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DS is year 4, can anyone help me with what to say to school

(12 Posts)
Curlybrunette Sun 08-Feb-15 22:00:58

So, this is a long story I'll apologise now...!

Last year when DS was in Y3, at the end of term parents evening in July, teacher said DS was polite, happy, had friends etc, all v pleasant. At the end of the appointment I asked the teacher what his national curriculum levels were. At this point the teacher started telling me how DS struggled with some of the new concepts and even when she'd tried repeatedly to go over things he wouldn't do them (she said it was more a refusal to try rather than inability). Consequently his NC levels hadn't changed from him leaving Y2 and she said it was too late in the year for them to change. Going into Y3 he was in the top groups for numeracy and literacy (I will state here that I am not bothered if he is in the top group I am happy as long as he is trying his best

I was really cross, I am at school pickup 3 days a week so there is lots of opportunity for her to have spoken to me and said that he was struggling.

Moving on to Y4 I wanted to speak to his new teacher to explain that if DS is struggling then to let me know and I would work with him at home. The problem being that she has been on long term sick since 2013 so he hasn't had a permanent teacher yet. At one point they had 3 different supply teachers a week, he has 2 at the moment.

I feel there is 2 different problems, one being that the school don't seem to be pushing the kids, DS is a happy little boy who gets to go to school with his mates and play loads. I don't think during lesson time he is particularly encouraged. If he can get away with coasting then why wouldn't he?

The other problem is that school is pretty much refusing to speak to parents. The headmistress says that there is nothing they can do about the teacher being on sick (I get it's not their fault) and that the children aren't suffering at all by the lack of permanent teacher, even though the kids told us that they were taught the same lesson 2 days running by 2 different supply teachers.

All I want to do is say to someone who teaches my child that they can grab me in the playground almost any day and let me know what DS has struggled with and I will work with him at home, but they literally will not speak to me. The supply teachers are not at the door at hometime, and the other teachers from the year group say he isn't in their class so they won't speak to me.

The head mistress retired at Xmas, she also refused to speak to any parents about it before she left. The deputy is acting head until March when the new head starts. I've left 2 messages at the office for the deputy to speak to me but again nothing. The head receptionist is a scary lady and I don't think she's even passing the messages on, probably sick of us all moaning all the time!?!

I want to speak to the school but feel I can't formulate my words because I am so frustrated that I'll likely cry. I just want someone to listen to me because half of Y4 is gone, total waste of time so far it seems, and I just want my son to be doing his best.

Can you help me word all my jumble into something logical please!

I apologise again for the length of this post x

christinarossetti Sun 08-Feb-15 22:06:38

Is there a KS2 phase leader? If so, I would approach them about 1.your child's progress and what you can do to help and 2.their plans for covering sickness that involves teachers liaising properly with each other, or preferably just one teacher covering.

Can you e-mail the school so that it's in writing, as well as try to speak to someone?

If not (or no response), put your concerns in writing to the Deputy Head stating that you'll be contacting the Chair of Governors if you don't hear by such and such a date.

If you don't hear, then contact Chair of Governors.

Make sure that you document that you were informed that your ds didn't make 'any progress' during Y3 and you would like to know what progress he has made in Y4 and how you can help.

HesMyLobster Sun 08-Feb-15 22:10:01

I would send an email to the acting head, listing your concerns and requesting a meeting with her and one of the class teachers to discuss them further.
Say that if you don't recieve a reply with a meeting date within a reasonable time (end of week?) that you'd like a copy of the school's complaints policy.

Is there a parents' evening coming up? Most schools have them around now I think?

whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 08-Feb-15 22:13:16

I think you're next step is to complain to the governors. This is too long to be left as it is assuming they are not expecting their regular teacher to be back imminently.

Curlybrunette Sun 08-Feb-15 22:18:12

Thank you for your replies.

Yes emailing seems a good idea, getting past good ole Mrs W on the reception is not working.

Hadn't thought about speaking to the KS2 leader, again thank you.

It's just so disappointing, I've loved the school from day one, couldn't speak highly enough of it, but then I'd never had an issue before. It seems they are great when everything is going well but terrible at handing problems. Hopefully the new head might kick things into touch a bit.

steppeinginto2015 Sun 08-Feb-15 22:26:30

Hi curly,
I am a governor and I am appalled by your schools lack of concern and communication.

firstly, every school should be concerned about progress (as well as levels) Ofsted is very interested that every child makes progress, so your ds should have been flagged up by Christmas last year as not making progress and should have been a point of concern to the school well before easter, which should have then prompted the school to intervene.

As a governing body we regularly see the school's data and lack of progress is flagged up and the head explains what they are doing, so, eg at the moment there is a group of children who are getting extra sessions with the class TA, who is doing some intensive reading with them, as they ar enot making progress with reading.

Now, our school is very hot on this, but every school should be picking up on children slipping through the net.

Second, the long term sick leave - while the school is correct in that they are a bit over the barrel over this - they have no idea when teacher will come back, it is obviously have a serious effect on the class. Again, at our school last year we had a year group who went through 3 teachers and the head called a meeting of parents and told them what should was going to do, and she basically went into that class herself for 50% time from easter til summer, as they were so concerned about the children being messed around.

So, I would ask for a meeting with the head. Stick to your child, explain the issue over lack of progress and information last year and your concern over lack of continuity this year. Ask for her help, see what she says. This should allow her to show you what she plans to do, it starts from a shared problem rather than confrontation.
If you aren't happy with the response, then finish the meeting by thanking her for time and for seeing you, but you don't feel the issues have been addressed and so you will be taking it further.

Then write to chair of governors, say it is a formal complaint about the school, stating again the lack of progress, communication and current lack of continuity. TBH there isn't anything they can do about last year, but the school (not just the individual teacher) should monitor progress and pick up on it, so it is the schools responsibility.
You probably need to separate this year's situation from ds a bit. I think I would focus on this and decide what you want. eg ask for communication to all the parents from the school, for them to guarantee they would employ someone on a short term contract to cover till the summer, or that they would have an experienced teacher over see the delivery of the curriculum so that there is continuity.

hope some of that helps!

steppeinginto2015 Sun 08-Feb-15 22:31:15

whoops bit of an essay blush

Bluepants Sun 08-Feb-15 22:51:28

Well it's hard. Unless they get some kind of continuity with the teaching, things will not change in the short term. In your position, the only changes you can immediately make are those at your end. You can chat with your ds about having a good attitude to school/work, always doing his best. Ask him what he did today and whether he could do it or not. Additionally, I'd get some books off amazon (not sure what, you'd have to ask for recommendations on here but presumably plenty are titled year 4) and do 15 mins of numeracy and 15 mins of literacy per day at home. You'd probably need to incentivise your ds as not many kids would be willing to do extra work just for the sake of it.

Bluepants Sun 08-Feb-15 22:52:47

Personally I'd take this approach as I think doing it through school would require getting blood from a stone.

Curlybrunette Tue 10-Feb-15 21:51:05

Thanks for these responses.

I've emailed the school and am meeting with the head tomorrow.
I feel more hopeful than I did before xmas, the old head wasn't so helpful, tbh think she was ready for retirement so didn't care what happened.
The acting head is lovely, and I've heard good things about the new head that is coming soon.

I've been hesitant about approaching the governors for fear of being that mum that grassed them up but I'll see how tomorrow goes and whether I think I need to.

With regards to your comments about children slipping through the net steppeingin2015 I said this at the farce of a parents evening we had in December (I won't even tell you about this is was so ridiculous). I said how he was being allowed to coast along because it was easy for them. DS doesn't cause them any bother, is polite etc. I said that if he was naughty or disruptive he would be taken aside and given extra help but because he is keeping under the radar he isn't. They denied this. I disagreed.

Bluepants I'll have a look at some books, if I could get some that seemed fun he might go for it, well he will I tell him so anyway!

tara49 Tue 10-Feb-15 23:05:09

Email deputy and governors and demand a full explanation as to why your child hasn't make expected progress. Insist on a face to face consultation and say you would like to see an action plan detailing how they are going to support him to catch up.
Threaten to go to borough and press if you don't get a suitable response and plan and meanwhile look in to moving schools ASAP.

amistillsexy Tue 10-Feb-15 23:09:21

My DSs love the Enchanted English and Magical Maths series if you're looking for workbooks that he might like, OP.

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