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Parent/teacher meetings and confidentiality

(61 Posts)
baffledgov Thu 23-May-13 22:22:10

I have NC'ed for this to avoid outing myself. My DC's state primary school (with which I'm very happy) has adopted a new policy of showing parents a graph chart of their child's progress at parent/teacher meetings. The chart is useful and clear and shows whether the child is meeting the expected progress levels in math, literacy, etc. It also shows where my DC stands in relation to the other children in the class.

So far, so good, but what makes me uncomfortable is that each chart also shows the names and progress levels of all the other children in the class. So as the teacher sits next to me and points to my DC's name, I can also easily see that little Freddie (an invented name!) is at the top of the class in terms of achievement, little Amaan is at the bottom, etc, etc.

Doesn't this breach confidentiality rules? I suspect that it does. I don't object to Amaan's parents knowing that he is at the bottom, but if I were Amaan's mum, I would be bloody annoyed knowing that every other parent in the class also knew that Amaan was at the bottom. So since I'm a governor at the school, I mentioned the issue at a governors' meeting. My concern was very quickly dismissed by the headteacher, staff and most of the other governors. I was told that the charts are wonderful, that all the the parents knowing where all the other children in the class stand academically wasn't a problem, and that parents should look at the name of their DC only and ignore the other names on the list. I think this is rubbish as all the names are on the same page and it is impossible not to see at least SOME of the other names and where they rank on the list. I was told that logistically it would be too time-consuming to create anonymous charts to show each parent (that is, charts that identified only their own DC by name).

So are they right? Should I stop worrying about this? I'm not concerned about my own DC's data being shared with other parents. It's just the principle of the thing that seems wrong to me.

Even my DH thinks I'm wrong about this. He has a competitive streak and declares (only half-jokingly) that he loves seeing how our own DS is outstripping some of the other children. hmm

evertonmint Thu 23-May-13 22:27:35

I'm with you 109%on this.

Have DS in Reception. I thought I would care where he is placed in class but actually have realised that all I care about is that he is progressing, and that we identify areas where he needs particular support. Its irrelevant how he's positioned to others as it tells me very little about his progress.

You don't need to know where your child is positioned relative to others to support them. You really really don't need to know where other kids are. It's none of your business. And some parents and kids can be smug/cruel about this sort of stuff. It really should not be shared.

Am actually very shocked that the school thinks this is ok.

evertonmint Thu 23-May-13 22:29:58

And if you want to keep it, the argument about it being too difficult to produce is daft. An anonymous chart would be easy - each line is numbered, teacher has list of which child is which number, tells the parents which number is their child. Anonymity preserved, only one chart needed

evertonmint Thu 23-May-13 22:30:55

And I have no idea why that says 109% rather than 100% - I sound like an apprentice candidate smile

QOD Thu 23-May-13 22:31:00

They're being lazy surely? My dd primary did this but it was dd, national average line and her CLASS average line. It's a computer program, I'm sure they can do it like that
I'd be pissed off too, that's private

baffledgov Thu 23-May-13 22:32:44

Thanks, everton. I feel the same! I was expecting the HT and chair of govs to agree with me, so I'm rather taken aback, and I'm not sure what to do next at this point. I honestly thought that my DC's teacher had made a mistake by showing us the data for all the children in the class, and now I've been told that that's official policy.

Even if you think it's good to know where your own DC ranks in the class (a notion that I, like you, don't agree with), I don't see why you need to see the PERSONAL NAMES of all the children. Why can't you be told that your DC is 7th of 30 or whatever, without seeing all the names in one long list? The more I think about it, the more pissed off I become.

baffledgov Thu 23-May-13 22:35:33

QOD, I think it's laziness too. If the teachers don't have time to do it, surely admin staff could be paid to do it?

Yellowtip Thu 23-May-13 22:36:14

The naming of children is absolutely out of order and the HT is absolutely wrong in condoning this info being put in front of other parents.

piprabbit Thu 23-May-13 22:36:35

If they don't have the time or money to produce individual charts, they should stop using them and find another way of explaining to parents how their children are progressing. Simple.

Manchesterhistorygirl Thu 23-May-13 22:37:11

I wouldn't want the other parents knowing where my son was in relation to others. I want to know how he is progressing, not the others. There is one parent who would take great delight in broadcasting their offsprings relative place and have no problem slagging other kids off too.

piprabbit Thu 23-May-13 22:37:17

evertonmint's solution is genius.

baffledgov Thu 23-May-13 22:37:52

everton, I read your message too quickly - have just realised what you mean by the number idea. That's brilliant and I'm going to suggest that to the school.

MissyMooandherBeaverofSteel Thu 23-May-13 22:38:26

I agree, its helpful to know how your child is doing in relation to whats expected of them, its not helpful to know how they are doing in relation to the rest of the class. My ds would be at the bottom of the chart but thats no reflection of how hard he works (he is dyslexic so works twice as hard to get half as far) and I wouldn't be happy with other parents seeing that.

I agree 103% grin

Yellowtip Thu 23-May-13 22:38:29

I would challenge the HT by e-mail and copy your mail to your fellow governors. Ask for responses by reply all. Let everyone share the reasoning.

baffledgov Thu 23-May-13 22:39:31

Exactly, Manchester. Most of the parents at our school are decent types, but you're always going to get the odd nasty person who is going to misuse the info.

Theimpossiblegirl Thu 23-May-13 22:40:16

We use these charts but they are for our eyes only. We write down the children's levels, sub-levels progress made so far, age related expectation and whether they are on target to make their expected progress. It is wrong and lazy to show other children's levels.

evertonmint Thu 23-May-13 22:42:10

Oooh I've never had a genius, brilliant idea before <heads to bed happy> grin

baffledgov Thu 23-May-13 22:42:29

Yellowtip, I think I'll do exactly that.

Agreed, Theimpossible, I have no problem with teachers sharing the info among themselves; it's sharing it with other parents that's wrong.

Yellowtip Thu 23-May-13 22:42:47

baffledgov I can't imagine there's a school in the country which doesn't have a pushy parent amongst its number. This is very bad practice indeed.

mydadsdaughter Thu 23-May-13 22:43:31

I'd be unhappy with this too, the only people who need to know this info is the parent and teacher, I am sensitive to things like this though, I heard a teacher the other day refer to a group of children as 'lowers' and had to bite my tongue, she didn't mean any harm (she is an excellent teacher) but its such a negative term

tabulahrasa Thu 23-May-13 22:44:05

It's fine if your child is average or above - but DS has SENs and I would be contacting the LEA if that were his information being made available for other parents to look at his parents' evening.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Thu 23-May-13 22:44:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

piprabbit Thu 23-May-13 22:45:42

It's not fine if your child is average or above. My DD is above average but I really don't want her subject to playground gossip either.

Yellowtip Thu 23-May-13 22:45:45

I don't have a particular issue with knowing where my DC are in relation to their cohort - though depending on the school, that info is fairly random. Knowing the id of other kids is so completely beyond the pale that I'm stunned that any school would do it.

Good to hear you're e-mailing smile

tabulahrasa Thu 23-May-13 22:49:29

I didn't mean it's fine as in ok to do...I meant, hmm, it's not so sensitive information?

What I meant was, I'd not be happy if it was DD's class, I'd be absolutely furious if it was DS's.

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