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Level 5 at the end of year 4 - what now?

(25 Posts)
ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 19:30:33

DS1 is a bright spark. I have been told by 2 of his class teachers each with more than 20 yrs experience that he is the brightest child that they have ever taught. He is at a relatively academic state primary. The results they get are way above the national average. He is socially not unusual, gets on well with the others, is mature and articulate.

He has just got full marks on standardised tests for Maths, English, VR and NVR. The numbers given are between 134 and 140, which as I understand it is something to do with him being a February birthday. In NC terms I am told that he is Level 5 across the board (though he is only tested as 4A "because that's what the tests go up to").

There is no extension work in place for him and no individual targets. The school doens't seem to do much with a "G and T" register (if they have one). I don't understand how the school will monitor his progress over the next 2 years if he is already at level 5. I worry that they don't care whether he nakes progress because he has already reached the level that they want from him for his r6 SATs. How can I make sure that he continues to make progress?

Please let me have your suggestions?!

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 19:41:07

yr6 SATS, sorry smile

frogs Fri 11-Jul-08 19:45:26

PG, my ds is bright, but not exceptionally so and has just scored 4A in his SATS. If it's an academic state primary then there will probably be other kids at similar levels. If he hasn't complained of being bored until now, then presumably the school are doing the kind of differentiated teaching that meets his needs?

I wouldn't worry unless he complains himself that he finds the work boring, tbh.

frogs Fri 11-Jul-08 19:45:47

Sorry, my ds is in Y4 also, and only just turned 9.

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 19:50:42

Thank you frogs. He does say that he is bored, though he is not the nature to be disruptive, IYSWIM. His teacher says that he needs more stretching work, especially in maths, but that she is too busy and doesn't have the resources.

I always thought he was "bright, but not exceptionally so", just as you say, probably because he is my first and I had no one to compare him to. His yr2 teacher told me it was more than that, now his yr4 teacher has said the same.

SqueakyPop Fri 11-Jul-08 19:51:50

Do you have opportunities for broadening his educational experience, PG, eg by learning a foreign language, Latin etc?

I don't think it is necessarily a good thing for him to keep moving 'up', as he may not have the mental maturity to deal with higher level concepts, ie it is unusual to move from handling concrete to abstract concepts much earlier than age 11, regardless of the inate intelligence.

From what you have said about him, it would be a good idea to get some expert input.

misoramen Fri 11-Jul-08 19:54:17

Hi from a year 4 teacher. All schools are now part of the G and T register. There are government guidelines for all areas of England and clusters of teachers meet regularly to add children to registers and to organize special events and activities for children who have talents in different areas of the curriculum. Teachers will be aware of your child's abilities and will differentiate work accordingly. If he's bright he will naturally progress by enquiring more about certain things and gaining a deeper understanding than his peers. Don't worry, it's best to relax and allow his talents to flourish naturally. Just be sure that his teacher's allow him to be inquisitive and to take some ideas further.

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 20:23:11

Foreign languages are covered in school, but a different one each year, so no real consistency. I don't know of anywhere outside school that we could go, though I suppose there would be somewhere if I were sufficiently determined!

No special events or activites in this area, misoramen, his teacher would have put him forward if she could.

Do you think there is a worry from an assessment point of view? How can his teachers know whether he is making progress if he is off the top of the range that the tests assess?

Beetroot Fri 11-Jul-08 20:26:23

my dd is a level 4a in year 4 and they have put extension work for her

I suggest you talk to the school and perhaps he could do some of his work in the year above.? Or discuss with them extention work that your son can do.

You should try to address this soon as he may well get bored.

avenanap Fri 11-Jul-08 20:30:10

He sounds like my ds, he got exactly the same scores, he should have been in year 4 last year but has skipped a year. He's moving to an independent grammar schoo in september and I have no idea what they are going to do with him. He's got a reading age of 16+ (it only goes up to 16).

Would your ds like a pen friend?

ByTheSea Fri 11-Jul-08 20:43:40

My DD-9, at a good state primary school, is also finishing up year and got 'working towards level 5' which is the top of level 4a for year 4. She sounds a lot like your DS as well, and is well-adjusted and socially fine. She is currently looking at some 11+ papers especially the verbal reasoning bits, as this isn't taught in her primary school, and she wants to get into the not-so-local extremely competitive grammar school. In addition to all of her other dance and sporting extra-curricular activities, I figure this will stretch her enough. She already does quite a bit of reading and writing and creating things on the computer for her own enjoyment outside of school which challenges her as well.

norfolkdumpling Fri 11-Jul-08 20:47:32

Here's another avenue for you to try.

In the last school I taught in (secondary) I helped the younger sister of a child in my tutor group to get extension work from my colleagues. This worked because the school had really close links with this particular feeder primary. Departments would run projects at the primary school.

It's worth asking the school what links they have with their secondary school to see if the staff there can provide something to get your DS interested in and challenged by school work again.

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 20:50:39

I was promised extension maths work for him this year but it never arrived. I don't really know how else to address it!

We do the VR and NVR at home as we are in a grammar school LEA. He quite likes doing it. He reads for enjoyment a lot - fiction and non-fiction. He also plays piano - just about to do his grade 2.

How has skipping a year worked for your DS, avenanap?

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 20:52:27

Thanks norfolk, I'll ask about that. As we are a grammar area, we don't really "feed into" one school but maybe the nearest grammar would be the one to ask about. I suppose tbh I thought this school should sort it out as he is their pupil grin

TheCheeseAlarm Fri 11-Jul-08 20:52:39

I'm a year 5 teacher. You don't actually know if he's off the range that the tests assess unless he's actually taken a KS2 SATs paper. Obviously, he can be teacher assessed at a Level 5 but they might still be parts of the syllabus that he hasn't covered yet. There is a lot of subject content on the Year 6 paper which doesn't appear on the Year 4 paper. Although, if he is a natural mathematician he may be able to figure it out anyway.

DS1 has been a Level 5 since the end of Year 2, he sat the Year 6 paper. On paper, he hasn't made any progress for 2 years and won't for the next 2. He does receive Maths enrichment sessions but these are based on non-curricular themes such as fractals, games and Maths in art. He has also been taught in a different year group for Maths for 2 years. He is now in Year 4.

The school should be providing extension work for your son. I use this site a lot, Nrich. There are loads of great problem solving activities and games which it is easy to link to the lesson the rest of the class is doing.

I think you should talk with the school as Beetroot suggests. But I wouldn't worry too much about him not making progress on paper. DS1's missed heaps of Maths lessons this year because we've got him involved in all sorts of other projects like choir and drama, and it hasn't mattered a jot.

avenanap Fri 11-Jul-08 20:57:37

The new school are putting him back in his own age group as it is really frowned upon to let them skip a year. They said his school should have been able to cope. ds has a maths age of 14 (he's 9), a reading and comprehension age of 16+ so I'll have to wait and see. They are going to spend 2 weeks assessing him though so I'll sit tight and leave them to it.

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 11-Jul-08 21:39:22

Cheese - that makes sense, thank you. He hasn't been given a yr6 SATs paper. It isn't really the progress on paper that concerns me, I suppose that was something I thought of to try to get the school to do something. I thought with the paperwork-oriented way things are, that might prod them into action!

Why was your DS given that paper? Why was it thought important to see how he did on it?

My real concern is that DS1 should sometimes be given things that he finds less than straightforward (which doesn't happen now). I don't think it is helpful for him only to know how to coast.

TheCheeseAlarm Fri 11-Jul-08 21:58:50

DS1 did the year 6 paper because he picked up a copy of it while he was sitting in the Deputy Head's office while he was feeling ill and did it. Her office was next to my classroom so I was supposed to be keeping half an eye on him! He did so well on the paper he did that we got him to do the other papers out of interest. It wasn't actually thought important at all! His level was reported to the Local Authority as a level 3 because that is the highest you are allowed to report officially. It is only within the school that he was recorded as a level 5 at that stage.

ninja Fri 11-Jul-08 22:33:03

I can second Nrich as a site, they have a lot of puzzles as well as a forum area (ask Nrich) where there are a few younger posters (it's EXTREMELY well moderated so not a worry at all).

Are there RI Maths Masterclasses in your area? I know kids at dd's primary school access them.

Try and get the school to enter him for the Primary Maths Challenge in November. It's really cheap to enter and other kids in the school would benefit from this. The site also has a link to an online paper that would be fun to try. If he finds this easy try the Junior Maths challenge, it's aimed at lower secondary but doesn't require so much knowledge, more problem solving - I suggested dd's school put some yr 6's in for it and they did OK. There are sample papers on the site which he could have a go at. The good thing about these is they have follow on rounds so really bright kids can be spotted.

There are some fun recreational maths books aimed at this age - e.g. Johnny Ball's "Think of a Number"?, the Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger has been recommended, and there’s the Murderous Maths series.

This book by Tony Gardiner might give the school some ideas to work with although it is aimed at year 7 and maybe 6. He's done a lot of work with extending rather than accelerating students.

I hope some of this helps and isn't too daunting!! If I think of anything else I'll post again. I think some of these suggestions might give the school some ideas about how to progress.

The one thing I would say is that nothing I've talked abou above means that your ds needs to be accelerated as this can just cause problems later on (although he may want to investigate areas of maths that other kids in his class haven't studied yet).

ninja Fri 11-Jul-08 23:11:05

I've killed this now, haven't I?

ProfessorGrammaticus Sat 12-Jul-08 08:49:44

Ooh thank you ninja - no I just went to bed! Really good ideas, thank you so much. I printed something out from Nrich for him last night, it does look good. (I do think that it would be better done in school though, rather than coming from me - but I'll give it a go at home and see how we get on)

I will suggest the maths challenge to school, via the maths coordinator I think.

I completely agree that I would not want him accelerated and the school have never suggested that (though, tbh, they've never really suggested anything!)

ninja Sat 12-Jul-08 09:30:07

I think you're right a lot of this would be ideal to take to school, although getting afew recreational maths books could be useful especially as his reading age is good as well. I think the thing is that most of the ideas should help with all the kids who are good at Maths

mysteryfairy Sat 12-Jul-08 15:35:47

My DS1 first took Y6 sats papers in Y3 and achieved level 5 in Maths and English (not sure that he did Science paper and doubt he would have achieved level 5 as he hadn't covered science curriculum). By the time he got to year 5 he was clearly working at a higher level than his class teacher for numeracy and made himself unpopular by correcting her mistakes during carpet time. He spent from october half term working on his own in the library - he had some KS3 books and could just pick a page.

He left to go to independent school at the end of year 5. The new school was and still is far far better at providing extension activities and actually seemed to take pleasure in his abilities rather than seeing him as a nuisance.

He was very very disruptive by the end of Y5, was excluded from his school trip, leaving party etc. School just would not accept that his behaviour might have anything to do with the tedium of spending hours of the school day in the library alone and parrotted that he had exhausted the curriculum. There has not been a single incident of disruptive or even remotely bad behaviour since he moved schools.

I'm not sure what the point of me typing this is as I'm probably scaring you and am feeling all the frustration and powerlessness I felt at the time wash over me again, but I would say push really really hard to make sure your son's educational needs are met and have a back up plan in place in case they aren't if you possibly can.

solanum Mon 14-Jul-08 08:56:30

THere are actually likely to be one to three children ecahyear who are academically very ble. I do not think it is particularlyuseful for the teacherto have told you that yourchild is the brighest they have seen for 20 years:it would be odd tospend 20years teaching and opnly ever have taught one chhild at the level of your child.

Re. testing: there are sats tests that go beyond level 4, so that is not exactly an accurate fact on the school's part.

If your child is really gifted, as you are saying, hadn't you noticed it yourself before?Or is it that the level 5 grade awarded plus theteacher's comment, has made youconsider your child differently?

NClevels are not that useful sometimes.

ProfessorGrammaticus Mon 14-Jul-08 18:36:41

I had noticed it before, yes, it has been obvious since he was at nursery. It has been commented on by every teacher he has had, by every friend I have who is a teacher and by other friends. I just tried in the OP to give details of the latest info so as to give a concrete idea to people who don't know him.

I agree the level 5 thing is unhelpful - the school seem to have no interest in assessing him in more detail, possibly quite rightly, possibly because they don't intend to give
him any extra work!

Fairy - that is my fear but he is by nature amenable so unlikely I think to cause any trouble however bored he is.

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