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If I email the maths teacher will I be 'that' parent?!

(31 Posts)
MidnightVelvetthe7th Fri 16-Dec-16 17:40:32

This is my first experience of secondary, DS1 started this September. He's academic & usually does well in all subjects, and I'm a parent who trusts the school & upholds respect for his teachers. I'm not a teacher, I don't know the curriculum & I don't second guess teachers. However I've had a letter from his maths teacher & I don't really understand it, could someone tell me in plain English what it means please?

Dear Parent/Carer, Following the outcome of the recent progress check, your child has been identified as a student who is currently not within their ‘progression flightpath’ in Mathematics. This can be that they have not currently reached the expected level of progress from their KS2 result or they have underperformed in the recent assessment. As success in Mathematics is so important and we want to ensure that all students make rapid progress, I have set some extra Mathematics work that I would like your child to complete over the Christmas holidays. This will be work based on topics that we have covered so far this year to ensure consolidation and practice in topics that your child may have struggled with during Mathematics lessons as well as keep them busy!

So he's behind, I get that, but he's in the top maths group. This is the first time he's fallen behind (at any subject) & does it mean he had a bad day or does it mean that he is consistently failing to meet the standard? In his SATS last year he got an 'exceeding' mark, I had to take his books back in for the staff to pass to someone else & surely if his maths was bad that wouldn't have happened?

When I got the letter I mentioned to him that there was some extra maths to be done over the holidays, I didn't tell him he was behind but I asked how he was finding it & he said maths was fine & he wasn't struggling. So he will do the work, that's not an issue but I'm wondering what's going on with his maths?

I haven't emailed the teacher as I don't want to be the parent of perfect little Johnny whose mother is outraged , but I want to get an understanding of where he is in maths & how badly he is failing & what the teacher thinks has caused it.

So I thought I'd ask you all? smile

user1471530109 Fri 16-Dec-16 17:46:23

I would imagine he has a ridiculously high target and he is currently not quite working where the teacher thinks he should be. I wouldn't panic. For example, I have pupils who are supposed to be targeted a 9 at GCSE. Which means they need to be pretty exceptional. Except I have about 20% o the class with that target hmm.

Also, many schools are feeling there way through this flighpath malarkey and I know I'm not 100% confident with it.

But at the same time. If I didn't set up intervention to show I hadn't tried to make those 'not' on target's catch up, I'd be in trouble.

Get him to do the work. But don't worry. Wait for his report. Or, if you think you need more clarification, an email would be fine. I'd expect that if I had sent that letter out.

cansu Fri 16-Dec-16 17:47:04

I think it is pretty clear. He has found some things hard or didnt do as well as expected on a class test so has been given some extra practice work. Do the work send it back and maybe follow up with an email asking how he is doing and if he needs any more extra work. I guess now he is in a set he is working at a higher level with the other more able kids. Some things will be harder than others.

user1471530109 Fri 16-Dec-16 17:47:35

A few typos before anyone starts with the teachers don't know grammar thing....

FlouncingInAWinterWonderland Fri 16-Dec-16 17:49:59

If he got an outstanding sats result his KS3 (years 7-9) target will be projected at a rate beyond that, so phenominally high too. Its not about failing its about being on that peformance line.

Because he can achieve and they're monitoring closely, they expect him to achieve - coasting is not an option (thats a positive, so long as he's not feeling overwhelmed).

At primary right kids can often do well and not always apply themselves. In a bigger pool, with good teaching, they have to keep trying to keep shining.

All sounds rather positive to me.

chosenone Fri 16-Dec-16 17:55:06

Dear Maths teacher

Thank you for your letter detailing some pretty speedy intervention with Year 7's. I am pleased to see how well you monitor progress and that you are pushing my son.
I am, however, aware that DS has very high targets and therefore his target grade will be high. The new spec hasn't even been sat in a summer examination yet so i an understand your concern to ensure every child does his best.
However, as he is in top set and exceeded expectations in his SATS I am not unduly worried. We have a mixture of fun family time and relaxation planned for the festive season and that will not be including extra homework. Be assured that as the term resumes in 2017 we will support DS where possible.
HAPPY Christmas

MidnightVelvetthe7th Fri 16-Dec-16 17:57:34

Thanks all smile

I knew you would help & yes Flouncing he has been known to coast along smile

Finola1step Fri 16-Dec-16 17:58:20

I wouldn't read that letter as your ds being behind as in behind others in his cohort. I think he left primary school with really high scores and has not yet kept up to that level. All perfectly normal when starting in a new school, greater levels of independence and expectation etc. He probably didn't score as well in a recent test as expected. And the senior leaders or department head wants to see "action" taken by the teacher. Hence the letter.

I would go through some of the homework with your ds and see the if he can actually explain to you his work. Then email the teacher in January, stating that the homework was completed and that you are always happy to receive feedback etc etc.

No biggie.

SoupDragon Fri 16-Dec-16 17:58:58

If you send that suggested email you will definitely be that parent!

educatingarti Fri 16-Dec-16 17:59:42

Its a bit like the growth percentiles when they are little. If they are on a high percentile and then drop down to a low onebit can be a cause for concern. Your D's has probably been on the equivalent of a very high percentile at primary and something in his performance this term has meant he has slipped down the "percentile" charts a bit although still obviously within the top set. The teacher is trying to catch this early to get your ds back on his old "percentile" line.

SoupDragon Fri 16-Dec-16 18:01:10

TBH, it's the first term I would wait and see how he goes. It's too early to panic at all. When is parents evening or report time?

Traalaa Fri 16-Dec-16 18:06:27

We were told at start of year 7 that with every new intake, they uncover a huge range in what the children are and aren't secure in. Even if a child has astonishing SATs results, that doesn't necessarily mean they're secure in everything. Your son could just have been taught well enough to pass yr6 SATs, done well but then have forgotten huge chunks. I know mine did.

I wouldn't send an e-mail. Do the work and check it with him. That way you'll work out yourself if the teachers are right or not. You'll soon find out if they're being unrealistic, or if it's all just fair enough. It's not a big deal really.

senua Fri 16-Dec-16 18:51:35

Sometimes schools are stupid and go through the motions. We had a letter home about DS early in Y12 which basically said "if he carries on like this he will get awful AS grades and we will boot him out at the end of Y12". It really upset me until I discussed it with some other parents, one of whom was a teacher. They explained that it was a 'going through the motions' letter so I calmed down. DS didn't get kicked out btw, he carried on to upper sixth and got A* A B. I'll bet that the school claim that it is because of their 'intervention'.hmm

Ignore, as best you can, the silly letter but do check that they are not going to drop him down a set.

Don't you love it when they drop these bombshells at the end of term, when there is no-one there to discuss it with.angry

noblegiraffe Fri 16-Dec-16 18:53:51

Bloody hell, the thing about flight paths is such a heap of bollocks. How on earth would a teacher be able to say at this point in Y7 if a kid is not on target for their GCSEs 5 years hence? Progress isn't linear, and kids have just gone through a major transition. If your DS has been 'identified' because of insufficient progress from KS2 a) sounds like the school are expecting kids to fit into neat little lines and be equally good at all areas of the curriculum which is nonsense and b) they actually have some way of accurately measuring progress along that neat little line, which is nonsense.

If he has simply underperformed in a recent assessment (ask him) then maybe a bit of revision would be a good idea.

CauliflowerSqueeze Fri 16-Dec-16 18:54:15

Just ask if you can have some more clarity on areas he is falling behind with, as he feels things are going well.

MakeItStopNeville Fri 16-Dec-16 19:00:51

If you send an email with the questions you have in the OP, you will definitely not be "that" parent as I think they're perfectly reasonable things to want to know. If you send an email like up ^^^, you absolutely will!

noblegiraffe Fri 16-Dec-16 19:10:20

Hasn't school broken up already in which case an email to the teacher would be too late?

GeorgeTheThird Fri 16-Dec-16 19:30:26

Don't stress, but get him to do the work. This will wait till parents evening, honestly.

Meloncoley2 Fri 16-Dec-16 21:29:51

I had a similar letter once which I queried. It turned out to be a mistake, a letter meant for a few had been sent out to the masses.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 17-Dec-16 15:13:17

I'll bet that the school claim that it is because of their 'intervention'.hmm

Do you talk to your son about the letter?
Did he settle down and work after?

If they hadn't have sent the letter, I'll bet that you would have complained to the school about not being warned.

senua Sat 17-Dec-16 18:16:25

The turnaround came because of me finally deciding not to accept teacher-knows-best any more. It was me who eventually pinpointed the problem, not the teachers. They were reacting to symptoms, not the 'disease'.
I am the first to admit that he is a pita but he doesn't suffer fools gladly. University suited him better than school and he had a much more positive experience there.

MissMargie Sat 17-Dec-16 18:39:48

How do you know all the kids haven't received this?
Maybe teacher is paranoid about her class achieving and they are all doing stuff over the hols?
I wouldn't blame the teacher as isn't it that now schools have to maintain the DCs levels of achievement, Dcs aren't allowed to drop back, so maybe, as mentioned above, he did exceptionally well and is now obliged to be kept at this level.

Ohyesiam Sat 17-Dec-16 18:50:53

Of he got a 5a or 6 in ks2, they will have set him a madly high target, (ideally kids make 2 sublevels of progress a year)).
So his general standard of work, and the level at which he progresses may not have gone down. Or it could be that senior school is much less contained than primary, and he has got can bit distracted.
I don't think writing would make you " that mum ", you just want a bit of clarity.

Biscuitsneeded Sat 17-Dec-16 19:10:51

It may not even be due to the SATs score. My Year 7 DS has been predicted an 8, based on his CATs test, but like your son he hasn't yet showed the necessary brilliance so far at secondary (languishing at the bottom of the top set) so I have received a very similar email. It makes me a bit cross because he isn't very confident in maths anyway, and now he feels like a failure just because he isn't on a 'flight path' for an 8 yet - but in my view the 8 is an overestimation of his capabilities anyway and he may just have fluked the CATs test. For gods's sake, he's in the top set and behaving himself, doing homework etc - why does everything have to be about data/expected GCSE grades at age 11?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 17-Dec-16 19:26:41

'Progression flight path' is wankery of the highest order. Who came up with that one.

Are they basing this on the results of his class work or a single test? It would be helpful if they could give you a reason rather than a generic it could be this or this.

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