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To make a complaint to the school

(41 Posts)
Eloise1205 Sat 11-Nov-17 12:05:47

I feel this will be fairly long so bare with me! My son's school holds three "parent consultations" in a year, they are roughly 15 minutes and resemble speed dating in that unlike a traditional parents evening not much ground is covered.

I arrived to my parents consultation and the teacher began to tell me my child was not doing very well and severely behind in school. Examples given were his letter formations were struggling and his punctuation was "all over the place" (he is in year 2 for reference. His homework is handed in every week and always followed by well done, I can honestly say I'm clueless has to what level a 6 year old should be working at as I do not have friends with children and the school have never expressed concern with me. The teacher proceeded to pull out 5/6 other books and show me what an expected child's work looks like, this was then followed by him pointing at my sons work chuckling and making a remark of "this is ineligible". He then told me with consistent hard work my child can finish the academic year below average. I asked if I should get a tutor and was told that this was unnecessary as the school provided him all the help he needs. When asked about future plans there was nothing he could offer me but to tell me that an educational psychologist happened to be in that day and could he have permission to observe my child, I agreed.

I have been fuming all week that the school didn't deem it appropriate to contact me in regards to my sons progress prior to this. I am also shocked that they allocated me the same slot system when clearly there is a lot of intervention needed. I am confused as to why there is no plan in place to help my child. I also feel as if the teacher thinks my child is not going to get any better or improve.

My child isn't badly behaved and doesn't get told off often, he does however lack concentration in class (when I approached my son he said this was due to not understanding the task). Homework time has been getting increasingly difficult at home as he often gets frustrated at the tasks and starts crying.

What would you do in this situation? Would I be unreasonable to move his schools? Am I being sensitive?

Pengggwn Sat 11-Nov-17 12:08:45

I think it would be a massive overreaction to move schools. The parent evening is so they can communicate with you about your child's progress. Yes, it would be great if you could have that information earlier, but many teachers at this point in the year are still assessing/gathering evidence. The consultation is set during the first term so you can be informed in reasonable time.

Work on his concentration. He will tell you he isn't concentrating because he doesn't understand, but realistically, if he doesn't concentrate, how likely is it he was listening to begin with?

GU24Mum Sat 11-Nov-17 12:15:02

It sounds as though they definitely could (and should) have handled this better without it coming out of the blue.
I suspect that "well done" on the homework probably means "thank you doing your homework" rather than "you've done it well" and that it isn't read particularly forensically.
Agree with the PP that just to move schools without talking to them isn't the best option. Make an appt to see the teacher/Senco and work out what they are doing, what you can do to help and how they are going to track/monitor what's going on. The school may be able t offer great help despite being a bit rubbish about the way they told you so I'd explore this before you make any quick decisions.

coddiwomple Sat 11-Nov-17 12:15:27

It's only November, they only had 2 months so far, so I wouldn't be too upset against the current teacher.

I would try to get another appointment, with more time, to discuss things further. If your child needs more help, then it's perfectly reasonable to get a plan together to help him.

If I couldn't find more advice from the teacher, then I would request a meeting with the head. If nothing else, you should have been informed of the issues at the end of last year, but if he has a new teacher this year, you cannot really blame them.

My local "facebook mums groups" are full of local help and advice. The admin even post anonymously for parents who wish to stay private.

Nothing sounds dramatic so far, you are willing to find ways to help your child progress, asking for help and advice is the best thing you can do, good luck!

CountryGirl1985 Sat 11-Nov-17 12:15:46

Firstly OP sorry about your experience, it must have been an awful shock if you've not had any communication about this before. I think if it were me I would ask to make an appointment with his teacher to clarify things and make it clear that you would like some suggestions on how best to help him. Teaching is the cooperation between you and the school so they need to give you things to help. I would also make it clear that he is finding it hard to deal with homework too, and you would like to make sure he is fully understanding what's being asked as he has told you that sometimes he doesn't and then gets frustrated. I would also see what pastoral support is available to him, whether there's any buddy systems to help him and I would definitely want feedback from the educational psychologist. I know it's really, really hard and you're trying to do your best for him, deep breaths and let him know you're tackling it together x good luck!

Eloise1205 Sat 11-Nov-17 12:23:26

Thank you for the replies! I guess I am shocked as the last parents consultation (last week of year 1) I was told he was doing well, was an enthusiastic learner and one of the best listeners in the class. The current teacher has basically said the opposite and the difference between my child's work and the books he showed me were significant. I am welcome to providing and getting help with anything my son needs but feel as if the school hasn't provided any provisions in doing so. I also am aware that educational psychologists don't just pop in to schools so this must have been pre planned, leading me to believe they are withholding more information.

Thymeout Sat 11-Nov-17 12:27:38

I think I would be more annoyed with his Yr 1 teacher, if this has not been mentioned to you before. The Yr 2 teacher has only taught him for half a term, and it's good that he has put him on the list for the Ed Psych.

But definitely push for a meeting to discuss the Ed Psych's findings and what extra help will be put in place to address your ds' needs. I think this will be happening anyway. This teacher seems to be more on the ball than last year's.

KathArtic Sat 11-Nov-17 12:34:31

Do you think this is right? What is your instinct? I had something similar with my DD in Y5. I was shocked as nothing had been said before and was out of character. I went home in tears.

DD is an average achiever, well behaved and polite and I knew she wasn't as behind as the bitch teacher had made out. I asked to see the teacher a few days later and like you asked what I could at home, which books I could purchase etc. The teacher was very casual about it - cba to get resources or find anything useful.

I knew this teacher had a reputation for having a handful of favourites which were usually the high achievers or ones with 'personality' and my DD wasn't one of them.

In the end I said I was delighted she had identified some problems with my DD and I looked forward to her dealing with this using all her time, training and experience . Basically I left it to her to deal with. DD left school with great results.

Pengggwn Sat 11-Nov-17 12:36:14

Teachers don't make up issues like this, although they do - sorry to say - sometimes miss them. It seems more likely this teacher has picked up the problem.

BarbarianMum Sat 11-Nov-17 12:38:49

Educational psychologists don't just pop into schools no, but they generally observe/assess several children in one go, so they may just wish to add your ds to an existing list.

Mittens1969 Sat 11-Nov-17 12:39:34

I agree with Thymeout, OP, the fault is really with the year 1 teacher, who didn’t tell you that your DS was behind. At least this teacher is bringing this to your attention now.

I do recall that it was in year 2 that my DD1’s difficulties became apparent, in her case because she struggled with working independently, needed adult 1:1 supervision. That’s really improved since then because of the work that the school has put in to helping her. (She’s in year 4 now.)

I would be encouraged that he’s on the ball and ask if you can meet with the ed psych to talk about ways you can help your DS at home.

KeepServingTheDrinks Sat 11-Nov-17 12:39:53

I totally understand why this has come as a massive shock to you. It must feel awful, so flowers to you for that. Especially as previously you had been told he's doing really well.

If they're talking Ed Psych (which is expensive) then it sounds like they're thinking of things to put in place to support your DS. So this is a good thing.

I would arrange a mtg with the SENCO and ask what their concerns are and what they think can be done to support your DS. It might be that they also think that extra reading/writing practice at home might be useful.
You can certainly ask at that meeting why this has come now with no hints previously, but you may not get a satisfactory answer. It MIGHT be that the previous teacher was crap or afraid to speak to you directly. Or it might be that your DS was fine last year but is struggling now the work's got harder. Try (if you can) to meet the SENCO with a questioning attitude and in an atmosphere to support your DS rather than blame or anger.

Anasnake Sat 11-Nov-17 12:41:29

Sounds like the new teacher is on the ball and has picked this up - it's only November so he's picked it up fairly quickly. Ask for him to be assessed by the senco and proceed from there.

BarbarianMum Sat 11-Nov-17 12:43:06

Also (sorry) are you sure Y2 teacher was saying "the opposite " to Y1? You can be an enthusiastic learner and a good listener and still have problems in other areas. Please don't overlook his strengths just because he also has weaknesses.

Mittens1969 Sat 11-Nov-17 12:48:13

Also (sorry) are you sure Y2 teacher was saying "the opposite " to Y1? You can be an enthusiastic learner and a good listener and still have problems in other areas. Please don't overlook his strengths just because he also has weaknesses.

This is very true; he’s probably still an enthusiastic learner and good listener, but just finds some things hard.

dontbesillyhenry Sat 11-Nov-17 12:53:30

I had almost the exact same when my Dd was in year two. We just discussed ways of her to communicate her not understanding and I also discussed with head of year how we could support this at home. The gist was my dd felt this teacher was too strict to be able to ask if she was struggling. She is year 8 now and doing excellent

Helpmeltb Sat 11-Nov-17 12:57:32

I believe there's also a bit of a jump up in level in year 2. It's possible that he's not been as quick as some to make that change. There does seem to be more onus on the kids to listen better and concentrate more/for longer periods.

I had similar this year with dd1 going from yr5 to yr6. A lot of it down to her panicking in tests at the start of the year, being put in bottom set and becoming demotivated. Mentioning her worry about tests (she panics about the time limit so doesn't read things properly and makes silly mistakes) and the effect it's had, gave the teacher a bit of insight into dd and since then she's moved up a set and is now doing the extra challenge work.

ppeatfruit Sat 11-Nov-17 13:19:03

This is not a problem as such, it is developmental IME, many 6yr olds are still LEARNING to read and write fgs (we all develop at different ages) . In fact there are many European countries which don't START formal work till age 6 and after.

That Yr 2 teacher should be well aware of that.

ppeatfruit Sat 11-Nov-17 13:22:22

The english education system is ridiculous now, it's putting off later developers. It's not fair on the 'average' and below average children. They will get there at their own speed when they are READY.

Nanny0gg Sat 11-Nov-17 13:24:10

I would be questioning why the Ed Psych, as appointments with them are rarer than hen's teeth.

So what is the teacher thinking is going on?

And what you were told at Parent's evening should never be a huge shock. You should have had some form of concern shown before.

ppeatfruit Sat 11-Nov-17 13:28:27

The Ed Psych. for a 6 year old !!!!!! Its mad. He's still LEARNING nanny The Ed Psych. would be justifiably annoyed to be given a 6 yr old LEARNER !!!!!!!

TheHungryDonkey Sat 11-Nov-17 13:39:59

Dear Lord don’t over react about the ed psych. It’s really positive they’ve been asked to observe. It means the school are on the ball. Ed psychs aren’t wheeled in for no reason.

The teacher was very blunt at parents evening. But I’m the opposite. I prefer teaching staff to be utterly blunt about problems, not try to gloss over them with a shit sandwich.

Don’t complain too much, ask for a longer meeting with the Senco. Yes I think six is really young. But it’s also about year 2 that additional needs can be picked up.

Apple23 Sat 11-Nov-17 13:40:17

What would you do in this situation?
Make an appointment to meet with the teacher and SENCo and discuss your questions and what your child has said about concentration. Ask about the Educational Psychology assessment, what is being put in place in the meantime? Also check whether the work you were shown was the standard expected at this point of the year or the end of the year?

If the issue is concentration and your child not understanding the task, then check hearing and eye-sight as he might be missing parts of what is said. Also, practise with him listening to and then repeating back and carrying out (different skills) more than one instruction; he might only be processing the first or last thing said and be filling in the gaps for himself.

Would I be unreasonable to move his schools?
Probably the worst thing you could do in terms of your child's learning at present. By the time he's settled into a new school and they've got a good handle on his needs, he'll have lost at least another half-term's learning. Are you going to move him again at that point?

If, having identified he needs some help at this stage (which does not mean he will be behind expected levels forever), no enough is being done to support him and this cannot be resolved, then that is the point you should consider moving him.

Am I being sensitive?
Yes, but not unreasonably. You've had a shock, now you need to move forward and work with the school, their job is the same as yours: to help your child achieve the best he can.

Oblomov17 Sat 11-Nov-17 13:54:51

This has been poorly handled. Nothing said at parents evening should be a shock. If it is, then there’s a Bigger issue, and they should have called you in before.

But if they are talking EP then something serious is going on, they have concerns. Because each school only gets a certain EP allowance and a certain number of EP visits, and many parents who suspect SN are begging literally for an EP appointment, but refused and fobbed off. So, if they are suggesting it, take heed of that.

Send an email, so it’s in writing, Asking for an appointment with teacher and senco together. ASAP. Might be best not to go alone, so take Dh or your mum?

Hope you get somewhere after said appointment.

ppeatfruit Sat 11-Nov-17 13:58:41

Yes Apple When he's ready to do so. He is still only 6 he'll get there without all this fuss and if he's still having problems when he's in yr 3 or 4 then get him checked out.

It;s like expecting a 6 month old to walk and wondering why he isn;t and taking him to a specialist, it's crazy.

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