Concerns about ks2 maths- not sure if school are being helpful or are the problem?(6 Posts)
Can anyone offer us any advice?
Our dd is 8 years old in yr3 in a "good" state primary. 16 in her class and currently has two teachers on a job share. Expected levels on assessments/reports up to now.
During autumn term teacher said she was "struggling with maths". Not retaining concepts from ks1. We've been asked to work on number placement, ten more ten less and number bonds to ten. This has just been verbal. No homework sheets or tasks. I have a lot of difficulty getting dd to do her homework. She can get hysterical saying she can't do it. Tbh it's usually English and usually crosswords or rearranging sentences etc. she also has spellings and timetables. Teacher said she is ok with these! I've spoken to her teachers about homework difficulties but the response was along the lines of "you need to be more firm with her" and that no behavioural concerns in school. I've printed off work sheets and bought work books and she enjoys these. Her reading is good. Teacher said she is good at reading aloud. Comprehension one of the better ones in the class. Art work is outstanding!
I went to parents evening. Teacher said they were very concerned about her maths. They have put in an hour a week one to one and are taking her back to reception work and beyond to assess. I asked if they were concerned about dyscalcula and told no - and "don't worry - she can't be good at everything"
Tbh I felt a bit confused..... If it was little to be concerned about why have they put in an hour one to one. Am I to be grateful and think that school are going above and beyond what is expected of them or wonder why these concerns have not been identified before?
After much deliberation with hubby we found a tutor. She was very thorough, but also said that an hour is a long time in primary school day. Asked about IEP and also asked to see school maths books. I hadn't heard of an IEP. I spoke to teacher who said "no - she doesn't have an IEP as she's not bad enough to need a statement". Was reluctant to let us take maths book (seemed to be worried we might lose them) but agreed to let us "borrow" them for a week.
Tutor said she had no real concerns. Wondered if dd was getting told off for giggling at children who might be distracting her (rather than the child pulling silly faces) and also wasn't sure how dd asked for help from teacher in class. Tutor also picked up on "I can't do maths" and other negative comments.
Dd's behaviour at home deteriorated since being back at school after half term. Said she has been working with sn teacher to "work out what she can't do or has forgotten since reception!" She's not been getting to sleep until late and getting up first in the morning.
I am concerned that school are making an issue out of this, but at the same time don't want to misinterpret their help.
We moved house a few months ago and I drive past an "outstanding" school. However, 30 in a class.
I'm just not sure if we are doing the right thing? I don't know enough about how schools work to know whether to be concerned or grateful.
Try this site if she likes working on computer. By starting from very beginning, I am sure she will feel confident she can do maths. It will start from really easy stuff, but it will definitely make sure she will get it without any gaps. It's free site. My ds enjoys collecting badges. Move on to next level when she is ready.
I was a primary TA for twenty years, including many years supporting Yr2, and I agree this doesn't doesn't sound too good for Yr3.
Consider first the things she IS good at and enjoys; what are her favourite subjects/topics? Does she go to clubs? What is she like at PE, sport, games, music, drama, ICT? (re-reading your opening paragraphs, I see you have covered some of my queries.)
By Yr3 a student should be settled into the wider scope school offers, but obviously, struggling with any particular subject will jeopardise that.
Does she have suitable friends, in or out of school?
How unhappy or distressed by all of this is she? Does she have siblings?
I will give you my standard Maths information, but it may not be very relevant. The most important thing however, is UNDERSTANDING what Maths is all about, and starting to be able to use it in a variety of ways, eg science, geography, D&T craft-work etc:
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 :
[I'll look back sometime, to see your response.]
Try manga high web site as well
Look at a numicon set - just the shapes - lots of on line help
Talk about maths - use the language - more less fewer plus add etc
Thinks about how you look at time -
Talk about halves thirds when sharing food
Little and often -
I would have some concerns about your tutor's comments. You said the tutor had no real concerns about the maths but then is asking about an IEB, which the school quite correctly have indicated is for when a child has identified special needs. The fact your tutor does not appear to understand this is somewhat worrying.
It is of course sensible for the school to be giving daughter some extra input to get her back up to speed. Though I question whether actually she understood any of the concepts in years 1/2 and therefore whether the real level of capability of your daughter for maths has never been that good.
However the school have clearly pushed the wrong buttons with your daughter in trying to get her up to speed and she has responded in her belief she cannot do maths.
Difficult to know what to suggest to get her past this mental block but think that some of the suggestions that have been made are worth trying in an attempt to get daughter thinking positively about maths.
The fact that the class only has 16 in, is a luxury that most schools could not afford financially. I would certainly not see any benefit in wondering about moving to the outstanding school. It is quite likely you would not get a place and the school could actually just be an exam factory, in which case your daughter may find that even more intimidating than at present.
I would say that it's normal for a school to be reluctant to let parents take a child's maths book home. In 10+ years of primary school, the only exercise books my children have brought home mid-year are either homework books or their old books from the previous year.
The teachers have to be able to show evidence of what each child can do/has done, and the books are an important part of that. If a book is lost, that can cause a lot of problems.
My ds had problems with maths in KS2. One of the things that helped him was going back to basics to make sure there were no gaps in his knowledge. It turned out that somewhere along the way he'd developed a skill for giving the impression that he'd understood it when he really hadn't.
The problems came to light in KS2 because without secure understanding of those basics, he was unable to understand the more complicated ideas. He also had problems remembering more than one or two instructions at a time (working memory), so needed information to be given in smaller chunks.
With 1:1 help, the teacher will be able to check that your dd is really understanding what's being taught. S/he might, for example, ask your dd to explain each idea to show that she's understood.
I obviously don't know anything about your dd's needs but can tell you that the school's approach was something that worked very well for my own ds. It made a huge difference to his progress in maths and his self-confidence in the subject.
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