to think that at Parents Evening there should be enough time slots

(57 Posts)

for all pupils. How can they justify giving a science teacher 25 time slots when they teach 90 pupils? This year is the first time I have managed to see my daughters science and english teachers in 3 years! I know that 90 pupils is a lot to teach, but there must be a way of getting round this.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 08-Feb-13 18:07:40

At DDs school the pupil has to organise booking slots - 5 mins with 5 mins between each to get between them (the teachers don't get the breaks, obv). Even so, do the maths... if the parent's evening lasts 3 hours that's 36 slots so its fine if they've got one set in that year, hopeless if they have 3 sets. DDs chemistry teacher has told the ones who are doing well not to book slots - which is fine - and is also staying in school between end of school day and start of parents evening to see any parents who can make it then. Sounds shattering!

After yr7 the pupils come to parent's evening too, good way to avoid confusion!

OP, hope you can get what's happened straightened out -that doesn't sound good.

IAmLouisWalsh Fri 08-Feb-13 17:53:14

It needs managing carefully - but all of our tutors are paid to be tutors, if that make sense, and it is their first responsibility, so they need to know exactly what is going on at GCSE level in all subjects. Very few parents ever feel the need to see a specialist teacher. We have vertical tutor groups, too, so the relationship between parents and tutors develops over the five years, and often families are together, so Y11 and Y7 siblings in same group, same tutor.

DDs school has learning development meetings with tutors. However, in the 11 years worth of them they've done, none of them have been of any use whatsoever. In DD2s case, the tutor didn't bother turning up for her last one shock.

We do have traditional parents evenings though which are a bit of a scrum, but I've always managed to see the teachers I needed to (apart from one, but he was off ill, so that's allowed I think wink)

noblegiraffe Fri 08-Feb-13 10:45:23

My school also does progress days with the tutor and parents evenings with the teacher. Initially people were very sceptical about the tutor meetings but they are very good for discussing the student's overall school experience, including suggestions for extra curricular activities, how to approach revision, whether organisation is an issue and friendship issues.
I wouldn't want to lose the subject teacher evenings though, I think they are important too.

One of the secondary schools I work with, has a progress day for form tutors. The whole school is taken off timetable, and then form tutors are a available for parent meetings from 10am until 7pm. The meetings last around half an hour and any issues concerning individual subjects are discussed as well as personal development. If there are concerns in subject areas, the form tutor will follow this up with the relevant staff member, and the parents concerns addressed.
Students are expected to come in with parents, and it tends to be really well attended.
Additionally they have traditional parent evenings scheduled by year group. The parents' feedback on this is overwhelmingly positive.

This is a school in an area of deprivation and disadvantage and recently Ofsted rated 4. They are working very hard to improve and this is the 3rd year of this popular scheme

countrykitten Fri 08-Feb-13 08:38:01

We did this at a school I worked at. It was ok but imo parents need specialist input at GCSE level and beyond not a form tutor sitting in front of a pile of grades and trying to sound knowledgeable about Bio when they are a Drama teacher!

So a good idea for Lower School but not for Y10 and beyond - the school I worked at soon cottoned on to this and it all worked much better after that.

IAmLouisWalsh Thu 07-Feb-13 21:03:06

We have scrapped traditional parents' evenings. Instead, parents get a twenty to thirty minute slot with form tutor, who has all the information from all teachers about the child, including specific advice on improvements.

We do this for two days every year - appointments available from 7am to 7pm, but parents can negotiate with tutors to suit. We collapse the timetable on those days and do enrichment and sports so pupils can attend the appointments with their parents.

It works for us. Very, very few complaints.

poppypebble Thu 07-Feb-13 20:47:55

Timely subject as I'm just in from a parents evening. We have two for each year group, meaning 14 over the course of the academic year. For some year groups I teach 150 pupils - even with two evenings it isn't happening, so I have to prioritise.

Our system involves parents sitting at a desk whilst we teachers walk around - there are no appointments but parents are sometimes told that they won't be seeing a particular teacher because they haven't got time. Maximum I can see is 36 in a night, so 72 across the year group.

Tonight however, Year 11 parents evening. Just 28 in the class so no problem seeing them. However I sat around for most of the evening as only 15 parents bothered to turn up.

McNewPants2013 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:40:51

I think the best way is to allocate the time slots is see the parents of children who are struggling or who are having problems.

I think it is a waste of time to go to parents evening, unless there is a problem.

HollyBerryBush Thu 07-Feb-13 20:37:17

I far prefer my sons school - you get 6 appointments for 16 subjects. So you pick the subjects no one wants - then the core subjects phone you if there is a concern.

Much better, in and out in 1/2 hour.

I always work on the theory no news is good news grin

bluer Thu 07-Feb-13 20:30:08

We have a working time agreement you know...that allocates the number of contractual hours you are supposed to work in a year, it includes 6 2.5 hour parents nights, department and staff meetings etc. I don't think that you can reasonably expect someone to see ninety parents in an evening and the fact is teacher contracts are the same so whilst a lot of subjects only see one class a year some see several and I don't know how you could all them to do extra time. I would always offer a phone call etc of needed but I can usually fit appointments in. what annoys me is parent ego don't turn up...my last appointment tonight didn't even though the pupil confirmed when I asked today. I end up waiting around just in case which is frustrating and so rude of them. Ooh and you never get to see the parents you'd like to...

countrykitten Thu 07-Feb-13 17:49:24

GUE - that is a brilliant idea and I think really helpful to teachers who would not be in the least offended I am sure.

Essex - I have worked in a few really challenging state schools where this was the case- and often the more you needed to see the parent, the less likely they were to turn up. Tells its own story really....

EssexGurl Thu 07-Feb-13 15:32:51

Friends of mine who are teachers - even at primary - have always commented on how often parents don't bother attending. Not the case at my DS's primary as uber-competitive parenting going on. But from what I gather it is the norm for some parents not to bother. So, school have probably worked out the likely up-take (particularly for secondary) and so planned accordingly.

GreatUncleEddie Thu 07-Feb-13 15:29:12

If there is a problem you should have net the teacher before now, tbh. Oh - you have! What's the problem again?

On another point - I take a passport photo when mine are in year 7. Obviously i hide it for the form teacher and the staff who have the kids three times every week. But the ones who teach the whole of year seven, once a week, I have it out for, just in case. After that the teachers teach fewer kids and have got to know them a bit better. I hope I don't offend anyone.

We've encountered a similar issue, asked to see 10 teachers, can see 5. However the teacher I really wanted to see and couldnt was really accommodating when I sent in a little note asking to have a five minute phone conversation instead. It was actually much better as we could talk honestly without dd being there!

Teachers don't have phones in their classrooms plus parents need to call the school during lesson time as due to cutbacks the receptionists finish immediately school does.

The teachers are most likely still in their classrooms but there's no one to answer the school phone.

Groovee Thu 07-Feb-13 15:21:17

My friend was told a couple of weeks ago by her dd that 3 teachers couldn't see her mum at parents night, on parents night, my friend saw the 3 of them free between appointments and found out that her daughter had frequently not handed in homework despite never going out and that she wasn't heading well towards the exams.

Meanwhile my daughter's school has sent me a letter of concern because she hasn't sat a reading test this month because the book she chose was 800 pages long compared to the usual 200-300 books she normally is allocated.

countrykitten Thu 07-Feb-13 14:57:24

Bloody hell! Which schools finish at 2.30pm??? That is a half day! We don't finish teaching until 4pm.

I am not aware of a single teacher who sticks to the 'work to rule' thing - the ones I know are incredibly dedicated and hardworking and see parents as part of the team needed to keep the pupils progressing well academically so they would always make time to see them.

Agree with noblegiraffe that email is a really good way of getting a quick response too - much faster than a phone call.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Feb-13 14:37:56

Some parents also seem to forget that teachers don't have phones in their classrooms. If someone phoned the school asking me to ring back, then what would happen is that a message would be put in my pigeon hole in the staffroom. I usually check my pigeonhole in the morning so I wouldn't get the message till the next day, then if I'm teaching all day and have a meeting after school the parent might not get a call back till the day after.
If they email the school, I see it much sooner. They are more likely to get a quick response too, as I can email from my desk whereas phoning requires a trip down to the office.

nokidshere Thu 07-Feb-13 14:20:52

In our school there is no-one answering the phone after the end of the school day (3:10) so even if you wanted to call a teacher the chances of getting through to one would be minimal!

Pilgit Thu 07-Feb-13 14:13:13

Sovery - I don't think the point was that teachers finish at three but that classes do so the teacher has more control of their time and so could fit them in at another time.

londongirlatheart Thu 07-Feb-13 13:57:59

Wish there were more teachers like you Lucky. Parents evening was three months ago and I am still chasing feedback from teachers who I didn't see.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Feb-13 13:42:56

longing, Y11 parents evening really isn't the place to be discussing A-level options, it is supposed to be discussing GCSE progress. While I agree that your school's system for allocating appointments is terrible, this is completely separate to the issue of the options decision which he should have been discussing with his teachers well in advance. Didn't you have a sixth form evening for this?

soverylucky Thu 07-Feb-13 13:38:31

Firstly I will always answer an email or telephone call from a parent. I have never heard of any colleague refusing to do this.
It is a shame to see the same old comment about teachers finishing at three etc

ll31 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:36:44

In ds school, kids go to meetings too. No appts , just q for various teachers , open for 3-4 hrs, woprked fine!

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