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What would make your school better?

(76 Posts)
whendidyoulast Sun 26-Jan-14 12:18:43

I am a teacher but this is purely for interest. Your suggestions have to be realistic simple things that don't involve millions of pounds or hours e.g. do you think more frequent contact about progress via email or meetings about how you can support your child in specific subjects would be useful? Parents online chat?

TalkinPeace Sun 26-Jan-14 12:44:23

a return to LA control and transparency about SLT decision making and self awarded pay rises at the expense of teaching staff

SundayCoffeeBreak Sun 26-Jan-14 12:52:48

whendidyoulast, you've already mentioned 2 of the things that would make my DCs (primary) school better ... email and parents' online chat.

Neither of those things will happen until we have a new Head though, as the current Head doesn't embrace modern communication. The teachers have email addresses, but they're not given out. You can email the school via the office, and it does get passed on to the Head, and sometimes she acts on it, but you never get a reply or acknowledgement. Instead, she stands at the school gate a couple of mornings a week to make herself 'available' to parents who want a word, but lots of parents are too intimidated to approach her in that setting.

If you want to chat to your child's class teacher you need to catch them at the end of the day at pick-up time (if they're not already monopolised by other parents, and assuming you don't want privacy). Of course you can make an appointment to see a teacher if its something major, but that's not always convenient to do (again its at the end of the day usually, so you'd need childcare cover).

Email communication would be much more convenient, and better for those people who find it hard to articulate things, and easier to write them down; perhaps because they have something awkward to say and want to phrase it carefully, or because they have English as their second language and need help with interpretation. It would also help those who work and have nannies/childminders to cover the school run.

The parents' online chat is another area that would help those who sometimes feel 'excluded' at the school gate ... non-native English speakers, working parents, those who are just a little shy, or people like me who have a hearing problem and find it difficult to join in group-chat in noisy environments.

Somebody did once suggest a parents' Facebook group, but the idea was well and truly squashed by both the PTA (who thought it might 'replace' their social activities, or exclude people who didn't have a Facebook account) and the Headteacher (who was worried she would need to moderate it). In my view it would promote inclusion.

whendidyoulast Sun 26-Jan-14 13:03:13

That's interesting Sunday. In my capacity as both teacher and parent I find email and online communication much more convenient and am amazed schools don't do more to embrace it.

lljkk Sun 26-Jan-14 13:05:26

Secondary: email contact with DS's form tutor; online info about things like detentions. Someone in the student centre who returned messages when we phoned up to say DS was a school refuser and can they help us? Consistent email address when we want to report absences.

A quiet safe place to go during lunchtimes, like the library, where DS could just read a book & not have to socially interact on his bad days.

A much bigger dinner hall. School was 1/3 the size when built, same dinner hall, they now eat in shifts and don't eat properly as a result (sorry that is millions of pounds, I suppose!)

Formal assessment for DS by Ed-Psych (not allowed. hmm ).

Had an interesting chat with secondary PE teacher; I said I'd like 6 lessons/day (50 minutes long each) which would allow 2 more GCSE options without school day being much longer. He said he'd be okay to teach for another 40-60 minutes daily if he could get class sizes down to around 16-20. So those are both thoughts about better ways to run the timetable.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Sun 26-Jan-14 13:20:50

A more humane, less dismissive attitude towards the victims of bullying would be a much-appreciated improvement. I don't mind so much about deficiencies in the education provided, as I can compensate at home, particularly at primary school level. But I am close to powerless when it comes to bullying.

roslet Sun 26-Jan-14 14:14:18

More art and also cross curricular learning that doesn't revolve around whiteboards, reading and writing.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 26-Jan-14 14:32:35

Secondary (aspires to be Requires Improvement):

I would like to see much more and better communication from the school:

- frequent reports with explanations of grades (for crying out loud, what does a 5 or a 6 or a 7 actually mean?)
- quick highlighting of problems. There is absolutely no point in waiting until 3/4 of the way through the year to tell me that DS isnt doing his Maths homework to a high enough standard.
- what action is/will be taken if targets arent being met or are being met very easily
- dont give class average effort grades. If you cant be bothered/havent time to think about it then dont give a class average B
- if there isnt a mark for a subject then the overall average should be divided by the number of subjects for which there is a mark

Apart from that I couldnt give a rat's arse about uniform compliance.

averyyoungkitten Sun 26-Jan-14 14:42:09

Shorter and less intensive school day for DC and better senior management.

ninah Sun 26-Jan-14 14:45:24

A competent and compassionate SLT with a passion for education

oadcb Sun 26-Jan-14 14:52:37

Everything Sunday said..... And a new headteacher. Also change of attitude for one of the receptionists

Retropear Sun 26-Jan-14 15:07:00

A new head.

senua Sun 26-Jan-14 15:08:30

Better communication is usually near the top of the list!

1) Generally: information on what will they be doing this term so we can support from home
2) Specifically: e-mail contact between parent and school.
3) Timely: I want to know now if there is a problem, so that we can address it. Leaving it until the end-of-year report is a waste.
4) Less jargon. A 'Level 7' is meaningless to a parent. What we really want to know is are they above/average/behind.
5) Less waffle. Cut'n'paste reports are a waste of everyone's time. I'd rather see exception reporting i.e. only talk about issues that need addressing.

Starballbunny Sun 26-Jan-14 15:27:31

A decent bus service to give my DDs 90 minutes a day back!

Decent dyslexia support

Clear reports twice a year (due to Ofsted/Special measures and a state of chaos, we have had at least 10 different styles with some absolutely nutty levels on them)

Time for fun and teachers not being under such stress they have no energy to run clubs and extracurricular things.

Controlled assessments and Ofsted to be sent on a one way trip to the moon.

NewNameforNewTerm Sun 26-Jan-14 19:29:44

Controlled assessments and Ofsted to be sent on a one way trip to the moon. grin

cory Sun 26-Jan-14 22:46:19

Am actually pretty well pleased both with ds' secondary and dd's sixth form college.

And the only thing that marred their junior school was a negative and unhelpful attitude (percolating down from the head) towards children with disabilities and chronic illness. The solution came with the HT's retirement.

richmal Sun 26-Jan-14 22:53:05

No more time consuming, yet pointless make something for a project homework.

Smaller class sizes so that there can actually be differentiation. (I don't think you'll get that past Gove as it costs money)

Spottybra Sun 26-Jan-14 22:55:52

Small classes and less time in school.

But realistically, perhaps flipped learning via the school website? So if my child doesn't understand a lesson I can help.

MrsHerculePoirot Sun 26-Jan-14 22:58:21

Can Gove go to the moon as well please...?

Starballbunny Mon 27-Jan-14 00:17:49

No he and the head of ofsted would fight, Gove can go to Pluto.

It's not fit to be a planet and he's not fit to be education Secretary.

WaxyDaisy Mon 27-Jan-14 00:21:08

Smaller classes
More PE/sports ( an hour per day)
Ban the use of DVDs as babysitting at wet play or any tine except end of yr/Xmas parties

my2bundles Mon 27-Jan-14 06:56:05

Infant age so years 1-2. less homework, more PE and longer play times.

Bunbaker Mon 27-Jan-14 07:03:48

"In my capacity as both teacher and parent I find email and online communication much more convenient and am amazed schools don't do more to embrace it."

You would be surprised at the number of parents who don't read their emails. DD's school (large secondary) uses emails as their preferred choice for contacting parents as it is the cheapest and most efficient way of mass communication, but there is still a small but significant number of parents who either are not computer literate or just don't bother reading their emails.

I would prefer it if all DD's teachers could be contacted by email, although as the teachers are busy enough they probably wouldn't want to be inundated with emails when they are marking or planning lessons.

A homework timetable would be helpful as homework comes in fits and starts.

Topics that are being covered so I can support DD, especially if she misses a couple of days through illness.

craggyhollow Mon 27-Jan-14 07:16:22

A laser gun specially designed to zap the one annoying parent who completely monopolises the teachers time meaning that you can never speak to her about anything.

craggyhollow Mon 27-Jan-14 07:17:00

And what waxydaisy said.

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