Sudden meeting with SENCO(14 Posts)
Just looking for advice really.
We moved house about 9 months ago and were given a place at a 'Good' infant school (with a linked 'Inadequate' Junior school) across down. A place came up at our local catchment school so we moved him. He started this term. It's an 'outstanding' school that is very academic. They stream the kids. He was put into the highest stream based on feedback from his last school.
He's a bright kid with above average reading skills that loves writing. He's also very creative and is forever constructing things. We've been told by his old schools that he is 'expected' levels and will probably achieve 'exceeding' in most of them at the end of Key Stage 1.
Fast forward to now and we've been told that he has massive gaps in his phonics and is behind in his cursive writing. I've been called to a meeting with SENCO next week to discuss what 'steps need to be taken'. The teacher also told me that she's been having a 'hard time figuring him out'.
To our (non-teacher but professional background eyes) his skills are excellent for a 6 year old and we have no concerns at all (he's 7 in July). We do a little extra reading, writing and maths at home.
Last week we practiced his (first ever) spelling test and he got 10/10 three times. When he took it at school he only got 5/10... The teacher also came and spoke to me saying he didn't know the alphabet phonetically. I asked him to say it to me on the way home...he knew it all. Yes his writing could be neater but it is improving all the time.
It's almost like they think he's less capable than he is. He is very laid back about school (and always has been). He says that he's happy and it's as much fun as his last one. He is a bit of an introvert and doesn't like being put on the spot.
What questions should I be asking at the meeting? We're really not concerned about his ability so is it more about focusing at school? I'm happy for them to do extra work if they think it's needed but other than his writing I'm not sure it is!
Is he bored.. if he's bored and sees it easy is it a case that he be bothered?
It's hard to know without seeing his writing. Also he's a summer born child so some of the children in his class will be almost a year older than him. That makes a big difference. It sounds a bit strange to me if he was 'expected progress ' at the end of year one. Although it's also puzzling that you were told that he would be exceeding by the end of year 2. That's really odd - how could they possibly know?
Thing is you think his skills are great for his age-but his teachers do see a number of children of the same age, so you need to go in knowing that is the case.
I've certainly had conversations with other parents who have told me how brilliant their child is and from my knowledge of having had 3 dc through that age I have known (but not said) that it isn't anything like brilliant-but we're all amazed by our own dc aren't we? After all, it was only yesterday we were phoning granny to tell them she said "mama"?<glares at 16yo>
It could be that they think there's an issue, it could be that they feel he's not performing at his ability. Either way look on I as a good thing they're concerned and proactive.
With the spelling test, that's perfectly normal, to get full marks in quiet at home with parents and to drop considerably in school.
It may be that his previous school overestimated him. It could be his current one has underestimated. Again, you need to discuss-but do bear in mind it is totally normal for a child to perform better out of school.
The previous school may have been much less rigorous on things like phonics, and he does have gaps where they hadn't covered, but his new school did. It's great they've picked that up rather than just leaving him to sink or swim.
Go in with a positive "great they want to help him" attitude rather than the "humph they're insulting him (and me)" and you will get much more out of a meeting.
Thanks for all the feedback.
Yes I agree that we are very biased with regards to how great he is doing! ;>)
And yes I think a positive attitude going in would be best - I do think it's great that they are picking him out to tackle his gaps rather than just leaving him to plod along.
I did try to quiz him a bit more and he said that he sometimes 'his brain gets tired'. I do think this school is a bit more full on in terms of work than his previous school.
I agree one of the parents told me what a brilliant reader their seven year old was but he was below average in the class.
Go along with an open mind you are lucky they are putting things in place for him so quickly. Listen and learn how to help him.
As a side issue it does really does make me sad that there is such a variation in educational provision across schools. It looks like we've managed to land ourselves with a great school. Everyone wants their kid to fufil their potential.
The think that jumps out at me is he has had a lot of change, his 3rd school and he is only in yr 2. It may be he has missed chunks of phonics with all the moves and likewise may have been taught a different handwriting style in previous schools. If he is an introvert plus new boy he may be wanting to blend into the background not demonstrating to teacher his abilities. I'd go into the meeting with an open mind and take things from there.
Ruu I agree with your comment about variation in educational provision across schools! Different schemes, different policies on so many things including homework, different expectations in all sorts of directions...
Good luck at the meeting: is sounds like the school really care, which is a great place to start!
He might still be coming 'out of his shell' at the new school.
I think I would go along with an open mind and listen to what steps the SENCO is suggesting are the way forward. Any that go something like "we are not sure that this is the right school for your son" would see me camped outside the head teachers office, 10 seconds after it was said.
I sincerely hope that this is not the case and that the SENCO is going to put in place some catch up work. That is what is required so that son catches up in the bits that may have got left behind in the various moves. You do need to accept that each school will do things a bit differently and hence it is possible for there to be some gaps.
Also, bear in mind that teachers cannot read minds - if he is not showing what he is able to do at school, the teacher has to go on what he/she sees, not what you say.
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