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No communication with teachers - is this normal?

(36 Posts)
CC77 Thu 07-Mar-13 20:25:15


My ds started reception 6 months ago and I have some concerns about the school keeping parents at arms length - I'd like to know if you think this is normal, and whether I need to adjust my expectations?

On his 3rd day of school we got a letter banning parents from entering the school building, because they didn't want the classrooms getting too crowded. From that day on, they have stationed a 'gatekeeper' teacher on the door every morning to stop any parent trying to enter the building. I've asked several times and been denied, and all I wanted to do was see my son settled in his first few weeks of school.

On the way to school last term, he fell over and cut his knee open. When we got to the school, I wasn't allowed to go in with him and when I explained the situation, the 'gatekeeper' told my son to go into his classroom as normal and tell his teacher. He wasn't able to make himself heard/understood once in the classroom and he was left untreated.

Finally, he came out of school yesterday with his face covered with cuts and grazes, but all I got by way of explanation was a standard, photocopied slip in his book bag saying he'd had an accident. Seeing him was quite a shock and I can't believe no one thought it appropriate to have a quick word and explain what had happened.

Parents evenings are twice a year and you get to see their work once a term but it's made really clear through letters (and the teachers demeanor!) that this isn't an opportunity to talk to them.

If this doesn't sound right, how should I tackle it without seeming confrontational? I am really shy and hate doing this sort of ting, but I don't feel I can let it go unmentioned as I don't have full confidence my son is being taken care of.

Heifer Fri 08-Mar-13 21:28:27

I thinks it's very common for parents to be kept out of the building BUT at our school EVERY class teacher comes out to meet the children (in lines when the bell goes in the morning or brings the children out to the play ground after school and waits around for each child to be collected therefore we have ample opportunity to have a quick chat if needed.

mummytime Fri 08-Mar-13 21:52:15

Ipadquietly - do you mean to sound so arrogant?

Have you experience of all children who transfer schools? All schools? All circumstances? All backgrounds? All ages? All reasons for transfer?

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 22:15:38

We have about 60% transiency, so yes, I do have experience of children who often transfer from school to school.

The point I am making is that is is very simplistic for an adult to say that they want to move their child (who may be happy at their school) on the basis of 'lack of communication from teachers'.

In doing this, the child's life (which may have been very happy) changes totally. S/he has to make new friends, get used to new teachers and routines, settle into the curriculum (which may be totally different, especially in KS1 with different phonics schemes), the school may be bigger/smaller, expectations may be different - a whole host of things.

The 'finding new friends' is, quite rightly, the top priority for a child, and totally depends on the sociability of the child, the time of year AND the dynamics of the new class. Working to the new teacher's expectations are secondary, and the child can take several months to settle to academic work.

I am not being arrogant - I am actually being empathetic about children who change schools, and it worries me that so many parents on MN seem to bee so willing to put their children through a difficult experience for such trivial reasons.

exoticfruits Fri 08-Mar-13 22:21:27

Obviously you want to encourage the DCs to be more independent, but as a teacher I would like to get to know the parents and have the odd chat- the end of the day being the best time.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:42:50

iPad - where you see high levels of transiency, the children are not all moving due to parental preference over schools are they? Presumably they are moving for work, geographical relocation, family change, other issues such as housing etc. So not really the same issues.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 22:59:05

We have movement due to work/ infant-junior transition/ parental preference. You are right - most are due to work.

However, I find that those children moving due to parental preference (ie. the children were happy at their old schools and saw no reason to leave) are those that find it most difficult to settle.

As an example, I have a child who was moved because 'she wasn't challenged' at her old school. This child thought she could coast at our school and didn't rise to any challenges we set (missing her old friends, not understanding our targets, etc (she's 7!)). It is only within the last 2 weeks that she is showing what she is capable of - 6 months after joining the class.

BonfireOfKleenex Fri 08-Mar-13 23:21:13

I always think it's a real shame when schools shut parents out. Yes it might be 'tidier' for the school but it doesn't benefit school / child / parent / community relationships at all, and relationships and community are a large part of what growing up and education is all about.

I think schools should be penalised by Ofsted if they have this kind of mentality.

ipadquietly Sat 09-Mar-13 00:08:28

They are. Ofsted look at parents' views on 'Parent view' (link on Ofsted website) and will take any communication from parents into account.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 09-Mar-13 07:42:33

Ok, well that explains the reason we disagreed originally, because I see the children with more complex issues taking longest to settle.

bamboostalks Sat 09-Mar-13 08:05:41

The reason that many schools do not allow parental access is simply to do with child protection. Not every teacher knows every parent. They cannot spend their time challenging parents to make sure they are legitimate. In my own school there have been several instances of totally random strangers wanting to access the premises for fairly suspect reasons, theft being the main one. So yes we have a strict parental access policy for the safety of the children.

BonfireOfKleenex Sat 09-Mar-13 11:22:12

Obviously it depends on the layout, but allowing parents into the playground wouldn't give them free access to the school buildings in most cases.

I do think it's good practice for the teachers and TAs to be available in the playground at drop off and pick up time - for the sake of good communication.

It also gives teachers an opportunity to see what is going on when kids are dropped off / picked up which I imagine would help to give a more rounded picture of the child and their behaviour from a professional point of view.

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