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Partnership with parents - does it exist?

(17 Posts)
thegamesafoot Sat 27-Jul-13 13:00:52

Basically feeling that it doesn't exist at DC's school and wondering if this is normal? I am not the only mum to feel this way but are our expectations too high (wanting a two way flow of information and for targets to be shared with parents (without needing to ask) and for them to be specific and relevant)?

If you feel your school does it well how do they do it?

If you're not happy with how your school does it, why not?

Is there a difference between state and private?

I've looked for info about how schools should be doing it and not come up with anything useful - does guidance exist or is it just up to schools to decide whether and how they engage with parents?

soapboxqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 13:39:57

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. There is often best practise guidance but not everyone might agree with that anyway.

We are always available for parents, send targets etc home but the parents weren't interested and complained that too much stuff was being sent home.

I think discussion needs to be had between schools and the parents to decide what is wanted and what is practicabley possible

NewNameForNewTerm Sat 27-Jul-13 14:08:38

Depends just how much you want. I strongly agree with parent partnership. It is important to provide information and ensure parents understand what the school is doing and how they can support their child. But when I am spending hours and hours each week emailing parents, writing letters to say what we are doing each week (and even lesson) , filling in daily home/school communication books X30, it takes my time away from what should be my core purpose; providing the best teaching and learning for the children.

AbbyR1973 Sat 27-Jul-13 14:48:23

Yes I think there is at the school DC's go to but then it's a small village school with only 12-15 per year group. It's very family friendly. The KS1 trip this year was to the beach- pre-school were invited with parents and lots of other parents came down at lunchtime to enjoy the picnic. It was really lovely. The teachers are very generous with their time, talking to parents and I think we appreciate it. I wouldn't want to be emailing teachers- that seems more demanding of them and I think it's important as a parent to be aware of the teacher having other things they need to do and avoid taking up too much of their time.

Svrider Sat 27-Jul-13 15:20:24

Not at my school
The only parents who are involved are those who are able to go into class and help regularly
As I work I am unable to do this
They seem to have taken this to mean I don't need to be informed about any issues at school hmm

There are several examples of this, one where only the school based parents are allowed to accompany children on school trips/ help at sports day etc.

My dd2 went to year 1 with an excellent reception report
I've literally just found out by her end of year report that she is now behind with reading and writing
Nothing in the way of communication before this
Reports given out on last day of term!

exoticfruits Sat 27-Jul-13 15:38:04

It is very poor to give the reports out on the last day of term-you need time to get back to them and not have to wait until September and a different teacher.
I have always found DCs schools very good with curriculum news at the start of terms, regular newsletters, and a record book that you can exchange comments and teachers that you can pop in and see at the end of the day-or email.

TeenAndTween Sat 27-Jul-13 16:57:23

Svrider There are several examples of this, one where only the school based parents are allowed to accompany children on school trips/ help at sports day etc

Reasons why this may occur:
- CRB checks. Parents who help in school will almost certainly have had CRB checks done. This then makes it easier for the school to utilise them for school trips. (Why use a non-CRB when you can have a CRB)
- Children knowing the adults (and vice versa). If the children are familiar with the adult (and vice versa) it makes looking after the children easier. It is so much easier to say 'George don't do that!', than it is to say 'hey you with the crown on, don't do that!'.
- Ease of access / availability. If a parent is around at school it is easier to ask them to accompany a trip.
- Experience. I get asked to accompany trips, walks to church etc because I am a known quantity and a 'safe pair of hands'. The teachers at DD's school know that I understand: road crossing technique, walking along roads, nicities to do with looking after a group etc. They also know I am not afraid to be authoritative when I need to be, and I also won't spend half the time chatting with my DD rather than doing what I'm there for. (In fact I request not to have DD in my group).

Of course when it comes to education the school should make sure you are informed of anything relevant. A report should contain no unexpected bad news. Additionally, I never discuss my own DD's progress when in school helping. If I need to do this I ask for an appointment.

thegamesafoot Sat 27-Jul-13 17:14:11

Thanks to all those that have replied so far smile

Sounds variable which I guess is no surprise! I also get that some parents are not that interested which is disheartening for teachers if you're spending time sending home good quality info.

Soapbox & Newname how often do you set targets for the children in your class and how often do you send them home?

NewNameForNewTerm Sat 27-Jul-13 17:25:58

Targets go out to parents termly to coincide with parents evening so we can discuss them if they wish. Children also have short term targets that can change on a weekly (or even daily) basis. These are written in the child's writing / maths book or recorded in their reading log books. They are short term targets that get amended as soon as a child has achieved it. e.g. use different connectives instead of "and" in your next piece of writing.
All staff take the children out at the end of every day and are available in the playground for quick, informal chats. Parents often come back into school with us for a 5 minute meeting or book one if we can't see a parent then and there.

soapboxqueen Sat 27-Jul-13 17:46:07

our targets were done every half term and sent home once set.

not sure what is happening now though. I'm just back from maternity leave and we have a new head.

Elibean Sat 27-Jul-13 17:55:30

Yes, our school excels on this front - and you have every right to expect a two way flow of communication, OP.

Our school is still catching up with rapidly increasing numbers of working parents (four years ago, they were a tiny minority - no longer). But the website is hugely informative, and events and assemblies are shared with parents via videos and photos, as well as links to class news, a whole school calendar, PTA news etc.

Parentmail is used for all announcements, and backed up by texts for urgent/short notice news. We have a Twitter feed on the website, so parents with kids on school trips get up to date photos/info.

There are loads of opportunities for parents to come into school, evening as well as day time, so nearly all parents have the chance to feel and be involved at some point during the term.

Our Head runs 'whole school homework challenges' which kids can opt to do or not, and which they do at home with parents - so parents are involved with that.

Parent evenings are arranged so that anyone who can't make it gets an alternative appointment. Targets are always discussed at parent consultation evenings, and all kids know their targets and take home certificates to show when they've reached them.

I could go on...but basically, if the desire is there, there are ways. We were OFSTEDed recently, and parental involvement was way up there. We had an unprecedented number of responses on Parentview, which probably reflects how involved parents feel.

thegamesafoot Sat 27-Jul-13 19:25:06

That all sounds really positive - if only it was a requirement rather than more of a lottery. It just never occurred to me to ask, when visiting schools, how much information they share with parents regarding progress etc.

Elibean - have you always felt that the targets set were relevant, as this has been another issue flagged up by parents at DCs school?

pollywollydoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 19:45:50

our school emphasises the 3 way relationship between parents, school and child.
we all have a meeting every term. reports before each of those. the first is a brief roundup of where the child is at,the last is full with comments on characte,effort and attainment grades for all subjects, the middle is somewhere in between

every half term school gives a laminated "goals" card out

each year has a transition meeting, telling parents and children what to expect next year and describing a summer homework project

there are newsletters at the start of each term.

I've always felt staff were accessible (the head/ deputy roam around at drop off) and take what parents and children say seriously.

state school

pollywollydoodle Sat 27-Jul-13 19:47:37

oh and there is a good webdite, parentmail and an online payment sydtem

mrsshackleton Tue 30-Jul-13 10:42:10

I have one dc at state and one at private primary. Both schools are excellent at communication, but that state one probably has the edge, does many of the things Elibean's and pollywollydoodle's does, email updates, great website etc.

The private school has slightly more of a "leave us alone, we know what we're doing attitude" but I still couldn't fault it as they are always very quick to respond to concerns. Their school reports are better, more detailed and less obviously written with large chunks of pasted text though state's ones improved drastically this year.

Elibean Tue 30-Jul-13 18:17:58

thegames yes, mostly the targets are relevant - especially as they get older. The first few targets in KS1 are fairly standard, I think, but then so is the learning process - at least, dd2's is pretty straightforward.

BackforGood Wed 31-Jul-13 18:18:29

My youngest is just leaving Yr6 - state school
I would say the partnership was excellent, but then, I don't feel I need to know the miniature of day to day stuff going on in the classroom - I trust the teachers there.
We do have targets shared with us at Parents' Evenings (3 a year, and the middle one you see the 'sets' teachers for maths and English), but quite frankly it's not something I've ever memorised.
If you are concerned about anything, then the staff are all very willing to talk to you at the end of the school day - you only have to ask at the office. We are lucky that many of the teachers give up their own time to run clubs and sports teams so they might not be available at that time, but will ring you or meet you another day.
We have a very welcoming HT who will see you whenever you ask (obviously if she's not already in another meeting) and there is an open Parents' Forum you can go to which meets half termly. They are very responsive to anything Parents can suggest (keeping in mind that there are a lot of parents at the school and people obviously all have different views.)

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