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Feeling a bit deflated

(9 Posts)
homeappliance Wed 05-Nov-14 20:42:37

I feel silly to ask, but at parent's evening tonight I was told that ds "is making steady progress to where he should be". My question is (and I wished I'd had the confidence to ask his teacher), what should he be doing at this stage? He is in Year 1.

Until tonight, I had been pleased with the progress ds had been making. However, his teacher said that he was delayed in areas e.g. phonics and maths. Ds is the youngest in his year, if he'd only been born three days later and in reception class I'm sure I wouldn't have been told tonight that he was delayed hmm

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Nov-14 21:07:28

don't worry too much, the school obviously aren't concerned. They will be aware he is young in the year which can sometimes affect how quickly children pick things up, not always, sometimes the oldest in the class can struggle the most and the youngest can be the furthest on, every child is different.

I also think if you now have further questions then please do ask the teacher. It isn't unusual to have a meeting of any sort and then go out of it and think of something else so do ask what he should be doing and what you can do to help him. the teacher won't mind. they will be pleased you are a supportive parent.

homeappliance Thu 06-Nov-14 20:11:03

Thank you for your message and reassurance. Last year, when ds was in reception class, we had a lot more contact with his class teacher and she was a lot more approachable. I felt much more confident to ask questions then, but the set up is different this year. I feel better about it today and we'll keep supporting him at home.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 06-Nov-14 22:21:16

yes there does seem to be a big difference in contact with teachers between R and Yr1 which is a bit of a shock to the system isn't it. Ours wasn't too bad but then there is a much bigger jump into yr2 for us.

I also think there is a big change in our expectations and the types of questions we want to ask. In reception whilst yes we want to know if they are learning I think much more focus is on whether they are making friends, are they coping and so on. In Yr1 the focus shifts to are they meeting expected levels, are they writing neatly enough, can they read enough to be able to do their other work and so on as well as confidence, friendships, coping with the change to a different class and teacher.

I think it sounds good that they are aware he is struggling a bit with work and therefore they will be working with him to help him progress. If they were telling you all was fine and it wasn't then that would be more worrying.

PastSellByDate Fri 07-Nov-14 13:10:55


First off - and this is from my brother who's a primary teacher in the US - remember that school is a marathon and not a sprint.

Try not to be too concerned about who is doing what when and how your child compares - but I agree it does help to have a notional idea of what should be taught when.

Fortunately the programmes of study for the new national curriculum are largely available - so you can look at the appropriate year & subject area and see what should be covered (presumably also mastered) in a given school year: - if you scroll down a bit you'll get links to programmes of study by subject area and when you go through to these you want to select curriculum for KS1 (Key Stage 1, which is for Years 1/2) and KS2 (Key Stage 2, which is for years 3 - 6).

I also found the campaign for real education curriculum materials are a good way of understanding what in an ideal world should be learned and when: - and is more parent friendly. Now this is to a very high standard and your school may well not be working to quite so high a standard - but it does notionally identify what is theoretically achievable in best circumstances.

I don't think 'leaving it to the school'/ 'trust the school' is a good strategy. When DD1 started school, because I was educated abroad (US) and we don't start school formally until the year you turn 7, although many do go to nursery/ kindergarten) - I followed my husband's & his family's advice and left it to the school (best not to interfere was their approach). Alarm bells started to ring late in Year 1 when DD1 was still struggling to read and barely adding to 10. By May of Year 2 we had a seriously struggling reader and a child who couldn't even conceive of taking 1 from 10. She was clearly well behind what any US first grader would be doing at the same point.

I had a lot of she's progressing at a steady rate, we're pleased with her progress so far, she's 'on track' or things will pick up next year from teachers in Year R, Y1 and Y2 - but the reality was that in comparison with her peers from her nursery she was horribly behind and struggled to even play board games with them (unable to work out how many spaces to move forward or understand written instructions, whilst her friends (also aged 7) were absolutely fine). That play date over Easter Y2 - really opened my eyes to how terribly far behind DD1 was.

So my advice (and I accept our experience is probably extreme) is do be aware of what should be covered in a given school year and if there are glaring omissions try your best to fill the gaps yourself.

For that I'd strongly advice Woodland Junior School Resources as a brillaint first port of call: - absolutely free and links to all sorts of wonderful website resources/ games to support anything from phonics to algebra.


homeappliance Fri 07-Nov-14 15:07:22

Nonickname: I agree, expectations seem to have stepped up a gear now my son is in year 1 and, although he is making progress, I'm concerned that those nearly a whole year older than him are further ahead still. I guess I wasn't reassured by the teacher's feedback, having earlier thought we were doing ok.

Nosellbydate: Thank you for those links, and your comments about your own experience is exactly what I'm concerned about. I will have a look at the curriculum info and see what extras we can do at home. I've always tried to promote reading, writing and maths at home through everyday activities e.g. Writing 'shopping lists' but maybe I need to be doing more structured tasks.

We were looking through his exercise books at parents evening, and I wasn't impressed with the differentiation of activities. It looked like there were 'worksheets where ds has been left to do the task independently, and he obviously hadn't understood what he'd been asked to do e.g. not sticking things in the right place, not being able to write the words.

How can I find out what differentiation, support is being offered in class? What do I ask? I know he has 1:1 for reading/learning his phonics and writing CVC words.

poppy70 Sun 09-Nov-14 22:54:45

Ask the teacher how they differentiate and what provision, if any, is provided for your son. I genuinely forget to mention provision at parents evening but it is done as a matter of course. He is in year 1 and if it is an average size class will probably work independently or largely independently sometimes. How do you know about differentiation? Did you look at the other children's books too? You would only know about differentiation if you looked at a Higher, middle and lower child's book and looked at the different tasks or outcomes.

rollonthesummer Sun 09-Nov-14 23:35:45

We were looking through his exercise books at parents evening, and I wasn't impressed with the differentiation of activities. It looked like there were 'worksheets where ds has been left to do the task independently, and he obviously hadn't understood what he'd been asked to do e.g. not sticking things in the right place, not being able to write the words.

That's not necessarily the teacher's fault though; sometimes the children haven't listened when the independent task was explained.

Ferguson Mon 10-Nov-14 18:14:20

You have had useful information already, particularly from PSBD, but I will just add my contribution. I was a TA / helper in primary schools for over twenty years:


An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing is mentioned in the MN Book Reviews section. In “Children’s educational books and courses”, the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary presents words by their initial SOUND, unlike a ‘normal’ dictionary, which is always in alphabetical order. Thus, in the ‘S’ section are words like ‘cinema’ and ‘cycle’, which have a ‘S’ sound, even though they are spelt with ‘C’.

The Dictionary is colourful and amusingly illustrated, and can be used by children on their own, or with adult support, from Reception age right up to the start of secondary school.

The review has a link to view sample pages, and purchase if you so wish.



Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths work, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other

etc, etc

then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

I am sorry it seems complicated trying to explain these concepts, but using Lego or counters should make understanding easier.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


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