I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask and I suppose this is going to be an outlet for my frustration, but I could also do with some advice from people that may have been in the same situation
My son is 4 years old and has always been a quick learner - he was walking and saying words a few months old and now at 4 years old he's a lot further ahead than some other children of his age. He is not a genius, but he's certainly very gifted when it comes to learning through observation and retaining knowledge.
He's just started primary school after attending nursery at that very school for a year. At the end of the nursery year the workers praised his speech, knowledge, behaviour and reliability and said that he was hitting targets that they would expect at the end of his 1st year.
Now that he's moved into 1st year, his new teacher has started giving him books with no words (where he must describe what's happening in the pictures) and is saying that he must learn phonetics by the end of the school year (we are only a few weeks in at the moment). They are also teaching them how to write letters and numbers and how to count...
This would be great were it not for this tiny detail.
My son can read, write and count already and has been doing so for over a year and a half.
Now let me just clarify:
He is not completely fluent with more difficult words and has to take a moment to absorb them (e.g. Roald Dahl books he can struggle with but kids books he hasn't much of a problem with)
His writing is not perfect, he does need to work on it. The letters are all well formed and correctly oriented but they don't always sit on the line and he occasionally starts letters from the bottom rather than the top.
However, he is definitely much further ahead than some of the other children and often complains that he's bored at school or that school is "too long". We all know that days drag when you are bored and fly when you are occupied, so I can only conclude that he is not being challenged.
They want him to learn around 30 phonetic sounds and also learn some other "tricky" words such as "to", "the" by the end of the school year. He can read these words with no problem and he can also spell them (and much more difficult ones) using letters - not sounds.
We've been in numerous times to argue the point that he needs more challenging work, to which we are always given the same answer "he is being challenged".
I don't agree - he tells me they are learning to write numbers at the moment. He's been doing that for more than a year (and they are all formed correctly with the correct orientation)
The teacher also let slip at parents evening that they ask my son to help the other children when he's finished his work...
Last time I checked he wasn't getting paid a part time teaching assistants wage, I'd rather they gave him additional work...
(interestingly the teacher denied making that statement the next time we met - categorically denied it yet both myself and my wife were present)
My wife made a point that I disagreed with. She was of the opinion that it's the schools duty to push and challenge my child. I'm of the opinion that it's quite the opposite: they don't really care about individuals - as long as they can show that X number of children achieved a certain standard their job is done, if that means leaving the bright ones to their own thing whilst the others catch up, then so be it.
i.e. It's completely up to the teacher to have the passion and drive to deliver what my child requires at school above and beyond what the government require.
Are the school taking me for a ride? Does the teacher really just not care?
I'd love to know if anyone else is experiencing the same problem and how they are dealing with/have dealt with it in the past.
Apologies to anyone who read this before my update but this was resolved not long after - I probably should have put this as part of my answer and it's been a few years since (he's 9 now!). My original comments are below for reference.
Well, turns out they just needed more time to assess him! Not sure what was going on in the prior weeks but they have just assessed him for his current year, then assessed him for next year and he's where he should be at for nearing the end of next years school term (in his reading anyway - they have yet to assess his maths and some other subjects). We ended up going up to the top level of reading books he can get and a shedload of extra stuff coming home with him and he is finally excited to go to school! The wife feels much less stressed now :)