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Asked for meeting with HT and... nothing??

(17 Posts)
anice Wed 07-Nov-12 14:13:22

A couple of days after parents night, I asked the school secretary for a meeting with the HT. She doesn't know what its about (and its the first time I have ever asked for a meeting with the head at this school so its not like I am in the office every other day).

I could see the HT in her office behind the secretary, but she said the HT had meetings coming up so was too busy that morning. The secretary said she'd make an appointment and call me.

Then it was the half-term holidays, so I thought I'd get a call on Monday for an appointment this week, but I didn't. So I reminded the secretary yesterday morning and she reassured me that my request had not been forgotten about, but I still haven't heard anything.

Its getting a little awkward now. I still want the meeting, but what should I do, wait another week and make a third request, this time in writing??

Could the HT have guessed what i wanted and be avoiding me?

ilikenoodles Wed 07-Nov-12 14:29:41

hmm maybe - very cowardly if that's the case! I'm not going to be nosey and ask what it's about!

Seeline Wed 07-Nov-12 14:36:11

I would go to the office tomorrow and not leave until they have booked you an appointment. Waiting that long without an explanation is not right.

anice Wed 07-Nov-12 15:05:01

I want to talk about the school giving DS some challenging maths this year. The teacher has said she can't do it in the class even though DS would benefit from it (her hands are too full with the less able children), so I was going to ask the head if there is some way it can be organised outwith the classroom?
Its an awkward conversation though, partly because I am going over the teacher's head and partly because I know that there is an implied criticism in the school for me even having to ask for my child to be taught.

So, I thought long and hard before I requested the meeting and I was prepared to put up and shut up if they either directly said they couldn't help or just fobbed me off.

However, i wasn't expecting my meeting request to be ignored like this.

Floralnomad Wed 07-Nov-12 15:08:12

I think it's wrong that they haven't booked you an appointment but why can't you just give your child extra maths if that's what you want to do . I think it's a bit unreasonable if you want the teacher to do something different just for your child .

anice Wed 07-Nov-12 16:18:28

@floralnomad Would you mind reading this thread and telling me if you still think I am being unreasonable?

As you can see I've been in two minds about whether I'd be doing the right thing to take this further and you reply is making me rethink it again.

ilikenoodles Wed 07-Nov-12 16:56:03

I agree with seeline - you have a right to a meeting with the head, regardless of the subject metter

Ferguson Wed 07-Nov-12 18:34:23

Hi - (ex TA here)

The last school I worked in would frequently do 'whatever was necessary' to support/extend pupils learning.

I did special sessions with Polish children, using a Polish/English CD ROM to help improve their English.

We also sometimes moved children to other classes for certain subjects, either Lit or Num, so they could work at a more appropriate level. That seems the easiest way to me, as it doesn't involve any extra planning or differentiation, just put him in a more advanced set for a few hours.

If you don't get any 'joy', e-mail the HT with copies to the class teacher and numeracy coordinator, that should get SOME response.

crazygracieuk Wed 07-Nov-12 18:47:01

I have a daughter who's the same age and what the y4 teacher said to you in the other thread is really poor.
My dd is pretty good at maths- middle of the top set and working at 4a so the school is definitely catering for level 5 children as well.
I don't know how easy it is to force change when the school seems to have a policy of focusing on the borderline children. I know from experience that complaints about a teacher being inadequate will usually result in no change so I suspect that it's really hard and you'd have to be forceful (tricky if you have younger ones at the school) or supplement him yourself.
How big is the school? Are there no other children on a similar level? At our school 50-60% end up leaving y6 on level 5 or above so he'd be easily catered for at our school. Is moving him an option?

auntevil Wed 07-Nov-12 21:59:39

Have a similar situation - but a different response from teacher here.
DS1 is Y5. Last year he had been in Y5 for maths. This year due to re-organisation he cannot go into year 6.
It's a large class he's in, with about 7 levels of differentiation. The extension for each level is to do the work for the level above and so on.
What happens to the top level of differentiation, what is their extension?
The school's answer has at least been acceptable. They have put him on a computerised programme in addition to class - and before lessons. The aim is to extend and push his level daily.
Fwiw - I too would just sit and wait until an appointment was forthcoming grin

yellowsubmarine53 Wed 07-Nov-12 22:58:50

I don't think you're going over the teacher's head if you've asked her and she says that she's not in a position to provide extension work.

I'd request a meeting in writing (e-mail) and say what it's about.

PastSellByDate Thu 08-Nov-12 02:25:09

Hi anice:

Several things here.

Meeting with Head: Either go in person and with diary in hand and arrange a date with the secretary or if the school has a general enquiries e-mail send an e-mail reminding the secretary of your request and suggest some possible windows for meeting.

The beauty of an e-mail is this - it's a written record that you have a concern and have requested a meeting. Should the Head persist to avoid meeting with you - you can then forward this to a parent member of the school governor's with a formal complaint.

Extending learning: Every child is entitled to an education and leaving top ability children to 'float' is poor teaching and a waste of potential - potential this nation frankly can't afford to squander.

There are several low impact solutions to propose to the school:

1) signing up your DS to an on-line maths tuition service (Maybe My Maths) etc... through school - so that he can work on more challening maths (more student lead admittedly) himself during math lessons on topics he clearly has mastered.

2) going up a year for maths lessons. Several schools in our LEA actually have high ability children go up a year for math lessons and time the lessons so that both classes have maths at coinciding times - limiting lost class time in other areas.

3) going off plan (which was our solution in the end). Some schools just won't meet you half way. If this is a real concern the solution may be to sign up to something at home (Mathswhizz/ Mathletics/ Mathsfactor/ etc... - all discussed repeatedly (sometimes heatedly) here on Mumsnet - just google names for links). All of these have free trials - and many (myself included) have found these a real solution to moving maths tuition forward when the school was not particularly helpful.

One piece of weaponry you should take into battle with you is that according to OFSTED schools are as obliged to support learning for high ability pupils as they are for low ability pupils. Although I totally respect that teachers can be presented with such a wide range of abilities that it really can be difficult to devise lessons that meet all needs. I'm afraid I am of the opinion that the solution is good planning and good managerial oversight that low/ middle/ high ability students are adequately catered for in lessons.

There are a few websites that have been very helpful for us that I would heartily recommend:

Woodlands Junior School has a lovely website to support maths:

Finally if you haven't had an explore - do visit NRICH Maths: - it's created by Cambridge University and has all sorts of activities/ games to really get you thinking.


anice Thu 08-Nov-12 12:06:17

Thanks everyone for your replies. I confided in another mother at the school gates this morning that I'd asked for a meeting but am being ignored. She was shocked and agreed with me that it seemed unlike the (recently-promoted) head to do something like this.

I actually bumped into the HT yesterday and I thought seeing me might have prompted her to remember to book the meeting, but it didn't. I didn't want to raise it as DS was there too.

I'm going to wait until Monday and then email the head direct just in case the secretary-dragon hasn't passed on the request.

It does seem obvious that a school should teach all the children but I really don't want a war with the school over this, so if it transpires that they won't, then I will teach DS at home.

I'm hesitating to do this because I moved DS from the previous school when his year 2 teacher did the same thing. Then when I started to home-teach him in the evenings instead to keep his enthusiasm up, the deputy-head told me to stop. Poor DS was stuck in the middle so i did stop but I started looking for a new school. Then I found this current school and I thought it would be ok, but now here we go again!

(BTW DS was the only level 3 child the previous school got for KS1 SATS).

This is why i am so very keen not to fall out with the school over this.

I wish I was making this up. I keep thinking I must have misunderstood, but the teacher's words were extremely clear.

Seeline Thu 08-Nov-12 14:43:47

They should be able to provide some sort of extension work. At my DCs school in y3 - y6, the best mathematicians from each class are taken across the year group and given an enrichment session once a week. My DS loved it.

mummytime Thu 08-Nov-12 15:03:00

Are you sure the head even knows you wanted to see her? It could be a receptionist issue.
The teacher also fobbed you off, part of her job into provide suitably "differentiated" work for all pupils. It is hard, but its part of the job.

admission Thu 08-Nov-12 15:29:49

I agree with mummytime, this is beginning to sound like a "protector" who is exceeding their job requirements. Email the head directly and see what happens.

teacherwith2kids Thu 08-Nov-12 18:06:55

I'm with admission - it may well be that the head knows nothing about your requests. E-mail directly - or give her a sealed letter in person if you are likely to bump into her but can't speak because your child is there.

(If only the office address is given on e.g newsletters / websites - the head's e-mail is very frequently exactly the same except with head@..... rather than office@.... )

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