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review day instead of parents evenings

(28 Posts)
chestnutty Fri 26-May-06 19:45:58

2 dds 2ndary school have just annonced that for years 7-9, they will have a review day where parents talk to form tutor for 15mins about the how the childs learning is going/could be improved instead of meeting with all the subject teachers.
Personally, I'm not impressed. I've found it really useful to speak to subject teachers in the past and when else are you going to meet them. Views, please.

JanH Fri 26-May-06 20:20:22

As a veteran of more than 20 secondary school parents' evenings, anything that lessens the tedium is OK by me - sounds an excellent idea!

I've always thought that we should only have to see the teachers we want to see, or the ones who want to see you. A 15-min summary from form tutor with notes from all staff should tell you what you need to know and let you let them know what you think they need to know. (At least one of ours has always been off sick or something - you never meet everybody and I don't see why you need to unless your child is having a hard time with an individual teacher? - and we've often chosen to skip a couple when the queues were too long.)

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 20:26:29

we do this and the response from the parents has been almost uniformly positive. We also have ordinary parents evenings, but it reduces the parents need to see all the teachers....whcih TBH is not always that helpful unless there is a specific issue that the parent and teacher need to discuss.

At review day these issues are highlighted and a priority appointment is made with the relevant teachers.

We also tend to see all the parents evening the uptake is more like 40-50%

The only criticsm that was made was that for year 11s the inovation came too late.

SueW Fri 26-May-06 20:30:14

It happens at at least one local school and the parents I work with - who work in a school themselves and therefore find it nigh impossible to take time off during term-time - complain every time it comes up about how dififcult it is to get an appointment at a time that suits them.

ISTR the children are all given the time off school for those days too, creating childcare problems.

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 20:33:05

It isn't possible to run it unless the kids are off school suew. I have a form of 28 children....that is 7 hours of non stop interviews, assuming that no-one over runs or is late. I can't do that and teach at the same time

JanH Fri 26-May-06 20:33:11

I was assuming each Y would have its own day, like parents' evenings, so no need for the kids to have the day off.

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 20:33:33

Outs runs from 8 until 6-7

JanH Fri 26-May-06 20:34:18

But I was wrong again

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 20:36:16

That wouldn't work. For example I am form tutor to year 7, non of whom I teach. I would have to have a day off would be left without a subject specialist. Those kids would be pulled out of some lessons, they would miss others as the taecher took their form at review day This would happen 5 times a year for most subjects....uproar from the parents. Plus we don't have the spare curriculum time.

Its not a clever teacher skive. It is an exceptionaly hard day

QE Fri 26-May-06 20:42:12

We just experienced our first "mentoring day" at dd's Upper school (year 9). At first I was sceptical as I didn't like the idea of her losing a day from school. But I think I am slowly coming round to the idea as it does seem to give more time to actually talk in depth with the form teacher. Each subject teacher has given a summary of how she is getting on too so that cuts out the need to see them Which suits me really as I hate queuing up outside 4 different teachers' doors tbh who all just repeat the same thing over and over it seems.

The head and deputy are always on hand to have a word with too if need be.

And from what I've seen as a parent it def isn't a skive off day as the teachers are there all day, not just for a couple or so hours in the evening.

kiskidee Fri 26-May-06 20:46:44

we do this for yrs 8 and 10. it is a long hard day. i find that I can spend quality time with parents and let them understand the finer points of how the school assess their kids and interpret numbers specific to their child. I would rather do this than meet mostly the good kids parents, on the whole, to take 3 mins to race thru a few details about homework, tests and classwork.

if parents want to meet specific teachers at any other time, they are always welcome to make an appt and do so.

these reviews are also a method of reducing workload for teachers - ie, give them back a couple evenings a year that they would rather spend with their families or catching up with their work.

sugarfree Fri 26-May-06 20:47:39

We have progress review day every term and parents' evening once a year.I love it.
It means things shouldn't 'slip' too far before we can do something.
Son is in Year 7 and I still really miss being able to see his teacher at the end of the day for 5 mins if I need to,progress review goes some of the way to addressing that.

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 20:49:44

what we have is feed back from the subject teachers, dicipline record, merits record, ks2/3 results from which we can roughly project what a child can be expected to accieve at the next stage. We also have subject feedback on if they are making those projected targets.

So for a child who gets a 4 at KS2 you can expect a 5 at KS3 and roughly 5 A* to C grades at GCSE. we can look and see if children are on track, and if not 'unpick' why they are not meeting their potential.

Oarents, kids and staff then make 3 targets, which will be riewed at the next review day.

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 20:50:46

it also gets around the child who 'forgets' to make an appointemnt with some teachers

SueW Fri 26-May-06 21:23:42

Interesting mb. I hadn't realised how the SATS equate up to GCSEs but of course it makes sense.

Blandmum Fri 26-May-06 21:28:43

Very roughly, not a children line up in the curve IYSWIM. But the national stats hold this up. It gives us and the parents and the child a reasonable guide. We do get kids who suddently take off and will go from a ks2 4 to a ks3 7, but they are rare.

More important it that it lets us see if the kids are going off the biol. massivly important in tears 9, 10 and 11. I had kids who were projected a-c grades who had dipped to ds and es bue to behavioral issues. they made for intereting conversations. This was the time that parents complained that we should have started the sessions sooner to help parents stop the problems.

Even a stroppy 15 year old finds it hard to argue with cold , hard facts and figues.

They can be very useful. It also helps me make a relationsip with the who;e family which helps if there are probelms later on. Easier to chat to me on the phone if we have had regular meetings over the years IYSWIM

JanH Fri 26-May-06 22:03:42

mb, are you form tutor for the same form right through school?

roisin Fri 26-May-06 22:15:22

We have mixed-aged forms. Last year we had tutor review days (2) as an experiment: it went well and will be repeated this year. Students came in with a parent/guardian/carer to discuss their reports, progress, any problems - academic or pastoral, and to set targets for their next steps. I think appointments were 30 mins each, and were available afternoon/evening too.

ellceeell Fri 26-May-06 22:48:11

We've had this for some years now. At first it was really good with personal comments from every teacher. Now there are tick boxes for level achieved - and generalised comment boxes which mean very little. And the children are supposed to set targets that will help them improve. Well, twice a year for 5 years running dd1's target has been " must contribute more in class" I much prefer the face to face subject teacher option which we get once a year.

mrsbang Sat 27-May-06 00:43:40

Our school use this review day. It seems to work well, although I have nothing to compare it with as my eldest is in yr7.

I do feel completely out of control though not being able to contact staff in secondary school as easily as I could at primary. I'm not suggesting this is a bad thing, and I wasn't constantly hounding staff at primary lol, but just wondered if other parents feel like this?

Blandmum Sat 27-May-06 08:18:04

Janh, sorry I didn't reply, but I went to bed!

Yes, that is the plan. Sometimes it doesn't work....for an example if two kids don't get on and one has to be moved out of the class, if teachers leave the school/ go on maternity leave. You don't always get to be a form tutor when they enter the sixth form, since there are fewer classes.

But the plan is that you stick with them....sensibe since you get to know them and their families.

We have a review day once a year and each child will also get a standard parents evening a year. THis works out as 4 parents evenings for us, and separate ones for the sixth form.

Parents can (and do) also make appointments to see the form tutor/director of studies. Shhing subject teachers outside of parents evening is less comon, but I have spoken to several on the phone over issues.

I can understand the feeling of 'lack of contact' that parents must have. I'll feel it myself when mine go to secondary. The thing is that in secondatry teachers work with so many kids. I only work part time and I teach around 160 kids ...and that doesn't count the 28 I am form tutor for,

Parents often seem to forget that I am also a teacher as well as a form tutor, so I can't go and look in the changing rooms for x's kit, go round all Y's teachers and get replacement books, stick with z in lessons and make ure he collects all his stuff (all of which I have been asked to do this year )

mrsbang Sat 27-May-06 08:31:41

lol, I think a lot of parent's expectations of teachers are unreal in both primary and secondary. (conversely, teachers sometimes forget that that tiny issue is a major issue to a concerned parent).

I haven't spoken to the school admin - even when my son has been sick I get through to an automated system.

I have spoken to his form tutor on review days etc, and both DH and I have spoken to the head of year about issues she's been dealing with. (cor she's intimidating!) but we've encouraged ds to deal with issues himself where possible (not always the answer I know).

Luckily we've had no major problems so far but I do wonder/worry about how accessible staff are if we do have a problem. As a parent if we have a problem we want it sorting NOW. In reality I understand through my own work that NOW isn't usually possible.

Blandmum Sat 27-May-06 08:38:12

totaly agree about the tiny issue thing. Plus if it doesn't get sorted it can get big!

We hope that by having regulr meetings it makes it easier for parents to contact the form tutor. We also phne all new parents one month in to year 7 to see if there are any issues.

mrsbang Sat 27-May-06 08:43:25

We don't get a phone call (good idea), but we do meet up with the form tutor very early on and a couple of general meetings.

Tis a big culture shock, lol. My son transferred very easily, all things considered.
However, even now, I feel I'm just not mature enough to have a child in secondary school, and I think part of that is the lack of control of every aspect of his life, lol.

notagrannyyet Sat 27-May-06 21:13:56

DS3 in Year 8 Started to have 'Mentoring Days' instead of normal parents evenings this year.A total waste of time IMO. We had a 15 min slot with the form tutor who also happens to be his maths teacher. Result we discussed is progress in maths and looked at a 'Tracker Graph' what ever that is! Found out nothing about his progress in English(he's on the SEN register for this),or any other subject because form tutor could only point to said tracker graph. So many parents complained that they had to hold a parents' evening as well. Also object to children being given a day off for this 'Mentoring'.DS3 is my 4th child through secondary school (2 more DSs to follow!) and I know secondary parents evenings can be a nightmare (for teachers as well), but only speaking to the form tutor just doesn't work

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