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Any primary teachers out there? I'm very worried about DS

(20 Posts)
gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 21:30:36

To cut a long story short, DS is 6. He was in the last term of Scottish P1 when we had to move and he went straight into the last term of Year 1, a jump of a year in terms of curriculum. To make matters worse he is in a dual year class and is the youngest overall. He has had a whole year less schooling than his peers yet suddenly finds himself now in the last year of KS1/ Welsh Foundation Phase.

I believe he is struggling in some areas, namely in written work and maths. His teacher hasn't said so in as many words but he's being put into groups with kids who need extra help. Without wanting to sound PFB about this it feels like he's being labelled as one of the slower ones whereas I feel the reason he's struggling is because of skipping a whole year. The kids he's working with are a bit disruptive - the hard to teach ones - so it worries me that this is not helping him.

Teachers - how would you deal with a child in this situation? And how can I voice my worries without sounding critical and pushy?

Eachpeachpearwherestheplum Sun 18-Nov-12 22:07:22

Ummm, I would ask about intervention programmes, 1:1 daily reading with an adult, precision teaching etc.
I am a little puzzled as to why the change in system puts him behind?

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 22:08:22

Sorry to bump so early. I am sending DS to school tomorrow with written homework undone so the chat with the teacher could be very soon. So any input would be very welcome!

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 22:12:11

Oope x posted. It's to do with intake, cut off dates and DS's birthday. He started school a year later in Scotland than he would have south of the border. Reading is about the only thing I'm not worrurd about. He's gone from Stage 3 to Stage 7 in a term and a half, getting through a book a night. I'd be interested to know where that puts him versus the average Year 2 level. ORT stages.

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 22:21:29

I should clarify, Scottish P1 roughly equates to Reception. So he went effectively from last term of Reception to last year of Year 1 in one fell swoop.

Eachpeachpearwherestheplum Sun 18-Nov-12 22:34:27

Ah I see. Why did he start late?? Seems very hard going from Last term of YR to last term of Y1.
Reading sounds great. I assume his understanding of what he has read is good also? Is he now in a Y2/3 class or a Y1/2?? I assume this is what you mean by mixed.....
TBH it doesnt matter really! He is an individual and needs a little support, like many many other children. Express your concerns about his needs and your worry about his peers. Be clear you want to have clear targets which you can support at home and regular updates etc.

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 22:50:50

Simply that up north the cut off is March and here it's September, and DS's birthday falls in the part of the year where it makes a year's difference. That bothered me at the time, but now I feel he was probably at the right level for him. He's a young 6, physically and emotionally. It's a Y2/3 class, spanning Foundation Phase and KS2 which are supposed to be two totally different styles of learning. There are kids in the class who are already 8, so with that age difference and the missing year you'll see why I'm worried!
Your advice is helpful thanks. You don't think he'll just be labelled as a bit slower than average from hereon in? And yes his understanding is excellent and has always been well ahead of his reading, still is. But he seems to have total block on maths now, and as for bringing home written work to write a report with sub headings and paragraphs, we are way off!

BackforGood Sun 18-Nov-12 23:08:11

I think I'd ask the teacher if I could have a 5 min chat one day soon, and then explain to him/her what you've explained to everyone here - that, the education system in England is different from Scotland, so, when he moved, he actually jusmped a whole school year, and that you wanted him/her to know this as obviously it will impact on the educational experience he has had, and that you wouldn't want it confused for ability.
Before MN, I never knew about the different systems, so it's quite feasible the teacher doesn't either, and may be very grateful if you let him/her know.

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 23:34:19

Thanks BackForGood. I have explained this to his teacher as it happens, asI did at length with the head teacher when he started, but I do feel the potential impact isn't really being acknowledged. Also he has made such massive leaps with his reading since he moved (in Scotland it was a book a week, whole class move on together system) yet no one's ever praised him for what he's achieved in such a short time. Again that makes me think perhaps they haven't quite got it? It doesn't help that I'm pretty vague on what they were doing in maths etc. as I never got to see any of his work. I do know in P1 they were learning to form letters and 15 school weeks later he's expected to produce extended pieces of writing!

Sunscorch Sun 18-Nov-12 23:40:08

I'm confused.

You're saying that he's been put into a class that is ahead of where he was placed before you moved, correct?

But that you're worried about him being placed into groups that get extra help?

It sounds to me like he's getting extra help because (at least) his writing is behind others in the class. I don't know why this is a problem. He will (should) be moved into stronger ability groups when he is able to complete that level of work.

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 23:47:47

I'm not saying it's a problem, I'm asling if it is. BackForGood hit the nail on the head with the distinction between experience and ability. He definitely now believes he can't do maths, which can't be good can it? I would like to feel he is getting help to get to where he "should" be had he not missed a year's learning, bit I don't really feel that which is why I'm concerned. It may be unfounded concern.

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 23:51:02

Sorry for typos. I just wonder if there really is scope for children working at a lower level to move ahead, or whether expectations start lower and remain that way. This was always my biggest fear.

gaelicsheep Sun 18-Nov-12 23:54:44

AND, why on earth he bringing home work that involves extended writing - non chronological report, I ask you - when it is doomed to make him feel like he can't do it? Hence so many tears this weekend I decided enough is enough.

Sunscorch Mon 19-Nov-12 00:38:25

Well, no. His experience (or lack thereof) directly affects what he is able to achieve. If he is unable to achieve what a higher group is doing, then he will start off in the lower attaining group. Then, when he has made sufficient progress, which will likely be faster than others in that group given the circumstances, he will move "up".

The homework thing is unusual, though, I missed that point in my first post. Homework should be differentiated just like classwork.

Euphemia Mon 19-Nov-12 07:39:28

If I were you I'd be asking for regular meetings with the teacher for updates on how he is being supported. Perhaps monthly?

adeucalione Mon 19-Nov-12 08:58:35

I don't think that you need to worry that he will be labelled and unecessarily kept in the lower ability groups.

My DC are all at secondary school now but I can tell you that the children who struggled in KS1 were not the ones who were struggling by the end of KS2 and beyond, and the same goes for those that were excelling.

Teachers are well aware that there are complex reasons for why a child might need extra support, and movement between ability groups is fluid ime.

My DD's best friend struggled with maths in KS1 (extra help etc) and she is now on target for an A*, does maths olympiad etc. I know it is hard at the time - I remember it well - but if you take the long view then your DS simply needs a bit of help to catch up now but, with your support, this needn't impact his self esteem or future progress.

zingally Mon 19-Nov-12 13:35:27

I'm a teacher, and I understand what you mean.

I once had a Year 1 go off to America mid-way through the year, along with his little sister who was in Reception.
It worked out bad and good for that family. Because they start school at different times over there, the Year 1 boy essentially went back to what we would call Reception (called kindergarten). But he was special needs, and that would give him some valuable breathing/setting in time.
His very bright younger sister was too young for kindergarten and either had to do pre-school or nothing! When actually she was at a higher academic level than her brother.

In your situation... It isn't easy, and there is no easy answer. Have you discussed your concerns with the school/teacher? If you have, I would try again, really emphasising that you are concerned, and what do they think?

I mean, if your son is reasonably bright, he'll probably be fine and will catch up in due course. But do ask what you can do at home to support. Be that extra reading, maths, whatever. But just bare in mind that this is still a very little child you're talking about, and too much pushing will just make things harder for him. Feeling at school that you aren't bright enough is hard, without feeling like that with lots of work at home.

Try and explain things to him, that the kids there have been in school a whole year more than him, so that's why they know more. And then really focus on boosting his confidence at home.

prettydaisies Mon 19-Nov-12 16:58:51

Although slightly different, I think this shows that children do change where they are in relation to other children in the class. We had a child join last year in Y3. He spoke no English and had moved from a country where he had done no formal schooling so could not write letters or numbers. Naturally he had to have a lot of support and 'easier' work than the majority of the class. This year, in Y4, to a certain extent he has caught up and can now work with the class. He's a bright boy and by the end of the year I'm sure he'll be working in the top half of the class. Teachers teach to the level of the child and at different points in their school careers children will make quicker or slower progress than their peers.

piprabbit Mon 19-Nov-12 17:06:33

I think it is unlikely that all the children in your DS's group will be disruptive or hard to teach, they will be in the group because they (like your DS) need some extra support to help them. Surely the group is just used to allow the teacher to differentiate work appropriately and possibly ensure that they get additional time with the TA or teacher?

gaelicsheep Mon 19-Nov-12 20:36:58

Hello everyone. Well I had a phone conversation with his teacher today and I did sense she was a little exasperated with me. She pointed out - and fair enough - that DS can also be distracting and that he'.d do better if he talked less and listened more! Fair enough, and actually that does reassure me that she has the measure of him with no real concerns. He is apparently working at the expected level for his age which I think says a lot for his potential, or at least I hope so. She suggested we discuss it again next term. I think I feel a bit better about it now. Thanks all for your help.

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