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Soft start

(14 Posts)
bettycat81 Tue 12-Dec-17 20:41:40

Our primary school is introducing a soft start opening from January. Currently gates open at 8.40, children go onto the playground and line up at 9am and are collected by the teacher. Now the school gates will open at 8.55 and children will go straight to the classroom. Doors close at the start of school at 9am. Parents will not be allowed to catch the teacher for a quick word but must make an appointment via the office.

For a school that wants to "maximise parental engagement" this seems counter intuitive so I was just wondering, From those who already start the day this way, what the benefits are?

JennyBlueWren Tue 12-Dec-17 21:01:06

At my current school parents aren't allowed into the playground and so we don't see them in the morning (and are not meant to after school although most parents do catch us if they need a quick word).

In my previous school parents often tried to speak to us as we took the lines in but this was problematic as we were supposed to be supervising the children but couldn't while parents were trying to talk to us. Some parents followed us into the classroom and would want to discuss everything while we were supposed to be teaching.
The worst was when parents would hand me loose change for things (charity day, lunch money, tuckshop) and expect me to remember which child the money was from!

If there is something urgent (e.g. medical or emotional) then put a note in with the child. If not then arrange to see the teacher to speak about it at a time when the teacher can give you their full attention. Put money in a labelled envelope.

Ask what they are doing to improve parental engagement?

catkind Tue 12-Dec-17 23:00:56

That doesn't sound "soft" - 5 minutes to get everyone through the gates and into the building. Do you go through the gates and drop them at their classroom, or do the kids go through the gates on their own? Where does everyone wait? Won't there be a scrum outside the gates at 8.54?

We're not supposed to ask teachers things in the morning as they're busy getting the children in and settled down, that does seem sensible. You can send messages via the office or catch the teacher after school if you need to ask things. Hasn't made us feel disengaged, they're always quick to respond to messages or emails and have time to chat after school.

Lifechallenges Tue 12-Dec-17 23:24:19

I suspect that this may be about DC being left unattended for 15mims etc as parents drop in playground and go. Maybe they want to stop that?
At our very primary school gates are open very early due to breakfast clubs. No one supervises DC so parents have to stay except for the yr fives sixes who are old enough to just wait on their own.
All year group doors open just before nine and kids go in.
TAs on each door write down any messages and relay them.
Works fine

mindutopia Wed 13-Dec-17 12:23:24

At my dd's school, the school gates open at 8:30 and close at 8:40. Children are brought to schoolyard/gate and walk in from there. Headteacher is outside to supervise, but no contact with teachers, so it sounds much like what you are describing. Teachers do escort children out at collection and they are dismissed to us by the teacher, so technically the teacher is available for a quick word at the end of the day if anyone needed to speak to her.

To be honest, I have never felt the need to speak to the teacher either at drop off or collection. If there is anything I need to talk with her about, which is maybe only a couple times a term, I just send her an email. If it was a serious issue, I would want to make an appt with her anyway, no talk about it in the open at the school gate. More often than not, I'm rushing off to work or rushing home, so having an extended conversation at drop off or pick up is not a priority for me and it's much more convenient to do it via email.

mindutopia Wed 13-Dec-17 12:26:21

You asked about benefits though, and I think the benefit is that teachers are in the classroom preparing to teach and settling kids in for the day, which is what I'd rather them be doing in the morning. I can see how it would significantly delay getting started teaching if they need to meet with parents first thing in the morning just before school starts.

Lifechallenges Thu 14-Dec-17 23:37:31

I agree with mind. Ours do it this way so our teachers are uninterrupted setting up for the day and yes any conversations about issues are down via email or appt

brilliotic Fri 15-Dec-17 15:16:25

Ours open the gates at 8:40 and close them at 8:50.

People line up outside on the pavement, blocking residents' way, from about 8:35 which seems silly and avoidable.

As mind says, the advantage is that the teacher is already working with those kids that arrived at 8:40, it can be great, an opportunity for a 1-1 chat with the teacher about your work. DS said that sometimes those 10 minutes in the morning are the most productive of his day. When we arrive closer to 8:50 it means get your coat off and straight to work, standard lesson. Which is fine too, then some other kids got those 'early' 10 minutes with the teacher.

Our HT however repeatedly announces (e.g. in newsletter) that EVERYBODY should arrive at 8:40 so that all children can make use of those extra 10 minutes. That would mean then that no-one would have that advantage anymore, and anyway, how are 200+ children meant to arrive at the exact same time?? They would all have to have been queuing outside on the pavement, all 200. And then squeeze through the gates at the exact same time...

bettycat81 Fri 15-Dec-17 20:52:07

Thank you all for your responses. As a community school it's not gone down very well so it's been good to see other perspectives.

We don't have email access with the teachers, Correspondence is very old fashioned here, but maybe this will change.

Pud2 Fri 15-Dec-17 22:21:50

It's really disruptive for teachers in the morning if several parents want 'a quick word'. Most parents don't but it's the same few who do. Messages should be given via the office or an appointment. Getting the children in promptly sounds good to me.

BackforGood Fri 15-Dec-17 22:45:36

Agree with everyone else. It means the staff are concentrating on getting everything ready for the day, and being with the children from the off, giving them their full concentration and being able to get on with their jobs.
Even one parent "wanting a quick word" takes time, and disrupts the start to the day....2, 3, or even several would be a nightmare.

Wolfiefan Fri 15-Dec-17 22:48:42

At the primary both my DC went to parents were never allowed in to talk to teachers in the morning. Any issues could be taken to reception. Teachers are busy getting ready to teach.
And it's rarely a "quick word". If 3 parents all want 5 minutes it messes with the start of the day.

Pud2 Sat 16-Dec-17 09:27:57

The days of parents being able to wander into the classroom to talk to the teacher whenever they fancy are well and truly gone thank God. It is so disruptive when you are trying to sort out 30 children and there are a couple of parents in the room wanting to tell you their little darling hasn't slep well or hasn't changed their reading book!

There is also a safeguarding concern of parents are able to just wander into the building.

Littlewhistle Sun 17-Dec-17 15:40:02

Kids start arriving at our school from 8,10 onwards (before many of the staff). Playground supervisors go out from 8.30 and the bell rings at 8.55. No parents are allowed near the lines or to talk to teachers.

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