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Is it unfair if state primaries offer some children 1to1 maths tuition?

(35 Posts)
allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 11:56:43

I have recently become aware of an initiative operating in primary schools in our borough offering free one to one maths tuition to certain selected y5/6 children outside of school hours. I first heard about it from a friend whose DC is in another school in the borough as it was creating a lot of bad feeling there.

As I understand it schools have been asked to select a few children who were L2 in KS1 SATS but could be tutored on a 1 to 1 basis to achieve L5 at the end of year 6. As far as I understand it it is to manipulate the borough’s value added score. I have since learnt that 5 children in my DDs class have been selected (all of a similar ability to her)but despite thinking she would have met the criteria she is not one of them.

I have been struggling this last year myself to help her with maths and have seen some improvement. Maybe she has improved too much and hence the reason she has not been selected. I am not finding it easy though, as I am not a teacher and she often makes a fuss when I try to sit down with her. I am sure she wouldn’t behave in this way if it was someone other than me or my dh helping her.

I would have jumped at the chance of some professional help, as I am sure would many others in her class. I am not bothered about the L5 but would like to see her become confident and competent before moving on to secondary school. I am not sure whether I should confront the school and find out why she wasn’t chosen or whether it would just seem like sour grapes. I can’t help but think it is unfair that some of these children will receive a massive boost before going on to secondary school whilst others are just being left without any additional help.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 08-Jun-09 12:08:57

So it is not fair that the school are implementing this scheme because your DD has not been chosen for it, but it would be OK if she was? hmm Well that does sound like sour grapes tbh.

By all means go and talk to the school about your concerns, but you need to be clear about what it is you are trying to achieve. Ask them what the objectives of the programme are and what they are doing to make sure that every child at the school achieves their potential. Ask them how you can help your DD achieve her potential. But don't just go in there and stamp your foot until you know exactly how this programme is intended to work.

GrinnyPig Mon 08-Jun-09 12:14:32

The scheme really is not unfair. The school have identified that some children will need some additional help and they are prepared to offer it so that their SATS results look good.

You may be right that the school has seen an improvement in your DDs maths and consider that she will do OK. You could approach the teacher and explain that you have been helping her with maths, but it is proving difficult and that you think she would respond better if the extra teaching was done at school. I'd be surprised if they didn't then include her in the extra teaching.

allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 12:24:06

I can see that I am being hypocritical but I was trying to avoid resorting to private tuition. I can now see that by not going down this route my DD will be at a disadvantage.

I still can not see how the borough can justify a scheme where by they fund this private tuition for some but not all children. It makes a complete nonsense of value added.

OrmIrian Mon 08-Jun-09 12:27:43

I'm not really sure I understand your problem with this. When my eldest son was in yr5 he fell behind with his reading and was given extra support twice a week. As far as I can see that is the same thing. WOuld you object to that? As far as I can see the only difference is that the tuition is private that makes it worse in your eyes?

There must be some reason why your DD wasn't selected. Maybe she doesn't need the help as much.

allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 12:33:47

They are not falling behind, they are in year 5 and level 4B (the average for year 6). They are being tutored to reach level 5 (above average for year 6.

I would have absolutely no problem with the funding going to children who are struggling with maths and will not reach level 4. They are getting no help.

OrmIrian Mon 08-Jun-09 12:38:28

Sorry. I misunderstood.

Perhaps you could ask what the criteria was and why your DD didn't make it?

bruffin Mon 08-Jun-09 12:42:37

How do you know that the ones struggling are not getting extra help in school. My DS got one to one extra help for specific literacy problems, I was never told officially so I don't know how anyone else would know what help he got.

allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 13:01:00

I know that this funding is a new initiative and specifically for the purpose of elevating children to L5. I know for a fact that this isn't available to those struggling with maths. I have a very close friend whose DD is L3 for maths (and thinks she will struggle to reach L4) and is having to pay privately for 1 to 1 tuition. The school teaches these children in a small group but I'm sure most would benefit from 1 to 1.

I have no problem with the school. They are just doing what they have been told to do. The fact my DD has not been chosen I am hoping is a positive sign and that my work with her is paying off. What is wrong these days with a Level 4.

seeker Mon 08-Jun-09 13:06:26

How do you know they are being tutored to reach level 5? I am a school governor, and the only initiatives I have heard of are those intended to help children reach level 4. I think you need to be very sure of your facts before approaching the school!

LupusinaLlamasuit Mon 08-Jun-09 13:06:30

There may be a number of reasons for it I imagine: one might be that it is specialist funding ring-fenced for this purpose? I know the govt are trying to improve maths and science achievement overall so focusing on developing skills of over-achievers might be a way of filtering people into university eventually?

Speaking as the parents of an over-achieving mathematician, I would be grateful for it as he is utterly bored a lot of the time in numeracy. I don't think it is fair to spend 'ordinary' education budgets on high achievers however.

LupusinaLlamasuit Mon 08-Jun-09 13:07:45

that sounds much more rational seeker - presumably l4 is the supposed 'graduation' level at the end of primary?

bigTillyMint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:11:33

Have they chosen children whose parents couldn't afford to pay for private tuition, or wouldn't even think of doing it?

seeker Mon 08-Jun-09 13:12:19

Yes - the target is to get all children to a level 4b by the end of Primary school. We've had a bit of unrest in our school as well, and it's difficult to lay it to rest without saying to parents "Look, the kids who are getting the extra help are quite a long way behind - you shout be thankful that yours doesn't qualify!"

hippipotamiHasLost36Pounds Mon 08-Jun-09 13:14:55

Are you absolutely sure it is to help them reach L5?
In our school there is extra maths and literacy for Y5 / Y6 children who are not expected to reach L4. But anyone who is expected to reach a 4B or above is left to their own devices. (and rightly so, too much pressure at a young age otherwise)

seeker Mon 08-Jun-09 13:20:07

Funny echo in here!!!!!

allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 13:22:03

These children are already L4B (the standard for the end of primary) and are in year 5. They are also not the really high achievers. The high achievers are taught in a maths extension class. As far as I know it is only being offered in our borough which is very high achieving in the Borough league tables.

I agree it would seem much more rational for the funding to go to help children to reach L4. Believe me though I am not confusing levels it is definately L5s they are after. A child that reaches L3 at Key Stage 1 would be expected to reach L5 at KS2 but if they were L2 and achieved L5 they would demonstrate that greater value had been added. I always thought the value added score was a better measure than SATs levels but when they are manipulated it defeats the purpose.

allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 13:26:35

In response to bigTillyMint at least 2 of the 5 children chosen already have private tuition outside school. One is a friend and when I asked her if she planned to continue with the existing private tuition she said she was. The school, I am sure is not aware of which children in the class are already being tutored privately. Parents I find tend to keep this quiet from the school.

hippipotamiHasLost36Pounds Mon 08-Jun-09 13:26:43

Sorry seeker blush

ingles2 Mon 08-Jun-09 13:27:24

I'm interested to know how you are so certain these children are a 4B allblondes?

hippipotamiHasLost36Pounds Mon 08-Jun-09 13:34:04

That was sort of what I was aiming to ask Ingles, but instead I ended up just parroting Seeker...

ingles2 Mon 08-Jun-09 13:37:44

grin
you can parrot me anytime hippi

hippipotamiHasLost36Pounds Mon 08-Jun-09 13:38:08

Thank you smile

allblondegirls Mon 08-Jun-09 13:47:08

Agreed I am not sure that they are all 4Bs. My friend whose DD is one of the 5 chosen told me her DD is 4B. She also pointed out that it would be a realistic goal to jump two sub levels a year to a L5 especially with extra help. The other children I am just aware are all of similar ability.

As I said in a previous post I became aware of this initiative from a friend with a DD in a different school in the borough. It had been causing ructions there once people got wind of what was happening. At the time I didn't think it was happening at my DCs school until my friend told me last week about the letter her daughter had bought home. Admitedly at first I was a bit miffed but I am now hoping my DD is making enough progress without any help.

I have never been one to make a fuss to the school. I get the feeling that this is out of their hands anyway. They would have just have been asked to select the children. I'm sure there would be a limit on numbers, there always is.

seeker Mon 08-Jun-09 13:48:06

I am also interested to know how you know, allblondgirls. I am pretty sure this is not a national initiative - could it be unique to your borough?

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