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.

ByTheWay1 Fri 30-Nov-12 16:25:33

Our school does it a bit differently - the mentor group tutor arranges to see every parent - at a time which is convenient to both him and us during the month before parents evening - and will set up meetings for any teachers who want to meet the parent or parents who want to meet specific teachers.

It was an absolute joy - if we want to we can see individual teachers, but we felt no need after a summary by the tutor.

spababe Fri 30-Nov-12 16:03:42

I did go and I did see all the teachers in the end. Some of them I didn't have appointments for but waited until they were free and no other parents seemed to be waiting and politely asked.
Despite having no 'issues' to discuss (and I really don't think parents evening should be all about problems!) I found out some interesting information about setting in Maths which explained things to me, My DC had an invitation to a closed club only for g&t in a subject, I was able to put some faces to names, teachers told me the same thing across different subjects so I know where improvements can be made. I was very conscious not to take more than my fair share of time with each teacher bearing in mind what all the teachers had written on here. The whole thing was over for parents and teachers by 6pm
Also, just to say, quite a few other parents were complaining about lack of availability of appointments.

Bunbaker Sat 24-Nov-12 13:08:31

I have just checked in DD's planner. she should get 10 minutes per hour taught so that means she should get 30 minutes maths homework a week - which is probably once a week. She found today's homework easy and did it in 15 minutes - and got it all right.

Celticlassie Sat 24-Nov-12 11:37:11

Bunbaker, Can you get her to do it a bit at a time, rather than all in one go, or is there not even enough for that? I only really give weekly homework to my first years (11 - 12yo) as I find it a lot easier to organise if I get it in on the same day every week, but I always tell them to do it early and check it over for mistakes a couple of days later to learn to pick up their own mistakes.

alreadytaken Sat 24-Nov-12 09:28:26

I have a parents evening coming up. This thread prompted me to think "must I go"........ then I discovered I'd agreed to it in the home school agreement. Oh well - I want to thank one, possibly with a bottle of wine, so I guess he'll be happy to see me.

Bunbaker Thu 22-Nov-12 12:05:51

Thanks for your comments noblegiraffe. DD doesn't get maths homework often enough - once a week if we are lucky. She doesn't do it quickly because she isn't a natural at maths. I read somewhere that children who do maths homework little and often do better than those that don't, so at the moment I ask her to do some exercises from the My Maths website. She does them under protest, so I thought I would ask the teacher to tell DD to do them instead as she is far more likely to do what the teacher says than what I say (when it comes to schoolwork anyway)

twoterrors Thu 22-Nov-12 07:58:22

Cumbrialass, "Escape Skills"?

Oh joy, oh boundless joy. Today is going to be a good day.

Perhaps they could run seminars on Escape Skills for teachers and parents at the start of every parents' evening? With a small prize, waiting at the nearest pub, for the one to implement them fastest and most unobtrusively....

Dd came home with her appointment card yesterday.

Parents evening is 4-7pm. I cannot get there til 6:20 because of work.
So I am seeing french, english, maths and science.

That's good enough for me, I can't expect 11 teachers to stay til 9pm so I can see them.

sashh Thu 22-Nov-12 05:21:11

socharlotte

I do realise that, I truly do. But there is only so much time in an evening and that is what dictates the slots, not pupil numbers.

cumbrialass Wed 21-Nov-12 21:22:57

My son was always really bad/devious when arranging appointments for parents evening, so much so that I always had the appointments with the teachers no-one else really wanted ( ie could be bothered!) to see-PE, RE, Escape Skills ( never did work out what that was!) The look of gratitude as I turned up was comical, most had been sitting there all evening with nothing to do whilst the English/maths/science teachers could hardly draw breath!
Secondary school is not primary, assume everything is fine unless your child comes home with a "You must make an appointment to see Mrs XXXX" note, then you can worry!

madwomanintheattic Wed 21-Nov-12 16:30:19

Last year ds1's parent teacher interview took an hour and a half. And the teacher cried.

True.

I'm not going this year. <that's actually half true - I've been in twice already for separately scheduled meetings and I sent dh to the parent teacher one>

I have dd1's tomorrow. I looked at the list of ten teachers, chortled a bit, then booked three. I'm all in favour of enrichment and broadening horizons and whatnot, but I'm struggling to see why I need to meet up with construction or art. <saves thread for ten years time when dd1 is world renowned artist>

I figure maths, English and science ought to be enough to show where my totally skewed priorities lie. blush I'm only going to ask for extension stuff. grin

alreadytaken Wed 21-Nov-12 12:02:59

interesting - I used to think parents evenings were a total waste of time and would have been happy for any excuse not to turn up. Then I realised that very occasionally a teacher would actually tell me something face to face that they weren't allowed to put in their written report, since that was always positive. So then I started to ask to see all the teachers.

Sometimes I also wanted to say to their teacher dc could do a lot better if they were putting some work in. You may be happy because their achievement is average but I'd like to see more expected from them. Naturally teachers always believe they spot this already, they don't.

noblegiraffe Wed 21-Nov-12 10:28:44

Bunbaker, when you say DD doesn't get enough homework do you mean she does it quickly or that you want it more often? If it's taking DD less than 20/30 mins to complete then it would be reasonable to ask for more challenging homework (simply 'more homework' is pointless because if they can do it, then doing another 20 questions is simply keeping them busy). If you want it more often then that's usually not down to the teacher as the school will probably have a homework timetable. If she does it quickly, then point this out and ask for extension problems or what DD could do herself to extend her maths independently (e.g. use the nrich website). With a top set and very bright kids, the independent stretching is a good option as sometimes you simply can't set them homework that some won't do easily while others struggle.

Re the noise, say that you appreciate that sometimes classrooms can be noisy but in this case there's a problem as your DD can't hear. Can she please move to the front and the teacher be aware that sometimes students can't hear him over the noise and deal with this appropriately.

Mathsdidi Wed 21-Nov-12 10:07:22

The last parents' evening I did I spoke to 50 sets of parents in 3 hours (it's only supposed to be 2 hours but I started early and finished late in order to fit more appointments in). That gave them an average of 3.6 minutes each and I still had 10 sets of parents who were 'disappointed' or happy not to see me. Those parents all got an email, outlining how their child is doing. The emails were probably more informative than the 3 minute meetings I had on the actual evening. That was just with 2 classes in that yeargroup so I couldn't possibly see everyone in 3 or more classes per year. I would be happy to email parents though and am always happy for the emails to be a two way communication.

Bunbaker Wed 21-Nov-12 09:52:38

radicalsubstitution I will remember your comments when I go to DD's parents evening next week. Luckily it is on a day when I am not at work and have managed to get some of the first appointments. Her maths teacher said that he didn't need to see most of the parents of pupils in her class as they are making the right kind of progress (she is in the top set - year 8).

I wanted to see him:
a) to thank him for being approachable enough that DD can ask questions if she doesn't understand anything (DD is terribly shy and won't go up to most teachers)
b) To ask him to set more homework - IMO they don't get enough
c) To discuss why the class is so noisy (DD says she misses some of what the teacher says because the other kids are talking) - not sure how to approach this

Please could any teachers on here let me know if these are reasonable topics to discuss and how to approach topic c.

noblegiraffe Wed 21-Nov-12 09:50:29

That's why a computerised booking system is rubbish. At my school the kids make appointments directly with me. If I know I have more kids than slots I can say that if you got 'excellent' on your report then please only make an appointment if your parents really want to see me (some just make appointments automatically), and make the ones whose parents I want to see make appointments before they are all gone.

If I've got fewer students than slots (e.g. If I'm teaching bottom set) then I just pass my schedule around the room for them to fill in.

socharlotte Wed 21-Nov-12 09:38:42

Sashh-In fairness to the OP if there are fewer slots than pupils, it really doesn't make any difference that he brought the letter home late.*some*body has to be disappointed

twoterrors Wed 21-Nov-12 08:37:34

OP, parents' evenings are not the best forum for explaining how the school stretches or supports different groups. Every teacher would have to repeat the same information hundreds of times a year, provoking a public health crisis as laryngitis sweeps through the nation's teachers.

If you don't feel you know enough about how the school does this - or anything else - to support, or engage with, your child's education, then do ask the school. Or ask on here first for what normal practice would be. But this information is often on schools' websites or documentation.

If you think your child is not sufficiently challenged in one or more areas, then proceed with caution - but again a five minute slot in a busy hall is not the best way to do this necessarily.

BarbecuedBillygoats Wed 21-Nov-12 08:33:24

At my dds primary school they put the slots on a white board outside the classroom.
Which is fine except my dd is taxied in by the council. And then I get a snotty message saying why haven't I booked. So I phone up and the only time they'll have is when my dss finish their school

cory Wed 21-Nov-12 08:25:26

If I had the kind of problems that means that I needed to see all 10 teachers- and tbh with dd's health problems it's not far off, then I'd ask to arrange a separate meeting with the head of learning instead.

Also, your child is now in secondary: isn't it time he took some responsibility for how he is being stretched?

sashh Wed 21-Nov-12 07:31:43

Most classes have about 30 pupils. A 15 minute slot for each child (and some parents both want to talk to the teacher but not at the same time) is 7.5 hours. SO starting at 6pm and going on until 1.30am yes that's really going to help. Would you really want a 1am appointment?

If the school is Y7-Y13 that would be 52.5 hours.

Do you really expect teachers to work another week and a half because your child didn't bring home the letter?

twoterrors Tue 20-Nov-12 23:57:48

Oops sorry for double posting and misplaced apostrophes.

twoterrors Tue 20-Nov-12 23:56:42

Do the people who are up in arms about this find these evenings that useful? If I couldn't see one or two key subject teachers, I'd be perfectly happy with an email exchange, or phone call, and if there really were problems an appointment at some convenient time. But problems don't tend to wait for the annual parents' evening anyway - aren't they more for routine comments and so that you have eyeballed some of the staff and got a sense of what is going on and of the feeling of the place? I hate it when teachers raise something important and unexpected when you know you've got 3.5 minites left, are boiling and need the loo.

I expect proper reports with detailed comments about each subject, I expect the school or teachers to respond promptly to phone calls, I expect staff to talk to each other to help resolve any issues, I expect work to be marked promptly and in detail. I am hard core.

And, forgive me teachers, after meeting 12 of you in five minute slots, I can't remember who is who. And I am sure you can't either.

Parent's evenings are something we all expect, and they have a place. But they are not the only way to communicate with the school.

twoterrors Tue 20-Nov-12 23:44:57

Do the people who are up in arms about this find these evenings that useful? If I couldn't see one or two key subject teachers, I'd be perfectly happy with an email exchange, or phone call, and if there really were problems an appointment at some convenient time. But problems don't tend to wait for the annual parents' evening anyway - aren't they more for routine comments and so that you have eyeballed some of the staff and got a sense of what is going on and of the feeling of the place? I hate it when teachers raise something important and unexpected when you know you've got 3.5 minites left, are boiling and need the loo.

I expect proper reports with detailed comments about each subject, I expect the school or teachers to respond promptly to phone calls, I expect staff to talk to each other to help resolve any issues, I expect work to be marked promptly and in detail. I am hard core.

And, forgive me teachers, after meeting 12 of you in five minute slots, I can't remember who is who. And I am sure you can't either.

Parent's evenings are something we all expect, and they have a place. But they are not the only way to communicate with the school.

EvilTwins Tue 20-Nov-12 22:41:37

I teach the whole of Yr 8. If I was to see everyone's parents it would take a ridiculous amount of time. Our parents evenings run from 4-7.30, and since I teach all year groups, that's 7 each year. I do find them useful, and yes, it's unfortunate if parents can't get an appointment but it's not the end of the world. If parents can't make it, or if they didn't get round to seeing me, then I will always try another form of communication.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now