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Yr 8 issues

(2 Posts)
miffyandsnoopy Fri 24-Feb-17 17:57:27

Hi, I'm looking for some advice on what to do in our situation.
My son had a wonderful first year at the school in yr. 7, he was doing very well academically and in his end of year exams he did so well that he was put in top sets at the start of year 8.
Since he has joined yr. 8 he has had a change of form tutor, he's gone from having a lovely, supportive form tutor that was brilliant at replying to emails if I had any questions or worries mainly to do with his health condition etc.. to having two form tutors that are job sharing the duty; one of which is the main one for 4 days a week and he doesn't respond to mine or my sons emails that we've sent asking about options mainly because he also teaches my son in Graphics and my son is looking at taking this subject (his school are taking their options now to start in September, this school take them a year early), and the Friday form tutor I am having further issues with which I'll continue onto shortly.
My son has tried countlessly to talk to his main form tutor/graphics teacher in class but he has no control of the class and he always gets distracted midway through conversation and doesn't come back to my son after dealing with the disruption.
So that's one niggle we are having that probably we could live with and get over it, however there's another issue that's ongoing right from day one of Yr.8 . Ds's 1 day a week form tutor is also his Science teacher. He has gone from being the most enthusiastic Science student you could ask for, willing to learn and a genuine interest, doing really well in yr 7 to having zero confidence, completely given up persevering and lost interest in the lesson and coming home stressed to the max about it. This is because his science teacher is newly qualified and is clearly struggling, several things have happened up to this point that other parents have complained about to Head of science also, there have been countless lessons where she doesn't explain or demonstrate, doesn't come around the class offering support and has left them with chemistry equipment with no instructions or safety equipment (a teacher caught this in action and had to step in!) He is coming home with work that makes no sense, has never been marked so when he's s asked to revise from this stuff we don't know if he is revising stuff that is even correct, there is never an attempt to help him or anyone else in the lesson to understand. He gets homework that doesn't match up with what they've done in lesson, and they are supposed to get one piece per week per lesson, with science he can get it 3-4 times a week and it will suddenly appear at 9pm on show my homework and it has to be in at 10 am the next lesson when she's not told them about it! He is afraid to put his hand up in class because anyone that says they don't understand gets shouted at! she writes anybody's name on the board if they talk - fine, no complaints there, but she's been known to put my son on the board for sniffing!
I contacted head of Science in October when I first became concerned as I didn't want to upset the science teacher as I know she's new. The head of science fully accepted there was a problem and assured me she would make some unannounced visits to the lesson which she did and she called back a week later to say she's identified where the teacher was going wrong and that she like me to give it 'time' to see improvements, and that she wants t support the science teacher as it was early days- all fair, so left it to see how it went.
There seemed to be a slight improvement in that my son wasn't coming home as stressed about it, and there was a time he didn't mention science so I assumed things had got better. This was until just before x-mas we had parents evening and I met the science teacher, who sat and told me that he clearly doesn't spend time on his homework...I explained that he does, he spends hours on his science homework because he doesn't understand it and we often help as best we can. And she insisted that his last piece couldn't have had more than 5 minute spent on it I then insisted that this was ludicrous because my dad had stepped in and spent about 2 hours to try and help him...Perhaps it was wrong, we aren't science-y people, but I was trying to explain its not that he's not trying he's just not learning in the lesson, he needs help! She was very rude, so I again spoke to the Head of Science who assured me she would work with her more closely as she agreed that the science teacher had made some unfair comments about how 'all' the boys are naughty...Its not ok to tar them all with the same brush! I asked Head of science if he could just be moved to another set 1 science group, she said if I did that my sons whole timetable would change. She said if I want him moved he would have to move down a set....Would that be the best option?
Anyway, so again its been left with head of science, but he's just had an official assessment and got his result today and his level has dropped to lower that in year 7!
I'm so upset and frustrated with the whole situation, I cant even go to his from tutor for advice because 1 of them has no interest in communication, and 1 is the science teacher that I have the problem with and the head of science has told me not to say anything to her because it might affect her confidence and she wants to help her to become a good teacher.... but that doesn't help my son!

Please, does anyone have a suggestion of what I can do next? I used to work in education and I know how hard things are for teachers, so I really wouldn't be making a fuss unless it was a genuine concern. I am just really sad to see that my son has lost s much confidence in what was his strongest subject. I just thinking of ringing on Monday and asking for him to move to set 2?

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 24-Feb-17 18:14:45

First are you sure he has dropped down a level. It is possible that last year they used the old number levels and now they are using the new GCSE levels.

Secondly, if you son is struggling to understand in top set it might be a sensible move to drop to the lower set which may learn at a slightly slower pace but they will cover the syllabus eventually. Also if he goes down now and understands the basics there is nothing to say he won;t go back up again later.

Remind him he is not competing for a place in a set or a placing amongst his friends just learning to achieve HIS best grade possible. That can sometimes be by taking it at a steadier pace. Try not to focus too much on which set it is etc.

I have also encountered some young female teachers who can't handle groups of boys and tend to lump them all in together and that can be frustrating too.

I would suggest that your son revises from his text book rather than any notes he has taken if you are unsure that they are correct. If your school does not issue individual text books to each child as I understand some do not nowadays it would be worth the £15-20 investment to buy him a copy from Amazon/W H Smiths etc to enable him to do this.

Don't panic yet - its still year 8.

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