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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:35 am 
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After nearly half a year of trying to get to the bottom of why our "free reader" child (who can sound out complicated words and knows all the sounds in the phonics scheme) goes to a very low level phonics group when she doesn't need to be on the scheme at all we finally got a letter 2 weeks ago from the head saying she was now off the phonics groups. Hurrah! But then what happens? DD comes home last week and this week having been in the phonics group (at least a much better level, but still not necessary!!).

And then my youngest comes home today telling me she read her first book on the phonics scheme out loud at school today. Guess what, it's one she read out loud at home a year ago.

aaaaaaaaagh.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:15 am 
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I'm experiencing a strong sense of deja vu ,Mystery ! :)

Remember it's all character building. If you know your child can read well etc then I think you will really have to leave the school to do their thing whilst you do yours.Carry on doing bits and pieces at home and try to ignore what the school is doing .Maybe all the children with dd2 are reading this phonic book? If you are annoyed because you are worried that they are being given too easy stuff across the board then you will either have to brave the teachers again or get that crate out and start those health days !

By the way, you really need to be getting your beauty sleep....undereye bags that reach your chin is not a good look........especially when teamed with the big furry coat........


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:44 am 
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Ah some wise advice Scarlett. But I've got a horrible sore throat that's stopping me sleeping. Maybe the husky voice will make up for the Gladstone bags under the eyes.

You are so right about the deja vu. You know my style, brave those teachers again and ...... go through the whole cycle again.

I've got my boxes and health day material ready. I just haven't got round the problem of how to do the school run and only drop one child off at school - we live quite a distance from the school so I can't do your "home alone" for a few minutes trick. Also I really resent my children having to do work at home that they could quite easily cover at school. School should be about moving forward, and homework (if any) about consolidation. The number of parents beavering away at this school quietly doing their own thing is scary - and meanwhile the school not giving any sensible answers to people who ask what they can do to help their child. Their answers vary between "you shouldn't do anything at home" to a circular letter to all parents advertising the services of a commercial study support service.

I wish there was another parent in the vicinity I could work "in league" with on the health days and we could lift swap and cover for one another on the selected health days without having to lie to one another about a child being ill when they are not!!

I feel duty bound to keep on at the school about this. There are other parents who, quite independently of me, are concerned about the approach to reading etc in this school, and there are other children who I think are not receiving sufficient synthetic phonics instruction to help them move on.

What's your news on the Reading Recovery? Is it phonics based or not?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:58 am 
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Mystery, if you are driving to school, could you just leave the child that's having the 'Health day' in the car for a couple of minutes while you take the other one in to school?

Wrong though it is, I think Scarlett is right that it might be time to forget what school are doing and do your own stuff at home. We used summer holidays to catch up alot of stuff - Mummy's Summer School - we even invited the kids friends to join in on some days and the activities were of course very hands on. DC were annoyed that I didn't do it last year but 11+ stuff got in the way.

Have you looked at other schools in the area? Would you be prepared to move your DC? We weren't, because they do actually really like school, so we decided to just 'make up the difference' at home. You are so right that it shouldn't be necessary to do this :(


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:14 am 
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Is your child shy Mystery? The reason I ask is that I had a very similar situation with my eldest - 16 next birthday and a similar situation with my little one who is 6.Completely confident at home and excellent readers but not able to demonstrate their abilities at school.E.G Plot prediction etc because they were shy , with certain teachers.Not shy with ones they liked and who had the skills to draw them out though.
We have moved liitle one but that's a longer story.......


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:34 am 
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The older one certainly would be "shy" in the school situation, and I think this has probably been a reason for certain inconsistencies right the way through. However, she can happily stand up and read loudly enough to be heard at a whole school assembly and do other "rehearsed performances". Reading out loud spontaneously from loud might not be that great - but I'll never know if they don't tell me! That is only one aspect of readings , and I can't believe that any of them at that age sound as good as the Jackanory reader!! And this is no reason for trained teachers to ignore other clues as to what a child can do. Reading is an activity that takes place foremost in one's head. It might be a problem in the early days of reading, but by the time a child can sit down and read a comprehension passage in their head and write down the answers it should not be making one jot of difference.

Other schools are full, full, full, and the chances of getting the second child in even if I got the first one in are too chancy. Also, first child would resent it as it has taken her well over two years to properly (hopefully) establish a friendship group.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:40 am 
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I would just dress your dd in an unforgiving coat and march in with the other one announcing " Mini Mystery is having a health day today !"


You are going round in circles and I would just do your own thing.I know it grates having to spend your family time working which they should be doing it at school...but life isn't perfect and they are your dd,so it does all boil down to you really. I find it a bit of a strain working out what to do etc, but then I look at how far my ds1 has come and yes, it was a lot of hard work done at home, but so worth it !

Ds2 has needed lots of work too and as he has improved so has his self esteem...it really makes such a difference doing little and often at home.

If other parents are unhappy, why don't you ask for a meeting where the teachers can explain the phonics/reading system etc and ask for handouts ? You come across as very intelligent,Mystery ( although we'll have to work on your dress sense ) and you are quite capable of doing bits at home...you're a teacher as well? but I feel sorry for those who just send their children in every day putting their trust in the teachers to do their very best for their child.That's all you want.

I'm off out now to buy myself an unforgiving coat.Dd still adamant she's not doing the reading so will have to brace myself for unanswered questions and eye rolling...might do some myself but I was always told not to, incase the wind changed !

Dd spelling book has been kept behind by the teachers? ( I covered this one with The Princess and The Frog paper...maybe it wasn't their thing ?!) I did put in some comments...perhaps they are saving up the evidence to put infront of my DH at the next governors meeting :oops:

Anyway must go......ds1 is on a health day today, and we have lots to do ! Will fill you in later !!!! :oops: :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:14 am 
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Enjoy the health day. We predicted that book would disappear didn't we?!

You are a mind reader. I am in the process of trying to get together some interest in a parents' meeting about phonics etc and then put in a "group" request for one. Fingers crossed.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:25 pm 
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I really feel for you Mystery. I went through this for years - it is so frustrating.

In the end after trying really hard to help and speaking to the head many times I moved the children. I realised the head although a nice person was not brilliant at his job and it wasn't going to improve. It was a small school where 1 teacher who had been there for years ruled the school and was a poor teacher and not a very nice person. I really cannot stress enough just how much better it has been since moving. Now I don't have to worry - I know everything is being done as it should be and the homework is appropriate, never missed and always marked. This never happened in the other school which is seen as the more middle class school.

I have 2 shy Dcs and they made friends easily at the new school because the great teachers and ethos made for a very friendly school. (Ds was lucky his friend had already made the jump to the other school) Could you go on a waiting list for another school? I realise it is hard for you to move them but my experience is that you can't change things when the teacher/head is not very good.

If it is totally out of the question to move schools then can you speak to the governor with literacy responsibility or head of governors? The idea of having a meeting with all the parents to discuss the reading/spelling stategy is a good one. Otherwise it is a case of stepping back completely for your sanity and DIY -ing and enjoying your "health days".
Wishing you all the best with this.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Mum23's suggestion of talking to the governors was what I was going to suggest. At our school, parents are requested to discuss any concerns with the class teacher in the first instance, and then the head teacher if the problem is not resolved, before approaching the governors. It looks as though you have done the first two already! Our school also sends out a questionnaire to parents every term. These can be returned anonymously if wished, but it is one way that parents can provide feedback and point out any concerns. It looks as though your school does not operate any kind of effective parent feedback system. It also seems to have an issue with recording progress and planning the development of individual pupils - I'm sure this is something that Ofsted looks at. If there is an inspection due, you could certainly mention it on the parent questionnaire and the school would be duty bound to revise its practices if Ofsted identifies it as an area for improvement.

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