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School report advised no progress and poor effort

(42 Posts)
schoolreporttime Sat 19-Jul-14 18:05:47

We have just had the end of year 4 school report and discovered that DS has made either no progress or just one sub level this year. It also advised that he has made far less effort than in previous years with poor effort reported for writing.

A comment on his school report states that “he is difficult to motivate unless he feels a connection to the adult delivering the lesson”. It does state that “he obviously has enormous potential” but states that he “is often preoccupied with reading a book consequently he is ill-prepared to tackle some of the tasks set”. It also states “he experiences difficulty in developing relationships with some adults”.

When asked he lists his hobbies as reading, writing and drawing and this is what he does at home, however this is certainly not homework or school work. He is usually engrossed in a book at home too. We were aware that he has not felt any connection to his teacher. I had suggested that she might feign an interest in one of his obsessions but she refused.

I cannot understand how the tracking systems in school would not highlight either the lack of progress or the issues with effort before the end of year report. The school is outstanding and I had assumed that all children made the appropriate sublevels. I genuinely thought that if anyone was not on track it would be so unusual that parents would be fully involved and all sorts of processes put in place to ensure the school was not seen to be failing anyone in case of an ofsted inspection.

How should progress and effort be tracked throughout the year? Any thoughts on the report comments and recommendations for follow up?

OneInEight Sat 19-Jul-14 18:30:28

Suggest you make an appointment with the SENCO and next year's teacher at the beginning of next term so that strategies can be put in place immediately to avoid another wasted year. ds2's Year 5 teacher did make use of his obsessions to get him to do writing tasks (at the time "The Hobbit") so it does seem a reasonable thing to ask.

Littlefish Sat 19-Jul-14 18:40:49

Was anything said at the parents' evenings earlier this year, or is this genuinely the first you have heard of any concerns about his progress or effort?

schoolreporttime Sat 19-Jul-14 19:17:30

No concerns were mentioned at the first parents evening but there had been a succession of supply teachers and the teacher conducting the parents evening mainly stated she only had one week left and hadnt been covering for long.

The second parents evening was with a different teacher who said she had only taught him for 23 days and was obviously counting! She said he wasn't responding well to her and I made the suggestion that she feigned an interest in one of his obsessions as this had worked well with previous teachers. She said she could see how able he was and we just assumed that it would be fine.

Whilst we knew it was not going to be a great year due to the number and quality of teachers we certainly did not realize from either meeting that he would get poor for effort nor make any progress. We just expected satisfactory effort rather than the previous good and the recommended progress rather than anything more. There has been no contact since this last parents evening in February.

Littlefish Sat 19-Jul-14 21:03:03

In which case, it sounds like he has been badly let down by the school. I agree with OneInEight that you need to request a meeting with the SENCO and his new class teacher at the beginning of next term to discuss the strategies they will use to ensure that he makes accelerated progress next term.

PedlarsSpanner Sat 19-Jul-14 21:06:17

Gosh that is awful. Reports should never hold unpleasant surprises.

Agree contact Senco.

schoolreporttime Sat 19-Jul-14 21:22:42

Please can I ask why do you think involve the senco? Would that be the route for lack of progress or is it because potential is not being achieved or is there an assumption of an sen?

apermanentheadache Sat 19-Jul-14 21:43:12

What's he like at home? Do you find him difficult to motivate and lost in something a lot of the time or is this news to you?,

Sounds like a duff school with lots of buck-passing. SIL had to move her child from an outstanding-graded school when she was same age as your son, for very similar reasons.

What do other parents think about the school?

Littlefish Sat 19-Jul-14 22:02:27

Apologies for the brief nature of this post - I'll just bullet point the parts of your posts which jumped out at me and make me think that in in including the SENCO is a good idea:

lack of progress
lack of motivation unless he has a particular connection with an adult
Difficulty making relationships with adults
Preoccupations with books/writing which are hampering his concentration in other areas

I think that where a child is failing to make expected progress, it's always a good idea for the class teacher to discuss it with the SENCO, and preferably, the parent too. At my school the SENCO sits in on all tracking meetings so she is on hand to query or offer support and strategy suggestions regarding any child who is not making expected progress.

schoolreporttime Sun 20-Jul-14 21:54:57

apermanenentheadache - no it is not news to us. He is always very busy, motivated and driven at home on his chosen tasks.

Littlefish - I don't disagree with your recommendation I was just interested in your reasoning. We have been down the SEN route before via the NHS and the assessment concluded that it was not aspergers or any SEN just a high IQ. At the time school reported no concerns and stated he was just like the other boys which we found surprising as no one we knew outside of school would describe him as such. However we accepted that the high IQ could be the cause of his eccentricities rather than an SEN.

apermanentheadache Sun 20-Jul-14 22:21:37

He sounds like he's bored out of his brains to me, and the school don't know what to do with him.

Would you consider moving him to a different school, or even entering him for a place at a super-selective indy school? Sounds like he needs something to really stretch him.

apermanentheadache Sun 20-Jul-14 22:22:19

By 'entering him for a super-selective'... I meant, entering him for a scholarship.

schoolreporttime Sun 20-Jul-14 22:47:42

Apermanentheadache - No that type of school would definitely be even worse as we know that he is not keen to write unless it is something he is interested in, his handwriting is virtually illegible and his maths is not great. Also he is always far too busy to do any homework at home. His school appear excellent at supporting very able children who want to follow the set curriculum and have a desire to please the teacher. We fully accept that DS does not want to do either despite the shock of his report. Home ed might work if all learning was based around his current obsessions but it is a big step.

apermanentheadache Sun 20-Jul-14 22:52:41

Ah OK I see. Difficult one for you sad

Really, the school should have come up with some suggestions for how to keep him on task before now. I know that doesn't help you but I can see why you're frustrated.

OneInEight Mon 21-Jul-14 06:46:18

OK, the word "obsessions" made me think immediately of AS because it is a word so often used in conjunction. But regardless of specific special needs I think the SENCO should be involved because whatever the standard strategies the class teacher is using are not working for your son and, therefore, he needs a different approach for him to progress. It might be for instance useful to ask for an education psychologist to see him as they should be able to suggest strategies that the class teacher can be used to motivate him. An OT might be useful to see if there is any reason for the handwriting issues - could he use a computer if that is such a problem. Schools do not have a huge budget for these things and you may find your son is at the back of the queue if his levels are still OK despite the recent lack of progress.

I would also point out that if school say there is no problem then you would be unlikely to get a diagnosis as difficulties are normally expected to be presented in more than one place. If this is true then fine but if it is not then you might want to revisit the issue at a later stage. My sons would not have been diagnosed at eight but it was pretty clear cut when they went through the process at ten.

Littlefish Mon 21-Jul-14 07:59:12

Can I just ask, why is he "too busy to do any homework at home". In our house, homework is non negotiable. There is no tv/ds/reading/playing outside until it's done.

Given what you've written in your update, I would say that not only would it be appropriate to involve the SENCO, but I would also be asking for referrals to the Learning Support Team and then possibly the educational psychologist.

What are his organisational skills like? Can he ride a bike? Tie shoe laces? Climb a tree? Use scissors?

Do you know what his national curriculum levels are currently?

schoolreporttime Mon 21-Jul-14 10:56:31

littlefish - In answer to your queries.

He could easily sit in front of his homework all day refusing to do it and has actually done so even if it would take him less than 5 minutes to complete. School told all parents it should not be a battle and any child can do it at school in detention to prevent this. We understood that this was the case this year to reduce his stress levels. It also helped us as DH felt strongly that every weekend should not be ruined for the rest of the family. His siblings do their homework without being reminded although they dont necessarily find the work as easy.

When I say that he is too busy I mean that is his excuse for not wanting to pause his activity to do it. We offer totally consistent parenting and he knows we follow through. However the threats such as TV or computer that you suggest have no absolutely no effect and never have done. He is very happily occupied using just his imagination. The traditional naughty corner was never a deterrent either.

He has absolutely no organisational skills at all but is great at cycling and climbing, less so at ball skills. My DB is classic dyspraxic but with a phd and whilst he shows many similarities DS is much better physically and has great balance etc.

Yes school tell us the national curriculum levels at every parents evening and on the school report. I have just read my minutes from parents evening in Feb and we were told he would definitely meet all his targets this year! Hence the shock.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jul-14 11:02:08

Agree with PP - your DS is bored out of his brains and has failed to engage with the curriculum or teachers for a very long time. IMVHO you should remove him from this school, which is failing him and not addressing its failure, ASAP.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 21-Jul-14 11:14:00

The school and most particularly his teacher (or whoever wrote that report if there have been a succession of supply teachers) sound absolutely hopeless.
They are blaming a 9/10yo for the failings of the staff to do their job and engage him in his lessons. He won't be the only child to be distracted by other activities, he won't be the only child who doesn't have an automatic bond with the teacher. It is up to the teacher to tackle these issues using their skills and experience (and the advice of their colleagues if appropriate), not to just shrug and say it is all his fault.
I'd be planning to look at new schools in September, to understand my options, and arranging a meeting with the HT and new class teacher for the first week back.

schoolreporttime Mon 21-Jul-14 11:15:14

Bonsoir - Thank you. What would you then do with him? Home educate? Set up a more alternative school? Surely the curriculum would be very similar in a new school.

Hakluyt Mon 21-Jul-14 11:19:09

Why are people assuming he's bored?

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jul-14 15:45:47

Are there other possible schools locally? I am not wildly keen on HE, though if you are feeling brave you might want to do this for a while in order to re-engage your DS with structured learning.

PercyPorkyPig Mon 21-Jul-14 17:24:07

It does seem that there has been a lack of a proper SMT overview of learning & progress of the class group. As there have been several changes of teacher throughout the year it is particularly important that progress is monitored and is consistent. As the school is 'outstanding' and not likely to be subject to regular visits from Ofsted, then there could be a degree of complacency - certainly schools which are 'good' or 'RI' will be stringently monitoring progress of each and every child as they know that they have to be accountable for every child who does not make 'good progress' if they are to make the next grade. I would make an appointment with the HT in the first instance and ask pertinent questions. Why did your DS not make at least 'expected' progress? How would they explain the seeming lack of progress to Ofsted? What strategies did they put in place to support his focus on task? What assessments have they carried out to determine his VRQ/QR/NVR scores and potential achievement levels? What do they intend to do to maximise progress in the coming year? It seems to me that they have been resting on their laurels somewhat.

Littlefish Mon 21-Jul-14 20:29:53

I don't necessarily agree with those saying he is bored. He could, be, but equally, he could be showing signs of a number of other things.

I agree with the questions percyPorkyPig has raised regarding his lack of progress and plans for appropriate support moving forward.

I still maintain that the SENCO should be involved, given that his refusal to engage with academic work can be seen both at home and school.

nigerdelta Mon 21-Jul-14 22:30:37

lots of kids don't want to work, not usually a SENCO matter.

Does he generally dislike & defy authority?

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