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Is it fair to keep penalising a child for something he did at 11yo?

(20 Posts)
InstitutionCode Sun 07-Jun-15 09:33:33

DS1 is now 14, yr9. IMO slightly above average intelligence but his written work doesn't reflect that, as he's hypermobile, finds writing difficult and his hand tires quickly. He didn't write at all (or manage buttons, or ride a bike) until he was almost 9.

In yr7, this was flagged and he was given extra help. Trouble is, he didn't always (often) turn up for the sessions. Now, obviously this was appalling behaviour and a disgrace. However, no-one told me. I didn't find out until the start of the next year when I asked if the provision would continue. If they had told me when he skipped the first session, I can absolutely guarantee that it would never have happened again.

I get that it's secondary school and he needs to take responsibility, but it all started in his first few weeks at a new school, where he knew no-one and was reluctant to miss break-time with his new friends. I get that too.

Every time since that I have asked what help he can have the answer has been well we tried to help him...... Is it right that he pays for being stupid at 11 for the rest of his life? I do think the school should have helped more by telling me early that he was skipping.

Lap top has been suggested but the trouble is he's not terribly proficient at typing either. All small motor skills are a bit of a challenge for him.

TeenAndTween Sun 07-Jun-15 10:12:52

No, I don't think it's fair.

However regardless of that, I would suggest you use the summer to improve his typing. We did this with DD1 at one point, there was a free typing program on the BBC website somewhere. It made a tremendous difference for her (dyspraxic). She typed all her GCSE controlled assessments, and also her English exams.

LIZS Sun 07-Jun-15 10:17:01

Perhaps not, but it might be better if he approached them asking for help to indicate that he is committed to attending. You could do a touch-typing course independently but the issue to enable use for exams etc is that he needs to use one regularly at school too. Alternatively you need an ed psych/ot assessment regarding his writing and processing speeds to access scribe and/or extra time.

littlesupersparks Sun 07-Jun-15 10:22:17

I also think typing is the key. He can use a word processor for all assignments and exams with no specific evidence. Extra time would also be considered in my school. Extra withdrawal sessions might not be a good idea as he will miss GCSE curriculum to attend them.

InstitutionCode Sun 07-Jun-15 13:44:49

The problem we have is that his writing is poor, in relation to his intelligence, which is apparent when you talk to him, but it's not that bad. When he was last tested at 11yo he had a writing age of 10yo, so was behind, but not that far, unless you compare it to his reading and spelling ages which were both 13+ . Therefore he's really borderline for receiving any help anyway and the school use his poor response last time they tried as a reason not to offer it. It may be entirely possible that he wouldn't get the help, even if he had responded properly last time and their using the last effort as an excuse IYSWIM.

OT discharged him when he got that 10yo result.

I do know the reading ages etc are not entirely useful, but they're the best we have.

InstitutionCode Sun 07-Jun-15 13:47:39

they're, FGS!!

I don't think he'd qualify for extra time because he's not that bad, just worse at writing that he is at other things, if that makes any sense at all.

partialderivative Sun 07-Jun-15 16:36:36

Is it right that he pays for being stupid

I really do not like that at all, is that how you see your son? Stupid?

YonicScrewdriver Sun 07-Jun-15 16:39:35

Partial, she meant he was stupid not to turn up to the sessions ie missingvsessions was a stupid act.

partialderivative Sun 07-Jun-15 17:26:10

I hope you are correct Yonic. In which case, I apologise Institution

m0therofdragons Sun 07-Jun-15 17:30:37

Support shouldn't happen at break time. Dc need a break so why should be miss that because he is struggling. I wouldn't have agreed to support that penalised him. Detention yes as it's a punishment but support that makes a dc miss his time to go to the toilet, mane friends etc? Nope, that is wrong. So yanbu he shouldn't be penalised.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 07-Jun-15 18:16:32

We are currently trying to get support for DS2 (Y8). Low muscle tone and delayed motor development. He is g&t in many subjects, but teachers cannot reliably mark his work because they cannot read it. He can touch type accurately and fast so types his homework, but that doesn't help for exams or classwork. The school promised a laptop in March but nothing has happened yet and his end of year exams are the week after next. He has an appointment for an OT assessment but the first appointment we could get was the last week of term. Nothing is going to happen until September, is it? sad

InstitutionCode Sun 07-Jun-15 18:18:50

Sigh, for doing some stupid not turning up when people were trying to help him.

goinggetstough Sun 07-Jun-15 18:44:44

Thefirstofhername it is good to see you have an OT assessment booked for the last week of year 8. As the JCQ regulations stand currently for an assessment report to be valid for extra time for GCSEs para 5.2.2 if there are learning difficulties including speed of writing it needs to be dated from year 9 at the earliest. It is different for laptop use. The school has to show that it is his normal way of working. At my school we build up evidence from year 8 onwards.

basildonbond Sun 07-Jun-15 18:58:56

ds2 is dyspraxic with low muscle tone and delayed motor skills - he's never developed a mature pencil grip so his writing is slow, painful and virtually illegible. He learned how to touch type in Y6 and his marks for written work shot up immediately as at last he could put down on paper what was going on inside his head.

I wasn't sure if he'd be able to learn how to type as his motor skills were so poor but for some reason it wasn't a problem - modern keyboards help as they require so much less strength to make the keys function than older typewriters

I would definitely push for support with typing - I suspect that ds will never willingly opt to do any piece of extended writing but it does mean that he should be able to get decent marks reflecting his ability in English, History etc

Runningtokeepstill Sun 07-Jun-15 19:07:55

Regarding writing, it's not just the speed and legibility of handwriting that should be taken into account. Hypermobile DC often find that prolonged writing hurts. When completing tasks in a fixed time period such as GCSEs this can be a significant problem.

My ds is in the middle of taking GCSEs using the school's netbook (he connects a full size keyboard as this is more comfortable). He'd really struggle if he had to handwrite everything. His first secondary school never got a laptop organised for him, despite him having an OT report saying he should use one. I think some schools don't "get" hypermobility syndrome and treat DC with it as not having a "real" problem.

adoptmama Mon 08-Jun-15 13:08:05

I think you should push it at the school and look for OT plus an assessment to rule in/out dysgraphia. Your son may well need special accommodations in his GCSE exams - scribe, computer, extra time etc - so an assessment will help ensure he gets what he needs to perform to his best abilities.

DoloresLandingham Mon 08-Jun-15 18:41:55

Just to add to other sound advice - the time is now to get him typing and to get the school on board with the strategy. If he is to be permitted to type in his exams it has to have been his normal way of working for a reasonable period of time.

forago Tue 09-Jun-15 12:45:59

no advcie as I am someway behind you with a 7y old with HM - most pronounced in his hands - but just wanted to say sympathies, and I do think he should be given another chance to take the help that's offered. Also wanted to jump onto this thread to see what lies ahead for us. My son is currently in y2 primary with a very unsympatetic teacher - despite consultant's letter from GOSH, about how long he takes to write things.

BeaufortBelle Wed 10-Jun-15 07:46:07

Can I ask OP, when the help was first put in place, were you asking your son if he was attending the sessions? Did you discuss with him what was covered in them so you could continue the support at home? I find it incredible really that the school put the sessions in place and you really had no idea your son was attending them. If you were asking the questions how did you not realise he was not attending and getting nothing from them? If you weren't asking the questions, then this is as much your responsibility as your son's.

Your child of course needs help but I do feel sorry for schools when they try to put help in place and parents don't do their bit to make sure it is being utilised. It does sound as though your son is borderline and perhaps if resources are limited then they feel it is better to spend the money on a pupil who needs the help more and is prepared to access the help and has parents who will ensure they access it.

It's a difficult situation and to be fair I can see both sides of the coin. If the school don't think help for your son is a priority compared to others, can you put the help in place privately?

InstitutionCode Wed 10-Jun-15 08:53:37

Yes, he was given workbooks, that he was working through at home. I was asking him about the sessions and he lied - he was attending often enough to keep bringing home a new book, but not regularly. He behaved terribly and I've since dealt with that but had to do so a year after the event.

He did make some progress.

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