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Special clubs at school

(34 Posts)
AntandCleo Fri 19-Jun-15 16:01:27

DCs school apparently runs maths, handwriting and possibly other clubs in the morning before school for bright kids for all years including reception. These clubs are a bit of a mystery as they are by invitation only and when another mum asked about a teacher about them, apparently the teacher denied they existed! Both DCs are doing well at school but DS2 who is in reception is very good at maths yet has still not been invited. Just wondering what the standard is here. DS2 can count well into the hundreds, recognises numbers up to early 100s, can add and subtract and knows some of his timetables but maybe this is not enough. I feel bad as I rarely do much work with them at home apart from reading and a bit of handwriting and a bit sad that he isn't getting the opportunity to learn more that these other kids are getting. Maybe these kids are on a different level but it just surprises me that they are already so ahead when they are only in reception.

TeenAndTween Fri 19-Jun-15 16:19:18

Are you sure they are for the bright kids?
As it is only 'apparently', is it possible that they are for strugglers?
Or for children with limited parental support?
Or PP kids?

Leeds2 Fri 19-Jun-15 16:20:07

How are you actually sure that these clubs exist, if the teacher denied that they did?

BertrandRussell Fri 19-Jun-15 16:24:40

Are you sure they aren't for kids who need extra help?

PatriciaHolm Fri 19-Jun-15 16:24:41

They might be extension groups, but equally they could be support groups, or for those who require extension/support in one specific area of, say, maths; or they could not exist in the format you think at all!

We have no idea, and we can't tell you what standard would be required to be in them; different cohorts will have different requirements. I really wouldn't worry about it.

AntandCleo Fri 19-Jun-15 16:26:32

Think they are definitely for bright kids and am now certain they exist as a dad just mentioned that his daughter (in DS1's class) goes to the maths club, and a few months ago, another dad mentioned that his son was going to the handwriting club. He asked if my son was going and I said no, and he said, oh yes, it's by invitation only. This kid is known for being bright and very good at reading. Do other schools have these?

BertrandRussell Fri 19-Jun-15 16:31:50

Ask the teacher directly.

In the meantime be grateful that your 5 year old doesn't have to spend even more time in school!

AntandCleo Fri 19-Jun-15 16:33:49

Do other schools have these though? I will ask the teacher at parents evening but difficult to do so in a way that doesn't sound like "why is my child not in one?"

TeenAndTween Fri 19-Jun-15 16:34:07

Still not convinced.

I could imagine a writing club for able kids, but a hand writing sounds like needing extra support. You can be fantastic at reading but have poor handwriting.

bigchangesabound Fri 19-Jun-15 16:51:17

We had these at a school I used to work at and they were support/catch up groups but we always made them sound really good- special, invitation only (think Willy Wonka style). "Let's see how good your handwriting is..." "I know you can do these sums, you're going to find them so easy..." Type thing to boost the children so they didn't realise they were getting extra support and thought they were getting extra attention.

I also agree that you should be happy your child doesn't have to spend longer in lessons and at school, they are only 5!

BertPuttocks Fri 19-Jun-15 16:55:32

A handwriting club will almost certainly be for children who need more support. Good readers aren't always good at handwriting.

mrz Fri 19-Jun-15 16:56:00

We do invitation only before and after school groups for children who need extra input.
A bright child who is a good reader doesn't necessarily have good handwriting.

Starlightbright1 Fri 19-Jun-15 16:56:11

My DS has intervention ( although school time)for handwritting and not because he excels at it I can reassure you, quite the opposite.

You say it is a shame your children don't have an extra opportunity to learn they do... My son learns through play at home. We have games like shut the box, monopoly. he plays maths games on the laptop..At this age I have no desire for him to have extra school.

VirginiaTonic Fri 19-Jun-15 16:59:00

Eh? Why would bright kids need to do more handwriting practise? My guess is they are for strugglers and kids that need extra help in certain areas.

mrz Fri 19-Jun-15 17:04:56

I've known lots of bright kids who needed lots of handwriting practise being "clever" doesn't guarantee good motor skills

ShellyF Fri 19-Jun-15 17:21:43

Very true Mrz

Pippidoeswhatshewants Fri 19-Jun-15 17:28:08

Those kinds of sessions are almost exclusively for children who need extra support.
Please don't be one of those parents who keep asking why their dcs are not invited!

RunAwayHome Fri 19-Jun-15 17:39:44

they might well be for bright kids who are struggling more than you'd expect in particular areas - i.e., a discrepancy between what they seem capable of doing based on general ability, and their actual performance. And the shorthand that you've heard via rumour is just 'bright kids'.

PatriciaHolm Fri 19-Jun-15 18:10:05

yep, the handwriting club will be for support; there is no way they have an "extension" handwriting club! It's perfectly possible to be a very good reader, great at maths, etc but have poor handwriting (DS is a case in point and indeed has had support work for his handwriting, but extension for maths!)

Its most likely to be support for something the children are very specifically struggling with, so fractions for example which they might be expected to be able to do given their abilities elsewhere. Our school do it, and not just for the children who are generally behind; sometimes its something very specific that a few need a little more help on to get to the next stage - I think DD did a couple on subjunctive clauses, for example.

I will ask the teacher at parents evening but difficult to do so in a way that doesn't sound like "why is my child not in one?"

But that is what you are asking, isn't it really? grin

DeeWe Fri 19-Jun-15 22:01:33

I would say there are a few possibilities:
1. Some of the clubs are for G&T children. Most probably aren't and are for those who are struggling. I suspect this is unlikely.

2. It's for children who get Free School Meals. (Pupil premium) The school gets bonus money to help them. They wouldn't be the only school to use it this way.

3. They're for children that need a little bit of extra help, but they phrase it in such a way so not to give the children any impression that is the case. Unfortunately they've managed to also phrase it in such a way that they've fooled the parents too. grin I've been in the situation where a parent was telling me in all faith that their child had been invited to one of these because they were exceptional at the subject, which was very awkward.

4. They're for children who need extra help, but the parent doesn't really want people knowing that their dc are struggling so they tell people it's for the top end. They are so sure of this, that everyone accepts their version and so the story perpetuates.

5. It's done on a rota and your dc will get a chance later.

There isn't a way you can ask without the teacher knowing that really what you want to say is "Why is my child not in one?"
However you express it they will know that's what you mean.

And actually I'm not quite sure why you need to know. Either it's for the top end and your dc haven't attained as high as others in the class. Or it's for those who are struggling and your dc are not in need of it.
It's unlikely that the teachers have said "it's for the top end, but let's not invite Ant's dc despite them being good enough because she hasn't asked about it."

I would assume it's really for those who are struggling; Say "Yes that's lovely" when pushy dad comes and tells you how brilliant his dc are that they've been invited to this club; and rejoice in that you don't have to rush out of the house half an hour (or whatever) earlier grin

Mandzi34 Sat 20-Jun-15 06:40:35

In DC's school there are support groups for children who need extra help running during assembly time and they also have the odd 'invitation only' club for those who are showing talent for something. There was a maths club running and also a Science but they weren't every term and the children attending the maths club weren't the same as those attending Science. My DS is very good at maths but didn't go to the club, only one child did from his class, whereas they took at least four from the other class. I was curious but wouldn't dream of saying anything. DS and one other got sent to the RI to do a maths course which he loved and one of the parents in his class challenged the teacher as to why her son couldn't go! Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin.

mugglingalong Sat 20-Jun-15 06:54:23

Our school has these clubs mainly aimed at those who are fairly able but not particularly confident and needed help in specific areas. It was hyped up a bit in the letter and by school. We were told that it was because OFSTED said that the school was good with high achievers and those with SN but the middle achievers didn't make as much progress as they should. It did really help dd's confidence and all the children going in were children who I would guess were fairly good academically (sitting 11+) but none of the children who dd said were really good at maths. I think that the plan was to give them more confidence away from their super clever peers.

wannabestressfree Sat 20-Jun-15 07:05:22

Sometimes a school has to gear some clubs toward some specific children eg we have a theatre company in next week and its invite only (for PP children who are middle to high achieving). Perhaps it's that? Or G&T?

AntandCleo Sat 20-Jun-15 17:12:00

Thanks all. I was curious as to whether other schools have these. As to why I need to know, I don't I suppose, but I am curious as to what level you have to be to be in one of these clubs. Interesting that Mandiz says that her DC is also very good at maths and still not in the club. DS2 is good at maths but not in the maths club. DS1 is very good at storytelling yet he is not in the storytelling club which he would love and really benefit from as he spends lots of time at home writing stories - his narratives are excellent but his handwriting and spelling could be better. As I said, I just wonder why my child isn't being given opportunities other kids are. If those kids need extra help to get them up to standard then fine, but if there seems to be a lot of clubs for the brighter kids. Most of these kids do seem to kids born early in the year (Sept-Nov born) who would be ahead anyway.

AntandCleo Sat 20-Jun-15 17:15:48

PatriciaHelm, yes, I suppose I am asking that but because I want to understand what the criteria is more than because I expect DCs to go to one. If they say, yes they do exist and your DC is good at maths but not good enough to be in the club, then fine. At least there is an explanation. I would certainly not then insist that he be in the club or begrudge other kids for being in the club although I suppose there is a question over use of resources and at the school, which is quite high achieving, there seems to be a lot of focus on pushing the bright kids as well as helping the less bright kids whilst the middle or average kids don't get a look in. I feel that with DS2 especially where I am not sure the teacher knows him that well.

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