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What provision should be made for 'more able' students?

(81 Posts)
JammieDodgem Fri 03-Mar-17 14:11:35

I know the old G&T scheme is no longer a thing but when it was it seemed all primary schools had a policy available on the website and locally I was aware of more able primary pupils going to workshops at local secondaries etc.

I now have 2 dc at primary and both are doing well but I feel their needs are not being especially well catered for. My yr 2 child is well ahead of where she needs to be for the summer SATS and I feel that for this reason she's not being given much attention at all. I'm not especially into pushing her on or her being treated differently but I am really concerned that she doesn't feel particularly engaged or excited by what's going on. The school doesn't seem to offer much to enrich the curriculum and no lunch or after school clubs so I keep her busy and interested outside of school but am beginning to feel I want more from her school experience. There doesn't seem to be any policy or requirement for them to lay out their strategies for those doing well.

Is that reasonable? How do other schools manage these situations?

Tomorrowillbeachicken Fri 03-Mar-17 14:21:19

From what I can work out with my DS who is in reception our school differentiates work home and also will teach out of school year if a child is advanced in maths or English. They have no policy that I am aware of.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Fri 03-Mar-17 14:23:00

I'm also having to teach ahead atm in phonics as he needs them for his reading books but they aren't teaching them. Also been asked to help him with next steps at home in maths in our case.

JammieDodgem Fri 03-Mar-17 14:30:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JammieDodgem Fri 03-Mar-17 14:33:12

Haha wrong thread!

That's interesting *tomorrow *I've been told that they no longer advocate teaching 'further on' and just try and broaden rather than accelerate .

Okite Fri 03-Mar-17 14:37:06

My DD (yr 1) is ahead of the rest of her class. She has phonics and maths lessons with the yr 2 class and also one to one time with the teaching assistant to do extension work.
We do get stuck with the school reading books though, despite her having been reading long chapter books since reception, school still insist on giving her 'easy' chapter books as her reading book. Instead of moving her on, they give her comprehension questions to answer instead. Breadth instead of accelerating was exactly their reasoning for this!

JammieDodgem Fri 03-Mar-17 14:59:09

My dc is just left to go to the library for her reading books and no one ever looks at her reading record or checks what she's reading which is the opposite problem but makes her (and me) feel like becaise they know she can read no ones bothered what she is up to.

It's great your daughter gets TAtime - I think that would really help and encourage my dc

irvineoneohone Fri 03-Mar-17 16:03:29

Reading at our school seems good. They jump levels, don't mind children reading from home/library etc. from reception, as long as they read regularly. But KS1 sats results seems to be good.

In Ks1, my ds was sent to year or 2 year groups above for English and maths.
But it didn't really work out, since it wasn't constant, he can't go today because we are doing this, or they are doing this today, etc., ended up stopping and starting. Anyways, the work in higher year groups weren't challenging enough anyway.

Since ks2, it all went dead. They can't send him to higher year groups due to time tabling issues, but not really doing anything in his year group to extend either.

I hope your school isn't like this, but we gave up completely at school to do something about it.

How is your school doing? If the school get good results overall, and if there are other able children, I think there's hope. But if the school is generally low achieving like my ds' , they put more effort in to bringing up whole year, rather then try to extend one outelier children.

I stopped getting stressed up about what he does at school, he enjoys school, that's what's important for us. Luckily, he doesn't get bored by school work at all, he always to seems to find the way to entertain himself some how. And I give him access to higher level of learning at home, without a limit.

AppleMagic Fri 03-Mar-17 16:09:44

Dd is in reception. One of her classmates is a free reader and does some extension stuff with year 1. Dd and a few classmates do "challenges" in a different classroom during phonics time. I think it's quite easy for her school to differentiate though because it's huge (4 form entry) and it's private (international school abroad) so class size is under 20 with full time TA support.

JammieDodgem Fri 03-Mar-17 18:00:51

Thanks Irvine - I can't really get to grips with how the school is performing as there have been so many changes. Friends that have able children that have gone through have been happy with their experience but they seemed to have the workshops etc that so far haven't even been mentioned to us. I've always been quite laid back about what happens in school as both dc have been happy and keen to go in, and we do loads of extra curricular stuff outside of school. However, that's changed recently for dc1 and she's not as keen to go in, having a few friendship issues and I'd really like to feel she was more engaged whilst there.

Apple I think class size is a big issue here as with 30 children and a lot of them having particular needs it's virtually impossible for the teacher to give time to dc1 and I can see that they're more likely to spend time getting others to the 'line' than bothering with the ones already over it. And I don't know if I can change that confused

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 10:02:56

we raised this recently, DD has been 2 reading levels behind all year, we were told to read more with her at home. We've got 30 in the class too and I agree I don't think they can adequately challenge all of the kids.

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 10:03:39

i mean the school has her on 2 reading levels below the one she should be on, not that she's behind! Mondays...

JammieDodgem Mon 06-Mar-17 11:09:32

What year is she in Fake?

DH and I have agreed we need to look around at some other local schools to see what they offer the more able so we can have realistic expectations of her current school or feel more sure that we need to move her.

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 11:13:34

she's in the second year (P2 in Scotland) we did do that on Friday - we found that reassuring as we went to look at a (too expensive) private school and whilst they'd keep pushing her on, it's clear that she's way in advance of their P2 class as well so whilst it's not ideal, I am just going to have to find time to do more adventurous reading with her at home.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 06-Mar-17 11:14:08

What does two reading levels below even mean?

Tomorrowillbeachicken Mon 06-Mar-17 11:17:48

JammieDodgem I am wondering about the breadth over acceleration thing tbh. I have been ask to teach next steps though so am doing some of those.
As for the reading I'm having to teach the next steps so that he can read the book band he is on. Last half term he accelerated through book bands fast and because he seems to find it easier I'm just helping as most of the schools energy needs to be spent on the lower end or on the majority as the school has quite a lot of children starting behind where they need to.

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 11:25:40

it means the books she's on are much too easy for her, it's boring her which is a bad thing to get used to being at school

CycleOnTheLEFT Mon 06-Mar-17 11:28:19

Have you spoken to your teachers? They may be able to reassure about some of this. I have a similar issue with a Yr2 who is extremely capable. I had a chat with the teacher and was reassured by what she said; she was finding ways to encourage healthy competition between the more able kids in the class and was giving them challenging problems that weren't obvious to us (eg weren't reflected in the homework, which seemed too basic).
I also have a Yr5 who would have been G&T in several areas under the old scheme. The differentiation is much more clear at Yr5 level and I have no doubt that she is being engaged and encouraged appropriately.

JammieDodgem Mon 06-Mar-17 11:28:56

That's interesting Fake - we def can't afford private fees so haven't really looked locally but would be v interesting to know how other schools plan for these pupils.

Tomorrow-our school really do need to give a lot of time to the many pupils with specific difficulties and hothouse struggling and I've always been supportive but recently I feel my dc need a bit of time and input too.

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 11:36:17

yes, my DD's teacher is lovely and a very kind woman and she has 30 kids in her class, no room to move DD to the next set and suggested we read harder things at home, which we do.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 06-Mar-17 11:41:06

I know what reading levels are Fakenewsday and after Orange level, books are not very different between levels, difference between two levels is pretty indistinguishable and the classification is pretty meaningless. DD often gets all sorts of books at all different sorts of evels, and they have all been readable by her. The interest and "too easy" purely comes from the subjact matter not the level. What does too easy even mean when reading a book, it's just a means for transferring story or poetry or facts.

Of course that assumes we're talking about levels once the phonic knowledge is complete enough to read any word, but by P2 I'm sure that must be true of anyone considered "more able".

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 11:42:16

not sure what your helpful point is fred? Except you think I'm some sort of wally smile

Fakenewsday Mon 06-Mar-17 11:43:18

by the way, my DD doesn't get an exciting mix of reading books, they were stuck on ORT level 6 for at least a term, just book after book in that series, then level 7 and 7-8 but there is no mixing up being done.

bojorojo Mon 06-Mar-17 11:50:11

Where I am a Governor, I know we have our children working on different levels of work in the same classroom. From Y5 they are split into sets but only with the less able being in a separate ability group.

I think that no-one is addressing the quality of teaching here. It is not necessarily 30 in the class that is the problem or no state school child would ever get to Oxbridge on that analysis! It is quality of teaching - every time. It takes a lot more effort to diferentiate work and plan the breadth of work some children need. We have links to our local grammar school for Maths advice and, fortunately, very able teachers as well.

Why do you not ask what the teachers are doing for each topic in the cirriculum and ask, very specifically, how they are expanding the topics. If they know their stuff, they can tell you. If they do nothing, then I agree there is a problem. It should be perfectly possible to work with the school on expanding topics. There dhould also be a choice of after-school clubs, enrichment activities and trips.

Labelling a child didn't really do that much. It was always the quality of teaching that mattered. Sadly, a lot of you seem to have average quality teaching with no imagination or skill. In addition, I have been a Governor at a school where children were labelled gifted and talented and they were nothing of the kind. They were just better than the others in their class, but would have been less good than plenty of others in "leafy" schools. Hardly any passed the Bucks 11 plus, for example, and that included a child who had been accelerated into the year above.

Also, be very careful about perceiving that private schools are better. I have seen dreadful teaching in one near me. Few of those teachers would have had a job in a state school, their qualifications were doubtful and they could not manage a class of 15, let alone 30. I can truly assure you, poor teaching is poor whether there are 15 or 30 in the class. You may find there are more brighter children in the private school, or you may not. That will depend on the schools, state and private.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 06-Mar-17 11:52:44

Fakenewsday I think my point was reading levels once phonic level is complete are not about reading for story etc. but about exposure to different types of book that there's no need to rush through. For actual interest in what you're reading we were told to read more with her at home - is the sensible advice.

A stage 6 ORT book for an able reader is going to take 5 minutes, I can't see how it's a chore, or what's to be gained by giving them a stage 8 or 9?

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