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First Year and First High School Parents Night - Any tips?

(23 Posts)
amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 11:01:36

Our first ever High School parents night is coming up after the holidays. Anyone got any tips, or things that we should ask? Have no idea what to expect - Do you take your child with you?

Madmog Tue 09-Oct-12 11:11:31

We haven't had ours yet, but I know everyone around here takes their kids as they are welcome to comment on anything that is said. Apparently we only get to see the tutor in the first couple of years unless we specifically feel we need to see a particular teacher. For me I'll sit and listen to what the tutor has to say and raise any questions from there. I personally would be concerned with work, behaviour and friendships if you have any need to ask.

My daughter has been put in the sets I would expect, has her four best friends in her tutor group, has also met a new friend in another group, hasn't had detention (more than 10% of her group have) so I'm not expecting anything unusual. I think we'll only need to ask anything if the tutor seems to indicate anything different.

Hope it goes well.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 11:18:44

thanks, Madmog I think we get 5 minutes with each teacher that our son manages to arrange an appointment with so not hopeful of seeing anybody grin

We have always taken the boys into the parents night at primary so expected to do the same - if nothing else to make sure that they are talking about the right child. he tends to be quiet so we want to make sure that he is making friends and speaking up in class.

I have no idea if they are in sets or if so where he has been put. He was top of the school in primary but that may not mean much as I don't think they particularly pushed them.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 11:19:21

p.s. Hope your goes well when it comes smile

ATailOfTwoKitties Tue 09-Oct-12 11:23:36

If it's anything like ours: sharpen elbows! It's a complete bunfight. Every appointment is a 5-minute slot, all in the same hall, so you leap optimistically at any teacher who seems to be just finishing with their previous, 50-mins-late-already, parent, yell uncomfortable-and-probably-best-kept-private truths across a desk at each other for a bit , and look round wildly to see if anyone else is free yet.

At least, that was what it was like at the old school. Not put the new one to the test yet.

mummytime Tue 09-Oct-12 11:23:53

My DCs school does thing differently, but from this kind of system at schools I have observed: be prepared for delays, take snacks and or drinks, keep nagging him to make appointments with the important teachers.
Some teachers may insist he makes an appointment to see them, otherwise prioritise subjects, don't try to see everyone.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 11:30:31

lol - sounds like it's going to be a baptism of fire!! He's only been there a few months - not had any notes back from teachers or phone calls from the school and he seems happy enough to pitch up there every day so I am not expecting any bad news.........but you never know!!!

He always had great reports at primary, but he is a high school boy now!

AMumInScotland Tue 09-Oct-12 11:30:51

If your son is arranging the appointments, make sure he leaves a gap between them so that you have at least some possibility of getting to the next one by your designated slot. The teachers will all be over-running anyway, and you'll probably have to just give up on any kind of system and go with the flow, but you'll feel better if you at least think it's possible...

Work out which teachers you particularly want to talk to - subjects where your DC has commented about it being his favourite, or least favourite, or where issues have come up, or he has past history of issues. Or ones you just think are important!

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 11:43:51

Thanks AMumInScotland he doesn't tell me very much but when questioned he likes everything and isn't having any problems - so i guess we will have to try and see everyone - he doesn't go to his catchment school as he was bullied at primary and lost confidence so our main priority is that he is happy and making friends so the academic stuff is less important for now.

mummytime Tue 09-Oct-12 12:14:16

Don' try and see everyone. My personal list would be: Maths, English, a Science teacher, and probably MFL. If he has ambitions to be an engineer then maybe DT, if Art is his thing, then the Art teacher and so on.
Do you get to see the form teacher? If so they can be helpful in giving an over view. But if no teachers insist on you seeing them then that is a good sign.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 12:25:31

lol - no idea what MFL and DT are smile he likes Art - and Engineering - so guess that will be what they call Tech? he also does Social Subjects which I think is Geography and History & modern studies rolled into one - I would normally discount RE (we are not religious) - but he did comment about his RE teacher being really funny and he looks forward to that class. He likes days when he has either Home Ec, Art, PE or RE as these are something to lighten up the day- on wednesdays he has none of these so that's his worst day as all subjects are ones likely to generate homework smile I think a mix of the "academic" and other subjects will probably give a true impression of how he is getting on with the other pupils and in class. When questioned he does say that he is contributing in class - something he found difficult in primary due to the bullying issues....... but i don't necessarily believe him!

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Oct-12 12:27:00

I'm a maths teacher - in my 5 minute appointment I would
1) ask the child how they are getting on (so please do bring them!), or what they think I'm going to say.
2) expand on what the child has said ('yes, they are a bit chatty and that needs curbing but generally working well etc')
3) comment on any test results, talk about what these mean, setting etc
4) check homework record and praise or give detail if regularly late or poor - identify topics which need extra work
5) ask the parents if they have any questions. Usually they say no!

And that's your 5 minutes. It's really not long, so if you have any specific concerns it's best to get in first with them before the teacher switches to automatic.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 12:33:18

very useful noble - that's kind of what I expected. we only got a 10 minute appointment at primary anyway and were usually out in 5 as both my boys have always had really positive reports. if someone is doing well, there is only so much you can say smile All his homework has been done on time and the marked sheets have only one wrong answer shown and that's because he didn't read the question properly. he had a couple of other coments in books about not following the instructions so I guess that is a point to watch - he has a tendancy to fire on and complete things without reading through first.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 12:34:48

oh, and I don't know how you do your job - hats off to you!

Madmog Tue 09-Oct-12 14:33:01

amck5700 - obviously your son isn't as chatty as my daughter is at home, but she is well aware which subjects they have been put into sets for, whats marks she's getting, so your son is probably the same, it just isn't so relevant to him. Might be worth asking. Like you say, things can be different when they are in a mix of different schools, but my daughter was in the top four of her year in primary school and is in the top sets for English, Science and French, so your son could well be the same. I'm doubtful about maths though as she keeps telling me it's boring and she doesn't like it, so indications seem to be something isn't right there. Hope it all goes well.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 14:50:20

Thanks again madmog, we are in Scotland so there is no obvious measure before they go to high school that I am aware of - other than the primary teachers feedback. I don't know if they are in sets, if they will be put in sets or anything - i'll try to see what I can squeeze out of him smile

When I went to high school - it was 34 years ago <gulp!!> and we were split by alphabet and by whether we had chosen French or German in 1st year and then streamed in 2nd year - it's all different now with the Curriculum for Excellence thing - a bit mind boggling.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 14:51:49

Hope you get to the bottom of the Maths thing - it may be that her teacher isn't connecting and she is either doing stuff too easy or she doesn't quite get something so isn't asking and is now struggling?

3nationsfamily Tue 09-Oct-12 15:48:44

Definitely bring your child along- just to make sure the teachers know which child their notes refer to! Honestly, with average of 120 new S1s every year, many of the teachers still don't know who is who after 2 months, especially the quiet/ well behaved/ not stars or trouble maker kids who haven't particularly stood out.

titchy Tue 09-Oct-12 16:19:02

Take a photo of your child. Be prepared to wait a LONG time, jump in whenever a teacher seems to have no one at their desk , take sandwiches for maths and English appts - these will be an hour late! Oh and take a note of which teacher said what straight after you've spoken to them otherwise they all merge into one!

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 16:30:14

lol - he came home with the sheet today - we have to write the names of the teachers we want to see and they are encouraging you not to see teachers for all 11 subjects.....however my son has taken the initiative and booked Maths already.....for 5 past 4 - I'll make that but my OH won't and I'll have to take No 2 son with us too! Oh well I guess I am pleased that he has made an effort.

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 16:38:48

3 nations - yes, we will take him - that's what we thought, he is pretty quiet usually so may have been blended into the general population while the teachers sort out, not only who is who in the first years, but presumably they will also have new faces in their other classes too - it can't be easy.

good tip tichy- notes are the way to go - especially as it looks like I'll have to do some appointments on my own - we've always gone as a couple/family to the appointments in the past.

Leonas Tue 09-Oct-12 19:56:06

It is really up to you whether you want him with you - as a teacher I sometimes find it easier to speak to the parent without the child there, especially when they are in S1 as they get very embarrassed! We do have very little time with each parent so try to think in advance if there is anything specific you want to ask a teacher - concerns, unsure about hpw the course works/ what level of class he is in etc. Otherwise it will probably be a general overview of how he is getting on.
I love parent's night, especially when I get to say nice things about the lovely pupils who might otherwise not get much of a look in - I usually leave it feeling very positive!

amck5700 Tue 09-Oct-12 20:23:28

Aww that's lovely Leonas.

I hope we are in that category. smile According to the sheet he has come home with we have to specify which teachers we want we see and they will add in the times - they say that there are 11 subjects and to try not to choose them all. I've just gone through his timetable to get the teachers names and he has 16 teachers over those 11 subjects!!!! - that's a lot for a child to take on when they have been used to one teacher, to move to having 16! Oh and we can see the Pupil support teacher too!

Anyway for subjects where he has two teachers , i've requested either/or and i've chosen Maths, English, Science, Tech, French (that's his Registration teacher too), Art and social Subjects and I'll choose another one from Music/PE/RE or Home Ec.

Quite happy to take him along as he has always come to parents night so is used to it.

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