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Year 7 Parents Evening - Unavailable slots for core subjects

(407 Posts)
User32243535 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:26:53

Sorry, but this might turn into a bit of a rant.

DC (Y7) attends what is meant to be a well respected grammar school. But at the moment, I am struggling to comprehend how they have developed such a lousy system for arranging parents evening appointments.

DC is our eldest child so we were not acquainted with this system before and didn't see it coming. Basically, we received a report and then according to the report, we were advised (via dc taking a sheet around to their teachers and booking a time slot) to arrange a meeting with the necessary teachers.

DC is a scatter brain and this hasn't helped with making the arrangements but on eventually contacting their teachers for Maths and English. dc was informed that there were no available slots left. Sorry, but Maths and English are core subjects and we care about our dc's education, I am fuming that we are not able to discuss these subjects with the relevant teachers (parents evening is held on just one evening).

DC doesn't have huge difficulties in these areas but reading the report there are one or two areas for improvement and I think it is important to discuss these two subjects in particular.

Anyone else experienced similar? The system of arranging slots on a piece of paper seems outdated from the outset. I e-mailed the head teacher regarding my concerns about dc not securing appointments a few days ago and I haven't received a response and I'm not able to discuss with anyone as the school office is now closed (dc has just informed me of the situation, which I believed would be resolved today.) Quite frankly not impressed with the schools communication either right now in regard to replying to my e-mail. Grrrrh...just so frustrated!

GiraffesCantDoMentalArithmetic Fri 09-Feb-18 16:29:29

I think you need to pay for a private education for your DC hmm

User32243535 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:35:09

Giraffes... I am confused by your comment...are you inferring that my expectations are too high in this instance?

GiraffesCantDoMentalArithmetic Fri 09-Feb-18 16:41:20

Yes. If your DC's teachers teach more than one class, there simply aren't enough appointments for every child. Why does your DC need an appointment more than the others? Parents evening is only on one evening for year 7, but remember the teachers may well be there for all 7 evenings if they teach across the year groups.

This situation is very normal in most secondary schools. Instead of being "fuming" and getting a reputation in the staffroom, try sending a polite request for a quick email update from the English and Maths teachers. And then try to give them 5 working days to reply before you start feeling unimpressed.

Bear in mind that if you had anything to be concerned about, they would have contacted you first and made sure you had an appointment.

ElanorGamgee Fri 09-Feb-18 16:41:55

Yes, expectations are too high and your tone sounds a bit demanding.

Your DC is a scatterbrain (your words), not every parent will expect to see every teacher. Perhaps the children who do have huge difficulties in those areas have secured a slot.

The children securing their own slots is a lesson in responsibility.

If the school had major concerns about core subjects they would be in touch.

Gingersstuff Fri 09-Feb-18 16:44:13

This is completely normal procedure though. And if I can't get an appointment on the night with a specific teacher then it's made clear that parents are very welcome to make a separate appointment at another time.

AuntFidgetWonkhamStrongNajork Fri 09-Feb-18 16:46:13

My DC also hasn't managed to get any appointments - similar system in that the child has to make the appointments. There's one parents evening lasting 3 hours with 5 minute slots. So just not enough slots going to cater for all of the students if a teacher takes just two yr7 classes.

Ironically though the letter we got telling us about it said we should make every effort to attend and if we were unable to go we had to write to the HoY with our excuses.

Helbelle75 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:48:12

I'm a secondary school teacher and always remind my classes to get appointments, particularly year 7, as slots are limited. In my subject, I teach around 80 students in year 7 and, with the best will in the world, cannot possibly see all parents.
In this instance, I think you are expecting too much.

Scarydinosaurs Fri 09-Feb-18 16:48:49

I agree with you that the system isn’t great. I’d ask for your DC to give you the email addresses of the teachers- or ask for phone calls.

It’s just one of those annoying things. You’ll know for next time. Fingers crossed they introduce online booking.

User32243535 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:50:38

I see your point Giraffes but...flipping this around why should other dc's need an appointment more than my dc...this is a grammar school...I struggle to believe that any child is really floundering. It seems unfair that my dc should be penalised because they were not as quick off the mark...where a horrible situation.

The system needs improving is not my problem that it is not working and whilst it is unfortunate that some teachers may need to attend several different parents evenings across year groups - this is not my problem either. Sorry, but I am demanding when it comes to my child's education. And I did not expect to see every teacher but did expect to see the teachers of core subjects - English and Maths - these subjects and one other was all that we requested.

I am undecided whether the school would contact me if there was an issue, given the poor standard of communication that already seems to exist. Hoping someone will come along who will be able to relate to these frustrations in some way.

Rach5l Fri 09-Feb-18 16:51:00

It's normal, is it BC by any chance?

AlexanderHamilton Fri 09-Feb-18 16:51:25

I don’t think that’s a very good system. Both of my children were diagnosed with conditions that mean they struggle with organisation etc but not until the end of year 7/8.

I would expect to be able to see all of my children’s teachers at parents evening & feel itvis important to do so.

Dd’s School has a turn up & wait in a queue system but it's a very small school. Ds’s school is online bookings.

User32243535 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:54:05

Yes, I suggested an on-line booking system in my previous e-mail - not sure if this is workable but this system is clearly not working for all.

Scarydinosaurs Fri 09-Feb-18 16:54:43

For English and Maths I’m surprised that the teachers have full slots unless there are split classes? Two teachers for the class?

Scabbersley Fri 09-Feb-18 16:54:55

This happened to me. I emailed the Head of year to ask politely if the teachers I couldn't see could email me a line or two IF there was anything important. Two did, one didn't and one was sitting alone when I walked past so I nabbed her anyway. It's year 7 if he's happy and his grades are good you don't really need to see anyone tbh

Julie8008 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:55:20

My DC school uses this system, I know several other schools that do as well and it seems to work well. My DC knows as soon as they get the paper to hunt out all relevant teachers and get them booked asap. Some teachers stick their availability on a sheet and pin it to the door so they just have to write their name on it. Sounds like your DC left it to long.

IIRC Y7 was busiest (and most irrelevant) as all parents try and see all teachers who are then swamped and just cant fit everyone in. Unless your child is having a problem you really dont need to see the teachers, in which is really just a five minute meet and greet the parent handshake.

If your DC is having problems email the teacher/school directly and make a proper appointment, parents night is not the time to deal with anything serious.

if your really wanting to say hi to the teachers on the night just hang around and pick up any slots when inevitably some parents dont bother turning up or catch the teacher at the end as they always usually hang around to see any parents still waiting.

Scabbersley Fri 09-Feb-18 16:55:30

There's an online booking system at our school but the slots still fill

Findingdotty Fri 09-Feb-18 16:56:15

No I feel the same as you OP. Just had the same issue exactly with my DS's parents evening. I find it very frustrating as, unlike primary education, you don't get other opportunities to check up that your DC are on track and find out what you can do to help them progress. They want parents to be involved and then hinder them from getting access to the right information.

I don't know that there is a solution though which is problem. My parents didn't seem to have this issue but I wonder if it's a problem created by bigger schools and bigger intakes?

KeiraTwiceKnightley Fri 09-Feb-18 16:56:24

I teach English in a secondary school. I have 2 classes in Y8 (our intake year) and had parents evening last night. Every appointment was taken, I talked solidly without a break for breath or a drink from 5pm until 7.55 (I'm only paid until 7.30, but I can't stop until everyone waiting to see him has been seen, obviously), yet I only saw 30 out of the 58 children I teach. What am I/ the school supposed to do in order to see other parents who couldn't get an appointment in the time?

BrightonBollock Fri 09-Feb-18 16:56:47

Our secondary school has the online parents evening booking system this year.Works a treat even though it still means we have to queue for five minutes or so.Nearly 140 pupils in our year seven.Parents evenings split over two evenings to ensure everyone has a chance to see relevant teachers.I thought all schools had this system now?

User32243535 Fri 09-Feb-18 16:57:12

Alexander...would you mean telling me what your dc's condition is...My dc is clearly bright but their organisation skills are poor...we are hoping this situation will improve as time goes on.

Scabbersley Fri 09-Feb-18 16:57:35

Dd gets grades every half term so you can see if she's doing OK or not.

KeiraTwiceKnightley Fri 09-Feb-18 16:57:45

Oh, and that was an online booking system which massively favours middle class parents who have access to the internet and also regularly check emails - those who were a bit slow off the mark couldn't get an appointment as I was already full.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 09-Feb-18 16:57:56

But are there no slots at all or has dc booked e.g. history at 6.30 and there is a maths slots free then in which case the slots could be rearranged.

Dc will soon learn that at a grammar school they are expected to be more independent than at primary and unless you direct some of your rant at them they won't be quick of the mark next time either

cansu Fri 09-Feb-18 16:58:28

1. You say you have just had a report. So you have been given feedback. There will always be areas for improvement and you say that your dd does not have any major problems in these subjects.

2. There are not enough slots to go round. If parents thought about which areas their child was struggling in then that would make it easier for those who really need an appointment to get one.

3. You won't be the only disappointed parent as in secondary it isn't possible for all the parents to see all the teachers.

If you have genuine concerns, rather than just feeling that you would like to see English and Maths teachers because they are important subjects, email and ask them to call you for a phone conversation at a mutually convenient time.

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