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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:02 pm 
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I have an 8 yr old DD who has been repeatedly saying she is "rubbish" at school which breaks my heart. She got 1 level 2 and 2 level 3's in KS1 SATS and an older very bright sister at GS.

Her teacher says she is working well and "where we would expect for her age" (i.e. average): she is in middle groups except top group for English.

I had decided that if she was not academic like other DD I wanted to encourage her to feel really good about something else e.g. music, drama and start focussing on that. Although we still have years until the 11+, after reading about Ed Psych's on here I decided that I would have her assessed so we could make an informed decision about probably abandoning any thought of the 11+ and seeing what she might be good at.

She was assessed by a very experience University Ed Psych. After 90 mins of testing her results put her on the 99.6th percentile for all tests (140+). This completely threw me, as she is so different to her sister who was always reading and in top groups etc.

His explanation was that some children hide their abilities. My questions are:
1. How reliable do any teachers think these results are?
2. How on earth do I approach the school without coming across as a horribly pushy parent? She will have the same teacher next year and if this is true surely she should be pushed to do better instead of being average.

Thanks for any advice.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:37 pm 
Hi Marley,

It is very common for girls to hide their giftedness and even more common for younger siblings to think they are not very clever compared to their older siblings. With DS2 I have always promoted his sportiness and musical ability as he will never be as good at Maths as DS1 but is superior to him in English (not an important subject to a boy! :roll: )

As for how seriously will your teacher take it this is my experience of various teachers. I will use "some" meaning teachers but I know this word annoys certain posters - no offence is ment:

1) Some will think every child has an IQ above 140 as they do not really understand what it means and not do anything else.

2) Some will only be interested in what your child cannot do and highlight that continuously.

3) Some will be very positive but be honest and say they will try and cater for the child but may not be able to. In my opinion these are the best teachers as they are aware but do not make any promises and often extend your child better than you could have thought.

4) Some will immediately think you are a pushy parent and switch of or become defensive because they feel that you are saying that they haven't been extending your child. Of course neither is true!

5) I'm sure the excellent teachers who post on here may be nothing like the above but this has been my experience. :)

In answer to your questions I would not tell the teacher initially and try and enrich her and see just what she can do. So give her maths at home that is more difficult than at school and if she can do it then I would approach the teacher once you have been extending her knowledge for a couple of months. If the teacher has not seen an improvement and moved her up without you bringing this to her attention then she/he is either a poor teacher or has too much to deal with in the class or DD is hiding her abilities.

On the bright side it looks as if DD will get into GS but tutoring may need to begin earlier in order to raise her self-esteem and aspirations. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:39 pm 
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A difficult one - I suspect she feels a bit in the shadow of her older sister, possibly doesn't want to be compared with her so hides her abilities to make sure that she isn't!

I think you should take the EP's report to the school - this sounds like a classic case of an able child underachieving! I don't think the teachers can really argue with the results, but once they have them then they will have a starting point from which to try and help your daughter fulfil her true potential. They shouldn't think you pushy - after all, you are giving them information that will help them do their job.

My eldest (now 15) was always saying she was thick etc. but all the evidence proved otherwise. She stopped saying it after getting Mensa tested and being confronted with her IQ score! Perhaps - maybe not now, but in time - you could show your daughter the results of the tests and explain what they mean, i.e. they prove that she is much brighter than she claims to be (or possibly even believes herself to be).

Another possibilty which you touched on - if your daughter has an interest in music or drama etc. then working on these skills and performing can do wonders for confidence levels. DD1's ability to believe in herself has really undergone a boost since joining a band and playing to an audience on a regular basis. Simply joining a local music group or junior drama club or stage school - especially something that big sis doesn't do - might help increase her confidence in other areas. Just a thought. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:38 pm 
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Location: Bexley
Marley - I'm not sure why you would think 3,3,2 at KS1 means that your daughter is not academic. I think this is what my eldest son got and he passed his 11+ by a large margin. I think he got a 2 in English because he went through a phase of not writing much (typical boy). Your daughter might have missed three 3s by one mark. At the primary school my children have attended this is pretty much guaranteed 11+ material!

I would also take what teachers say with a pinch of salt. From my experience they are often quite cautious. I remember going to see the teacher of one of my sons when he was in year 4 and being told he was doing "quite" well and in the top half of the class. I knew from other sources that he was top in his year (of 80 children). When it came to report time she described his 4a in maths at the end of year 4 as "satisfactory" because he'd only improved 2/3 of a level since the end of year 3, when he was a 4c. I think teachers are cautious about giving too much praise in case parents misinterpret this. My eldest son's Y5 teacher, when I asked about his suitability for GS, replied that, it was very demanding. I interpreted this as him not being suitable material. Yet, he passed well and is in top sets at his GS.

My youngest son is, I believe, the cleverest of my three children. He is very quick to put himself down - possibly because he has older brothers who are only too happy to nurture his inferiority complex!

I think it's a mistake to compare children. They are all different and show their abilities in different ways.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:11 pm 
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I used Education Consultant from this site
http://www.nagcbritain.org.uk/about.php?id=11

We had slightly different issue but related to my very bright dd who didn't want to try new things when she was very young. With one 20 min call from them I was given enough advice to implement some changes in way we treated her.

Give them a call, explain your situation.
They called me back the follwoing day and I had a chat explaining our situation etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:10 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Bexley Mum 2 wrote:
Marley - I'm not sure why you would think 3,3,2 at KS1 means that your daughter is not academic. I think this is what my eldest son got and he passed his 11+ by a large margin. I think he got a 2 in English because he went through a phase of not writing much (typical boy). Your daughter might have missed three 3s by one mark. At the primary school my children have attended this is pretty much guaranteed 11+ material!

DS1 got similar results at KS1 - 3,2,2 I think, got 5,4,5 in the pretend SAT's earlier this year and should get 5's across the board in the real thing if his written English improves :!: , he also passed his 11+ comfortably (and without a tutor, just familiarization at home) so I think you are worrying unnecessarily.

DS1 went through a stage of playing down what he knew because he didn't want to be labelled "brainy". Towards the end of Y5 and now in Y6 he has realized it is "cool to be clever". I think the 11+ had a lot to do with it - he decided that he wanted to go to grammar school and we told him that he would need to demonstrate to his teachers that this was the best school for him - so he did!

How to get your daughter to realise that she is, in fact, very bright is tricky. I think an informal word with the teacher to begin with to ensure your daughter is being stretched in her current sets rather than coasting perhaps followed by a trial period in the upper sets to see if she copes. I found that when I asked for DS1 to move seats from next to a "just enough" child to a "top of the class" child his work improved hugely - maybe this kind of competition would work for your daughter. It would also take her out of her sisters shadow - she would be able to compare herself to her peers not an older sibling.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:06 am 
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Thanks for all your responses.
My main concern at the moment was how to "switch her on" to school and see her feel good about herself rather than her actual achievements as she is still just a baby really.

We are considering a few options at the moment.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:31 pm
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FWIW... IMHO...

This is a good book...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Confident-Children-Help-About-Themselves/dp/0722539568

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:27 am 
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My eldest reads alot and is very mature for his age. People make the assumption that DS2 who is a year younger is not as bright because he is a clown and likes to make people laugh and is very immature for his age. He will only read if he finds a book that really grabs his attention.

In most schools they do CATs at the beginning of Y5. He, like your daughter, is in the top centile, I don't believe DS1 was. He is competative so does okay in school however one of the really nice things that the head said about him was that he is very bright but not bigheaded about it, some children are. It is because he doesn't really know and I don't intend to tell him plus like BM2 says older siblings can make them feel a little more inadequate than they should feel .

Your daughters SATS scores reflect her ability and the assessment shows she is easily capable of following her sister into GS. Personally I would explain this to her and then leave it at that, unless she has a burning desire to be in a higher group, if so tell her she has the capability but will have to possibly put in a little more effort. I am no expert but it may have been your own previous miss-conceptions about her that have created her feelings of inadequacy about school work.

If she got levels 3's at key stage 1 the school should be expecting her to get 5's at key stage 2, this is not average but the highest score that can be achieved. It may be that you have interpretted what the school has said in the wrong way as BM2 again says they do err on the side of caution which can be very uninformative for parents.

Will probably have a look at the book that has been recommended by Sunlamp myself as it is tricky to know how to make children confident but not arrogant. My eldest suffers from a lack of confidence occaisonally which results in him not pushing himself when he comes up against school work that is a little difficult.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:09 pm
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Location: groombridge, e.sussex
I'm not usually one for alternative ideas but my DD was lacking in confidence especially in Maths. She always doubted her own ability and so held back if things were at all tricky. On a recommendationf from a good friend we contacted a Hypnotherapist who visited us all at home. She spoke to DH and me re what we thought were issues and then spent a good 45 minutes with DD. She then told us what they had discussed and she gave DD methods to cope with confidence eg if she had a tricky Maths question she could, in her head, go to a computer and get answer from there!
Don't know if it was this or just a coincidence but Maths improved almost immediately. DD passed 11+ and 2 entrance exams so something must have clicked. No recurrences of lack of confidence and,I hope, no arrogance either.
Would do it again and have recommended to others; who knows or cares what helped, anything is worth a try!


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