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Would you consider a low-achieving cohort to be a problem?

(32 Posts)
fircone Thu 01-Oct-09 14:59:09

Dd is in Year 2 and is the brightest in the class.

The trouble is is that not only is she the youngest in the class (August) she is also not that brilliant. She can read well, but certainly not Harry Potter, and her maths is reasonable but nothing spectacular.

Quite a large number of children in the class cannot read at all yet, and the maths consists of putting the missing numbers in a number line.

When ds was in year 2 he was doing all his tables and doing quite challenging work, as were most of the other children.

The Head has herself said that this year's SATS results would not be good because of the overall profile of the children in year 2.

Would you consider this a problem? I know dd is only just 6, but obviously she will carry on through school with this group, and then on to secondary school too.

I can't help feeling a bit uneasy about this.

GrapefruitMoon Thu 01-Oct-09 15:03:12

I suppose the things to look out for are:
1. her getting picked on by other children because she is perceived to be a "swot" and

2. her coasting to a certain extent because it is easier for her to be the best - when she eventually mixes with a group of children with similar or better ability to herself it might come as a shock that she has to work harder to keep up!

Cortina Thu 01-Oct-09 15:30:31

Are so many really at this level, how do you know with certainty? Surely the maths curriculum must dictate they do more than put the missing numbers in the number line?

Has the Head told you this herself re: SATS?

I would be concerned if this is this case. I would make an appointment and voice my concerns. I would be worried. It feels like there is negativity & resignment about the class from your thread?

englishpatient Thu 01-Oct-09 16:41:03

Yes, I would consider it a problem.

NellyNoNorks Thu 01-Oct-09 16:42:11

Yes, I'd consider that a big problem.

I'd be concerned about how good the teaching that they're getting is. Is it a teacher who normally has higher achieving cogort - if so maybe the head is right and the other kids aren't very bright. Or if its a new teacher, is it the teacher thats the problem?

My DD was "average" according to her teachers at her old school. But I knew that hat her age she should be doing better - and I'm not a pushy mum at all. So I took her out the school and moved her to a different one. The week I moved her the Ofsted was published for the old school and the school failed, the eport said the school was failing all the kids who weren't achieving what they should be. She is now at a school where she is very much at the bottom of the class, but at least it is recognised and they are helping her. She's bright but had 2 years of awful teaching.

fircone Thu 01-Oct-09 16:53:35

I am really concerned about whether it is better to be learning alongside similarly able peers, if that makes sense.

And I must reiterate that it is not as though dd is a mega clever child who would be top of the class anywhere. If she were dropped into another school, I'm sure she wouldn't stand out in any way.

hullygully Thu 01-Oct-09 16:55:19

I moved mine for that very reason.

Cortina Thu 01-Oct-09 17:32:16

hullygully was this difficult to do? Was it a state primary?

hullygully Thu 01-Oct-09 17:38:50

Yes, I moved them from a state primary (reluctantly).

Dumbledoresgirl Thu 01-Oct-09 17:43:27

I have this problem all the time. There is no modest way to put this: my children are all the brightest in their year groups, even ds1, who is at a large secondary school, is brightest in certain subjects. The two who are still in primary school go to a school where the intake is below average.

The problem for me has been getting the teachers to put in that extra effort to set work my children find challenging. It is simply not good enough, imo, to say (as some have) that my children are doing fine (ie have already met national standards for the year). I want them stimulated, challenged and educated.

It should be irrelevant what level the other children are at in the class. If your dd is ready for harder work, she should be getting it. You might be in for a long hard battle.

Goblinchild Thu 01-Oct-09 18:06:03

'It should be irrelevant what level the other children are at in the class. If your dd is ready for harder work, she should be getting it.'

Dumbledoresgirl is right, the expectation at my school is that in planning you show that you have provided for SEN, EAL and Higher Ability/Gifted in every lesson.

franklymydear Thu 01-Oct-09 18:08:07

yes I would be very concerned

sorry

franklymydear Thu 01-Oct-09 18:10:09

peer pressure and the will to fit in becomes more important as they get older - she may start to hide her abilities because she doesn't want to be seen as a swot

I don't think its' just about a teaching but teaching is very important it is also partly about having peers to play off

ramonaquimby Thu 01-Oct-09 18:16:30

so I'm wondering how parents know their kids are the brightest in their class/yeargroup/whatever. Honest question.

Dumbledoresgirl Thu 01-Oct-09 19:21:13

Ramona, in my children's case, it is rather obvious. I am not saying they are geniuses, just they are bright in a school which has a lower than average ability intake. In the case of secondary school, I know because they are setted and tested and told their positions in the tests.

franklymydear Thu 01-Oct-09 19:23:14

because ramona the teacher tells you

Ceolas Thu 01-Oct-09 19:25:27

I was wondering the same. How do you know in primary? I cannot imagine any teacher telling a parent their child was the brightest in the class.

franklymydear Thu 01-Oct-09 19:43:10

they give extension work, they tell you your child is very quick on the uptake, they don't say your child is the brightest in the class but it is easy to read between the lines (i've got 2 bright ones, 1 middling and 1 to be determined)

cory Thu 01-Oct-09 19:54:08

It may be a cause for concern (peer pressure and the rest)

At the same time I would remember a couple of points:

first of all- the other children, like your dd, are still very young! the teacher may be able to tell that they are not coming across as very bright at the moment; she has no means of telling where they will be intellectually in 1 or 2 years time. Dd's class has seen some surprises!

it is possible that your dd turns out to be one of those children that can be encouraged to learn just for the sheer joy of it. You may be able to sell education to her.

and finally, if the teacher knows his/her job, your dd will be made to work at her level whatever is happening around her

ramonaquimby Thu 01-Oct-09 19:56:12

oh ok

am surprised that a teacher would explicitly state this to a parent.

i am a teacher myself and would never consider doing this!

snorkie Thu 01-Oct-09 20:18:51

If the teacher is very good and/or there are a small group of children in the class who are close to your dd's ability then it should be OK. However, I would be concerned - there are still plenty of teachers who don't differentiate all that much, and especially if your dd is head & shoulders above the others a lot of teachers may be inclined to let her coast.

Against that, some children do thrive better being at the top and may give up a bit in an environment with other brighter kids - others will strive more and achieve more, but it's hard to know which category your dd might be in without hindsight.

I would do some fact finding first and also look into alternative schools if there are any. If she's very happy & settled where she is, I'd be more inclined to try & sort the issue out within the school & less inclined to move her.

smee Thu 01-Oct-09 21:09:44

Sounds alarming if a lot of children can't read at all in year two - that's their third year in the school after all - I know it's not unusual for some children not to read until year two, but 'a large number' sounds far from good. How do you know that? And if the school are openly admitting it, surely they must be inputting massively into rectifying it - if not, why not? Also, why are they all doing maths at that level? Surely they stream/ give work sheets according to ability?

Ceolas Thu 01-Oct-09 21:12:27

A bit that 6-year olds can be described as low-achieving already.

MachinesAreGo Thu 01-Oct-09 21:24:43

Slightly off-topic, but I am confused; if it is not reliable to make predictions in the infant years about what a child will achieve, why do schools assess them all the time to see if they are developing in line with expectations?
If a child isn't achieving at age 6, then expectations of that child will be set in line with that surely. If this is the case, then it is a worry if a child is allowed to coast - there will be no expectation on them to achieve higher up the school hmm

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