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Failing at Maths

(8 Posts)
sammy987 Fri 07-Oct-11 08:30:45

Perhaps the title is a little strong considering my daughter is only 11. However, she started at secondary school this year and has just been placed in top sets for all the subjects except Maths. I don't want to fall into the trap of becoming a pushy parent but I do understand that if you don't obtain C or above in GCSE English and Maths then it closes a number of doors for you post 16.

Is it to early to start Maths tuition outside of school or best to wait until year nine? She absolutely hates the subject and is not that impressed with her school so I worry that starting tuition now in a subject she despises will make the school experience even worse and lead to a deterioration in other subjects.

Any advice would be greatfully appreciated.

ellisbell Fri 07-Oct-11 08:36:52

she probably hates it because she isn't in the top set and she is for all other subjects. In some schools it's quite possible to get an A in maths without being in the top set so I wouldn't panic about her getting C or below just yet. There are a great many online maths resources, including you-tube lectures, if she needs some help.

Not being in the top set may encourage her to work harder at the subject, I'd leave ideas of tutoring until you see how she does at least for this term.

kritur Fri 07-Oct-11 08:41:00

A couple of things to consider.
How much of her feelings about maths are to do with not being in top set?
What was her maths like at primary school?

It's not too early to start tuition, in fact it may be advisable if she is beginning to develop a negative attitude towards the subject. A good maths tutor will only make her feel more positive about maths. Why isn't she impressed with the school? Is it because she's not in top set or because she finds the lessons difficult or boring? I hate to see girls getting negative about maths so early. I tutor for GCSE maths (I'm not trained in maths, I am chemistry) and I get lots of girls in Y10 and 11 who believe they are rubbish at maths and are terrified of even picking up a pen for the exam paper. It is often quite hard work to overcome this despite the fact that they are keen to get extra help from me. I would start now and see how she goes, doesn't have to be every week and a tutor should include more fun activities like puzzles and games as well as working through maths problems.

sammy987 Fri 07-Oct-11 08:50:45


Thanks for the advice, the reason she dislikes the school is down to the fact not many of her friends from primary went. I've put this down to initial nerves as she's starting to drop the names of new friends into conversation. My fear is that this hatred of maths will tip the balance in favour of her deciding she hates the school.

I remember being at school myself and found that it was incredibly difficult to pull yourself up from the bottom set when a considerable portion of those around you did not want to learn.

Moominmammacat Fri 07-Oct-11 11:43:02

Get on top of it while she's biddable ... it's a lot harder to catch up a month before the exam, speaking from tragic experience.

forehead Fri 07-Oct-11 13:39:57

Get a good tutor. Don't wait a moment longer.

Kez100 Fri 07-Oct-11 14:35:07

My experience:

By end of year 9 at our school they are in sets which determine if higher or foundation paper will be sat (I think) and foundation has a maximum C. So, children in those sets can get a C but no higher and the work appears to be planned over year 10 and 11 to ensure good coverage of the questions they will face at that level paper. However, some schools ensure the better foundation students take Maths a bit early (ours do November of year 11), which then gives them a chance (if they get a C at early sitting) to consider sitting higher paper at the normal summer exam of year 11 to improve their grade.

Personally, I wouldn't rely on the latter. I would do what I could now to address the Maths issue, find out what it is causing the problem and sort it however is necessary - that may well mean a tutor.

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Oct-11 16:22:52

What level did she get in her SATs? What set has she actually been put in?

What would be your aim in getting her a tutor? To increase her enjoyment of maths, or to push her into getting into the top set?

If she's not a top set mathematician, then bumping her up into the top set where the pace is quicker, then taking away the tutor isn't going to do her any favours in the long term.

If they have just been placed in sets has she now got a different teacher to the one that has been teaching her up to now? That might make a difference to her enjoyment of the subject.

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