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Letter to the school. Please help me word it.

(27 Posts)
nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 09:40:30

My son is in Year 8 in a supposedly good secondary school. The thing that is bugging me is that books are never marked. Or marked very very rarely.

My son told me his books weren't being marked. So I looked at all his books for this term and he's not exaggerating. Only one has been marked. And that one was marked once. And in Maths, he has done some self marking.

It's not right of course and I feel as if I have to say something. Head of Year? She's one of the non markers unfortunately. Head of KS3. And what do I say?

One teacher/one subject might be a sloppy teacher but this, I think, is systematic.

What would you write? And to whom?

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 18:23:12

Marking and assessment are big deals in the new OFSTED framework, so I would imagine most schools will be looking at their policies. We were looking at our this morning- I teach a practical subject, so a parent could be forgiven for thinking I never mark anything- the students don't have books or folders. However, I have detailed records of their achievement and progress- enough to keep an inspector happy and to be able to have detailed discussions with students about targets and how to reach them.

NaturallyGullible Tue 04-Dec-12 17:45:13

I suspect that the school will come back with a valid excuse.

There is a lot of evidence for peer marking being effective. The student doing the marking learns a lot from the process and together they can suggest improvements.

A lot of work can be marked as a class, where the students write in their own corrections. They may take this in better than glossing over the comments the teacher has written (thirty times).

Of a teacher assesses in this manner, I think their book at least needs a tick every half-term to show that the students have done their bit. The teacher should also have some way of recording marks every week or two.

Sparrows12 Tue 04-Dec-12 09:42:20

A couple of us emailed the head about this recently (all writing separately, but we had shared our concerns amongst ourselves) and they took in a random selection of books to check across the year, to see if there was a pattern. Then they introduced some refresher training about marking. Things are a bit better now and it is nice to feel you have a voice.

senua Sun 02-Dec-12 18:30:42

As a matter of interest, what are you expecting to happen? Do you think that the school will say, after one e-mail, "godness me! We haven't been marking books and we hadn't even noticed. Thanks for telling us - we'll get on it right away" [cynical]

RedHelenB Sun 02-Dec-12 17:55:21

i suppose it depends whether the stuff in the book NEEDS marking - is it notes, is it rough work etc?

eatyourveg Sun 02-Dec-12 14:11:35

check the marking policy and then write to the head quoting it

Dominodonkey Sun 02-Dec-12 13:33:03

"Assessments are marked within about two weeks"

so how many assessments have been marked? If it's 3 or 4 in every subject then I think you are being a little unreasonable. Most teachers would not do detailed marking in books as well just tick and flick as it would mostly be just notes.

Haggisfish Sun 02-Dec-12 10:18:35

ps - agree with phoning - it's too easy for a letter to be passed from person to person without anyone actually replying to it. Phone and sk to speak to head's PA and ask for a copy of marking policy to be emailed to you, or look on school website. If what you read doesn't tally with what you are seeing in books, then I would make an appointment wiath head if it is as widespread as you say.

Haggisfish Sun 02-Dec-12 10:17:00

I agree with aview - there should be a marking policy freely available. this is the problem with schools that get great results - ofsted are far less stringent about checking things like regular marking (ime) if final GCSE exam results are good. I am shocked at the lack of marking in the outstanding schools near me, and the general level of classwork. It doesn't really matter, though, because I live near a relatively wealthy area, so parents all pay to tutor their kids, hence the good results - crazy!

JugglingWithPossibilities Sun 02-Dec-12 10:14:01

I think you could certainly make an appointment to see the Head on this since it's across many subject areas. Doesn't mean you have to go in all angry or anything, but surely the sort of thing the head should a) know about and b) be accountable for

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 02-Dec-12 10:12:06

Do they do any self- or peer- assessment? If that's done properly it can actually be a useful tool for teacher to see where pupils are. I do know of some schools that don't mark exercise books - only assessments and homework, which is why I asked. Do have a look at the marking policy though - again, should be on the website.

I would email or write, then there's a paper trail. Probably email, then you know they'll get it sooner. If you don't feel like their response is adequate, escalate it to the governors.

ByTheWay1 Sun 02-Dec-12 10:11:29

I would drop an email to the head of year asking what the marking policy was since nothing had been marked. Would only write a letter for something really formal that I wanted as a matter of record on file, or if I got nowhere through other channels.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 10:10:24

Ok. So tone to take is concern and question about marking policy. They will know it's not right. They probably don't have a system for monitoring it.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 10:08:15

Assessments are marked within about two weeks. That's ok. But what us missing is any evidence of afl in the books.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 10:07:21

Assessments are marked within about two weeks. That's ok. But what us missing is any evidence of afl in the books.

EvilTwins Sun 02-Dec-12 10:05:06

Contact the Head or Deputy and ask what the marking policy is. They ought to have one.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 10:03:37

Fridge, those were my thoughts. Address head with responsibility for key stage 3. Letter? Email? Phone?

BrianButterfield Sun 02-Dec-12 10:03:15

It is easy to realise you've gone a month without marking books for one reason or another. Not marked since the start of term isn't OK, though. I've probably done my Year 8 books 3 or 4 times, as well as marking assessment pieces, and I do feel like I don't really get to them often enough.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 02-Dec-12 10:01:32

Sorry, I should have specified - homework or assessments which may be on paper rather than in books.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 10:00:56

So head of year even though she doesn't mark?

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 02-Dec-12 09:59:58

Is any of his work being marked? Homework/ assessments etc?

I'm a teacher and I agree, it's not good enough. It's easy enough to do, though - not that I'm excusing it. Having said that, if I know I haven't marked a certain set of books for a while, I make damn sure they don't go home until I have! blush

As it's a curriculum issue, I would address concerns either to the Deputy/ Assistant Head with responsibility for that - should be on the website - or even to the Head. Heads of Year tend to deal more with pastoral issues, although the structure may be different in your DS's school. You don't have to name names or mention specific subjects, just say you have a general concern.

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 09:51:59

Don't write. Ring up and make an appointment. Head of year first.

Sparklingbrook Sun 02-Dec-12 09:50:24

I would then write something along the lines of-

I have been looking at DS1's books and have noticed they aren't being marked, has something changed? (ie act a bit confused)

Sparklingbrook Sun 02-Dec-12 09:49:11

Hello. That is very odd isn't it? I wouldn't want to write to head of KS3 if they are a non marker.

I would be tempted to write to the Headteacher TBH.

Were they marked ok in Year 7?

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 09:47:02


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