Utterly pissed off with school(17 Posts)
Aibu? I might well be - work and life are stressful at the mo.
In reception, I started having doubts about my school. Dd was bringing home old look and say books and not progressing with her reading. I bought her the Songbirds books, and her reading ability shot up. It was great to see.
In year 1, I was told she "just didn't get maths" and was asked if I could help at home (which I was already doing). So I did and, this year (year 2), even hired a tutor over the Easter holidays. Feedback from bemused tutor: "with dd, you just have to explain things once, she gets it and does it. She's easy to teach." News to me.
In addition, she hasn't brought back a single book matching her reading level this year. Her class doesn't stock them so she helps herself from a box with random books that have been discarded. She often brings home reception level books. So I bought and borrowed lots and lots of books to keep her going.
Then, last night, after a shitty day at work, dd brought home a writing book as "she is one of the children who needs to practice with her parents at home". Silly me, after all the reading and maths done at home, I had hoped the school would cover the writing perhaps.
Is you school like this? Is this normal? Or not?
Go in and ask them to discuss her problems in maths and writing with you would be my first step.
The school does sound very slack on the book front. Personally, though, (and as a teacher) I have always felt it was my job to help with my dc's reading. School provides the building blocks but parents HAVE to give the children lots and lots of opportunity to read if they want their child to progress (it's a logistical impossibility with 30 children per class for the teacher to devote hours listening to them read).
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that your dd is not putting in a lot of effort in school though! I have taught many bright children who have not performed on paper as well as they could do - it is beyond frustrating. That could be worth considering.
Having said all that, the not providing of ability appropriate reading materials is woeful. It sounds like all your info is coming from your child. I would go into the school and see the teacher before you start frothing too much on that front.
How is the school generally regarded? Has it had a recent ofsted?
That isn't normal for us, no.
Ask for a meeting with her teacher and discuss it.
Are there any other schools locally she could possibly move to, if it comes to that?
I also think that reading is my responsibility. I've read pretty much every night to my daughter since she was a few months old and love it. But the school has been awful at providing the right materials. I'm glad my own school wasn't like that. My parents didn't read - I would have fallen behind if my school hadn't been behind me.
On the maths front, we've done lots and lots of drills. She didn't know any of her number bonds at the beginning of the year. That was the biggest problem, I think. Not that the school ever put it that clearly. Feedback from them ranges from "doesn't get it" to a range of facial expressions.
The school does ok at maths in sats but is often under national average for reading and writing, which is no wonder. When I asked how they taught cursive, I was told "we just tell them to attach" and basically get on with it.
I've tried to find another school but not easy.
I must be honest, the reading material thing has been an issue with two good schools I have experience of. If the school isn't set up so parents can change books in the KS1, then it is down to the teachers/TA's. The schools never have time to change every day, and in my experience, not enough books to be able to give children multiple books.
BUT that isn't the same problem as them not having anything for your DD to read. That is just odd. If she has gone beyond their levels, they should have library books to choose from!
For the rest - it sounds pretty poor but I agree, talk to the teacher.
Just to respond on the books thing...
To restrict your DD to books that are at the wrong reading level just because that's what's available in the classroom seems very wrong.
My DD's teacher or TA takes her to another class twice per week to choose her books. She's only in Reception, but I would expect that, by year 2, she would be sent by herself to select a book from the appropriate box in another classroom.
I find you do have to pad out what the schools do quite a bit. We tend to mix up the school books which are often quite stultifyingly boring with home books. We've also had lots of issue where books are defaced or have pages missing so it's often best not to rely on it.
The reading level should be appropriate though. Do they just not have any books of the right level or is there a supply issue?
They should however not be saying she just doesn't 'get' maths especially as you've proven that she actually has no problem.
You need to go in and find out if they are willing to take this on board or you may have to look for another school, or pay for tutors.
School doesn't sound great. But by Y2 I would expect a child to be able to select a book of a certain colour band independently. Or are you saying there are no correct band (for her) books in the box?
Our school isn't like that at all.
When mine have had any issues with their school-work, the attitude has always been "DC is struggling with maths and this is what we're going to deal with it." The school arranged for them to join intervention groups and made sure that they were given more support in the classroom.
They have never just left it to me to deal with at home.
No, that's not been my experience. It sounds to me like you need to talk to the teacher directly and get her to expand beyond 'pulling faces!'. I am amazed your school would' have suitable reading material at all - my two (both reading well above average) were never short of material - sometimes meant borrowing books from main library/other classes - which was always facilitated. Sometimes there were patches where the books were dull/not to their taste, though.
I would go into school and get the teacher to talk you through the specifics of the problem:
- exactly what areas of writing does she need help with; can they give you some examples of where she should be aiming/what the expectations are; what elements would be helpful to practice at home and how should you help her
- ditto with maths.
And ask for another session to catch up at the end of the term - what she needs to practice should have changed by then, so get an update so you can keep helping over the holidays.
If they won't help in that way, then I'd be worried!
- And certainly challenge the reading thing - if they don't have books, then I would suggest that
they need to buy some but more likely imo they just aren't facilitating your dd's choices - or your dd hasn't understood what she is allowed to do - and is just quietly getting on with it and no-one has noticed. Not great, but not an 'all guns blazing' scenario imo. OR, get permission for her to read suitable library books and build a fortnightly library session into your schedule.
Doesn't sound like our school either. Agree with suggestions to take it up with teacher, and if that's not satisfactory, head and chair of governors. If you can get the maths tutor to write a short report and take examples of what she's doing/did. Collins maths work books are quite good, but really school should be leading on interventions.
Select books with her from the local library; if you want to do writing practice, get her to write short reviews to hand in?
Has she potentially got hearing or concentration issues?
If she gets it once with being explained then she may not be listening/hearing the explanations in school. It's much easier for any child to concentrate one to one at home with nothing else going on. Quite common for a child to pick up much quicker at tutoring even if they don't struggle with that (my dm's a maths tutor) though.
I feel your pain and similar issues are leading me to move my DC from state primary to an independent. Back in the olden days my teachers taught me. Nowadays it seems parents are essential if you want your DC to be even average. I really pity the poor DCs whose parents can't/won't help them. However on a bright note your school sounds a nightmare and an extreme example. You alone are never going to change the culture. Try another school!
My DD may be going to the same school as yours! But she's a few years older and has had a couple of excellent teachers in KS2 so I've been able to do much less at home and she is still progressing well. Late in yr r was told she was not progressing with reading. But I taught her over the summer holidays with few issues. Then in yr 1 I was told she was not improving in maths, again a bit of home tuition helped and she seemed to pick things up well. Yr 2 was writings turn but I can't say I had much impact here, and was lost at what to do, teaching writing is hard! I have in the end concentrated on spelling and hand writing, and have definitely helped here, plus grammar every now and again where I can identify a problem, but as her grammar is good anyway, there has not been much need. We are rural so I have stuck with the school , otherwise it would be a long commute. My take is that she needed more 1:1 than the school could provide when she was in KS1. I was really very worried when she was in yr 2 & 3 as I felt I could not help her enough & the school was unresponsive, but the school's teachers in KS2 are great so I am not really doing much at home now, just testing spellings and tables and checking that homework is getting done.
Can I recommend Oxford owl? There are lots of younger readers books and they read to the child - so two way help - it's free - but a larger selection on paid - I haven't paid so don't know what it's like - the free stuff seems fine -
Not all are read to the child - but it's a good idea!
I would make an appointment to see the teacher ASAP. I would ask what progress your DD has made this year in reading, writing and maths. The school should have detailed information to give you. They should also have sufficient reading material for all abilities of children so do ask what books she should be able to access. Where my DDs went to school, years R, Y1 and Y2 all accessed books from the same central reading area. Is your school doing this? Or maybe good readers have to go onto books held elsewhere. Ask what their reading book policy is. You will be expected to hear her read and using your local library can supplement reading material.
Also schools should have held info evenings on the new curriculum. Has your school had any of these?
Ask what topics have been covered in maths and what she needs to practice. Ask how you can help. Have you been to any parents' evenings? Usually the teacher talks about the curriculum and if your child has made the progress that is expected. Put the school on the spot and ask this about all subjects.
If the school has progress below the national average it may indicate it is a poor school or that children start the school with low attainment and struggle to catch up because teaching is not outstanding. Also, how well do they cater for bright children? It does not sound a very inspiring school to me.
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