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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:20 pm 
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My son is 8 in year 3 and the school told me this week that they think he is gifted at maths and he is also underperforming and losing interest overall at school. He is very naughty in his maths lessons and we have frequently been called in to discuss his poor attitude.He is a complex person - he is sensitive and hugely empathetic and also often also a bit distant and even appears condescending at times, overall he doesn't really fit in with his classmates and has no best firend .He is viewed as a very difficult personality by his teachers and he is aware of this and wants to be liked, but seems unable to changes his ways at school.He isn't actually naughty at home, but then we learned early on to keep him moving to new tasks.He is often very emotional about school though and we talk about this endlessly.

The school say there isn't really much that they can do for him as he couldn't cope socially in the year above and that their suggestion is that I work with him after school one to one.

I have 2 questions I would like advice with

1) If I extend his knowledge at home will I actually be helping him ? I do recognise that when he is bored his behaviour worsens but will I be increasing the gulf between him and his contempories and making things worse socially ? He loves it when he is challenged, and I know he enjoys working on new topics- I have observed him helping his 2 years older sister with her NVER practice for her 11+.

If I do proceed with this, what should I cover ?

2)His handwriting is truly dreadful - what can I do to help with this that would be interesting for him ?He doesn't see it as important.


I would appreciate any comments/advice on other people's experience,


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:05 am
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Location: LONDON
Hi Henrys mum.

I felt really sad reading your post. It sounds like the school are blaming your son for being bright and I suspect they are the ones with the attitude problem. Passing the buck over to you is a copout and suggests they can't cope with anyone who is not middle of the road. They should offer him extension work in school to challenge him rather than allow him to become bored and disruptive. I'm sure lots of people on this forum will come up with lots of good suggestions about what you can do with your son but I would question whether he is even in the right school! I don't know if assessment by an educational psychologist is worth a shot. There are plenty of teachers who contribute to this forum and maybe they would have a better idea than I would.

Loulou


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:56 pm 
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I am not an expert but I notice that no-one has replied to your post, so I thought I would.

I think your son needs to be assessed by an educational psychologist to assess exactly what his needs are and how they can best be met in school. Assuming it is an LEA school they can refer him to their own council's service or you can ring them up yourself if they are reluctant - it should be listed in the phone book under council services.

Interestingly, his sensitive and empathetic nature sounds similar to my daughter who is also good at maths but has dyslexia. Not saying he has it, but it could explain his poor writing etc.

It sounds like your son could well be gifted, and his "naughty" behaviour at school is in response to the boredom he is experiencing. While I don't think there is anything wrong with giving him stuff to do at home, I really think the school should be doing more to support him and meet his needs.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:14 pm 
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Hi,

I am sorry the school has such a negative attitude. As a Maths teacher I think it's important not to accelerate but to enrich - a good school should be able to do this.

Look at the NRICH site www.nrich.maths.org.uk they have nice problems every month.

The Maths Association run a Primary Maths Challenge which I highly recommend. Details on: www.m-a.org.uk/

As you are registered you can PM me for further support.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:54 pm 
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Thank you so much for your replies. I feel less fearful reading the advice.

I am much so happier supporting enrichmnet than extension. I think thats the answer for him.
Thank you for the URLs I will spend this evening reading through them.

In her defence ,my son's class teacher told me that she isn't confident about her knowledge of maths as this isn't her strength and this is partly why she has asked me to help him (I have a maths degree but worked really hard to get it , was not gifted and I am not a teacher).The school have mixed year classes and he could have the same teacher next year if she stays in the same classroom.

Its not just the maths thats the issue for me, its helping him to fit in and deal with the world at school, relax and be a happier boy.

We went to see a private school - who will have a slot in sep 2007 in year 4 .They had a maths teacher who taught only maths who assessed him and felt he could meet his needs.We have been agonising about this and can see how much happier he could be as they would be able to handle the seesaw of his being so good at maths and fairly average at English with unreadable writing and they also seemed to recognise his personality traits.We could re-mortgage to get him through 3 years to year 6 and take the grammar school exam, but couldn't afford to do this for older daughter who is in year 5 and happy.
I feel very unsettled about favouring one child in this way but I think this is the route we will be forced to take.

Thank you very much to everybody for replying to my post.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:01 pm 
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I would try to talk to the Head - going private sounds a bit drastic - what if he doesn't reach qualifying for Grammar? I don't know which county you are in but being very good at Maths doesn't help with the VR based 11+ in Bucks.

This is a good publications - lots of challenges and the answers!! I used bits of it for Y6 Master classes -

http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primar ... hallenges/

There are other resources on the web - keep in touch!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
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Henry's Mum wrote:

In her defence ,my son's class teacher told me that she isn't confident about her knowledge of maths as this isn't her strength and this is partly why she has asked me to help him (I have a maths degree but worked really hard to get it , was not gifted and I am not a teacher).The school have mixed year classes and he could have the same teacher next year if she stays in the same classroom.


Frankly I am horrified at this statement.....no teacher should be unconfident at teaching year3 maths [ let alone admitting it ]

If this is the case then a word with the head teacher is required.

Is she new to teaching?

Patricia


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:32 pm 
Henry's Mum, I can really sympathise!

I used to work as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school, which my son also attended. He is just on the Asperger spectrum, very bright and adores learning. He has always been very motivated and had decided himself when he was about 7 that he wanted to go to Grammar school.
However, once he reached year 4, things started to go downhill for him. He had a teacher who couldn't really cope with the class, consisting of many 'behaviourally challenged' children. My son would finish work ahead of others, then start to be very silly. His teacher even said to me that he understood the work 'too well', and was finishing 'too fast'. She said that his behaviour was brought on by boredom- and perhaps I could send in some extra work for him to do in these times!!!!! When I discussed this with a colleague, who had taught him during his infant stages, she was horrified. She said that any teacher who knows him should jolly well know that you simply don't let him become bored! She was always brilliant with him and set him challenges constantly, which he loved.
Fortunately, a new teacher came along and he progressed.

In year 5, it got worse. Another new teacher joined and my son sank the lowest he's ever been in his school life. I admit she faced a nightmare of a class (two years were joined together and she had some horrendous behavioural issues to deal with.) How th emain problem started, I'm not entirely sure- but it became clear that she wasn't very fond of him. Even my colleagues who worked in that class were telling me that he did seem singled out alot of the time. His behaviour deteriorated. He was never in the same league as those with real problems- but was punished each time, while they weren't. He gave up making any effort with his school work- and even said to me "What's the point, Mum, she won't bother to look at it- or she'll just moan about it if she does."
It just wasn't my son!

She would complain to me every time we passed in the corrridor or in the staffroom. I frequently heard that he was rude and cheeky. I'd talk to him- and he would be in tears at home, not knowing what he'd done. There was a complete lack of understanding of his perception of the world (because of the Aspergers.EG, a teacher thought he was eating something in class one day and asked what was in his mouth. He replied, "My tongue" and was punished for rudeness. He thought that he was simply answering the question, as he hadn't got anything else in his mouth- being very literal is one of the main characteristics of Aspergers).

To cut an already long story short- she informed me that he was rude, arrogant and intolerant- and made little effort to participate in class discussions and learning.
Not long after that, I left the school- and took my son with me.

At the very first parent teacher evening I had with his new year 5 teacher, I was informed that he is a highly motivated, popular boy- well mannered, considerate and who joins in every lesson with great enthusiasm. He was challenged from the word 'go' and has never been bored.
He has just received a place at Grammar school and at the latest parent teacher evening, his year 6 teacher couldn't sing his praises highly enough. He is achieving very highly and is happy. He hates missing school if he's unwell.

He has suffered severe migraine attacks from an early age. He had around 3-6 bad attacks every week at his old school. Since joining his current school, he has had about 5 in total (throughout years 5 and 6).

Basically, I wish I'd acted much sooner for him. I have my son back.

You know your child better than anyone. There are kids whose school behaviour would horrify their parents if they could see it- but you are realistic about your son. It doesn't sound like the school has a very realistic or caring approach. He sounds very different at home- just like my son was. Please don't feel any guilt about doing what's best for him. I really don't think that you'd be showing favouritism if you go the private route. My son is off to Grammar soon- but my daughter is home educated. It wouldn't suit him at all. It's a matter of doing what's best for each child.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I hope your son ends up as happy as mine is.

Incidentally- my son's handwriting is dreadful too!!!!! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:29 pm 
A concern when moving school's is 'How do you know that the new school is any better?'

You obviously researched into other schools, and visited, asked questions and found a great school.

So If you don't mind, I would be greatly interested in finding out how you resolved on this school. Any advise would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:11 pm 
My son has loved the maths enrichment website and has been laughing over dinner about it, he is full of enthusiasm for it .Thank you so much.

In answer to Patricia , yes the teacher is new, although she is in the 45-50 age range.She is taking a mixed class of year 3 and 4 children, the suggestion was to move him into the Yr5 group for maths.

I accept of course,that he might not get a place at the Grammar School but thought that if we moved him to a school who knew what they were getting , had assessed him and talked to us and we have been honest, that he may overcome his current problems and re-surface as person.
He has just taken his grade 2 piano this week and he can really focus and concentrate, the piano teacher has no problems with him (I have asked).

I think our only option is to move him.
Thank you everybody for your advice.


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