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Some advice please on asking for help from teachers

(14 Posts)
tutorlouisa Mon 15-Apr-13 20:43:46

I am a tutor currently working with a year 7 pupil. She goes to a comprehensive school in Herts and is very far behind in certain areas from primary school. Her father is trying really hard to get help from the teachers at secondary school but he is struggling. The first subject specific parent's evening is in May! I had written a letter which she took into school asking her form tutor to give us some help finding subject worksheets from her teachers but neither I nor her father received any reply whatsoever. It is her parent's evening next month and her dad has asked me to come along, and to write a letter to each teacher asking for help.
I've read a lot of the threads on here with respect to tutoring but unfortunately, there aren't exams in secondary school for a while so practising papers alone isn't going to improve her grades in class (which is the problem, the way the marking is done in class is unknown to me therefore I cannot tutor to the standard required.)

Thank you for any advice you may have.

tethersend Mon 15-Apr-13 20:47:32

I would get her father to ask for a meeting with the head of year 7.

Just out of interest- what leads you to believe that she is very far behind?

PotteringAlong Mon 15-Apr-13 20:52:56

The work will be marked according to national curriculum levels - why can't you tutor to those standards?

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 21:45:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsShrek3 Mon 15-Apr-13 21:52:35

why are you tutoring her if you can't work with NC levels?confused

tutorlouisa Tue 16-Apr-13 12:28:43

Thank you for the advice - I am an English graduate who was brought in to help her to read and go through her vocabulary and to encourage confidence. From there she has shown a great improvement so we also work on maths, history and world issues as well as citizenship. Her levels for this time last year were 2 and 3, which improved to 3 and 4 for her exams (we did a lot of practice papers).
There are gaps in her education and unrest in her life which affects the way she processes information, and she feels swamped at school, keeps quiet and has difficulty recollecting anything in her lessons which in turn affects her homework.
The reason I asked for extra worksheets is to show where the work is heading and what the teachers will like the student to know eventually. National curriculum is vague, and doesn't help with individual teachers, schools and what order the work comes in and how each teacher sets up the questions.
She also has trouble correctly writing down the homework in her planner and her father and grandmother have called the school asking for the teachers to either write it in on her behalf, or tell the parents (not all the time, this happened on one or two occassions) and they received no response, or "check on moodle". When the information isn't there or clear, there is no one left to ask.
Her father and grandmother have been in to see the year 7 teacher and were told that year 7 is simply recapping on year 6. They have written letters, sent emails and called the school.
Her subject specific parents evening is next month, and I have been asked to come along but am not sure.

Thank you again

Cerisier Tue 16-Apr-13 12:39:18

It sounds like the girl needs more support at school. I think her parents should be contacting the LS department and asking for an assessment of her needs.

The NC is very clear on what is being worked on in Y7 (KS3) and the information is there for you to access here.

I don't think you should ask school to send worksheets home. Their worksheets are for their students to do in class/at homework. You could ask for a scheme of work though, and they might send this. It depends what the school's policy on this is.

There are plenty of KS3 books/websites/revision guides available for you to use with the girl, or you could make your own resources.

tutorlouisa Tue 16-Apr-13 13:01:31

Thank you. Heretofore I have been using a variety of resources and making my own, my sister is a qualified teacher and has also shown concern in the lack of response from the school.

Thank you for the idea about contacting learning support, and the link to the national curriculum, I do use it as a structure but the issue is really her homework and making sure she is getting the most from school.

Unfortunately this isn't happening and all discourse has been deferred until the May parents evening. To me the school is unusually difficult, but as of yet I have had no direct dealing with them. My concern is not wanting to appear a nuisance to the teaching staff by attending the parent's evening, but several times I have been through the homework with her and have checked the day's lesson in her book and it is blank or missing information. Then it takes me half the session to uncover what we have already learned, hence me asking for worksheets that are given in class but don't make their way home...!

Cerisier Tue 16-Apr-13 15:04:38

Ah I see that you meant worksheets that had been sent home for hwk already but lost.

Some ideas to help- the girl could be organised with a folder for worksheets, or she can photocopy a friend's if she loses hers or she can stick them straight in her exercise book when she is given them (requires glue/staples).

I do usually get younger students (and even older ones if they are a bit disorganised) to stick any homework sheets in their books so they are not lost. I also upload a soft copy to the school Edmodo site (so there are no excuses) plus full instructions- so parents can see what is required too.

Waiting until May to sort out problems is ridiculous. The parents should be demanding some support for their daughter and going to the HT if they don't get some action.

The tutor or HOY will be able to contact all the girl's teachers by e-mail to get an update on her progress and any issues. The LS dept should be assessing her. All this should be happening now.

I can't stress how important it is for the parents to be sorting this out. They must insist on the top quality help, and not allow themselves to be fobbed off.

As a teacher I am saddened to hear that a school is behaving like this. Shocking.

tutorlouisa Tue 16-Apr-13 21:53:50

Thank you so much. Yes as someone thinking about taking my pgce it is plain for me to see that her parents are desperately trying but don't know where to turn to (first child and new area) and are certainly not being helped to the level that I feel is acceptable, which is why I think her father has asked me to come along to the parents evening, for moral support and so he doesn't think he is going mad!

mnistooaddictive Sun 21-Apr-13 21:01:18

I think her parents need to get a proper tutor who knows what they are doing. As a professional tutor, I rarely get information from the school. I put together my own programme based on NC and assess the sudents so I know what they need to learn. You don't need to follow the schools scheme of work - probably best if you don't. I need to find the gaps in my students understanding and fill them in - often going back 3 or more years. You need to accept you are out of your depth and trying to do a job you are not qualified to do.

trinity0097 Mon 22-Apr-13 20:18:58

If her is that disorganised about keeping homework sheets, did the letter to the teacher actually get to them?

Communication like that should come from the family, the school are under no obligation to communicate/help private tutors.

bella65 Tue 23-Apr-13 23:11:20

It's not clear from your posts if you are a teacher as well as a graduate (?)

I'd guess you are not a qualified teacher who has worked in schools simply because what you have written shows you don't know how it all works.

At Yr 7 level, most children should have specialist tutors- one per subject IMO. I have taught in schools and tutored for over 25 years and I've never offered any other subject except my own- with the rare exception of teaching essay techniques to yr 10s and 11.

It's not really fair for these parents to expect you to go to parent's night. They need to make contact with the HOY and have a meeting sooner rather than later.

I liaise with schools sometimes on what I am covering and what is in a child's IEP if they are on the SN register. I'd never expect them to send work home for me to use though I do help pupils with their homework if they ask me to. I occasionally provide a report for the school if they or the parents ask for this- and it's charged at my hourly rate, as it's done in my time and is a professional service. I have had meetings with class teachers over the years but at THEIR request- not mine.

IMO- and being very honest!- most schools do not like tutors 'interfering'. If you are not a teaching professional, your opinions etc will be given short shrift at a parent's evening and may make it harder for her dad to make any headway.

It sounds from what you say as if this child may have a specific learning difficulty like dyslexia and the school needs to look at her history- there must be reports from primary schools?

I'd say your role is to support the parents but only at a distance- don't go to parent's evening !

BackforGood Tue 23-Apr-13 23:33:08

If you are being paid as a tutor, then I'm confused as to why you think her teacher should be providing work for you to do ? Surely that is your job, to provide the work you feel she needs to work on ?

My advice to the parents would be to contact the school (in my dd's school this would be the Head of Year but different schools are set up slightly differently), to explain they are very concerned that she is falling behind in a lot of subject areas, and to ask if they could have an appointment with whoever can help with this - be that the Head of Year, the SENCO, someone else, or a combination - to establish how much difficulty she is having, and if there might be some support available from within the school.

If her levels are that low, then wasn't she getting support in Primary school through the Code of Practice anyway ? Was the transition from SENCo to SENCo not done ?

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