This is not a rant, I am looking for you opinion on what we can do for the rest of the school year (up to December).
If I go on too long with the history, please forgive me but it helps set the scene.
My little girl (10) is in grade 6 at a government primary school.
(In Australia, you do 7 years of primary school, including prep, then generally 6 years at a secondary school before going to a university).
When she was in Grade 1 her teacher diagnosed her as having ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
She was referred to a school phycologist who suggested she be tested to see where she was situated on the academic scale so they could ‘treat’ her.
Well, surprise to the grade teacher (but not to us), the test results came back showing she had an IQ of 130+ on the WISC (Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children) and something similar if not the same on the Stanford-Binet Test. Essentially she was academically gifted and her lack of attention is class was because she was bored shitless. we are only applying gifted to certain academic areas. Maths, Science and English. Other areas such as performing arts, physical ed, sport, etc, perfectly normal.
Teacher didn’t believe the test results, but the school principal did, so an ‘extension’ program was set up for the little girl and some other ‘bright’ kids in the same class. Extension, basically was around 1 hour per school week where they did additional but not really extending work, and then given more homework to keep them busy.
My SO and I differed in opinion to that of the school that additional work was a punishment and not an extension, and this argument basically took most of that 1st year.
In the little girls opinion, it was why should I have to do more work, just because I can get the ordinary work done in 1/10th the time.
Grade 2 and similar situation. New teacher, didn’t believe last years results, tested again, ditto result, same plan of action (more work not different work). More arguments. Discussions with principal, agreed to skip Grade 3 next year, so she went from Grade 2 to 4.
Grade 4 and things were humming along nicely. Little girl was feeling challenged and so decided to extend herself by reading ahead and we also decided to assist by tutoring her in maths. She was way beyond the basics of multiplication, addition, etc.
So, then she started Grade 5 and another new teacher (I have no idea why the teachers couldn’t get together and discuss the situation). A new principal at the school too, so we were back to square 1. Principal decided that parents were full of shit, had the little girl tested again, and similar result on the two tests. IQ of 130+. Principal is surprised, so is grade teacher. Basically, she was graded as working at 2nd year of secondary school level, so she was offered work of that level rather than Grade 5. Hooray, at last, we were getting somewhere.
This year, she is in grade 6. New teacher (see a pattern by now I hope), new principal (again). Same story. Don’t believe the results, test again, same results. Why they didn’t believe the last 3 or 4 sets of test results my SO and I sill can’t understand. So far, we are about 1/4 of the way though the school year and teacher has done squat with regards to extending her, so she sits in class, bored as all hell and (naturally) causes disruption to her classmates.
When queried as to why the school can’t provided a comprehensive gifted ed. program, lack of funding comes back almost before my mouth gets closed. But funding is provided for the thickies at the bottom of the bell curve, why not the top, generally comes from my mouth next and the usual answer to that is that the school needs to provide a basic level of education for everyone and people at the top of the class don’t need more education.
We have considered private ed. but the private school system does not cope with gifted ed. in primary years.
We have considered moving schools but as this is the last year of primary, little girl would like to stay with her friends of 6 years.
Furthermore, none of the other schools in the area have anything like what we have going at our school, so a swap of schools would only put the little girl through another battery of tests and in the remaining 6 months, achieve little.
Next year, she will be (hopefully) attending a school that has an accelerated learning program with selected entry via (you guessed it), another batter of tests. At least this program has been going for about 5 years, so should be well established, and the school have no issues with completing 6 years of secondary ed. in 4 years.
That brings up another issue in that the little girl might actually leave secondary school and be ready for university at 15. Depending on her maturity at that point, she may not feel ready. I’ll wait until we get closer to that to worry.
So, IYHO, what do we do until December ???