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How much written documentation do you get re what goes on at school?

(33 Posts)
whatalovelyday Wed 03-Oct-12 06:55:11

At our school we (sometimes) get a termly overview of the topic covered and some of the subtopics - one A4 sheet per term. That's it. Because my dd tells me very little about school I know very little about her day to day life there. Except that she seems happy so I know I don't need to worry, but I don't feel massively able to support her without more info. She's year 1 by the way, so still very little. It's a lovely school, but I do feel the communication could be better.

Ideally I'd like: a timetable, list of all staff working with class (eg specialist music, TAs etc), and a brief weekly update of what they're doing. This could be in the classroom window, or just a copy of the planning documents. No detail - just a list of what they are doing in a week.

Is this something I could reasonably suggest to the school to improve parental engagement? What do people get in other schools? What do teachers give out?

Pipsqueak99 Thu 04-Oct-12 13:00:14

I do understand exactly what you are getting at whatalovely.
At DS school we get a timetable for the term and a detailed breakdown of the topics covered over each half of the term. DS teacher also photocopies and posts up a copy of her planning notes (I assume this is what they are?) for each week, outside the classroom (it contains rough scribbles and references to plans and books and notes that I have no clue about, as well as an overview of what she is planning for that week).

I find all of this invaluable as a discussion point for DS. I try to talk about the topic being covered during the next week over the weekend and try to refernce anything we happen to be doing at home that is related. I also ask him every day "what did you do in music today" or "did you enjoy swimming". There are plenty of times when he might say "I didn't do x, y or z today because...........the teacher was away, we had a concert or whatever. And then we can talk about that instead. He also has a copy of his school timetable posted up in his bedroom so that we can look at it every day and see what he is doing/help him to plan his bags etc. etc.

I find it really valuable as a tool to bridge the gap between home and school and so that I can support him at school. I don't view any of these things as documents set in stone and wouldn't consider questioning why a weeks plan had changed a bit or why certain lessons hadn't happened as planned each week. DS's teachers seem to really appreciate and value the mutual two way exchange of information that occurs as a result.

Pipsqueak99 Thu 04-Oct-12 13:03:03

I should also add we have a curriculum evening at the beginning of each term too where we meet his teachers and they discuss what the plan is for the year and how they approach the subjects and what support or approach they want from us at home.

margerykemp Thu 04-Oct-12 13:07:21

Have you considered homeschooling?

It isabigshift from the involvement you have when they are in nursery to the distance at school but you have to either accept that, maybe go private or homeschool.

MRSJWRTWR Thu 04-Oct-12 13:27:37

At DS2's school (Y2) we received a booklet at the beginning of term outlining 'topics' being covered. We were given a timetable which I find really useful to remind me when the various equipment needed for swimming, PE, music etc is required. We also get a little photocopied handwritten note stapled into his diary at the end of the week, telling us what they've been doing in numercy ie. weights and measures and literacy, topics etc. At his previous school we received nothing just a weekly newsletter that covered general information for the whole school.

noramum Thu 04-Oct-12 13:36:25

Hm, I would love it but I can see that it would be a lot of work for the teacher. And as DD is just in Y1 I doubt something like a strict timetable exists.

DD tells me they do daily exercise in writing, maths and reading. The rest is a bit of a blur. Sometimes like yesterday we got a sudden information about the Sukkot-festival they talked about in RE.

We get a weekly newsletter announcing special days for the whole school (Infant School) like Science or Book or Maths Days. Often at pick-up time there is a board in the playground with photos of the activities.

But: once a term they have a class assembly where they talk about what topic they had (they have two, each half-term one) and show what they did. After the assembly the parent has 5 minutes with its child to have a look at their work. During the termly parent evening we are invited to browse through the workbooks and the artwork on display.

So we see a lot after it happened.

WowOoo Thu 04-Oct-12 13:47:32

At ds1's school they have a huge 'learning tree' poster on display at the back of the classroom.

It's for the children, but parents can easily see what they are doing in different subjects.
It's very brief - but perfectly adequate from my point of view.

whatalovelyday Thu 04-Oct-12 14:09:46

Thank you Pipsqueak, you've put it very clearly. It's not about being a pushy annoying parent, it's just about trying to support your child and the school in their learning.

Bunnyjo Thu 04-Oct-12 17:30:32

DD just turned 5 at the end of Aug and is in Yr 1. Though she was streamed up at the end of last term, along with a couple of her cohort, and is in a mixed class of Yr2 and Yr3.

We get a half termly newsletter from the class teacher. In that, she details the structure of the day (i.e. times they do core skills, Music, PE, ICT etc), what subject they are covering for the creative curriculum, what homework they will be bringing home, and on what days, and what their individual targets are for that half term. There are weekly generic school letters which detail things that generally apply to the school as a whole, such as assemblies and the like. DD attends a small village school and her teacher and TA are always available at the start and end of the day to speak to.

Personally, I am happy with the level of communication from DD's school, I don't think it is necessary or appropriate to have a copy of the planning notes - anonymous or otherwise. As the teachers on here have pointed out, the planning is often organic and the needs of the child(ren) mean that sometimes their plans aren't adhered to.

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