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Struggling Year 1 advice pls

(46 Posts)
X2mum Thu 06-Feb-14 06:16:56

DS is an August born child in Year 1 of a highly selective academic prep school. Teacher has said that he is struggling and always needs help from the TA in yr 2 they have no TAs and they are worried how he will cope. We have been invited in to observe how much help he needs compared to the other kids in the class (find it demoralising for me which I know is wrong !) Any advice on how to handle this situation?
Don't really want to move as his sibblings go there too but want to do right for DS. Also what school do I move him to we live in Radlett. What's Aldenham like? How do I mange 3 kids in 2 different schools? Really worried thanks for your help x

Mumof3xx Thu 06-Feb-14 06:18:30

I would go and in observe him, that way you can see what they are meaning first hand

VodkaRevelation Thu 06-Feb-14 06:22:48

At most schools staffing will be arranged to meet children's needs. Would they serious suggest your son leaves rather than finding a solution to help him?

I would go back and ask what they are going to do to help. Are there particular subjects he is struggling in? Reading? Maths? Is there a special educational needs coordinator at the school? If so they should be working with the teacher to make sure your childish receiving extra 'intervention' sessions to help boost his ability.

VodkaRevelation Thu 06-Feb-14 06:25:34

Sorry, missed the 'highly selective' bit. But, presumably, you are paying for your son's education. If he was selected to enter the school then what has happened since then and now? If he was once able enough to be there why isn't he now and what are he school going to do about it? Speak to them?

X2mum Thu 06-Feb-14 06:29:11

Am I being unfair keeping him there? Socially he is great and seems intelligent (some questions he asks me his sibblings would never of thought of at his age!) also I was the same until 9 years old then caught up with myself and went to a top uni! I think it's unfair to write off a v young 5 yr old. V worried thanks for your replies

X2mum Thu 06-Feb-14 06:33:38

SENCO have said that in yr 2 they may have to give him slightly different work and it will be hard for the teacher but I don't think that's good enough just because my son doesn't fit into their remit at the moment not all children do and surely a teacher would be able to cope with this.

Timetoask Thu 06-Feb-14 06:35:23

My ds goes to a brilliant prep, it has a learning centre for children who are struggling, and they do have TAs in year 2.
I would find a different school, if your DS is not properly supported now, it will be even worse as the years go by.

curlew Thu 06-Feb-14 06:38:00

What has happened between the selection process and now?

VodkaRevelation Thu 06-Feb-14 06:46:46

X2mum, that is outrageous! "Difficult for the teacher". As a teacher of a much bigger class with children spanning levels 1-3 I can tell you your son's teacher's job is piss easy with just one child working at a slightly different level to the others.

It is the teachers job to plan adequate provision for your child.

All children progress at different rates. Your son may be struggling a little now (and I think this his more to do with the teaching than him as he should be seen as progressing at the level he is at, not struggling compared to the other children) but he may shoot ahead next year, or the year after.

X2mum Thu 06-Feb-14 06:48:02

I think he was selected because his sibblings were there and because he was only just 3 when he sat the assessment they let things slide (?) also he is great kid with a fabulous chatty personality so he can talk about the book or pictures or his family etc Reception never told me there was a problem just that he was immature but he would be as he is 29 aug birthday and the youngest in our family.

X2mum Thu 06-Feb-14 07:09:50

Also forgot to mention that he has progressed enormously since sep - his writing is clear but not joined up he can add and subtract in colums etc He does take time to learn new things so they were adding in 10s and needed more explanation. He can count in 2s and 10s but not 5s. He is reading books with 5 lines to the page which sometimes he can get the whole page right other times struggles as finds it hard to blend words that are more than 3 letters. For yr 1 is this v behind? I assume my other kids were ok cos never got called in

Mumof3xx Thu 06-Feb-14 07:12:25

That is quite similar to my year one ds op

He just turned 6

He is on book band 4. He does sometimes struggle with words over three letters but I think this depends on his mood

He adds and subtracts using his fingers or dots on the paper

Mumof3xx Thu 06-Feb-14 07:13:16

I don't get why senco are involved?

hillsy27 Thu 06-Feb-14 07:17:26

As a teacher you are trained to differentiate work to make it accessible to all children . I don't understand why this school is not doing anything to help. To me it sounds like the teacher is being lazy ! (i am a primary school teacher although I have no experience with private schools )

X2mum Thu 06-Feb-14 08:22:43

Maybe I should ask what stratigies they are gojng to put in place I can't believe he is the first and only child that this has happened to! They have SENCO at the school but no statemented kids only a few dyslexic and when they tested the kids the ones below the schools average were well above average nationally. It was noted in their Ofsted report that they do not cater enough for kids struggling. So furious with this situation think that the teachers need to think outside the box with him.

pudding25 Thu 06-Feb-14 09:06:44

I take it he is at Radlett Prep? I know it is academic but they should definitely be catering for all the children they have there. I am a primary teacher in a state school and we would never get away with that. We have to take into account all children's needs.

To be honest, he doesn't seem particularly behind if he can do all the things you say. He is also the youngest in the year and this should still be taken into account in Year 1. He will be a year younger than some of the children in the class. A big difference at that age.

I would go in and have a proper meeting with the head. Any decent teacher should properly be able to differentiate for him. I would bring up their Ofsted.

(Makes me think I should apply for a job at Radlett prep if I don't need to differentiate at all-that alongside the longer holidays would make my job a hell of a lot easier!).

pudding25 Thu 06-Feb-14 09:09:38

Also, you mentioned joined up writing. Most state schools don't start teaching this until Year 2 and the children don't have a problem.

I still can't get over the fact that having to differentiate for one child would be such a problem! Plus they have smaller classes than state schools.

pudding25 Thu 06-Feb-14 09:10:24

Or is he at Manor Lodge?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 06-Feb-14 09:17:54

I think the problem here is that the school are selective, and this is part of how they maintain their status and appeal to parents - is by de-selecting children who are not keeping up.

If you are paying for private school then that is part and parcel of what you accept IMO. The state schools around there are pretty good I thought - I suspect he would be better catered for in a state school where they have to differentiate.

My DS1 is in Y1, in a state school. Your DS would be about in the middle of the class for maths, but on the bottom tables for reading and writing. He would get extra TA sessions, some one to one, throughout Y1 and Y2. That is on top of the TA that is present in the classroom during the morning.

pinkdelight Thu 06-Feb-14 09:31:17

The problem has to be in the 'highly selective' aspect, not in your DS. The chances that all three of your DC would thrive in the same highly selective school are surely very slim, especially when 'selected' so young. He most likely is as intelligent as you're thinking but he's only Y1 and it sounds unnecessarily pressured. Why on earth are they unable to modify their methods for children who learn at different paces, which is all children pretty much? The only answer can be that they don't wish to because their USP is their selectivity. In which case, spend your money on somewhere that will really invest in your DS and not see him as a problem to be managed out, as can often happen with these schools.

pinkdelight Thu 06-Feb-14 09:35:15

Also, the idea that you should come in and see how much he's struggling compared to his classmates is horrible. What do they expect you to do? Apart from grab him and run out of there? If they were any good they'd be supporting him and reassuring you.

DeWe Thu 06-Feb-14 09:36:08

I don't think diffentiating for him will necessarily be a problem for the teacher.

However, I would feel it could be terribly demoralising for him to be constantly working behind his classmates. And they will notice in year 2 however carefully they do it. I'm not sure I would want my dc to be at a selective school where they are struggling, much better for him to be at a less selective school round the middle.

curlew Thu 06-Feb-14 09:43:41

It sounds like entirely the wrong school for him. or for any other child.

I am horrified at the suggestion that you come in and watch to see how much help he needs- that is appalling.

Say that you won't do that. Arrange a proper meeting with his teacher and with the Head. Don't go alone, and take detailed notes. Ask what their plan is for him for the rest of this year. How are they going to support and help him. And bite the bullet. Ask how they see him getting on in the years to come. I will put money on them saying that he's not a good fit for the school and you should think about moving him. But you need to know. And you need to be making your own plans. Look at all the local schools. Don't discount state. Knowledge is power.

curlew Thu 06-Feb-14 09:44:59

Sorry- pressed send to soon. If he is going to move, you want it to be on your terms, not theirs. Particularly considering notice periods.

PastSellByDate Thu 06-Feb-14 10:10:01

Hi X2Mum:

First off I think you have to see this as the school reaching out to you asking for help. Can you help? If you have the time (you're SAHM or work part-time or have flexible hours) then perhaps you are in a position to do a bit more at home.

Second - going in to see what the problem in may be a real help.

Is it phonics - sounding out words. There's all sorts of books - jolly phonics for example - but others have posted a lot - so there are materials out there and with the schools guiding you on what they prefer you use - you could do some additional work with your DS over the remainder of this year & summer (which is a long time) and slowly, slowly catch him right back up with the rest of the class.

Is it maths? There are tons on on-line tutorials out there. My DD1 was appalling at maths in Y1 (could barely add numbers <10 together) and left Y2 with NC L1 at KS1 SATs - when NC L2 was the expected standard. She could only add numbers to 20 and couldn't subtract at all. We opted for an on-line tutorial and committed to between 1 hour to 1.5 hrs of extra maths work each week. It has absolutely turned things around for her. First of all the practice has made her more confident with numbers but the explanation videos (we use mathsfactor) have helped her understand the mechanics of calculation skills (which seems to have been the real issue at the school). Gradually she started to be ahead of the maths going on at school and over the years she's worked her way up to top table in maths.

So my advice is accept your DS is making a slow start. Realise it can't be solved in a few days or even weeks. But if you can give him more time/ purchase APPS/ Workbooks or subscribe to on-line tutorials my advice is that if you otherwise like the school - hang in there, do what you can and make sure the school understands you're doing a lot at home to help.

August born is very young and many parents would have waited a year - but being the youngest simply means it is a steep learning curve right now - eventually he'll catch up. With each passing year the difference of a few months makes less and less difference in practice.

From what you've said it sounds like you have older children - although every child is different - siblings often generally perform about the same level - so ask yourself where your other DCs were at this age. That may be more helpful in gauging how truly far behind your DS actually is.


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