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parent/teacher meetings, how concrete is the feedback given? what to expect?

(34 Posts)
timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 11:39:37

My very first parent/teacher meeting is due in a couple of weeks. DS (reception) never tells me anything! I have a rather faint idea of what is being done in the classroom. He brings reading home every night but that is about it. I am really looking forward to this meeting but I am not sure what to expect.

I know it's early days for my DS but I would like to have some concrete information about what he is doing and his progress so far. What type of feedback do teachers usually give?

I am also very interested in how he is developing socially and emotionally, he is a shy child and finds it difficult to make friends and speak out. Is this something that teachers would expect to talk about during these meetings?

2BoysTooLoud Mon 10-Oct-11 11:45:59

Be aware 10 minutes [usual allotted time] goes very quickly. I find info given varies according to teacher - from a mere 'alls fine', to more detail. I always feel a bit rushed and aware of next parents behind the door.
If you need a big chat/ don't feel parent meeting has covered what you want it to, make a separate appointment later in term.
Hope it goes well.

redskyatnight Mon 10-Oct-11 11:51:54

At this stage in the year I would expect the parents' evening to focus more on how he'd settled than anything else.

At DD's school they show you how your child has been assessed against EYFS points -but I don't think that's by any means a universal practice.

I would definitely ask questions about what you are interested in - maybe even ask them at the beginning of your time slot if they are important so you can be sure to fit them in in the time.

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 11:54:19

2BoysTooLoud, yes that is what I fear, it will be too quick and I will be left with doubts and questions.
Is it worth making a list of questions? I really do not want the "alls fine" type feedback, I would like something more concrete and specific. Can I push for that during the meeting if it's not heading that way?
I like the teacher, don't want to seem like a difficult person!

ElbowFan Mon 10-Oct-11 11:58:42

It's a two way thing - you want to know how your DC is doing in school and the teacher wants to know if you are a supportive parent. I'd say if you do have concerns take your list with you and if you need a longer chat the teacher should be able to accommodate this at another time.

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 11:58:53

xpost redskyatnight.
Thanks, I will google the EYFS points you mention, sounds exactly what I am after. Presumable they also cover emotional and social development....

off to google.

DeWe Mon 10-Oct-11 12:06:05

First one is always mostly on settling, any problems, how they're doing socially.
What exactly do you mean on more "concrete" feedback? If you mean you want to know specific things they've enjoyed/done most teachers will be happy to discuss that he loves music but hates writing and, if not stopped, will just put his PE kit over the top of his usual uniform when changing for games. (as my dsgrin)
If you're wanting to know what position in the class he is on the readind scheme/will he get a 2a or 3 at year 2 SATS, I very much doubt you'll get a comment other than "doing very well" as they can't really tell at this point. It's probably more to do with what they've done before school.

Make a list of questions. It's what I do when I have ones I really want answered. Saves me coming out and realising I've forgotten the only question I really wanted answered.

NiecieTheTerminator Mon 10-Oct-11 12:06:33

At the first parents' evening, ime, they tell you a lot about how your child is settling in and if they appear to be making friends - there isn't much actual work going on in the early days. It is only a snap shot of course, friendships can be very fluid for the Yr Rs but it is good to know that if your child is heading in the right direction socially.

I have also found that they tell you what to expect in the first few weeks and months and the way they work. They will have got a handle on where your DS is academically too (some children can read a little and some can't at all like my two) so they should mention that and comment on whether any progress is being made but as I say, I have found that the main topic of conversation is the settling in process.

It does help to have some questions but not too many. If the teacher is any good they will have plenty to say too so you won't get much time. Chose those questions that are most important to you.

Don't forget it is a conversation not an interview and it should be very much a 2 way thing.

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 12:31:32

Thanks all.
If the conversation will be entirely about how he has settled in and nothing else, then I am not sure the meeting will be very useful and productive to be honest.
It would great to see examples of what they have been working on for example.
Niecie I would love to know what to expect in the coming months and to have an idea of what teacher's plans are for him for the next term (how to help him in areas he might be struggling with, or how to improve things that he is showing interest in). I hope she covers that.

If she tells me "It is going well and he has settled in and goodbye for now" without further details then I will be disappointed.

redskyatnight Mon 10-Oct-11 12:59:44

(IIRC) DD's Reception parents' evening went something like this
- they told me how she had settled in, how she was finding the school routines, and that she'd made friends
- they told me about some things that DD liked doing (which was not a big surprise!)
- they gave me her "targets" - which were things like reliably being able to count 10 objects, recognise common words in reading etc.
- they showed me her EYFS profile as they'd assessed at the start of the year and told me how this compared to the "average" Reception child at this point.
- they told me they had no concerns about her (presumably if they had these would have been covered)
- I was asked if I had any questions
- they also stressed that I was free to come and talk either to DD's teacher or her keyworker at any time

... it kind of was "she's settled in well, goodbye" in a more drawn out way, but actually if your child has just settled in fine and is progressing, it's hard to know what else they can say.

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 13:13:14

Thank you Red, that was extremely useful.
I like the idea of having his targets discussed and to talk to some degree about his EYFS profile.... It is really annoying that DS doesn't tell me much, I really don't know what to expect about his progress.
I only know about reading, because that is the only thing he brings home everyday.
Thanks again Red.

Tgger Mon 10-Oct-11 14:00:41

Just remember that Reception is not that "progress" orientated! (thought I should warn you in case of disappointment). I think it's hard for it not to be rather general at this point as they've only been in school 6 weeks and the teachers and children are still getting to know each other.

We are always given their "learning journey" to look at- this has photos and comments from the teachers (as well as all those EYFS target things), so often you can look at this before the meeting and then pick up on something in it- perhaps something your DC enjoys/is good at and chat a bit about that and then this can lead onto a more general discussion of strengths/weaknesses/stuff to do at home if you want.

We had a similar meeting at this time last year at nursery and it was rather general and didn't learn much at all. However, did help build a relationship with key worker and then there were other opportunites during the year when I did get to chat to the teachers and learn a lot more about how DS was doing- eg "You know he can read a bit now" (errrr no!!!, thanks for telling me!).

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 14:11:06

hmm... the "learning journey" sounds brilliant, I hope they are documenting his little achievements for me to look at.
I think I will have a little list under my sleeve... it might be useful you never know.
I think I'll make use of Red's list which covers lots.

FrightNight Mon 10-Oct-11 14:18:17

I've put this on my watch list as I have my first ever PE this afternoon. After DS goes to bed I'll send you an update if you like OP.

strawberrymivvi Mon 10-Oct-11 14:36:18

I've never found parents evenings that good to be honest. At our last one we spent the first two minutes listening to the teacher telling us how dd was getting on, It didn't quite tally (levels, etc) to what we'd been told in the report. She then called dd by someone else's name and it clicked that she'd been telling us how this other girl was getting on. The two girls have different colour hair and dd was even sitting with us!

munstersmum Mon 10-Oct-11 15:06:23

DS has been at 2 primaries & both have suggested you get to your parents evening appt 10 mins early so can have a flick through your kid's worksheets/folder/books. One also even at the first meeting in yrR had a slide show on loop of the kids doing various activities.

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 15:19:34

Thank you FrightNight, that is a really kind offer and good luck with your meeting....

strawberry oh my goodness, sorry but had to giggle a bit. I cannot help but feel a little sorry for the teacher, she must have been mortified.

musntermum wow a slide show on the loop, fab. I will make sure I get there some minutes earlier..

mrz Mon 10-Oct-11 15:26:30

As the EYFS profile is intended as a summary at the end of the reception year don't be surprised if this isn't mentioned.
As a reception teacher I didn't use worksheets and sent home anything the child produced when it was produced and meaningful for the child rather than stick it in a folder to share long after the child could remember what they had actually done.

mrz Mon 10-Oct-11 15:32:48

We have a slide show on the IWB as parents drop off and collect children every day not just for parents evening

timetoask Mon 10-Oct-11 15:36:17

mrz, I have not received a single thing, meaningful or not. So my only hope now is that the teacher did indeed stick it in a folder for us to see.
Can I come and visit your school please? it sounds wonderful.

mrz Mon 10-Oct-11 15:49:11

Some teachers are very hung up on saving every piece of "evidence" to be stuck into the child's learning journey folder. I prefer to send home a child's first independent writing (and photocopy for myself) or a lovely painting or a photograph and share the moment when it happens not at some point in the future.

chipandbiff Mon 10-Oct-11 17:26:47

sorry to jump on board, but I have a similar question! mrz I have a child in yr1 and to date, there has been no mention of EYFS (in reception or nursery)....would it be unreasonable to ask for the scores? And what would it show me?!!
Sorry for the hijack, we've got our meeting coming up too, and I'd really rather go with meaningful questions so I can understand more of what's going on!

mrz Mon 10-Oct-11 17:34:00

You should by law have received a summary/report at the end of reception of your child's progress against the profile (schools only need to give out scores if parents ask for them as they are pretty meaningless without the summary). The scores are just numbers and two children with the score of 7 could be working at totally different levels of achievement. Only if all profile points are achieved could you say two children are working at the same level.
IMHO the summary report is more useful to me as a teacher/ a parent.

Snowy27 Mon 10-Oct-11 17:52:23

Our school only give 5 minute slots for Parents Evening (and parents tend to just turn up whenever rather than at their appointment card!) So I have to be super organised about what I say!
Usually goes:
How do you think thing are going/do you have any concerns? (ask parents, who usually just look at me like I have two heads!)
How they've settled in
Any concerns (although I would have bought these up earlier, I don't think it's fair to spring things on parents at parents evening!)
Things you could do to help- (again 2 heads at this point!)

Parents also look through their learning journeys and are encouraged to comment- we provide translators to help with this bit and the actual meetings. It's really lovely if you can comment in their learning journey- how are they settled, what do they do at home, how lovely the teacher is smile

To be honest if you want a really in depth conversation its better to make an appointment at another time, luckily I tend to see most of my parents daily so I tend to 'chat' every day rather than save it all up!

Personally I wouldn't mention profile points at this stage in the year, we assess children against it at the end of each half term, and this early on it doesn't necessarily mean anything- things change so quickly in Reception- I'd rather focus on more general stuff- are they happy, settled, socially ok, can they concentrate, play with other, only play alone, sharing etc etc....

FrightNight Mon 10-Oct-11 21:22:51

Hi again OP. Well I can tell you it was very quick. My only issue is that as with the nursery (same site) they tended to head toward the development concerns rather than start with positives. When I mentioned that, the tone shifted quickly and became far more productive.

The time constraints meant depth of content was limited, when I mentioned that we had been looking forward to the meeting to get a real understanding of DS's progress I was immediately offered a follow up meeting in a few weeks time.

In summary expect high level feedback, if its less positive than you hope say you want to hear the positives, arrange a follow up if necessary.

Hope that helps x

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