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So should we bother with Parents' Evening?

(22 Posts)
SalmonMaki Tue 15-Mar-16 08:57:48

Reading another thread about the difficulties of getting appointments to see teachers at Parents' Evening, and several remarks that seem to say there's no point going (if there is a specific problem, it should be addressed separately).

We were assigned 4 minutes per teacher at last year's event (yr 7) but we duly filed in our form and saw a few teachers, if only to clap eyes on them. Received a little, and unsurprising, feedback - which was quite helpful, but not sure DC have followed through (the needs to work harder variety).

DC now in yr 8, does their homework, seems to enjoy school or finds it boring depending on their mood. They feel a bit neglected in school being in non-exam yr 8, not newbies any more, no important GCSE options to go through.

Is there any point in going to the parents' evening then? What could I ask in my 4 minutes? What would you ask?

noblegiraffe Tue 15-Mar-16 09:47:07

If you're happy, the child is pootling along nicely and isn't making option choices or anything that requires teacher input, then no, don't bother.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 15-Mar-16 09:52:49

Is it the sort of evening where you take your DCs too? I think I would go along because it is a really clear message to your DC that you are interested in their education and are prepared to give up an evening to talk to their teachers. It also gives you a chance to celebrate successes (good for self-esteem) and a point of reference if you need to do any gentle proding ("Remember what Mrs X said about working on your presentation?").

But I'd only go along if it wasn't going to be inconvenient or logistically complicated.

Herewegoagainfolks Tue 15-Mar-16 09:58:50

Surely you go to show your child that their school work is important.

To form a connection with the teachers (even if only briefly) who are teaching your child every day.

Why wouldn't you go - it's only a couple of hours out of your life surely? When I was in high school only the least caring parents didn't attend.

Ninjagogo Tue 15-Mar-16 10:05:14

Have a few years to go to Secondary school, but I presume that both DH and I will attend, as we do now for primary school. 4 mins sounds a bit mean though! Nice to meet the teachers, thank them for their work, and get an insight into DC in an out of home environment.

Badbadbunny Tue 15-Mar-16 10:32:43

We've been to three now, and have to say, get little out of it, but that's good because the teachers have little negative to say, only the same "too quiet in class" from most of them. It's very nice to hear all his teachers say that he's doing well, but we already know that from his reports and from the teachers' marks and comments in his exercise books.

Last year, we mentioned to the Maths teacher (who only gave out 1 piece of homework for the entire year), that we thought our son was struggling and getting behind because of lack of practice/homework. He agreed and promised that there'd be homework later on and that he would also give some weblinks etc., but he did nothing at all - so a waste of time as he didn't do what he promised he would.

I think it would be far more productive (for parents and teachers) for the teachers to decide who they want to see and make a specific request in problem cases. I'd far rather spend 15 minutes talking to one particular teacher in more detail (maybe the form teacher) especially about option subjects, extra curricula activities, general behaviour, etc., rather than lots of short superficial sessions.

In an options year, I'd also like the chance to speak to teachers who actually take the GCSE classes. In a few subjects, I tried to talk about GCSE, but the year 9 teacher couldn't really help as they said they personally don't do years 10 and 11. Also, the same applies to subjects they've not actually done, such as when choosing which second language for year 2 or which tech or art for GCSE. The highlight of the year 9 parent's evening for us was that the tech teachers set up a room of example projects and made themselves available to all (a kind of drop-in, without appointment) so that we could talk about what GCSE would be like, particularly useful because our son's tech teacher only did years 7-9 and we'd asked him the previous year about tech GCSE options and he readily admitted he hadn't a clue!

Pointlessfan Tue 15-Mar-16 10:37:25

I'm a secondary teacher and I do find parents evening a bit of a waste of time. If there's a concern on my part I will have already contacted home. Parental concerns need a longer appointment than we can fit in so it's best to arrange that separately. Sometimes we might teach 4-5 classes in one year group so it's impossible to see everyone who would like an appointment anyway.
However, I agree with pp who said it shows your dc you are interested and it is lovely to share positives with parents for all concerned so I would still go.

owlsintheflowerpatch Tue 15-Mar-16 11:13:27

Ours threaten to put the child in isolation if you don't come or make a seperate appointment according to the kids alledgedly.

We had ours a few weeks ago and it was the biggest waste of time. I gained nothing new.

insan1tyscartching Tue 15-Mar-16 11:32:13

I didn't go to y8 parents evening it was ten days after her statement review,I had had reports from her teachers for that and on the online portal there were no teacher requests (they flag up issues that require an appointment on parents evening) so it seemed a waste of time on both sides. I'm pretty sure that no one noticed I didn't attend tbh.

Leeds2 Tue 15-Mar-16 14:02:46

I have always found them a bit of a waste of time too, but I have attended every one. DD now in Year 13, so we have had our last one.

SalmonMaki Tue 15-Mar-16 14:34:08

Yes, I'm a believer of going along to show support to the DC, and also to thank the teachers whom I would otherwise never get an opportunity to meet (unlike in primary).

We will duly go along for our round of teacher viewings and hopefully, probably, nothing new or shocking will be imparted grin But it does feel like a waste of time sometimes, and I don't like feeling as though I'm wasting the teachers' time.

Finola1step Tue 15-Mar-16 14:41:02

My parents only attended my options PE. They just didn't see the need. But they didn't check up on homework, results. Anything really. I make sure that I show my dc that I'm interested. I might not get anything out of attending, but my dc do (although they are still in primary).

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 15-Mar-16 15:44:50

I think it's important to go, but am increasingly narrowing down the list of teachers we book an appointment with. We go along prepared with a specific question to ask wherever possible, to avoid conversations of the "she's doing fine" 'yes I know " variety. It makes those few minutes much more worthwhile and we've definitely always learned a bit more about what's going on in school and what our kids should concentrate on.

YeOldeTrout Tue 15-Mar-16 16:01:10

some kids don't need you to emphasise to them that it's important, DD doesn't need to go or us to go. DS's do need the parental interest.

I don't see RE teacher, though, DS not doing so well there.

Pointlessfan Tue 15-Mar-16 16:36:57

I think it's more important when they are choosing options as you can ask questions about each subject. Year 11 is an important one too, lots of parents have questions about revision, controlled assessment and applying to college.

howabout Tue 15-Mar-16 16:44:20

My DD had hers last week. Me showing an interest and going along to say hello to the teachers definitely has a positive impact. I am one of the parents who helps with the queue management as I am usually done in under 2 minutes, but I still think it is worth it.

FernetBranca Tue 15-Mar-16 16:54:32

Secondary school parents' evening is quite a step change after primary. We previously only had 2-3 teachers to see, who I already knew well, in and out in 30 mins tops.

We made the rookie mistake of going to everything in Y7. We've now winnowed it down a bit and Drama/Art/ICT etc don't get a look in. My DCs school has quite a useful thing whereby when you book on-line there is a tick against any teacher who has specifically asked to see you so we tend to do all core subjects and then metaphorically stuff a book down the back of our trousers and see those we have been invited to see as well.

swingofthings Tue 15-Mar-16 18:51:10

Just got back from Y8DS parents' evening. Went in at 4:04 and was out at 4:26. Managed to see 5 teachers!

I am pleased I went though as firstly it was all praise and even though DS plays cool, I'm sure he felt very good to hear his teachers telling me such nice things about him. As for me, it provides me with the reassurance that he is on track to excel. I don't get involved in his homework at all, so can only go by what he tells me. This way, I know he hasn't suddenly decided to ditch school work as it happened with the son of one of my colleagues.

I never go with high expectation of much talking. If everything is fine, then they only need a few minutes to tell me, but it is important for me to hear it.

roguedad Tue 15-Mar-16 19:49:20

We have had some rather varied experiences. In Foundation year the teacher complained that our son wanted to know how to spell things. Later another teacher claimed not to know he could write when he had written a detailed letter to the head explaining his different writing styles. This was when we could make it - one parents' evening started at 3.30 and the school seemed to assume everyone was unemployed. We went private and things went rather better. They were actually in the evening and we got detailed information. At secondary school it's a massive rush around umpteen teachers but to be fair we got proper feedback and a few key points to work on with our son. To get it done we tend to focus on core subjects. The teachers varied a lot in their approach but they had marks, ex books etc. Sorted out a couple of annoying issues for 3rd year in terms of options - school a bit old-fashioned with compulsory mumbo-jumbo but no Comp Sci and other issues, but we found a work-around. The evening itself was great with lasagne and wine in one room. Nobody complained about my son wanting to know how to spell words.

Noodledoodledoo Tue 15-Mar-16 21:23:45

4 mins may sound mean but the flip side is ours runs for 3 hours - we have 5 min appointments so I have 36 appointments to fill.

I teach a core subject so all parents want to see me - in one year I teach 53 students, in another 120! I still only have 36 5 minute appointments!

We are told to only speak to those we have concerns over but other parents want to speak to us as well.

After my one last week I have a lot of phonecalls to make as parents didn't wait around as my queue was too long - its mainly to parents I have no issues with - I can guarantee those phonecalls will take me another 2-3 hours to complete by the time I have played a few rounds of answerphone chase!

Re talking to options subjects - we do a separate options evening so those discussions can happen then with the right teachers and a week after parents evening so parents have had feedback on students ability in the subject but can discuss taking the option with a teacher who does take the relevant year group.

Higge Wed 16-Mar-16 14:45:44

The dcs like us to go and generally any feedback is good but a few teachers last year spent the limited time talking about what topics our dc had been taught - it lacked any personal input, those teachers were a complete waste of time.

MrsSteptoe Wed 16-Mar-16 14:49:23

Even now, DS (13, in Year 8) looks eagerly at us hoping for good feedback, which he normally gets (to be specific, usually "perfectly able, doing fine, but he could apply himself even more").
So I think even if I knew it to be a bit of a waste of time from my own point of view, I'd still do it because it's clearly important to him.

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