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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:12 am 
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Hi

This is the first time I've ever posted on a forum so please bear with me. My son is 7 (yr2) and on the gifted/talented list in all subjects. His teacher has told me he is performing at a yr4 level in most (if not all) subjects, but he is not a particularly motivated learner and it is a struggle to get him to do homework and things he doesn't enjoy. He loves reading and is particularly strong at maths but he is not keen on writing and is not the type of child who'd just do 'school work' for fun. I obviously know he is too young to start tutoring him for the 11+ but I'm not sure if this is the right route for him anyway. I'm a little torn between wanting the best for him/wanting him to perform to his potential and wanting him to enjoy himself and not turning him off education by doing things with him that you & I might see as encouraging (that he would see as pushing & nagging) him especially at such a young age.

I am considering taking him to visit the local grammar school and the local comprehensives when they have their next round of open days as I want him to be involved in the descision. Is it too early to do this?

One last question. Should I consider changing his school if we decide to go for 11+? He is happy at his current school but the school doesn't tutor/help prepare for 11+. We actually now live in a different primary catchment, having moved not long ago, and I know that school does help towards 11+.

Thanks in advance.


Last edited by Nice on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:23 am 
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If your son is bright academically, then a grammr school is probably the right environment in the future. Alot of children are not particularly motivated in year 2. Your son sounds like mine (and alot of boys)- ie. stronger at maths, loves reading but not so strong at writing and mosy yr 2 would probably prefer to play football or the playstation rather than do maths. Therefore, definaantly consider hte grammar school option for the future.

Other people more local to you will be able to advise ou what usually goes on in your area in terms of school 11+ preparation (not allowed in Kent state schools), and tutoring. ie. when, how often.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:33 am 
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Hmm ... If your school are telling you that your DD is way ahead of his peers but not what they are planning to do to keep him progressing and motivated then you need to get on to the Headteacher. Very few state primaries prepare children for the 11+ but if they are keeping your son stretched and learning for the next 3 and a half years then it shouldn't be difficult to bump up the Verbal Reasoning etc at home later.

Word of warning - a 7 year old in Year 2 is often 'way ahead' (my DD was) but others catch up - especially 'summer babies'. This isn't usually a failure on the part of the school, the family, and certainly not of the child - just proof that children develop at different rates and targets can be misleading.

The school will be setting targets next term for what they expect your son to acheive by Year 6 SATs - try to find out what they are.

Re Grammar schools - yes, go for it (and I say that as the parent of a recent Grammar School 'failure'.) As for taking him round now? If you think looking round secondary schools will motivate your DD then go for it but I'd wait until year 4 myself.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:43 am 
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The open days aren't really designed for small children & i'm not sure your DS would get much from it.
If you want to motivate him then I would check out the school web site at regular intervals for events that he might enjoy - unfortunately you have just missed the science day but I think it will be running again next year. Alwaya a fete in the Autumn with pet show etc.

Essex state primary schools are not allowed to use class time to prepare children for the 11+ but some will run after school clubs (usually at a charge). you can replicate this with aprivate tutor or at home so it shouldn't be your main consideration when deciding on a good school.
As stated above, you need to be clear how the school intends to keep your child interested at school and move them forward. There will often be a period of consolidation if a child has made alot of progress and sometime children can appear to be ahead at maths but it later becomes clear that they are strong in specific areas but not others, which then need to be caught up. Having said this, the school should still be clear about the next targets for your DC, whatever form these take & not be complacent just because he is doing well.

Once your DC is in year 4 you might want to look at starting to develop skills for the 11+ in an informal way but most don't start formal preparation until year 5. In the meantime I would focus on fun activities at home that deveop thinking and comprehension skills.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:23 am 
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Thank you all for some very sound advice.

Pheasant chick - it's reassuring to know my ds is not the only boy out there who is clever but not really that interested in pursuing it, he's so different to his (younger) sisters who both spend ages every day drawing and writing etc. I sometimes forget just how young he is as he is very mature in other ways.

Push pull mum - I will definitely have chat with his teacher to find out his predicted SATS for yr6. Thanks for the advice.

Kb - I think you're probably right about open days (it was his teachers idea) i think Ill leave it until year 4 but i will definately keep an eye out for the science days.

With regard to the school helping him to stay motivated etc his current teacher is very good & has clear ideas about bringing out his potential but obviously I can't be sure this will continue year on year. I am aware his development may not continue at such an accelerated pace and other children in the class will hopefully catch up to join him, but I am concerned a little as a lot seem to be lagging behind the national average (there are a fair few on the same/lower reading stage than my dd in reception). Although, he does have a few friends who join him on gift days etc. I don't want to be seen as the pushy parent taking up the teachers time when my son is 'doing fine.'

I do feel little clearer now, as long as he's happy at school and his progress is continuing I'm now leaning towards not changing his school. Perhaps the best thing to do is to try and stay aware of his progress to ensure it doesnt trail off and wait another couple of years, to see if his priorities change and then I'll have a clearer idea whether he's willing to work towards 11+.


Last edited by Nice on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:37 am 
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Oh, if theres anything else anyone can recommend I should do in the next 2 years without going heavy on my son please let me know.

And if anyone has any advice about getting the most out of the relationship with the yr3 teacher as I want to start off on the right foot with him & current impressions from other parents with older kids are that while he has a good sense of humour with the children he's 'looking forward to retirement'.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:16 pm 
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I would wait until after may half term & then ask to speak to the year 3 teecher. Explain that you are keen to keep your son 'ticking over' during the summer holiday (it is generally accepted that children go back a bit during this time). You want to allow him to have a good break but would like to do some fun activities that will support the work he will be doing when they go back in September. Ask what plans the teacher has for supporting your son so what you do is in support of that.
If he doesn't have any plans by then- which isn't unreasonable -at least it will (hopefully) prompt him to recognise what your expectations are and he should at least be able to offer general ideas about games and activities you can do (weight & measure play, board games, keeping a diary, writing postcards, emails to friends he doesn't see over the holidays, writing stories for his younger sisters, library reading club...)

As long as you have a realistic view of your DC's ability there is nothing wrong is making sure he is given appropriate work at school. The teacher may not have much time to sit with him individually but the lesson planning should be differentiated according to the range of needs of the pupils.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:40 pm 
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Thanks KB very sound advice. His current teacher has already told me she'll give me some advice over how to help ds keep ticking over during the summer (she knows he has a tendancy to sit on his laurels) but it obviously makes sense to talk to his new teacher too and get some advice on what they will actually be doing next year, so like you suggested, I think I'll approach him after half term as that probably is the best time to start up a relationship with him. Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:19 am 
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Nice

Maybe a bit controversial.

My DD has just made it to GS, and we are all chuffed about it. I have a son who is in year 3 who is an above average performer, but I will not consider the 11+ scene for him till year 5.

I am amazed by your planning for your son who is only in year 2. I cant believe you will be asking about his predicted year 6 SATS. He is very bright and able so a GS is probably the right place for him. Without much effort he finds himself in the top set, so let the little fellow enjoy himself. Even if you start him of in year 4 it's early enough.
And what about burn-out, I have heard of kids becoming disinterested 3-4 months before the test and resulting in non-qualification.
Tread very carefully

HD


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:25 pm
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There has been a lot of good advice here. Your son also sounds a lot like my DS, who will be attending CRGS in September. My advice would be to encourage his reading and don't even mention grammar school as yet. My DS has always thought of 'writing' as some sort of compulsory torture but reads every single day. We did not tutor him, but gave him practice papers and went through exam strategies when he began year 6.
In the end, you know your own DS best. If school is easy he shouldn't need too much extra teaching. And any stress or anxiety you are feeling this early is sure to be picked up by him. Relax so you can both enjoy his childhood! :)


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