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to school would benefit from building a good relationship with parents and that support should go both ways?

(73 Posts)
Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 11:18:43

Having some issues with my daughter's high school - she started in September

I'll admit that I didn't really want her to go to this school, I didn't like it when we looked round, but we didn't get our 1st choice and DD herself was desperate to go there as her entire year 6 class went there

On Friday morning DD managed to completely knacker one of her school shoes, she caught her foot under a chest of drawers in our living room and tripped, pulling the sole of her shoe clean off. This was at 8am, just as she's on the way out of the door. There was absolutely nothing we could do, so I dug out a pair of plain black flat ankle boots and sent her in with a note.

She arrived home following an after school club at 5pm on Friday and informed me that she had spent the day being taught in isolation in the LSU due to the non-uniform footwear - being taught in isolation seems to consist of being left unsupervised to read her library book

This isn't the first issue, she was given an after school detention as she hadn't handed some homework in, given in the morning for the same day and I wasn't informed - I don't have an issue with the detention, but I had expected a phone call or something to let me know that my child was being detained at school. Following the non-handing in of homework, I tried to talk to school, work out ways I could ensure homework was being done - could they email me the homework - it's actually supposed to be posted up on DD's school "Cloud" so parents can track it but it never is, could someone check she is writing her homework in her planner, if she doesn't write it in, I can't check it's being done, could I call up the learning mentors once a week and get details of homework, etc, etc. all refused.

And also, a few weeks ago I got a horrible letter due to lateness - she was given an unauthorised absence mark for being 10 minutes late for school - fine, except there were exceptional circumstances - she uses a short cut to walk to school and the foot path she uses was closed off due to a burst pipe, she didn't know it was closed until she got there, so she had to walk the long way round which meant she missed registration. Half the school, including staff were affected by it so clearly not someone chancing their arm because they got up late

So I called school for a chat where I was told that I was an unsupportive parent and told continually ignoring uniform policy could result in suspension. I tried to point out that sometimes, with the best will in the world 'stuff' happens, but no, I am an unsupportive parent.

I try my best, I follow uniform policy, I support the school, I don't take DD out for holidays, I encourage good attendance, I encourage homework and support punishments, but I am human and sometimes things go wrong, is it really that unreasonable to expect school to be a bit understanding, supportive and accepting when things do go tits up?

I just want them to talk to me, let me know if DD is in trouble and work together to support her

WorraLiberty Tue 04-Feb-14 11:25:16

I'm sorry but you do sound unsupportive.

The isolation thing for the shoes is pretty normal in most schools...otherwise you get kids wearing Nike trainers etc with an excuse note they've twisted their parent's arm for.

This is the reason I keep super glue in the cupboard.

As for the homework, are you serious that you want someone to check your DD is writing it in her planner?? Or you expect someone to email it to you? Why? This is your DD's responsibility.

She got a late mark for being late. OK it was unavoidable but it's not the end of the world and I'm sure she'll learn to leave earlier in case it happens again.

mrsjay Tue 04-Feb-14 11:31:46

your dd school sounds like most schools really and it can be frustrating but those are the rules, sadly some kids will suffer , do you really want somebody to check her homework planner she is 12 and at high school,

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 11:32:32

Her teachers are supposed to post her homework up on her Cloud, they aren't doing this. I want to support her homework, but if I don't know what her homework is, I can't. Checking her planner was 1 of the suggestions I made so I can support her

And no, I couldn't find any superglue and the glue I did have wasn't strong enough, the ankle boots was the best I could do

WorraLiberty Tue 04-Feb-14 11:35:49

Your DD needs to write down her homework.

You should be pleased she's being given detentions because that's how she'll learn.

If the school molly coddled her by making someone stand over her, or if they accepted your hair brained idea of allowing you to call up the learning mentors once a week and get details of on earth do you think she'd learn to be independent? confused

mrsjay Tue 04-Feb-14 11:38:47

My dd got a parental warning slip home because I sent her to school with the wrong shoes her boots split the night before it is so annoying but what can the school do if they have a uniform policy although it is winter i dont see what is wrong with boots to school . do they upload all homework to the cloud ?

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 04-Feb-14 11:44:21

I think it sounds like an uncaring school & I'd want my ds out if there pronto

cory Tue 04-Feb-14 11:45:47

The thing about secondary is that children start taking responsibility for themselves. In order to do this, they need to see that they get into trouble if they don't pay attention to e.g. homework being handed out, that it isn't mummy's job to stand between them and the consequences. This is an important part of growing up: realising that the homework fairy won't be there to check that stuff gets written down into a homework planner.

I have a 13yo who for the best part of Yr 7 and 8 was away with the fairies half the time. The way I saw it, what he needed was to stop being away with the fairies, not for somebody else to do his work whilst he was in fairyland. And if punishment was the only way that was going to happen, then punishment was what he needed.

"I want to support her homework, but if I don't know what her homework is, I can't."

The most supportive thing you can do is to teach her that things will become very unpleasant for her if she does not do her part of the job- which is paying attention when the homework is handed out. This is as important a part of learning, if not more so, than the actual maths or geography.

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 11:48:59

It is school policy that all homework should be uploaded on to their Clouds. In September each pupil was issued with a tablet with Cloud software. The teachers are supposed to upload the homework, and the kids then submit it to their teachers via their clouds.

None of DD's teachers are uploading it

I have no issue with the detentions, if she behaves in a way that earns her a detention then she has to suck it up, they can detention the life out of her if they want. I've never complained about the actual detention, just that I'd like to know where my child is when she is detained at school for up to an hour

brokenpurpleheart Tue 04-Feb-14 11:51:00

Just a point, if homework was set in the morning to be handed in that day then it is. It homework are you sure that this was the case, as I have never heard of this anywhere before .... Did she have the same lesson twice in the day? Did she not do it for the lesson and was told that she needed it by the end of the day?

I suggest you meet with her form tutor or year head and ask for her to be put on a homework monitor as she is struggling with her organisation and you want to iron it out. I think you are being unsupportive when most schools will have the same policies. It is standard for pupils with incorrect uniform to be in isolation. It is law to get a late mark for being later most schools will give a detention for missing homework ....

cory Tue 04-Feb-14 11:53:55

If she is detained for up to an hour without warning, then that is bad: same day detentions should only be for up to 20 minutes.

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 11:59:21

broken, the homework wasn't set in the morning, the detention was - she was given an after school detention in her 1st lesson, for later that same day. My issue being that I wasn't told that she was being detained at school for an hour. They can give her all the detentions they like, but at the time, if was her first detention, she didn't really know the ropes so assumed they would contact me and she doesn't take her mobile to school

There had been no indication that homework was an issue, she does some homework, but clearly not all of it.

I've asked for some kind of homework monitoring, but it's been refused

WorraLiberty Tue 04-Feb-14 12:08:21

You should have been told about the detention in advance. I would complain about that if I were you.

Clearly the other kids are managing their homework without the cloud, so perhaps your DD can ask them how they manage?

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 12:11:21

The thing is, I am being told I am unsupportive when I have actually asked for their support and I'm getting nothing back

I am unsupportive because I do not ensure my daughter is on time every day, when in fact she has been late once through something completely out of her control and affected 50% of the school! including their staff.

I am unsupportive because I do not enforce uniform policy. Again, once due to an accident. I sent her in in sensible plain black, flat heeled boots, not Uggs, or trainers, or high heeled shoes

I am unsupportive because I don't follow homework policy. There had been no indication that homework was an issue until the detention came up, when I asked for some monitoring for her or something but it's been refused. Her teachers aren't following their own policy either

She's really struggled with the transition to high school and needs something, I'm not asking them to micro manage her schooling, just to talk to me so we can work together

StanleyLambchop Tue 04-Feb-14 12:13:41

She got a late mark for being late. OK it was unavoidable but it's not the end of the world and I'm sure she'll learn to leave earlier in case it happens again.

Sorry Worra but I think that comment is a little unfair. Most people time their journeys and leave enough time to got there, but sometimes unexpected things happen, as on this occasion. If you start leaving earlier on the off chance that something unexpected might happen, you could end up leaving 5.30 in the morning, and getting to school so early you can't get in!!! In situations such as the OP describes (other pupils/staff late for the same reasons) then I think the school WBU and some flexibility could have been afforded.

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 12:14:41

From talking to her friends' parents, they're all struggling with the homework issue, they all seem to be in weekly after school detentions.

I did complain about the after school detention at the time and was told it's not school policy to inform parents. DD now knows that if it happens again, she is to go to the IT room at break and email me, but at the time it was all very new and it simply didn't occur to her

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 12:35:34

Stanley. Yes, I agree, I do think they school could have been a bit more flexible with regards to the unauthorised absence in this case but it was the letter threatening me with the EWO with a view to imposing a fine I received that I objected to.

mrsjay Tue 04-Feb-14 12:35:40

none of DD's teachers are uploading it

ah right ok well that is not right and i would be looking into that more

FryOneFatManic Tue 04-Feb-14 12:40:26

This school sounds crap.

They are not following their own homework policy, and then punishing pupils.

And not informing parents of a detention, especially one after school on the same day, is also crap.

What if that child is on a contract bus? And has to miss it because of the detention? How are they supposed to get home if parents are not informed?

And telling a parent that "continually ignoring uniform policy" for a first time offence, is also crap.

WorraLiberty Tue 04-Feb-14 12:48:28

It's not just crap, it's very odd.

Scholes34 Tue 04-Feb-14 12:49:46

The school appears to be contradicting itself and not following its own policies. If this is the case, you should follow it up with your DD's tutor or head of year but you should get your facts clear first to put yourself in a strong position when speaking to the school. You don't want to go in without a full understanding of the situation from your DD. How often has she been late? Is her school skirt actually on the short side? Are her trousers more like skinny jeans than proper school trousers?

Our school offers homework sessions, encouraging students who find it difficult to keep up with homework to attend and giving them support from teachers to get the homework done, handed in on time and keeping ahead of the game in lessons, rather than issuing detentions. this has been very successful.

teenagetantrums Tue 04-Feb-14 12:53:22

The shoes thing i think they should have let it go for one day, i hated this uniform thing when my DD was at high school, her shoes broke i could not go and and just buy a pair, no money until the next week, it doesn't matter what type of black shoes they are wearing, black is black. I was so cross when i went up to talk to them,sat in reception and watched child after child walk past in black trainers, because i had sent in a note the teachers noticed and sent her home, and so she missed 5 days of school until i could get her new shoes.

My DD is at college now and no uniform and guess what she can still learn with no uniform on. Things happen the school should be more accommodating. Sound like you need to go in and have a chat to her form teacher about your issues.

Songofsixpence Tue 04-Feb-14 12:54:25

To be honest, for a first time uniform offence, I'd have expected her to get a warning and a bit of understanding that sometimes shit happens, if she broke the rules a second time then move on to isolation/sending home/suspension. They weren't bright pink trainers, they were still within the flat, plain black guidelines

And checking her planner was just one of the suggestions I made, after everything else had been rebuffed, when I was talking to her form tutor about her lack of homework and how they/I can support her. Teachers and parents are supposed to sign the planner each week anyway. I want to support them, but I don't have a crystal ball.

CouthyMow Tue 04-Feb-14 12:58:21

I still think being put in isolation over school shoes is fucking ridiculous - if one of my DC's has an issue with their school shoes, I have to wait for my next payment of Child Benefit to be able to afford a new pair for them. Which could mean up to 3 1/2 WEEKS in isolation simply for not having the correct school shoes.

I can't see that what a DC is wearing on their feet is able to affect their ability to learn, and it is often NOT that a parent is 'unsupportive' of the school, but a sheer lack of funds, when smart black shoes in a size 6+ can easily cost £40+ if your DC has wide feet, and doesn't fit into a cheapo £15 pair.

I always replace uniform items at the first financially possible opportunity, but I resent the accusation that I am an 'unsupportive parent' if that doesn't happen overnight.

And there will ALWAYS be unavoidable incidents such as the burst water main. How many people can anticipate a traffic jam due to, say, a car accident, on their journey to work, if there are not normally traffic jams on their route? What is the difference when a water main bursts, causing e DC to have a longer journey to school?!

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Tue 04-Feb-14 13:02:42

I'd be inclined to contact them and ask specifically what they would like a "supportive parent" to do when a child rips the sole off a shoe on her way out of the house?

Because apparently wearing non-uniform shoes for the first time ever is bad. Fixing shoes or buying new ones and arriving late for the second time ever is bad. I assume that taking a day's unauthorised absence rather than sully their hallowed grounds in the wrong footwear would also be frowned upon.

Are they actually telling you that there are no circumstances under which a child who has a footwear malfunction would actually be taught anything all day? And if so then WTF is the point of the unauthorised absence policy under which we are all told that missing a single day's schooling will irreparably scar our children for life?

Alternatively I would write a letter to the person you spoke to every time the homework isn't posted on the "Cloud":

Dear Ms/Mr X,

As you will be aware, school policy [quote details] is that homework assignments should be posted to the school Cloud so that it can be tracked.

DD tells me that she was given [such-and-such a piece of homework] by [teacher] on [date], but I am unable to find it on the Cloud.

I'm sure that this is a simple oversight and not a systematic neglect of school policy but would be grateful if you could investigate what has happened and get back to me, as I am keen to be a supportive parent.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs S Sixpence

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