Year 6 and very behind, what can we do to help?

(47 Posts)
GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 10:03:41

Ok, so firstly this isn't my child and quite complicated situation. He's currently living with his/my grandparents. But recent sats practise results have come back and in all areas he's significantly below where he'd be expected to be. In maths he didn't get a single question correct in any of the three papers.
No sen that's been diagnosed, but school are aware that he struggles in particular with attention. Although I'm not convinced they're doing enough in that regards, there isn't much I can do about that at the moment.

He brings home sats workbooks for maths homework but really struggles to do it. I tried at the weekend and really went through it and he seemed to be getting it, but says he forgets once he's done it.
Grandparents can't afford a tutor and don't feel confident teaching him, I'm happy to go help with the homework issues, but looking for any tips on workbooks/apps etc that might help in general maths or really any other advice. He's very negative about his abilities and that's the main thing I think needs work on so don't want to overload him. I wondered if some easier year 4/5 work books might help to maybe fill in the gaps that I think he's obviously got. Or is it best to just focus on mental maths times tables, addition etc?

Literacy wise, we're just focusing on reading and spelling. His spelling is really appalling, still spelling very common words wrong. I find teaching spelling a difficult thing to teach, I'm guessing it's just practise, practise. His handwriting is surprisingly ok joined up and quite neat.

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hazeyjane Mon 27-Jan-20 10:06:02

What are school saying with regards to this?

LeekMunchingSheepShagger Mon 27-Jan-20 10:39:01

I think the first thing you need to do it talk to the school and find out exactly what’s going on. It sounds like he must have been falling behind for a long time.

GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 10:58:12

Thank you @hazeyjane and @LeekMunchingSheepShagger. We're struggling to get anything from the school because we aren't parents. That's being resolved but may take some time, so don't really want to wait, if that makes sense. His mum said school know he struggles but they think it's that he just doesn't try/pay attention. She's now not engaging at all though so getting nothing from her. Trying to get our father to go in to speak to school with myself or grandparents, but honestly I've got more chance of winning the lottery. My mum is a teacher but early years and it's awkward circumstances so I don't really want to ask her too much. But she was the one who suggested times tables/mental maths and spellings.

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Apple23 Mon 27-Jan-20 12:41:07

This raises so many questions. I'm not asking so answer them on here, but having the answers will help you unpick what is going on. Then you can plan a way forward.

If he is not "paying attention", why is this?
Ask him to explain what is going on. If he says he can't see the board or can't hear the instructions, get his eyesight or hearing checked. Is he really working hard, or is he messing about (not trying something is easier than trying and failing)?

You say no SEN, but might it be that school has being trying to tell his mum they suspect there are problems, but she's not engaged with them to hear and accept this?

What has his attendance been like?

Is it possible that the difficulties that have led him to be living with GPs are affecting him emotionally so he his not in a position to learn right now?

The first step should be to arrange a meeting with the school Senco (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). If GPs don't have Parental Responsibility, his DM (or DF if he is around and has PR) will need to consent to the information being shared if she doesn't attend. It may be useful if the school has a Family Support Worker for them to attend, so there is less repeating of information. School should be able to support GPs with making referrals

With the test papers, the teacher will be able to analyse them and work out where he is going wrong, e.g. is he making calculation errors like adding up wrongly, or has he no idea how to solve the questions, then put in place interventions to tackle this.

You should ask at the meeting what would be the best way to support him at home. It might be something specific, like working on spellings or times table, or something non-academic e.g. to work on raising his self-esteem.

Apple23 Mon 27-Jan-20 12:43:58

Apologies for grammar errors - web page kept crashing mid-sentence so missed words.

GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 13:06:05

Thank you @Apple23. I'm not convinced the school is doing all it can or particularly bothered. The small feedback my Gp's have managed to get is just to do his homework and make sure he's reading, no school reading book is being sent home though.
He says, he gets distracted and he talks because he finds it hard not to. But generally he's not bad behaved, might need telling to stop talking but he's not disturbing the whole class or rude, aggressive, or anything like that.

He apparently had screening for dyslexia and other things and he's not shown signs of those. Although it wasn't the full diagnostic, just screening that school do.
Eye sight is fine, Gp's are trying to book a hearing test, but his last one was fine.

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GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 13:19:52

Just to add: he's asking for help to do it, says to my grandparents he finds it difficult but seems to want to be better. That's why I'm looking at ways to help, my Gp's just don't know where to start.

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memberofseven Mon 27-Jan-20 13:27:58

Poor boy. Make an appointment to see the senco and the head. It's simply not good enough, what's the point in him going to school if he scores zero on a test. By year 6 he should be getting his own book and bringing it home - but you should also have books at home for him to read if he forgets. If we only read when my son brought his school book home we would only read a few times
A week! Instead I make him read nightly. Is he generally anxious or disorganised. You need to demand to see the school nurse (although I never managed to get an appointment).

Without prying, has he suffered trauma? Is he classed as looked after? Year 7 is a massive step up from year 6. It doesn't matter if he achieves expectations in his sats bit you are alluding to struggling across the board and I would be very worried about how he will cope next year. I'm horrified that children are falling through the gaps like this (whether under attainment or lack of diagnosis for educational needs).

memberofseven Mon 27-Jan-20 13:29:32

Also, if you can get the money together I recommend a private Ed psych exam. I paid about £500 so not cheap. It helped enormously in identifying my daughters issues. She is now in secondary school and top set due to the recommended adjustments.

NellyBarney Mon 27-Jan-20 13:36:39

That's really great you are getting involved. Looks like he has few people to fight his corner and support him at the moment. Push for what Apple has suggested. Make an appointment with the SENCO or with the pastoral officer, if they have one. In the meantime, it doesnt look as if there is a quick fix. I think you had the right idea to go back and try to fix older gaps first. I would go straight back to KS1, get a year 2 maths and grammar, spelling, punctuation and English comprehension book and work from their upwards. Plus daily recall facts (multiplication tables, number bonds etc). In year 6 he is probably expected to get his own book from the school library. He might need reminding to take a book home for daily reading. Good luck, he seems lucky to have you!

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 27-Jan-20 13:39:08

There's no point trying to do y6 work if he can't do y3/4/5 work.

if I were trying to help I'd go right back to reception/y1 stuff and check he can do that, and work up from there.

Things like:
- using a number line
- understanding place value
- understanding that multiplication is repeated addition

Little point trying to memorize times tables if he doesn't get what they mean. And anyway from the other descriptions it sounds like he'll forget them again quickly.

This needs a long term fix not a sticking plaster over SATs. Better to bomb out of SATs and then get required support at secondary.

GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 13:58:04

I'm working on getting an appointment with school, although at the moment that means relying on my father!

How would be best to work out what level he's at if school aren't helping, the homework books they're sending out are year 6 ones. I don't want to spend a fortune on easier ones that he can easily do. Scaled score for reading was 94 and spag 87. Maths wasn't able to be scaled, presumably because he didn't get any right so I think that's our biggest concern.
Not about him doing well in his sats but just helping him improve in general, I think a lot of the maths stuff must be just going over his head completely.

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TeenPlusTwenties Mon 27-Jan-20 14:13:10

if you have an Oxfam books shop near you they may have second hand work books etc.
Why not get some y3 maths ones to start with?
It wouldn't do any harm for him to do 'easy' stuff to boost confidence anyway.

Illberidingshotgun Mon 27-Jan-20 14:20:06

Just to say, don't rely on the school screening tests for dyslexia. My DD never showed significant issues on those, yet she is severely dyslexic.

Has he been through a lot recently? You say that he is currently living with his GPs, has there been a difficult family situation going on? Has there been upheaval for him over some time? This can have a huge impact on a child's concentration, ability to learn, and memory.

Illberidingshotgun Mon 27-Jan-20 14:22:24

Just re-read your last post and dyscalculia also needs to be screened for as well.

GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 14:32:22

So a little progress. I phoned school and admittedly got a bit cross on the phone. But they've agreed to meet with myself and my grandparents after school tomorrow. Of course they'll be things they can't disclose, although he's been bringing letters home to my grandparents since Christmas. But they have said they'll go through the results and at least tell us what we can be doing to support him.

Yes, there's other stuff going on. Although at the time of the test he was at home and to our knowledge things were ok.

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GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 14:34:13

Thank you @Illberidingshotgun. I'll ask about

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2020GoingForward Mon 27-Jan-20 14:35:05

If it is just maths - Mathsfactor - mine have fdone that and it filled in the gaps bits they hadn't picked up from school.

Are many other sites out there to try-
free one Khan Academcy and BBC bitesized - is that the kind of things your're looking for?

GirlOnIt Mon 27-Jan-20 14:40:32

Yes anything @2020GoingForward. I'll look into those. I think maths seems the worst. Hopefully school will shed more light on exactly where his gaps are, hopefully.,

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2020GoingForward Mon 27-Jan-20 14:41:32

Literacy wise, we're just focusing on reading and spelling. His spelling is really appalling, still spelling very common words wrong. I find teaching spelling a difficult thing to teach, I'm guessing it's just practise, practise.

Try Apple and Pears for spelling or we've recently found Spelling Made Easy books by Violet Brand if apple and pears don't fit with what you want.

I've had to use spelling programs as my own spelling is awful.

nessy might be worth a look but advice we had was writing spellings out would be more helpful - apple and pears was also good for re-enforcing basic punctuation.

Awkward1 Mon 27-Jan-20 14:46:01

Did he pass ks1 SAts?
There are maths things online like
TT rockstars.
We did some cgp books.
Is he one of the youngest in the year?
I think if you have issues across the board it's hard to fit in all the help at home.
The GP dont need to do anything with reading except enforce maybe 30min a day.
I find many of the maths books are teat Q rather than showing how to do stuff.

You need to set him a maths ks2 sat to see where he is going wrong, whether he is giving up, not knowing how to attack Qns.

If he is genuinely getting 0 in maths school have probably given up on him passing. I would think he needs a lot of help as it is hard to see how with school not doing lots of work is he going to pass gcse maths?

Illberidingshotgun Mon 27-Jan-20 14:56:10

Awkward1 oh yes, TT Rockstars is excellent - my DS went from being very unsure of his tables to knowing 1-12 within a few weeks. Well worth getting if the school do not subscribe to it.

Charles11 Mon 27-Jan-20 15:04:16

I would go right back to year 2/3 levels.
Schools usually subscribe to a learning site so find out which one, if they do and get his log on.
Get him practising times tables and the basics in maths. Adding, subtracting, multiplication, division and fractions.
Lots of multiplication songs on YouTube so they might be good.
Lots of reading. Watch tv with subtitles on so he can see the words.

drspouse Mon 27-Jan-20 18:23:51

We find that Doodle Maths is very good for my Y3 but working at Y2 Maths boy who struggles to pay attention. It's a monthly subscription though. He does it on a tablet every day and it's very motivating. If the initial questions are too hard it will level down and you can check his understanding of Y3/4/5 topics. There is a 2 week free trial I think.

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