Do I have a legal right to see teachers at parents' evening?

(80 Posts)
spababe Tue 20-Nov-12 14:21:03

The school has a computerised booking system and DS handed me a letter late and all the slots for some teachers had gone I emailed the school but they have just said the teachers I can't get slots with will email me. I think if there are more parents requesting slots than there are slots they should stay later or put on a second evening to create more slots. I have tried phoning the head of year (twice) and she never returns my calls.

Phone the head. It's unprofessional not to return your calls.

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Nov-12 15:46:28

Well, they will email you. And set up an alternative time. You've been told that.

Why are you harassing the ht?

Storm in a tea cup.

Get a grip of ds and tell him to give you the letter when he gets it next time. Or ask learning support to set up a coping strategy for him if he has sn which mean this scenario is unlikely.

Contact the teachers you want to speak to, and make an appointment. I have no idea what you think you are going to achieve by moaning to the ht - he or she will only email the teachers concerned and remind them to get in contact with you, so you are introducing an inherent weakness and delay in the communication chain.

Legal. Hah.

radicalsubstitution Tue 20-Nov-12 16:05:09

You have a right to communication from teachers/school informing you of your child's progress. You do not have any 'right' to a consultation evening appointment.

I don't know the situation at your school. At ours, consultation evenings run from 6:00 pm until 9:30 pm. Sandwiched in between what can be two full teaching days, this is quite long enough.

Parents have a right to expect that teachers will be positive, constructive and, most of all, coherent during consultations. We are expected to be able to summarise, in five minute bursts, strengths, areas for development, current attainment, likely attainment etc, plus answering any other questions. This is hard enough to sustain after 3.5 hours, without it being added to.

In our school, teachers are asked to telephone or email parents if there are not enough slots available. Scheduling in an additional consultation evening would not be considered for a whole host of reasons.

twoterrors Tue 20-Nov-12 16:06:37

I am usually quite, erm, tough on teachers. But get a grip.

Have you ever had the last appointment at parents' evening? Wild eyed staff, maddened with exhaustion and thirst, who have been going for 12 hours, with more to come? Not that helpful always, IMO, despite impressive stamina and charisma on the part of the teachers. And plenty long enough. And there are plenty of late nights throughout the year for staff without a second one for each year group.

You'll get a much more considered view in an email, and can follow up with the teachers concerned if there are any questions. If there really is a problem with slots for core subjects for lots of children, then maybe raise it casually with whichever SMT member is lurking at parents' evening to deal with problems. If the booking system is computerised, perhaps they could email the letter with the appropriate link, rather than sending it by the notorious child mail?

radicalsubstitution Tue 20-Nov-12 16:09:27

Thank you twoterrors - your second paragraph summarised very nicely!

spababe Tue 20-Nov-12 16:12:19

So some parents can see the teachers and some cannot and you all think that is fair? They have offered to email me for the teachers I can't see but is that a 2 way discussion? No emails in the last week btw! It's only once a year for the teachers so I think they should stay late and be prepared to see all the parents that want to see them.
The home school agreement says they will update parents on progress and separately says they will be open and welcoming.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 16:13:16

Everything twoterrors said. And tell your ds to give you notes on time in future!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 16:15:14

They do stay late: they stay for hours and hours, the poor sods! I imagine they will email you after the parents evening.

Schools know not everyone wants to see every teacher: for example, I've never been to see PE or art.... So they don't create slots for each teacher to see each child, I would think.

NatashaBee Tue 20-Nov-12 16:17:34

I think it's your son you should be getting annoyed with, he was the one who gave you the letter late. I would let the teachers email you and then follow up by phone with any that mention any concerns which you want to discuss in more detail - and if you don't get a response to any of those concerns, THEN you would be justified in complaining.

fengirl1 Tue 20-Nov-12 16:19:19

'Once a year'.... for each year group, plus Open Evenings, Concerts, Award Evenings.....................

spababe Tue 20-Nov-12 16:21:02

he was one day late with the letter then they had technical problems with the booking system meaning some parents could book and others could not so not all his fault

Lots of teachers on here today wink
My comment about ringing the head was flippant, but it really annoys me how bad schools can be at communicating with parents. Failing to return a call is at best poor practice and at worst downright rude.
I also think that seeing the teacher once a year is not too much to ask. And if the poor lambs find it too tiring all in one night they should hold more than one session.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 16:44:13

Drip drip.

So the issue is really some problems with the computer system?

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Nov-12 16:47:45

If you want a 2 way discussion then you could always reply to the email from the teacher.
Or ask them to phone you?

Computerised booking sounds shit. As does a parents evening where every slot is filled. Poor teachers.

socharlotte Tue 20-Nov-12 16:50:06

I think it's your son you should be getting annoyed with, he was the one who gave you the letter late

You surely don't expect to see EVERY teacher do you? Often a teacher might teach 2 or 3 forms within the same year that could be up to 90 sets of parents!!

spababe Tue 20-Nov-12 17:08:38

Why wouldn't I expect to see every teacher?
Also if email is so fantastic why do they hold parents' evenings? Maybe the teachers could phone or email all the parents instead?? (I don't think so!)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 17:11:55

Phoning and emailing wouldnt work if you had to do it for each parent, because you'd have to give each teacher a dedicated work station with either a pc or a phone. They will usually do phone calls or emails to be helpful, though: but I assume could not sit down and ring up every parent, though one parent who has asked for and is expecting the call would be different.

Do you want to see every subject? All the arty ones and PE and everything? Ive never known anybody do that (am a parent, not a teacher).

LeeCoakley Tue 20-Nov-12 17:20:53

Legal right grin. Yeah, get a solicitor onto it. Parents' Evening would become Parents' Evening, Night and Dawn the Next Day if every parent saw every teacher. Ok, it would be nice (I suppose) to see each teacher but not logistically possible. Some of ours say don't book me unless you have a problem. They are always available to email which I think is fair enough.

ravenAK Tue 20-Nov-12 17:21:17

Teachers are contracted to do one Parents' Evening per year per year group, for a designated number of hours.

If I taught your child & he/she wasn't making progress, I would already have emailed you to make sure you had an appointment, tbh.

Computerised booking system sounds fab. I usually get kids brandishing dog-eared bits of paper at me. In fact, most recent letter from dds' school doesn't actually indicate which dd it applies to...

spababe Tue 20-Nov-12 17:39:03

The crux of the matter is not the booking system or the letters. The crux of the matter is that there are more parents requesting to see teachers than the teachers are prepared to see. I'm shocked that posters here are effectively saying 'well I've seen x sets of parents so job done' even though parents are left empty handed.
Surely teachers should be pleased parents are interested in the education of their offspring and trying to find out how to support the learning?

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Nov-12 17:43:45

Some teachers will teach 100 kids in a year group. It would be impossible to see all of them in the time allocated, and it would be unfair (and difficult given contracted hours to work) to expect those teachers to work extra evenings over those who only teach 30 in a year group.

I didn't realise that some parents are so desperate to see my face that a phone call simply wouldn't do.

balia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:56:15

I'm not sure you are coming over as massively supportive to be honest...

But concentrating on the issue at hand - if you haven't been able to see the teachers you wish to see, surely a polite letter asking for an alternative time for that teacher would be the way to go? I've seen parents on different dates to the parents evening, on another year group's parents evenings, at lunchtimes - whatever we can fit in. And if you have concerns about your DS I'm sure they will make it a priority.

If the school find, through their new system, that there are regularly more parents wanting appointments than can be managed, they may look at ways to deal with that - I know a school that closes at lunch so their parents 'evening' can run for longer. How long are the slots you get to book?

LeeCoakley Tue 20-Nov-12 17:58:30

Well, it's like this. If my child comes home and says noblegiraffe is always mean and nasty then if I have met you face to face I can either say 'I don't believe you, she's lovely' or 'Yes, I agree, she's a right witch'. grin

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Nov-12 18:06:41

I can be lovely on the phone too!

I'd have thought a phone call would be better that a parents evening slot anyway as I wouldn't be so mindful of the time. Or quite so harrassed.

I don't think there is a legal requirement to hold a parents evening with subject teachers anyway, as I think some schools have switched to tutor appointments only.

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