I am coming at things solely from the point of view of a parent today. Milly has just started Year 2 and the year group is now set for maths. I have established today that she is in the third set of four and it has come as quite a shock to me. She has said to me in the past that she is no good at numeracy and (though I was sad that she had this perception of herself at such an early stage) I thought it was just her worrying because she is a bit of a perfectionist. However, when we sat down to do her homework, she did find it tricky – she didn’t know how to use her number grid (1-100) to add and take away ten. By the time we had finished, she was doing most of the sums without the grid and then using the grid to check that she had it right. I don’t know if she will still be able to do it tomorrow, but I feel that we have made a start, and she finished up feeling quite pleased with herself.

I do feel rather cross about this. Firstly, because it came as a surprise to me that she is in the bottom half ability-wise in the subject – I wish someone had given me a few ideas of how to help her. And secondly because, when she started in Reception, I was told that she was one of two children in her class who had done amazingly in the baseline tests. I am assuming that the baseline tests are an indication of ability, so how has she slipped backwards so much in this area? I know from what she reads at home that her reading is great and she never has an issue with spellings, so I think that it is just in maths that she is struggling.

Am I right to feel that something has gone wrong here – is it normal at this stage for there to be a big difference in a child’s achievements in different areas? Or should Milly be doing as well in maths as she is in literacy? Should she have been given some extra help with maths in the past, (or, at the very least, should I have been told there was an issue?) so that she could have been reaching her full potential (and not feeling that she is “no good at numeracy”)?