I am umming and ahhing about what to do regarding Mstr A's schooling.
He's at the most local school - just at the top of our road, which is what I really wanted. I tend to feel that primary school is more about learning social skills than academic ones, therefore the ability to walk yourself to and from school, to have friends locally, and to mix with a varied group of people is what i was hoping he would gain by going to the local school.
1) Most of the children there are not very local - that is the lowest criteria when chosing who will be admitted each year (after "looked after" children, siblings, church-goers, special needs).
2)He hasn't made any real friends. Well, actually he has, but they don't seem to reciprocate:-(
3)He is not allowed to walk to & from school on his own - even though I can stand at the end of my drive & watch him until he gets to the lollipop man, who stands directly outside the school gates) it's against school rules!
The other probems I have with this school is its religious aspect. Partly because they converted to being a church funded school within a term of Mstr A starting there, without any information beu=ing given to the parents/prospective parents, let alone consultation, and i would not have applied to a church funded school. It's not that i beleive they are teaching him the "wrong" things. I am of the opinion that beliefs, morals, ethics & attitudes are learned at home, and we will teach him to look at all sides & make up his own mind. He has already shown he is able to do that. But i do feel they are wasting his time. Time which I feel could be far better spent doing schooling type things. Also, the school/governers/head-teacher have got a seriously warped view of what should and shouldn't be allowed. for example, Halloween. OK I get that it's not celebrated in a christian school, but we were forbidden to hand out invitations to halloween parties on the school premisis! And when i suggested a cheese and wine night as a fundraiser for the PTA, I was told no alcohol is allowed on site - and we're talking 9pm adults only here! Just earlier this week we were discussing how to raise £20k for a new roof, and I suggested applying for some grants, but was told no lottery grants, as the school doesn't approve of gambling. But there are no other capital grants available, so talk about cutting off your nose!
but even that would not be enough to make me think about changing schools. All that is really just a grumble.
It's the schools attitude to the kids that i am starting to be concerned about.
For example their belief that they shouldn't approach the parents of children they suspect to have problems, but wait for the parents to approach them. Whenever I talk to Mstr A's class teacher she comments on how many children in the class are difficult. But we don't live in the most sought after area (that's definitely an understatement). Many of the parents are young, uneducated and have few parenting skills. expecting them to notice that their child is having problems & know to come to the school with this is really unlikely. So the children will continue to have problems, and just get worse and worse.
Also their dogmatic approach to learning. I know that they have boxes to tick, but their total insistance that each child MUST start at the very bottom & complete each worksheet/book/etc in order before moving to the next one just bores the pants off even the averagely bright child. Mstr A was sent home with some spellings to learn: Toy, Not, Run, Yes, Box. He can spell two or three syllable words easily. I stood there in front of his teacher and asked him to spell some words at random: Holiday, jumping, roundabout, bookworm. he did them all perfectly, but she (the school) will not allow him to move on to the harder stuff until he has done all the easier ones. they only do them as a group once a week! The same with his reading. he can read books designed for 7-8 year ilds easily. i found him reading a story from a childrens anthology the other day. He was reading it to LMB, so had the book upside down so she could see the pictures & was still just as fluent! But his school books are still the ones with two sentances to a page (mostly because I can't see the point in forcing him to read them to me every night).
But the final straw came today. Yesterday when I asked how he'd behaved, I was told he didn't do anything at all for his cover teacher in the morning, so had to spend all afternoon doing the mornings work. i asked him why he didn't do his work in the morning & he said he was hungry so he couldn't concentrate (his words). Now this could be true, or it could just be an excuse, but since I had very low blood sugar as a child & Aggie is diabetic, I thought I'd nip the exscuse in the bud & sent him to school with a sandwich today. I spoke to his class teacher and was told it was against policy to allow the children to eat anything other than the provided fruit during the day. I pointed out that he doesn't eat the provided fruit (clementine today), or many fruits at all really. I also mentioned that there were many studies proving that blood-sugar level and behavioural difficulties are related - especially in boys. she agreed to give it a go, provided I spoke with the headmaster as soon as possible (he was away today). when I picked him up she complained that he didn't eat it at break time, but said he was hungry half an hour later, so she couldn't let him eat it!
Remember, he is only 5 years old.
I just feel the whole concept of teaching the class to stretch the individual seems to have been lost in translation at this school.
The next school along (approx 0.5 mile away from our house) is the best academic school in the area, is twice the size, has a large sports facility (out school has none), and has just built a special "children's unit" on site. It was a real toss up which one to apply for when I first did so (if I'd known our school was church funded, there would have been no toss!). But I don't know anyone who goes there - who's to say their attitudes will be any different? or even worse? mstr A has no official diagnosis yet.
I don't know much about the procedure for changing schools, but I expect it's long, complicated, and has lots of form-filling. Is it worth the hassle & upheaval of moving schools, as well as the hassle of his school being further away, or should I keep on battling it out with the current school?
I need to decide now, because whichever school he is in this September, will be the one that LMB (and later LMD) get priority at.
what do you all think?