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Frustration with Sixth Form Student - need a parent's perspective

(6 Posts)
EvilTwins Sun 04-Sep-11 17:30:26

I've recently become Head of 6th Form at the small school I teach in. I am becoming increasingly frustrated about the situation one of my students has found himself in, and think I need a parent's perspective.

He finished Year 12 last year, and ended up with 2 Ds and an A for AS. The A is in Performing Arts, which he loves. The Ds were a surprise to the Heads of Dept of both subjects - he ought to have got Cs at the least. The only problem we've had with him this year is his attendance - particularly in the last three months of the academic year, his parents pulled him out of school constantly becuase of "family stuff", which involved him having to get the bus 150 miles to see family in another part of the country at a moment's notice, and miss several days of school at a time. His parents took him out of school before the end of term to go to Iran with his dad, where he has spent much of the summer. He came in for A Level results, and then I saw him the following day at a school event and he was very upset about the results, but also about his parents' reaction to them. His parents' response is to say that he is not coming back to us for Year 13, and that he will go "somewhere else" where he will "do better". I have spoken to his mum at length (during my holidays - hmph) but they were, at that point, undecided. From my POV, if he is in school, he will achieve his target grades (clever boy - just too absent) and we will be able to help him with UCAS and so on as we know him well. They are leaving it very late to get him in "somewhere else" as term has either already started or is about to.

I really want the boy to come back to us for Year 13, but since I am also his Performing Arts teacher, AND he has a main part in the school play, which we are half way through rehearsing (due to go on earlier in the year than normal because of planned building work) I am happy to accept that I am a little too involved, and that the parents are only trying to make sure that he does the best he can.

I'm posting here to try to get some parents' perspectives before I pass it up to my HT tomorrow in the hope that she can get through to the parents of the boy more effectively than I can. As far as I know, he wants to come back to school, but his views are not important.

Sorry it's so long! I'd be interested in opions.

senua Sun 04-Sep-11 18:23:01

Do you know which "somewhere better" they are thinking of? Will this SB want to take him with his current tariff points and poor atttendance?hmm Actually, I am impressed that you will because he doesn't sound as if he will do your league table much good.
I have a feeling that the parents will not really listen to you, no matter what you tell them. I know that it is not standard practice in schools but I would, in my business world, put your advice and/or warnings in writing so they can't come back later whingeing that "no-one told us that <insert gripe here>"

BTW Have you thought about what you will you do when the parents pull him out of school, on pressing family business, on your Opening Night?

EvilTwins Sun 04-Sep-11 18:39:59

"Somewhere better" will be in a different part of the country, I believe. I think you're right that they won't listen to me. From what I gather from the boy, his father is the decision maker, and once he's decided, his word is law. He won't talk to me - I've only been in contact with the mother.

senua Sun 04-Sep-11 18:53:36

Sorry, didn't mean you-personally. I meant you-plural, you-the-school.

Will the father listen to the HT (another femalehmm) either?

jgbmum Sun 04-Sep-11 19:01:12

I think you sound like a lovely teacher and a great head of sixth form.

If I have understood you that the family problems are still ongoing and the boy's parents are unwilling/unable to prioritise his education. Then given that A2s are more difficult than AS, it might be in the student's best interest to re-do Y12 as he will be familiar with the material rather than try to cram for resits, study new work and still have the ongoing family situation. Hopefully a year down the line the family problems will be resolved and he can then focus on Y13 work.

And of course, blaming the school can be a face saver for the parents rather than acknowledging their part in their son's disappointing results

EvilTwins Sun 04-Sep-11 20:37:53

No idea whether they would listen to the HT. I suspect she'll have more luck than me simply because she's older and more important. The boy has three older siblings, and I am not much older than the eldest of these. I think this may be contributing. I have met the mother a number of times and she's always very pleasant. I think I'll pass it on and hope the HT has more luck.

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