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My ds has been separated from all the bright children and put with younger ones - advice needed, please.

(11 Posts)
overthehill Fri 11-Jul-08 00:19:51

My ds(9) is just finishing Y.4, and for the last 2 years he's been in a mixed-age class with older children. He's bright, although he doesn't always apply himself, and this arrangement seems to have worked well as he naturally gravitates towards older children. However, for next year the school has divided the new Y.6's into two equal groups and added the brightest Y.5's - except that he's been separated from that group and put with the remaining Y.5's and a few bright Y.4's. I went in to question it as I was concerned that he would either be naughty because he was bored (as happened in Y.2 when he was in a mixed Y1/2 class) and/or stop making progress and adapt to the generally lower standards of the others.

I was told that they felt he thrived on responsibility and so would benefit from being one of the older ones. They denied classes had been divided by ability (which they obviously have if you know the children) and feel confident that he will be stimulated enough. I agree that he does respond well to being assigned responsibility, but I don't consider that to be particularly relevant within the classroom as he's there to learn and not just to help others. The teachers (a job share) are good, but I just worry that he won't be stimulated enough by the other kids to learn, and he said when they had a trial in the class the other day that he was the only one who knew what 'distinguishing' meant(!)

The question is: should we give up trying to change the school's mind (which I don't think will be changed), should we talk to the new teachers, should we just hope for the best - or am I just being precious?

MrsMacaroon Fri 11-Jul-08 00:27:27

maybe see how he gets on before drawing a conclusion...either that or fistfights with teacher at dawn.

AbstractMouse Fri 11-Jul-08 00:33:23

I wouldn't be happy with this tbh, but then again maybe schools have changed. I really don't agree with the moving children up and down within groups. Surely they can offer suitable work within the age groups, or am I misunderstanding, and this is only for a percentage of the time?

overthehill Fri 11-Jul-08 01:02:30

AM, they spend almost the whole time being taught as a class and will only mix with the other Y.5's for special things such as swimming lessons and the Y.5 play in the summer term. The reason why they have mixed-age year groups is because of the numbers: there are too many of most year groups to go in one class and too few to have two classes.

Some people would argue that if the teacher is good enough, the child will do just as well if he's separated from the brightest children, but I worry that if they do a lot of group work he won't be stimulated as much since the bright children with whom he's worked well in the past are all in with the Y.6's.

overthehill Fri 11-Jul-08 15:02:58

Any further thoughts, anyone? They'd be greatly appreciated - thanks!

GreenEggsAndSpam Fri 11-Jul-08 16:33:17

Well, my thoughts are that you are being too precious. Schools have to consider the needs of all the children and sometimes that means that others will have to be put before yours. Tis a pita and frustrating, but there you go. They will have valid reasons for grouping the children as they have.

On the other hand, if it were my first born in that situation, I would be annoyed too. For the same reason - they tend to work at whatever the level is, so they rise to the harder work, or coast with the easier work. On the other hand, if it were my second born, I wouldn't worry because their tendancy is to work their arse off whatever level it is.

I don't think there is much to be gained for questioning this as it will be a done deal, but I would make sure I spoke to the teacher early on in the term to ensure that they knew how my child was likely to perform, and what they were capable of.

One thing I have learned is that not every year will be a good year at school. Personality clashes, teaching styles etc can all affect how a child is and how happy they are. Having said that, your ds may well flourish without the pressure of having to keep up and the confidence that he is ahead of his peers - you just don't know yet (and neither does the school!)

PeaMcLean Fri 11-Jul-08 16:38:24

I'm not keen on these split classes and am glad DS will be moving out of his. Difficult socially to move from one class to another all the time. I know they teach in small groups for some subjects, but I too would prefer DS to be with older children than younger.

TBH though, I think you just have to hope for the best and talk to the teachers when you suspect there's an actual problem. At the moment, it would, I'm afraid, be seen as preciousness.

MrsSnape Fri 11-Jul-08 16:53:13

My DS has also been moved into the "not as bright as the really clever ones" class.

I'm not very happy about it because last time this happened he was bullied by "kids with behavioural problems" for the entire year and was given the same sort of work as his younger brother in year 1 just so that the "not so clever ones" could do it.

I'm going to see how it goes after september and it we have a repeat of last time, I'll be kicking up a fuss.

(he's also going into year 5 after September)

nappyaddict Fri 11-Jul-08 16:55:35

are they definitely mixed by ability? if that's the case how come he's been moved to the lower group?

ecoworrier Fri 11-Jul-08 17:21:17

I think it's far too soon to worry or make a fuss. See how he goes, and tackle any issue if and when it arises.

overthehill Fri 11-Jul-08 22:02:43

Nappyaddict, I'm pretty sure they have done it by ability as all the ones who are on the top table in his current class, all those who got prizes & all the ones who were picked for a G&T day (except him) are in with the Y.6's. I think they may have done it because they worry that he would be disruptive and need too much attention whilst the Y.6's are having endless SATS practice and they don't want potential troublemakers in the class. I have honestly been trying to convince myself - and him - that it's for the best, but then today again he was telling me how well he works with the bright Y.4 girls in his current class (who are all with the Y.6's next year) and how a group of them went round the library categorising books by smell (eg new, rich tea (don't ask me!)...) which all sounded very imaginative. I don't want him to be taken from the kids with whom he works well and who think along the same lines as him as he has struggled to find children to relate to & finally seems to have succeeded; I think this would really knock his (fragile) confidence.

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