Teachers - would you be offended if I sent you this?(21 Posts)
Ds has just moved school due to varying issues mostly regarding lack of support/understanding of his autistic spectrum disorder.
His previous school was a grammar school where 100% of students are expected to gain Grade 5 in maths, English & 5 other subjects. CAT/INCAS tests taken there put him in the top 25% of ability and the top 10% for verbal reasoning. In his end of year 8 English exam he got 79% (year median was 78%)
His new school is a comprehensive in a middle school area, students enter in Year 9 slightly below average.
Maths, English & Science are set. There are 5 sets. Ds has been put in Set 1 for Maths & Science. He has been put in Set 5 for English. Over the course of the first few weeks they did various assessments & he just didn't write enough. He had this problem in Year 7 but a change of approach in Year 8 along with use of a laptop helped him. The big issue is he can't think how to start creative writing & he couldn't relate to a character in the book he was writing about (Of Mice & Men). He has lots of stuff in his head but it doesn't translate to paper.
Whilst doing some research of autism & English I came across a paper about the issues there can be & it was all about the book Ds is studying. It's very in detail & referenced & goes through particular aspects of the book that may cause issues.
Should I send it to ds's new English teacher or will it make me look like one of 'those' parents?
I would speak to the senco but not the teacher.
His English teacher is also his joint head of year.
My son is autistic too and I went to the school to meet the SENCO before school started. have they not done this with you? my son is primary age, so its probably totally different approach. I would ask for a meeting with said teacher and/or SENCO, you can't just email them, it would be very highanded.
Oh yes, his move was very traumatic (old school all but kicked him out) so there was a meeting before he started (with Autism Outreach in attendance) & I had a Meeting with the senco a couple of weeks ago to discuss how things were going so far.
His English teacher/HOY sought me out last week when I was picking him up from a school event to tell me about the English Set & why he was being placed (for the moment) in such a low set.
I never said I would email. It would have to be a physical printout. At his last school parents were told/encouraged to email teachers for all but the most urgent issues. At this school it tends to be a case of phoning the office.
I can't help at all but shocked at the behaviour of his precious school!!
Yes worried mum. It was a dreadful time where he was constantly being punished for bad behaviour (all autistic behaviours)
I can't praise his new school enough.
do you mean issues connected with Of Mice and Men?
Yes orgy. It talks about the things children with autism find difficult generally in English (inference, comprehension etc) then went through all the themes, characters etc in of Mice & Men & what particular aspects of the text might cause problems & suggestions of how to help a student studying it.
I think it would be fine, if you sent it with a note saying 'I was doing some reading and stumbled across this which looks like it could be really useful as DS is doing the book being discussed and struggles with many of the issues detailed'.
So long as the teacher doesn't get the impression that you don't think that they can do their job and you are googling stuff to tell them how to do it, I can't see how they'd be offended.
Am I correct in thinking that a child in top set for maths & bottom set for English is unusual?
I think noblegiraffes post is absolutely spot on.
Top set maths, bottom set English would be unusual at my school where the top set would be heading for 7+ at GCSE and bottom set would be struggling to pass. Top set maths, middle set English isn't unusual, especially for boys.
Interestingly OP, my ex discovered (as an adult) that he was an Aspie. He too was in the bottom set for English, but top set for everything else. Indeed his 'A' level teacher told him he was the worst student she had ever had in 20 years of teaching the subject.
We met at Uni and I effectively taught (retaught?) him to write. He was incredibly clever, but just could not structure his ideas coherently.
Nowadays, he is a published poet and makes his living writing.
I think if you and he feel that this set isn't appropriate, you should persist with the Senco/teacher.
Is he using a laptop for his written work at his new school? That may help if he finds it difficult to write for long.
It may not be all bad, the bottom set is likely to be where the support is based. As a TA Im always looking for new resources to support my students and would be thrilled if someone passed me a document suchas the one you have found. Im always looking for new resource I think approaching the SENCO as Noble suggested is the way to go.
On a separate note doing past paper, not necessarily timed but to get used to them maybe beneficial. Ive supported lots of teens with ASD in exams and its not unusual for them to completly freeze up. In one heart breaking instance last year my student sat for the entire GCSE English paper poised literally with pen to paper for the full 1hr30 mins + extra time but was unable to write a single word. Obviously this doesnt happen to everyone but its not uncommon.
There is also a company that lease (paid for from Government funding) laptops etc to young people with various learning needs in schools so that they have their own one (cant remember the name though). If he is allowed to use one it is better to have his own one, unless the school is well funded then the communal laptops will be used by lots of students, forgotten to be plugged in so invariably run out of battery at a crucial time, possibly keys missing from keyboard etc.
He is now using a laptop but this has only been sorted in the last few weeks. At his previous school he used an iPad (every student had to provide a tablet). At his new school own devices are not allowed. I'm quite willing to buy a "clean" laptop but I think School prefer him to use theirs. He has TA support in maths on the advice of his previous school as he was seen as a problem in maths in actual fact the issue was more the teacher. (Dh at parents evening wasn't impressed by her approach; he's a teacher himself) In English he changed from writing nothing in Year 7 to being on track for a B Grade (they did IGCSE) so he's obviously slipped back. It appears he's about 6-12 months ahead in maths & science which is great for his confidence. In his previous school he was in maths Set 3 out of 5 but bear in mind that it's a school where everyone except a few in the bottom set are entered for the Higher Tier paper.
Dh is more worried about the bottom set thing than I am I understand it's a smaller class & he will be moved up once he demonstrates his true abilIty. I'm just trying to find ways of helping him.
As he is now in a school he is happy in I would not be putting pressure on him to move up an English set for the sake of it.
Contract the school in the way noblegiraffe says, and you can use what you have learned to support him yourself, maybe.
A couple of boys in my Dc friendship group were in low sets for English, because they weren't writing enough, were slow at writing, not 'into' the books etc. 2 of them got better English GCSE grades than my top set Dc. (7s as opposed to 6).
To re-iterate. Its not the fact per se that he is in the bottom set but the fact that he is only producing work of a standard that he is probably going to struggle to get a Grade 4 whereas previously he was on track for a high B (Grade 6).
My daughter (also aspie) had writing issues when she started Year 7 but now in Year 11 is predicted Grade 7/8 with the possibility that a 9 would be possible depending on a whole lot of unknown variables.
Well Ds feels he is improving. Yesterday in class they were told to read up to a certain section & today to finish off. Ds finished quite quickly & then finished the book so today he asked the teacher if there was anything else he could be doing whilst the others were reading.
The teacher said he could practice writing a gcse style question & told him to try & do 6 PEE Paragraphs on how Curley's wife is portrayed. He did it & she told him it was really good so his confidence has been boosted.
When he'd told me of his difficulties last week I'd told him to imagine he was going to be acting in a play version (he's a good actor & does youth theatre) & has to know how to portray the character.
In other good news he came 2nd from top in the year in the half termly maths test which considering his "behavioural difficulties" in maths last year I'm very proud about.
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