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What can you do if you disagree with school?

(65 Posts)
yummumto3girls Mon 22-Jul-13 22:54:55

Long story, small school, 5 classes, 7 year groups so children stay in same class twice during their time at primary school. My DD is staying in same class this year when we were expecting her to go up. The criteria used to select children are vague and subjective rather than based in optional SAT's and grades and we are very unhappy that she is 1 of 9 staying in her class when we strongly believe that several of the children who have gone up have lower grades than ours. We are happy to be corrected but have written to Head and Governors and they are just not answering our questions to assure us that a decision has been made objectively. DD will be yr 5 so next year is a really important year for her as we want her to sit 11+. We accept she won't change class we just want the school to provide the facts and figures. Plus they have now asked us, and three other parents who have complained, that we must confirm we want her school place by 9am Wednesday, which feels like bullying for making a complaint. So where can I go with this now? Ofsted? Who is there to help us parents?

insanityscratching Wed 24-Jul-13 12:59:31

Yummo you say the teachers have said her results were not a true reflection of her abilities Do you think that maybe her test put her ninth but on a day to day basis she doesn't perform as well and so isn't meeting the literacy criteria anyway?
Why do you say kept down? At dd's school they move classes there is no up or down mentioned.

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 14:43:28

Zipzap - yes I don't think the teacher really liked my DD, she was always getting told off for things that she hadn't done (and for things she had done!). Other children would be messing around and because they would make my DD laugh she would be told off. She had excelled throughout school and always been above average, but certainly not top of the class, yet in this class it has ground to a halt and she has barely made one sub level progress in numeracy, despite me asking from September for her to be in maths booster groups but was told she didnt need it, surprise end of year very little progress. That's how all this started, I had a meeting to discuss her optional Sats results and why little progress so we could work together. Was told about a month before rest of class what class she was to be in, which obviously I kept confidential. I don't think this teacher works in the best interests of my child, or indeed gets the best out of my child. As next year is an important year for her I want her to have the best opportunity of succeeding, and that's not going to happen If she stays in this class.

Mrsz - the school told me she was 9th in Sats, so they can't have a criteria and then choose to ignore it, or at least explain to me why.

Just to be clear ALL classes are composite classes, so for her it's the difference from being in a mixed yr 5/6 class or a 4/5 class. I know they say it's not moving up or down but at our school there are some very clear differences between how a year 5 would be treated in one class to the other, which should not be the case. A year 5 should be treated the same wherever they are.

Anyway trust and confidence in the school has broken down and it's best we move on, that's until DD3 is due to start next year!

Kilmer - I know they can't teach to 11+, that's my job, but I can make sure that she is getting the best education to underpin this.

Thanks for all your comments everyone. We break up today, this situation has haunted me for 6 weeks now, on top of many other stressful issues. I'm glad we have made a decision and we have to stick to it, who knows whether it's the right one but that applies to us all. DD excited about new school and is spending the day saying goodbye, autograph book and camera. Off to collect her now, going to be very difficult and sad as have spent 8 years at the school since DD1 started.

GreenShadow Wed 24-Jul-13 16:59:50

This is why our primary school splits mixed age group classes purely on age, with no exceptions, however gifted the DC is.

There were some objections when they changed from an ability-based split, but it does stop the kind of issues above.

What they do do with very gifted children is sometimes move them up to the next class just for literacy or numeracy depending on their talents which seems to work.

clam Wed 24-Jul-13 17:37:44

I think splitting according to age alone is unnecessarily divisive. Why would you want to deliberately split good friendship groups if there's no real reason to? I mean, in any jumble-up there's going to be some collateral damage, but at least try to keep some groups/pairings together.

insanityscratching Wed 24-Jul-13 18:33:07

Plus isn't it better to take the children's personalities and needs into account? There are three y5/6 teachers in dd's school, the one whose class she has been in this year and will be next year has suited dd down to the ground. The other two whilst I'm sure are equally good teachers dd would have struggled with because one is very spontaneous and dd needs routines and calm and the other is very loud purely because he's a large man with a big voice. Dd's autism and sensory issues means that loud is painful to her. So splitting by age would have been disastrous for her if she had been allocated the "wrong" teacher.

GreenShadow Wed 24-Jul-13 21:49:23

It seems to work pretty well clam and insanity. I wasn't aware of any disagreement in my time there.

I think if everyone knows how the split will be implemented well in advance and it is not subjective, you don't tend to get complaints. Maybe they would make allowances for cases like your DD insanity, but I was never aware of any such requests while we were there.

NumptyNu Wed 24-Jul-13 22:45:01

Clam - our school deliberately split close friendship groups to encourage socialization. I still can't get my head around it, but am an amateur to this school lark (DD end reception). Isn't it natural to have a best buddy? Perhaps one of the pros can shed some light?

clam Wed 24-Jul-13 23:05:44

Sometimes there is a close friendship that has become unhealthy in some way - maybe one child is too dominant, or a parent has requested the children be split but prefers that request to be kept private to avoid awkwardness amongst the families. But other than that, if there's no problem in the pairing/grouping, why split it? Although once you've put all the names into the melting pot, it's a bloody nightmare to balance the classes. There are so many considerations (gender, ability, age, social needs, friendship groups, teacher expertise etc..) and sometimes you do have to split an otherwise nice group to make it all work.

ReallyTired Wed 24-Jul-13 23:28:22

It is hard for a parent to be realistic about their child's academic ablities. Some children will never be grammar school material and coaching them for the grammar or putting them in a private school does them a diservice in the long term. Most grammar schools take the top 20% of children at the very most. (In some cases its the top 3%) A child needs the natural intelligence to keep up with the fierce pace of learning.

My son's year 6 class had a HUGE range of ablitites. Thankfully his school has no mixed age classes. The bottom table count on their fingers and the top table are doing level 6 work. I suspect that a mixed year 5/6 class would not have that much bigger spread in ablities.

I think it would be horrible to make a split puerly on ablitiy. Year 6 girls children can be really immature and catty. Can you imagine the potential bullying in the playground of child A making fun of the fact that child B has been kept down a year for being thick.

MidniteScribbler Thu 25-Jul-13 03:13:54

OP, is that you're daughter is actually with the teacher that she hasn't clicked with, rather than the grouping she has been assigned to? In which case, that is a completely separate issue.

soapboxqueen Thu 25-Jul-13 07:47:23

I was going to say similar midnite. This sounds more like an issue with the teacher rather than the set up.

yummumto3girls Thu 25-Jul-13 13:43:48

Hi guys. Really interesting to see how other schools work and their criteria. I do think that if the criteria are clear, largely objective and transparent and clearly communicated to parents well in advance then chances of disgruntlement are reduced. If children who should be doing well are then not doing well that should be communicated so there are no end of term surprises in class decisions. Totally agree about friendships, some are unhealthy and need splitting up but surely in order to learn a child must be happy, and to most friendship is a huge part of that. There are 5 parents in this class that have complained so something has clearly gone wrong. Yes as much as I like the teacher as a person I don't like her as a teacher for reasons already stated. The decision is made now, school has finished, one tearful daughter and one equally tearful mum! Still we must look forward and be positive.

ShoeWhore Thu 25-Jul-13 15:39:02

I understand your dd has specific needs insanity but most children don't. And in a single form entry school you are stuck with whatever kids are in your intake and are taught by every teacher.

Our school rarely has to split years but when it does it is done by age - very hard to argue about. And very easy for the children to understand.

Agree with reallytired about the likely spread of abilities across a mixed v single year class.

NewNameForNewTerm Thu 25-Jul-13 15:46:08

insanityscratching Thu 25-Jul-13 17:56:34

I chose dd's school because of there being more than one class a year for that reason after removing dd from a small school. Dd's school works on getting a good mix of children with the right teacher rather than an age split and it seems to work there. Dd next year will be in a pure y6 class (because the school has been extended by two more classrooms) but with the same teacher so that will be new to her but don't anticipate any problems. Streaming and specialist teachers for other lessons means that the class is rarely taught as a whole class anyway tbh.

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