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Advice please - long

41 replies

LRB978 · 23/03/2009 17:32

Teachers, feel free to give me your input on this, am I expecting too much or am I getting a rough deal?
Other parents - ditto

Background - Ds is 7 and in yr 2. The previous years reports on him have been good, no problems flagged up. This year he has lots of issues with his teacher and I am now getting fed up. The first three weeks, according to him, he was kept in every break and lunch time to finish work. She says he was only kept in 10 minutes max each lunch. I managed to resolve this issue through having her agree to lessen what she was expecting him to do each lesson and by finishing the first lessons work at morning break if needed, and sending any other work home where I would see it was completed. This seemed to work. By the time I went to see her in week three (after having seen the headmistress that morning as he was so distressed) he had gone from loving school to crying and not wanting to attend. In this meeting his teacher said he was behind where she expected him to be but did not elaborate further.

I thought we had resolved most issues, we had another meeting just after November half term in which the measures we had put in place were working, he was coping with the work he was expected to complete and this would be slowly increased to match the level of the rest of the class. It was agreed we would have another meeting before Christmas, however his teacher decided we did not need it, the measures were working and we would meet again after Christmas. This meeting never happened and I unfortunately missed parents evening due to illness.

Last weekend, I researched his reading level and spellings on the net and found out they were the level expected for reception!! I spoke to his teacher after school on the Monday, said that I had worked out his work is 2 years behind (her response was 'well, not quite but not far off') and asked if it would be possible to have a meeting to discuss what help I could give at home, as she could only do the one afternoon that I cannot, she said she would work out a morning and let me know when - I recieved a note in his reading record to say she can do 10 minutes Thursday morning.

Today, however, he has spent his literacy lesson looking for his literacy book and then, as he couldn't find it, his playtime sat at the time-out table. So he has completed no work at all and then been punished, when his work book is placed in the middle of the table at the end of the lesson, then collected in by the teacher (thus I do not see how he can be responsible for it not being there when his teacher collected it in on Friday)

I have no issues with him being behind, he was 8 weeks prem, and that may be an cause. I am annoyed that it has not been mentioned to me before this year, and even then it was not said just how far behind he is.

His teacher is extremely strict, the children are expected to be totally responsible for themselves, she gives no quarter. If I (and other parents) ask her about something it gets brushed off. I feel as if she sees ds as an annoyance as he doesnt fit the mould.

I have called a different school this afternoon to see if I can have a look around and a chat with the head-teacher as I feel he has now got labelled as slow, lazy, impossible. But I don't know if I am jumping the gun and expecting too much or whether he would do better elswhere IYSWIM.

Thankyou for reading, I know it's kinda jumbled, but any advice is gratefully recieved and anything that needs clarifying just ask (I'm sure stuff does)

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 17:49

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 17:50

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 17:51

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Slambang · 23/03/2009 17:54

Hi - an x teacher here.
It really does sound to me like your teacher is being unfair on ds . If he does find learning more difficult than others in the class he may well find all the other aspects of school such as having the right book in the right place difficult too and need strategies put in place to help him.

I'd ask teacher - if he is behind then exactly what support is being put in by the school to help him access the curriculum?

  • Is he being punished/kept in for slow work or bad behaviour?(for example is he not finishing work because he's been mucking around and distracting others)?

Is the SENCO aware/involved? If not why not?
Why had you not been informed of his lack of progress?
What are they going to do to improve ds's developing unhappiness about school?

I'd expect to have weekly meetings at a minimum with the teacher to keep contact - better still a quick daily chat at the end of each day.
ICANDOTHAT · 23/03/2009 18:01

Is this a private school ? Just wondered.

smee · 23/03/2009 20:22

A friend of mine's DS is yr1 and behind on his reading, he gets one to one, half hour sessions every day. Even if that's exceptional, your DS is most definitely not being helped enough.

smee · 23/03/2009 20:22

Meant to say, that boy's in a state primary in a so called deprived area.

LRB978 · 23/03/2009 20:23

Sorry for not replying sooner, was spending time with ds.

ICDT - nope, bog standard state school, in a very deprived, working class estate, in a town which is mostly working class/dole seekers - i.e. most schools have a high number of parents with low/no expectations(and I know I am generalising, but equally I know it is true for many in the area)

Jajas - Im glad it could be his prematurity. He has had no other issues stem from it and I was wondering if it was me finding excuses IYSWIM. I hadn't gone to the head/SENCO as I didnt wanna go over his teacher - but think I will be this week.

Slambang - he comes across as being a bit of a dreamer, although I know this is mostly because he likes to get stuff sorted in his head before he commits anything to paper. He seems to find it difficult copying anymore than a word (e.g. he can copy a single word, but not the long date)
He seems to be a kinesthetic learner. I know if I do spellings with him by getting him running around the house/practising his karate moves he learns them better - although I know this isnt practical in a classroom.
He is being kept in/denied golden time for not completing the set amount of work but not for distracting others (as far as I know, it hasnt been flagged as an issue before)
I am expecting to be sorting out meetings with the SENCO and head on Friday - I do not think I will get a lot of joy on Thursday
As for the unhappiness - one of his half brothers became a school refuser at ds's age, and when at the same school - he is now 14 and mum has just been landed with a fine! The same teacher was a yr 2 teacher at that school when D was there - I have wondered if there is a link. (His other 2 half brothers and his 2 half sisters have no issues with school BTW, just D)
A chat at the end of the day... yeah right. His teachers in the previous years have been lovely, and I have been able to chat at any time with them. (Have had a few probs re exp and also ds's toiletting which BTW is still not sorted and change of routine and stress exacerbates (sp?)). This teacher just seems to want them out the classroom asap with minimum hassle.

I will let you know the outcomes of any meetings this week, am also expecting a call from another school which I have heard does quite well with children with SEN (which ds has AFAI am concerned). Not a route I will take lightly (ex forces brat, went to 4 different primary schools) but I may as well start looking in case.

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LRB978 · 23/03/2009 20:27

Sorry, forgot to say, he is apparently included in a precision teaching group - first I knew of this was a letter home telling me this was the caseand that his progress was not as great as they had hoped! (and the start of all this - flaggin up to me that he was more that a little bit behind)

Oh - and I trained to teach as well (though didnt get my QTS) so am kicking myself for not realising just how far behind he was.

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 20:42

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LRB978 · 23/03/2009 21:04

Jajas - I didn't look at assessments as such, just checked the ORT reading scheme and matched his level to their age/level list, and also his spelling to the Reception/KS1 word lists.

How old are your twins, if you don't mind me asking? I have always put the toiletting issue down to the fact that I started toilet training in the middle of my bro going to uni, D going back to live with his mum and exp and me splitting up (I didnt realise it was going to be in the middle of all this when I started, obviously). But having tried everything I, and others, can think of, he stills wets (though I stopped the soiling eventually).

You know, its not that fact that he is behind that bothers me (if you have an expected attainment level, someone is going to be behind), its the lack of communication with and support from this years teacher that gets me. She has just lablled him lazy (and this was on the first day of the year!) and is constantly treating him as such, not as one with possible other underlying causes

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 21:13

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LRB978 · 23/03/2009 21:42

TBH, having seen what he produced in class that day (having had no neg feedback recep/yr1) I thought he had had an off day and she was right... 3 weeks later and lots of tears I knew she wasn't (I ended up crying on one of the governors then the headteacher). I thought things had settled down, but have had a few comments from ds this last couple of weeks, tonight he was upset because he wont be star of the week "ever again" (cos he can't find his literacy book that gets handed in at the end of each lesson . My blood is still boiling now)

Ds was 7 end of Jan. And I can see evidence, now I look, that he is behind in other things - he has only just started sitting and colouring (rather than scribbling for 5 minutes then doing something else). His balance and co-ordination are not brilliant in some things (bike riding for eg), although his martial arts classes do help with that. He also doesnt like sleeping alone, so we share a room, gets weepy at films (Wizard of Oz when dorothy cries, for eg) and just seems generally younger than many of his peers (although that may be because he doesnt have all the games consoles and umpteen games rated over his age) (sarky, me, much, nooooooooooo )

You really did get quadruple whammy there. Do the schemes seemed to have helped much, do you think?

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cazzybabs · 23/03/2009 21:46

It is hard to say the school should have let you know before...because it is really in Year 2/3 that children start to take maybe they were waiting to see if that happened for your ds.

However I would go in and ask what extra support your ds is getting? Did he do ALS for a start? DO they have a TA who could support him for a little bit?

piscesmoon · 23/03/2009 22:02

If he is 2 years behind he should have an IEP and you should see it and sign it. I would make an appointment to see the school SENCO and find out how the school is going to help him catch up and what you can do to help.

LRB978 · 23/03/2009 22:24

Cazzy - I appreciate that, but it would have been nice for it to have been mentioned he was behind, and that is what they were doing, if that is the case.

Piscesmoon - He doesn't have an IEP, AFAIK, and I have learnt (from lurking on various threads) that if he has one, I should have meetings with the school etc. Does this go for School Action Plus as well?

I am planning on trying to get a meeting with the SENCO (who is fabulous) on Friday, it may well be the teacher hasn't flagged ds up to her. (oh me of little faith). I do want to see his teacher on Thursday before I have any other meetings though, just to see what she says.

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 22:24

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Jajas · 23/03/2009 22:26

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piscesmoon · 23/03/2009 22:41

You would know if he had one. I would suggest that he needs one.The IEP would be either school action,(what the school are going to do extra) or school action plus (what the school are going to do and what help they are going to get from outside agencies).

Dysgu · 23/03/2009 22:44

You are getting a raw deal here LRB. I am a primary school senior teacher and SENCo and the school would have known by the end of Reception if your child was already falling well behind the levels expected. If he is now 2 years behind his age expectations you may have to head towards having him Statemented - which would be alot of work and assessments and annual reviews but would set out explicit requirements on what the school must do. The SENCo should already be aware of your child if he is struggling with the academic aspects of school and, to access additional resources, he should have an IEP in place and sounds like he should have had one from previous years - Individual Development Plan in Early Years / Reception.
I am also curious about the teacher keeping him back for not completing work if he is actually working on it. Is she actually differentiating - giving different tasks to different groups or individuals to meet their abilities (as well as learning styles!)? Very little whole class teaching would be relavent in primary schools so if he is not finishing a task that she sets the whole class then she is not doing her job properly! He should not be punished for her laziness!
I would not wait until after Thursdays meeting to sort out an appointment with the Head and the SENCo. Call tomorrow to set it up already. Have a list of questions ready as you will feel like a cross between a pushy parent and an awkward mum of a difficult child! having been in meetings with parents of children with SEN, no matter how nice the professionals are, you always feel like they dictate what happens yet YOU know your child best. (On a personal level, I also have 2 premature children - not of school age yet but it can certainly affect abilities to access the curriculum.)
The school should also be assessing his physical skills and should have resources in place to improve these - it's not just about ABC and 123.
As for moving him to another school, if you don't feel like you are able to turn things around in his current placement, then do it. He will settle as long as you make sue they are aware of his needs and open up the lines of communication straight away. If he is so unhappy with his current school then he will do so much better being moved and happy.

GOOD LUCK! (Sorry for it being so long but I felt so cross that some teacher is not taking your concerns about your son's progress seriously!

LRB978 · 23/03/2009 23:04

Jajas - I really wish I had posted about ds sooner now. Hearing about your dts is making me realise it isn't just ds. My dsis has had a look at the thread and has independently said to me that your dts sounds just like ds. I have never really seen an issue until recently, probably because I have mainly worked and had ds in wrap-around care and had little to do with other parents at the school gate. But recently I have had a drop in hours, am now picking him up 4 days a week and am able to chat and compare.

I guess I just give him time to grow in his own way, and just be careful which children I allow him to invite over (his playroom has a kitchen, car mat, wooden train set and so on in, most kids round here would kill themselves laughing)(He did get a ds for Christmas, but even then he doesn't have 'must have' games).

And if he stays 2 years behind then he either re-sits his GCSEs (if they are still in place) or walks out, goes and gets a factory job and goes in on a higher hourly rate than I am getting as an admin assistant!

I guess I was really wondering if you had noticed a bit of a leap in their learning. You know, suddenly moving up a stage or two in their reading books or similar. But I suspect that is me being really naive. I just wish I could help him get to a point where writing isnt a major chore, where he doesn't struggle to get words onto paper and where he enjoys going to school.... and that I think is going to be a long hard slog.

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LRB978 · 23/03/2009 23:32

Dysgu - Dont worry about the length, I find it impossible to write short posts And thankyou for answering, I was hoping I could get a SENCos POV

Statements - my mum used to be a TA (this was before HLTAs, but I suspect she would have been one) and did lots of 1-1 work with SEN children. She has said that the LEA wouldnt statement unless the child was 4 years behind... thus leading to few statements before year 6! I don't know if this has changed or not, but if so then I may have a slog in front of me.

The 'differentiation' we set in place in Sept was a short date and no title (he was struggling to copy the long date and title in the time set for the whole task) and one sentence for literacy, half the sums set for the bottom group in numneracy and one sentence if a written afternoon activity (I hose that over one completed lesson task a day, as I felt ds would gain more, maybe I was wrong, but I didn't want him spending the whole day on one task IYGWIM). The half term meeting showed that this was working, the Christmas meeting never materialised and parents evening I missed (spent most of the week in bed with severe vertigo attacks after being sent hom from work on the Monday). TBH, the attitude from his teacher put me off seeking another meeting with her in place of it, already feeling like a pushy parent of an awkward child! But as such, I do not know what the 'differentiation' is now.
TBH, I think many of his issues come from working it out before he shows it (he went from not walking to running in a night, from speaking 2-3 word sentences to full complex and compound sentences with every word in its right place IYGWIM) and his fine motor skills. - the first at least does not fit in traditional educational models.
I worry about him losing the friends he has by moving schools, but he won't be far away and I can always have friends over at the weekends or even on an evening, and his education is so important. I am even tempted to move him pre-SATs so at least he will get an objective mark, rather than a subjective one.
I will go in after work tomorrow and get an appt with the SENCo (and Head?) for later this week, and take it from there. I will probably be on asking for questions I need to ask in the next couple of days

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Dysgu · 23/03/2009 23:48

going to go to bed soon- but you have the right to request that the LEA assesses him with a view to statementing. I have known children arrive in Reception already statemented. Some LEAs try to give you some story but you can request assessment and they have to sort something within the 6 week deadline to assess him. A statement is reviewed annually and is a means to getting him the support he needs. Should he no longer require it, it can be adapted and/or removed. Please don't see it as a lebelling device. It can also enable you to ensure he attends schools capable of meeting his needs.
Your son clearly isn't working at y2 levels. SATs are only a part of the story for academic assessment - it really rests on teacher assessment - and I am not sure I would want this teacher teaching my child without me being very involved in what was happening.

Just out of interest - your son was premature. When was he born? Is he in the 'right' school year?

Dysgu · 23/03/2009 23:51

lebelling = labelling! Need to sleep - too tired after hectic day with DD1 (2.5 yrs) and DD2 (12 weeks) and DP who was out from 7am til 9pm. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Jajas · 23/03/2009 23:52

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