Disproportionately irritated with school...

(24 Posts)
LittenTree Thu 04-Oct-12 16:52:49

DS2's school uses a VLE. It is utter crap. DH is involved in web design and is gob smacked at how poor the VLE of the best academically performing comp in the county is!

I have just spent 45 minutes trying to find his Maths homework. There is a section in Maths called Y7: homework. In this are entire 'books' of questions, called 7A, B and C. He has to do 'Page 3, Q 3 & 4, integers and negative numbers'.

There are 3 page 3s, one in book 7A, one in book B etc. He, I am guessing will be on Book A or B as he's not that gifted in maths (assuming A is lowest, C highest!). Page 3 in both bears no relation to integers and negative numbers. He and I don't even know if the homework is in 'Homework', tbh!

It's all well and good being 'up' with the 21st century but if you need your mum to try (and to fail) to actually locate your bloody homework, there's a problem. This is his first Maths h/w on VLE, incidentally.

Now, one might say he should have checked he could find it, but how, without a computer in front of him? How was he to know that as it is, Maths 'Homework' is 8 mouse clicks into the VLE? Assuming the h/w is in there?

My life is hard enough without this rubbish! Now I have to write a letter to the teacher. This will cause DS undue stress and embarrassment and I cannot be sure he won't anyway get a detention for not-done homework.

Rant over

(and no, you can't call the school. Parents have no un-appointed contact with anyone at the school).

pianomama Thu 04-Oct-12 17:46:37

How frustrating!

I know all about badly designed websites - they JUST DRIVE YOU MAD!!!

Can your DS check if any of his friends managed to find it?
It could be something annoying like you need to follow the link from another page or start somewhere different. Is there a Help function on the website?
Is there any Support provided with it? Like a phone number?

If there isn't - COMPLAIN to school.Not on.

How annoying. My kids use VLE and it's fine. Has your child been given a lesson on it?

LittenTree Thu 04-Oct-12 19:10:55

I don't think DS2 has been given a specific lesson on how to use it in detail, by the sounds of it.

I also think we should have some sort of access to the teachers- happy for it to moderated, but I'd've thought 'my DS has no idea where exactly his maths questions are on your Byzantine website. Please tell' might be legit!

Unfortunately, they've just 'set' in Maths and DS2 isn't in the same class as anyone whose email or phone number I know.

Anyway, I've 'made my point' by getting DS to answer 'Pg 3, Q 3&4' from both the 7A (easy) and 7B (bit harder and may be right?) books on the VLE. And explained in a note that it might have been an idea to tell the DC which book to look at- always assuming it was either and that the actual homework wasn't something completely different!

But it is still a very poorly designed website.

That's fair enough. I know my kids were 'trained' how to use it. I'm not sure that all of the teachers have smile

alcofrolic Thu 04-Oct-12 20:24:38

My county bought into a VLE and offered it to all schools for free. As it was a government stipulation that all schools should have one, and money was tight, we took up the offer. I am the administrator of the system at school and it is clunky and badly designed ......

but...... don't blame the school!

DeWe Thu 04-Oct-12 20:29:33

Our school stopped using the vle this year after complaints.

I found it particularly irritating for maths. Sometimes they had to give the answers in by vle-but take the working in by hand. Other times they spent more time formatting it than doing the maths hmm We all rejoiced when told they weren't doing it any more.

Bunbaker Thu 04-Oct-12 20:33:03

Which VLE is it?

zipzap Thu 04-Oct-12 20:34:23

Sounds like they need to start teaching and preaching usability to those who commission, design and implement the vle!

Send ds in with a critique or evaluation of how bad the vle is instead...

alienbump Thu 04-Oct-12 20:43:55

Just a thought - are you sure the homework is on the VLE and not on "MyMaths"? Just that the majority of high schools use this (and it's super easy to use) so might be worth seeing if it sounds familiar to your son.

misstrunchball Thu 04-Oct-12 21:03:28

My DD2 was told her homework was on the VLE so we duly log in, click on Maths and all the other classes were there apart from hers..... Had a meet the form tutor tonight so moaned brought this to her attention whereby she replied that the homework could be under a different teachers name???? Doesn't help that her maths teacher doesn't have English as a first language so is difficult to understand.

alcofrolic Thu 04-Oct-12 21:34:54

After the holiday, our VLE had assigned administrator rights to completely random students......

It had moved teachers to students roles or lost them completely........

I had to edit the whole thing for every year group! Grrrrr!

rabbitstew Thu 04-Oct-12 22:43:54

Well, your dh could always offer his services for free to the school to improve its VLE... grin

EBDTeacher Thu 04-Oct-12 22:52:45

alcofrolic is right, good VLEs cost an eye wateringly huge amount of money.

Most schools will be forced by budget constraints to have a terrible cheap one.

smalltown Thu 04-Oct-12 23:02:33

I had to read your post a few times to make sure I hadn't written it smile

My DH, also in IT, spent last night working out what was wrong with our school's VLE page and why we couldn't access the bloody homework.

And when I say politely to the staff that it wouldn't work, again, they ask if I've taken caps lock off..

But most of all I despise the fact that it's use is so half hearted. So I need to search through another year & classes homework due in in 2010 to find this week's homework.

Brycie Thu 04-Oct-12 23:04:39

"Parents have no un-appointed contact with anyone at the school"

I think you cannot be disproportionately irritated about any school that says this. This is the most irritating thing of all.

visualarts Thu 04-Oct-12 23:11:34

That would be the most irritating thing bryc, if it weren't for the fact that op cant even be sure her dc wont get detention for not doing the homework!
No unappointed contact is indeed noteworthy though - is this the rule at many schools? (perhaps naive)

RustyBear Thu 04-Oct-12 23:12:43

Did you actually look in Book C? because I would have assumed that C was the lowest, not the top set....

I agree about the general clunkiness of VLEs, though. Fortunately, the government has not implemented the requirement for primary schools to have one, and we have thankfully dropped ours. Too late for secondaries, though....

Brycie Thu 04-Oct-12 23:16:18

Visual - first swear on mn, I would be thinking who the f do they think they are?

picturesinthefirelight Thu 04-Oct-12 23:33:13

What happens if your child does not have internet access at home. I guess this is the sort if question I should be asking of potential secondary schools. (dd is in year 6) She goes to the library once a week where she can have half an hour on their pc at a time) but most homework us done in the dance school waiting room with own & paper.

picturesinthefirelight Thu 04-Oct-12 23:34:42

And before you say but I'm on the Internet now I'm on an iPhone which usually doesn't work with this sort of thing

visualarts Fri 05-Oct-12 06:48:26

Good point pictures - and it's not just those who dont have internet at all. Suppose someone else in the family needs to use the computer that evening - for work, for instance? Good question to ask.

Also a good question to ask, it seems - is there un-appointed contact with school? It never would have occurred to me that there wouldn't be - what on earth are you supposed to do if you're in op's position?

tiggytape Fri 05-Oct-12 08:32:23

We're finding this a bit too. We can navigate the online homework just about but in some subjects, they expect us to have software (or up-to-date) versions of software that we just don't have.

They say any child is allowed to stay back after school to do the homework in the library but, like most kids, DS is keen to get home after school and thinks staying behind thing feels a bit like a detention. I've managed to borrow a lap top for the time being but am also being crippled on the cost of printing. They often ask for the work to be completed online and submitted but also want 1 or 2 copies printed out too.

The assumption is definitely that we all have fantastic, whizzy computers at home. Anyone without internet at all would be living half their life in the school library.

LittenTree Fri 05-Oct-12 08:49:08

See, I don't mind the school being all 'interactive', but you either do it properly or not at all. I know of local secondaries where everything is 'on line', lessons, h/w, teacher email contact, the lot; whereas our Head didn't quite say 'this computer nonsense is just a flash in the pan' but he certainly isn't all embracing of it! He's an older bloke.

I also need to be, through gritted teeth, fair. The school does what it says on the tin. It does what we all signed up for by paying over the odds for our houses, namely turns out happy, well adjusted DC with strings of A*s. There is a bit of an expectation, locally, that you send 'em through the doors at 11 and they will walk out at 16, enroute to a highly regarded, selective Sixth Form college. It's almost 'you do your job, we'll do ours'- and I am well aware of the problems associated with 'free access to teacher'.... but it would be nice if there was someone answering the bloody phone after 3pm in the building! Before now I have had to call Matron as she's the only one who is contactable then!

There is the issue of computer access at home, too. Again, tbf, there aren't many parents in this catchment who don't have at least one computer. Most, like us, are set up like Mission Control grin but there is a bit of an 'assumption', though my friend's DS's secondary insists on them buying a given model of laptop (£400 odd!) which the DC cart to and from school every day. This is quite common in private Australian schools, incidentally.

I was surprised when DS1 started that there was no insistence that either pen or computer was used for given pieces of work- it didn't seem to matter; though I was lamenting the fact they never do 'fountain pen' at all in their school careers, unlike my friend whose DSs go to a £ prep- then I thought 'hang on, fountain pen? In 2012? What am I thinking?' grin

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