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How to handle difficult patents evening?

(46 Posts)
CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 17:51:48

How do you deal with parents evening when your child is very behind?

How do you keep talking to them when all they do is fail your kid?

Why do they insist on having a parents evening when there is nothing more to be said?

I can't be polite. They've told me too many lies. Manipulated the truth far too many times.

I said I didn't want to go but they insisted.

SENCO has been involved for the last 4 years, to no avail.

Every year you get a new eager teacher - who makes the exact same mistakes as the last 5.

I hate school so much sad

Technoprisoners Tue 23-Oct-12 17:58:32

How do they fail your dc?

HoratiaWinwood Tue 23-Oct-12 18:24:01

Could you use it as an opportunity to tell them what they need to be doing? Smile politely and take no prisoners? Acknowledge their expertise in teaching in general but insist on your expertise in your child in general?

It must be hugely frustrating to have to go through this at such length with no effect. Would they use your non-attendance as an excuse to ignore your suggestions or complaints?

Good luck.

HoratiaWinwood Tue 23-Oct-12 18:24:30

*your child in particular.

tiggytape Tue 23-Oct-12 18:29:03

I guess you try to remain calm and remember parents' evening isn't really the place to iron out problems (not enough time, not enough privacy, all other staff tied up). Basically you can just turn up and listen perhaps to their take on things and use it to plan your next move.

Have you gone through all the proper channels to raise concerns and have you done so in writing: teacher and SenCo, then Head then Chair of Governors plus outside help and statmenting if appropriate?

Have you kept records and continued to write in when concerned (a face to face meeting isn't the same as having a paper trail proving a problem is unsolved or an intervention was agreed but not carried out)?

Is there any outside help you can get via a GP referal or requesting assessments (parents have rights to request these - the school needn't agree with you)

Would you consider changing schools?

clam Tue 23-Oct-12 18:35:00

What lies have they told? How have they manipulated the truth? To what end? Surely you should be working together to move your child forward? So what point would there be in lying?

DawnOfTheDee Tue 23-Oct-12 18:39:54

If this is the 5th teacher you feel this way about I think you have to consider the possibility that this school is not the right one for your DC. Is there scope for you to move them elsewhere?

In what ways exactly are the teachers failing your DC? Would help to have a bit more detail.

CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 18:51:51

We already have moved school.

She started this school one year behind. Now, 2 years later, she's two years behind.

It's not a 5 minute parent teacher slot. It's a half hour with the teacher and senco.

I don't know why they lie to me. Maybe because in 12 months I'll be some other teachers problem? Probably because they think I won't realise?

She's been seen by the EP. Who had nothing to suggest.

She's been turned down for a statement. But I don't think a statement will help. I don't think she needs more help from a badly trained TA.

Last time I raised concerns the HT told me if I wasn't happy I should move schools.

I really can't face moving schools again. There's no reason to think any other school would be better.

coldcupoftea Tue 23-Oct-12 19:23:32

So what exactly do you think the problem is? Sorry but your posts are not very clear.

Ilovesunflowers Tue 23-Oct-12 19:25:57

Interesting that you feel they have failed your child. Do you also consider yourself to have failed. Education is not one sided.

Sorry I know that may seem very harsh.

I'm not saying schools don't fail children sometimes because of course they do. Parents do too.

CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 19:31:16

What's the problem with the school? They're satisfied with average results.

What's the problem with the teachers? They don't know how to teach her.

What's the problem with me? Refusal to lower my expectations.

What's the problem with DD? SpLD.

Which is a lovely meaningless label which hasn't helped her teachers help her at all.

CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 19:33:08

I certainly have failed her. But not through lack of trying.

I can't do any more for her then I currently am.

School are aware of what I'm doing at home for her.

seeker Tue 23-Oct-12 19:34:37

Whatnlies have they told?

Behind in what way?

CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 19:35:08

What I was hoping from this thread is a strategy to help me cope with the meeting.

Ilovesunflowers Tue 23-Oct-12 19:36:25

So maybe they have also failed but not through lack of trying too.

They are human too.

I once taught a child who I worked my butt off for. I worked bloody hard EVERY lesson to try and get progress. I got the support of several professionals. He still stuck on the same sublevels at the end of the year with me.

You can't do any more for her. Maybe they are stuck too.

seeker Tue 23-Oct-12 19:38:21

What do you want out of the meeting?

DawnOfTheDee Tue 23-Oct-12 19:39:29

It's hard to suggest a strategy when it's not clear exactly what the problem is. Could you give an example of when they have lied/the teaching methods they use that makes you feel they 'don't know how to teach her'.

In what ways is your DC behind? It helps to address specific issues.

Does the school agree that your DC is 2 years behind?

teacherwith2kids Tue 23-Oct-12 19:41:52

So:
- You have a child who is obviously on the SEN register, probably at School Action Plus.

- She is working at a level 2 years behind her chronological age.

- Although she has made progress over the last 2 years, she has only made the progress expected for most children over 1 year, so she is falling further behind her classmates (so she is falling behind in a RELATIVE, but not an ABSOLUTE sense - she is making slow progress, rather than staying still or regressing).

- An EP has assessed her but has made no specific suggestions (I find this unlikly, btw - do you mean that they had no magic wand to wave? That they didn't suggest anything that the school wasn't doing already? That they could give no 'name' to the problem, while acknowledging there to be one? Or what?)

- That she possibly has some support from a TA, but that you regard the TA as unhelpful in aiding her to make progress.

What is not clear from your posts, and would be helpful to know, is
- Are her difficulties 'global', or are they specific to one area or subject? Or does she have a general difficulty e.g. some barrier to her making progress in reading, that affects several subjects?

- Does she have any behavioural issues?

- What support is currently in place for her in the classroom?

What I am completely unsure about is:
- Why you think that the school is lying? Are they stating that she is making expected progress (she isn't)? Are they stating that she is making progress (she is)?

- Why are they failing her? What is it that you want them to do that they aren't doing? (I realise that one answer to this is 'get her to the expected level', but as it seems from experience in two schools that there IS some barrier to her learning at the moment, then perhaps focusing on what exactly you want them to do in terms of input, interventions, professional help might be the more positive way forward.)

I attended a meeting the other day about a child who is very, very far behind. Many professionals were involved, as well as the parent and her advocate. Everything was honest, everything was clear, no blame was thrown this way or that, in the end everyone was happy - because everyone was focusing on the child and their needs and difficulties, not on suspicion and blame. So think positively through what you want to know, what you want to happen, how the school can help you, rather than assuming lying and cover-up.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Tue 23-Oct-12 19:43:54

I'm sorry I can't quite see what the specific issues are for you? You say your dd is 2 years behind and the school aren't helping because they are satisfied with averae results. But surely if she's behind then she is below average?

What year is dd in? Does she like school? I know you aren't happy with her progress but maybe the tactic is to be as positive as you can be about anything good and see if you can find some common ground to build on?

teacherwith2kids Tue 23-Oct-12 19:47:22

Apologies, took too long to post.

How to handle the meeting:

- Adopt a factual tone. Summarise what you know about what you do at home, and what they do at school.

- Ask for details of what additional help she gets in school, and what interventions are in place to address areas that she finds difficult.

- If you feel that more could be done, ask. 'Is there anything else that could be done to help with X / Are there any specialists who you think could have useful input here?' [It may help to research possible ideas for that via MN or other areas so that if they say 'no' you could raise a few examples].

- Ask for targets - what is the school going to do? What are you going to do? When are you going to get back together to discuss progress and agree the next step?

CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 19:51:12

They agree she's 2 years behind. Level 2 in reading and writing at start of Y5.

I think they have tried their best and failed. I absolutely think that.

Just not sure why we have to keep talking about it. There is nothing else to say. I don't want the meeting at all.

But it's school rules they have to talk to all parents.

It's also school culture to always be upbeat and positive. Which I find very distressing. It would help a lot if school would admit there are problems. But they never will.

seeker Tue 23-Oct-12 19:53:22

So, what dontou want out of the meeting? That's
Where to start.

teacherwith2kids Tue 23-Oct-12 19:53:32

I think that you also need to focus on progress not results.

In the meeting I referred to, the nature of the child's SEN is such that they will never - not even in adult life - achieve many of the things that are expected for a child in my class.

The meeting was positive because it focused on all the things that we can do (and believe me, we work EXTREMELY hard, although if you adopt the 'still behind' mantra, you would say that they are STILL 4+ years behind their peers) to enable the next tiny step of progress.

The school probably ISN'T satisfied with where your DD is. However, they may feel - rightly or wrongly is up to you to decide, in partnership with them - that she is making the best progress she is capable of. The vast majority of teachers work tirelessly to help their pupils make progress, but it is sometimes the case - as a previous poster has said - that the nature and extent of the barrier to progress in their learning means that there are periods when that progress (despite huge effort) is very slow. You need to determine whether they are doing everything that they can - but you also need to acknowledge that even if they are, your DD may not suddenly accelerate to catch up with her age group peers.

teacherwith2kids Tue 23-Oct-12 19:56:38

Every child, whatever their current position, can make progress. The meeting should be about your DD's next steps. It isn't a once and once only 'they tried, they failed'. They try EVERY DAY to help your DD to make the next tiny step, and that needs to be in partnership with you, so that's what you need to talk about.

And if you feel that they are lying, then you need to talk about that too - but your later posts seem to have gone back on that claim?

CaramelAndCinammon Tue 23-Oct-12 20:03:09

Teacher - thanks. That's helpful.

She has no behaviour issues.

By school failing her I mean she's not making adequate progress.

Whereas school see she's making some progress.

By school being satisfied with average I mean across the cohort. They don't expect all of their kids to leave Y6 a level 4.

I know what interventions she's on (half hour a day 1:1 from different people)

They know what we're doing at home.

The EP said school were doing everything they could for her.

I don't think school can get her to make adequate progress. I don't think there is anyone in the school who has the expertise to help her.

I think if I ask for another EP report I'll just spend another year or 2 waiting for a report which won't help.

The lies have been around what level she's at and how much support she's getting. Trying to give me a false picture of her progress by carefully selecting what they tell me, to the point where it's not a representative picture.

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