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After School Events

(22 Posts)
SchoolWhizz Thu 04-Dec-14 18:46:28

DD plays in a music group at school. On Monday she came home with a note in her music book that said "Christmas concert, Thursday 11th December". DD explained that the music group was playing in the school Christmas concert. This was the first we'd heard of said concert, so we asked what time it was and if parents could come. DD didn't know. We assumed it must be in school time and no parents or we would have been told otherwise.

Fast forward to today and DD has brought home a letter which says the school Christmas concert will take place on Thursday 11th December at 6.30pm and families may request up to 2 tickets. We are now assuming this is the concert that she is playing in.

Questions

- is it reasonable to expect the school to have actually TOLD us properly that DD was playing in said concert (their music group is run by a peri teacher who's not even a member of school staff) and (more pertinently) have checked that she could actually come? (as it happens we have other commitments that night which DH is loathe to unpick on the basis that we don't even officially know that DD is playing in the concert and we haven't said she can come)

- should the school have obtained formal permission for a child to attend an out of school event?

We would like to complain to school about the way this has been handled (and yes, we realise this is an extra, and are grateful to the staff for giving up time, but it should have been organised so much better ...) but want to know if we have unreasonable expectations!

Nyborg Thu 04-Dec-14 18:49:23

How old is your DD? Unless she's very young, I'm surprised that she doesn't know the answer to your questions. And I think very few schools would expect to need to seek consent for a child taking music lessons in school to participate in the Christmas concert. For most, the whole term builds towards it and you couldn't keep the child and its parents away if your life depended on it.

meglet Thu 04-Dec-14 18:51:25

It sounds like poor organisation on the schools part. We know all the dates for evening performances (and every event) at the end of the previous academic year. So we had all the Sept 13 - July 14 evening dates in July 13.

Your dd's school is running a big risk of lots of kids not being able to go at such short notice.

AliMonkey Thu 04-Dec-14 18:58:28

We had similar issue re music concert run by peri teacher. It's just bad communication but if arranged by peri teacher then it's not necessarily school's problem. But annoyed me as in our case it meant that from potential 20 players only 4 turned up - and I had to make several phone calls before I had enough information to know where she had to be and when and whether we were expected to come.

Suggest you mention to school but in a way that suggests they could help get peri teacher more organised rather than it is their fault.

SchoolWhizz Thu 04-Dec-14 18:58:54

DD is 8. She didn't know the answers to the questions (and she is reliable) because no one has told her. This is the first year of having a music group, and they are not playing Christmas tunes, so I had no expectation of them playing at a school Christmas anything.

The Christmas concert, when it happens, which is not every year ,has always previously just consisted of the choir singing songs interspersed by children reading poems. I'd not paid any attention to whether there was one as I don't have children in the choir. We've also had no general note home with the date on - I literally didn't realise there was a concert until the note in DD's book.

I imagine the school's expectation is that parents will drop everything so their DCs can come (and tbh when it was just the choir, there were so many that if lots couldn't come it didn't really matter).

Everything at school is short notice, so while that bothers me it's not unexpected - it's just the fact that we are expected to work out by Chinese whispers that our DC are involved in something. Do schools actually have a requirement to formally seek permission?

JennyBlueWren Thu 04-Dec-14 20:40:13

I know someone else put up on here about amount of notice given for events. I responded that as a teacher I try to give plenty of notice but sometimes get little myself. On Tuesday I discovered (by reading the letter for parents) that we had a different date and time for a show from the one I had been told and had told parents about -and which had been agreed with management! Parents understandably upset as they'd taken time off work for the original performance time and date.

Some schools need to improve their organisation and communication!

Wellthen Sat 06-Dec-14 20:40:40

They dont need permission because if you didn't want your child to attend then presumably you wouldn't take them? They fact you are dropping them off there is your permission.

However it is completely reasonable to be annoyed. It sounds like the peri was asked at the last minute and agreed without thinking about it. But I don't think its the schools fault - the peri is in charge of her kids, she needs to sort that out. I think its her you need to speak to. Our school has one main peri and she's a nightmare so you have my sympathies.

jgjgjg Sat 06-Dec-14 21:39:25

Is this scool in Croydon by any chance? Otherwise it's a huge coincidence but my son's music concert is also on Thursday 18th at 6.30pm. If it's the same school, the concert has been on the school calender since the beginning of term. It's hardly a suprise that your Upper Junior child has been asked to appear in the Upper Junior concert surely?

MirandaWest Sat 06-Dec-14 21:42:01

The OP says her DDs concert is on the 11th December, so it's probably a different one

jgjgjg Sat 06-Dec-14 22:19:16

Sorry my mistake, I mistyped. Ours is on Thursday 11th December at 6.30pm also, we also just had a letter home a couple of days ago (from head of music) asking us to request a number of tickets, various music groups performing led by the relevant peri music teachers (guitar group, cello group, etc) plus Junior orchestra and choir. But yes it might just be a coincidence.

SchoolWhizz Sun 07-Dec-14 10:59:30

No, we're not in Croydon. The school doesn't have a school calendar, and this event was not announced on any school newsletter. There was no way for me to know of its existence.

I think some people are thinking this is a whole school event and thinking it's odd that I didn't work out it was going on It's not. It's always previously been an event just for the school choir and it doesn't run every year. I don't have DC in the choir this year, so I was unaware that the concert was taking place, and wouldn't have been interested anyway as, as I said, it's always previously just been a school choir event. It's only this year it seems like the school has chosen to add musicians (the event is coordinated by school music teacher, so think there has been a communication breakdwon between her and the peri teacher).

AuntieStella Sun 07-Dec-14 11:15:18

I think schools do sometimes forget to look at their communication from the PoV of a parent.

The school must have known that the concert was booked and what is planned to be in it. They will also need a certain number of staff to be there to ensure smooth running. Would those staff have been contacted only one week before the event? I very much doubt it.

Parents need to be given a similar level of consideration when events are outside normal school hours.

And if there is a specific small-group performance within a concert, the performers should definitely have been told about the performance time. It's a bit off for a child to be set to practice performance pieces if they aren't going to be performing. And if lots cannot go, the performance will be a bit ropey which isn't great for the rest of the group.

Someone asked the peri teacher to do these rehearsals. It is a shame that that someone did not think a bit harder about what good communication for such an event would actually look like.

Now, there is always a possibility that a letter went astray at some point. So I'd be tempted to write explaining that on only one week's notice it is impossible for DD to be there, and ask explicitly why parents were not given more notice. It's quite a different if a notification didn't reach you, rather than nothing was provided.

And it's never good enough for a school to expect parents to know that something is done every year. Even if nothing ever changes, dates need to be confirmed in good time.

MidniteScribbler Sun 07-Dec-14 21:30:52

This particular event does sound badly organised, but when it comes to outside of school hour events, then you can't please all people, all of the time. I'll bet any money you like that the reason that this happened at the last minute and the band is now playing is because some parent of a child in the band has become upset that the choir get to sing at the concert and the band does not, so they've decided to allow the band to play as well. Just say you can't make it, and move on.

BackforGood Mon 08-Dec-14 00:13:31

You were notified on 1st December though. For many parents 10 days would be plenty of time to make arrangements to get to a concert at 6.30.

I suspect if you are doing something on that night that takes priority, then it would still have taken priority if you were given an extra week or fortnight's notice.

IME peri's teach in several schools, there could be 101 reasons why it was difficult for them to give more notice - they might not have been invited by the school in time, or they might have been trying to tie up arrangements in 5 different schools, all of which will want their concerts in the same week. Don't forget they will also all have been co-ordinating exams in November and often accompanying their pupils too, so they wouldn't be able to focus on Christmas until after that.

However, if you can't make it, then, as others have said, put it in a note (e-mail / letter / note in bag - whatever works in your school) to say your dd can't make it, and it's a shame as you'd like to have heard her and supported the concert, but the short notice has meant you already have other commitments. You can ask then that in future could they give you more notice.

SchoolWhizz Mon 08-Dec-14 12:26:21

BackForGood I wasn't notified on the 1st though. On the 1st I was told there was a concert, that I assuemd to be in school time as are the majority of this school's events. I got precisely a week's notice of the fact that there was an evening concert, and even then it was a general letter to parents and no mention that of the fact that DD was playing in it (in fact I have sent DD to school today to check for sure that she is ...).

I think a lot of parents would struggle to support a very short notice event just before Christmas.

DD is the only person playing her particular part in one piece and is desparate to play so we are poised to unpick 0our previous arrangements so she can. Presumably the group would just have to have muddled on without one part if we'd not been able to do this.

Seeline Mon 08-Dec-14 12:30:43

I think I would have rung the school after having seen the note in my DCs music book and asked for clarification.....

BackforGood Mon 08-Dec-14 14:03:17

Quite, seeline.
If your dc plays an instrument, and then comes home with a letter about a concert, I think most people would put 2 and 2 together.

If you weren't certain then - and your dd couldn't confirm it - you could have contacted the school to ask for clarification at that point.

SchoolWhizz Mon 08-Dec-14 17:07:08

She didn't come home with a letter (well not till Thursday). She had a scribbled note in her music book which just said concert and the date (no time).

I did put 2 and 2 together and imagined a music session in school time - because the majority of school events are in school time. I haven't been to an evening event at Christmas at the school for over 2 years so not sure why I would assume there was one on this year.

Incidentally, DS also plays an instrument and also brought home a letter about the same concert and he isn't playing in it (well unless that is sprung on me tomorrow) so putting 2 and 2 together and imagining him at the concert wouldn't help.

The school office is not very good at providing information (they tend to tell you someone will ring you back and then no one ever does).

Today DD has come home with a letter which says "your child has been chosen to play in the school concert ...". Maybe others think 3 days "proper" notice is good enough, I think it's pretty poor.

BackforGood Mon 08-Dec-14 20:51:30

Well a personalised note is even more specific, than a letter which could, theoretically, have gone out to all pupils.
You're clearly not happy and that's your prerogative of course, but people are just pointing out to you that the rest of the world can't always be geared to fit comfortably in with any one family's arrangements.
In a busy family, there will be clashes all the time, and this tends to get magnified at Christmas. It's a bit frustrating, but hardly worth complaining to the school about.

pusspusslet Tue 09-Dec-14 14:13:22

Well, OP, and for what it's worth, I think you're absolutely entitled to be annoyed. Three days' notice to parents of a Christmas concert out of school hours is ridiculous, IMO, and quite clearly the result of a total lack of organisation on the part of the school. The fact that they don't have a school calendar seems like more evidence of the same.

steppemum Tue 09-Dec-14 14:37:52

OP - we have had this from school as well. One year dd sang in the choir, we had a note on Monday, about evening concert in townhall in 6 days time, please reply if you want tickets - at £5 each. No other information at all.

That was one of many zero notice events. Every time I enclosed a note with the reply form complaining about lack of notice for events, both to ensure dc are free, (and at this time of year , with Brownie parties etc, there is no guarantee we can get them there) and to arrange child care etc so that we could go and watch.
It is also zero notice over dressing up days etc.

This is a massive on-going problem with the school. I have spoken up many times, it is slowly slowly changing. This term, with new head we had a diary for the term. At last!

Speak up, be clear about what you want. I have said dressing up days etc need one weeks notice, or at least over a weekend. For evening events, we need a couple of weeks, or more if necessary and any event that is known to school, should be on the diary.

MillyMollyMama Tue 09-Dec-14 15:37:10

When my children learn instruments and sang, I expected them to do something at Christmas and would have asked myself if nothing came home. However our schools were far more organised than this. It is such a shame that this teacher is making an effort to organise something musical in school but is not supported by parents due to lack of notice. I never missed my children doing anything and planned my social calendar around the school. Sometimes parents just have to drop things to support their children.

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