Monday, 18 July 2011

Set 1 for Maths & Science

Success at last, the school has realised Matthew's potential and put him up to top set for maths and science. He came 10th out of 211 (top 5%)in his maths exam so together with his assessment results throughout the year he qualifies- Yay

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Senco meeting

We have a Senco meeting next Tues, to discuss the IEP, and progress, I spoke to him briefly this afternoon. He also said we can modify things?!
The SENCo who is also a Math teacher had congratulated Matthew on his Math's result - during dinner break in the dinner queue- very embarrassing! His friend in Set 1 also congratulated him saying that he only had 50% in Maths and told him to start worrying if teachers come up to you to give you good news.

It would be nice to get some National Curriculum levels for a change instead of the usual exceeding/meeting etc. level.

Summer Exams

Matthew has once again excelled in his exams. All Sets 1-3 get the same papers. Lowest mark he has was 50% for English, no surprises there.
However after being in Set 3 Humanities for 1 term only, he had top mark for Set 3 for Geography (92%) and Spanish (86%), 3rd in History (70%) and Welsh 94%.
In Maths he had 85%- top mark, Science 86% -top mark (Physics 95, Chem 86 and Biol 78).
The exams were a total nightmare this year, instead of 3 days with 2 exams each day, they were over a 2 week period in lesson time. The exam dates were chopped and changed meaning he was learning 4 subjects 1 night and then discovering 2 had been moved the next day. Also his extra time was given to him in assembly time, lunch breaks or tea breaks or during the following lesson!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Parent's evening Yr 8

Well what can I say, every teacher thinks he's a fantastic child. I,m going to log as much of it as I can remember, I'd really like to bottle it forever.

Doing great in maths, the teacher is looking forward to the next assessment on Wednesday.(Result 95%)

Chemistry teacher thinks he's a darling, she was sad to hear she was losing him from set 3 but happy when he appeared in her set 2 class.

Learnsmart teacher (who's head of Middle school-Yrs 9-11)expressed how pleased she was that he won "all those awards" and we must be so pleased with him as he was chosen out of over 200 pupils. She's seen his confidence rise throughout the year, he's proven to be a good leader in a group.

Geography teacher thanked us for having such a great child said he really good at geog and he can see him taking it at GCSE, clearly more able than the other in the set 4 group, he's missing his input.

RE teacher told us how he is always asking questions and this is what they like to see in RE-a child who shows interest.

Art doing fine enjoyed his last project of Fabalous fish more than portraits. Had a D for portraits and B for fab fish.

DT teacher thinks he's great, hasn't fallen behind because of his broken arm as he has organised all his friends to help him. Great leadership skills.

Spanish- sorry to see him go but he's clearly more able.

Welsh teacher loves him really sorry to see him move from her class, we were a while with her as she told does how he helps all the other children and is an absolute gem.

PE teacher described how the group of set1 and set 4 mix is a hard group and how Matthew brings every one together gets on equally well with both groups, is a calming influence, he has a great sense of humour, will go up to "the line" stick his nose over but won't cross it. Suprisingly he is really good at the theory side they are teaching them (trying to cover most of GCSE theory during yrs 7,8 and 9) -no surprise to us!

English teacher is glad he has moved up is cautious but thinks he has the abilty but must be carefully managed

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Broken wrist had to be reset.

Matthew had to go into hospital on Thursday, for a minor operation to have his broken wrist reset. What a surreal week that was. I was working a 12 hr night shift the same night, exhausted on Friday. Going to stay with my sister and brother-in-law and Matthews 2 cousins for a few days, can't wait.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Prize Giving!

Arrived at 6.45pm promptly, as website said the start was at 7pm and we had no letter. Actual start was at 7.30pm.

Still can't believe it Matthew received 4 endeavour awards for Science, History, DT Food and the Special Acheivement Award. He was overall winner in his year (Yr 7) and received the Overall Prize Certificate for Outstanding Endeavour with a prize of a £25 gift voucher. Could have scraped me off the floor we were so shocked! 2 very proud and happy parents. It was a lovely evening with refreshments afterwards.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Prize Giving!

Matthew came home yesterday asking for a letter to take in this morning requesting 3 seats for the Prize Giving Ceromony. Apparently he had a letter last week which he promptly lost and also forgot to tell us anything about until yesterday. No idea what it's all about.
He couldn't find anyone to give the letter to today so he brought it home. I had to phone school to let them know we want to attend! Hope he's actually getting something or we'll look pretty silly sat there for 2 and a half hours.

Ed Psych Assessment Report

We had it yesterday, it is a few sheets long. The test done was British Ability Scale II, both the cognitve and achievement scales and the descrepancy between the 2 indicates dyslexia. To me this appears the better test of the 2, working memory and processing speed weren't tested this time as we already know this is a weakness.
Core Scales
Verbal Ability 100
Nonverbal Ability 110
Spacial Ability 113
This gives an Overall Conceptual Ability of 109

Achievement Scales
Word Reading 90
Spelling 82

Discrepancy Analysis
------------------ Predicted Score / Actual Score

Word Reading___ 105__________ 90
Spelling________ 105__________ 82

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Broken Arm!

Oh no the end to a brilliant week leaves us with 1 broken arm. Math was playing rugby and having a great game...... then came down on his hand. Managed to jump the queue in A&E due to the fact I work in the labs and have a friend in X-ray. Felt a bit guilty about going in quickly but hey what other perks do we have in the NHS! Got a McD's on the way home. He's now happily playing on the Wii, thumb from broken arm side still works on the numbchuck, and Mam isn't nagging him to go out in the fresh air and glorious sunshine.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Update from the Ed Psych

Well she rang from outside the school with the news that he's moving on Monday, she spoke to my hubby, who "thinks" it's to Set 2!
She's also going into the school to do a twilight session on accomodations for dyslexia for his teachers and anybody else who wants to attend, which is voluntary so hopefully there'll be a good attendance. They had a talk earlier this year about ASD which was well attended.
The report went to be typed yesterday.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Contacting the Ed Psych

Having heard nothing now for 10 days, chomping at the bit for the report, my hubbie gave her a call. She is going into the school to test another child tomorrow and is going to discuss Matthew and then give us a ring. She reiterated what she said to me a week last Monday, but added that the SENCo had said to her in the conversation" we have been discriminating against Matthew then?" to which she answered "Yes you have". My husband and I had been discussing this after I had stumbled across this pdf
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Part 4 Code Of Practice for Schools especially liked chapters 5 & 6.

Matthew had Sats Level 4 and his cats average was 108 end of Yr 6. Any child who had these score without a label would have made at least B stream, the justification for putting him in the C stream was that he was heavily supported at primary, in other words he's in the C stream because of his disabilty in spite of his ability.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Matthew makes the 1st team in school rugby.

Matthew's off to Llanelli tomorrow representing the school for 7's rugby. He has made the team! Lot's of pats on the back from his mates when they were checking the team list. He went to London last week with the team who were representing Wales in a National competition. He was reserve for the reserves, went all that way and didn't play although he was happy to be the water boy!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Scouts- Otter pack Leader!

Matthew was made the leader of the Otter pack tonight More sowing-groan.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Phonecall from Educational Psychologist

Just had a phonecall from the Ed psych, she has spoken to the SENCo telling him that Matthew should be in Set 2 for Humanity subjects..... and he agreed! She was expecting a "discussion" as the school don't like to be told where to set pupils, but Matthew seems to have made his mark as a conscientious pupil. The SENCo taught Matthew for Learnsmart last year and agrees that Matthew is the sort of boy who could cope (with the right help). He says that he'd like him to move straight up, but he has to consult with the Head of Lower School (the 1 who said Matthew didn't have dyslexia as he can read), he says there might have to be a stepped approach through Set 3. Personally I think that this could prove to be more disruptive for Matthew.
The Psychologist has volunteered her help to any of Matthew's new teachers who need help with strategies/accomodations to help him.
I'm so happy!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Result! An Educational Psychologist who understands.

We had the most fantastic education psychologist today. She wasn't frightened of using the word "dyslexia". The WISC IV IQ test was redone with some extra subtsets, we are awaiting the write-up. She had a copy of the letter we wrote to the current SENCo (see below) , it was great that he shared that with her. Matthew still has a gap between his reading and spelling and his age but it is moving upwards with his age.

Matthew most definitely has dyslexia- I could have cried, the first person who has not skirted around the issue whispering Specific Learning\difficulties, it could be this or that.

She believes he is a bright child who should NOT be in set 4.

Her 1st task is to write a pen-portrait for all his subject teachers with possible accomodations, this will be the 1st time they will be given his diagnosis of dyslexia.

She is going to tackle the Set 4 problem, but says she has had stand up arguments with teachers (HOYs and school managers) who won't accept that Dyslexic children should be in higher sets. She stated thar poor basic skills should not be a bar to higher sets. She says don't expect him to move overnight, but if there are 2 or 3 teachers who will stand up and say Matthew should be in a higher set then she stands a chance. I'm sure a good few of his teachers will agree in light of his "new" diagnosis.

Can you believe we are still fighting this battle after a diagnosis when he was 7.5 yrs old- bizarre!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Ed Psych Assessment on Friday

Here we go again! Dreading it really. Hate these timed tests they give out, different ed psych have different opinions. The Ed Psych phoned us to arrange a date that is suitable for us and for us to meet after the assessment. Got to get my act together, get some questions ready this is probably the post important test to date as we need to get some accomodations in place.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Top Mark in Maths - Set 2

Well he's done it again. At this point I want scream at the Head of Lower school "Why can't you Listen to the Parents". There's got to be some good/great teachers out there with some understanding of these great kids, who never give up trying their best.
He had 86% in the Set 1/2 maths test, top mark when you discount the other boy who cheated by learning his older sister's test from last year. The teacher called that boy to another room, all the class knew he cheated as he brandished his sister's test last week. If he had more enterprise he could have copied it and sold it LOL.
21/3 Just found out the average mark for set1 X =76% and set1 Y =84%

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Mentoring Scheme

Click on image

Just had this letter in the post this morning- a standard letter, undated. It states that if level 3/4 are given (possibilty of not meeting target/unlikely to meet target) in 4 subjects or more the child will be mentored. (Hate the way we don't actually know what the targets are). This begs the questions why hasn't Matthew been getting this mentoring since Jan 2011, when the interim report highlighted this underacheivement in Dec 2010? Did a strong worded letter questioning the status quo have anything to do with it? Other children in Set 4 had it given to them in Sept. 2010. I've included Math's interim report of Dec 2010, wasn't that concerned about Art, Music and Drama to be honest, didn't even register with me, I am concerned about History as that could keep him out of set 3 and IT is a compulsory half/full GCSE so that is also a concern.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Biology Test

Matthew's first test in Set 2, 83% top 5. The set 2 booklet was given to him on the Fri and test was on Mon. The few missing topics were hurriedly learnt.
Extremely pleased with him as the test was actually a disaster, a substitute teacher came in to adminster it, as class teacher was away. The test was noisy, some children had their books out on their laps, the teacher was giving out answers. To add to this there was homework section stuck on the back, which the substitute told them to do. Matthew lost sleep over this as he thought he would have a low mark as he hadn't had time to finish (not surprising as he was struggling with the homework section) and he always likes to check his work as he usually misses out questions (which he did- he left 3 questions that were easy) and of course children were cheating. Add to this Dyslexic children need quiet to gather their thoughts, and noise just makes things stressful.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

"Something to help me with my grades"?

Matthew reports he was taken out of class for 10 mins to sign something with a table on it (IEP?), and was going on a programme to help him improve his grades.
Something is happening but what it is is anyone's guess. Where's the comunication?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Letter Sent to Senco

Thank you for sending out the form for reassessment of Matthew with the Educational Psychologist. We are returning it promptly in order that the process can be undertaken as quickly as possible.
Following our conversation on the 14/2/11, we must admit we are greatly disappointed and frustrated that the school has only now recognised Matthew’s diagnosis of Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). We did have a meeting with the then temporary SENCO Miss XXXXXX in Nov 2009 when we discussed these facts and we were asked to forward the Nov 2006 Educational Psychologist report to the school, which we did early in Dec 2009 to ensure that the information was in your hands. I’m sure you’ll find this in the minutes of the meeting.
However, we feel we should move forward from this in a positive manner.
We have a number of questions:-
• Are all his current Set 4 subject teachers and new teachers in Set 2 now being informed of his diagnosis of Specific Learning Difficulties via a new Pen Portrait?
• Will Matthew be issued with a new IEP? Will Matthew be consulted on what he thinks will help him to achieve his best work?
• The IEP given to us in Nov ’09 doesn’t appear to have been reviewed in June ’10 with outcomes/target achievements, with particular reference to spelling. If it has been done shouldn’t we have a copy?
• Will the school be able to check his spelling age quickly as we are concerned that waiting for the Ed. Psych. to attend will hold up any help in this area?
• Where is this school year’s IEP?
Our feelings are that it is important to update his assessment, but emphasis on accommodations available to him within the classroom setting are more important. He has proved that with such things as booklets e.g. sciences and languages, where there is less emphasis on writing tasks he can cope well independently. We find that he still brings unfinished parts home but is enthusiastic to complete them on the same night and this actually helps with his learning. Further concerns are that although he has an excellent vocabulary and can speak confidently, his work suffers as he tries to shorten things down due to writing problems and also omits his first choice word because he can’t spell it.
Please can you keep us informed of any accommodations you’re putting in place for Matthew in light of the new information that has come to your attention with reference to his earlier diagnosis of SpLD?
Yours sincerely,

• Annex – Points of Concern (and Letter to Miss XXXXXXX dated Dec 09)
• IEP – September 2009 to June 2010

I am unsure whose attention this should have, so please could you pass it on to the correct person.

Points of Concern
I have grave concerns about the Set 4 class Matthew is in. My concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the school was unaware that Matthew has a diagnosis of Specific Learning Difficulties; even though I sent a copy of the Nov. 2006 Ed. Psych report directly to Miss xxxxxx in December 2009 with a covering letter. This was following the meeting in November 2009 where we discussed the probable misdiagnosis of ADD and Matthew’s earlier diagnoses.
Dyslexia and dyspraxia does not disappear over time but can be remediated with the correct input, so the diagnosis of Dyslexia still stands with the other updated reports which should be in his file.
I feel Matthew is in Set 4 not due to a lack of ability but due to his Learning Disability, the only Year 7 exam mark that let him down was English at 30%. His English teacher even concluded in her report that “the exam result was disappointing and does not reflect his ability in the subject”.
In the Set 4 class there are several children who seem to lack any enthusiasm to learn (and I fully understand that this is probably not their fault), but it does not help the class work moving along.
Examples: -
• October half term Mr XXXXX (a learning support teacher? - who teaches 1 geography class every other week) asked the class to learn for an EU test in Geography for the following week. Only 2 pupils revised so the test was postponed another 2 weeks, then a pre test was given (with maps), then in another 2 weeks the actual test was given. Matthew learned the information for the first weeks test and was left hanging around for most of the class to catch up, and was totally bored and fed up by the time the test came around. He still received 100% for this test.
• The Spanish class is disrupted every week by the same group of boys. Matthew and other children are exposed to bad language and poor behaviour in every class, every week. Matthew enjoys Spanish and has a good relationship with Miss XXXXX, but can he give his best work and can the teacher do her best teaching with this continual disruption?

We only wish to fully understand the reasoning behind placing an enthusiastic learner who has an understanding of these humanity subjects and has a real thirst for learning in the lower set when his only “crime” is having poor basic skills, through no fault of his own. Obviously we do not expect Matthew to ever be in Set 1 and probably not 2 for Humanities (or are we selling him short?), but we do have expectations that he would give his best work in Set 3 and this is his aim. I feel with the help of appropriate accommodations and teacher knowledge of his difficulties he could manage this. Surely our education system today has the knowledge and capabilities to circumvent these problems? Please could you outline exactly what Matthew has to prove before he can expect a review of this setting?
Yours faithfully

Enclosed: - Covering Letter that was sent to Miss XXXXXX dated Dec 2009

X xxxxx Comprehensive School

2nd December 2009

Dear Miss XXXXXXX,

Many thanks to you and your colleagues for the “Brief Progress Summary” report dated Nov 09, which was sent home with Matthew last week. We are extremely pleased with his progress since beginning at X XXXX, and he is thoroughly enjoying all his lessons at present.

We attended an appointment with the Paediatrician on Tuesday 1 December 2009. The doctor seems to think that in some cases, ADD subsides with age and there would be “no point in re-assessing Matthew” as the Connors Test was representative of his condition at that time, and there is no harm in letting it stand. His condition appears to have totally altered since this assessment, but if you think it is beneficial to get the diagnosis removed we have another appointment in a years time when we can revisit it with the Doctor again.

In our opinion, Matthew's lack of attention was due to Sensory Processing Disorder (which was diagnosed by the Occupational Therapist), causing Matthew auditory and fine motor problems at a crucial window of learning, i.e. up until 8 yrs old. These symptoms caused a lack of language acquisition in English and Welsh, which was more apparent in his second language in which he was taught. It appears that there will always be underlying problems due to the way Matthew's development has compensated for these difficulties, which gave rise to his Specific Learning Differences, and also the unique way that he interprets information.

We have included the Educational Psychology report dated 15 November 2006 in which Matthew was given a diagnosis of Specific Learning Difficulties. Mr Richard Edwards also hoped to refer Matthew to the Dyslexia panel for extra support but he did not meet the criteria at this point. When retested in February 2007 Matthew did meet the criteria for the panel but was denied this support due to his scores not falling below the cut off line for numbers to receive support within RCT. Consequently we undertook the Stairway to Spelling technique to teach Matthew to spell at least the first 300 most used words which was and still is a highly effective way for Matthew to learn his spellings.

Matthew’s biggest problem seems to be written work and the speed at which he writes. The Educational Psychologist answer to this was to suggest typing on a computer, which he has been working on, but he still has not got the speed up above 13 words per minute. I wonder what the schools opinion would be of him working on a computer in lessons and at home, maybe sometime in the future?

Once again, thank you for your detailed appraisal of Matthew's progress, and we look forward to reviewing his progress in the future with the school.

Yours sincerely,

Monday, 14 February 2011

New Tutor

Decided to bite the bullet and get Matthew a new English tutor. First impressions are promising. She tested him on listening and speaking, and states that he is confident and listens well. She gave him a reading test, were she could tell he wasn't totally fluent but he told her on the whole he understands most of what he reads. His writing he needs to work on the skills and grammar. Spelling not so good, but she commented on how spelling is not concentrated on in primary and how much of a gap Secondary teachers are expected to fill. If he learns the spellings these days he can retain the spellings, something Dore tells clients to revisit after the programme, but sadly spelling is something that schools don't seem to concentrate on after a certain age. Something to work on!

Spoke to Senco

Managed to speak to Senco who started in September, basically to ask why Matthew hasn't had his spelling scores updated as promised by the temporary Senco last July, asked why Matthew had no accomodations to help him with History e.g copying out swathes of writng which is slow and laborious, taking up the time that he could be answering the questions at the end. Found out that Matthew's diagnosis of SpLD has not been recognised by the school, they have the diagnosis or rather misdiagnosis of ADD but he was unaware of the Ed Psych report (the one I copied, highlighted and sent in to make sure the school had it, with a covering letter about Sensory processing disorder). However he dug out the file and found the report. I also asked about getting writing speed checked. The Senco advisedus to have Matthew's Ed Psych report updated, and writing speed could be measured at the same time. He is also going to speak to the History teacher in light of the "new" information on Math's SpLD. He also taught Matthew last year and remembers him as an enthusiastic learner, and wouldn't say had ADD at all. So a positive outcome- hopefully.

Friday, 4 February 2011

At last Some Sense

Matthew has been moved to Set 2, following yet another high mark, physics this time 92%, all sets 1-3 had the same test (they cover the same booklet). Had the phone call Wed morning, and he moved today-Fri. Came home with extra booklet sheets to add to his Level 3-6 booklet for Chemistry (the Level 5-7 work).
A bit shocked at how swiftly they moved him.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Current Situation

Matthew was placed in set4 for humanities and Set 3 for Science/Maths. So he's in set 8Y 4.3

The old A/B streams of Yr7 contained ~180 children, ~90 in each, are now split into 3 sets X1,Y1, X2,Y2 and X3,Y3 of ~30 each. There is an Humanities set and a Science set. The Humanities are geography, history, welsh, spanish, and english. The Sciences are Biology,Chemistry,Physics and Maths. The other subjects are not set.

So your all thinking we're happy that Matthew has moved into a B stream equivalent for Sciences! Well we would be if he hadn't out performed his friends in A stream in Science. His class C1 was allowed to do the same end of year exam paper as all the others in Science, had 84% with a comment from his teacher that the mark was "outstanding as expected and reflects his undoubted ability and commitment to the subject" (as he'd performed brilliantly all year). However the Maths exam was the C1 exam, Matthew was so dissappointed after doing it, he did it in 40mins (an hour and half paper) and got 93% (left 2 questions out as usual! got 1 wrong). We phoned the school to complain that it was not challenging enough, as he had gone to the ceiling of the test. This paper although he had top mark in the C1 class, put him 170th out of 210 in Maths, which made the Chemistry dept think his maths was poor and he would "sink under the pressure of a higher set".

Move on to Nov 2010, Matthew's first test in Maths at half term was 81% 3rd, coming a close to joint 1st mark of 83% (class average 65), great we thought, not merely holding his own in this class of ~27, but floating pretty much near the top. Move on to Dec, next test, this time he gets 98% 1st position, but not only that, the 2nd place was 72% and class average 51% (not if you take out Matthew's 98% it's not). He was so excited after taking the test he asked me if he could have a game if he got 100%, I of course thought "no chance" and agreed.
So here we have the dilema, do the "pushy parents" go in once more and complain. Every time I speak to the school they make me feel that he's going to fall at the next hurdle, but they claim "they have an eye on things and he will be moved if he shows he is capable". What are they waiting for, guess I'll just have to go in and ask.

Monday, 10 January 2011

RE Test

Matthew's RE test results came home, he announced he had 5 out of 8!!??
Not very well explained to him, I believe as the teacher said " very well done Matthew" this is a Level 5, so from me it's a "Very well done Matthew" as well. He was given the part of the question before Xmas, so he wrote out what he wanted to include in his answer, cutting it down to the bare bones, and then learnt it parrot fashion. He said the test question wanted things slightly differently but he understood what was required and gave it.