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Terrible start to year 7 - What to do?

(19 Posts)
Wellthisisarubbishstart Wed 02-Sep-15 10:16:58

So today was my dd's first day in Year 7. Except I only realised this when I logged onto Facebook this morning at 9am to see pictures lots of kids dressed up in my dd's school uniform labelled "my dc's first day at secondary". Que massive panic and she arrives at school an hour and a half late with dripping hair.

The reason I didn't realise today was the first day was because I have the official "Welcome to Year 7 booklet" which explicitly states that the first day of school is Thursday 3rd September 2015 (tomorrow). I looked at the school website at the start of the holiday to double check school dates as my dd mentioned someone had said school started on a Wednesday. However, the dates listed only went until the end of Summer term 2015 and did not mention the start of the Autumn term. There was a webpage about starting school but the info was 2 years out of date. I then tried to ring the school but because it was the school holidays, no one was there. (I realise this is not unusual.)

Fortunately, my dd is very unflappable and wasn't too phased by it all. I, however, am cross. I should say this comes on the back of a very unimpressive visit to the school at the end of Year 6.

So, the question is, what do you think I should do? Clearly, other people realised that school started today and there must have been another piece of paper that came out at some point saying so. However, for the official booklet to be wrong and there to be no useful info on the website is just crap IMO. I'm debating an email to head of year 7 and head teacher. Debating the wisdom of putting my head above the parrapet so soon. Should also mention that I'm interested in becoming a governor of the school. The school is requires improvement and I have a lot of experience of school governance. I would like to help so don't want to piss anyone off too much.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 02-Sep-15 10:21:28

I think what you need to do is mention it constructively and stick to the facts - rather than too much emotion in the email as to how you both feel. You could of course say it was not the best start to the term - quiet understatement is the way to go there.

You can approach them on a fact finding basis and to ensure that no one else is similarly confused

Madmog Wed 02-Sep-15 10:27:18

I think you need to say something and would go along the lines of Gobbolino. Obviously you are upset for your DD, but try to keep to the point. Someone somewhere in the school is going to feel bad about this themselves and the school can learn from this.

Aftershock15 Wed 02-Sep-15 10:53:38

Was the whole school back or just the year 7s? Certainly at dc school it's only year 7 and 12 in today. Term technically does start tomorrow - today is listed as induction day. So although this doesn't help your dd being on time, I would just check so your email is correct - Not letting you know of induction date or change to term start day.

When I started secondary (after a house move) the school didn't tell us that term dates had moved and I turned up a day early and then when I arrived the next day was put in the wrong year group (wondered why everyone was so tall!)

Millymollymama Wed 02-Sep-15 11:16:53

I would not have sent her in late! Sometimes they do a staggered entry for Yr 7. However, if the booklet for yr 7 says tomorrow, then I do think they need to put out consistent information and do need to be told they did not inform all parents of the change of date.

Do not mention about wanting to be a Governor. They may have a parental vacancy and you can apply in the normal way when it is advertised. If you know other governors, then persuade them to co-opt you. I would not mention it to the Head or the staff because it has nothing to do with them.

ValancyJane Wed 02-Sep-15 13:09:46

Sounds like it was induction day today, so likely just Year 7 and Year 12/13 in, and the first 'proper' day of term will be tomorrow. I would scan through the booklet carefully and check there was no mention that was missed of an induction day, but if there definitely you should email about this (form tutor or head of Year 7 would probably be a good first port of call!). If you know any of the other parents of Year 7's well enough, you could ask how they knew it started today. Maybe there was a letter or something that should have been in the Year 7 booklet that was missed out of yours?

I hope your DD has a good first day!

redskybynight Wed 02-Sep-15 13:45:08

We have the same set up here - that tomorrow is the 1st proper day of term, but today is induction for Year 7 and Year 12. In our case the information is on the school website (though only went up last week) and we also get a letter home. It sounds like you have either misplaced or never received some crucial communication. Seems very unlikely that every other child just magically managed to work out today was the day without being told.

BrendaFlange Wed 02-Sep-15 15:23:11

Oh dear!

I think you need to find out how everyone else knew to start today before you go all guns.

Then I would send an e mail explaining your dd's lateness this morning - not madly complaining but explaining that there had been a communication issue because you had read the booklet and website.

Luckily your dd is calm, so focus on how she is finding it and don't slag the school off to her.

Maisieknew Wed 02-Sep-15 15:25:05

How did everyone else know what day to go back on (genuine question)?

DD sounds cool grin

Floggingmolly Wed 02-Sep-15 15:30:47

If everyone else showed up on time; the school admin is obviously not the problem...

Wellthisisarubbishstart Wed 02-Sep-15 16:28:29

Just collected her and she's had a good day. Apparently an announcement was made at the new parents open evening in july, to which I arrived 5 mins late, that the date in the booklet was wrong. I certainly don't remember anything being said. Apparently a number of kids arrived later than my dd and some did not arrive at all so it sounds like I wasn't the only person not to have got the message. An email might have been more effective method of communicating. They also failed to tell new parents that the end of the school day time had changed. It's not great communication really.

Sounds like they know they messed up.

ilovesooty Wed 02-Sep-15 16:35:02

So you were late to the new parents' open evening too. You don't sound terrifically well organised to me.

And you seem disposed to regard everything as the school's fault rather than yours.

How do you have a lot of experience of school governance ?

CarlaJones Wed 02-Sep-15 16:37:39

Yes, they should have confirmed by email. Our school wrote the start date wrong in the info pack and then sent an email to correct it. Unfortunately the email also wrote the date wrong, so then they sent another one to confirm the actual correct date! At least we got the message in the end though.

Maisieknew Wed 02-Sep-15 16:46:44

School Twitter accounts can be quite helpful for these sorts of things. I have Twitter purely for this purpose!

Clavinova Wed 02-Sep-15 17:03:38

Did you look at the school website this week? You only mention that you looked at the start of the school holidays, so over a month ago.

BabyGanoush Wed 02-Sep-15 17:13:22

That is not a terrible start, just a bit of bad luck.

Yes, their communication could have been better.

I would point it out but not make a huge deal of if.

catslife Wed 02-Sep-15 18:07:04

I think some posters are being a bit harsh here. If your dd wasn't the only one the school should realise that they have made a communication error here. Given that the date in the booklet was wrong a letter or email should have been sent out to parents new to the school or a clear notice placed on the website.
One tip is that the school Newsletters usually have the most up to date information and are posted on the website even if the Calendar isn't always fully updated. If your child's school gives out diaries or planners, key dates for each year group will be in there and you need to write these down. Unlike primary school, parents letters aren't sent out very often and schools do expect parents (as well as children) to be more self organised.
If it didn't spoil her day too much, I would wait and see what happens. There may be a Parents questionnaire about the Y7 induction process for example and that would be the best place to raise your concerns.

YeOldeTrout Wed 02-Sep-15 22:05:17

oh, that reminds me, induction evening for yr7 starters: I had 3 letters about it & the first one said start time = 7pm. I didn't notice the 2 later letters had start time = 6:30. Oops. So we arrived late, but I am fairly sure all we did was miss the boring stuff!!

DS's first day of yr8 was a disaster, they didn't even have a timetable for him, he just followed friends around for a few lessons until some teacher decided to find out WTF was going on.

Wellthisisarubbishstart Wed 02-Sep-15 22:27:51

Thanks all for your comments.

I agree it is odd that lots of people obviously did know and I didn't. I probably need to work out how that happened before approaching the school.

I guess the start date was obvious for people with kids already in the school because they were already getting info about dates through newsletters / emails etc. It would also be obvious to anyone who knows someone at the school because people chat. Unfortunately, we don't know anyone at the school already and none of my dd's friends were going so we didn't talk to anyone else about the start date. We were whole reliant on "official" info given to new parents. I think that for such a fundamental error, the school should have taken decisive action to make sure everyone was aware of the actual start date. If the only way the school communicated their mistake was a comment at a meeting that not everyone attended, they run the risk of not everyone getting the message.

Of course, if i find out that I was sent a letter or email with a correction, I will feel like a complete tit for whinging and messing up my dd's first day. Although I am usually pretty organised, I appreciate that this is a possibility.

CarlaJones - that is quite funny and sort of alarming all at the same time.

Twitter, newsletters and planners are all good ideas. Thanks.

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