State education Is it up to standard?

(106 Posts)
Educationguru Sat 07-Dec-13 14:25:39

Has anyone got any opinions on this one?

EvilTwins Sun 05-Jan-14 10:22:57

Totally agree with you.

Norudeshitrequired Sun 05-Jan-14 09:51:22

That is what I would expect and hope would happen. I was quite shocked to see a teacher stating that the quiet non SN children slip through the net and teachers don't always have the time to ensure that measures are put into place to help non achieving children.
I do appreciate that calling parents constantly is not necessary and not necessarily helpful; but I would expect the school to do something internally to help children, which you have confirmed does happen.
What you are saying makes much more sense and is certainly what I have witnessed at my eldest sons secondary school.
Apologies if I came across as very rude yesterday. I think my own experiences and reasons for switching my youngest child to a new school, coupled with a teacher telling me that schools don't have time to help non troublesome struggling children got my blood boiling. I think the comparisons between state and indie parents was also very judgemental and unfair and not entirely true and isn't a reason to not attempt to maintain good links.

EvilTwins Sun 05-Jan-14 09:40:41

I think she has worked in both, but currently teaches in independent.

Not having time to call parents about things does not mean that problems are not being addressed. As a classroom teacher, I keep a very close eye on my students and put interventions in place if necessary. This might be as simple as one-to-one sessions during my lessons or involve extra time after school, using the SEN dept to support written work or working with other depts to share strategies. I wouldn't necessarily contact home about these. It's highly unlikely that parents would be oblivious to the need - if they were, it would mean that they had ignored review grades and written reports and failed to attend parents evenings. If there was a particular behaviour issue, then I would want to contact home, but again, it might be that I get the form tutor/head of year to do so.

It's much more complex that some people think, particularly when one is dealing with over 200 students per week.

Norudeshitrequired Sun 05-Jan-14 09:31:33

My gripe was with the fact that a teacher had stated that teachers don't always have time to do something about children who are not achieving as expected. Now you're saying that this doesn't happen at all. I was only outraged at something said by a teacher who I understood worked in both state and independent schools (part time in both I presumed, but perhaps I got that wrong).

Norudeshitrequired Sun 05-Jan-14 09:28:45

I thought she teaches in both state and independent and therefore had an inside knowledge of both. Maybe I misunderstood that.

EvilTwins Sat 04-Jan-14 23:11:21

That was one poster, who teaches in an independent school hmm

Schools have too many measures in place to allow anyone to slip through the net. If students aren't making the correct amount of progress, it is picked up. This is regardless of whether classroom teachers have hours of free time to call parents about it.

At my school, we submit review grades 6x per year. If any KS4 student appears to be at risk of not making 4 levels of progress, it's picked up and interventions are put in place. I don't believe this is unusual.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 04-Jan-14 22:55:57

I don't believe that non troublesome DC are allowed to slip through the net at state schools.

According to a teacher upthread they do due to the large class sizes.

And I'm not sure why you think I have a very high opinion of myself - I just think I have a very low opinion of SOME state schools and the people who teach in them. As I have said previously; I have a child in a state secondary school and it is a fantastic school with fantastic dedicated teachers. I have been referring to the schools mentioned by teachers on this thread and their statements about lack of time and children slipping through the net.

Skrifa Sat 04-Jan-14 22:25:57

DS1 goes to an excellent, superselective school, a bit of a distance from where we live. He is encouraged, all the time, and excels as a result.

The other schools for my other DC, not so much academically. Pastoral care is great, but then I know the schools they to to have a high number of LAC, a high amount of FSM (inc. my children) and SEN or SN (inc. DS2). For disadvantaged or disabled children, the school has helped us massively, far better than our experiences elsewhere, and from what other parents say, they agree. Academically, the schools have failed abysmally and they are one of the worst in the country for results, for my younger DSs primary. So some of it is definitely up to scratch for the school, others definitely aren't.

EvilTwins Sat 04-Jan-14 22:20:14

Oh dear, norudeshit, you seem to have a vair hight opinion of yourself. I personally don't give a toss whether you think state schools are as good as independent. I think that the education received by the children I teach and by my own DCs is very good. Education is such a personal thing. I don't believe that non troublesome DC are allowed to slip through the net at state schools.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 04-Jan-14 22:11:23

Well some avid mumsnet users have done a lot to almost convince me that state education is as good as private education and that selective / independent schools are damaging to comprehensive schools. Those members have been very articulate and raised some very valid points about the benefits of state education and the fact that it can cater well for all abilities and personalities. But in one thread I have now realised that SOME teachers in state schools don't have the time to recognise problem areas in each child or inform their parents about those deficiencies or take steps towards getting appropriate help for those children. According to whendidyoulast the non troublesome non SN children often slip through the net. If teachers are witnessing this as part of the system then what does that tell us? I'm not saying that it wouldn't happen in the independent sector too, but I'd guess that it's much less likely due to the fear that parents will vote with their wallets and go elsewhere if expectations are not met.

Blueberrypots Sat 04-Jan-14 21:37:49

In fairness though I always forget to sign the planner even though I read it every day!!!

EvilTwins Sat 04-Jan-14 21:28:58

Not necessarily 30, but you're very naive if you think it's only ever one at a time. An example (though a nice one) - I needed to call 8 parents at the end of last term to let them know that their DC had completed their house point card (they get a card with 40 spaces on it - when they fill it, I call home and then they start a new card) That took about 1.5 hours. Finding numbers on the school system, sometimes trying more than one number, chatting with parents, logging the call on the system. Also, as a secondary teacher, actually having that time uninterrupted is rare.

Having a proper conversation with a parent about supporting a child who is coasting/ developing bad habits/ being badly behaved can take time if it's done properly. This is one of the reasons schools have regular parents evenings. But also why being able to put a note in the planner/ send an email is important. Of course, parents have to be willing to look for these, and not all are - some of the students in my tutor group NEVER have their planner signed, despite the fact that parents are supposed to do it weekly. Some parents are just not engaged with their DC's learning, and teachers can't be blamed for that.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 04-Jan-14 18:52:44

Does it take a couple of hours to contact one parent? I'm not talking about contacting the 30 parents of children from your tutor group, just the one child who isn't achieving as expected and needs action taking to help her achieve. Surely that doesn't take several hours? Presumably you wouldn't be identifying problems with all 30 children at once? Or do problems not get picked up due to their being so many children? If problems are not being recognised then the problems in schools are much worse than even I expected.

EvilTwins Sat 04-Jan-14 18:13:03

Norudeshit - I think you're being very unfair to whendidyoulast. I am also a teacher (better get that in straight away) and teach in a state secondary school. I teach 265 students each week, as well as having a tutor group. I see some students for only 1 hour each week.

At my school, we send home half termly reports for each student, plus a full written report once per year, hold 2 parents evenings for Yr 7, Yr 9, Yr 11 & 6th form and one for Yr 8 and Yr 10 each year. Our email addresses are available on the school website.

However, contacting parents is massively time consuming. If I need to contact the parents of students in my tutor group, then I will need a clear couple of hours to do so. And that's assuming they're at home or do a job in which is it practical to answer a phone. I am not going to do this in the evenings, any more than anyone would expect a doctor/solicitor to contact them "out of hours".

Having said that, I have emailed a parent this afternoon as her son is going to have surgery next week and I wanted to reassure her that I will get work organised and sent home for him.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 04-Jan-14 18:00:26

I have made a lot of judgements and assumptions, but I'm not a teacher which is a role that requires a non judgemental attitude.
I will not make any excuses nor empathise with teachers who let non troublesome children amble along not reaching their potential. I will never think that it is okay to do that in any sector. Even without parental cooperation there is lots of things that teachers can do.

whendidyoulast Sat 04-Jan-14 17:26:25

'They're are all kinds of parents in both sectors, you don't seem able to recognise that.'

Not true either. Please don't put words in my mouth.

whendidyoulast Sat 04-Jan-14 17:25:34

Norude, you seem to be making a good number of assumptions and judgments yourself.

'So you don't think its unfair and judgemental to write that state school parents are more hostile?'

That is NOT what I said at all.

'Or that parents who don't have sufficient literacy levels to comprehend notes in a homework diary are going to be less interested in their child's education?'

That isn't what I said either.

'If you can manage it then why can't they.'

I have explained at length why it might be difficult. For example, I know of a number of cases where teachers have arranged meetings with parents and the parents haven't turned up or cases where there is a court order against the parent visiting the school because of acts of violence.

'I notice that you haven't mentioned that some parents who have chosen independent schools have done so because they don't want to top up their child's education and haven't got the time to provide support themselves due to working long hours to afford the fees.'

There are lots of things I haven't mentioned but I agree with this and again, it MIGHT be a reason why some teachers are reluctant to contact parents.

'You have said that you maintain good contact with parents and that is great, but what about the teachers that don't?'

What about them? I have told you that I maintain good contact with parents so you need to pick your fights with someone else.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 04-Jan-14 15:42:01

So you don't think its unfair and judgemental to write that state school parents are more hostile?
Or that parents who don't have sufficient literacy levels to comprehend notes in a homework diary are going to be less interested in their child's education?
From my perspective all of that is very judgemental no matter how you try to dress it up. I notice that you haven't mentioned that some parents who have chosen independent schools have done so because they don't want to top up their child's education and haven't got the time to provide support themselves due to working long hours to afford the fees.
Do you not think that there might be some hostility from parents paying private school fees as they don't expect to be told that their child is struggling or not making an effort or just not reaching their potential? After all those parents are paying for the school to do a job so it stands to reason that some of those parents might be very hostile if they feel their money is being wasted on substandard teaching.
You have said that you maintain good contact with parents and that is great, but what about the teachers that don't? I personally don't feel their behaviour can be excused. If you can manage it then why can't they.
They're are all kinds of parents in both sectors, you don't seem able to recognise that.
Whichever way you dress it up your posts come across as very judgmental.

whendidyoulast Sat 04-Jan-14 15:15:08

Teaching is a very hard and complex job. It's very easy for other people to know how it should be done. I don't think there is any teacher, or any that are any good, who ever going home thinking I've done everything I could possibly have done for every one of my students.

whendidyoulast Sat 04-Jan-14 15:09:36

That post is not fair Norude. I have said that personally I do have a great deal of contact with parents and think this should happen but I have said I can also understand why teacher might not feel able to do this for example, where parents are hostile or indifferent.

As for parents being supportive. In most state schools you will naturally get more of a range - from those who are very supportive to those who are entirely indifferent or hostile. In an independent school there will be less of a range - all the parents have already self-selected by choosing an independent school and being prepared to pay for it or going through the effort of supporting their child to get a bursary. That stands to reason.

I've taught extensively in both sectors by the way.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 04-Jan-14 14:18:21

Oh I understand: you think that only parents who have good literacy levels themselves will be interested in knowing if their child is underperforming. Don't you think that that assumption is bit prejudiced?
Have you considered that some of the parents who don't have good literacy levels might be very keen for their children to do well at school because they don't want their children to be in the same situation as themselves as adults?

I think the idea that parents who choose independent education are more supportive is very presumptuous. My experience (having one in each sector) is that there isn't a great deal of difference. The private school parents might hire a tutor or ask the school to resolve the situation if they become aware of a significant problem. The state school parents might try to help the child themselves or might ask the school what they are going to do to rectify the problem. Both sets might not be able to do anything to help their child due to working long hours and having no spare time or money (even the private school ones might be financially stretched due to the fees). Whether a child is at private or state school all problems should be recognised, reported and acted upon to help the child reach his potential.
I'm so glad that my children have very good teachers who will contact me immediately if there are any issues. I would hate to think that my eldest son had issues going unrecognised or being left to fester just because he happens to be in a state school. Fortunately I do believe that the vast majority of teachers (state or private) are concerned with doing the best that they can for each child and are not going about making judgements of the parents levels of enthusiasm about education based on parental literacy levels or income.
Are you sure that teaching is the right role for you based on your judgemental attitude and what comes across as poor time management skills?

whendidyoulast Sat 04-Jan-14 09:27:09

I also work in a independent school where there is a lot of parental contact and I would contact parents straight away if there was a problem BUT we have v small class sizes and usually very supportive parents.

If parents couldn't or couldn't be bothered to read or understand notes or contact the teacher to discuss them then I could also see how a teacher might wonder what the point of contacting them would be especially if they couldn't then offer any further support to the pupil concerned. I have worked in a state school where parents were often automatically hostile or indifferent to teachers.

I think there's a big difference between primary and secondary and I absolutely agree that there's no reason why a primary teacher shouldn't contact parents immediately. I can understand why it's more difficult for secondary teachers, however desirable.

Norudeshitrequired Fri 03-Jan-14 22:33:25

Whendidyoulast - I understand your POV now that you have stated that you are a teacher, it's natural to be defensive when you wouldn't contact parents yourself (it's still unacceptable IMO).
I still think that just writing a note in a diary assumes that (a) the parents can read and comprehend your notes and (b) that the parents are aware that the child has a homework diary I would have hidden mine and told my mum we didn't have such things.

Do you work in a state school?
I have one child in primary private school and one child in secondary state school and they have fabulous teachers who would contact me within days if there was a problem. Although my primary aged child had been in state school previously and they were dire and would not have informed me if there was a problem.

whendidyoulast Fri 03-Jan-14 20:41:50

Again, I'm coming at this from a secondary perspective, so books and homework would be regularly going home and back to school.

But I take your point that at primary it's different and then teachers would need to get in touch.

whendidyoulast Fri 03-Jan-14 20:39:58

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you norudeshit and I certainly think not providing feedback on written work or homework is unacceptable Blueberry, but if parents are genuinely interested then they should be checking books and diaries and they could always ask if there was something they didn't understand. As a teacher I would find it a bit irritating if, as I do, I spent hours and hours marking work with detailed feedback and targets and writing in diaries and then a parent told me at parents evening that they were surprised to find their child wasn't very good at spelling for example.

Parents wouldn't expect someone to tell them that their kids' shoes were too small or what their favourite hobbies are so really they should take an interest in the work their kids do and check what the feedback teachers are giving the actual children before complaining that they themselves aren't being given feedback.

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