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Are 'average' children ever 'forgotten' children?

(22 Posts)
Whitecup Mon 19-Nov-12 10:22:32

Morning. This is my first post on mumsnet... I've been feeling this way for a while but appreciate how ridiculous it may sound to many other posters so please don't be too harsh on me smile.

I worry that my 4yr old ds gets 'overlooked'. She's a bright girl but no means the cleverest in her peer group. She's making good progress in her reading (jst gone up a band), her handwriting is dreadful but we work on that, she can spell out cvc, cvcc words on her own, her mathematical skills are dire but again we work on it at home. She loves learning and is eager to do homework and loves the praise so I do push her at home. Her teachers know this because I document it in her home- school diary. Basically I would describe her as 'average' in terms of academic attainment. We just had parents evening and apparently she is where she should be.

She's (in the teachers words) a very good girl who is kind, fairly quiet but fun to be with and does as she's told. I just totally worry that this sort of personality along with average academic ability may see her as a 'forgotten child' if that makes any sense. Ive soent time with her class and there are some big personalities and a few of the children are still struggling with school and their behaviour so rightly the children who need it get more attention.

I was told by her old preschool teacher that "she's so good we forget she's here and then I'll see her walk past me and think I've not spoken to her today" I know she probably meant it nicely but it made me sad that the teacher had forgotten to speak to her because she was being good. I also know that 2/3 of the teachers didn't know her name and there was never any of her pictures or work displayed on the walls. I suppose this is where my concerns stem.

Do children get overlooked at school? Am I worrying without cause? I keep wanting to ask her teacher (who is lovely) if she gets any one on one time or small group time with a TA or the teacher but I don't want her to think I'm pushy.

Thanks for reading

learnandsay Mon 19-Nov-12 10:35:14

Is your child a new Reception starter? Have you had parents' evening yet? Ask if you can look in her draw at school. You'll see the kind of work in there that doesn't get sent home. You talk about a "home school diary". What is this? Is it a reading diary? (Or is it something else?) Have there been any comments in there about how well she's doing? How frequent are the comments which are not written by you?

Maybe the communication is a little bit poor at your daughter's school because I don't think you're supposed to have the feeling that you don't know whether or not the teachers at your daughter's school realise if she's there or not. We know at our daughter's school that the staff from the other Reception class know my daughter well and look after her when her teacher is busy. It's not at all pushy to ask the teacher if your daughter is doing OK at school.

(Rant alert: : It makes me sad and angry that decent loving mums feel terrified of asking good and basic questions about their children for fear of being thought of as pushy. The label pushy parent is a bad and awful one. And I think any teacher who uses it should be sacked. End of rant.)

I hope you get the information that you need. But please don't feel frightened to approach the teacher and ask how your daughter is settling in. You're perfectly entitled to do that.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 19-Nov-12 13:16:10

My DD was an invisible child. It was one reason among many that we moved schools.

However if you are happy with what she is learning and she is happy at school it is early days and therefore I would not be concerned yet.

If it is a large school I don't think it would be uncommon for a lot of the teachers to know her if she is in reception.

Are you due a parents evening soon? That would be a good time to discuss your concerns. Otherwise make an appointment to see the teacher. Don't be afraid to ask.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 19-Nov-12 13:16:44

* not know her

Sorry!

slipslider Mon 19-Nov-12 17:34:17

In our school no group of children get overlooked. We have a set focus per half term. The lower ability will take one half term and that focus is to support where they need that additional learning. Then the following half term we will have the focus as higher ability to push those more able, then we will focus on the average children who could achieve more given that extra input. This then starts again so each group is the focus for a whole half term for additional support. Any we are concerned about after that half term goes onto an action plan so they continue with their support with additional group sessions.

MilkRunningOutAgain Mon 19-Nov-12 19:05:37

Oh slip spider, how I wish my dcs went to your school. DS is OK, he stands out in some ways and isn't overlooked. But dd is another mid table well behaved, will just get on with it girl and so gets little or no attention. She isn't being helped where she needs it ( maths) or encouraged where she's really good (art and particularly design). Last week in ICT she apparently tried to tell the teacher that the computer wasn't working, but had no luck and so just sat in front of it doing nothing for the whole lesson. The teacher said she didn't notice til the end and asked dd at the end of school why she hadn't asked for help. Dd said she did. The teacher said he remembered her coming over but that she hadn't realised why. She added that dd was too quiet. Why, as she knows this, didn't she spend a few minutes helping dd rather than sending her back to do nothing? I despair. Dd was upset on the way home and said the teacher was getting some others to behave and told her loudly to go and sit down and not bother her. Dd was afraid to ask again. I'm considering moving her to another school.

mrz Mon 19-Nov-12 19:20:38

Some children work very hard to be invisible but most teachers are very good at including all pupils.

Taffeta Mon 19-Nov-12 22:01:20

My DD ( 6, Y2 ) is a forgotten child. She is average ability, a kind, well behaved, gentle girl and in her Y1 teacher's words when challenged about her being forgotten " she's not one of the ones that tugs at my trousers " hmm

I think everyone in her year has won Star of the Week at least once since Reception except her. I'll be having a word at parent's evening next week. I think this will be a yearly thing with each teacher. So they know that I am watching that she isn't forgotten.

wewereherefirst Mon 19-Nov-12 22:08:29

My DS (6, Yr2) is a 'high-average' achiever and he gets upset to be overlooked in most things/ doesn't get the team points when he works hard/never has more than one line in assemblies etc. He's a gentle, quiet boy who sticks to the letter of the rules, so he's easily forgotten.

It's frustrating, he tries hard (his attainment shows that clearly) but its getting to the point where he is coasting as he can't see the point in working hard when there's no school rewards.

KTK9 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:18:02

My dd was a bit like this in her old school, I described it as being 'under the radar', gave no problems, average ability and conformed among a class with several 'strong characters'.

My dd actually started to switch off a little bit to school and take little interest, which I think purely was because she was just left - along with others - to her own devices, whilst the teacher did a lot of firefighting. She never got star of the week (the challenging kids did), neither did she get the school bear, which was given for good behaviour.

We moved her in Year 2 and she was a different child within weeks, her confidence returned, along with her zest for school and learning. This year (her second at the school), she was voted onto the School Council and picked to represent the class in a debate!

HouseOfBamboo Mon 19-Nov-12 22:41:24

mrz - I am intrigued as to what you mean when you say "Some children work very hard to be invisible"?

mrz Mon 19-Nov-12 22:46:35

For various reasons some children prefer not to be noticed. I was most definitely one of those at grammar school ...it allowed me to get by with minimum effort.

HouseOfBamboo Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:53

Yes thinking about it I guess there are lots of reasons why a child doesn't want to be singled out for attention, all part of the skill of teaching to deal with that I suppose smile

mam29 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:55:41

this thread makes me feel sad.

I dont think my dd was invisible but during year 1 and 1st term year 2 she was middle of year lower average child.

she as never picked for things even sports which she as good at and enjoyed.

she was well behaved.
tried hard but struggled with some things.
she started getting very tearful and upset mornings and after school.

Her year 2 teacher never praised her was so negative.

One other year 6mum who dont know very well told me when discussing downgraded osted that if childs in middle then they get neglected top group gets support. bottom group gets support and any spare time is usually dealt with naughty kids.

So we moved after half term shes done 2weeks and like diffrerent girl her confidence and self esteem raised already being new girl shes had loads of attention and buddy to settle in. class size is actually 2more kids but do feel like shes getting so much more now.

But in your case early days but something to be aware off would be worried if still the case after easter.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Mon 19-Nov-12 23:05:55

Yes, in shouty out of control classes where those that are loudest get heard.

slipslider Tue 20-Nov-12 06:39:45

mam29 - each group of children should get teacher support during their working week according to their needs. Say for example in Y1 they were working on instruction texts and writing in the 2nd person and the middles were struggling to get to grips with full stops that is where the teacher would work to support their learning for the lesson focus but also to help them to use full stops accurately while they are doing so. The next lesson the teacher might work with another group but set the challenge to middlies to attempt to put their own full stops in. They have had a go with support, can they now have a try independently. The teacher might then ask these children to model to lower ability children how to use this skill. A good teacher knows where the next steps are for all their children and will make sure the different groups all have input to allow them to make progress.

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 20-Nov-12 06:48:38

There are a lot of simple strategies that I use to ensure that I don't forget anyone, it shouldn't happen, but some children good at blending into the background.
I keep checklists of who has had merits, my housepoints are done by name, so I have a constant check on who isn't equal and can remember why, named lolly sticks in a jar enable me to ensure that everyone has had a go at something, running certain activities in random mixed ability groups shakes up the class....there are a dozen other ways of making sure everyone is included, listened to and on display somewhere.

WileyRoadRunner Tue 20-Nov-12 09:48:13

Some children work very hard to be invisible but most teachers are very good at including all pupils

Yes Mrz i agree with this. My DD was just like this once she realised being invisible meant sitting at the back, not being noticed, and daydreaming all day. Putting in the bare minimum despite being a very capable child.

Spatsky Tue 20-Nov-12 10:04:46

I worried about this with my daughter, she is pretty average academically (only 5 do early days) but she is not close top at anything but the teacher came up to me in the playground the other day especially to say how my daughter is always the first on the carpet every morning always smiling eagerly up at her and how that always makes her day. I felt so lovely and proud, easilly as proud as if teacher had told me she was top reader or top maths etc.

They all have their areas where they will stand out, it might not be academic, but a good teacher will notice them and give them credit where it's due.

eclectible Tue 20-Nov-12 11:07:40

angels and devils get noticed in d3's primary. Its annoying but seems the norm particularly in state schools. We moved one of ours to private for this reason.

learnandsay Tue 20-Nov-12 11:17:55

Or the children whose parents are angels or devils....

daytoday Tue 20-Nov-12 13:11:37

Yes they do. Its just what happens, despite what teachers say.

Pile on praise at home and give her plenty of opportunity to share her opinions and thoughts.

We realised that speaking aloud in a group was one of the obvious areas - as the same confident children always got picked to x/y/z as it was easier for some of the teachers.

Your child sounds lovely and you should be very proud. Keep on doing what your doing.

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