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 Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:48 pm

Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:55 am
Posts: 17
My daughter has moved up into year 4 and I may be early in posting this but I feel her new teacher isn't really pushing her.Her previous teacher gave different work to the rest of the class baised on their ability and the children were placed in different groups for their lessons.At the end of year 3 she was already a level 4A for maths,comprehension and reading with the exception of her writing (3b).

But since this year she has said that she is mainly just redoing year 3 work and isn't really learning anything new.We are also able to keep up to date with whatever goes on in the class through updates on their year group page.Todays additions has been for maths: simple multiplication - she can already multiply and knows all her times tables up to 12.

Last weeks homework was a single sheet on place value and creating the largest/smallest values with the numbers give which she completed in less than 20 mins.Spellings given also included words like hop,hopping and skipping.

I've heard from other parents that this teacher isn't very good as last year when he had a year 6 group very few children gained level 5's compared to the other year 6 group.

At the possible chance of sounding like a unhinged parent am I expecting too much from her teacher already? I understand this may be a settling in period but the teacher tested them in their first week back. I was just wondering how long I should wait before I talk to the teacher about this? The next parents evening is atleast a good 2 months away. I could just start giving her work at home but would this just not add to the problem?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:19 pm

Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:12 pm
Posts: 302
We had an excellent Year 5 teacher who would set separate maths, spelling etc for the brighter kids. However in Year 6 we got a teacher whose objective was to get the whole class to the national average. As a result the bright kids were left to do the same work as the slower kids. When we spoke to her about it she was quite unapologetic about it. Consequently my kids coasted thru Year 6 achieving very little academically.

You can try to talk to your teacher but I suspect that you won't get far.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:23 pm

Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
Posts: 3664
It's still early days and perhaps the teacher is still getting to know their strengths and weaknesses. Some parents will tell you that not all teachers stretch the brightest children and so it's possible your daughter may have such a teacher. I would wait a couple more weeks and then ask for an appointment to speak to the teacher and say you feel your daughter would benefit from more challenging work and is there anything you could do at home to tie in with her school work . The teacher may then say that yes, they had highlighted DD as great at multiplication and are setting up a higher group in the class or something.

My DD has told me that she is doing the same old work as last year, so perhaps it's normal to begin with ? If not the only other option is to buy some workbooks and get DD to do these ....if she doesn't mind !

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 Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:31 pm

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:20 pm
Posts: 313
I agree with Scarlett, it is still early in the new academic year and teachers are still getting to know what the children can and can't do. However, I do think that perhaps a chat with the teacher towards the October half-term would be a good time to speak about progress. I wouldn't leave things for a couple of months. Hopefully the teacher will have a good idea by then of what your daughter is capable of and will be able to set her more challenging work. If you're still not happy with how things are going by then, perhaps a word with the headteacher may be more appropriate.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:49 pm

Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
You say that your daughter was a 4a in most things at the end of year 3 which means she is pretty advanced. Unless the year 3 teacher gave some very fanciful levels out at the end of the year this means that your daughter must stand out a mile when he was given the children's data for his new class last term. It must also mean that her targets are pretty high unless they are planning on her making no progress for the remainder of her school days. But of course there is another school of thought which would say that it would be better to do sideways enrichment rather than trotting out syllabus from future years for your daughter as other wise by the time she is in year 6 it will be very hard for a primary teacher to give her anything apppropriate.

I'd ask him what plans he has for her considering the levels she was given at the end of year 3 and tell him she is getting bored and you are worried she might get very disruptive soon!

How did the year 3 teacher manage such huge disparities in levels that there must have been within the class? Has your daughter always been this far ahead? If so there must be other staff within the school who know how teach such a wide range of abilities and he should be able to learn from them?

Does the school have a policy of moving teachers round the year groups or have they dropped him from year 6 to year 4 in order that he has less impact on year 6 outcomes? If your daughter was already 4a last term she is already verging on his weak territory - level 5s.

I dunno about timing. I'm a feet first kind of person and I'd start doing a bit of gentle probing now to find out the lines along which he is thinking rather than even waiting for the parents' evening in October. I'd put him on his toes in a nice way so he can't just turn up to the October meeting and tell you how fantastic your daughter is, exceeding all his expectations etc etc.

Is there a parallel class with a better teacher? Would your daughter mind being in the other class? If so, you could keep quiet about all your academic concerns and ask for a move on social grounds.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:31 am

Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:55 am
Posts: 17
Thank you for the replies.

To be honest I'm not going to hold my breath. Although the other year 4 class has a better teacher, I wouldn't want to move her as her two best friends are also in the same year.

She isn't the only one working slightly ahead of the others but there are two other children in her class who were also level 4s at the end of the year and the previous teacher would give them extension work from the year up.Though both of these other children have mothers who are also teachers themselves. I guess I will just have to start working more at home, but then she already does a full day at school.For the children that may stuggle are given extra booster classes but that's only from year 5 and up.They still get attention from the TA.

The problem with teaching hr at home would be, I wouldn't exactly know where to start and I don't just want to plough through workbooks. Are there any tests that can identify her weaker areas?

I think I'll give it another 2 weeks and then approach him if things don't change.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:34 am

Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
Posts: 3664
AustinR wrote:
The problem with teaching hr at home would be, I wouldn't exactly know where to start and I don't just want to plough through workbooks. Are there any tests that can identify her weaker areas?

That could be something you can discuss with the head teacher ?

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 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:54 am

Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
Was she 4a or 4c at the end of year 3? If she was 4a I would be thinking about true enrichment rather than work from higher up the school. When you think about it if she is already 4a the next level is 5. 4b is average for year 6. So you are wanting the school to provide work in line with year 7 or 8 average children at secondary school?

If her writing was 3b this is something that you could work on in a fun way at home without it being workbooks etc if she's interested in so doing. Does her school report from last year, and her exercise books give you some clues as to the relatively weaker areas in the other subjects?

But, if she is well advanced, and the teacher is not so bad that she will go backwards this year, I wonder if home should be about other stuff (educational or otherwise) rather than trying to improve on the "basic skills" which she is clearly assimiliating very easily.

There should be an open-ended element to the homework from school so that your daughter can go that bit further with it without feeling she is suffering with being given extra homework because she is clever!!

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 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:16 am

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6966
Location: East Kent
AustinR wrote:
Thank you for the replies.

To be honest I'm not going to hold my breath. Although the other year 4 class has a better teacher, I wouldn't want to move her as her two best friends are also in the same year.

She isn't the only one working slightly ahead of the others but there are two other children in her class who were also level 4s at the end of the year and the previous teacher would give them extension work from the year up.Though both of these other children have mothers who are also teachers themselves. I guess I will just have to start working more at home, but then she already does a full day at school.For the children that may stuggle are given extra booster classes but that's only from year 5 and up.They still get attention from the TA.

The problem with teaching hr at home would be, I wouldn't exactly know where to start and I don't just want to plough through workbooks. Are there any tests that can identify her weaker areas?

I think I'll give it another 2 weeks and then approach him if things don't change.

I think you would be best to work on Enrichment rather than extra content , there are lots of problem solving and
strategy games which will help her. Try looking at nrich.org or BEAM for maths. Games like- scrabble, upwords, boggle etc are great for improving vocabulary too

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 Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:00 pm

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2095
Location: Birmingham
I have (sigh) accepted that at some point in pretty much any Primary School, any child will be saddled with a slightly duff teacher at least once. There's no beating about the bush - your child has a duff teacher.

You can try talking to her and the Head and it may indeed help, it certainly wouldn't do any harm.

Thankfully this hasn't happened in Yr 5 and 6 where you may say that the teacher could have wreaked more havoc.
Also, at least the teacher's weaknesses are mainly due to teaching, assessment and learning. Some teachers (sad to say) have some major personality issues and spend their time ridiculing pupils, making their lives miserable, and worse. I put up with that for a year once with ds1, and would certainly never put up with it again...if your child is being made unhappy and the teacher is being unreasonable, it is time to stand up and defend your child strongly.
If the issue is simply the work being of the wrong level, this can hopefully be resolved, or even lived with for a year - with additional support from home.

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