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come help me make this letter better. Please!

(32 Posts)
anice Fri 23-Nov-12 10:57:00

I have posted before about my concerns regarding DS not being set challenging maths work at school. The teacher told me (very nicely) to my face that she didn't have the time to teach him the next level, even though he is very ready for it. She said her focus had to be on bringing on the least able.

So I asked to see the HT, who finally saw me after three requests for an appointment. The HT was very nice about it and made lots of promises about how she would go into the class and observe a maths lesson to see for herself what is going on. Also she was going to give me copies of some workbooks that I could do with DS at home. However, she hasn't (despite a reminder).

Meantime although DS still likes maths, and even though he got star of the day for maths last week, he's losing hope that the work he gets will ever stop being so easy that he can do it in a minute or two without having to think at all. I'm not exaggerating... one day last week he had time to read a whole novel during the maths lesson.

So i was wondering if the school would allow DS to do an online maths program once he's finished whatever the teacher has given him.

I've drafted the letter below but I really want the school to sit up and take notice. No more empty promises or failure to respond until I've reminded and reminded.

If you have any time, would you please tell me what to do with the draft to make it a good letter???

anice Fri 23-Nov-12 18:02:28

I looked at nrich today and it does seem good. I agree about not needing to race from NC levels. For me, maths is more about learning techniques for solving problems. (A bit like doing suduko or crosswords for fun).

I have already paid for the program though so it wouldn't cost the school anything, unless it pays per MB for broadband access.

albachiara Fri 23-Nov-12 18:56:28

I agree with Quip.

If you don't mind and you have the time (and the teacher agrees), you could find resources/activities for your son to do while at school. The Nrich website is great, have a look at some resources here (, for ex. the "Challenge Your Pupils" book).

I had a similar problem with my daughter, in a smaller scale. The teacher suggested doing more Maths at home. However, after 6 hours in school, homework, practising her musical instrument, she didn't want to do more Maths with her mum. So I kind of gave up, didn't raise this with the teacher anymore, but every now and then we do a few little bits at home (and DD likes to "show off" this new bits of knowledge/Maths tricks in class - in a nice/modest way).

Another option would be, as you said, to find a tutor. I know a Sixth-form college teacher who "tutored" a 7 year old who would have been able to sit GCSE Maths, but his parents decided to hire a tutor to do fun/interesting Maths things with him instead, so they did stuff like "what is the probably that we share the same birthday" kind of thing. This teacher is fantastic, and loves Maths, so if you could find somebody like that it would be great (maybe you could ask your local college/secondary school?).

Also, don't assume that the teacher/HT in your DS's primary school would actually be able to challenge him in Maths - how much Maths do they know (and I am not talking about long division, but about interesting Maths!). Oh, I also remembered, look up "Marcus du Sautoy" 's books (if your DS is a good reader) and videos/DVDs. That is interesting Maths!

Good luck!

juniper904 Fri 23-Nov-12 19:02:36

I think it's appalling that the teacher has said she won't stretch him. Would she say she's giving up on the lower ability children too, because they're unlikely to get a 4b by the end of year 6? I doubt it.

I'm not sure about the computer suggestion- it could be very difficult in a classroom setting. 1) other children would complain 2) other children would become distracted 3) your DS would become the odd one out 4) your DS might start messing around and going on other things, and then the teacher would have to monitor.

I think I'd insist on him being taught, by a qualified teacher, at the level he is. What is the school's assessment system? Do they do end of year QCA tests or APP? How have they come to the conclusion he is a 3a?

I would recommend finding out their assessment method, then downloading your own version of it. APP is very easy to find online. Here for example.

I'm not usually one to say push things with schools, but I certainly would. The school is failing your son and their attitude is shocking.

cmjeffers Sun 25-Nov-12 18:25:05

As a teacher I find it baffling that that was her response. Our job is to make sure all children make progress and are challenged and quite franky there is always a step up, our most able year 6 were tackling GCSE trigonometry last year because it isn't about 'where they should be', or 'not eating into next year's work too much. It's this bizarre notion that you should only get children to the expected level then not worry. Push them as far as you can. It's my constant fear that I'm letting down my most able by not extending their learning which is why I am currently finding line graphs for them to interpret tomorrow whilst the majority are using bar charts. Sorry I know this isn't that helpful in actually resolving your problem I'm just stunned that a teacher would have such a terrible attitude!

anice Mon 26-Nov-12 12:05:48

Its the 2nd time in 4 years that this has happened to DS. We changed school as a result the first time, so its two different schools where it has happened to him.

I have two friends who are teachers and they both say it wouldn't happen in their classroom. The teachers on this thread say they wouldn't do it and other parents on this thread say it doesn't happen to their children. But it has happened 2 out of 4 times to DS. So, has he just been unlucky, or is it really a widespread problem??

anice Mon 26-Nov-12 12:07:24

and what do I do with that SATS test I did on DS? Bin it or show it to the school??

onesandwichshort Mon 26-Nov-12 13:48:13

Show it to the school. Definitely. Although what you could also ask in your letter is for the school to assess his mathematical level themselves, as they can't argue with that.

We have a similar problem with English, so I feel your pain, although in our case the school promises loads then fails to deliver.

Firstly, definitely send the letter. Our school suddenly got a rocket up the arse when we put something in writing. I imagine this is down to Fear of OFSTED, but it did work.

I wouldn't copy it to the Governors yet, but keep that option for when you get a weasel letter from the Head. And when you do, find out who the Curriculum governor is, and make sure it goes to them.

What's also worth doing is finding out who your County-wide head of G&T is, and contacting them to see what they would recommend under the circumstances. This may or may not work, but is worth a go. There should also be county-wide maths enrichment courses which the school could put him forward for - wouldn't solve the classroom problem, but could help him to enjoy maths again.

Also contact the NAGC (now called something like Potential Plus). They have advisors who will do a phone consultation, which I think might be useful for you as you keep coming up against the same problem, which suggests that he is very able indeed. This might help you to find other suggestions - some schools in these circumstances would approach the secondary school to help with appropriate work.

Final suggestion - do something entirely other than maths in the time. Can the school manage that? DD is getting 3 x ICT lessons instead of some of the literacy sessions. If he is speeding ahead at that level, perhaps a wholly different challenge is the answer Robotics? project work? We saw one school when we were choosing, who said that they'd had a very able mathematician (working at year 7 level in year 4) so they set her topic related work - e.g. researching the number systems of the Egyptians when they did Egypt.

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