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I can't let the 1st words I utter to the teacher be a moan,... can I?

(11 Posts)
notmoaningalready Fri 25-Sep-09 20:44:01

namechange as this will identify me
my dc are at a good school and overall I'm happy.
last year dc1 was in a mixed yr 4/5 class working at yr 5 level. very happy... he's bright. Teacher was fab. All good.
This year dc1 is in a pure yr 5 class and dc2 is in the yr 4/5 class.
Now in theory that's fine, dc2 is nowhere near as academic, but lovely 4/5 teacher assures me the work will be pitched at yr 4 level this yr.
I haven't spoken to yr 5 teacher yet and I don't know her...
My problem is both dc's are getting the same homework, every night it's been the same. The same topics as well. I'm not sure about this.
As I said there is a huge difference in abilities and dc1 isn't impressed.
My big problems are that the yr 5 class are currently reading the same book in class that they read last term in yr 4. Supposedly from a different angle but still, same book.
this weekend's topic homework is exactly the same as dc1 did last term.
I'm seriously thinking about letting him hand in last years homework book with the work in.
I'm going to have to speak to someone, I can't bear the thought of moaning to the teacher, so, WWYD?

jenwyn Fri 25-Sep-09 20:52:10

Im afraid you will have to speak to someone about this. In schools where there are mixed year groups they should work to a 2 yearly cycle to ensure this doesn't happen.
But it doesn't have to be a moan. What about a cheerful-and maybe even slightly manic -chatter about giving in last years homework. Just prattling away you know?
Then it wont come across as a moan and will do exactly the same thing. Letting the school know.

notmoaningalready Fri 25-Sep-09 21:00:28

Thanks for your reply Jen... a friend of mine, in exactly the same situation, has already complained, as have other parents, so it will be interpreted as a moan....
I'm tempted to go straight to the head as I know them

HSMM Fri 25-Sep-09 21:02:21

My DD has mixed year groups and they definitely do not repeat work. A polite query about how it works, rather than a moan may explain what is going on.

notmoaningalready Fri 25-Sep-09 21:05:30

Of course you're right HSMM, I'm just not feeling that polite tonight grin

notmoaningalready Fri 25-Sep-09 21:09:28

so what do I do about the homework?
Obviously dc2 has the same, do I make them both do it or let dc1 choose another country?

Kelloggs36 Sat 26-Sep-09 19:45:58

I would query this - in my school when mixed classes then go to the next year, it is planned so that they do NOT repeat topics already covered.

katiestar Mon 28-Sep-09 17:21:45

They obviously shouldn't be reading teh same book as last term ! That's plain wrong however they try to dress it up.WRT the homework,it depends largely on what kind of homework it is.Much written work for example could be appropriate to a wide range of ages ,but what a Y5 produces would be exopected to be of a higher standard than the Y4 work.

sillysalley Mon 28-Sep-09 17:23:42

Totally not on, you def need to go in and complain, possibly to the head IMO!

PortAndLemon Mon 28-Sep-09 17:26:35

Say something nice about her top before you complain... grin

jooles59 Mon 28-Sep-09 18:53:27


As a teacher who has many years esperience teaching mixed age classes including years 4 and 5 I hope I can try to help you.

First of all, I would say the best thing you can do for your child, yourself and your child's teacher is be supportive of the school and of the teacher even if it can be difficult for you at times. So far you have been happy with the school which is great and your concerns about the first time you meet the new teacher being a moan shows that you recognise the value of having a positive relationship with the teacher. If you foster a supportive realtionship then you really can be more comfortable should something more tricky need dealing with. I guess it is a bit of giving the benefit of the doubt - if you immediately assume the teacher is doing wrong she (I assume they are female?!) will pick up on it and won't get the realtionship off to the supportive start you want. It works both ways too, if the teacher knows you are supportive at home they can give you the benefit of the doubt for many reasons (late homework, punctuality, behaviour) and is more likely to be open and honest with you about both the good and bad things concerning your child. Having said all that, if you have concerns and are feeling the way you are then you definitely need to go and speak to the teacher. It is the tone of that conversation which I think you need to make sure the teacher knows you are supportive of her and the school. I think it perfectly possible for you just to ask how the setting of work (and homework)for mixed age classes will work so you know how to support at home, for example if they come home with the same homework what can you do to make sure the older child is working at a higher level/ stop him getting fed up (which incidentally is great that he feels so proud of his abilities and wants to be good at work!)

There are also a few other things which might be relevant to your situation. Firstly it is still early days and the teacher is still getting to know your child and their abilities. They are also getting to know the rest of the class and the best groups for the children to work in, in mixed age classes it is especially important to consider the dynamics of the group and not just acedemic ability, you don't want a group dominated by one, maybe older, child and zapped of their enthusaism or you might want a group to spur another child on. This could be releveant as to which homework each group is set (unless of course the whole class has the same homework) so grouping can change a bit at the beginning of the year. Next I would say homework has limited value as each child gets such a different level of support at home and so a very general homework that is just consolidation is often the best way to go, especially until the teacher gets to know the class better. There is definitely merit in children repeating work, it can be done to teach a different learning objective and even if not, it can give a child a real sense of achievement when they see how much more they know and how much they have improved (self-assessment). As for teaching the same book this is a definite possibility and again repetition can be good and allow children to get to the nitty gritty much quicker because they are not destracted by the basics. Teaching mixed age classes can be a challenge but in a sense you have to give it a lot more thought and can't blindly follow a straight year 4 scheme of work. As for it following a 2 year cycle that is usually true of the foundation subjects but literacy and numeracy is usually taught on one year cycle so that it can be properly differentiated to meet the needs of each class.

Sorry to go on, I hadn't meant to and I also hope I haven't sounded lecturing! I hope this helps and the situation resolves itself. There are reasons why it could be happening but you should feel like you can talk to your child's teacher so you feel better informed and as a result she will appreciate you being supportive at home which in the long run will benefit all concerned.

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