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Can anyone give me some advice in this situation?

(40 Posts)
StrictlyRioja Mon 25-Apr-16 20:14:56

Ok so DD is in Y2 in an independent prep school - her teacher has gone on maternity leave - none of the parents were informed officially about this - we were just left to observe for ourselves last term that she looked a bit pregnant. Nothing was said about her leaving at Easter. Nothing was said about a replacement. I discovered that the last day of the spring term would be her last by asking her directly at parents evening, 2 days before the end of that term.

Nothing was said about a replacement teacher. Eventually, during the holidays, parents were sent a letter saying that there had been no luck finding a replacement yet but it was all in hand. Not sure when they actually instigated the process of looking for one.

At the start of term we are told that some old biddy who used to come along to do an after school club would be taking the class. Yes, she is a teacher - probably qualified in WW2 - but I was open as to what she might have to offer. Well, I have to say I am totally gobsmacked at her inability to either teach anything of substance or to keep control of what is in fact a very small class of well behaved girls. She is a sweet lady but totally unsuitable for the role of teaching Y2 girls in the 21st century. After school club, yes, but an academic curriculum where the girls are used to some level of stretch and challenge absolutely not.

I feel like I am paying through the nose for nothing. I am wishing I never paid the term's fees and I feel like I would like to remove my daughter from the class and home tutor her as she would get a lot more from this than filling in endless worksheets and doing drawings and posters for want of actually learning anything.

My dd, who is normally quite compliant can spot weakness at 100 paces and even she is starting to show signs that she does not take this teacher seriously. She is bored and starting to get into mischief.

Do I have the right to take my dd out of this situation and demand a refund of my fees? As far as I am concerned the school is not fulfilling its commitment to educating my dd to the standard they are claiming to offer .

I know I am speaking a little emotionally, but I really do feel upset and short changed.

Grateful for your thoughts.

UnmentionedElephantDildo Mon 25-Apr-16 21:25:07

You cannot demand a refund of fees if the school has a properly qualified teacher taking the class.

You can however remove your DD, either with proper notice to quit, or paying fees in lieu of notice.

If you get in correspondence with the school about this, I cannot advise you strongly enough to cut out the causal ageism, unless you want to be readily shown to be in breach if th Equalities Act.

MissTurnstiles Mon 25-Apr-16 21:31:22

'Old biddy'?


NerrSnerr Mon 25-Apr-16 21:55:14

If you're going to complain then lose the agism and have a proper complaint, not based on when she trained or what century she would have been a good teacher. I can imagine you're passing on your agism and disrespect to your daughter too.

If they're providing a bad service then tell them but factually.

happygardening Mon 25-Apr-16 22:02:21

I don't think the school or the teacher had any obligation to tell you that she was pregnant or what her plans for Mat leave are. She may have decided at the last minute to leave at Easter perhaps on medical grounds.
I understand it's not easy to get teaching staff for the summer term it's not the usual time to change and I know staff have to give a terms notice so perhaps they simply couldn't find anyone. Your DD is only going to have this teacher for another 8-10 weeks max, and the summer term is often more relaxed so if your generally happy with the school if I was you I'd let it go.
Secondly in all walks of life there are people who are not good at their jobs, who's methods are out of date, as your DD goes through education she will meet others like this she will have to learn to make the best of it, you cannot remove her from school or maybe university every time this happens. Encourage her to make the best of it.

AtSea1979 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:03:55

Your ageism is disgusting.

happygardening Mon 25-Apr-16 22:15:06

Should add the best math teacher DS1 ever had i.e. he actually enjoyed it and by some miracle actually got slightly better at math was a teacher in his late 70's he stood in for a math teacher for a term who was ill, he himself had very poor health, wheezed constantly and walked with a Zimmer frame. In his younger days he used to write very successful math text books, things like "math made simple" etc. But had no formal teaching qualifucations, I'm pretty sure he didn't know one end of the national curriculum from the other but he did understand and love math and knew how to inspire and help others. This was many years ago and my DS was talking only the other day about one of his lessons titled "My favourite number" and how wonderful it was.
The worst ones (there are many of those) were very young and fully qualified absolutely useless.

lottielou7 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:19:43

Why do you feel this teacher is no good?(forget her age - that's not relevant).

In private schools teachers don't have to have the qualifications that state school teachers do. You wouldn't be entitled to fees back. If you're unhappy I would say give notice at the end of this term.

However, won't she have another teacher for y3 anyway? Which is not that far away...

bojorojo Mon 25-Apr-16 23:07:36

Apart from the age debate, the teacher is not good. The child is bored and the work set is continual worksheets. This says, very loudly, that the teacher is not good enough and, the management of the school has been unable to find anyone better, of any age. (Young and useless? Ageism is unacceptable whatever the age of the person).

So, ask if the school leadership can monitor a lesson and look at the work of the children. Ask what liaison there has been between the teacher on maternity leave and the supply teacher in terms of lesson preparation and handover. Ask what progress the children are expected to make by the end of the year and whether they are on track to make it.

Obviously it is only for 1 term but other children may well have the teacher next year. Sadly, independent schools don't always get the best teachers. I am surprised they don't have better arrangements in place to cover maternity. It is not exactly a rare occurrence in schools! I don't really see why any child should have poor quality teaching, in any school, even for one term, and no good school would accept this.

happygardening Mon 25-Apr-16 23:24:46

"Sadly the independent sector don't always get the best teachers".
In my experience of both sector neither has a monopoly on outstanding, good, bad or indifferent teachers. The worst teacher my DS's ever encountered (confirmed by ofstead) was a completely useless young, but not newly qualified, teacher in a village primary full of motivated well behaved MC children. If I had to nominate one for "the very best prize" I think it would have to be a teacher in a small nondescript pre prep that DS1 attended, the school was generally pretty mediocre but she was truly outstanding in a different league to any others.

StrictlyRioja Mon 25-Apr-16 23:36:34

AtSea (and others) - you are absolutely right. I am completely ashamed of my comments which have nothing whatsoever to do with the facts in hand. In truth it doesn't matter whether the teacher was 21 or 81 - the fact was that she is unable to teach effectively. Or ensure the children's' safety. It was completely unlike me to be so mean though - I guess I was just extremely tired and frustrated - and it doesn't help that I suffer from anxiety which makes everything loom so much bigger in my eyes. Such as - she actually lost DD at end the end of the school day and had me in a complete state of panic. She had no idea where she was but had left her behind in one of the buildings.

StrictlyRioja Mon 25-Apr-16 23:37:37

Happy - I know - I have seen and experienced myself that teaching is nothing to do with age - being inspirational and being able to explain how things work is a talent that can be exhibited by young and old - I just don't know what I was thinking - reading it all back it was an impulse post borne out of frustration and lack of respect which led to an attack on someone's vulnerability. Unforgivable and out of character. But I had such a scare today. I hope we can move on.

BTW I have not passed any comment in front of DD. Nor in front of anyone at school or home - only MN - because I can rely on MN to help me see things straight.

StrictlyRioja Mon 25-Apr-16 23:46:14

I know it is only one term - only 12 weeks - but I just feel shortchanged - but you are right, Happy - we will just have to make the best of it. And that will be a good life lesson - mostly for me though as DD is unaware -

The other thing that niggled was the assumption that we all knew when she was leaving etc - we never even had the chance to have a collection and give her a card - and then to receive a letter which began "As you know...."

NerrSnerr - No I hope I am not passing on any disrespect to my DD - I do not have discussions in front of her and I do not subscribe to these kinds of feelings - I don't know where it came from - I am not happy with myself right now. But I can also say that this has really helped to remind me to keep things in check when feelings are running high so thank you.

StrictlyRioja Mon 25-Apr-16 23:52:59

bojorojo - the letter home over Easter suggested that the "very experienced" teacher would be given "a lot of support" but there has been no evidence of this so far - i.e. dd has not told me there was any other teacher in the class at any time - if this had happened I'm sure she would have told me as it would have been something very unusual. (I think). I don't understand why a teacher of "considerable experience" would need "a lot of support" in the first place? I am totally confused. confused

happygardening Tue 26-Apr-16 00:11:07

I guess they thought you'd all worked out for yourselves that she was pregnant and didn't feel a need to point out the obvious. Maybe the teacher herself didn't want the children or parents to know when she was leaving, she has a right to request confidentiality regarding her pregnancy and her job. When I left a job once, as I hate leaving cards, presents fuss etc I clearly stated in my resignation letter to my boss and HR that I didn't want anyone to know so told no one till I was just about to walk out the door for the last time their faces were a picture. My boss wasn't happy about it but HR told her that she had to accept my wishes.
The teacher may have been given medical advise to stop work I stopped at 30 weeks for medical reasons, I had planned to work till 36 weeks, I attended a hospital appointment was unexpectedly very strongly advised to stop work and rung up that day and said I wouldn't be back till after my DS was born.
OP my advise concentrate on you concerns with the current teacher rather than trying worrying about why you weren't told the other one was leaving.

StrictlyRioja Tue 26-Apr-16 00:18:40

I just felt really bad, Happy - that she just left and it was as though we didn't appreciate all she'd done. I take your point though. I wish I knew how to stop worrying about things. Likely I'll be up all night now worrying about the mess I have made on this thread.

happygardening Tue 26-Apr-16 00:27:45

Maybe she didn't want to be "appreciated" I find it embarrassing when the children/parents I work with say nice things about me, at the end of the day I'm just doing my job.
Relax don't fret about this thread, it will soon be forgotten, you we're stressed and wrote things that you shouldn't but you quickly took people's comments on board and realised you perhaps had made some unsuitable comments. No one will think badly of you far from it don't forget no one is perfect.

StrictlyRioja Tue 26-Apr-16 00:32:18

flowers sad

t4gnut Tue 26-Apr-16 08:53:22

Ah the self entitlement of those paying independent school fees....

Elvesandthepoomaker Tue 26-Apr-16 09:01:24

OP, I really understand how frustrated you must be. I'm afraid finding good maternity cover is a genuine challenge for many schools and many schools really are just grateful to have a body in the classroom (and put no further effort in once said body has been appointed). I recently completed a two-term maternity cover at a private school and one of the striking comments made by several managers was that I had clearly been doing a super job as they had received no complaints from parents, suggesting that had been the norm with previous maternity covers. I received no induction training and nobody came to observe me or check on my books. Thankfully I'm experienced, professional and good at my job but I can easily see how a poor teacher could hold back a class. I don't think there is much that can be done practically for your daughter's class, I'm afraid, unless the parent body can kick up a concerted stink and try to force a change of teacher but that is a. unlikely and b. might lead to an equally uninspiring teacher being appointed.

happygardening Tue 26-Apr-16 09:35:43

t4gnut you're being unnecessarily unkind, the education boards on here frequently have threads from irate parents about poor quality teaching in the state sector I doubt you'd call them "self entitled".

EarthboundMisfit Tue 26-Apr-16 09:41:55

I would make a list of your concerns re her teaching only and query it with the school. Without encouraging gossip, which would be counterproductive in any engagement with the school, do you have friends among other class parents whom you could tactfully ask for their opinions?

Amnesiac Tue 26-Apr-16 09:45:27

God you sound absolutely awful. As pp's have said, you're probably passing on your sniffy attitude to your daughter.
Are you sure you can truly afford it? To get this worked up about one term FFS? Anyway ime they're only at school for about 3 weeks then off for 15.

Paying through the nose ....stamping my feet because things aren't going absolutely swimmingly .... teachers daring to get pregnant ... old biddy?!


t4gnut Tue 26-Apr-16 09:53:15

Fair point happygardening, but in 99.9% of the case complaints on here about poor teaching are usually wrong, ill informed and judged by people who haven't got a clue.

This one read as 'how dare the teacher have a private life and be replaced by an old lady!".

Wake up call for those paying through the nose for private schools - they can stick anyone in front of a class, they don't need to hold a single qualification!

happygardening Tue 26-Apr-16 09:55:23

What is the point of being unkind to the OP? There was very ovipositor an incident yesterday in school which upset the OP and she was just having a bit of a rant, she's already said she's "ashamed" by her original post and worrying about it.

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