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So long St. Mediocre

(164 Posts)
PastSellByDate Sat 19-Jul-14 09:12:19

Well it is an end of an era.

I joined MN in 2010 because we'd had about 6 months of trying to get help from the school with our struggling DD1 (May Y2 - slow reader/ barely able to add to 20/ unable to subtract) and the school had pretty much repeatedly told DH & I our expectations were too high - topping it off with the dreadful HT stating:

'What you need to understand Mrs. PSBD, is your DD1 just isn't that bright'.


Do I have issues? Oh boy do I ever!

Have I lost faith in state education - totally!

Low brow



doesn't sum it up.


But here on MN - I have found help. Many teachers & parents have made brilliant suggestions - leading to great websites/ resources/ ideas which have really helped.

DD1 finished Y2 KS1 SATs at NC L1 across the board. She finished Y6 KS2 SATs at NC L5/6. That would never have happened without Mumsnet members answering my questions/ giving their advice to help me help my DD1.

My advice to any who feel in their gut that something is amiss/ the school just isn't doing enough - stick to your guns.

Battling a school isn't easy - and I wouldn't advise it. But know that you can do more at home. The internet hosts a wealth of resources that can really make a difference and MN is brilliant as a place to come and moan/ rant/ scream HELP!!!!!!!!!!! On MN you can vent your anger (which is useful) - and get some positive help.

I know I've had my tiffs with some on PRIMARY TALK over the years - but part of that is that we parents only experience the education system in our small little corners of the UK. What happens in NI/ Wales/ Scotland or England - or even within cities - can be night and day to each other.

I think as parents we need to push for more consistency.

Just as we would expect a medical professional to handle notification of cancer with seriousness and compassion - and would understandably expect information to help us digest the diagnosis and explain our next options...

We need teachers to move toward that kind of professionalism - to be able to tell a parent/ agree with a parent that their child is struggling and provide useful guidance on what to do next.

Leaving a parent to it - is in no way 'professional'.

I take the point that not all parents will take so much interest - but I suspect more parents care about their child's education than teaching professionals give us credit for - and most parents - if wisely directed to useful resources/ methods/ techniques - will follow that guidance and can be a real asset to teachers - putting in those extra hours at home - and may just turn a struggling pupil into a successful one!

Thanks & happy summer everybody!


Wellthen Sat 19-Jul-14 10:20:25

Not being very clever and having cancer are not comparable. Cancer sufferers and parents are not comparable.

It is the schools job to teach your child. It is not their job to teach you to be a teacher.

I'm sorry you have had such a bad experience and I do not doubt that your school has made mistakes. But your sweeping generalisations and constant advice to parents to pick up the slack are offensive to teachers.

When you say 'most parents' what you mean is most good parents, parents who are themselves intelligent and have a good grasp of writing and maths. I deal daily with parents who do not feed their children or wash their clothes and are functionally illiterate so forgive me if I do not agree with your usual teacher bashing.

Smartiepants79 Sat 19-Jul-14 10:31:05

I know nothing about your history but your sweeping generalisations are very rude and do nothing for your cause.
If the school were so awful why on earth did you keep your daughter there?
Parents do not always agree with me and it is not my job, and would be very unprofessional of me, to simply agree with them if I don't see things the way they do. If I see different things in school than they see at home.
Most teachers I know care more about the childrens education than you give them credit for.

stargirl1701 Sat 19-Jul-14 10:37:12

Interesting. A point of Scotland's 'A Curriculum for Excellence' is that it can adapted to local circumstances and be completely different from one school to the next.

Jinsei Sat 19-Jul-14 10:40:10

Well done OP for supporting your dd to achieve what she has achieved. It sounds like you have put a lot of effort into helping her, and it has paid off.

You clearly had a bad experience of primary school, and that's unfortunate. However, your generalisations about the state system are way off the mark. You sound rather bitter tbh, and perhaps that has made you lose all perspective.

insanityscratching Sat 19-Jul-14 10:46:51

I'm sorry you and your dd had a bad time (I would have moved my dc to another school) but it hasn't been my experience with 5dc in twelve different schools. I can think of one teacher I thought was poor (as did most parents and the school itself seeing as they were trying to get rid of her) but most have been good and some have been fantastic and have worked wonders (two children with statements gives you an insight into just how far some teachers go to get the best for all their class) and I'm very grateful.
Hopefully secondary will be a better experience for you both.

isthisanacidtest Sat 19-Jul-14 10:52:24

Honestly? I find your cancer analogy grossly offensive.

You can move your child to a different school. Try other strategies. Help at home. Buy books. Use other resources. Home ed. Even private school.

My father's bowel cancer is killing him. Soon.

He has no other options.

It's really not the same thing at all.

Feenie Sat 19-Jul-14 12:12:25

If the school were so awful why on earth did you keep your daughter there?

^^This. Especially since everyone here told you when she was in Y2 that the school was shit and that you should pull her out.

Congratulations to your dd though - her results are fantastic.

Soveryupset Sat 19-Jul-14 12:36:40

Cancer analogy very unfortunate.

However I do agree about inconsistencies in the system which are unacceptable. Pulling children out isn't always an option, especially in oversubscribed areas.

GoogleyEyes Sat 19-Jul-14 12:46:18

I think you're right about needing more consistency and I've always found your input on other threads really helpful. I do think that St Mediocre has rather shaped your view of school / teachers (as it naturally would) as being crap, when my experience ( and that of many others on mn) is of the opposite.

RaisinBoys Sat 19-Jul-14 15:27:26

I've read many of your posts OP and for the life of me I can't understand why, if the school so dreadful, you didn't move your child. You paint the teachers as uncaring, inept, negligent yet you still made your child endure this on a daily basis?

For some the need to be 'right' is the thing that keeps them going at the expense of everything else. The fight becomes the defining factor.

Your child has clearly done well - some of that credit goes to her school whether or not you want to accept that. The fact that you stayed at the school for a further 4 years demonstrates that. You are in a big city not a rural community with no choice.

My DS is at the end of y6 in a London community primary in a deprived area. We've had our moments - been in to address issues with staff when required. The teachers, without exception, have worked their arses off to ensure that all 500 children, from whatever their starting point, achieve well.
Have they made mistakes? Yes. They have also educated, nurtured and loved many children whose home lives are frankly chaotic.

You do all teachers a disservice when you describe them thus.

Good luck at secondary. Hope you find what you're looking for.

RaisinBoys Sat 19-Jul-14 15:28:49

Well said wellthen

kesstrel Sat 19-Jul-14 16:53:54


Unlike some here, I have found your posts interesting and a useful insight into the small minority of badly run, low performing schools. I think it is important that we don't forget that such schools do exist, and how difficult it can be for parents in that situation, trying to work out what to do.

It's a bit strange to read so many teachers saying "why didn't you move your daughter?", seeming to forget that there are plenty of parents faced with poor schools who don't have that option, or who aren't sufficiently knowledgeable to take it. We need to care about them and their children, too.

QuiteQuietly Sat 19-Jul-14 17:09:39

I don't think the OP is suggesting that being at a crap school is like getting cancer. But state provision for education (just like health services, libraries, roads etc.) varies wildly depending on where you live. The postcode lottery for cancer care is rightfully an outrage, but the postcode lottery for schools is not discussed so much.

Last year I moved my family 100 miles in order to improve our chances in both the health and education postcode lotteries. DH now has better access to rehabilitation for his brain damage and my children no longer attend a school that cannot cope with the behaviour of a small group of children. We could not simply move schools as there were no other spaces in a 10-mile radius and I couldn't home educate as I worked to fund limited private therapy for DH. Not everyone has the "easy" option to move 100 miles.

It is wrong that standards vary so much from place to place. Not every child has a parent like OP who has been able to assist her child. A society with inconsistant educational and health provision only further penalizes those already handicapped from lack of parental advantage.

PSBD I'm glad you were able to move DD2 to a different school and hope that DD1 continues to flourish at secondary. Well done to you for not giving up.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 19-Jul-14 17:11:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Feenie Sat 19-Jul-14 17:41:16

l said Wellthen and Raisinboys.

Feenie Sat 19-Jul-14 17:42:01

Well said. Bloody autocorrect.

Feenie Sat 19-Jul-14 17:49:43

As a teacher, I'm happy to mediocre school bash any time, and have sympathy with those who have no choice. Not sure that was the case here though.

Layla001 Sat 19-Jul-14 17:52:13

Are you saying you are the only reason your child left primary with levels 5/6? And that the teacher/teachers did not help your child succeed?

If you managed, as a non-teacher, to prepare your child across the board of all core subjects PLUS cover the entire syllabus for Level 6 papers then you are truly a genius. You'd need to virtually home school full time to achieve this.

I am a teacher and find your comments wholly insulting.

Petrasmumma Sat 19-Jul-14 17:55:08

Well done, OP, and well done your DD.

I agree: teachers should be under a strict duty to inform you of a problem and offer solutions, even if the support source is outside the immediate school environment.

spanieleyes Sat 19-Jul-14 18:02:01

We are and we do confused

Petrasmumma Sat 19-Jul-14 18:24:42

Spaniel, I'm glad you're one of the good ones.
This isn't enforced in my place of work.

Wellthen Sat 19-Jul-14 18:51:34

Petras - one difficulty is that, to use the op's analogy, you either have a disease or you don't whereas learning difficulties are more subjective. They vary from day to day and situation to situation, have a wide range of manifestations and they are used as either an excuse or criticism.

We are not qualified to diagnose sen. So whilst many teachers may, as you suggest, inform parents of a difficulty they spot, that parent may disagree (sometimes to the point of extreme anger or saying the teacher is lying), other professionals may disagree or it may simply be ignored and not followed up.

When a doctor diagnoses a problem there is a clear treatment path (mostly - I do recognise many people live for years with undiagnosed and untreated conditions). This is not the case with 'difficulties'. I think psbd ends to also consider that the school may not see the same difficulties she does and actually, amazingly, that does not make them wrong.

The doctor analogy annoyed me because op suggested that we are not professional or do not care.

It is not acceptable for a school to ignore anything that prevents a child progressing. It is not acceptable for a school to not try to plug gaps. Well done to psbd for stand b up for herself. But what enranges me about psbds posts is that she is one parent with one situation and yet she advises parents about the state sector as if she has a much wider knowledge. Parents are continually advised to teach their own children as if schools were staffed by hopeless do gooders with half a gcse between them rather than qualified professionals. Psbd always knows better!

Teachers must strive to raise standards and parents must hold them accountable just as patients do with doctors. But people rarely argue with doctors (I'm marrying one!), they accept that they do not have a medical degree or years of practical knowledge. Not so for teachers. So, so much not so.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 19-Jul-14 19:02:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tenderbuttons Sat 19-Jul-14 19:09:40

We've made an escape from our own St Mediocre's too. There are some good teachers, some very good ones who really tried with DD. But then there were also ones who didn't and that, when combined with a head with no spine and no willingness to challenge his staff, was a pretty toxic combination.

We were far from the only ones who left - and funnily enough, those who did were all those whose kids, for whatever reasons, didn't fit the standard mould.

I'm sure all the teachers on here are very good, but that doesn't mean that in places there aren't some really average ones who just get by, quite often because they are in affluent areas and so parents put in a lot of effort.

And, to be honest, I'm not surprised that this happens: the school system is woefully underfunded and class sizes too big. But just because you are a good teacher, it doesn't mean that all teachers are good and so, sadly, I think the OP can generalise. Not least, I suspect, because she's had conversations over the years on here with lots of other people in the same situation.

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