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Do some schools hold some dc's back so others catch up?

(112 Posts)
Whitecup Wed 06-Feb-13 21:12:15


My reception age dd is reading at red level. She wasn't a great reader when she started school. However she's really clicked with it, got the bug and went from red to pink in a month (oct). She's now a cracking little reader and I'm thinking she's probably ready to go yellow (she reads level 3/4 ORT books at home). So today I went in to school to change her books (she's read 4 red books this week changed by school) and have a nosey at a yellow book to see what they involved so I could put my case forward to the CT. I was shocked to see only red and pink books available. I noticed in her reading diary that she's not read a book with the CT or a TA, but to volunteer mums, this calendar year which also disappoints me as surely the TA/CT need to hear a child read to establish the level.

Do some schools play the catch up game to get all children to a certain level? Is there any benefit to this? Thanks

mrz Fri 08-Feb-13 17:52:48

of course smile

simpson Fri 08-Feb-13 16:38:21

Mrz - can I PM you?

DD had an assessment today and I want to ask you something if that's ok smile

mrz Fri 08-Feb-13 16:32:56

then not them

mrz Fri 08-Feb-13 16:32:39

I didn't send home wordless books when I taught reception BooksandaCuppa unless a child had language delay and them we used them to develop speech as a reading tool they aren't useful because there isn't anything to read.

BooksandaCuppa Fri 08-Feb-13 13:00:30

Mine wasn't a comment on whether wordless books are or are not a good thing, mrz (although I liked them - and they can be used at secondary, with high-ability cohorts, to extend comprehension); more on the idea that a teacher must be holding someone's pfb back and that there couldn't possibly be a good reason for the teacher doing something that they see a value in, even if the parent doesn't.

As with most things in life, it's good to take a balance view: sometimes differentiation isn't what it should be, and sometimes your child's teacher knows what's the right level for them. It's knowing when to query it that I'm sure is the most difficult thing.

projectsrus Fri 08-Feb-13 10:03:48

Well I have many years experience through one ofsted outstanding school and would say that differentiation has been very patchy, going from brilliant to virtually non-existant.

The book thing is a red herring, tbh it's easy for a teacher to give the right level book to a child. What is harder and more time consuming, is for example in Y3 making sure that the L4 children are being stretched and taught further, alongside the L2s, and L3s nd even some L1s..and anything in between, including all the huge range of needs and classes of 30+ - I don't envy those teachers at all, it is a nearly impossible job for a lay person like me and I am in awe of those who manage it.

So.........we have had teachers that have managed it brilliantly, especially with better cohorts, others that have done virtually no differentiation for the higher groups for things like maths especially. I don't know how they've got away with it with Ofsted. Equally one teacher especially was amazing and able to differentiate and motivate all children in her class, and I say this having had a number of children go through at different level of ability, so not the case of someone who things their pfb is a genius.

I still think if class numbers were much lower and there as more support in the classroom, even the weaker teachers would have a good chance, whilst in the current scenario they are set up to fail. Only my obervation though.

Cat98 Fri 08-Feb-13 08:01:24

Agree with making full use of the library - I get books for ds for him to read me so I can assess the level and I usually go for slightly easier ones than he gets from school tbh. I also get longer books for me to read him (current faves include jill Tomlinson, 'my naughty little sister', the gaskitt books and bloody batman!)
So it doesn't really matter to me what level his reading book from school is (within reason, I'd be concerned if the level was wildly incorrect obviously) as its just another of the many books to read.

Cat98 Fri 08-Feb-13 07:57:36

My ds Is in reception, is still only 4 but is apparently working 2 years ahead in numeracy. I am glad they really don't seem to be holding him back at all. He frequently comes home telling me things he has been doing and I am amazed. His reading is also above average I think and again, they are not holding him back - quite the opposite; they have him on green band and only now is he confident with them, initially I had the problem that the school books were a little hard.
I have read posts on mumsnet that make me thankful for ds's reception teacher. I just hope they are as good further up the school!

exoticfruits Fri 08-Feb-13 07:53:01

'The move up together' comment is particularly silly- that would be an immediate cause for concern for the place they moved to.
I am always saddened by the fact that many DCs don't have a library ticket and a weekly visit - it all seems to hinge on the school reading book.

mrz Fri 08-Feb-13 07:44:15

As a teacher I am antagonistic towards wordless reading scheme books ...they were originally produced as part of the look & say method to encourage children to use picture clues.
Having said that I love high quality wordless children's books for storytelling.

BooksandaCuppa Fri 08-Feb-13 07:19:16

I think in most cases, seeker, antagonism towards wordless books by a parent is indicative of what will progress to a broader belief of 'I'm right, teacher is wrong'. Most people I know who've felt so strongly about wordless books have ended up moving their children around umpteen schools...

seeker Fri 08-Feb-13 00:32:41

If a child actually hasn't reqd story books, though,they might need to be taken back to the beginning for that particular skill. Thinking about it, the year 7 boy I talked about who is a fantastic reader, but has no idea about narrative arc, or how story telling works might have started out like that. Maybe if he'd been given the wordless books when he was 5 he wouldn't have the difficulty he has now.

Can't understand the incredibly anti feeling towards wordless books, by the way. I remember having huge fun with them with mine!

learnandsay Thu 07-Feb-13 23:31:05

No, I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that some children will come to school with certain skills and abilities already. And to judge those as being outside the norm, disregard them and make the child start again, with picture books, if you like, is not to advance the child but is rather to regress the child.

Haberdashery Thu 07-Feb-13 23:19:29

lands, you seem to have some kind of fixed idea that teachers can actually remove skills and knowledge from children's heads. Why?

learnandsay Thu 07-Feb-13 22:55:39

That's right. But then we can't have employers coming on telly complaining that children can't read well enough to get a job. Because I would say but Little Jonny was reading How to Fix Your Peugeot 306 when he was four. But his teacher took it away.

simpson Thu 07-Feb-13 22:51:18

LandS - if a child is fab at reading car manuals (your example) then they may not be fab at comprehension in a story setting iyswim and prefer non fiction books which would keep that child back.

I am bracing myself to ask for a chat with DD's teacher tomorrow about her literacy.

pointythings Thu 07-Feb-13 22:38:59

Oh, and both my DDs still use the phonics they have learned to deal with words they have not yet come across. You do need the phonic knowledge, alongside monster vocab it really helps them deal with new and unfamiliar words.

pointythings Thu 07-Feb-13 22:37:45

-I certainly haven't experienced this, and I have two complete pains very able readers. The school has always bent over backwards to accommodate them. DD2 is in Yr5 now, was put back on scheme books (diamond band) because they wanted proof of where she was (she was not impressed) but that didn't last long. I told her to read through them, some of them were OK stories and quite enjoyable, and we just kept her reading at home. She was assessed a 5c at the end of Yr4.

Much the same for DD1, we did a mix of sending books in with her and teachers finding her books from the local middle school -very good provision.

The only gripe I have is that the school gave her Inkheart and then neglected to get the other two books in the trilogy, so I've had to make some serious library reservations...

learnandsay Thu 07-Feb-13 22:25:46

But if he reads and understands car maintenance manuals at home and is bad at reading pink books at school there's obviously a problem. The difficulty for the parent is she and her husband can't set up a garage in the classroom. But the teacher can demonstrate her lack of success with the pink book. Maybe in the end they should decide to have Precious Little Jonny reading car manuals instead of pink books because he's actually good at reading them.

Fillyjonk75 Thu 07-Feb-13 22:22:13

DD1 was on the old ORT Level 5 towards the end of reception but as 6+ were in the Y1 and up classrooms only then, she stayed on L5 for a bit longer than she would have done otherwise. But it didn't bother me, she could try other things at home then anyway. When she got to Y1 and had whizzed through the rest of ORT she was allowed to go to the library for her main reading book and choose from a banded selection. I think they are quite flexible like that, there is one girl this year who was on L5/6 when she started and she has progressed through a few levels.

socharlottet Thu 07-Feb-13 22:11:04

It's just easier to say that to pushy concerned mothers, than try to tell them that their precious little bunny isn't ready to move up yet

simpson Thu 07-Feb-13 21:01:15

The thing is 2 different teachers (yr1 and yr2) both said they were concerned that DS would run out of school books by the end of the year.

Now he is a very good reader but not exceptionally so.

I am under no illusions that this means his teacher has got him on the wrong NC level as he would read loads of other stuff in the classroom.

But just that they didn't then have an idea of the harder books he was able to tackle.

mrz Thu 07-Feb-13 20:52:32

It's a good excuse for some mothers ..wink

learnandsay Thu 07-Feb-13 20:50:18

Here she is:

seeker Thu 07-Feb-13 20:44:56

I'm really sorry, but I just don't believe it. The is no way a teacher in a state school would say that. Even a crap teacher would know not to say something like that publicly.

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