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To expect my dd's infant school...

(24 Posts)
Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:19:46

Not to have her miss 15 minutes of her lunchtime play so that she can read to the class teacher / shared TA?

My dd's school seem to have a problem with listening to the children read. I posted before about this and a few other problems, but as it seems she will be there for the rest of the year whilst we wait for a place elsewhere things like this are really starting to annoy me!

I just want to see AIBU or not? Is it normal practice for the class teacher to listen to the children read at lunchtime? Surely this should be done during lesson time? I feel the children need their playtime to play and relax. I know the school are struggling and can only afford to have 1 TA between 2 classes so I volunteered a month or so ago to go in and help once or twice a week (reasonably intelligent, already crb checked mummy here) and my offer was declined, so I think it's annoyed me a little more because of that!

addictedtosuckingblood Wed 14-Oct-09 10:21:48


how old is she? lunch and break times should be for relaxing, IMO the school accademic day is too long as it is.

dilemma456 Wed 14-Oct-09 10:22:43

Message withdrawn

Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:33:40

She is 5, just started year one.

Last year they had their own TA and each child read 1:1 twice a week. This year they have a shared TA and have read a grand total of 3 times in 6 weeks.

Dilemma - I know it doesn't seem like much time lost when it's only one a fortnight, but it means for that particular day she missed out on her lunch play - well at least half of it! They now only get 1/2 hour lunch play (+ 1/2 hour to eat) and 20 mins in the morning. They have already dropped the afternoon play that the reception class gets.

I definitely do not prefer they don't listen to her, surely that is one of the main things they are supposed to be doinga t this age - learnng to read and write. Some other parents and I had a word with the head about them not having done any ready and I assume that is why they have decided to do it out of class time. It annoys me because the teacher and the head turned down my offer (and other parent's offer) of volunteering out time to come into the school and assist and they said they didn'nt need help hmm

Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:34:31

Ooops terrible spelling - perhaps it is I who needs to practice reading and writing! grin

Rachmumoftwo Wed 14-Oct-09 10:36:07

It is quite normal to use a little bit of lunchtime for reading or intervention work, just not every day. Remember, the teacher is giving up their break to listen to readers. It is so hard trying to hear children read when you are the teacher.

On the other hand, if you came to my class offering to hear readers I would jump at the chance! It all helps after all. Have you tried offering to help in the other class instead?

Rachmumoftwo Wed 14-Oct-09 10:37:11

Also, pretty sure afternoon play is an entitlement not to be dropped!

gorionine Wed 14-Oct-09 10:38:01

Yanbu, even if it is just once in a while imho. During the schol hours I presume she is doing work, even if she cannot read to the TA so it is not normal to take her lunch play away. Maybe ask the teache if she could paly instead of work so she at leat gets a fair treatment and see if the teacher think iot is right! I personnaly think she will nor agree to it but will maybe understand better where you are comming from.

addictedtosuckingblood Wed 14-Oct-09 10:38:42

i really think it is unreasonable because they have turned down the offer of help, and they cant afford to get the TA's they need.

i would be complaining about this, it may only be once a forghtnight but 20 minutes to a 5 yo whos friends are all outside playing is almost an eternity. she may even end up resenting reading as she may associate it with being punnished as she's missing out on her free time IYSWIM

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 14-Oct-09 10:40:55

When I taught this age group, it really was hard to listen to children read properly, not just let them churn off a book, but actively engage with them about what they are reading, really focus on them ( without the possibility of 29 others interrupting) support, extend and help children take the next steps in reading etc. I used to listen to some children at lunchtime on a rota basis, because I wanted to be thorough. Imagine how peaceful it will be for her to read at lunchtime, how her teacher can concentrate just on her at that time etc.

It is not uncommon practice - the teacher is also prepared to give up their break to do this, so is showing a degree of commitment too.

Yes children do need their down time, but don't underestimate how lovely it can be to have 1:1 time with their teacher too.

It would however be unreasonable if she was having to give up time on a frequent basis. My biggest gripe as a parent, is when they have to give up PE/games for various reasons.

gorionine Wed 14-Oct-09 10:41:31

I toally agree with addicted, fair enough to keep a child in for a few minutes if he/she has been misbehaving but not if the school is not organised enough to teach all children during actual class hours!

Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:43:43

Yes Rach. I offered to hear dd's class read or to help in the other class (the one they share the TA with) so the TA could listen to dd's class - if that makes sense? As I know often they don't like parents helping in their own dd's class. Obviously the fact that the TA's own son is in the other class isn't a problem with the school though!

Dd isn't behind with her reading at all, they are doing this for all the children. Whilst I understand the teacher is giving up some of her break for them, what she is doing is what should be worked into class time, surely?

The HT actually told me (think Trunchball from Matilda!) that as a school they do not like having parent helpers unless for school trips.

Just one of the many reasons dd is on the waiting list for a fab school.

gorionine Wed 14-Oct-09 10:44:55

RatherBeOnThePiste, you opened my eyesto something I had not considered : the committment of the teacher. You might have a point but I still think there should be a beeter way (do not know what it could be but am working on itsmile

Op Does it only happen to your DC or do all the children do it in turns like in RatherBeOnThePiste school?

Rachmumoftwo Wed 14-Oct-09 10:47:14

The reading in itself didn't seem to bad.

I wonder why they don't want parent helpers in the school? Do they have parent governors? I would chat to one of them. Parent helpers (good ones that are crb checked and genuinely want to support the school) are a valuable resource and most schools want more!

Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:51:39

Gorionine - It happends to all the children. They appear to be kept behind on a rota'd basis taking it in turns. They are kept behind as a group of 4 I believe and they all sit and take turns to read aloud.

1:1 time is important, but for reading surely a TA or a parent listening 1:1 is just as good as a teacher? I shall speak to dd's teacher about this later today, to get the full info.

sb6699 Wed 14-Oct-09 10:58:20

I'm not sure why they wouldnt want parent helpers especially when they are so short of TA's.

My DS & DD's school actively encourage parents to get involved with the day-to-day stuff in school (reading helpers being one of the posts).

And no, I dont think they should be reading at break-time especially at such a young age.

FWIW, I have had a similar dispute where those children at my dc's school who didnt have a computer at home were expected to do their homework at break-time which I thought was utterly ridiculous.

gorionine Wed 14-Oct-09 11:01:30

In our school I have several friends who do help with the children's reading + Ds3's teacher in particular has several of her friends (retired teachers mostly) who come to do the 1:1 reading with them. I think it is fantastic and it does make a very big (positive) difference to their reading skills.

I find it strange the your Dd's schould would decide to "pass on" on such valuable help you were offering.

gorionine Wed 14-Oct-09 11:02:33

yousr Dd's school not schould!blush

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 14-Oct-09 11:05:59

Also, while I cannot stress how utterly fabulous it is to have parent helpers, the teachers still need to support and listen to children read themselves too. Using lovely parents to listen to children read is a fantastic extra, but does not replace the work done by teachers.

Whenever I have helped ( as a parent helper ) by listening to children read, there has been more emphasis on getting through a group, and all I ever did was listen to them rattle off, supporting where necessary and talking about what hey were reading. It was definitely not my place to be helping them with the mechanics of reading, or to be setting them new challenges.

BUT I would be very suspect of any school that did not want parents in to help hmm

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 14-Oct-09 11:33:00

I think the OP's DD's teacher is probably trying to do the best she can with a very packed schedule. Sometimes there aren't enough adults and isn't enough time to fit in as much reading as you can. Also, the teacher might actually want to listen to the children read and tutor them herself (as the person who has performance management targets based on the achievement of these children). It's all very well getting huffy because the school said no to parent help, but if parents are listening to the children read it doesn't really help the teacher to assess the children's reading herself. You don't know the reasons.

Moreover, giving up lunchtime to listen to children read is actually very dedicated of her - teachers' lunchtimes are supposed to be protected (something the unions fought hard for) so it's something she can't be legally asked to do. And it appears you are not even grateful and you're actually using it as a reason to think the school is not any good! hmm No it's not ideal but it sounds to me like they have chosen to do it in response to complaints from parents and with only 1 TA between the two classes there hasn't been time to do it in class.

yummyyummyyummy Wed 14-Oct-09 20:18:30

what makes you think it is 15-20 minutes play she is missing.very unlikely to devote 15 mins to 1 child .I think its probably more like 5.

MrsJamin Wed 14-Oct-09 20:24:37

YABU. Do you know how today's teachers are under huge pressure to be doing other things whilst all the children are in the classroom? It's not like the 80s primary schools where children would be pottering around reading or playing or dressing up and the teacher would be in the corner with one child at a time. The timetable is highly structured even at reception, without the time to spend with each child individually yet managing everything that happens in the room. I think it's admirable that the teacher is using her lunchtime to help your DD to read!

caen Wed 14-Oct-09 21:07:32

YABU. I'm impreseed this teacher is giving up her own lunch in order to hear children read. Having parent helpers is all very well but they don't actually consider where and how the child can improve and assess them. Listening to 30 children is an organisational nightmare but this teacher appears to be trying to do so. Most would at best ship it out to the TA. 15 minutes highly unlikely. Five at the absolute most. More likely two or three. Imagine how much spare time you get if your child has three friends over, times by that by ten and do it for 6 1/2 hours. Would you want to give up your only break during the day to ensure someone else's child is getting the best possible help with her reading?

MrsJamin Thu 15-Oct-09 08:53:10

Hear, here caen. Hando, what's your response? I don't think you have considered the fact that if the teacher could get away without listening to children read in her lunchtime, wouldn't she do so?

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