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Reports and class reorganisation

(9 Posts)
debs40 Tue 15-Jul-08 23:52:57

Hi

I?m looking for some thoughts/experiences about school reports and class reorganisations.

My son is 5 and just finishing reception year. He goes to a very large infant school with two/three classes in each year.

I only discovered midway through this year that the classes were completely re-organised every year. The teachers were not happy about confirming exactly how this would be managed but they said the groups would be based on friendship/abilities and personalities.

On Monday we got our children?s reports. The children also had their first (and only) afternoon visit to their new class that day and so they came home with a slip telling us their class. The three existing classes are completely mixed up but there was no general class list so the end result was that you had to go and ask other parents to find out who would be with your child. We don?t know any of the teachers as the reception is cut off from the rest of the school or where any of the new classes are based.

It transpired that a lot of little friends have been separated. Not big groups of friends but twosomes who only ever play with each other. There have been tears in the playground over it! One mum who was new at Easter had specifically asked that her daughter be kept with the one girl she had formed a good bond with and been told yes they would do that. She got her daughter?s class and found they?d been separated!

As for my son?s report. Well maybe I am being naive but he?s 5 and it was so impersonal. A page long cut and paste job on targets which started with ?he can locate the relevant resources in the classroom independently?! Does this mean he can find the jigsaws? There were also comments about using appropriate non-standard measurement units!

The teacher?s comment box was a single line in which he just wrote ?He is a curious boy who asks lots of questions and has a quiet manner?. That?s it. No well done, good effort. Nothing. For his first year at school! Is this all I can expect?

Many reports were identical save for the final teacher?s comment box.

There is no parents evening or anything this term so I tried to have a little chat with the teacher today (he is head of reception year) and he was so pissed off with me. He looked like he was going to cry and he said ?I really tried to make them personal this year?. OMG where do I go with that!

Is this really standard practice in most schools? Shouldn?t parents get better information about class reorganisation? Is that all I can expect from a report ? jargon and bland comments?

I just feel a bit let down by the way this has been handled.

Any comments/advice welcome!
Debsx

sunnydelight Wed 16-Jul-08 00:47:47

You're probably not going to like what I have to say, but I would suggest you relax about it and trust the school. We see our children, and their group of friends, the school sees the whole mix. They are not going to be able to keep everyone happy; can you imagine what it is like for them with every parent wanting to have a little chat about their child and which class they would like them in! As long as your child hasn't been totally isolated from every friend the school has done ok - our school mixes the two classes every year in primary, treating it was a cohesive year group rather than different classes. The kids all get a chance to know each other over the years. Nobody finds out who is in which class and who the teacher is until the first day of the new school year which suits me fine - nobody has to stress about it over the holidays and when presented as a done deal it seems to work ok.

debs40 Wed 16-Jul-08 07:34:32

Thanks I appreciate your feedback. I know some of the parents at our school feel like that too.

However, you seem to know how your school operates and we dont and I suppose that's what this is about. I don't want a little chat, but just more information about how it's done.

I think promising things in specific cases but doing others without talking to the parents involved does not foster trust.

ChopsTheDuck Wed 16-Jul-08 07:46:43

It sounds exactly the same as the way ds1's school operates. It seems pretty standard, and so I guess they didn't feel the need to explain it all. School reports have never been particularly personal, more about progress for my children. I find out about personal things at parent's evenings or talking to the teachers if I need to.

As for mixing up the friends, they do cope with it and it widens their choice of friends. I actually think it is a good thing, because aside from the fact that it is aimed and helping them educationally, I've had problems where my children have formed very strong attachements which have then caused a lot of upset when things have gone wrong. I prefer them having a group of friends to play with.

cory Wed 16-Jul-08 09:22:37

I have to agree with the other posters who have answered this thread. Friendships are usually maintained at break time anyway; besides, he may well work in groups with children from the other class in some subjects. My dd hasn't been in the same class as her best friend for the last 6 years and they are still best friends.

The mistake the school made was clearly to make promises in the first instance. Dc's infants school did not do this (except in cases of aggravated bullying or to keep twins apart). We have never been given any class lists and I think it's better that way.

Agree parents evening is a good time to hear something more personal about your child. But frankly, the teacher is never going to see my wonderful ds as unique in the way that I do. To her, he is no more unique than the other 29 children in the class- and that is the way it should be. I am the one that sees his absolute wonderful uniqueness.

debs40 Wed 16-Jul-08 11:05:47

Thanks. It helps to get things in perspective. It's my son's first year at school so it's hard to know how these things go.

There is no parents' evening this term which I think is half the problem. Reports and class detailed are just handed out and that's it. I think that would have helped.

There are lots of problems with management at the school which was almost in special measures year before last and the head who took over then is leaving this term. There has been a lot of change and parents are not often made to feel included. I think this also causes a lack of trust in decision making.

There, you've helped me put it all in perspective!! Thanks

cory Wed 16-Jul-08 11:25:46

I think you are right; there should be a parents evening when you can discuss the report. I always feel you need that to make sense of the report.

sunnydelight Thu 17-Jul-08 02:38:11

I would be unhappy with the fact that there is no parents' evening tbh. Sending out a report with no opportunity to talk through any concerns does leave you in limbo. I know DS2's last primary school started "inviting parents to make an appointment" if they wanted to when the reports went out rather than having the usual parents' evening as I think a lot of people didn't bother going.

I was going to suggest you make an appointment to see the teacher then I re-read your OP and saw that you had already tried to have a word. I guess what I would say for future reference is to always make a formal appointment to see a teacher rather than "catching them after school". It sounds like you commented on the fact that you found the report impersonal (which you are quite entitled to do), but maybe he only heard the criticism at the end of a busy day. I have got very good with the "feedback sandwich" in dealing with teachers - start with something nice (eg. DS has really enjoyed being in your class this year), put your concerns in the middle then end with something upbeat grin Shame some teachers haven't learnt the same skills!

Niecie Thu 17-Jul-08 02:52:50

At my DS's school I think the idea is that the report is instead of a parents evening. They do have an open evening where you can go and meet the new teacher and say goodbye to the old one but it is very informal. I don't think, if I remember correctly, that we usually have the report by then anyway - we certainly don't have it this term and open evening was yesterday. I think the report has been produced in the last 2 or 3 days of term so no chance to discuss.

Having said that, there isn't much the old teacher can do and there is usually a parents evening fairly early on in the autumn term to talk properly to the new teacher. And to be fair, you are welcome to go in any time and talk to the teacher about anything and we also have Thursday evenings where the teachers stay behind specifically to allow parents to come and look at the school books and have a quick update.

I did find it hard, in Yr R, to find out they mixed up the classes. I had very fond memories of my class in primary school and how we were all together for at least 4 yrs but really, they don't get much opportunity to talk and play in class so friendships are maintained in the playground anyway so it doesn't really matter what class they are in. Also in our school at least, the year group gets split up across classes, according to ability in maths and literacy so although you may find your DS is not in the same class as a particular friend, it could be that he will still work on one subject with that friend.

They really do adapt though. The children seem to worry less about it than the parents most of the time!

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