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S1 Maths - please help!

(9 Posts)
Confuzzled84 Sat 03-Feb-18 05:32:57

DS really needs help with maths. I find myself unable to help because I can't find out what it is they are doing in maths. There is no maths homework and they don't use textbooks. I have contacted the teacher to ask if there is a syllabus but apparently there isn't. I'm left not knowing what they need to cover during this year.

He is doing well in all other subjects but is failing maths tests. Lots of his peers are also failing and the teacher doesn't seem to think he is doing badly. He is a bright boy and was good at maths in primary but he has not been able to tell me what they are doing in S1 confused

I can help him with this but only if I can find out what he is supposed to be learning.

I don't want to spoon feed him but I would like to help him understand what he is being taught. I know he is in secondary now but I think I need to do something!

Does anyone with a child in S1 feel able to share what their DC is doing please?

EveMoneypenny Sat 03-Feb-18 05:53:57

It will probably be either CfE Level 3 or a mixture of Level 3 and Level 4 CfE. Some schools complete all of Level 3 before moving on, and other schools might cover aspects of Level 4 for the top sets before Level 3 is finished (eg cover all the content on equations together). Have you been given any info about the level he's working on? You can access all the CfE experiences and outcomes online but they're a bit vague to interpret for a nonspecialist. The teacher will definitely have a list of topics to cover in a suggested order - there's no way they just make it up as they go along! I've not taught in schools for a few years now but if you want a textbook the TeeJay ones are well written and very accessible in my opinion - loads of questions for practice. The TeeJay textbook for Level 3 is split into two books, 3a and 3b.

Confuzzled84 Sat 03-Feb-18 07:14:27

Thank you, no I haven't been given any information about what level he is working at. I have emailed the teacher twice. Once when he wasn't able to tell me what it was they were doing, then again when he was upset about failing his tests. He is getting 80-90% in all his other subjects and 38-39% for maths. To me that seems very odd, especially as he was doing so well in maths in primary. I know the maths would have been easier but it is still a dramatic change imo. Apparently there is no cause for concern and loads of kids in his class score the same confused

I don't feel I can make contact again after being given the brush off twice. Parents evening is after easter and I think the situation will have deteriorated by then.

The teacher will definitely have a list of topics to cover in a suggested order That's what I thought and basically what I was asking for. I suppose they don't want to encourage parents to teach it all wrong but it is like a state secret.

I will check out those books. I did maths and further maths A level but after contacting the teacher I felt I would be doing more harm than good by trying to help. Even if I could see some examples of his work it would give me an idea of how they are expected to do things.

I don't know any of the other parents so won't be able to glean any information there.

Sorry I'm just rambling now. I have been up since 3 worrying about it! I expected secondary to be a big change for him but I didn't predict this.

EveMoneypenny Sat 03-Feb-18 08:09:22

Sorry to hear you're so worried about it. Doesn't sound like the school are being very helpful at all. Have you tried contacting your son's guidance/pastoral care teacher or even just phoning the school and asking to speak to the PT of maths? That might get more of a result for you. It's an entirely reasonable request.

Also, no homework is very weird. Both schools I taught in had a policy of short daily homework every single night for maths as well as longer homework weekly or fortnightly. Again this could be mentioned if you contact the school, just to check what the policy is.

This is the official document giving the syllabus for maths:
You'll see what I mean about it being vague! The various levels are set out as a list of "experiences and outcomes" in columns. In S1 the majority (or even all) of his work is probably Level 3, although some pupils in lower sets will still be on Level 2. The maths department in the school will then have its own documents which will group the e's and o's into topics and give the order in which they are taught, and a bit more detail in the types of examples to be covered, so that all classes cover broadly the same content.

EveMoneypenny Sat 03-Feb-18 08:13:56

I don't think that link works. Try this:

Gettingthereithink Sat 03-Feb-18 08:21:55

Maybe at the weekend you could look through his jotter together. He should have notes on how to do each type of problem as well as some questions he’ll have done in class. You could then use the TJ books to consolidate. As well as questions there are boxed sections explaining how to do each type of question. Good luck, it sounds disheartening for him especially as he’s done well in maths previously. Still, he has you on his side!

Confuzzled84 Sat 03-Feb-18 08:33:37

Thank you. I have never seen his jotter. If he had work to bring home I would at least be able to take a look and work out what they are covering.

That's a good idea about contacting the guidance teacer. I think if I get in touch with the maths teacher again I will be that parent. The responses have been vague and dismissive so far.

I've ordered the book so at least we will be able to have a look at that.

Sorry I'm sure I am not coming across as very calm but this is one area where I didn't expect him to struggle!

k2p2k2tog Sun 04-Feb-18 23:06:11

Our school has a maths blog webpage with the S1 curriculum on it: you can also click on the worksheets to get a better idea of the standard/level.

They do use text books, but not exclusively. They use lots of different materials, websites, worksheets. They get homework every couple of weeks, and are given extra support if they need it with extra sheets to do at home.

I agree with seeing the guidance teacher, or head of year. It sounds all very odd to me, in my experience teachers have been more than happy to discuss exactly what they're doing in class, next steps, and that sort of thing.

MrsAmaretto Wed 07-Feb-18 22:18:15

Definitely speak to guidance teacher, it could be (& I might get flamed for this) that his teacher is shite. His maths teacher should be able to explain what they are covering in class and where your child is struggling. Surely that’s a pretty basic role for a teacher??

It seems very odd that the whole class is doing poorly. It reminds me of my standard grade maths class - we all got shit grades at the prelim & needed private tutors. Our maths teacher was an alcoholic who should never have been allowed to teach us.

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