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Any parents of summer borns in YR Y1 experiencing unfairness in access to curriculum?

(184 Posts)
BromCavMum Fri 15-Nov-13 20:45:29

I would like to know if there are other parents out there whose summer born children are in YR or Y1 or even Y2 and are struggling a bit or put at a disadvantage by the pace/level of the curriculum? My DD turned 5 at the end of August. She started school last January with a brilliant attitude toward learning and I have seen her attitude become more and more deflated over the last several months.

She picked up on reading quickly but was only assessed as 'emerging' in literacy for YR. Today, she had 2 quizzes in school (yes--2 in one day). A 10 word spelling test and a math test. She had 20 seconds to complete 7 different equations. She got 4 out of 7 and was disappointed in herself. Although these equations were supplied to us a week ahead it seems to me to be a tough test for a 5 year old. The school is big on testing and streaming. But at this age, when development is a huge variable is this wise? When most of these kids in her class were her age they were not doing math at all and were barely reading. I feel my daughter is expected to work twice as hard to be considered half as good.

If there are other parents out there who have experienced this type of what I consider bordering on discrimination I would truly like to hear your experiences and maybe we can pool some advice on how to approach the schools with this problem.

It is very hard to constantly read on the news how summer born children are 20% less likely to go to university, be well adjusted at school, etc. I think we parents need to discuss how to look out for our young children, because the British education system does not seem up to the task (or interested in the problem).

I eagerly await hearing from you.

EmeraldJeanie Fri 15-Nov-13 21:08:12

This will invite 'my summer born is a genius' comments but statistically of course it is an issue. I'm a summer born who did suffer at primary level as dreamed my way through early years/ total daze and missed all the basics in maths for example.
I do think it should be taken into account, especially in KS1.
Reception and year 1 should be about fun and learning and it is very sad if your dd feels a bit squashed by the system already.
I have a summer born boy in Reception and so far they seem to be keeping him happy and lots of learning through play. I can see other older children [especially girls] a bit ahead of him but a big deal not made of it. He isn't noticing anyway- just doing his thing!
Good luck op.

DeWe Fri 15-Nov-13 21:10:26

I don't think this is discrimination, if anything it's the opposite, you're wanting differentiation, not treating them all the same.

But it also depends on the child. In dd1's form, by this stage in year 1 the top group in all subjects was all except one July/August birthdays, and thriving on it. They're all at secondary and doing very well too now.

Periwinkle007 Fri 15-Nov-13 21:11:29

what sort of equations?

EmeraldJeanie Fri 15-Nov-13 21:14:33

Differentiation and perhaps acknowledgement that some children are developmentally at a lower level due to AGE not because they are not able.

Anniemousse Fri 15-Nov-13 21:16:56

A sideline: my ds has what appear to be timed maths tests, but actually they are sums that the school are teaching the kids to learn by memory, rather than figuring them out. Some sums, such as 6+6, make life easier if you can quickly do them by recall.

They have the same quiz every week, the same sums, and it's a personal challenge - how many can you do before the buzzer goes. Can you beat your personal best.

Think they're called Learn It's.

They cover the sums repetitively through the week with fun videos and songs etc

Anniemousse Fri 15-Nov-13 21:17:59

Sorry, to add, the timed element is so they don't sit trying to figure them out, it's to practice the ones they know by sight.

PoppyWearer Fri 15-Nov-13 21:24:17

I have two summer-born DCs but only one in the school system so far (Y1).

She has done really well from our school's approach which is largely laid-back. So far they have no spelling tests. Assessments, yes, but no tests as such. I believe the tests start in the second or third term. The teachers seem very supportive and appreciative of her personality and presence and contribution to the class, as well as her academic abilities.

Although DC1 is one of the youngest she finds reading, literacy and numeracy fun, and we have tried to support that way of thinking at home.

I happen to know that one of the other top readers in her class is a summer-born boy.

We try to relax about it anyway as our (DH's and my) own experiences belie the stats. I'm a summer-born academic high-flier (Oxbridge) in spite of a very average state education, FWIW.

simpson Fri 15-Nov-13 21:46:59

DD does a spelling test (6 words), a timed big write and a timed maths test (number bonds to 20) every Friday.

To me the issue is more about ability (at the moment, the kids in top sets in yr1 will not necessarily be top sets at 16!) than age or when a child's birthday is. There must be some kind of differentiation within the class.

DD is in the top groups, but the kids in the lower groups have easier spellings, less maths questions in the same time and are not expected to write as much.

DD is in yr1 btw.

DS (now yr4) was in the 3rd out of 4 tables in everything this time of the year in yr1. But by Xmas was in top sets in everything but needed more time (due to being youngest - 31st Aug birthday) to get there. But in fairness, he did not have as many "tests" as DD does.

EmeraldJeanie Fri 15-Nov-13 21:59:20

Our primary does not do spelling tests as feel they do not work.
I tend to agree. They seem to suit children with a good short term memory but [in the early years] they then promptly spell them wrong in a sentence.
ANYWAY off the thread point there!
As long as the younger child is not inherently seen as less able when perhaps just less developed. Conversely the older child should not be labelled more able as may be just more mature.

BromCavMum Fri 15-Nov-13 21:59:58

Periwinkle 007: the equations were: 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, 5+5, 2+3, 3+3

She knew all but 4+4, 2+3, 3+3 although we've been practicing all week. I think cognitively she is not quite ready for maths at this level.

The test was 20 seconds giving 2.85 seconds to read each equation and write the answer. I think that's a bit tough for a 5 year old. Would it have killed them to make it 30 seconds?

TicTocCroc Fri 15-Nov-13 22:03:40

I have 2 summer borns (the oldest being an August born in yr 1) and I'd say the issue here isn't your DC's birth month, but the school's way of working.

Or, to put it another way, I'd be just as pissed off at that level of testing in year 1 if I had a September born, rather than an August born.

NorthernShores Fri 15-Nov-13 22:06:31

You said they were good at streaming -does this mean she'll get work more suited to her level? (due to age obviously).

Our school streams and tee head likens it to joining an advanced yoga class when you've not mastered the basics.

stargirl1701 Fri 15-Nov-13 22:12:47

There is no such thing as the British education system. In Scotland, where I teach, parents can choose (most do) to defer their child. It is a very different system.

Periwinkle007 Fri 15-Nov-13 22:33:05

are ok - those are number bonds. sorry I was imagining something different.

I think my daughter does number bonds like that in tests too but she rarely tells me about stuff unless it annoys her. 20 seconds sounds short to me but I have no idea if that is standard.

I agree that sometimes it is harder for the younger ones but to be fair my reception daughter (not one of the older children, summer term birthday) has been announcing her number bonds to me over the last week quite randomly and she knows them. I am not saying she could do them in a quick test but she has only been at school half a term.

I tend to work on the principle that yes maturity can vary but in most cases all the children in the class have been in formal education for the same amount of time so 'technically' they have as much chance as each other of being able to do the work if that makes sense.

however I don't have a young summer born who is finding it tough so I am not seeing that side of it.

christinarossetti Fri 15-Nov-13 22:58:52

That sounds a bonkers amount of testing for the first term of Y1, and I agree demoralising for children who aren't quite there yet.

I disagree with periwinkle re all children have been in formal education ... all have as much chance as each other" etc in EY and reception though agree that things do level out more as they get older. There is a huge developmental difference between a just turned 5 year old and a just turned 4 year old - physically, emotionally and cognitively. In OP's dd case, she's only been in school for 2 full terms if she started in January, so hasn't had the same input as autumn borns.

OP, in your position, I would request a meeting with the class teacher or use parent's evening to discuss your concerns. If the school's approach is knocking your dd's confidence, they need to reconsider how they're doing things imvho.

simpson Fri 15-Nov-13 23:56:26

OP, I think the key part of your first post is that she was keen in wanting to learn and now she is not. That I think needs addressing with the teacher.

BromCavMum Sat 16-Nov-13 00:56:51

Actually you can't assume they have been in education for the same amount of time. Take preschool--my DS was born in November and will have an additional year of preschool from what my daughter had. He will also be funded for most of that year. So the older children get an extra year of preschool and are older when they start reception--hardly what I would call a level playing field.

lljkk Sat 16-Nov-13 02:27:24

20 seconds to write answers to ALL of those equations?! Some of them can't even write a single 8 in that amount of time. Are you sure it wasn't 20 seconds for each question??

Iris445 Sat 16-Nov-13 06:40:00

I have a September born and streaming is a great thing. She would get very bored otherwise.

The system sucks for summer born babies. Sadly there is not really anything that you can do.

EmeraldJeanie Sat 16-Nov-13 07:30:27

All you can hope is that teachers are aware and don't label children as not so able or very able without acknowledging the month of their birth.
Of course there are other life aspects to consider but developmental age is something a child can do nothing about.

mrz Sat 16-Nov-13 07:40:01

BromCavMum the "equations" you mention are the Big Maths Learn It's for Reception children ... Y1 children have 17 questions (in 30 seconds - 1.76 seconds per question) based on the Y1 addition facts so it seems your summer born is being given easier work.

mrz Sat 16-Nov-13 07:45:57

The purpose is to achieve automatic instant recall of these facts and each week the challenge is to beat your own personal best score ... so your child's target is to get one more correct next week so focus on one sum they are getting wrong.

mrz Sat 16-Nov-13 07:54:02

EmeraldJeanie Sat 16-Nov-13 08:39:36

That would be a challenge for my Reception summer born boy Mrz.
May manage with eg 4 conkers plus 4 conkers etc or numbers in dot form.
Would think tough for many Reception children in the Autumn term whatever month they were born.

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