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are children pigeonholed in reception, and that is where they stay for the rest of their schooling years?

(25 Posts)
lucykate Thu 11-Dec-08 17:02:09

it occurred to me while watching dd's nativity today, that, now in yr2, every year since reception it is the same children in the same roles, and i'm pretty sure that this translates into the classroom too. i know last year, her teacher was 'nq', and struggled with 5 in the class who were always misbehaving, and therefore getting a fair bit of her attention. then there's the high flyers, whose reading and writing is excelling and were also getting a fair bit of attention. and then there is where dd is, the middle ground, who some weeks didn't read at school or change her book, despite the good readers having read twice.

we work a lot with her at home with her reading and writing, but is she ever going to be able to break out of the average slot at school?

not that there's anything wrong with being average, am just curious to see if others feel the same way.

cory Thu 11-Dec-08 17:06:35

Mine have moved across sets quite a bit. Dd was in one of the lower sets of reception and in top set by the time she got to junior school. Ds is beginning to move up now. Hopefully, neither of them will move into the category of troublemaker-who-gets-a-lot-of-attention; I've never noticed their parents looking particularly cheerful.

Nagapie Thu 11-Dec-08 17:09:03

Unfortunately, when you are a teacher of 30 children there is only really enough time to deal with the extremes and let the mainstream children float ....

lucykate Thu 11-Dec-08 17:12:13

nagapie, i kind of agree with that, but it does raise the question about things like, how on earth did teachers cope years ago?, when i was in primary school it was 1 teacher and 30 pupils, no teaching assistants, no helpers for the children with special needs, no parent helpers, just 1 single solitary teacher.

TheCrackFox Thu 11-Dec-08 17:17:40

It does seem to me that that middle children (My DS1) seem to be left to their own devices. Teachers seem to fire fight a lot with some of the pupils and love teaching the really bright kids. Was like this when I was at school at doesn't seem to have changed since.

Nagapie Thu 11-Dec-08 17:18:08

I hate to say it, but when I went to school the teacher had a lot more freedom and flexibility with the curriculum and the discipline and could be more inclusive with their lessons ... special needs meant the kids just didn't cope or dropped off the radar .... sad

cat64 Thu 11-Dec-08 17:24:10

Message withdrawn

lucykate Thu 11-Dec-08 17:37:51

cat - from chatting to other parents outside school, one thing about dd's school is the parents are all really friendly and chatty, doesn't seem to be any of the schoolgate rumblings there can be sometimes, apart from me moaning wink

kittybrown Thu 11-Dec-08 18:44:38

I don't know if they are totally pidgeon holed. You'll probably find which ever group your child is in they won't get as much as attention as the others!wink
My ds is a good reader and last year was given a reading diary that never got written in by the teacher once and in previous years had had the same home reader for 5 months. I wasn't really fussed as he read books at home and I knew his reading was getting listened to at school during other lessons. He does get annoyed though as every other group has gone out with either the teacher or TA to do work whilst his group hasn't. So I know that in our school the middle don't float at all they are pushed all the way.

MerlinsBeard Thu 11-Dec-08 18:47:02

it couldn't be more different at DS1s school. He is currently in the top group and gets left to his own devices much more than any other children. His reading is astounding but he last read to the teacher on Halloween

lucykate Thu 11-Dec-08 19:03:41

it's not something i spend a huge amount of time worrying about, i guess it just came out today as i found it a bit frustrating that the same kids are the narrators, the same girl was mary in their play, just a shame they can't mix it around a bit more instead of taking the easy option. dd has spent 4 nativity plays now as a background person. kind of glad it's all over now as they don't do them once she moves into juniors.

cory Thu 11-Dec-08 19:23:02

Mine have always been in the background.
<shrugs gracefully and pretends not to care>

imaginaryfriend Thu 11-Dec-08 23:41:49

LK, it's not always the 'high flyers' that get the roles though. Dd's been a 'top group' girl since the start of Reception but as she's quiet, every quiet, she's never been given anything to do in any plays. In fact at the carol concert today she was so far at the back I could barely see her. I also feel her group gets less attention in class than the others as they're expected to get on with their work independently. She's told me that sometimes she really doesn't know what she's supposed to be doing, especially with maths, but the teacher is always busy with one of the other groups.

So maybe the pigeon-holing is more complex than you think?

Or maybe we all just want more for our kids?

cory Fri 12-Dec-08 08:44:20

Dh got into his private school on a scholarship so was presumably fairly bright. Still never got a starring role- well, he did happen to be in the same class as Hugh Grant wink

mrz Wed 24-Dec-08 18:17:10

We try to give different children the lead roles each year so if a child was Mary in nursery they may be an innkeeper's wife in reception and an angel in Y1...
Teacher's try to give all children equal time but in reality this doesn't always work simply because some children are just more demanding. Years ago children with SN didn't attend mainstream schools

roisin Wed 24-Dec-08 18:30:42

In terms of academic pigeonholing, I think it depends why they are where they are in reception/year 1.

My ds1 is in yr7 and when these children were in year 1 I listened to readers at school on a regular basis, and used to spend a couple of afternoons every week in school.

So when they were 5 I knew very well where they stood academically. In the intervening years I have had a little contact with some of them through ds1 (playdates and parties), but no real knowledge of their academic progress.

I work full time at secondary now, and do literacy intervention with yr7s. Among the group (c.40) who came up from ds1's primary school there has been quite a bit of movement.

Some children who came from less supportive backgrounds and were firmly "on the bottom table" in yr1 are now good solid, average achievers. Some children were very well-brought up, polite, knew how to write their name early, and coloured in beautifully and were "above average" in yr1 are now below average as their 'true abilities' have shown through over and above the social advantages they had.

Some of the brightest are still the brightest, and some of the weakest are still the weakest. But I am surprised at the amount of movement there has been tbh.

OutNumbird Wed 24-Dec-08 18:52:39

Y1 teacher mentioned DD was narrating lots for several reasons, but especially because she could read quite well so could literally be handed anyone else's narration and read it out easily, immediately (unusual in her Y1 cohort). DD was a defacto understudy for any of the nominated narrators who dropped out last minute.

She was one of 10 narrators in Y2, who had to memorise their lines (surely not that special a skill by that age). but still helps that she was/is such a confident and reliable reader.

Same child being Mary each year is rather poor form on part of teachers, imho (unless no one else really wants the part??)!

jollyholly Wed 24-Dec-08 19:29:26

Perhaps their parents are the ones who help in school or who are on the PTA? (ducks for cover)

OutNumbird Wed 24-Dec-08 21:50:48

If our school panders to anyone, bluntly speaking, it's the parent-governors. If they ask for 2+ weeks holiday in term time, or that their child get moved from one class to another, no problem. If anybody else asks, swatted off like flies.

In comparison, PTA & parent helpers are cheerful mugs who do lots of grunt work.

Katiestar Mon 29-Dec-08 22:41:24

I am probably going to get a lot of stick for this but I have helped out once a week in the reception yr1 class at our school and I think it is quite easy to suss out which children are intelligent and which aren't pretty quickly (regardless of whether they have been hothoused or not ) and that doesn't seem to change much as they progress up the school.
I would be apalled though if the same child was playing the key part every year.Totally unacceptable !

lunavix Mon 29-Dec-08 22:49:49

I get the feeling with this

Ds is in reception (or F2 in his school apparently) and the obviously brighter and gifted were the main roles in his nativity. I did look at them and think this, I wonder if they will be the same kids next year.

I asked the assistant teacher for ds's reading book to be changed, she picked up one (looked a bit advanced for ds, as he's only just getting the grasp of the idea of reading but was a 'reading' book as such) looked at ds and went 'oh you're x, not y' (same name, different spelling, obv different child!) you can just pick up one of those' (pointing to babyish board books)

I was fuming. I had to insist they started giving him actual 'learning to read' book, and now he's working through jelly and bean quite happily (except when say he's on 2b and they send him with like 7a).

melissa75 Tue 30-Dec-08 17:24:42

cat...I LOVE your post...asking how do you know the "good readers" read twice a week?
and it speaks so well to 'playground chat' or I could think of another word for it...
I think one of the biggest changes in todays soceity over those 20+ years ago is that they are VERY competitive with one another...as is shown in many of the topics on this board for example. It is amazing some of the stories parents come to me about (as the teacher) and when I ask them where they got the information from, they say "from another parent in the class". Some of the things they come in with are so farfetched that you wonder if they have nothing better to do with their time than to come up with stories that if they actually sat down and thought about what they were saying would realise how totally ridiculous the story is! But I am getting off topic...just keep in mind that what you hear in the playground often has to be taken with a grain of salt...and it is not to say that parents are malicious or lying, they just tend to be extremely competitive.
Also agree with others about saying that years ago children with special needs were not in mainstream classrooms, they were segregated...and therefore it gave the teacher more time to focus on the average set..so people have to make up their minds..do you want to have abilities in an average class spanning a 10 year spectrum or do you want children in levelled classes and therefore catered to as such. can't have your cake and eat it too....

newgirl Fri 02-Jan-09 21:01:40

i go in to read every week and the teacher is on a different table every week so they all get plenty of attention

in reception the kids were sat more according to age and friendships and now seem more streamed - although that changes each half term too to allow for personality harmony etc

theITgirl Fri 02-Jan-09 21:23:27

May I add my observations from DS's school. I helped out quite a bit when he was still in year 2 (last summer).

When I was doing individual reading, I worked from a list that was headed by the worst and progressed to the best. We always started each week at the top (worst) and worked to the bottom (best) once everybody had read we started at the top again. So on a good week (unusual) the worst readers had 3 sessions a week and the best had 2, more often the worst got 2 sessions and the best only got one.

Also for next term DS and some other children including two of my friends boys, are getting extra maths coaching. I have a pretty good idea from when I helped out and from chatting to my friends that those children that have been picked all got 2b/2c in their SATS so are getting the extra help in year 3. So, they will get that little extra push they need, to join the higher ability group and be ready to score ABOVE average when they get to year 6. (I am not at all cynical - especially when my child benefits).

dollybird Mon 05-Jan-09 22:02:05

Far too many children in my DC's school. We have aclass of snowflakes, a class of innkeepers, 3 Mary's, 3 Narrators, just so everyone gets a turn (360 kids and that's just Year R-2)

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