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DD not being challenged and utterly bored + First detention ...

(49 Posts)
Jess39 Tue 22-Sep-15 10:53:31

First post.

My DD just entered secondary school (was not any of our preferences); she is a very academic girl and now is put in a class with no one at all to challenge her. Sadly nearly half of the class has English as a second or third language and most children have learning support. I have always been in favour of mixed ability but this time there is no one for my daughter to work with or even to communicate with in class on the same level.

Her primary school has always been brilliant in keeping her challenged so I do appreciate she was always going to ahead of others. I just did not anticipate it would be worlds apart and the secondary school would be unable to follow this on.

She is utterly bored in lessons and received a detention yesterday in history for reading her maths book in class after all her work was done. The task was set for 55min and my DD took 9min and received 100%. I told her she should have asked to read her book so the detention is probably fair. She went and apologised to the teacher whom told her to take more time and just fit in.

I was seen the head (as I received a letter about her detention) and kindly requested her to be moved as the other 3 classes have a balanced ability group to avoid situations like this but they refused. I asked if it was possible to set a more challenging tasks. Again this was no. I told my DD not to worry and just do as they say and not to read until given permission. Do they have an obligation to keep her challenged or not? They have a talented and gifted policy so it says on their website which confused me. confused

Her homework takes her 10/15min a week and my real question is how can I keep her motived at home to make up for boring days? She needs to be challenged. Shall I buy books to give her at home or just leave it?

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Sep-15 10:57:05

What is the school's policy on setting? Why is your dd in this particular class rather than one of the others? How do you know about the make up of your dd's class? Sorry about all the questions?

Lurkedforever1 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:06:33

Did they give reasons as to why they won't challenge her? Or give any explanation of what procedure she should follow when she's finished her work that far ahead? If it's a short term assessment thing, or they say it is, I'd leave it for now, then in a few weeks start asking for what their plan is for her progress etc preferably in writing.
Although in answer to your question, you don't have any recourse in the system to have her challenged. If it carries on and it's not just a short term getting to know their ability thing, you can put in official complaints etc but it's unlikely to effect any change unless the school actually decide they want to do it.

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 22-Sep-15 11:08:10

Your post really bothers me, tbh, as it just sounds like a recipe for disaster - a bright kid ending up in a very weak class is going to play up. It's the waste of potential that bothers me here.
Is she on the waiting lists for the schools you didn't get? I would try that avenue as the school do not sound supportive.

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 22-Sep-15 11:09:23

To be fair the teachers may be concentrating on the weakest kids but that isn't going to allow your dd to achieve her best.

SelfRaisingFlour Tue 22-Sep-15 11:09:47

Are you on the waiting lists for your preferred schools?

Jess39 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:10:10

No Problem I asked the same questions. No policy on setting they just mixed them up randomly and it just so happens her class is acedemicly completly out of balance. I know the other classes are better balanced because i had a word with her form tutor whom informed me of this hence the idea of requesting to move her.

Jess39 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:20:15

We are on the waiting list but nowhere near the top. She passed 6 fee paying entry tests but we needed a full bursary for this to happen and it did not, even though we got close (I am a single mum and paying essential bills is priority).

Lurkedforever1 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:24:21

Are there any possible grounds you can appeal on for one of the other secondaries?

Jess39 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:32:37

I doubt it. My DD is able to get to school by bus (30min) and i really have no idea what grounds we would have. Something i will have to look into maybe. It never occured to be we would be in a sistuation like this. DD is desperate to change schools. She wants to stay at home and read books as she tells me there is nothing they are doing she didn't see many years ago. I feel for her yet i do understand she doesn`t quantify special attention.

DoreenLethal Tue 22-Sep-15 11:36:35

Detention for reading a maths book?

What kind of crazy parallel universe are the school in?

I'd be writing to the head asking if this was correct and why wasn't my kid being attended to for the other 44 minutes after finishing her work and why the hell is she getting a detention for reading another school book? Totally fucking ridiculous.

Jinglebells99 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:38:57

Oh gosh, I do feel sorry for your dd. I would be annoyed at the detention too as it wasn't as if she was being disruptive by finishing the task then reading her maths book. It does sound as if it is not the school for her. Maybe once she has finished, she should ask for extra work. I know my dad is often given extension pieces of work on top of the regular worksheets.

Jinglebells99 Tue 22-Sep-15 11:40:08

Not my dad obviously! My dd! My iPad thinks it knows best!

Artandco Tue 22-Sep-15 11:42:47

Can you homeschool her until a place becomes available at a different school?

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Sep-15 12:15:03

Jess- do they set them by ability at any stage? Have the done any formal assessments yet?

What % of high attainers does the school have and how do they do? Knowing that won't help now but might or might not reassure you a bit long term.

smee Tue 22-Sep-15 12:33:40

Hmm.. I might be a lone voice, but I think it's way too soon to make a judgement. Also I'd be very wary of just going on what my child said. I'm not at all saying she's making it up and the detention does sound ridiculous. It must be awful to see her unhappy, but why don't you ring again and ask for a meeting with a Year Head or similar? You don't have to be confrontational, but you could say you're worried that she's not happy, as that should alarm them and make them want to help.

Could she also be so unhappy because she's struggling to readjust? Could it be because she hasn't made friends yet? Did she know anyone when she went? All those things could be influencing what she's telling you/ how she's feeling and be the same whichever school she went to too.

Also, it's rare these days for secondaries not to set, so I'm guessing you might find that will happen once they've tested the children's abilities. My son (also just started at secondary) is being tested in each subject, then they'll re-jig classes. His form class will always be mixed ability, but for English/ Maths/ Science and I think languages they'll be taught according to ability. For now though like your DD he's found some of the work ridiculously easy (he's also finished some tests in a fraction of the time given), though others he's found more taxing.

Also are the school's results okay? If so, then they're clearly not too bad a school. Can you speak to other parents to try and gain reassurance or even affirmation?

Lastly just on what you say on kids who don't speak English as a first language. Unless they're recently arrived so have no English and are struggling because of that, I can't see how that affects things. Most of my son's friends don't speak English at home, but they're all doing well and at least as able as him if not more so.

Good luck!

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Tue 22-Sep-15 12:35:20

What did he say about her being given detention?

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Tue 22-Sep-15 12:35:56

Not a lone voice smee. smile

Autumnsky Tue 22-Sep-15 12:39:10

The best way would be move school or class, if it is not possible, then would it be possible OP communicate with the subject teachers individually to get agreement that DD can do some extended work after she has done the required task?
Reading math book in history class is not very good.A history teacher certainly won't happy if he see his students doing other subjects.
But I think OP's DD should read some history books related to the topics after she finish her history task, and do more difficult math works in math class. So the rule is to keep doing same subject. If teacher can provide the material, it's better. If not, maybe OP and her DD can find some themselves.
I generally feel most of the teachers always like their bright students, and always willing to help them.

senua Tue 22-Sep-15 12:44:01

Warn her that the standard task for G&T is to be an unpaid teaching assistant. If she is OK with helping weaker students then that is fine, otherwise I would tell her to take her time with her work (or, at least, appear to).

Start looking for spaces in other schools so you have a Plan B.

senua Tue 22-Sep-15 12:47:38

Did she get detention because the History teacher thought that DD hadn't done her Maths homework and was trying to make up the deficiency in the History lesson.
I agree with autumn's idea of staying within the subject.

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Sep-15 13:03:15

"Warn her that the standard task for G&T is to be an unpaid teaching assistant"


senua Tue 22-Sep-15 13:27:28

OK. Warn her that, in the experience of my DD and several other similars, the standard task for G&T is to be an unpaid teaching assistant.

Is that better?

smee Tue 22-Sep-15 13:44:25

smiles at ThenLater.

yeOldeTrout Tue 22-Sep-15 15:50:41

Detention isn't that bad DS gets it all the time.

They do have an obligation to give her material suited to her ability. Not tutoring peers time, but actual learning tasks.

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