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DS met (exceeded) ELGs at beginning of reception? What should I expect?

(38 Posts)
leeloo1 Fri 06-Sep-13 09:23:55

DS (starting reception in 2 weeks) will be one of the oldest in his class and is also quite able - for literacy this is tricky to evaluate (as we take turns reading pages in his story books, he needs reminding to sound out unfamiliar words and I don't know what 'level' he is at...) but in maths the ELGs are very concrete and looking at the list, DS has met and exceeded the goals:

He can count in 1s and 10s (to 100) and in 2s (to 20)
He can read numbers to 100 (and beyond)
He can order numbers (to 20) and correct numbers that have been swapped over
He can say which number is 1 more or less than a number
He can say what double and half a number is (e.g. what is double 4? what is half of 10?)
He can use physical objects or mental arithmetic to add 2 numbers (e.g. whats 3 add 2? To subtract more than 1 he uses his fingers to find the answer)
He knows number bonds to 10
He can share out and use halves/quarters/eighths/thirds/fifths in practical problems (e.g. he can count how many people are eating and work out how many portions do we need to cut apple into'

I'm not suggesting that any of this is rocket science/genius level, and the teacher will need to do her own assessments of where he is etc, (in addition to settling in him and the rest of the class of course) but he is able and I don't want him to get bored or think school is 'easy' and he doesn't need to try.

So, in practical terms, should I expect his reception teacher to be using the Y1 curriculum for extension work. Or is that beyond the remit of differentiation?

Sorry this is long, but any advice would be appreciated.

Tiggles Fri 06-Sep-13 09:55:31

DS3 has just started reception and is ahead in maths (hadn't realised quite how far ahead until he did DS2s (now entering year 2) work with ease over the holiday). He was taught with reception whilst in the school nursery, for maths, so I am expecting him to be taught with year 1/2 class for maths now.
However, ours is a very small school with lots of free flow between classrooms to ensure children are working at the right level. DS2 was put up to work with the year 1 children in literacy when he was in reception.

Galena Fri 06-Sep-13 10:32:25

DD reads fluently, writes phonetically and sounds like she is a similar level to your DS in maths. She started school 2 days ago. I'm watching and waiting to see what they are going to do with her!

AbbyR1973 Fri 06-Sep-13 10:53:40

DS1 just left reception and started year 1 this week DS2 starts reception on Monday. My experience so far in a small school with lots of classroom help is very positive. DS started school reading fairly fluently although he too is allergic to sounding out words (can do it perfectly well just stubborn and doesn't want too.) His maths was very similar to your son. My experience was that for literacy and maths work he went off on his own to do things with the TA but mostly reception was fairly free flowing play. I am more interested to see how he reacts to this year as more formal learning starts and he is going to be in a mixed year 1/2 group. DS2 is now starting reception but think he will find it a bit easier as he isn't quite so far ahead due to being 6 months younger than DS1 on starting school. He can read level 4 books and maths wise can do most things except doubles/ halves.
I have taken the view that reception has been about finding their feet in school and there hasn't been a vast amount of academic work done. I think year 1 will be really good for DS1 and hopefully he will be challenged.

leeloo1 Fri 06-Sep-13 12:12:59

Thanks all for sharing your experiences. I think I'd feel more confident if the school wasn't renowned for having lots of children starting with no/limited English (who may well be very gifted, but will be hampered from showing it) and not pushing high achievers enough. Also, DS's teacher and the fellow reception teacher are both NQTs (and the foundation stage leader is new to the school) - I haven't met them yet, but whilst hopefully they will be enthusiastic and full of ideas they won't be experienced. It, perhaps obviously, wasn't my 1st choice school for DS.

I'd love it if DS could work with a TA/go into a higher class when appropriate (if it could be done sensitively), but I suspect that the TAs will have their hands full helping the low achievers and they'll just be glad he's at a level that will help their SATs at the end of KS1.

I did briefly meet the head on a tour of the school and asked her about 'challenging more able children' (which was criticized on their recent ofsted) and she said 'oh don't worry, if he's able, I'm sure he'll get L3 in his SATs' - which seemed complacent and not helpful or meaningful.

AbbyR - I'm torn between thinking the same thing, that Reception is about DS finding his feet, making friends (he won't know a soul), learning to be away from us 5 days pw (he did 2 'school hours' days at nursery and is quite resistant to the idea of having to do 5 days pw) and being slightly irritated that I suspect at the end of the year if I say nothing they'll say 'oh he's done well, he's exceeded the ELGs' and I'll be thinking 'but he could do all that a year ago'.


Ok, my plan for meeting the teacher later today is to take a list of what DS can currently do (in maths and reading, not everything) - so at least they know what he can currently do and not claim its 'progress' in a years time. They're going to love me, aren't they?

Tiggles Fri 06-Sep-13 12:28:16

I don't know if it is the same in England (we are in Wales) but we get a parents meeting early in October where the school go through the results of their observations of reception children and the levels they think they are currently working at.
In my (limited) experience (at 2 primaries) the teachers have preferred to observe the children first, rather than be told by parents what they think the child can do, as the key is to the child doing it independently not with parent/teacher intervention. But have then been happy to discuss their findings.

Svrider Fri 06-Sep-13 12:31:46

Watching thread with interest
My ds is in a very similar position
He will be 5 next week
Can read short words and sound out unfamiliar words
Can count almost as well as 6yo dd

VenusRising Fri 06-Sep-13 12:35:49

Maybe your little boy needs to learn how to do the work in a busy environment this year?

I feel that parents set hoops for little children, ignoring that they aren't trick ponies, but social animals who need to learn how to be themselves in a class and yard situation.

There's plenty of time for hot housing later on.

Why not let all the little ones just have a happy childhood, rather than wasting all their time with kumon sheets, and pointless exercises.

A bit of boredom might even give them time to develop their imaginations!

Farewelltoarms Fri 06-Sep-13 13:21:12

My dd (third) was v young but v able, I think she picked up stuff from her siblings rather than being some sort of child-genius, but she could read chapter books before reception etc.

Honestly she learned so much in the last year. Lots of it the social stuff which she wasn't great at, but also her reading has improved loads as well as her maths. This in a school with a below-average entry at reception. She wasn't taken out of class at all except to pick her reading books, but there was plenty to inspire her as well as a few others that were at her level.

Her nursery and reception teachers always acknowledged that she was advanced, but I stressed that I was happy with her progress and knew that reception was more than just phonics.

I think you should wait and see if there is a problem before you do something as aggressive as list all his achievements in writing. Apart from anything else, I presume you're not qualified to make an objective assessment.

Farewelltoarms Fri 06-Sep-13 13:23:19

Oh and by the way, my dd still didn't get all 'exceeded' on the reception listy thing (quite a few expected) despite knowing her times tables blah di blah. They're really quite challenging.

She did do well on the social ones, though, which was amazing progress.

Periwinkle007 Fri 06-Sep-13 13:31:42

my eldest was 5 before term started as her birthday really is early in the year. She was reading fluently (book band 6), could do some KS2 maths etc so was on the surface of things already exceeding almost all the ELGs.

I let them get on with it in reception - I did monitor the reading a bit because they started her a bit below where she was and she ended up with a huge gap between what she was reading at home and what she was doing at school but when they realised she was doing chapter books at home they moved her up the levels a bit quicker. Maths wise I don't think they tend to push maths in reception. they have children working with numbers up to 10, ones with numbers to 20 and others doing 'more than that'

She did end the year with almost all areas exceeded BUT those levels are very subjective and schools have all measured them completely differently so I don't think it is a reliable measure of ability really.

What did she gain from this year? a lot of other skills, a huge boost in confidence, she did new subjects, she did different maths work like weighing and measuring, estimating etc.

I would be very surprised if they used the Yr1 curriculum with him, they will probably stretch him sideways rather than up if that makes sense.

I personally feel my daughter could have made much much more progress and learned an enormous amount more than she did academically but she has had a very very happy year and learned so many other skills and now we will see what happens in Yr1.

DeWe Fri 06-Sep-13 13:40:16

I've had three dc all of whom have entered reception doing more than you describe, and there were, in all their classes, two or three others that could as well.
Not one of them has been bored, because there are still lots of things they need to learn.

Doing the work while others play near them.
Sitting with their hand up waiting for their turn.
Getting themselves changed for PE
Getting on with work by themselves
Taking turns on something they really love
Taking messages (like the register) to another class/the office...
Weighing/measuring stuff in groups/individually
Doing surveys and pictorial graphs
Taking responsibilities
Different art techniques..
I could go on

I wouldn't take your list of things in, particularly if you've just copied it from the ELG list. The teacher has to see them themselves, not be told, give them a chance to assess him, they will do that.
Often children perform better for their parents than at school, or the parent doesn't realise how much they help their child.

On the second day of school for dd1 one parent was heard telling the teacher that her dd would need the top reading book, because she would be the best at reading, parent apparently knew this. Interestingly, not only did she not have the top reading book, but she wasn't in the top group, and wasn't at all during the infant school.

And in dd2's year, a child who spoke no English (nor his parent) upon arival was one of the top in literacy by the middle of year 1.

Periwinkle007 Fri 06-Sep-13 13:42:05

no I wouldn't list what he can do. They will find out for themselves. Children will get opportunities to write so if he is good at writing then he will demonstrate that automatically. good readers are often found reading stories to other children in the book corner so staff will see that and they will test every child on their phonics, if they know them then on their cvc words etc and build up with checking their ability until the child tails off so to speak so they know what levels they are at. remember though that what a child can do at home is often different to what they will do at school. children normally read harder books at home to at school.

my youngest has just started this week and I haven't mentioned anything about what she can do already - it is the same teacher DD1 had last year so I assume she will be looking with interest to see what DD2 can do already based on what she knows about DD1. I will see what she says at parents evening at the end of October and go from there.

NQTs are often very on the ball and enthusiastic about their jobs so trust them until you are given good reason to doubt something.

tiggytape Fri 06-Sep-13 13:49:25

I think the important thing to remember is that in any reception class there will be other children at the same (or higher) ability as well as others who are more at the expected standard for that age group and some who may be some way below that.

In reception this tends to be especially evident because the starting points vary so much and some children are 5 already whereas others only stopped being 3 a few days ago!

This won't be anything a reception teacher isn't used to and there will be other children at a similar level who will possibly be grouped together for literacy and / or maths.

Periwinkle007 Fri 06-Sep-13 14:01:30

sorry back again - it would also be very unusual for a child to be taken for one to one time if they were more advanced at this age, they would have to check the child was completely secure at what they were covering and then would up the numbers say if it was maths. My daughter did all the phonics sessions with the rest of the class and I felt this was important even though she knew all of them. It was important she didn't feel different, it was important she didn't think she was better than they were because she already knew something, it was important that she revisited everything to make sure she was completely confident with it. It would in many ways have been nice for her to have moved on to proper teaching about split digraphs, verbs/nouns/adjectives etc and more but the basics are so important and if she truly is very bright then in Yr1 it should become obvious anyway and they will be able to stretch her more.

pyrrah Fri 06-Sep-13 14:38:30

I totally understand your worries - I think a lot of parents have them, especially considering some things that are said in the media about underachievement etc... in the same way that many women are often rather wary of maternity care having heard horror stories of people giving birth in corridors and then find (unless they're very unlucky) that it's not actually so bad when they get there.

I sent DD off to the school nursery last year expecting her to be bored rigid and the nursery acknowledged that she was ahead of most of the other children. She hadn't made academic progress by the end of the year, but she did develop hugely in other ways that were much more important than being able to read Y2 books by the end of nursery or similar.

I also learnt to trust the teachers and school and now feel that I can potentially step in if I see a big issue but generally I can leave them to it as they understand the curriculum better than I do, and do genuinely have my child's best interests at heart. They have always said that she is very bright so I know they're not under-estimating her abilities, and also picked up that she's inclined to coast, but that academics are not the number one at this point.

DD loves school and learning and that is a huge positive for when she actually does have to knuckle down a bit.

So, I would suggest waiting till the first parents evening and listening to what they say - you may be very pleasantly surprised, if not then step in at that point. First week is not a good idea.

simpson Fri 06-Sep-13 14:56:03

My DD was very good at literacy before starting reception. She could write stories and read well (cannot remember which book band maybe 5 or 6).

She still learnt loads and they stretched her in the areas she was not so strong in ie numeracy.

She was on book band 10 by January and free reading by April.

However as somebody else said she only got one "exceeding" in her end of yr r report as they really are quite tough. Her school expects a NC level 2C to be exceeding.

She had a great reception year and the school picked up very quickly what she was capable of, just hoping yr1 goes as well!

FadedSapphire Fri 06-Sep-13 14:58:03

I'm with Venusrising here- let them be and lay off the hothousing.
My little summer born ds2 seems bright but will not be reading when he starts Reception next week though interested in reading and numbers etc. I worried myself silly with ds 1 as not 'up' with the older or hothoused children. All evened out by year 2ish. Education a marathon not a sprint.
Chill everyone...

leeloo1 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:11:51

Mmmm, interesting points. Thanks again to everyone who has commented. Maybe I won't take anything in... I just want to do the best for DS.

In (a completely separate, surestart) nursery I did just leave them to 'get on with it', but they had an artist in residence that DS adored and worked closely with, so I was confident he was learning a lot from her and he had to get used to being away from me, having school dinners etc. But, every time there were targets on the wall they were things like 'learn to count up to 3 objects' and there seemed to be no thought to what children would do who could do more than that. I'm worried reception will be more of the same.

Even at the end of the year I didn't feel the staff knew a 3rd of what he could do. In his book they'd quoted DS as saying 'I've got 1 engine and 4 carriages' - the comment was 'well done DS you are beginning to learn how to classify!' - I thought 'noooo, he's been able to classify by shape/colour/size for a couple of years now'.

My DH learnt early on that school was somewhere that did 'easy' work and you could laze at and I don't want my DS to be the same.

Periwinkle 'it was important she didn't think she was better than they were because she already knew something'
But would she not feel that she knew more if she was confidently saying the answer while others were umming and ahhing round her. I honestly don't know the answer to that, but its my concern.

Venus I definitely don't sit doing any worksheets/Kumon with DS. He's bright (and has had an extra year at home) and he's learned/we've taught him things as it seemed appropriate. Most stuff we've learned through play, cooking, counting steps/coins/skips/jumps/games etc - I've not been sitting with flashcards and beating him til he learned stuff!

DS is definitely not lacking in imagination - he's currently sitting next to me hosting a picnic he's set up for 'Bruce Wayne the ladybird' and 'Nicky the supermouse' - using buttons to be sandwiches and jelly. Oh now he's using the buttons to create a maze for them to play in... He's a well rounded, happy and confident little boy and whilst I'm sure he'll learn masses in reception I wanted advice about what to expect in a key area - in a school that I don't feel confident in (perhaps I'll feel more confident after our meeting today?).

Tiggytape Fab, I hope more than anything that there will be children at the same/higher level than DS - as I say, I want him to be challenged. At home I childmind toddlers at the moment and DS is used to being the one knowing more/ teaching others etc. It would be great if he had other kids to learn from himself.

To whoever asked, how I thought I was qualified to make assessments - well, I was a reception teacher prior to having DS, so I know how hard a job it can be to get to know and accurately assess/differentiate for 30 little people. So whilst obviously not objective about DS, I am as 'qualified' as any other teacher to say how he's doing.

I'm also 39 weeks pregnant, so perhaps worrying more than I would be otherwise...

leeloo1 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:15:32

Took too long to post and cross-posted! smile

Ok, perhaps I'll ask in general about their initial assessments and how they'll extend older/more able children... and when parents evening is... and wait til then to say anything.

simpson Fri 06-Sep-13 21:12:25

Also I think it can depend on how out going a child is. DS (now yr4) was very quiet/ shy in reception and getting information out of him was like extracting teeth, so his reception teacher could not see what he could really do (was doing it confidently at home). Also he did not like to be the centre of attention/stand out (he still doesn't).

DD (yr1) is a whole different ball game and v confident and will make it very obvious that she is bored/finds something easy.

freetrait Fri 06-Sep-13 21:41:49

I think we have a strange idea of children age 3-7 sometimes. It's such a magical time. There is so much going on. You might not see it, but if you stimulate the right development (which is more subtle than linear learning to read/maths at this stage) then they can fly when they are 7.

So, chill and let your little boy find his own way in YR. I would just keep him going at home, get him some interesting books, talk to him, take him to the woods at the weekend, visit museums. If he wants to read, supply the books, write, let him write.

Cheryzan Fri 06-Sep-13 21:43:58

You were a reception teacher!!!!!!!

Did you ignore kids who were doing well when you taught?

If not, why do you think this teacher will?

If so, I guess a lot of sayings spring to mind.

I honestly can't believe a reception teacher would write this. Tis very, very depressing.

JemimaMuddledUp Fri 06-Sep-13 21:52:14

We had a parents' evening after the assessments that the teachers do weeks into reception. With DD the teacher pulled out a document that had a ticklist of what she should have been able to do at the end of Reception, and she had already ticked every one in maths. She still had 4 terms left in Reception.

She has, I think, had differentiated work all along in the areas where she needs it. But at the same time she has stayed within her year group and loved every minute of the Foundation Phase. I don't know whether other children had similar results as she did at the start of Reception, but I would be very surprised if she was the only one.

I didn't say anything about any of my children when they started Reception, just let the teacher work them out herself. As you will know if you have been a teacher yourself there is a big difference between being able to do things at home with a parent and being able to do them independently in school. If I were you I would hold fire for now and look at it again at half term when he has settled in.

runningonwillpower Fri 06-Sep-13 22:03:15

Why aren't teachers just trusted to do their jobs?

We all want the best for our children but the OP's pre-school assessment and its detail suggest a very involved and anxious school career for all concerned.

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