Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Are your kids bored at school?

I had a long chat with two of my daughters over the weekend.  They aren't as happy at school as they usually are and have been frustrated and at times angry.  Of course I wanted to get to the bottom of why they were unhappy and thought it may have been friendship issues or that they were struggling with the workload at school.  Instead it was the complete opposite, they are bored.

Both of my girls are making progress far over their age related expectations, they always have done.  They are frustrated that the work is too easy, they aren't being challenged and they are bored.  They school they go to is great at helping those children who are struggling and need extra help but once they hit the average expected it seems as if they are not actively encouraged to progress further.  

I've had a chat to quite a few other parents who have children throughout the school and they feel the same, I am a school governor which makes me take an even keener interest.  We were recently inspected by OFSTED who were rather scathing to say the least.

I have chatted to the teachers of both classes that my girls are in, and will also be bringing up the matter  at our Curriculum and Standards Committee meeting on Friday.  There appears to be not enough provision for Gifted and Talented pupils and kids are not encouraged to reach their potential, whatever their talent may be.  I am certainly not suggesting that kids are hothoused or badgered to progress but if they are keen and have potential then there should be a way for them to be challenged and keep them motivated to learn.  I think the problem is that the number of children working above age related expectations is relatively small.  It would probably be a much larger number of children if they were given the opportunity to progress further.

My youngest loves maths and reading and is currently doing Yr 2/3 work despite only starting in Yr 1 in September.  She can't get enough maths and reading time and we have to encourage her to do other things at home sometimes or she would do maths, read and nothing else.  We have been told that she cannot be constantly given more difficult maths work as she will progress too far for them to cope with.  I am annoyed that the school are basically stifling her progress because it is inconvenient for them.  We are quite willing and able to source resources for her to use at home but feel the school should encourage her too.  

My middle daughter is pretty much in the same boat, she is doing Yr 6/7 work but is in Yr 5.  We are being told that the school are reluctant to source Yr 7 resources as that is basically first year of high school level work.  Surely there are other kids that need these resources too, I wonder how other schools in the area cope.  It is frustrating for all of us.  It should be an interesting Curriculum and Standards Committee meeting.

Am I being unreasonable, should the school be doing more?