No appointments left for parents evening

(43 Posts)
Emochild Tue 08-Mar-16 20:18:29

School have hot a new online booking system for parents evening

Slots were available today -advice was to sit down with your child to select which teachers you wanted to see

Sat down at 4pm as soon as we were both home and discovered that out of 13 subjects/teachers there was not a single appointment available

Now I know parents evening is like a cattle market hectic but surely this will make things worse

It's a 10 form entry school and each teacher has 30 appointments -couldn't they prioritise children that they actually need to see rather than the ones that have access to computers during the day?

BackforGood Tue 08-Mar-16 20:21:03

I think you need to take that up with the school.
They need to plan in advance as well, about just how many groups in one yr group any individual teacher has.
Does seem ludicrous.

TeenAndTween Tue 08-Mar-16 20:21:47

I agree.
This is one of the reasons why DD's school decided not to go with this route.

KayJBee Tue 08-Mar-16 20:34:57

I set up and admin our parents evening booking system for a similar size school (11 form entry). This was one of the teething problems we found the 1st time we used it.
Now we open bookings for teachers 2 weeks before its open to parents so that teachers can book appointments for those that they really need to see first, before its opened to everyone else. HOWEVER, I'd say only 2 or 3 teachers actually bother doing this out of approx 80 teachers per evening.
We have 36 slots available per teacher and there's no way 13 would be fully booked on the 1st day. Even by the end of the booking period, most teachers still have some slots available. Though it may not be at a time that suits you obviously.

Feedback to the school so they can improve it for next time. We had loads of feedback 1st time round and improved things quite a bit for the next time.

Ask if you can have a telephone appointment with the teachers you can see, our teachers who get fully booked are always happy to call parents if they can not book a parents evening slot.

KayJBee Tue 08-Mar-16 20:36:57

*teachers you can't see!
Not can see!

Emochild Tue 08-Mar-16 20:46:37

They definitely had slots this morning but they have been booked -it's not even a case of not having times to suit, they literally have no times

KayJBee Tue 08-Mar-16 20:59:57

Yes, I understood your post. I was just saying what happens in our school to show that it is possible to organise such a big patents evening. It looks like your school need to rethink how it is done, what is available and when. As its obviously not worked this time.

Perhaps a longer evening or split over 2 evenings to make more slots, or shorter appointment times, or limit the number of appointments per child so that each parent maybe sees their top 8 priority teachers rather than everyone trying to see all 13. If a child is taught a subject by 2 teachers, school tell parents which teacher to see so they don't have to make appointments with both.
Or, a long shot here but maybe the system got overloaded and someone pressed the button to make all teachers unavailable for bookings while they try and sort the problem!
Give them a call tomorrow and I'm sure they will be able to sort something out for you.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Tue 08-Mar-16 22:40:14

Still agog at the thought of a 10 or 11 form entry school!

TeenAndTween Tue 08-Mar-16 22:49:57

Two Our local secondaries are this size. Works well.

They tend to run two separate 'halves' initially, so only mixing with half the other kids, and setted subjects have two set 1s, two set 2s etc. Only later in y9/10 do they mix them up more. Makes for great flexibility when it comes to options.

Enkopkaffetak Tue 08-Mar-16 23:06:48

dd3 's school uses this system but instead of having all 6 year groups they have 3 meant that I could book times 2 days before (when I suddenly had to change everything due to a change of plans on the day off ) IMO it worked great.

DS and oldest 2 dd's school operate the " student gets the times" palava means we NEVER get a time with all teachers we want to see (and in DS case means he " forgets" to get a slot with the teachers he doesn't want us to see)

Balletgirlmum Tue 08-Mar-16 23:09:24

Gosh that sounds awful.

For both my children we just turn up between X hours & queue for the teachers we want to see.

Leeds2 Tue 08-Mar-16 23:13:41

Sounds bad that you can't get any appointments at all. I would email the Head of Year explaining this, and asking that any concerns be raised to you by the subject teachers by email. Not ideal, but at least any issues should be highlighted.

Bolognese Tue 08-Mar-16 23:16:05

Lets be honest, parents evening is a complete waste of time. You get 10 minutes to talk to teachers surrounded by other parents. Seriously! are you going to discuss private issues and get to the bottom of DC's under performance in that situation?

If DC is struggling then you email and meet teacher separately, if they are doing fine then why do you need to meet teacher. Its a hang-over from years past.

traviata Tue 08-Mar-16 23:18:27

Same here. Not a single appointment available 4 hours after booking opened.

Although, I did email 2 of DS's teachers about specific issues, and got two detailed responses within 24 hours, so I conclude that's the way to go now.

10 form entry school here as well.

I think there may be an issue with the booking system being set up to default to 'see every teacher'. So the first 20 parents to log on will be offered appointments with all of their child's teachers, instead of having to pick out the particular teachers they want to see.

BackforGood Wed 09-Mar-16 00:17:02

The thing is about booking the 8 /6 /4/ however many you most want to see, statistically this is going to be the teachers in the core subjects for the vast majority of the parents. Most parents, if only seeing 4 teachers would want to see Eng., Maths, Science and then one other. It's always easy to see the PE teachers, Art teacher and so forth, whatever system the school use. They need to consider how many classes the teacher has in the one year group and ensure there are a reasonable amount of slots available. After all, if a maths teacher is teaching 3 or 4 x Yr 9 sets, then they won't have so many Yr 11s or Yr7s or whatever, so get to either miss that year's parents evening, or just do a shorter session then to compensate for the longer session at the yr group when they teach a lot of groups. Ultimately, they must teach the same number of pupils across the fortnight as the next teacher. (Excluding a subject such as music perhaps where the whole school ends up with one lesson each, but, lets be honest, a smaller % of parents are desperate to see the music teacher).

WaitrosePigeon Wed 09-Mar-16 06:35:29

Just ring up the school and book an appointment to see the teacher when it's convenient for both of you.

ohtobeanonymous Mon 14-Mar-16 11:46:11

Sounds dreadful - you can't be the only parent in that situation, either.

Maybe Bolognese is lucky in that his/her DS's school gives other meaningful feedback throughout the term. I find parents evening INVALUABLE for actually finding out how my children are doing - school sends home a letter and number for each subject once a term. That's it. No indication on whether this is good/bad/otherwise. No information on what needs improving/what's going well. Nothing.

Going to parents' evening after the first of these 'reports' I discovered that in one subject (in which I thought my DD was doing particularly poorly because it was so far below her other numbers and letters) she was actually in the top 3 students in the year group. In another subject with an apparently 'better' number and letter, she was finding it difficult to comprehend a couple of specific new concepts. The teacher of the subject in which I thought she was doing badly seemed genuinely surprised that the information in the report was so useless in conveying any measure of her ability/understanding/progress in that subject area.

anyway OP, I'd contact the school to explain you cant get any appointments and ask how they suggest you can arrange alternative times with the staff you really want to see. If enough parents are in the same boat, they may even have to put on another session.

DoctorDonnaNoble Mon 14-Mar-16 11:52:15

Growing problem in my school. We've moved from 3 form to 4 form entry. However, it's mainly teachers taking on an additional year 7 rather than another member of staff doing it. Eg, the 4 English classes are taught by 2 teachers. There are not 64 slots but all the parents want to see the English teacher. Something needs to be done.

mary21 Mon 14-Mar-16 11:56:17

Email the teachers you want to talk to with your specific queries. I always get a better response than parents evening chat

noblegiraffe Mon 14-Mar-16 14:38:47

Parents who want additional parents' evenings added to the calendar should be aware that 3 hours worth of other things would need to be removed from the calendar for each extra parents' evenings. So 3 staff meetings, or options evening or team meetings or similar. The amount of time that teachers can be directed in (have to be in school for) is limited to 1265 hours

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 14-Mar-16 16:36:25

My son's school only let you book five appointments during the first week that bookings are open, so everyone can get their important ones done, then you can add more if you want more. Seems to work.

DoctorDonnaNoble Mon 14-Mar-16 17:34:11

The solution would actually be for teachers to only have one class in each year group (or no more students over more than one class than there are appointments). It could be done in my school. However, there are various teachers who seem to avoid teaching lower school (looking at you HOD).

cricketballs Mon 14-Mar-16 17:40:24

Given there is a major staffing crisis that the DfE ignores even though numerous reports of late from independent bodies make it very clear teacher numbers are in crisis how do you propose your solution Docter can be carried out?

The comment about HoD means that your DC's school is focusing on exam classes

DoctorDonnaNoble Mon 14-Mar-16 17:48:27

It can be carried out in my school was my point! It should be possible everywhere. That it isn't is indeed an issue.

lljkk Mon 14-Mar-16 17:52:07

It's a bit free for all at DS school. DS is too disorganised to book any appointments & of course so many appts over run so people aren't in right place at specified time.

So honestly we just turn up & squeeze in where we see a gap. Works fine. Always go home early, most everyone is gone by 20 minutes to end time.

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