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Y1 Class has had 5 teachers since September

(17 Posts)
Cabawill Thu 12-Jan-17 09:21:06

I'm concerned about DD and her progress since starting Y1. They started the year with 2 part time teachers- 1 of which went on maternity at the start of October half term and was replaced by another part timer. The original teacher then left at Christmas, as did the maternity cover to be replaced by a full time teacher which we thought would be great for stability after such a confusing start.

The problem is she is now "not in for a while" and the class has been taken by a TA for a few days and yesterday & today a supply teacher.

Spellings aren't tested regularly and the level they are set at these children were doing in Reception class.

I don't want to be "that parent" as I know the Headteacher cannot control maternity and illness, but this is an Outstanding school and I don't think it's meeting the needs of my DD at present.

What would you do?

bojorojo Thu 12-Jan-17 10:53:28

Oh Gosh! I would be very, very unhappy about this.

The school owes parents an explanation regarding what their plans are for the immediate future and the rest of the year. Given the history, I think parents should be told if this latest teacher is likely to be off for a while, or it is just until the end of the week? As I have said on many threads, Ofsted will see a red mist at this and so should you. Be "that" parent. However, you will probably find there are lots of "those" parents if you look for them! Ask to see the Head. They will wring their hands but this constant change has to stop.

It is extremely difficult to manage classes when there are several maternity leaves and teachers leave. However, the real question is, why are they leaving? (Maternity leave cannot be helped but they do get quite a lot of time to plan for this). Also, why cannot the school get settled staffing in Y1? Is the rest of the school this bad? If it is, my gut reaction would be to leave because it is on a downward spiral.

As a parent, you can do absolutely nothing to help the school. Is there only a single Y1 class? If there is more than one, I would ask whether the school could move another teacher in for part of the week if the current absence is a long one. I also know many schools have supply teachers who are former teachers at the school and know the school and slot invery quickly if they need to. Also, in my experience, when things get this bad, it is possible for a Headteacher to step in and teach. They are, presumably, non-teaching and in a real emergency, with the staffing history in Y1, it would give the children a face they knew and, hopefully, a first class teacher to get everything back on track.

Sadly, with this level of teaching disruption, it will not just be spelling they are not doing - believe me. Who is actually responsible for monitoring progress of all the subjects and making sure all the children are set the work they need to progress? If it is a TA and temp staff, it is likely they will have insufficient skills to ensure all the children make progress. They will be well meaning, but they do not have the insight or knowledge of these children, unless they are very dedicated and skillful. Usually TAs and temp staff cover the lessons that have been prepared by the normal teacher but when it comes to setting the correct level of work, assessing progress and dealing with individual children, they are likely to be less good. You can ask the Head how this aspect of work is being done. I would aslo ask whether the Y1 children are making good progress and ask to see the evidence of your child's progress. I would say very clearly that this level of disruption is not acceptable. I would be worried.

hotdog74 Thu 12-Jan-17 11:06:02

We have a similar situation with our DD year 1 class. Only one teacher at at a time but first lasted 5 weeks, then TA and cover until half term. Replacement lasted 5 weeks before going off ill, 2 different weekly covers until Christmas. Cover for the first week back and now the replacement for original teacher is back again and in since monday of this week.
There was supposed to be parents evening just after half term in November, but of course we didn't have that as no one could give us any feedback, and we got to go in and "see" their books the last week before Christmas after school when I found out that my DD has been having a jolly time doing virtually nothing and much worse writing standard than in Reception.
I know it is just unfortunate with illness, and one of those things, but this week I have to confess that there are prospectuses from all the viable local private schools coming through my letter box and we have been doing much more at home than we were.
We don't even get any spellings so at least you get them! Other than throwing money at the problem I'm not sure what the answer is...............

bojorojo Thu 12-Jan-17 11:34:36

Get the Heads to do some teaching. They are letting these children down. Schools must assess the progress children are making. No Head in this day and age can stand by and cancel parents' evenings and say they cannot given info on progress. They must assess progress. Make a fuss. Look at what Ofsted expect regarding parent engagement and feedback to parents in a well run school. Ask for that to happen. I amot surprised you are looking elsewhere. I would too. Who wants a school where no-one cares and is not professionally run?

user1484226561 Thu 12-Jan-17 15:16:41

contact your MP. The fact that teachers are walking out of the profession by the thousand is down to government policies. There is nothing your Hed can do to find staff to appoint. There aren't any

Cabawill Thu 12-Jan-17 15:24:14

Thanks for the replies everyone. bojorojo you've given me some real structure to what I want to say to the Head so thank you. I have had cause to speak to her before regarding Pupil Premium Plus allocation and she has been good but deflected me and I didn't actually get any solid answers.

There is only one class per year. The other years do have the same teaching staff as last year and many have been there long term (but interspersed with maternity cover as all are women of child bearing age).

The Head did previously teach at this school so I know she has teaching experience. My biggest worry as you have said is that no one at all is monitoring progress and when they get to Y2 there's going to be massive gaps in the knowledge they expect them to have.

Glad to know I'm not overreacting. I have spoken to some other mums and all have expressed concerns, but I don't feel any of them will actually address them and would rather make a big deal between themselves.

I have contacted the school and they have said she will arrange an appointment for early next week

KingLooieCatz Thu 12-Jan-17 16:29:23

Similar but not quite as bad at DS first school. Then when I told them he would be leaving the school the HT said it was a bad idea as DS needed consistency. I bit my tongue. We were moving 450 miles away anyway.

bojorojo Thu 12-Jan-17 20:58:19

The pupil premium is allocated as per their report on their web site. If they are not doing what they say they are or diverting it to other children or not spending it - they can't. They should be precise about what they are doing with the money.
Again, if your child is pp plus the school should be keeping a very close eye on progress. Very close because they are responsible for value for the pp money and this means progress!!!

Primary schools have less recruitment problems than secondary schools. Contacting your MP is a waste of time really. You want a solution for your school not a solution for the whole country at this stage. Lots of schools have no staffing issues at all but are creative with staffing solutions. E.g. Job share, their own supply teachers, even a bit of a floating teacher to cover for CPD and illness. Infant classes are nearly always women teachers but having a blend of age and experience with younger and energetic is important. Sometimes women teachers leave because DH has a job elsewhere or they get promotion elsewhere. They are not all walking away.

Hope it goes well with your chat with the Head.

Cabawill Thu 12-Jan-17 21:18:49

Thank you. Again, I have asked about the PP+ as it has been published on their website. My DC don't have additional needs with regards to their learning- more with social and emotional issues. I find it harder to ask for proof of progress therefore as it's not necessarily "testable".

They were attending clubs 4 lunch times a week which are apparently funded through PP as that's when most of the issues occur, but they were cancelled for 2 weeks at the start of December then back on for a week then cancelled the last week of term. Now 1 of the clubs is completely cancelled "until the summer" and another one was cancelled just for this week. All of this comes from my DC with no contact or discussion from the school and DC's are then getting into small bits of trouble in the playground.

Thank you so much for the great insight. It's very welcome and has bolstered me a lot.

Cabawill Fri 13-Jan-17 20:18:35

Just a little update- it turns out that the new teacher that has been taking the class since the start of January has handed in her notice and will be leaving at the end of this term! A job advert for a teacher for ONE TERM has been placed.

I just don't get it. This is a small village school with a one form intake. None of the children have major behavioural problems (my DD is probably the worst and she's not THAT bad). I have a meeting with the head confirmed for next week but this is getting ridiculous isn't it?

BeanAnTi Fri 13-Jan-17 20:39:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cabawill Fri 13-Jan-17 21:12:17

I'm sure it is but I don't get too involved as we are actually out of catchment and children joined late when we adopted them.

To be fair, the job does seem stressful and the other staff never look particularly thrilled to be there (apart from DS' teacher who is absolutely amazing, luckily).

rollonthesummer Fri 13-Jan-17 21:19:05

This is going to happen more and more in schools.

Two of our y3 classes are being covered by a mix of teaching assistants and supply teachers-it's crap but no one is applying and people are handing in their notice left, right and centre. What can heads do, especially when they have no money to throw at the problem.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 13-Jan-17 21:25:08

I completely agree that it won't be the children themselves or their parents that are making the staff walk out. It'll be the Head.

This happened at DS2s primary just after he left (I still had friends with younger DCs there). It was still bragging about the old Outstanding Ofsted rating given under the previous Head. When reinspected after an unusually high number of parental and staff complaints, it was put into Special Measures.

It was an academy and the new Head had far more power & responsibility than she could cope with. The lovely, long standing, Deputy Head has now been appointed as HT and has the long & arduous task of restoring the school to it's former situation.

HeCantBeSerious Sat 14-Jan-17 09:52:55

What's the obsession with spellings at this age?

user1484226561 Sat 14-Jan-17 10:11:17

write to your MP

lifeissweet Sat 14-Jan-17 10:30:25

This is happening all over.

I was working on supply for a short period while completing my M.Ed as I needed the flexibility.

Almost all of the schools I taught at asked me to stay on as long-term supply for a term or more because of teachers leaving. I didn't want to - as the whole purpose was to give me less workload and more flexibility while I
was studying.

With one class, I felt so bad at the way they were messed around, that I stayed for a term and a half to get them through year 2 SATs.

At parents' evening, one of the parents went off at me for about 20 minutes (and made me cry!) because of the way those children had been messed around with different staff.
It was uncalled for - and I had been putting in time and effort way above what I had been doing on daily supply just because those children needed some stability (parents' evening being one such extra - and I wrote their reports and marked their SATs and teacher assessed their writing and went to moderation meetings - all not paid extra) but I could understand the frustration.

It is so difficult to fill posts with reliable full time staff at the moment. Most of my colleagues at my current school are part time, because it is nearly impossible to work full time and have a good work-life balance. They are fantastic teachers, but some heads don't allow job shares, so would miss out.

It is difficult to know what the answer is.

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