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"compulsory" extra lessons, legally required?

(26 Posts)
russelldb Sun 04-Nov-18 09:48:46

First time poster, bit of a long time on and off lurker.

My son is in GCSE year and his school have added two compulsory extra lessons to his week. A Session 0 for an hour before school, and a session 6 for an hour after school.

They're calling these "interventions". My son is amongst the top students in the school. His results/reports all show hard work and project good achievement at GCSE. His maths is exceptional. There has been no evidence that he is underperforming in either of the two subjects.

He thinks that the better students are being hot-housed to try and boost the school's results. I don't know about that, but I do wonder if this intervention is more for the school's benefit.

My question: where do we stand legally? We don't want to burn him out. He's doing fine at school. Work-life-balance means a lot, and education is a long long run (life long ideally). I think these sessions will be counter-productive, both short and long term. I've emailed the school to explain this, ask for him to be excused, and offered to meet and discuss. However, forewarned is forearmed: does anyone have some prior experience, legal advice, or links to same for me?

Many thanks in advance


OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Sun 04-Nov-18 10:48:04

Is this every day (so 10 lessons) or just one of each per week?

Sometimes schools call these things compulsory as a way to get target kids to attend, but then quietly ignore if others don't go.

titchy Sun 04-Nov-18 10:49:03

So an 8 till 4 school day? 20 morning break and an hour at lunchtime break? To be honest I don't know about the legalities, other than schools can set their own hours, but it doesn't sound that bad - private schools do those sort of hours and I don't see parents moaning about burnout.

Oliversmumsarmy Sun 04-Nov-18 10:51:12

I am left wondering if those that actually need extra help are looked after quite so much or just ignored

Thisreallyisafarce Sun 04-Nov-18 11:02:30

If he gets his mark in the morning and in the afternoon, this shouldn't affect his attendance. If he is told he is "truanting", he isn't. No Educational Welfare Officer is going to take the school seriously on this.

Do as you like.

Dermymc Sun 04-Nov-18 11:09:05

I can pretty much guarantee the staff will be getting no extra payment for this. It will be inflicted upon the staff by senior management.

I would look upon this as an opportunity for your son to work towards grade 9s. There is a lot of extra content in the new gcses which there is not enough time to cover effectively in normal lesson time.

I doubt they are legally enforceable.

russelldb Sun 04-Nov-18 13:04:28

Thanks all for the helpful responses. The school has just confirmed they're not compulsory, despite using the word compulsory in the letter.

OP’s posts: |
jeanne16 Sun 04-Nov-18 13:26:17

As a secondary school teacher who also does these intervention lessons for zero extra money, I do find this thread extraordinary. Surely as a parent you should be pleased the school is trying to do extra to help your DC. The new gcses have extra topics in all subjects and we struggle to get through all the content.

russelldb Sun 04-Nov-18 14:19:15

Apologies if this feels like a slight on your hard work, it's not meant to be at all. Given that you don't know us at all, or anything about our situation, I'm surprised the thread shocks you, but if it helps, here is our thinking:

These 2 subjects in particular are ones that we care less about. In the subjects we care more about no interventions have been offered.

So far his progress in all but one subject is good enough.

AFAICT the interventions are about passing exams. GCSEs are a stepping stone. He's capable of getting high marks in all his subjects, but at what cost, (to whom) and to whose benefit?

He only needs X high marks to go on to A-level, (where he only needs Y to get to undergraduate etc etc.)

Maybe our thinking is all wrong, but time is one of the many limited resources available to him, and in this case, we can think of better ways to spend the time.

I'm pleased that the school offers the program. I'd prefer that it was made clear that it was optional.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sun 04-Nov-18 14:28:58

He only needs X high marks to go on to A-level, (where he only needs Y to get to undergraduate etc etc.)

That's a really poor attitude if you don't mind me saying, one commonly found in teens. Doing the bare minimum to get to the next stage, often inadvertently rules something out further down the line, and is not conducive to developing a work ethic, focus or resilience - all of which will be required in large quantities if he's to make a success of life.

SassitudeandSparkle Sun 04-Nov-18 14:32:13

My DD has only just started Secondary so no practical experience of this yet, but I have heard that her school have similar 'intervention' lessons in school time by stopped them doing one subject in favour of another.

BertrandRussell Sun 04-Nov-18 14:38:55

I am not one of the "teachers can do no wrong" brigade by any means, but this really is one of those situations where the poor buffers are damned if the don't and damned if they do, isn't it?

Thisreallyisafarce Sun 04-Nov-18 14:50:42

The culture of "intervention" is pernicious. It gives rise to the assumption that teachers have to provide additional learning opportunities for students who have failed to make any effort in their own learning. I have parents calling me up asking when "the intervention lessons are for X", and I am like, IF I decide to offer additional sessions, I will let you know.

It's just an excuse for students to not do the work the first time.

TeenTimesTwo Sun 04-Nov-18 15:05:21

I think the OP is being reasonable. The query was whether these sessions could be deemed compulsory. It seems the school has confirmed they are not.

If a DC has capacity for say 20hrs work out of school every week. (It could be 30 or 50, but there is a reasonable limit), then they have to put that time to best use. That isn't necessarily sharing it out equally across all subjects, some will be more critical than others.

For my DD1, she could perhaps have got an A for maths with a bit more attention, but we chose to spend the time on ensuring she got her English Language to a C. She was working 'at capacity', she didn't have hours available for extra, and an A for maths wasn't going to help her for her next step but not getting the C would have screwed things up.

Similarly, we chose for her to not attend Science revision sessions as we felt the time would be better spent doing science 1-1 at home with me.

I think it is nice if schools do intervention/revision sessions (though really think the staff should be paid). But unless sessions are to complete content I think they should be optional. Then the ones who want to attend will, and will hopefully focus well. Leaving the 'can't be bothered' and also the 'I can use the time better elsewhere' to do their own thing.

russelldb Sun 04-Nov-18 15:19:34

Thanks TeenTimesTwo. You have explained it better than I had managed to.

For the rest, I don't know if I need to reply?! I don't agree that anyone is damned for doing or not doing BertrandRussell, nor did I suggest it.

titchy. We disagree. I'm unsurprised given your initial response calling me a moaner for asking a question about where we stood WRT compulsion.

I shouldn't reply, some people are just looking for a fight.

I'm deleting my account now. I had wondered about joining at all, since so many internet social groups are so quick to impugn the question. You can just not respond if you're not adding anything, you know.

OP’s posts: |
ShalomJackie Sun 04-Nov-18 16:20:24

But all posters are adding something - you can chose to take their advice/listen to their opinion or ignore it.

Dermymc Sun 04-Nov-18 17:09:27

Russell I was not being rude, just explaining intervention from a teacher pov. It is a little disheartening to hear about students that don't aim for their best because they only need a grade x to study the subject further. Teachers are also under immense pressure to get the students high grades. If your son does worse than his target then the teacher will have some tricky conversations with SLT; the teacher will then have to list all the support they have given to students including offering their time for these intervention sessions.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Sun 04-Nov-18 17:28:29

I don’t think that it’s a question of impugning the original question. I do think that it’s very disheartening for schools to try to put things in place to maximise opportunities and they are rejected. The subjects may not be so important to you, but they will be important to others and to the school.

When the curriculum changes, as it frequently does, it can be necessary to add extra sessions to ensure that all the content is covered. These changes are not always straightforward and schools can be learning them one step ahead of the students. Surely, most people would like their children to have the very best chances of success.

TeenTimesTwo Sun 04-Nov-18 19:00:33

Russell Seems a pity to delete your account, but it is how MN works. Someone asks a question, people answer / comment around it based on their own viewpoint. Sometimes threads go off on a tangent. You are free to ignore anyone's point of view you want.

The reason people do full coverage replies is that sometimes the OP hasn't put something relevant in their first post (often because they don't realise it is relevant) or sometimes there is something 'obvious' that seems to have been missed.

e.g. On admission a poster asks about getting into highly sought after, but non selective school and they live a long way away. Lots of replies saying they won't get in. Then someone mentions being adopted having priority and lo and behold OP's child is adopted so actually shoots to the top of the list.

cricketballs3 Sun 04-Nov-18 21:40:41

I'm guessing this isn't Maths or English - from yr 7 students have a lot of their timetable dedicated to these 2 subjects that others are left with a couple of hours (if lucky) therefore we need to 'grab' time wherever possible, especially in years 10&11

ghostsandghoulies Tue 06-Nov-18 14:52:58

Our school call them ESS (Extra Study Sessions) They are strongly advised rather than compulsory and if 2 subjects are held at the same time then it's up to the student which to attend.

KingBee Tue 06-Nov-18 15:32:59

I know what you mean about the pressure coming from the school - it's overwhelming at times and I have kids who work hard and the pressure from school is the thing that causes them most stress. It's hard to support your dcs to help them achieve what they want to achieve and not add to the pressure.
My dcs have been put onto "compulsory" study sessions - they don't want to go, they'd rather study at home - I have insisted they attend at least 3 times and then if they still feel they are not beneficial they need to give me some proper feedback as to why - not just it's boring etc and I will let the school know they won't be attending and why.

Tw1nsetAndPearls Sat 08-Dec-18 17:10:41

* As a secondary school teacher who also does these intervention lessons for zero extra money, I do find this thread extraordinary. Surely as a parent you should be pleased the school is trying to do extra to help your DC. The new gcses have extra topics in all subjects and we struggle to get through all the content.*

And by running revision sessions you send the message to the government and exam boards that the content is manageable, it is just creating an educational arms race in which we do more and more and the grade boundaries go up and up and so teachers end up doing more and more and students get more and more stressed.

Of course teachers running these sessions mean well and it is generous of them but it is paving the road to hell.

MaisyPops Sun 09-Dec-18 22:21:28

Glad you got sorted in the end OP.

On revision sessions I find staff are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
I run a handful of genuine revision sessions covering tricky topics and strategies students can use at home to support their revision. I dont run reteaching sessions where we direct endless time, energy and resources into students who were too busy misbehaving or being lazy.

The before and after school sessions seem excessive to me.

I'm very aware I'm fortunate to be in a reasonable school.

rosablue Mon 10-Dec-18 00:57:53

At ds1's school, they did these extra lessons previously but have now formalised them so that they are timetabled lessons rather than revision lessons, and they start in Y10, 2 hours a week. They've said that it's due to the extra content that needs to be covered in the syllabus and I think it also gives them much more flexibility when timetabling to have a couple of sessions where they don't have to worry about fitting y7-9 into classes too!

However, as they are now a formal thing on the timetable, I would be very unimpressed to discover that teachers weren't being paid for them! If they're having to do an extra two hours a week of teaching time, I sincerely hope they are being paid for it, as they certainly deserve it.

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