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Inadequate teaching who to tell?

(17 Posts)
fivefootseven Fri 14-Oct-16 00:43:21

My son s very concerned that he will fall more and more behind because the teacher this year s not giving him and his class challenging enough work. I had a look at his workbook most of the work really s too easy like year 3 - 4 sort of questions. I feel very strongly that it time something should be done about the teacher and ta in this class asap. Who should I tell? Head of the subject? Head of the year? Headteacher? Want to hear advice from professional teachers or experienced parents perspective.

Lapinlapin Fri 14-Oct-16 00:50:58

Can you give some more details?
If it's secondary, surely he has lots of teachers? I'm a little confused. Is this just one particular subject?

GnomeDePlume Fri 14-Oct-16 05:00:52

We had an issue with one of DD's teachers not progressing work - covering and recovering the same ground.

Initially we raised the issue with her form tutor. Kept it very factual and very specific to DD. The form tutor raised it with the head of the appropriate department and the head of year. The issue was very well handled all in all. The teacher did start to differentiate work.

It was all handled very professionally via email.

If you do decide to address the issue then do so promptly. Keep to the specifics and only so far as they directly affect your DS. Dont make generalised complaints about the teacher. In the end you arent their line manager, your only interest is in making sure your DS is making suitable progress.

PonderingProsecco Fri 14-Oct-16 06:39:44

Write an email to form tutor/ Head of House/ subject leader re concerns.
I had some concerns re year 7 maths and was reassured.
A lot of refreshing going on which at initial glance looked way to easy.
However, also 'challenge' questions when I looked deeper and sideways stretching. Streaming didn't happen immediately either.
Now it has refreshing still going on but pace picking up.
Check before you panic about what is going on...

fivefootseven Fri 14-Oct-16 08:42:30

My son s in year 9 he moved down a set this year but he is at the top of this class. When my son complained to me about the teaching in sept I didn't react to it as I felt I should wait for a few weeks to see if the pace would pick up but it hasn't. My son doesn't like the subject but he does care. He s really concerned that he will not be able to catch up and subsequently failure the gcse if the teacher and ta continue their attitude in this way towards the set. He just feel that at least the teacher should give them some extension work rather than wasting time and being held back. Also the language the teacher uses she always remind the children that they re in one of the lowest achieving set. Such language used really doesn't help the children self esteem.
Ps: even children in lower set it doesn't mean that they don't care about their academic progression or future. What are your views?

Lapinlapin Fri 14-Oct-16 09:31:56

I think the first thing to do would be to try to talk to the teacher directly. Try to go in with an open mind and listen to what she has to say. Explain that your son is finding the work too easy. Then if you are not satisfied I'd try the form tutor or head of year.

I'd also encourage your son to work really hard. If it looks as though he's doing well, then maybe he'll be moved back to a higher set. The problem is that if he doesn't like the teacher and so then doesn't work hard enough the teacher will have no grounds for moving him. I'm not saying that he's not working, but I have seen some children not really try hard and then complain they're not making enough progress!

LIZS Fri 14-Oct-16 09:40:24

Head of the subject ? Perhaps in the first instance you should meet the teacher in question to go through your dc written work thus far and the teaching plan for the year. Is your Ds meeting/exceeding the learning objectives? Tbh I wouldn't take your Ds word for it alone.

Traalaa Fri 14-Oct-16 09:43:30

I think you need evidence before wading in. So can you show that your son's getting 100% (or close) in each test/ piece of work? If so can he honestly say that he's finishing work effortlessly and has loads of time to spare/ is given nothing else to do?

I'm not saying your DS is wrong, but the teacher might be giving them relatively easy work at the moment to cement the basics and make sure they're secure in them.

DailyMailFuckRightOff Fri 14-Oct-16 09:56:51

Yes, learning objectives should be differentiated so that all children can be challenged.

How is your son doing with the level of work - is he succeeding with each piece? Are all homework tasks being completed with a high level of success? What have his assessment scores been like this year?

Does the school website have a section that identifies what each subject covers in each year group? That is a good way to look at the 'big picture' and can inform any discussions you need to have with the head of department or teacher.

In terms of being constantly reminded that they're in one of the lower sets, that can be quite a knock to the confidence. It could be that the teacher isn't a great communicator and what they actually mean is 'we need to go back and secure some basics before we can move on to x, y and z'.

Definitely worth having the discussion, but you'll be doing yourself and your son a big favour to go in with facts, test scores....evidence basically. Asking for a meeting and saying something like 'the attitude of the teacher and TA needs to change' won't achieve anything - especially in a time with crazy staffing shortages and real recruitment difficulties.

Good luck. I was moved down when I started GCSEs, spent 2 years complaining that it was all too easy as I was at the top of the class and then barely scraped a C. Embarrassed much?! How I wish I'd put that energy into attempting some of the work of the top set, discussing with my teachers in a more meaningful way etc...

stayathomegardener Fri 14-Oct-16 10:13:09

DD had similar issues having been moved up a set in Maths.
We contacted head of year and asked for her to be moved down, they refused as I think they felt it would start a mass exodus from a known weak class.
DD supported herself for six weeks by work books at home and going to the staff room at lunch time for extra support and then came home to say I've found out there is a spare seat in the next set so I'm just going to move, neither teacher mentioned a thing.
Head of year phoned a week later to say he had decided she could move after all.

fivefootseven Fri 14-Oct-16 10:52:31

It s a difficult one as I like to think most teachers want to do a good job. But the lauguage used is definitely a concern. But if the more able kids are not being challenged enough or give extra work how can they even prove they can do better?
As I ve been visiting schools recently for my second dc. The other local comp have extra catch up after school lessons for kids. The headteacher also empathises the importance of positive languages with their pupils. Of course extra after school classes require money and planing but positive lauguages can sometime make a real difference.

MargotsDevil Fri 14-Oct-16 12:21:14

I have come across students who manage the work of a lower set very comfortably but just cannot cope at all with the work of the set above - this is common in maths for example. I'm a head of department so frequently talk to parents regarding their child's progress - both in my own classroom and in the classrooms of my department; the perception of how a student is progressing is often seen very differently by a teacher to the student.

I would suggest that you speak to the head of department in the first instance. Were you spoken to before the change of set? If not I would ask for an explanation of why that decision was made as a starting point. I think making sure of your facts is very important - believe me when I say there is nothing more awkward than explaining to a parent that actually their child may have been handing in homework regularly but it's only been scoring 20%, for example. I'm not saying that has been happening here but just to show what I mean.

Please listen to what they have to say; and give them time to make changes if changes are needed. Good luck!

GnomeDePlume Fri 14-Oct-16 12:46:44

I wouldnt go direct to the teacher. Contact the form tutor and say that you have a concern about a particular subject and want to know how to go about raising that concern.

The form tutor has likely handled this many times before.

Avoid bringing up generalised complaints. 'The teacher said...' is almost impossible to prove and TBH not really relevant. What you should raise are specific concerns: differentiation of work for different ability levels, homework marking etc. Give examples if possible.

Being specific gives the school something to work with.

It is possible that there have been misunderstandings between student and teacher. Keeping it formal and professional makes it easier for student and teacher to work together after concerns have been cleared up.

My experience of raising a concern was positive in the sense that my issue was addressed. The teacher wasnt thrilled that a concern had been raised (who would be!) but when she challenged us at the following Parents Evening I just said that we had followed the official procedure.

fivefootseven Fri 14-Oct-16 13:27:23

Before summer holiday the year 8 teacher told me that he needed to move down a set in order to revise the basics. He can understand the secondary school stuff but kept making small mistakes. My and my dc's concern is if he s not given the appropriate levels of work but just sample stuff to revise all the time then he may be left behind with the year 9 stuff. So I suppose our main concern is whether the teacher need to address the balance. Also readdress her own and the ta 's language to the class which sound a bit general but my ds is one of the kids being affected.

MargotsDevil Fri 14-Oct-16 13:47:46

From the sound of that I would guess that they feel they can't start the year 9 work until they are confident that the basics are solid iyswim.

I would definitely approach the department head first though rather than the teacher - as the department head will have a clear oversight of what all sets are attempting and how each class fits into the bigger picture. In terms of GCSE progress - in some subjects the basics (and confidence in those basics) are so crucial that if they get them wrong they have little chance of success. Remember that working and process attract more marks than the final correct answer in many questions.

fivefootseven Fri 14-Oct-16 14:05:07

Thanks Margot it s hard to know how much to take my ds word re the year 9 teacher. The same teacher used to teach him in yr7. She didn't focus on the working out but his yr8 teacher put a lot of emphases on the working out stage. That's one of the main reason my son doesn't 'like' her way of teaching. Because she often skip the 'working out' as much as possible and go more strictly to the answers. So it s to a degree I wonder if it is her teaching method issue?! I m really trying to get it right as I don't want to make myself and my son look unreasonable.

MargotsDevil Fri 14-Oct-16 15:59:48

You're welcome.

The department head will also have a very good idea of the teaching methods employed by the various teachers - we are all different and without doubt not every teacher is "right" for every child - it's about making it work.

Would be interested to know the outcome.

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