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Unhappy with Headteacher and Reception teacher left with no notice

(15 Posts)
katherine2008 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:22:57

My eldest dd is in reception of our 2nd choice primary - and has been getting on really well - she is bright and supported and also a september birthday, so with a distinct head start. Her teacher is a joy, but yesterday we received a letter saying she was leaving at the end of term (ie today) to be replaced by a team of current teachers, until a new teacher replaces her 4 weeks before the end of the summer term. Today is inset day for Parents meetings so we said our goodbyes and were given an update on dd's progress. It was made clear that the teacher had given plenty of notice and was upset about how and when parents had been told. My feelings about the school have been mixed - when I applied it was an outstanding school, the July before she started it dropped to a '3'. Reception parents have been kept a little at arm's length and the head is a lotta bit patronising. Communication is not great - spelling mistakes and incorrect dates have gone out on newsletters and best not to dwell on the debacle at the pantomime when 3 of the 6 coaches booked to take the kids broke down on the way there....

To cut a boring story short, I asked the teacher if my dd was at the right school, and if I should consider applying to my first choice again - and was sort of told that I am fine in KS1 but not after.

What would you do. Obviously I need to have a meeting with the head, but my instinct is to get her down on a waiting list elsewhere asap. And if I do, I seem to remember that her current school will be notified. Can anyone offer advice?

SapphireMoon Fri 04-Apr-14 11:34:40

Bit out of order of the leaving teacher to say that.
I would speak to Head and chat about your concerns. If you mention what leaving teacher said she may be in trouble [references?].

katherine2008 Fri 04-Apr-14 11:39:38

I trust the teacher far more than the head, and indeed the ofsted reported serious failings in KS2. The head unfortunately is very unfriendly... (and I'd never dob the teacher in it - I asked the question off the record)

SapphireMoon Fri 04-Apr-14 11:42:14

Has the school said what they are doing to address failings in KS2?
By the time your dd gets there all could be hunky dory.
There will be a lot of work going on to improve things after Ofsted cruised in..

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 04-Apr-14 12:05:51

How is you DD getting on? Does she enjoy school? Is she making good progress?

I think it's poor that they didn't give more notice of teacher leaving. BUT moving is disruptive unless you a v good reason for it.

BackforGood Fri 04-Apr-14 12:12:39

Sorry, I'm confused as to why you "obviously need a meeting with the Head" ?

I think it's a shame when schools don't say that staff are leaving, but it's very, very common. Is that what you are upset about ?

or is it the OFSTED report (in which case, weren't there meetings after it had been published?)

katherine2008 Fri 04-Apr-14 12:22:41

There were no meetings after the ofsted report - a letter was sent home.

Yes I am upset about the teacher leaving and the way it was handled, and clearly I am very green about this - as I said - my dd is my eldest and I have no experience of schools apart from my own education. I do understand that this is not uncommon - although I still think it is a totally disrespectful way to treat pupils and parents alike. I would have thought that if I am concerned about the way the school is run then I should probably meet with someone at the school? Or should I just get on with it - is that what everyone else does?

My daughter does enjoy school, and she is settled. I don't want to move her - but I have huge concerns with the KS2 teaching and how the head is moving the school (we are becoming an academy in June). And part of my wonders if it is better to try to move her earlier - but you are right, KS2 teaching may have improved dramatically by then.

SapphireMoon Fri 04-Apr-14 12:35:31

If you feel uncomfortable about meeting Head maybe send email to Head with concerns perhaps asking for meeting to discuss email?
At least then you will not be going in 'cold'.
I do agree, disrespectful not to give more notice to parents if school got notice themselves. Even a week notice would be better.

redskyatnight Fri 04-Apr-14 12:42:53

OK taking your points in order

- whilst the very end of term is extremely short notice, parents don't generally know about teachers leaving well in advance. The school generally likes to give a message of who will replace the teacher as well as just that she is leaving. If you think about it, what could you have done with the information if you'd known a month ago?

- Ofsted testing frameworks have changed - lots of schools are being downgraded for just doing the same old things. I'd be interested in finding out how the school plans to address Ofsted's findings - generally if Ofsted flags something the school immediately start working on it!
What do parents of older children say about KS2?

- Reception parents kept at arm's length - this may be due to the teacher (who is leaving) or it maybe that you are used to having more interaction with teachers at pre-school (it does drop off in Reception).

- head is patronising - is this the way s/he comes over in letters, or have you spoken to them directly about concerns?

- poor spelling etc on newsletters - agree this is not great, but bear in mind these are often produced quickly by admin staff.

- coaches breaking down - surely not the fault of the school?

OhNoYouExpedidnt Fri 04-Apr-14 12:52:42

I would say that if you are unhappy with the school you should see if you can get her in to the school of your choice. It's only foundation stage and won't do her any harm to move for Year 1.

You say eldest daughter which means you will be dealing with the school for a long time if siblings are going to attend too.

The head does make a school and if you don't like the way she runs the school personally I would leave if possible. I say that as a teacher.

Also. I would be very cross not being told that my child's teacher was leaving. I would be even crosser that they are going to go 10 weeks without a replacement. Unfortunately if they can't get a replacement until then then they can get a replacement.

katherine2008 Fri 04-Apr-14 15:06:05

thanks Ohno - I was wondering if I was going a bit mad to be worried. as a teacher, would you know if I should inform the school that I am putting her on another school's waiting list - if that's the decision I make?

BackforGood Fri 04-Apr-14 16:09:17

No, you don't need to inform the school about putting her name on another school's waiting list.

I do think you ought to know though that it's very unlikely there will ever be a school that is perfect in every way, for all your dc, for the duration of the time all your children are there. (I speak as a Mum of 3, the eldest of whom is in Yr13, and having had dc at 5 different schools between them over that time, incl their Nursery school). What you will really, really benefit from is building a good relationship with the school, and, at the same time, stepping back and asking yourself how much of an issue whatever it is that has upset you actually in, in the scheme of things.
I think RedSky's post is excellent. Particularly the point about the amount of contact you get with a Reception teacher working with 30 dc, rather than contact with your dc's Nursery where they have 8 dc per adult, and often adults pick up at different times so it's much easier to just 'have a chat' for no particular reason. It's an adjustment that sometimes comes as a surprise to parents when their eldest starts school.
Also the point about very good schools getting '3' from OFSTED when they are on their latest, narrow mission, and are not actually allowed to go in with an open mind and judge the whole school. That said - obviously we have no idea - your school might not be very good in the Juniors. Why not e-mail, or pop in to Reception, and say you've seen the OFSTED report, and you were wondering if there was someone you could chat to about it, who might give you confidence that this is the best school for your dc to remain at, offering to make an appointment for a convenient time to suit.

adoptmama Fri 04-Apr-14 18:00:44

I think I would not be too concerned about a departing teacher's jab at the school as you don't know the behind the scenes politics. Whilst KS2 may need to improve your DD is not going to be there for several years and there is every likelihood it would have improved and that there will have been further staff changes by then.

The head may have an unfortunate manner but it doesn't mean they are a bad school manager.

It is not unusual to give little notice to parents of staff leaving. It can be quite stressful for departing teachers to have to deal with many weeks of parent questions. It can be equally upsetting for the children too to have it all drawn out. Sometimes a quick break is best.

The buses breaking down cannot be considered the fault of the school.

Typos happen and as communications are often quickly sent and/or one of a hundred other jobs, by itself it does not scream failing school.

I wouldn't change my child from a school she was happy in unless I had very serious concerns about the quality of teaching, her happiness or her safety. Schools can go up and down on Ofsted for the strangest of reasons and I wouldn't necessarily give it that much credence.

katherine2008 Fri 04-Apr-14 19:35:15

thank you for your points and advice and much to think on.

Shouldhavedoneitsooner Fri 04-Apr-14 20:14:46

I wouldn't panic about kS2 now as schools can quickly turn around particularly if they have had a less than good report! Take it on a year by year basis.

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