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How do you know how well your child's really doing at school?

(22 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

ptyay Fri 28-Nov-14 22:10:01

Hi everyone, we're working on a little project that we think could really help parents. If you have the time, it would be really useful to us if we could open up a bit of a discussion.

It seems like schools mainly communicate with parents about their child's performance when there's a serious problem, at parent-teacher evenings, or with end of term reports. Is that correct? Is that enough?

If you only hear back intermittently, how well do you know when or how to support your child (especially if they aren't the most communicative about how their day at school has gone!)?

Do your children tell you how they're getting on? Do you ask them?

Would it be helpful to receive more frequent information about your child's performance in homework or tests?

Any thoughts around this would be greatly appreciated! We really want to build something amazing that we can all benefit from and it will be so much better if we work together!

PriscillaQueenofDesserts Fri 28-Nov-14 22:55:02

I don't think anyone could argue that it wouldn't be very helpful to receive more frequent information and/or guidance specific to our children; but I am unclear how this could be improved in reality, without considerably more teacher time or smaller classes. So isn't this more of a resource issue?

I would hope that parents can already request any info needed to help their child progress.

Personally, I think far more info is needed around what to expect when your child starts school and how and what they are being taught and when etc; what the expectations are, so parents can understand better their child's progress. Particularly for older parents (like me!) who have to do a lot of work to understand how both teaching methods and syllabus has changed.

EskSmith Fri 28-Nov-14 23:41:37

I see my child's teacher every morning and every afternoon. If there is anything she feels I need to know she tells me. If there is anything I don't understand or want to know, I ask her.
She makes time (10 mins at start of the day & 10 minutes at the end of the day) to be available to parents, if there is anything more detailed can request a meeting. I'm quite happy TBH

bruffin Fri 28-Nov-14 23:57:36

My dcs school have a website with all their test results, targets and behaviour points whether negative or positive. Its called Go4schools. Lots of graphs to see if they are on target etc. School still ring up their is a problem and send emails to advise if there are negative or positives.

catkind Sat 29-Nov-14 01:09:24

That kind of resonates here. DS doesn't communicate, school don't communicate, we're supporting him in what we think he needs to learn but don't think we're matching up well with what school are teaching. There's no "oh yes we did that at school" moments.

I'm not saying we want to sit him down and tutor him, but I'd rather be a bit more connected. e.g. if we knew they were doing number bonds to 20, then when DS asks for sums we could give him those number bonds and reinforce the schoolwork.

A lot of DS friends' schools even in Yr 1 are setting homework related to what they're doing in class so the parents get to see their DC in action. I'm not sure if I approve of homework so young so I'm mostly glad we don't have any, but coupled with no communication of curriculum or targets or anything it does mean we're completely clueless.

I'm finding the upcoming parents' evening a bit intimidating. I don't think quickly on my feet so when they throw information at me I'll probably just realise what questions I need to ask half an hour after the meeting.

I don't really want to know his scores in tests or homework when they get to that stage, more just a bit of information about what curriculum they're covering. (I have asked, was told one very specific point and made to feel a bit of a nuisance.)

Bonsoir Sat 29-Nov-14 01:16:50

I really rate good quality revision workbooks - they make it easy to see what your DC does and doesn't know and you can then take appropriate action to plug gaps in their knowledge (or in the teachers' delivery of the curriculum).

teacher54321 Sat 29-Nov-14 08:30:01

At every school I have ever worked at we've been told to make sure there are no nasty surprises in reports/grade sheets or parents evenings. So if you talk about total lack of homework/terrible behaviour etc, that shouldn't come as a shock.

ptyay Sat 29-Nov-14 12:39:20

That's really interesting. Thanks for your insight!

So would a website like the one bruffin describes be useful? If you had graphs and charts showing performance that you could access whenever you wanted, would that help you to support your DCs? PriscillaQueenofDesserts would that meet your needs?

Catkind, you say you don't want to know scores. Curious to know why?

Sounds like from teacher54321's perspective, you want to be in touch with parents regularly to keep them in the loop? Is there any part of you that would want to keep them out of the loop, so that you can avoid heaping pressure on students? Would you be happy to effectively open your markbooks to parents (only for their DCs results)?

EskSmith that sounds ideal. How often do parents take advantage of that?

Thanks again for all your thoughts!

alittletreat Sat 29-Nov-14 17:34:40

I am an older parent. I used to have our own books for all the subjects and were given regular homework at the end of each lesson. Our homeworks were marked thus myself and my parents could see how well we understand regularly. My parent never do any homework with or for me but their job was to ensure that i do my work. We were given school report in January and then before summer holiday. Our school reports were very brief no need for decoding.I found the most annoying issue today is while my dcs' teachers seemed to expect parents share the same knowledge with them but most of us don't. I constantly feel that if help my dcs I will confess them if I don't they struggle. When I asked the teachers for advice they only told me examples of works but never given any actual homework. I am not trained ta or teacher so I struggle to know how to go about to support dcs for a very long time. That s the reason I started paying for private tuitions.

catkind Sun 30-Nov-14 00:00:55

Catkind, you say you don't want to know scores. Curious to know why?

Not entirely sure why but I'll try to rationalise it!

I think it could be too much data but not enough information. So they scored 3/10 on the maths test? What does that mean? They're supposed to have learned their 4 times table and DC haven't yet? DC didn't read the instructions properly? DC are finding word problems difficult? The teacher isn't differentiating the work enough?
What would be more useful to know would be that DC's current maths targets include learning their 4 times table.

I think some parents would obsess about it, possibly to the extent of putting undue pressure on their children, or annoying teachers with complaints about "unjustly" marked homework.

It takes away the chance for DC to choose to share results with parents. Whether good or bad.

I don't think the numeric score (or levels or whatever) are the most important part of feedback on homework, and I would be concerned that sharing those with parents could focus too much attention on the numbers and distract the DC from the learning points.

Sparklingbrook Sun 30-Nov-14 00:24:04

At DS2's school we have a parent log in. We can see everything, and there's lots of graphs and charts, attendance, awards. school reports. Everything.

cansu Sun 30-Nov-14 09:22:56

I don't think teachers would want to put scores in every day or even every week. As a teacher I simply do not have useful data to put in anyway on a daily basis. I may know that some children need more time on a particular concept so will plan another lesson on it. This isn't something I need to communicate to their parents as it is perfectly normal and part of learning. I think such a website on first glance might appear marvellous but the info would be meaningless. I would also want to wait and see what happens with NC levels as all schools will be looking at what system they are going to adopt over the next year. There is currently something called go4schools that allows parents a log in to see the data held about their children if the school uses this system.

Sparklingbrook Sun 30-Nov-14 09:24:58

I can't remember the name of ours but it's Secondary School if that makes a difference. All the HW is on there, it's very good.

ISpyPlumPie Sun 30-Nov-14 09:45:40

DS1 is only in reception so no test scores etc yet, but so far I think the feedback seems really good. We get a topic web each half term so we can see what they will be covering in each area, and there are suggestions for optional extra tasks at home. Each child has a planner which us checked daily and I'm finding this a useful way to communicate with his teacher. They have a link book with a 'challenge' to complete at home each week (never anything too demanding,but usually something fun linked to the topic) and they get written feedback on that. You can also sign up for Orbit online and they put occasional photos of what he's been doing on there.

At the moment, I definitely feel very informed about what he is doing and how he's progressing. As he moves through the school, I agree that the important thing will be for information to be given in context so I know which areas he needs extra support in and where he'd benefit from further work. The school does seem really keen in involving parents so I'm hopeful that the feedback will continue.

IonaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 30-Nov-14 12:51:25

Hi folks. We're going to move this thread to Start-ups in just a moment.

Elibean Mon 01-Dec-14 10:18:50

My children (girls, primary aged) do tell me a fair bit - and I talk to teachers, ask questions, etc. like most parents.

To be honest, I feel I get enough feedback at our school as it is. But some of the Govs and the Deputy Head are working on a software package that tracks every individual child's progress from day 1 to when they leave - not against other children, or national averages, but in terms of their own expected progress. A bit like growth curve for babies, I think, so parents can ask at any time to see visual evidence of their child's progress (and not other children's). Its being piloted at the moment, so early days, but looks promising.

IMO, knowing your own child is making progress and being stretched/supported as needed is what counts - rather than where they are in the class etc.

pyrrah Tue 02-Dec-14 09:29:32

We get 'parent lessons' at the beginning of each year (and during) where the teachers explain what the kids will be learning during the year and how we can support them at home. There are phonics sessions for parents and basic maths.

DD has a home-learning book that consolidates whatever they have been studying that week, so I can keep track of what the class have been doing.

Also a reading journal that I have to make comments in.

If I need to discuss an issue, I can either grab the teacher at the end of the day for a quick word, or book a longer meeting with her.

If there are issues that you see, best to have a word a few weeks before parent's evening so that you can get some feedback then about any improvements, changes etc.

wheresthebeach Tue 02-Dec-14 10:39:58

We get hardly any info. Reports are often a shock for parents. I had meetings last year, asked, checked, expressed concern and was told all okay. Until the report came which showed the exact issue I was worried about.

Don't understand why parents are kept out of the loop. Drives me nuts.
Anything to improve communication would be great.

lilythemonkey Mon 22-Dec-14 12:44:46

I co-run a company called Earwig Academic which allows parents online access to the copious videos and photos taken by the teachers as teaching evidence (as well as their reports/result/documents etc). Teachers like it as it saves them a lot of admin time but we also find that parents and teachers find parents evenings and other meetings much easier and more productive when parents feel clued up and part of their child's education. It's hard to expect parents to rely on tired children to reiterate everything that happens each school day, and lack of information about progress can mean parents evening can feel like an ambush.

Lack of parental engagement is one of Ofsted's biggest criticisms to schools as achievement can be improved by up to A THIRD if parents are involved in their child's education.

As long as it's not extra work for our teachers - who are already under terrible paperwork pressure - any way in which parents can be more involved (without taking up too much of their time either - they/we have jobs, other children to manage too!) can only be a good thing!

CrimboHornedSnowflake Mon 22-Dec-14 12:46:32

DD's school uses Orbit which keeps us up to date.

caravanista13 Mon 22-Dec-14 12:49:09

I have real reservations about this, as a parent and a former teacher. If schools establish a good relationship with parents then parents should be able to trust that they're doing a good job. Too many parents want to micromanage their children's lives.

mom17 Tue 23-Dec-14 04:34:32

Bonsoir, Can you pls. suggest some good quality revision worksheet source ?

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