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Anybody know anything about Successmaker?

(14 Posts)
Niecie Sun 04-Sep-11 17:01:57

DS who is 11, has mild AS/dyspraxia and has had some additional help with the transition to secondary this month. Yesterday we got his new timetable in the post, presumably so that he can have a look ahead of his first day and not feel too daunted.

Anyway, he is down for 2 session of something called Successmaker which I have Googled and which seems to be a computer programme to help children who are having difficulties with maths and English. The sessions are being run by the SN teachers.

DS has a level 5 in reading, was 2% off a level 5 in maths and was a solid level 4 in writing. He is not struggling academically. I don't know what he is missing to go to these Successmkaer lessons - French is a good bet as he has only one lesson a week timetabled for that. He has done some French at primary and didn't struggle with it so I am not sure why this was the subject to drop. If he is just going to be on a computer rather than in ordinary lessons I am wondering whether he wouldn't be better off with a normal timetable doing the same as everybody else.

However, I know nothing about Successmaker so before I go and ask questions and potentially appear to be ungrateful for the help they are handing out, I was really hoping somebody might know what it is all about.


geogteach Sun 04-Sep-11 17:14:24

Its a long time since i used it but it is very specific to the individual, it will identify his weakenesses and target work around them. Schools use it differently, where i taught all year 7's had a session on it everyday, so check it may not just be those with SEN that use it, although other schools do use it just for SEN. It is unlikely to be a waste of time but if he is missing somethingelse to do it you may want to check if it is what you really want.

Niecie Sun 04-Sep-11 17:25:04

Thank you geogteach.

I assume it is only SN children because the reference says SN and it is run by the SENCO and one of her staff but obviously I don't know. My friends DD hasn't had a timetable so I have nothing to compare it with.

I had never considered French would be a problem for him because, as I say he has done it in Primary and been OK but the secondary SENCO seemed to suggest it was normal for AS children to drop French because it is too hard for them.

I am worried that they are underestimating DS's abilities and seeing a label and not him. However, I realise he hasn't even started school yet so I might be jumping the gun. I just don't want him to miss half a term of something he could be quite good at whilst we sort out whether or not this Successmaker is necessary.

On the other hand I might be a touch over sensitive and I should leave them to get on with their jobs. Being on MN does tend to make you aware of the hidden pitfalls and obstacles when you have a SEN child but maybe I am need to chill. smile

Minx179 Sun 04-Sep-11 20:56:47

Secondaries in our area only use it for some children with SEN. The one child I knew who used it, had real problems with reading, writing and maths.

Though it is supposed to be specific and tailored to the child, he did use to complain that he had do do the same page over and over again.

I would arrange an appointment with the SENCO to see why your son is doing it, what they hope he will gain etc

IndigoBell Sun 04-Sep-11 21:29:28

I second Minx.

Arrange a meeting or phone call with the SENCO as soon as you can to just check that they realise what your DS is capable of, and haven't got the wrong end of the stick somehow.....

Far easier to rectify now than later....

Niecie Sun 04-Sep-11 22:55:41

Thank you. We have been thinking about it (Dh and I) and have come to the same conclusion. I will have to ring tomorrow or I can see it being 3 weeks before we can find out what is what (we have a parents' evening with his tutor).

Just don't want to annoy anybody or make them think I am questioning their judgement so early on but rather that than DS lose out I suppose.

IndigoBell Mon 05-Sep-11 09:06:35

It's not questioning their judgement. It's clarifying the arrangements.

There are loads of explanations they could have which would mean you'd be very happy with what they've proposed.

Or, there could be a simple miscommunication, and after talking to you they're not happy with what they've proposed.

It's only if their explanation doesn't make sense to you that you would be in the territory of 'questioning their judgement'. But by making an appt with the SENCO you are certainly not questioning them.

lalasmama Mon 05-Sep-11 09:22:09

I am a special needs support assistant in a comprehensive and we use SuccessMaker a lot with our SEN pupils. However, it really works for some, and for others, its a complete waste of time.
It sounds like your DS is doing really well. I dont have many year 9/10 SEN pupils on my timetable who are achieving what your DS is!
IMO, you should phone the SENCO at your DS school and question why he has been put on SuccessMaker. If he were one of my pupils, I would sit in a couple of his classes and assess his capability before putting him on successmaker.

mumslife Mon 05-Sep-11 20:56:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Niecie Tue 06-Sep-11 11:13:31

I spoke to the SENCO this morning as we dropped off DS1. Apparently, he is a special nuture group for children with SENs and the programme wi be tailored to him.

Apparently he won't be missing any lessons to do it but I can't see how unless he has 4 sessions each of maths and english and maybe everybody else has 5, who knows.

I don't think it will do him any favours separating him out tbh but on the other hand if we press the point and get him put back with his peers and it all goes wrong then he is the one who suffers. Not sure what to do for the best. We might just bide our time until the review with his year group tutor in 2 weeks.

corlan Tue 06-Sep-11 18:01:18

It does seem strange that a child with such high levels should be doing Sucessmaker.

I think you need to discuss this a bit more with the SENCO.
I would ask the SENCO what lessons your son will be missing to do Sccessmaker. I would also ask what else is planned for the 'nurture group' - it may be that Successmaker is just part of it and there will be other activities such as social skills, which may be more useful to him ( for example).

To be honest, if it were my child, with those levels I would not want them to miss lessons just to do Successmaker.

Niecie Tue 06-Sep-11 23:20:44

Well, apparently he is in some nuture group, whatever that is. We asked the SENCO about it this morning and asked what he would be missing. She said nothing but my friend's DD has 3 sessions of French so I don't know what to think now. Why would she lie to us? Makes no sense.

Anyway, DS has a major melt down this evening. Says he hates his class, he is in with all the disruptive children and he wants to change class. sad

So that has pretty much put the cat amongst the pigeons and I have to challenge this properly now. I don't think it can wait for the 2 weeks to be up.

Thanks again for all your replies.

Jools0812 Wed 07-Sep-11 11:44:50

Hi Niecie
My DSis in your sons class and he is certainly not disruptive!.He can be a bit loud and likes to finish his work before everyone else but he is not a disruptive kid.
I knew last term from the Asst Head of Year 7 that he would be going into a nurture group I assumed that would be at lunch times though. I didn't realise he would be missing lessons. Mine has high sats (5) in Reading but low (3) for writing but not sure how successmaker will help him with this. I have left a message with the school to call me back and will let you know what they say. I have pm'd you my sons name - ask your DS to look out for him, he is pretty friendly with everyone. He has noone from his junior school in the class so I know he would like to make some new friends
Jools x

Niecie Wed 07-Sep-11 12:08:31

Hello Jools.
I wrote you a reply this morning and then instead of pressing send I cancelled it. As I had to take my other son to school I couldn't do it again.

I will PM you but basically we seem to be stuck with it until at least December. They are more concerned with his transistion than with his academic progress which is fair enough but I don't think they have handled it very well especially as we weren't told about the nuture group. We knew he had a bit of special help with the transistion and we were fine with that obviously but I am not so happy with this nuture group at all. DH and I are going see how things are at the weekend and then see where we go from there.

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