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Whats reasonable to expect from school?

(5 Posts)
noimnottryingforagirl Thu 04-Jul-13 14:22:05

Hi All

My ten year old (Year 5) is currently at a 3b for writing. He is verbally very strong, excellent vocab etc. He reads widely and is 4a for reading) on able reg!), 4a for maths.

The school say either writing will come he's so good at reading or he is lazy or he is a boy or similarly useless statements. Now been told he's moving down from top english set due to nc level.

He doesn't enjoy writing at all but bit of a vicious circle because he finds it so difficult, don't think he gives it all however his handwriting is mostly illegible and he just does not get spelling even phonetically. He is v emotional in general and the writing thing is really knocking his self esteem.

We spoke to class teacher (3rd this year due to sickness!) and asked what plan was, since this is 3rd year running he has made 1 sub level of progress in writing. No current plan other than to move him down ( I was surprised he was in top set but last years teacher felt he was able to achieve at that level even though he hadn't!)

We asked to discuss matter and now had a call from school with appt to see ht next week.

Any tips? Either to help him, things to ask at school and what is reasonable for them to do?


mrsvandertramp Thu 04-Jul-13 14:57:48

It sounds as though your son could do with some really focused support with spelling and handwriting. 3b isn't worryingly low for the end of Y5 (but in comparison to his other levels it's a bit odd) and it's good that he's making some progress with his writing (even if it's not as much as you would hope.)
Has his class teacher discussed him with the school Senco? She / he might have more idea of what precisely could be holding him back with his writing and may suggest testing for a specific learning difficulty. Do the school give him the opportunity to record his ideas in ways other than writing sometimes? e.g. sometimes have someone to scribe for him or use a computer. This would be a good way for him to prove that he is capable of producing good pieces of writing without having to worry about the actual writing process / spelling and it would be good for his self esteem to be praised for this occasionally.
Moving down a set may not be a bad thing if he is likely to get help with more basic spelling for example, although you don't say how many sets there are, but hopefully there will still be enough quite bright children in the group so he can still be challenged in the subject by having some able children in the group.
I think you need to make sure the school are aware that you are concerned about this and hear what the Headteacher thinks should happen, then next year make sure you meet your son's English teacher early on and make sure they are aware of your concerns and keep a close eye on what is being done in school, ask what you can help with at home etc. so that there is no risk of your son being forgotten / ignored.
This is after all something you want to try to sort out before he reaches secondary school if you can.
Good luck with your meeting.

nostress Fri 05-Jul-13 10:45:45

Hi, have you looked into the mark schemes for what is expected in exams? You can download past SATs papers for free from various sites. Look at what is expected and work on thoses areas with him. We managed to get our son up 2 levels to 5a in y7 by about 30min writing practice most days during the holidays and at weekends. For example he was loosing points for not including a range of punctuation (!,."'-;smile and even ... . When you know the formula for success its a lot easier (but i know its a bit sad to work to a formula but thats hiw they mark it!).

nostress Fri 05-Jul-13 10:47:37

Lol its inserted a smiley instead if the real punctuation!

PastSellByDate Fri 05-Jul-13 11:05:24

Hi noimnottrying...

Well the good thing is he enjoys reading and is building up a strong vocabulary.

Writing could be the issue - he finds it difficult to write neatly, maybe he doesn't write much in class so when he does he finds his hand gets sore (this happens with DD1).

I also think like anything else it's a skill (a muscle if you like) that you have to stretch & exercise.

Try being creative with slipping in some writing over the summer. Have him send postcards to friends, grandparents, school, etc....

Does the school assign a summer scrapbook or something? If so - make him do more than the minimum of writing.

Have him enter any and all contests but by putting pen to paper.

DD1 (who's known as miss monosyllable at home) play a game whilst waiting for her sister at ballet. She describes a character from the book. (e.g. Harry Potter is a boy).

I say lovely - but surely with all you kids going on endlessly about this spotty boy - don't you think he must have some more characteristics that make him pretty amazing?

retort: Harry Potter is an orphan and a wizard.

That's cool I say. But is he just a so-so wizard, does he even have a wand or ride dragons or something?

O.K. says DD1 retort: Harry Potter is an orphan who discovers he is actually a wizard with a powerful Petronus, which can defend him against Dementors.

I reply: Now that's a sentence!


I'd also pop into your local library - they often do summer reading programmes which also involve book reviews, etc... or invite children to review books anyway. May be an idea to encouragingly push your son in that direction too!


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