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I have a meeting with ds1's class teacher and head teacher on Thursday (Long)

(47 Posts)
SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:11:50

Try to cut a long story short.
I have been having some issues with school this year and have already seen the head once. She was very nice and understanding.
Last week, I sent in a letter about something that happened at the end of last term and she has scheduled the above meeting.
Basically, Ds1 is in yr1. Throughout his reception year, I was led to believe (through school reports and parents evenings etc) that he was an average pupil, obviously with areas of improvement but mostly, fairly average.
At his first parents evening this year (so October) I was told he was way below the national average and infact a whole year behind.
I told the teacher I was a bit suprised to hear that because I thought he was average.
I told her I was happy to support him at home if I could get some guidance on how best to do this and what sort of things to look at at home.
Got the standard answer of reading every day (which we have always done) and that she would send home flash cards of high frequency words.
She sent home 5 words and added another 5 every half term.
She speaks very negatively about him and his work, his attempts and what he can do and focuses a lot on what he can't do.
She told me at the second parents evening that he was on an IEP and that she was reporting on his progress to SENCO.
When I asked why his IEP hadn't been sent home, she said this wasn't necessary (which I know it is). I asked her why I hadn't been informed that SENCO were involved and she said they aren't confused.
I asked her what interventions were in place for ds1, what she does with the information she is given from TA's and how the extra intervention impacts on his learning and she looked at me like confused hmm and didn't really answer my question.
I find her to be negative, blase, and unapproachable. I also don't do the school run so rarely get to see her.
When I saw the head teacher, she told me that she had looked at ds1's file and that he is progressing nicely and if he continues, he will leave yr2 on a 2b which is average and would be fine.
She also said that he was not on an IEP so she wasn't sure why the teacher had said that. She said she would ask the teacher to call me on the phone to discuss this and what I needed to help ds1 at home.
Teacher called the following evening and we got into quite a heated discussion about IEP because she insisted he was on one and I was saying that the head had said not etc etc.
The conversation ended and the SENCO called me to clear up the IEP confusion. Ds1 is not on an IEP and the teacher had confused this with standard pupil targets.
I had no further contact from teacher, no communication about what to do with ds1, so I decided to buy an activity book based on the first 100 HF words. We do some work at home, then I send it to school with a note about how he did. She never responds. Ever.
(stick with me please)
At the end of term, ds1 came home without his glasses, so I called them to ask if we could come and get them.
Dp went back to school, collected them and came home. When he got home, the case was empty, so I called back (I'm at work doing this) saying the case was empty.
I was told he'd taken the empty case in that day. I told them he couldn't have done because he didn't briong the glasses home the previous day.
This was over the phone and the staff memeber said "Mrs Moon, you are not listening to me" at which point I told her that I would come to the school with ds to look for them.
The teacher told me to look at home and then the TA said "Can't you just get him another pair?"
I was furious, but thanked them for allowing us in to look and we left.
I replaced the glasses.
First day back, teacher waves the glasses and case at dp at the door and says the cleaners found them.
Great. But I've got the case at home, so whose case is she trying to palm off as ds1's?
Anyway, I wrote a letter about this saying I was disappointed by the way I had been spoken to. I also included some examples of not feeling confident about what's happening at school.
There are some comments in his reading diary about hings that I think should have been picked up when he's reading there, he comes home with spelling test results although not always had a spelling sheet sent home (they do spelling tests every week after having a practice sheet at home), so gets low mark which will not do any good for his confidence, the teacher is still not communicating with me and I've really got the ump about it all.
Now I have a meeting with both of them and need to figure out exactly what to say and how to say it.
Am I being pathetic or are these valid issues?

zeeboo Sun 21-Apr-13 16:17:31

They all sound very valid. What a useless teacher! The head sounds a bit better so hopefully she'll help you and deal with the teachers attitude!

jennybeadle Sun 21-Apr-13 16:23:03

I totally agree with what zeeboo said.

Furthermore, I am really impressed that you managed to write that all down in such a coherent way. Good luck with the meeting.

Feenie Sun 21-Apr-13 16:23:27

The IEP stuff is ridiculous. How on earth can you have any confidence in the class teacher when she doesn't even know what one is? confused

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:24:15

Thank you zeeb am really hoping I'm not being all PFB smile
Ds1 has been bring a book home about a fox and some goats. It's called The Seven Kids.
The comment in his diary says "good read. try not to read the word wolf instead of fox"
On page 2, it says 'fox' and ds1 reads it as 'fox'. On pages 4/5 there is the picture of the fox, which tbf, does look a little like a wolf and is similar to three little pigs with fox knocking on door asking to be let in, so he looks at picture and then says wolf.
But he reads fox when he sees the word without the picture.
This should have been picked up, right?

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:25:58

Thanks jennie
Exactly Feenie I work in SEN so know exactly what an IEP is.

SoupDragon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:29:13

I think the activity book you do at home is irrelevant TBH. There is surely a good chance it sits in his bag and stays there.

Is the teacher mixing him up with someone else?

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:29:47

The reason for the letter was mostly because the teacher said "I suggest you look at home"
and the TA saying "Can't you just get him another pair?"
Shocking I think.
It wasn't said as a suggestion like, "I have looked everywhere and I just can't think what happened to them. Short of suggesting looking into replacing them, I'm not sure what else can happen" or something like that, it was said in a way that seemed like that was the solution I should have thought of myself. Very rude too, not nicely chatty tone. Rude and dismissive tone.
I put in my letter that myself and ds1 know he needs to take responsibility for his possessions but that as a child who has been assessed as being a whole year behind, I was concerned he may not be getting the support he needs for this.
The spelling test issue, about there not being a sheet of words sent home, this is the 3rd time it's happened this year.

mrspaddy Sun 21-Apr-13 16:31:20

Oh my goodness. I am a teacher, I often write IEP's. I would never, ever deal with a parent like this. It is not respectful at all. What I think is that she must be inexperienced. I think you have a good Principal there but the Principal is not communicating with your teacher. What I recommend is writing all out in bullet points. Say that you are willing to do anything to support your child and don't raise your voice. I think you sound like a great mother. Stick to your guns. Best of luck to you.

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:33:47

Soup I send in photocopied sheets of stuff he's completed at home attached to his rerading diary with a paperclip so they'd have to take it off to get to the diary.
Yes, it may be irrelevant to the issue, but she is not communicating with me on what I can do to help him and support the school in him accessing his education.
I send it in with a note saying something like "these are the words we are looking at at home right now. He recognised such and such words/here is a wordsearch he completed/this is the mini-book he made for the words he is learning2 etc etc because I don't know what to do to help him improve.

chocoluvva Sun 21-Apr-13 16:34:06

Oh dear. I'm not surprised you've no confidence in this teacher!

Take a notebook to the meeting and write notes. If it's possible for your DP to go, that might be useful too. If you think your DS would be better in a different class, raise that as a possibility. Ask to see a couple of his jotters when you get there and say you'd like to know exactly what stage he is at. Ask his teacher how you can support the work she does with the class.

Don't let your DS hear you 'complaining' about his teacher though.

If your DS seems reasonably happy at school then you would be wise not to get his teacher's back up.

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:34:53

Thank you mrsPaddy Ds1's teacher is an older lady (well, older than me. Possibly late 40's early 50's) and has been there for some time.

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:38:07

Chocco Yes, I don't discuss this infront of ds1. Although at the first parents evening, she was happy to speak very negatively of him when he was sitting with us. I had to stop her and ask him to go to the other side of the room. The reason being I obviously don't want that kind of negative talk to damage their relationship (which I know sounds very PFB), so wouldn't do it the other way around.
He says he likes his class and his teacher, I do not want to give him reasons to think there is something wrong.

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:53

I am going to start preparing and making sure I have everything clear in my head before going. I will also photo-copy comments I mentioned in the letter to the head and bullet point what I want to say about each thing.
I just don't want to confuse the issues of ds1's education and how I was spoken to about the glasses situ.

Delayingtactic Sun 21-Apr-13 16:49:03

I think you are being very calm about it. I would be steaming at being given such disparate assessments of my child's progress and my faith would be lost in his teacher.

I would want to leave the meeting with an actual plan of how his progress will be monitored (and who is going to do it), what can be done at home and a clear plan for communication (ideally overseen by the head).

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:52:02

Ok Delay That sounds like a good plan.
Oh, I forgot to mention the icing on the cake......when I was at the school on a rare occasion I can collect ds's, I said to his teacher that I would really appreciate the odd note to let me know what he is doing in class, so if he was looking at (for example) shapes in maths, I could do that too and not odd and even numbers or something (you know so I don't flood him with info that isn't linked to class).
Want to know what she said? "You can google curriculum plans and see it on-line"

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 16:54:46

Ds2 is in the nursery at this school. His teacher/ta every week glues in a paragraph into an exercise book saying "this week we have looked at blah blah blah which the children have mostly enjoyed. Next week our focus witll be on blah blah blah blah"
If they can do it, why can't yr1? Would give us parents a better idea of what to do at home, if we wished to get involved.
Ds1 is also an August born child, so the poor thing is a year behind before he even gets started sad

cansu Sun 21-Apr-13 17:15:01

Rather than focus on issues that are a matter of perception such as you don't like the way she talks to you and think she is negative when she describes what your ds can't do, I would focus on facts and also think about what outcomes you want. If you just want to make clear how pissed off you are with her then go for it. You won't improve the relationship with the teacher and your ds won't get any more help. She will probably pay lip service to your issues and that will be it.

I would focus on what you want so you could say that you need to know what he needs to work on so could you meet teacher so that she can run through what he has done last term that he didn't do so well and also so she can maybe tell you what will be coming up next term so you can start looking at it with him. I don't think you should send in your home activity books to school as that is probably winding her up as she doesn't have time to keep writing back to you and giving her comments. As long as she is marking his school work that should be enough.

It seems to me that you have got off to a bad start with her because she has assessed your ds as being behind when previous teacher said everything was hunky dory. Obviously you would prefer to think everything was great and she is just a negative old bag. She might well be but it's important to stick to the important points. The glasses issue is annoying but is in the past and at the end of the day they were lost and then found again. You have already complained by letter so there is little
point in discussing it again.

I am sympathetic and fwiw my dd has quite a disinterested teacher this year but I stay focused on the important issues as otherwise I will just look like the moaning pfb

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 17:30:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cansu Sun 21-Apr-13 18:05:53

I hope it goes well. I do empathise with you. I have been to lots of difficult meetings at school as my dc have sen and you sound like you've got the right mind set. Try and say something positive to start and then you can sweetly outline your concerns. The more reasonable and calm you are the more difficult it will be for them to dismiss your genuine concerns. If your ds likes the teacher and is happy you could say that to start with and then say you are concerned about his progress and have had difficulty finding out how to help him. You can also then ask if he definitively does or doesn't have an IEP and say that the mix up between the teacher and the senco caused you some worry etc etc . Good luck.

cansu Sun 21-Apr-13 18:06:44

Oh meant to say might be a good idea to follow up meeting with a pleasant email confirming what was said and what was agreed.

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 18:26:01

Thanks cansu. All great ideas that I will try to do.
The last meeting I started very positively by saying that we were happy with the school and felt our children were safe there, that we felt they were cared for and their welfare was paramount.
That I have always felt the support of the school (ds1 was a nightmare to even get in the building when he started the nursery) when I requested it.
The head is new. She started in September. I think she is a power head who was brought in to shape the place up. Although the school has always had good Ofsted reports, it is on the brink of special measures and recently the entire board of Govenors stepped down to make way for a specialist board.
She said herself in previous meeting that she intends to change how things are done at school and there is a lot to be done that will not happen overnight.

Thank you everyone for your reassuring words and tips for the meeting. Has given me things to think about in my preparation.

nextphase Sun 21-Apr-13 18:27:24

Silvery - you know you've mentioned your DS's name in your 17:30 post?

What about starting off with you've had a lot of mixed messages re your son's progress, so what you'd like is a review of where he is, what is lacking, what is going to happen at school, what needs to happen at home, and how your going to communicate the progress (any issues) in both directions?

That way you avoid the possibility of spending the meeting complaining, and leaving no further forward.

Are you sure the spelling lists are going home with the rest of the kids?

SilveryMoon Sun 21-Apr-13 18:33:20

Grrr Thanks next I C&P'd it from the letter I saved. I clearly need to learn to proof read! Fingers crossed the teacher isn't a MNer then!
Good idea about requesting a review of progress.
I will definitely do that and mention that my personal aim for the outcome of the meeting is to have a clear plan of what and how we will communicate his progress/lack of.
No, I'm not sure lists were sent home to other children.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:50:55

You can ask MN to delete the post if you want his name taken out?

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