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(22 Posts)
PickledMoomin Mon 09-Sep-13 19:17:53

DD has just started Y3. She's a bright girl and a quick learner. Her reading and numeracy age was 15 months ahead when she was tested in the summer and I've been told since she started school that she's top of the class.
Her school have never really pushed her imo - she was given some extra challenges last year but this was only every few weeks.
She's come home today in tears. She's very hard on herself. She hasn't been put into the top spelling group (she's in 2/5 which I was surprised at but told her she's done really well).
I tested her on the spelling words for next week before she looked at them and she got all 15 right.
Would you say something? It's only week two and I'm worried about looking precious.

SoupDragon Mon 09-Sep-13 19:19:43

In all honesty, I would be more worried about how upset she gets with what she perceives as failure.

PickledMoomin Mon 09-Sep-13 19:21:17

That does worry me, actually. She said she felt a bit left behind by her peers. She's never really experienced failure because lots of things have come easy to her. How would you suggest tackling that?

redskyatnight Mon 09-Sep-13 20:18:45

Are there really 5 spelling groups in Y3 (only 3 at DD's school and the last group is for children who get extra literacy support so really only 2 main groups)?

Possible that groups 1 and 2 have the same words?

If she genuinely is in Group 2, I would suggest that Group 1 may still be too hard for her - I had this issue with my DS. He really struggled with the spelling group he was put in (getting 2/10 most weeks), so his teacher moved him down a group - where he generally found the words very easy. I'd certainly recommend a too easy group than one that is far too hard - being in the hard group completely knocked DS's confidence.

numbum Mon 09-Sep-13 20:22:20

Who told you she was top of the class? And who told you her reading and numeracy are 15 months ahead?

A 7 year old saying she felt 'left behind by her peers' would be more of a concern to me than the fact that she isnt in the top spelling group to be honest

numbum Mon 09-Sep-13 20:24:38

Sorry if that came across bluntly. It wasnt meant to!

I wonder if your DD heard the comment about her being top of the class so not being in the top set has upset her more than it should?

ipadquietly Mon 09-Sep-13 20:24:57

I wonder who has been saying that she is 'top of the class'. In the early years of primary school, children develop at different rates, often plateauing before making the next leap in their learning.

IMHO telling a parent that their KS1 child is top of the class is asking for trouble/disappointment (not to mention putting undue pressure on the child).

ipadquietly Mon 09-Sep-13 20:31:14

x post with num.

You also have to appreciate the bigger picture, pickled. In some schools, there are 6 year olds going into Y2 with reading ages 9y+ (i.e. 3 years above their chronological age). Cohorts of children from school to school vary enormously, and top of the class in one school will be middling in another.

PickledMoomin Mon 09-Sep-13 20:32:27

Her Y1 and Y2 teachers told me on parents evening (also that there was a boy in the class who was also considered G&T and was receiving extra challenges alongside DD).

I'd hate for her to be in a group where she struggled but it would be beneficial for her to learn a few words that she didn't already know how to spell.

PickledMoomin Mon 09-Sep-13 20:34:11

And yes- 5 spelling groups. The school is two form entry with 60 children in each year group.

PickledMoomin Mon 09-Sep-13 20:36:21

Sorry numtum- am posting from my mobile so have to revisit posts before answering.

Her reading and numeracy results were given to me by the school. They were from national testing. She received 118 for her reading.

Fairenuff Mon 09-Sep-13 21:36:32

I would be concerned that she is in tears over being in the second to top spelling group.

How on earth is she going to cope with the rest of her education if she cannot accept less than perfect?

This has the potential to cause a lot of stress later on. Tell her that it doesn't matter what group she is in, as long as she is trying her best and having a go at everything.

Keep it upbeat and casual and then move on. Don't give this any more importance that she has already given it. Try not to encourage academic competitiveness (don't ask what scores other children got, what reading book they are on, what table they are on, etc.) as she will think you only value her successes, rather than her efforts.

SoupDragon Mon 09-Sep-13 21:39:33

I don't know how I'd tackle it. It's a difficult one. I do think it is the main worry though. Being in the "wrong" group is something that will sort itself out as the teacher sees the children's abilities for herself.

DDs school is 3 form intake and only has 3 ability groups per class for spelling & maths. Plus extension work for maths.

PickledMoomin Mon 09-Sep-13 21:40:13

Thanks for the suggestions.

I did lots of those things but made the mistake of asking who was in the top group out of curiosity. Will avoid that in the future.

simpson Mon 09-Sep-13 23:00:15

Maybe it's more than just spelling the words but writing sentences with the word inserted in the correct context (top group?)

The child needs to know what the word means as well as spelling the word.

How is her phonics? When DS was in the top group for spellings last year (now Yr4) he had to write a sentence with each word in (in the class and sometimes at home, say what the word meant and if given a sound ie igh spellings or a particular theme he once had "games" he had to think of 3 examples that fitted in with the rest of the spellings iyswim).

PickledMoomin Tue 10-Sep-13 08:11:26

She hasn't it mentioned it this morning so hopefully feels reassured.

Her phonic knowledge is pretty good. She can confidently decode words when reading and can define words out of the context of a sentence. Her spelling is accurate when she writes at home and I can see very few errors in her written work last year.

It must just be that others have excelled recently.

If she continues to get the spellings right without learning them each week then I'll mention it on parents eve.

I think maybe the transition to ks2 has knocked her confidence slightly and she's tired.

I'm actually a primary school teacher but it's difficult being on the other side.

PastSellByDate Tue 10-Sep-13 10:56:20

Hi PickledMoomin:

I agree with SoupDragon - please try (and I know it is very hard sometimes) to make it clear to your DD that it doesn't matter what group she is in, as long as she's trying her best.

The reality is there are 30 kids in her class (or thereabouts) and top table can only accommodate so many people. My DD2 has often been moved down groups and has been absolutely devastated - she's hyper aware of 'top table' because one of her great pals is always top table, so she wants to be there too.

I think you have no choice really but to accept the teachers decision here. It could be for any number of reasons, including the possibility that your DD doesn't pay attention if sitting on a table with a friend (which has been the case for my DD2).

In Y1 for DD2 she was moved down to 2nd reading group and we had to weather 4 months of repeated reading books - the low point being 3 weeks of Big Panda, Little Panda (I don't approve of book burning - but genuinely hope this is first on a bonfire!). Some very calm Dad here on MN made a radical suggestion - you don't have to do what the school says.

Don't like guided reading books: read them 1/2 times a week, and then read what you like

Don't like spelling list: get spelling work books and do more at home/ do on-line games/ etc...

Don't like maths homework: join on-line tutorials/ get worksheets off the web/ get workbooks.

You don't just have to do what the school sets.

It's very liberating and means that your own internal sense of what should be done when (possibly in consultation with draft national curriculum statements/ teachers/ friends/ family) can be satisfied.

Finally I will say this. DD2 has frequently worked hard to get back up to top table - and that is beneficial.


Listentomum Tue 10-Sep-13 11:04:45

I would see how it goes to be honest, my dd came home in tears yesterday because she had a mix up about groups and did not do well in her tables test.

According to her her teacher called out her name in group 4 to do independent reading in the lobtrary, what she should have been doing was group 3 reading to the teacher. What I think happened was dd headed group 4 and assumed she was in the top group.

In her times tables test she had 2 mins to get through 20 questions, I don't think for one minute that she was expected to get all 20 answered despite the fact 2 people did. Rather see where they all are in mental maths.

They bring the test home to work on what they grot wrong. So we set the timer and dd did all 20 in 3 mins.

I had to reassure her lots that as long as she working her hardest it does not matter if she is in top group. Which of course is a bit of a blow to a child who as so far been top in everything and praised at home and at school for working beyond her age.

My advice would be boost dds confidence and see how things progress. Children at this develop at different stages so 10 children could have excelled past her or caught up with her and adjusted her group.

Laura0806 Tue 10-Sep-13 11:26:06

ah its hard when they get upset. My dd has something similar, shes been put in the middle group for maths (year 4) and yet has previously always been amongst the top of the top set ( level 3 at the end of year 1). However, shes not very confident and so thats why they might have put her in there. However, she came home with tables that she knows like the back of her hand to learn and doing tens and units that she could have done 2 years ago. I too feel like saying something but I figure they will adjust it themselves if she is clearly getting it right every week and who knows it may give her the confidence boost she really needs.Maybe it will be the same for your dd.

PickledMoomin Tue 10-Sep-13 12:13:43

Really lovely and helpful posts. Thank you all.

I'm very happy to work with her at home but she isn't always as happy to work with me. I don't know how people teach their own children at school grin

At least she'll get all her spellings right this week without us having to learn them. I'd be interested to know if top group have extra words or if their lists are totally different.

Listentomum Tue 10-Sep-13 12:57:43

Tell me about it. Dd gets a bit difficult to say the least when it comes to homework.

sittinginthesun Tue 10-Sep-13 14:37:27

Also, as I'm sure you know, spelling tests only indicate a child's ability to spell. Not how good their literacy or reading actually is.

DS1 (year 5) is flying in literacy, but his spelling is at expected level for his age. All of his teachers have told him throughout school that he isn't to get wound up by that, because they don't want to stifle the actual writing.

Ds2, on the other hand, is brilliant at spelling, but is average at literacy.

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