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Bit gutted about DS report.....

(17 Posts)
Lagoonablue Mon 13-Jul-15 19:19:43

Don't get me wrong, I am not upset at him. He works really hard and has made real inroads into maths and literacy this year. His report was full of praise for his attitude and personality. I am happy about this. What is upsetting though is that despite all of his hard work and the expensive tutor we bought in to support his maths, he is still struggling. Or so it would seem.

Info from school says at end of year 4 the target is 'secure'for yr 4 targets.

He is at end of yr 4 and report says he is only 'emerging'in the maths categories and even in literacy he is at developing. I am really surprised because he has apparently moved up 2 sets in maths. It is really hard for him.

Anyway I do know DS is only 9 and in the bigger picture maybe this stuff isn't important. I am not super ambitious for my kids, I just want them to be happy but I failed my GCSE maths and it has been a problem over the years in terms of job choices and career. I would really just like him to scrape a GCSES in maths. I know this is a few years off.

Not sure if I should just let this be and continue to support him and stop worrying. What will be will be I guess.

Any advice?

Ferguson Mon 13-Jul-15 19:36:31

As a primary TA and helper for over twenty years, this is the Numeracy advice I give for younger children. Your DS should be beyond much of this, however if the foundation of maths concepts has not been fully understood, or retained, then it might help to recap on this early stuff. The two links, particularly Woodlands School, contain exercises he may find useful.

I will also add at the end information on a book that will be useful for Literacy.

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, 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
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'.

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 :


An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing, and really help them to understand Phonics, is reviewed in the MN Book Reviews section. Just search ‘Phonics’ and my name.

Lagoonablue Mon 13-Jul-15 19:40:14

Thanks. I will look at these. I do find it so difficult to do some of this work on top of homework and the tutor homework. He finds it all too much! The tutor has been pleased with his progress so will ask why he still came in below expected levels for yr 4 despite the progress.

Thanks again.

tricot39 Mon 13-Jul-15 19:55:43

I can't advise on levels or such like, but are you completely confident with the tutor? They may be great but not a great fit for your DS? I say this as I had a tutor for physics many years ago when I struggled at school. The first tutor obviously had great experience and a good track record, but their style didn't work for me. We switched to someone else and we "clicked" much better. I enjoyed the sessions immensely and got an unexpected A. I have no doubt my result would not have been as good with the first person. Good maths teachers are few and far between so it may take a bit of experimenting to find one.

The other thing is that if you talk about how difficult maths is and how you struggled you may be inadvertently lowering the bar for your DS. He may assume it is all too hard for him and give up. If you can, try to change how you speak about it to make progress for him possible if he can try and stick with it.

Good luck

KateBeckett Mon 13-Jul-15 19:56:50

This year is the first year of the new curriculum, in which the expectations of the children have changed massively- your son will have been expected to learn things which would previously have been taught further up the school.

This year is really tricky, particularly for kids in key stage two, as the foundations they are building on from previous years are from the old curriculum. In effect he will have a lot of gaps in knowledge that need filling. He has probably made heaps of progress and learned loads, but it looks like he hasn't because the expectations of year 4 kids this year are a lot higher than they are of year 4 kids last year.

Talk to his teacher, I'm sure they will be able to reassure you.

Lagoonablue Mon 13-Jul-15 20:49:33

Thanks. I am due to see the teacher next week so will discuss the .

All this messing around with levels.......sigh.

We are not having a tutor over summer mainly because of the cost and next year will consider our options. It has made a difference but this doesn't seem to be reflected in the report. I hear what you are saying about the increased difficulty of the levels.

Thanks again all.

CarlaJones Mon 13-Jul-15 22:44:25

Seems unfair that teachers and kids have had this new curriculum foisted on them so quickly and stuff they've spent time on has been scrapped. sad

singmelullabies Mon 13-Jul-15 22:52:26

Just to reiterate what Kate said, the expectations have increased massively under the new curriculum, and if your DS is working within the Year 4 expectations, even if only 'emerging' he may well have made significant progress from where he was before.

noblegiraffe Mon 13-Jul-15 22:57:02

My friend said that her DC went from doing exceptionally well in maths last year, well above expectations, to being 'emerging' in maths this year, because of the new curriculum. If her DC is emerging, then there can't be many, if any, in the school meeting expectations.

The report was accompanied by a letter saying 'don't panic'.

HadMyTwo Mon 13-Jul-15 23:10:08

I would just like to reiterate what others have said above about the new curriculam. Our headteacher has been brilliant, he organised a talk to let parents know about the new standards required and emphasised that students are generally expected to be almost two levels ahead of where they were last year. I think your son's school should have sent out a letter at least with the new report. Hopefully you can bolster him up as I am sure he has made progress.

tricot39 Tue 14-Jul-15 13:14:37

There was a link about the change to reports on another thread:

3asAbird Tue 14-Jul-15 13:48:06

It has indeed go much harder all years bar reception yr 2 and year 6 all new curriculum our schools brought in 2 phases and had big parents meeting in sept.

My child's year 4 going into year 5 sept report just said working within only area exceeded in was music.

Report came home with this letter to explain ans make most parents feel better.

They doing stuff they should have been doing in year 5 so yes it's hard.

Year 1 year feel most for as gap between efys and old tear 1 was hard now it's even wider

WombatStewForTea Tue 14-Jul-15 14:11:04

I've got kids in my class who have made masses of profress. However because their starting point was so low, they are still working towards/emerging in their age related expectations. .

Bumpsadaisie Tue 14-Jul-15 14:51:40

About Y1 maths - think my DD got exceeding at the end of YR but only "expected" this year at the end of y1. Is that mainly due to the curriculum change do you think?

Is it now harder to get exceeding in Y1 maths?

ZetaPu Tue 14-Jul-15 18:41:08

I did the same at the start of yr5 for my ds. The tutor is great for explaining things but I still had to do extra work with my ds. I bought some bond books for his age and looked on the TES website (and others too) for worksheets to back up whatever the tutor had gone through. We did about 15-20 mins 4 to 5 times a week.
The reason I did this is because he dropped a maths set and lost all confidence in yr4. He is now working at the top of the set. I think a really good foundation in maths and English in primary school will really help them to enjoy their subjects at secondary.

Ellle Tue 14-Jul-15 19:16:08

Bumpsadaisie, it depends. The problem with this terms is that they are quite broad, and "exceeding" could mean anything from slightly above average to significantly above average (meaning the child is working 1 or more years ahead).

So if your DD was exceeding at the end of reception but no more than a year ahead, now with the implementation of the new curriculum she was probably no longer that ahead at the starting point as now they were expected to know more things or learn more things that were previously taught in Year 2.

My DS was also told he was "exceeding" at the end of reception. But having had a glance at the new curriculum of year 1 I could see he was able to do those things already. By the end of Year 1 I was told he was able to do things that were in the curriculum for Year 2 and Year 3. So in his report he got "Outstanding", which was explained as "working significantly above the expected level for Year 1".
At his school they also have categories for "working above the expected level", "working at the expected level", and "working below the expected levels".

phlebasconsidered Tue 14-Jul-15 19:49:22

The new additions to the curriculum have meant that many students who were previously fine have now been shoved down to "emerging".The new content is basically content from the next year up so it's hardly surprising all round if all Year 3, 4 and 5 students have flatlined.

I expected it with both my own children as it's what i've had to honestly say to a large proportion of my own class. The new content in SPAG and Maths in particular is astonishingly large.

Add to this the very broad definition of the terms, and the fact that there are no longer levels per se, and you have a mess. My own school has gone over to Quigley, many others are using the assertive mentoring levelling. The mess is huge. I'm still sticking to my APP sheets coupled with everything else.

Also, for what it's worth, years 3 and 4 are already the "flatline years", years 2, 5 and 6 are developmentally the years they seem to make "leaps" in my experience. I had a Level 5 student in maths this year ( just got their SATs) who was a wobbly level 2 in Year 3. And plenty more like him.

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