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Very bright child "bored" at school

(96 Posts)
2ndSopranosRule Mon 30-May-16 09:30:55

I know this will be seen as one massive stealth boast so apologies in advance!

Dd1 is nearing the end of Y3 and has had a miserable year. She's been bullied which is one thing, but she's desperately unhappy with the 'work' side of things because she says she's bored.

She's more or less top of the class across the board and way ahead of her peers in some areas. Gifted (or whatever it's called now!) in a couple. She does music as an extra curricular activity and it's becoming apparent she has real talent on one instrument. Dd will practice rather than play/go on the laptop.

Her Y2 teacher was very good at differentiation and dd flourished as a result. The Y3 teacher less so. In fact one of the things put in place to resolve the bullying was to move dd onto a lower ability table so she'd be wirh friends rather than the bully.

I am starting to become concerned that dd may become so sufficiently bored at school she'll switch off. What can I do to help as she gets into y4? My ideal would be to move her to private but we can't afford that.

TeenAndTween Mon 30-May-16 10:03:01

Does the school recognise and agree with your description of her being 'very bright' and 'way ahead in some areas'?

You need to talk with the school about appropriate differentiation.
The y2 teacher managed it, the y3 didn't.
For y4 you need a plan with the new teacher and possibly the SENCO on how appropriate differentiation will be achieved.

lljkk Mon 30-May-16 10:03:51

What is school doing about the bullying?

2ndSopranosRule Mon 30-May-16 10:32:11

It was the school that flagged up her abilities in Reception: at that point we had no idea. Yes, they agree and in Y2 we did have SENCO involvement so she's on the radar as it were.

We don't get to find out who she'll get in y4 until right at the end of term (two form entry).

Re the bullying. One thing that was put in the place was moving dd off the bully's table to a lower ability group so she'd be with friends. I wasn't at all happy with that but mercifully dd didn't cotton on - she's only 8 so was just happy to be with friends - and suffice to say teacher moved her back after a few weeks.

The parent support staff member organised a series of friendship discussion groups for dd, her friends and the bully.

lljkk Mon 30-May-16 11:02:10

Now your DD is back sitting with the bullying child?
Is your DD not bullied now?

Why couldn't she work on the same 'harder' material but sitting with her friends on the 'lower' table? The way material is presented in DC's primary, the teacher gives same talk to everyone but individual tables get different worksheets, so possible to have a different worksheet from others at your table.

ime, school is 90% about the social life & if bright kids are happy socially then they will be satisfied with the level of work given.

Ratty667 Mon 30-May-16 12:21:52

school is 90% about the social life & if bright kids are happy socially then they will be satisfied with the level of work given.

^ god no, that's not how it is for my gifted child. He's in year one, youngest in the class but miles ahead of his class. He can do column addition in maths and knows all of his times tables. ( as an example)

In my experience they can't really stretch him. ( they just tell me not to do any further work at home) he gets very bored with the basic stuff that he has to sit through. He's very sociable and has lots of friends but that doesn't make up for the boring lessons.

Our school is shit, they don't really like the outliers.

lljkk Mon 30-May-16 12:35:42

School is inherently boring for lots of kids, though. The dim ones are most bored of all, because they are both demoralised & bored.

Most of the time spent in school is spent socialising or else being bored witless by standing in line, enduring the droning on assemblies, waiting for teacher or other kids, waiting for lunch, etc. Not being given hard enough math-English-science problems is the very least of the opportunities for boredom.

I was a highly gifted child & I only tuned out when I became depressed because of being bullied. I watch something similar happen to my DC1 & DC3. But DC2 who has always found a brilliant social life: relished and created her own intellectual challenges.

I will stop saying this though, nobody on MN wants to hear it like 99% of the other stuff I ever post

irvineoneohone Mon 30-May-16 12:40:58

Ratty, it may get better next year with different teacher. The strategy my ds worked out in yr1 was make your own game. ie. If they are doing number bonds, use decimals, fractions, powers, etc. to make it more interesting. Multiplication he was trying to figure out things like 49X 49 without actually doing it, but doing 50 x 50 - 50 -49, etc. I think it's easier if you can entertain yourself.

I don't think my ds is stretched this year, but he loves school and enjoying it very much.

Ratty667 Mon 30-May-16 13:09:43

He does that Irvine, he sets his own maths tests when he has finished the school ones.

I don't think it will get much better, the next teacher is an NQT and not that great, according to other parents.

We do stretching work at home, it's the best solution as the current teacher "can not work that far ahead of curriculum" he's a gifted reader and they don't do any kind of guided reading due to there not being anyone it that class ( or the next) at his level.

School is boring when you can do it already, I'm sure it's boring when you can't do it, as well as demoralising and upsetting.

A good school will stretch I'm sure, ours will not.

YellowPrimula Mon 30-May-16 13:22:23

Don't rule out independent schools many offer considerable bursaries sometimes up to 100% I would do some research and talk to a few .You need to find a school that will fit his needs , independent schools differ greatly from each other, but it's definitely worth exploring if you are genuinely unhappy with the existing school.

In my experience with children at both ends of the academic spectrum a good independent school can stream sideways( good state schools do this too) it's not just about what they do in the classroom it's all the other stuff that keeps them interested and stimulated .People often say "well the independent school has the same exam results as the state so why pay",but for me with a very bright child it's what he does as well as getting the exams.

LadyMonicaBaddingham Mon 30-May-16 13:37:41

and don't listen to 'other parents' about the 'quality' of a particular teacher's work. Some parents are always biased against NQTs and so there may well be a whole other back story to it. DS2 was in an NQT's very first class last year and positively thrived... Also beware of using the term 'bullying' to SMT, it's a very emotive and loaded term that in my experience could will put them on the defensive straightaway. Just describe the problem/issues without using the big B if you can smile.

eyebrowsonfleek Mon 30-May-16 13:45:43

I have 3 kids (and friends) so this is anecdotal and will probably get flamed from teachers but in my experience, weak and/or inexperienced teachers are often allocated y3 where as y2 is an exam year so they often get a more experienced teacher.
In terms of progress, my children made brilliant progress in y2 and plateaued/seemingly stalled in y3 and I heard similar in the playground. Y4 and y5 were great years for progress and they went to schools that focused heavily on SATs prep so y6 was a slow progress year.

enochroot Mon 30-May-16 13:48:52

We endured this. DD is 23 now but she spent 5 years in primary school bored out of her mind. I can honestly say she learned nothing there which she had not already learned at home. She did have a very good Y2 teacher who spotted her potential, especially in Maths, but the next year it went back to sheer boredom while things were repeated ad nauseam for the kids who didn't get it. DD said she'd go mad if they all had to do 5 add 5 once more. It was rated highly by OFSTED but a massive act was put on during the inspection. All lessons were geared to getting as many as possible to average in SATS so the anyone who was already a safe bet was ignored.
There was bullying too and in Y5 DD had had enough so we moved her to a different primary school for Y6. The headteacher there was quite simply the best teacher I've ever seen. He worked them very hard but made the work fun. DD blossomed and found herself being stretched for the very first time.

My advice would be to keep on stimulating and encouraging your DD at home. Make it clear that there is absolutely no reason why she shouldn't aim high for her own satisfaction and be proud of her ability.
Foster the music - my DD found herself amongst like-minded high achievers when she was mingling with people in local orchestras and got into a Saturday conservatoire in her teens. This further stretched her mind.
Meanwhile look at nearby schools. If you ever hear a parent muttering that the children at such and such a school are expected to work very hard then apply for your DD to go there!
It gradually gets better in secondary school when streaming kicks in.

TheWindowDonkey Mon 30-May-16 13:58:07

OP, althgh private may not be an option have you thought about home ed? We took ours out in September and they have flourished because of all the one on one attention.
Neither Dh or I are teachers but you don't need to be, there are so, so many resources availavle online and a huge amount of people already home edding in the Uk who happily pass on tips and experiences.
Nor do you have to follow a curriculum, you can go withthe kids flow and follow a topic to the depth that suits them and ours seem to learn much more than they ever did at school because they grasp very early on that 'learning' doesn't just happen at a desk, in a classroom and so are looking for opportunities to find out more about things that interest them at all hours of the day.
The social side of things has been fantastic for us and we struggle to find free time as there is opportunity to meet up with others every day...I also love the fact that kids of all ages hang out together which has been truly enriching for our kids.
It's not for everyone, school works brilliantly for some and I would never advocate taking a happy child out of a school setting, but if it isn't working for you then H.E is legal and a brilliant alternative. PM me if you'd like more info about it, I'd behappy to chat offline.

2ndSopranosRule Mon 30-May-16 15:15:00

Home Ed isn't an option for various reasons not least because I work. There only other local school I'd even start to consider is a Catholic school and I don't want that at all.

Dd's already playing in a string ensemble and she's being very much pushed by her teacher.

Her current class teacher is an NQT and I do think lack of experience may have something to do with it. In every other respect I like this teacher very much I should say.

WhattodoSue Mon 30-May-16 16:40:40

Our school have said that they are not allowed to teach beyond the NC curriculum for each year (for Maths at least). Because the emphasis is on mastery, it means that you can't learn more (in terms of content) than what is prescribed by the government.

I may be wrong, but I actually think think that the NC, whilst insisting that people teach the individual child, makes it difficult.

I was also told that things ramp up a little in Years 4, 5 & 6, and so at those stages it gets a little more engaging for the more able children (because all children are now 'required' to meet a level which was previously considered exceeding), and just really tough for the less able students. I'd be curious to know if teachers agree with that!!

irvineoneohone Mon 30-May-16 16:57:12

If you compare the previous KS2 sats and this year's, it is very obvious the expectations are higher, especially the reasoning papers. So hopefully, they will get a bit more interesting for more able children as they move to upper primary. Mastery thing seems quite good imo.

www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/46689

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 30-May-16 17:15:12

I've got a lot of sympathy for lljkk's perspective, even if the child can have individual attention that extends and challenges them, there's still a lot of the group work and whole class teaching which will be boring because it's too easy. Just like for kids at the opposite end of the ability spectrum will be bored as it'll be so far over their heads. Providing the differentiation for the outliers on both ends will still require strategies for managing boredom by the individuals.

Boredom as purely a negative would suggest to me a lack of interest in challenging yourself. Self motivated learners will use the time provided by the boredom their advantage to engage their own interests, harder of course if your ways of learning are all being taught by another. I suspect the bullying is really the drag, which makes any environment much more of a drag.

OwnedByACat Mon 30-May-16 21:22:16

I would suggest expanding horizons outside school - museums/books and khan academy?

purplebud Mon 30-May-16 22:56:50

Do they not run g and t groups for maths/English for those that need stretching? Or do schools not do that anymore?

2ndSopranosRule Tue 31-May-16 06:55:13

Thanks for all the comments.

They did do gifted and talented groups last year but I'm wondering if that was to do with SATs.

Music's the thing she does at home to stretch herself: she plays her main instrument for hours on end finding anything she can to play.

sparepantsandtoothbrush Tue 31-May-16 15:01:51

I was also told that things ramp up a little in Years 4, 5 & 6, and so at those stages it gets a little more engaging for the more able children

DS is year 6 and I can honestly say he's learnt nothing new in maths since year 3. He's had a great time socially but academically it's been a real struggle for him to be engaged. We're counting down the days until he leaves and hoping secondary school is more of a challenge.

irvineoneohone Tue 31-May-16 20:00:10

www.khanacademy.org/math

nrich.maths.org/frontpage

wild.maths.org/

artofproblemsolving.com/

brilliant.org/

www.mathematicshed.com/

catkind Tue 31-May-16 22:07:00

They can only make up their own challenges and games if they're allowed to do that by the teacher. In Ds case i think he would have to be explicitly told to make up his own sums, he's so nervous of doing something wrong and losing behaviour points.

irvineoneohone Tue 31-May-16 22:17:39

I don't think my ds ever asked the teacher for permission. He just done it once he's finished assigned work, mostly on the back of the work sheet. Teacher commented positives, but never been told off or had negative comment.

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