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Help me be nice....

(133 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Wed 27-Feb-13 17:27:05

I have a disagreement with ds' school. It's quite big.

I don't really want to put much of the details on here because they are a good and nice school and don't deserve to be picked apart.

But how can I be nice, and not upset anyone whilst making it clear I am not happy about something.

You'd think I'd know. But in the past it was always about being reasonable and polite, realising that any implied friendship was just about them using as much of their tool as guilt as they possibly could.

With this school it is more genuinely about being friends - I hope.

So what? Take party bags? booze perhaps?

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 20:41:58

Well how fantastic! Well done, Star, it must have been really tough not to see the new school in the light of everything that has gone before.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 01-Mar-13 20:45:44

Glad it went well!

moondog Fri 01-Mar-13 20:47:32

How wonderful.
It is so......peace inducing when people can just all get on and make allowances (on both sides) for the sake of the child in question.
Do you feel all nice and calm inside? smile

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 01-Mar-13 21:19:17

Well I'm anxious that the trial is done properly as seems to be the intention, but I am mindful of some things Mareeya said on another thread that actually, regardless, they have actually been prepared to do quite a bit so far.

But you know, being on the premises for a while (as I am not very often due to ds being taking in a taxi) and just chatting to passing staff/looking at their display cabinets and seeing staff interact with children, - well, it IS a good school - not a perfect one, but a good one.

I actually met with 3 very senior staff members and tbh I think they were as relieved as I was that we could reach and agreement. It was just so 'dfferent' from the last time I asked a school to keep a record/pass information.

Last school - without even looking at my template everyone in the room refused. This time, they did talk about the predictable 'time filling in forms takes away support from the child' thing but looked at mock-up, sighed a big sigh of relief at how little it demanded, specified a preference to report a couple of things differently and to redesign the template slightly and that was that.

I wonder just how long it will take for me to calm down about it all properly. Maybe never now.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 01-Mar-13 21:24:16

It is hard and you have done well.

bochead Fri 01-Mar-13 21:27:49

This has been a really useful thread - when you've been in the trenches of a full on war a few years you kinda forget all the "normal reasonable people skills" afterwards.

In RL I'm quite socially isolated, so interpersonal skills from my previous life/career have gotten rusty to say the least. This thread pullled me up on a few things I used to do as a matter of course.

I needed a reminder before a school meeting today, so just wanted to thank all those who contributed!

MareeyaDolores Fri 01-Mar-13 21:35:30

The reminder was helpful here too. Having let school do their own thing unaided this year, went in thus week about a specific problem. Suggested a specific solution and knock me over with a goose feather of course it was implemented (with their spontaneous added improvements!) within 6 hours. And it solved ds's problem. Amazing grin

moondog Sat 02-Mar-13 08:57:16

When you can show staff that you can
1. improve communication between the home and school
2. make their lives easier
3. allow them to collect data (in a manner of minutes) that ultimately makes their lives a lot easier and reflects well on them and allows them to ensure that the dreaded IEPs are SMART then......

they usually come up trumps!!

When I have something to suggest to school staff I always emphasise hugely that one of the principal purposes is to capture all the (often unseen) hard work they do and that if they do it, they look great.

There's usually happy co-operation then.

tryingtokeepintune Sat 02-Mar-13 12:16:03

Ooh, thank you for reminding me to thank ds's teachers for their hardwork and willingness to work with suggestions from outside.

The school has been working hard on things I asked them to and lately the relationship seems to be me asking them to do more and more and it is time I thank them for their co-orperation and hardwork and ds's progress - before I ask them to help me implement some new tactics I learnt from Moondog's workshop grin.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 02-Mar-13 12:35:19

Yes. Need to remember to thank them too. In fact I might put 'thanking days' on my calendar.

One thing we discussed was interesting. I asked them to take data on a strategy they were implementing and they asked me right back what benefit it would have TO ME. And you know what, I hadn't an answer.

I understood then that I didn't actually need to see the data myself, I just needed to know it was being taken so it didn't run out of control and that given they'd agree to take it, them not wanting to report to me wrt the detail and just update me at parents evenings was actually fair enough.

PipinJo Sat 02-Mar-13 12:51:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Sat 02-Mar-13 12:58:11

Definitely saying thank you has a huge impact for us.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 02-Mar-13 13:12:13

Star - so pleased it went well. smile

After years of betrayed trust and fighting it is hard to do anything other than adopt battle mode. After all, most of us started off trusting the system and lived to bitterly regret it.

I have also been thinging of how things will be with the school when wink we win tribunal and I have to go back to trusting. I think you 'know' from the amount of shared understanding that informs any discussion or potential disagreement and whether or not the other side is defensive. In these instances it is possible to compromise and is like a breath of fresh air. It is hard to stop assuming that data will not be collected unless you insist that it is and relinquish control.

Trust is a relational concept. You are 'learning' that your trust can be reciprocated (and is not misplaced) and will then be able to teach (model) trust to your child.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 06-Mar-13 16:02:45

Agh, it's all gone tits up. Oh well.......

PolterGoose Wed 06-Mar-13 16:30:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 07-Mar-13 07:08:59

Well I got the outcome of what had been agreed, and it was the most half-hearted water-down version, to the extent it adds no value or benefit, just extra admin for the TA. sad

I sent an email hoping that the message had fallen apart internally but the response was a defence with 'well teachers are busy people'.

Like these things do, it took over half a term of frustration and anxiety on a daily basis to even get a meeting about it. Now I know that what was agreed has been met with a 'whatever!' and not taken seriously at all.

PolterGoose Thu 07-Mar-13 08:17:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog Thu 07-Mar-13 10:16:04

Oh bugger.
Is this to do with home/school communication?
Can I help?
Email me if you want-I'm home all day clearing out my garage. hmm

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 07-Mar-13 10:48:37

I know A LOT of people fighting SSs for better communication in the home/school book, rather than just "Billy joined in well at circle time and enjoyed painting". Sadly, I don't know anyone who's cracked it, though the teachers may actually be DOING what Star wanted, just not reporting it. Most people find writing stuff down hard, particularly when kids are milling around. I find regular quick verbal updates better, but easier for me cos I am there every day (didnt get tranport). There is no perfect school, just ones that are way better than others, IMHO.

silverfrog Thu 07-Mar-13 10:59:07

dd1's last school had brilliant home/school communication. 2 A4 pages each day, broken down into areas (curriculum, food, self help, targets, etc) - got loads of info daily, and in fact sometimes struggled ot provide enough info in return.

her current school is variable. we have brilliant IEP/progress meetings still, but home/school book is a bit hit and miss. but then dd1 doesn't have that many issues at school (other than her ASD, of course grin wink), and when she does, they do report on those, so maybe for us it's more that she is on an even keel at the moment.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 07-Mar-13 12:53:51

Yes. Home-school interaction, but also behaviour and also support.

Basically, I raised a few issues of deterioration before Christmas, which a SALT at the school confirmed was mirrored there. In particular, I was concerned about increasing disengagement of DS both from being involved in family activities and in sharing experiences (which he finds very difficult anyway).

The SALT came up with the idea of a behaviour book that they use for other albiet older children. She said that the teacher would write in one or two positive behaviours and one area for improvement to remember for next time, that we could reinforce at home.

I agreed to this, but what came home was a book with a morning, lunchtime and hometime comment, written by the TA at the end of the day.

I was asked how I was finding it and I mentioned that there had been some success in getting ds to comment ocassionally, but that I was disappointed because this was not how I was expecting it to work as this system does not reinforce ds with social praise at the time of the positive behaviour, and the praise isn't given by the person he needs to be encouraged to want to please, and that there are no comments about things we can practice at home.

The response was that ds is not capable enough to access a system like this.

My response was that ds is capable as having heard about this from the school I had introduced it in his swimming and tennis lessons with huge impact.

There was some back and forth about how they weren't an ABA school and couldn't offer that level of individualisation (although they implement the system with other older children) and then there was the stuff about doing things like this takes away the support from ds, and that writing in a book doesn't take 10 seconds, they have to find the book and the right page, and it could be missing and the child could have wandered off........

I gave them a simple template that incorporated the HS book and disbanded with the questions (which he was finding adversive at school and I could regenerate at home from the positive comments) - so, overall a reduced workload. I gave an example of 'Hey ds, what shall we tell mum?' followed by 'ds sat very quietly during story time' and they agreed that it wasn't much and to try it for 4 weeks.

That's where I thought we were.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 07-Mar-13 13:10:57

Anyway, what we have got back is one thing from each lesson filled in by the TA that says things like 'ds did good listening in art'.

So it's the same as before but with 3 more comments. There is nothing to grip with ds, and we can't encourage and reinforce the positive relationship with the teacher delivering the lesson - which is his main area of need, listening, engaging with the teacher and learning in a group.

His SALT has identified his need to build a relationship with the person delivering the lesson as she has decided in her sessions that she needs to do a bit of 1:1 with him to build that relationship before trying to get him to do it in her group sessions.

When I questioned why the teachers hadn't filled it in, the response was 'well the TA just fills in what the teacher has commented to ds as they are too busy and have other lessons to go to'

But the TA's words and phrases are what is in the book so it isn't written the same way. i.e. 1. really good listening in art, 2. really good listening in numeracy It isn't done in the timely way required for social reinforcement for pleasing that particular member of staff to increase the chances of ds trying to get that praise again, - and the comments too unspecific to reinforce at home.

What I am upset about, is that they DO this for other children, but only because afaics, the behaviour is disruptive, rather than disengaging, so the teachers are rewarded by developing a good rapport with the child to be reinforced at home. As usual, if the behaviour is only detrimental for the child, it's not an issue.

moondog Thu 07-Mar-13 13:18:29

Make it easier for them.
Draw up a weekly timetable.
By each lesson put three faces like I showed you Sad/Neutral/Happy
Get him to take the book (his responsibility) to the teacher at the end of each lesson and get her to circle a face to equate with whatever it is you are trying to measure-engagement yes?

At home, go throguh them with him.
'Wow, Mrs Smith was so pleased with you in Art. Look!'
'Uh oh. What happened in PE. Mr Jones has given a sad face. Weren't you listening?'

All the teacher has to do is circle a face.
You can tot them up each week and have a criteria.
More than 20 faces say, and he gets to have a mammoth session with his tape measures or whatever floats his boat.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 07-Mar-13 13:23:35

I'm sorry Moondog I tried that. I even told them that I would photocopy the paper and keep it up to day. I did a nice template with the timetable for eac day of the week.

They said they wanted to make the 'book' themselves, and they didn't want to 'rate' anything because that information should be shared in a general way at parents evening rather than daily but they would be prepared to count things to inform themselves (just not me)/.

But the thing is, I do need some 'hook' of information because ds would just completely make it up if I asked him such an open question.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 07-Mar-13 13:24:18

by making the book, they just got an A4 book of lined paper and got the TA to draw a wonky grid for each day.

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