No idea what to do/believe(31 Posts)
I don't want to give too much info (so as to be identifiable) but also don't want to drip feed so bare with me a bit please.
DD (my PFB) is 4.5 and in reception. We were asked into a meeting with her school earlier this week where they tell me that she struggles to sit still and focus, but that she is taking all the information in and they have no concerns about her ability. They also tell me that she is a confident, happy child with lots of friends and very social but they are very concerned that she sometimes refuses to read, can be slow doing certain (non academic tasks) and the fidgeting. They tell me this is very unusual and she should have settled down by now as they are one term into the year. As she is my first, I have no benchmark as to where she should be so I accept them totally at their word.
So we agree to have her assessed. I am very proactive so have a tick box questionnaire from an assessor with them the next and it is returned to me, filled in, today.
I am flabbergasted by their responses! They raise issues which were never discussed with me, including a number which I know are not true such as her speech is delayed (it is actually advanced!) and she has issues socialising!! Something which two days earlier we were told is not a problem at all!!
For me this now calls into question everything we had been told before and I wonder if I am wasting my money on an assessment but also hugely concerned as to why they would write such things!! I have spent all evening torn between anger and bewilderment! I am going to go and speak to the school tomorrow but say what??
Why are you paying for the assessment? Who was the assessor (was it an educational psychologist)?
It was for an occupational therapist as there is some reason to believe she has some sensory issues (hence the fidgeting) but nothing like they are now saying!
Who are you seeing tomorrow? It should be the SENDCo - if it isn't, make sure you see him/her pronto. You need to get the contradictions sorted out - if they have genuine concerns they should have made that clear from the start. And they need to be able to evidence their concerns.
You have also been a bit contradictory - in that you say as your PFB you have no benchmark, but then that her speech is advanced (but you have no benchmark) - so do go in with an open mind. Good luck with it all.
Is it an independent school and therefore you have been advised to have a private assessment? Assessment for what?
Sorry I should explain she is PFB so I have no bench mark, after receiving their comments I spoke to a small number of discreet people who I trust to be entirely honest with me to ask if they thought she had issues with her communication and all of them were entirely clear that I have nothing to be concerned about.
It is an independent school so I would be paying but they didn't recommend anyone so it is not like they have anything to gain from this assessment which is why I thought it was genuinely in her best interests. It is to assess to see if there is an underlying cause for her fidgeting and refusal to do certain things.
It's not The Gower School is it? Long thread on here about that school alleges, among other things, that they are very quick to label.
No it's no but maybe that is the issue. I always thought she was a normal 4.5 year old yes she fidgets and is a bit of a day dreamer but aren't a lot of July born reception kids like that?! She is capable of doing all the work and she does it but slowly and with prompting. I have spent two days concerned there is something deeper going on and now I feel like I am in limbo!
All sounds like a normal summer born to me. I am confused - have they it you filled in the tick sheet and when is the assessment ?
Her teacher filled in the school questionnaire (I fill in a separate one), no idea when the assessment is at the moment as they need to see the questionnaires and I am doubting the need for one.
Ask to meet the teacher again before you progress it. There should be no surprises. If she stands by what she has said then you can express your confusion at the discrepancy. Tbh some independent schools aren't great at recognising real issues and may simply be looking for an opportunity to marginalise children who do not fit their pattern.
Some input on here from teachers would be interesting. Several of the DC is my DC school (90 intake) still struggle to sit still etc One delightful end July girl in my DC is like a child will ants in her pants. She is progressing really well tho. Some DC can read books now and some can't - all normal range ?!?!?
The problem with private schools is that they criticise children that are normal but below their academic requirements (to get good grades to promote their school) or don't conform to their expected level of behaviour.
Our daughter (5) was criticised the NGHS HT for being scared of a fire shown in a video. She told us this is abnormal, and reported us to the SS about this (and many false allegations) on the day we submitted our termination notice.
Our daughter is now thriving in a state school, and there's no report of her being abnormal in any way.
Omg Sunflower !!! That reaction is totally normal for some children. I wonder if this is why so many mumsnet parents seem to have real concerns about normal range stuff
A four and a half year old fidgets?
This would be funny if it wasn't so scary. DS is in reception and at his school they don't start reading and writing in any remotely ;proper' way till the second term because the summer-borns need that time to settle in.
On some level there seems to be a genuine lack of communication here but generally teachers do know what is normal for a summer born reception child and what stands out as reqiuiring further investigation. They don't label fidgeting as a problem unless it is to excessive levels for example - they know some fidgeting is expected.
And the trouble with asking people you trust is either that they won't want to worry you so will say all is fine or they genuinely won't know any different (a grandparent may be able to understand 100% of what a child says but someone outside the family may pick up on the fact that speech is less clear).
Children can be very different at school than at home. Partly because you know your child so well and can give her more focus. If you honestly think there is no problem and the school are lying or being malicious then of course you may decide staying there is not an option but it is far more likely that they see behaviours and issues that you simply cannot pick up in a home environment. The assessor will no doubt focus carefully on each issue where you and the school give very different responses and their outside and professional opinion should help to clarify things.
My son spent several terms going to a speech and language therapist for being unable to pronounce several sounds correctly. But he did at home, consistently and clearly and had been praised for his clear early speech at his nursery. He spoke differently at school, he was extremely shy and nervous and it came out in his speech and behaviour, which was also a bit odd in eyfs and ks1. My point is, kids can sometimes speak and act differently at school to what you experience at home and it can be a real shock and very confusing when teachers tell you about problems you just don't see. At least it was a real shock and extremely confusing for me! To be honest, with my DS it was more a confidence thing than a speech thing but the therapist was lovely and she did help him to get a lot more confident about expressing himself in class.
It sounds as if this isn't the right school for your DD.
Just because a school is private doesn't mean it is a good school.
I would be very concerned that they have sat in a meeting and told you one version, but then written something different on a form related to an assessment.
She is 4.5 and summer born.
It sounds as if they have unrealistic expectations.
Which is worrying, considering that they are responsible for educating small children.
We fully agree that a school is private doesn't mean it's a good school, even if their exam grades are outstanding. The latter is very misleading, as they only admit children above a certain ability. Children fell below their norm are not catered for. On the contrary, state schools provide extra attention to special needs children, as they are answerable to the government. Our daughter and our family are not abnormal, and yet we were classified as such by that awful school.
You should discuss with the school how they would address their concerns for your daughter, in view of the assessment. After all, the school is paid to educate her.
Hello. So a quick update...
We went in this morning and had a word with another member of teaching staff who was at the meeting earlier in the week, who also knows our DD very well and has taught her on occasion. The class teacher wasn't available. I showed her the comments and asked if the class teacher could explain them as this is so far from my experience of DD and this was concerning to me. Anyway this other teacher was was shocked at what the class teacher had written and was very clear that it does not reflect our DD at all, in fact she actually said she was "disappointed" in the class teacher for writing clearly incorrect information, especially in a formal assessment. She also said it called into question everything that was said by the class teacher previously and told us to put all assessments on hold until she had got to the bottom of this.
I am so pleased I went in to find out what was going on and tried to approach it all with an open mind. I had heard some really negative things about DDs class teacher before she started but decided to ignore it all as I don't like playground gossip, I am now thinking to myself that she may have got this reputation for a good reason (although would never say out loud to those that know her of course).
Maybe you need a different school.
My DS is August born and in an independent school and our experience couldn't be more different. They have gone to the ends of the earth for him and he is a different child from the one who tottered in in September.
To be fair to the school they were amazing with DD in nursery, like you say CharlesRyder she is a different child to the one who turned up there on her first day and if she wasn't so happy there and apparently totally unaware of the circus going on around her I would seriously considered moving her. To be honest this week I have actually looked up other schoosl and have considered it! But lots of schools have one (or two) less than stellar teachers DD is happy and settled, I have to think very carefully before disrupting that. I am going to wait and see how things settle down after this incident but I am going to be much more alert to any and all issues!
What you have said could describe ds (my dc#3 and a summer baby) very well in reception.
Even his speech is delayed and advanced. By that, his vocabulary is large and he uses complicated sentence structures. However his pronunciation was, and still is, delayed. He does also at times use babyish language. (eg today he said "Look! Doggies!... woofie, woofie... By the way dogs are part of the canine family, just like wolves and foxes. It's strange we have canine teeth really, but I suppose it's because they resemble dogs' teeth.") The first half is very young for a 7yo, but the second half is advanced.
In some ways he's quite a sociable child, lots of friends, joins in anything with a ball, in other ways his social ability is very immature.
And the wriggling: yes, all 4yos wriggle to a certain extent, but it took until the end of year 2 before he didn't stand out as the most wriggly in assemblies etc.
In his case it seems to be turning out to be a mixture of immaturity and glue ear, but it certainly wasn't clean cut at reception or year 1 age and he was observed at several points.
in fact she actually said she was "disappointed" in the class teacher for writing clearly incorrect information, especially in a formal assessment.
Well if the first teacher wrote incorrect information on the assessment (which begs the question why on earth she would do that) the second one is spectacularly unprofessional to say such a thing about a colleague. She should have said that she would discuss your concerns with the teacher and get her to explain the reasoning behind them not that they are wrong end of story.
I honestly don't think you are any nearer to getting the truth and I don't think this stop-start approach is helpful. Many children end up having assessments because sometimes early concerns reveal an underlying issue and sometimes they turn out to be nothing or peter out. Demanding to hear that there is nothing wrong isn't really helping if there is some concerns - and there must be. Teachers are not in the habit of lying on assessment forms. Apart from anything it would show them up in front of other professionals who the child is sent to. The teacher who wrote the info is her main teacher.
As others have said, issues can present very differently at home than at school and you may be right, it may all be perfectly normal, But if it is something that will one day require investigation then the sooner the better. No parent wants to hear that there may be something "wrong" and often trust the judgement of friends and staff who say all is fine rather than the ones who say it may not be fine. I would still ask the teacher to explain what she wrote - she put her name to it on an official document afterall so I wouldn't just dismiss it and abandon the assessment process.
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