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 Post subject: Primary
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:23 am 
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Hi, I am after some advice about my DD who is coming to the end of Yr4. She is a very bright girl who is becoming increasingly bored at school. She has been having private tutoring for 1 hour each week for the last two months in prep for the 11+. Her tutor (who also tutored DS before his 11+) is covering Year 5 work with her now and she is picking it up very quickly. The problem is that she has then dealt with the maths and english topics before the class get to them. This isn't necessarily a huge problem, but the issue is really that the class then take up to two weeks to cover problems that she deals with in one tutoring session. Even before tutoring we had problems because she seems to grasp things very quickly and then can spend up to two weeks while others in the class spend time learning the point. The teachers do provide extension work, but that tends to be more on the same thing and so does not stretch her at all. I do appreciate that the teacher has limited resources, there are 32 children in her maths set and just the teacher!

I do not want to stop tutoring as the selective secondary that she is aiming for had 1,800 sitting for 100 places this year. There are very few academically selective schools locally and so a large number of those 1,800 will put the school as first choice. DD does need to be familiar with the tests etc to have the same chance as the other girls.

Sorry for the ramble but the advice I am after is whether DD's primary school have the ability to allow her to move up a year group for maths and english? Whether anyone has had a similar experience and has found a way of dealing with it? We are happy to work with the school in whatever way is necessary but don't know how much flexibility the school has.

Our other option is to move DD to a private school for the last two years of Primary. DD is going for a 'taster' day next week at a lovely school which has very small classes and where we believe she would get the attention that she needs. It would be a strain financially but we could just do it. Ideally I don't want to move her from her friends, but I don't think it would be good for her to spend another two years being bored.

Sorry for the long ramble, any comments welcome.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:47 am 
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I think it is entirely up to the school if the allow this. They do at the primary my children attend. It is a small rural school with mixed age classes, so even when children move up, they are still working with children they have been in a class with before.

I thought it worked well for confident children, less confident children do not seem to thrive outside of their peer group.

I believe there is some research which indicates enrichment is better course of action, but on balance I was happy with DC moving up.

I feel a need to point out that it does become a problem in year 6 when they have already covered everything the year before. Year 6 can be a bit dull at the best of times.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:49 am 
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Location: East Kent
I have known of children who are moved up a year group in primary, you will have to speak to the school and see what their policy is.

The other alternative is to ask your tutor to provide enrichment activities,maybe investigations, problem solving etc rather than merely teaching ahead in the syllabus. The English could also include really honing the skills needed for different types of writing, discussion and vocabulary building. There is not always time in class to explore a subject in greater depth and your tutoring sessions are the ideal place for this. It would build a very strong base for KS3 work too.

I would favour the latter route rather than moving her up a year.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:49 am 
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Does preparation for the 11+ in your area require teaching ahead in maths and english in the way that the tutor is doing? If it does, then another option would be to continue everything as now, but in addition ask the class teacher if it would be OK for your daughter to bring in her own enrichment work, and ask the tutor to provide the enrichment work for your daughter to take into school.

This would require you to pay the tutor a little more, but cost you considerably less than moving to a private school. If the class teacher says no to this idea, I would be inclined to ask to discuss this further with class teacher, headteacher and SENCO.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:54 am 
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I agree, get the tutor to stop teaching ahead of the syllabus! There are millions and millions of things in this world so tell her to pick something else. And involve the class teacher with your worries.
The trouble with going up a year is ... what happens in Y6. You'll run out of places to go.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:04 am 
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Milla wrote:
I agree, get the tutor to stop teaching ahead of the syllabus! There are millions and millions of things in this world so tell her to pick something else. And involve the class teacher with your worries.
The trouble with going up a year is ... what happens in Y6. You'll run out of places to go.


Agree agree agree (no surprises there then!)
Nature
Languages
Cooking
building things
electronics
growing things
doing absolutely nothing (we all like that, and need it too)

Why oh why just maths and English? what is the point?! If she is that far ahead already you don't need to worry about the 11+, surely not yet?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:06 am 
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Location: East Kent
I often ask the parents of the children I tutor to ask the teacher which areas she would like me to cover in my sessions. AS a class teacher I would much rather the tutor worked with me


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:31 am 
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Thanks very much for the replies.

I think that the reason that the tutor teaches ahead is that the entrance exams take place in November of Year 6 and contain topics from all of Year 6 and some maths topics from year 7. By the time of the test DD will need to be familiar with all of the Yr6 syllabus and some of the Yr7. This is not ideal but the children in private schools locally will have covered these topics as will other children who are being tutored (by parents or tutors).

Amber, I wouldn't say that I am worried about 11+ but we have just one state selective school locally and then one more which is 20 miles away, competition is therefore very fierce.

DD is very active outside school, she plays sport, goes to Brownies, loves to cook at home, reads endlessly and spends hours running around after her older brother!! My concern is that she generally comes home from school unhappy because she has had such a dull day. She is in gifted and talented for Science and ICT, she enjoys those sessions but ICT is after school once a week and Science is about 1 hour per month. DD has always been very mature for her age and tends to have a different perspective on most topics at school. Her teachers have often commented on it and they enjoy the more adult discussion they can have with her. The problem is that they clearly don't have the time to devote to her, which I completely understand, but she then spends most of the day unstimulated.

I have considered stopping tutoring until next year but the situation has existed since DD started Yr 3. When she was in Yrs 1 and 2 we were very lucky because her respective teachers spend a great deal of time making sure that she was challenged. She was given other 'responsibilities' in the class, including helping other children with their reading and writing. She had a weekly meeting with the Headteacher to talk about issues affecting the children in the Infants. I am sure it was easier to do these 'extras' in Infants than it is now in Juniors.

I think it has come to a head now because if she is going to move school it has to be to start Yr 5 or not at all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:43 am 
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I think you've given your own answer, and that is to move her. Are you going to look back and regret churning on and committing her to this drab treadmill???


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:44 am 
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I can see exactly where you are coming from. And really it sounds as though you have the understimulation problem whether the tutor teaches ahead or not.

Do you think the idea of your daughter taking in enrichment work prepared by the tutor could work? If there is was some way that the class teacher could see this as a bonus rather than an unwelcome interference it might work.

The class teacher probably does not have the time or resources to dream up the right stuff for your daughter. But you might find that over time it could lead to a different way of thinking for the teacher and that some other children would be drawn into it rather than it just being your daughter working in a world of her own?


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