to fight for your child as no-one else will. for meetings with HT, it always makes more of an "impact" if you go in with your partner (shows you mean business).

cansu Sun 30-Sep-12 19:47:27

Can I ask why your ds had an IEP if he doesn't have any special educational needs? It sounds like your relationship with the school has broken down a bit. I wonder why you are involved in a kind of tit for tat row with the head rather than dealing with your dc class teacher? It seems you have two choices
1 take your ds out of school and either home ed or enrol him elsewhere if you think it's the school that's the problem
2 ask the class teacher for his or her take on how much progress your ds is making and on what he or she feels needs to change for him to do better. Support what he or she says and have a meeting again at the end of the half term to discuss whether he is doing better.

Chandon Mon 01-Oct-12 10:13:04

my son had an IEP, despite not having SEN, I think it is not uncommon

it was a way of the school to show they were doing something. (It consisted of 20 mins 121, which was often cancelled.)

I agree that talking to the teacher would be most productive.

DTMsDad Fri 05-Oct-12 07:48:11

Thanks everyone for posting and replying.

In reply to juniper904, we have asked for the work and been told the school can't give this out, but they have given us a list of books we should buy and we have done to work through. We asked the head teacher for his lesson plans so we could mirror what he did at school at home, but the head refused advising it is not practical to do this.

What do you mean by the school needs to produce it's overviews?

In reply to beezmum, we already have maths and English books for age 6-7 and working through those, slowly.

In reply to Chandon, we don't want to take him out of school only to find another school is equally as bad. I've done that with jobs and regretted it at times. I now work for myself as a Bookkeeper and this suits as I can drop Dan at school and pick up, plus be available at short notice to attend meetings with the school and go to praise assembly.

We've also spoken to Dan and he doesn't want to move school. It's one of those decisions, that once made there is no going back.

In reply to cansu, the school put him on an IEP telling us he would get one to one's but these are few and far between. I think this was box ticking exercise.

In reply to Chandon, talking to the head is pointless, Mrs Hill shows as much emotion as a robot, I often get the impression she doesn't want to be there and anything we suggest she simply ignores as she has her way of doing things and that appears to be it. We have no trust in her at all. This comes from the fact when my daughter was in Y4, Mrs Hill was appointed to the school as Head. My daughters school report that year, stated "Sarah needs to concentrate on her spelling and punctuation". I have A level English and write reports for my clients so used to proof reading, her teacher report had a number of spelling mistakes and not a single comma or full stop. I wrote back asking how someone can criticise my daughter when they could not even manage to punctuate or spell correctly themselves. The head wrote back saying we were not angry at the report, we were angry at our daughter having a series of supply teachers and the overall class grades had fallen. I wrote back asking how someone who doesn't know us from Adam, can make such a sweeping comment. The relationship went downhill from there.

Does anyone know if there is anything else we can do, or any bodies we can involve. We have a friend who was a science teacher at secondary school. She has now agreed to teach Daniel one day per week for a couple of hours which we are hoping will help.

One of my clients is a Neurosurgeon and has put us in touch with another Doctor who came round and spent a morning with Daniel. He told us Daniel appears to be a spatial leaner and explained what this meant. We have told this to Mrs Hill and she made a note and then back to business as usual.

We were going to complain to the Board of Governors, but we had a run in with the Head of the Governors when a child started to bully my daughter when she was in year 2. This went on for a few months and she did not want to go to school, often pretending to be sick. At a meeting he told us our daughter was not being bullied but being hit instead and there was a distinct difference as far as the school was concerned. I told him he was an idiot and talking gibberish and how would he like it if I hit him every day to see if he changed his mind. He told us if we were happy, would should find another school, nice comment for a Catholic School, definitely fits with the Catholic ethos.

What I'm trying to ask, is there any bodies out there that we can turn to for help or support or anything we can take to the head and say you need to be doing this..

I think as with my daughter, we will have to wait for him to go to Bathurst, (secondary school) and hope they can turn him rund like they did with my daugher.

What makes me angry, is the teachers in the school are only just adults and no matter what we say it's either our fault or Daniel's fault, not one person has said "oh we employed an incompetent teacher", or "sorry but with so many teachers coming and going there is no consistency", or "it's not just your son's fault or your fault, we are also to blame".

Thanks again for listening

titchy Fri 05-Oct-12 08:02:21

So your child's teacher have you some guidance to improve their English and your response was to say how can you criticise my child when you can't write properly yourself? hmm

Your obviously having difficulty takin things on board - several posters have told you to take out names so you're not identifiable but you've carried on.....

Two other comments - how are other children doing at the school. If the teaching was tht bad presumably their SATS would be awful? Secondly for your sons sake work with the school, not against them. Or take him out.

titchy Fri 05-Oct-12 08:02:42

Gave you guidance not have blush

LIZS Fri 05-Oct-12 08:25:54

If you have worked with your son one to one and yet he still isn't making progress I'm not sure that it is as easy as you seem to blame a school when he is presumably in a class of up to 30, all of whose needs ,abilities and learning styles need to be catered for. You could remove him but he doesn't sound keen and you may simply find yourselves replicating the issue somewhere new. A lot of boys this age are not engaged with elanrign for all sorts of reasons.

Agree you need to learn to listen and work with the teacher, if they follow the NC then you can easily get appropriate materials and information on the government websites. However I'm not sure why you think it productive use of your time to continually berate the head. Do they have a SENCO who could liaise with you ? Even if he is struggling with Yr 2 books at home he may not be classified as needing additional help one to one, resources are tight. You could request assessments yourself either via GP or privately but be aware that anecdotal "he's a spatial learner" won't really carry much weight at any school and even a full private ed Psych report may be viewed with scepticism. Is any form of tutoring an option as a last resort - Kumon , indivdual or group sessions with a private tutor etc - to see what he might achieve.

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