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contemplating complaining to school but not sure if being pfb

34 replies

hermitcrab · 02/06/2011 04:53

My dd age 9 took part in a Last Choir Standing event last night. The school has been rehearsing for the whole term, and the event was a competition between all the year groups in KS2. Each group sang four songs. The school had taken the whole of KS2 to the hotel where the event was held for the entire day....all in all it was billed to the children as quite a big event for them.
Fast forward to the judging and announcing of the results. The layout was all a bit American Idol, and each group got feedback from it's nominated judge,and then places were announced whilst all the children were on stage. My dd's year got no direct feedback or tips specific to them from their judge, he insisted on commenting on all the year groups as a whole. Then he announced the third, blah with so many points, only one point ahead in second... and a long way ahead in first place... Y6. My dd's year went from thinking that they might be the winners, to realising that they had come in last, and at no point got their points score, or the round of applause that the others got as the results were called. They handled it quite well, but a good number of them were crying on stage, they are only 8 / 9.
It just felt like a very shoddy ending to what had been a lovely event. The Principal was the Y4 judge, and I'm planning to email a complaint about the reporting of the results....but just want to check I'm not being pfb about it all. I don't especially care where her group came, just wish they had kept the 'did we win' sense of anticipation to between those placed second and first, not last and first.

OP posts:

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy · 02/06/2011 05:38

I understand where you're coming from, and I'm totally onside with your view.

Given the ages of the children, this is completely unacceptable, and I would even go so far as to say that it's a form of child abuse.

I don't give a flying fuck if half the nation is waiting ... and waiting.... and waiting ... ad infinitum (isn't amazing how seconds can seem like hours?) for some plonker to announce the victor (subject to how they've manipulated the votes), what's happened to your dd's year is nothing less than cruelty to children.

For fuck's sake, what is going on in this country? Reality shows/X factor/similar crap is the new opium of the people - fine for adults but using this as a template for setting kids up to fail and rubbing their noses in it?

And that's going to inspire a future generation to strive to achieve?

Complain, and if you get no satisfactory response, get on to your local press, contact your MP, and refer this matter to the Secretary of State for Education.

It's not shoddy - it's shitty, and it shouldn't happen to adults, let alone children.


BlackSwan · 02/06/2011 05:43

But how should they have announced it? Surely the kids who were judged to be second and third best should have heard about it.

Yes I think you are being pfb. But it's not nice to hear kids were crying on stage. Were they all just a bit caught up in it?

Perhaps for really young kids (like 5-6) everybody should be a winner - but for older kids isn't it important to understand that there are real winners and they should be applauded?

Sounds like a terrible idea for an event though - what kind of school would think to emulate American Idol?


Bonsoir · 02/06/2011 05:50

Sounds terrible. Your poor DD (and her classmates). But actually, I feel sorry for all the children involved as, at this age, singing shouldn't be competitive - it should be a group feelgood activity.


jubilee10 · 02/06/2011 06:01

My children take part in Music Festivals and have done since they were quite young. The places are announced in the same way so no one knows until the winner is announced whether they are first or last, Obviously it is not "Americanised" but some children will be disappointed. Often there can be a child (or two) in tears Sad but that's life and it will be like that all the way through. I tell my children that taking part and doing your best are the most important things although it's lovely to get a place.

It sounds like the whole "Hype" of the thing caused the problem but IMHO the best thing you can do now is to remind your daughter of the fun she has had, a good day out etc and the new songs she has learned and move on.


hermitcrab · 02/06/2011 06:07

I'd have been quite happy if they had announced " in fourth place...with so many points, third, and now... second place, and the winner is". It is quite a traditional school with competitive sports days once you reach KS2, and the kids are always briefed in that when second place is announced, the winners shouldn't leap in with their celebrations at that point. It's the fact that fourth were not announced, and so believed right up to the end, they could be the winners. We're actually abroad in a British curriculum school, so only really have the Principal, or Governors to complain to.

OP posts:

hermitcrab · 02/06/2011 06:17

Have told our dd that we are so proud of her. It was a lovely event, (up to the somewhat sour ending) and a good opportunity to sing in a professional venue etc etc. The group did rally well after the initial shock, just don't think it is the sort of shock you should have to take at that age, in public' on a stage. Our dd age 5 came home and made her sister a medal (the winners were all given medals at the end of the night) which was sweet anyway. Will put down to experience...and hopefully next years event will be handled with a touch more thought. Will do a brief note to the Principal as well.

OP posts:

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy · 02/06/2011 06:20

I hear what you're saying jublilee, but it seems like you've bought into the hype and that doesn't make it right.

What's wrong with 'and the runner up is....' 'and the winner is....'?

You're right, OP - any participant(s) in any event deserves an acknowledgement.

It's no less than what happens when election results are announced in alphabetical order. At least the lowest scoring candidate can hear their supporters raise a cheer.


troisgarcons · 02/06/2011 06:21

So there were only 4 entries?

No one likes seeing kids cry. TBH, if there were only 4 entries - would have been kinder to announce winner anda runners up - and not bother with a 3rd place announcement OR give 4th place a highly commended.

However we do live in a culture expectation. Disappointment is part and parcel of life. The longer you protect children from that, the bigger shock it is going to be when they get out into the real world.

And this was an external event? So I don't know what you expect the governors to do about it? Any complaint will sound like sour grapes that you didn't get a place.

The flip side is: if your school had come first, would you be making a similar post about the announcing, or would have you been caught up in the euphoria of things?


Sirzy · 02/06/2011 06:29

I can see why you are upset but I do think you are being a little pfb.

Yes they should have given them all a certificate or something at the end and only announced first and second so no team came last BUT a bit of competition and realising you cant win everything is good for children.


coccyx · 02/06/2011 06:36

someone has to be last!
Think you are being a bitPFB, but if only 4 groups then maybe would have been kinder to have second and first place only


lesley33 · 02/06/2011 06:42

YABU. You agreed your child could be in this competition. In competitions there are winners and losers. Yes it is disappointing for children. But I think,as we live in a competitive society, learning to lose is an important thing to learn i.e. how to deal with disappointment.

TBH I hate the - all children should get a certificate/prize stuff. If every child gets something, it devalues it.


hermitcrab · 02/06/2011 06:47

It was a school event for the KS2 children of one school, so four year groups taking part. All children of each year group took part singing as a choir. It was hosted by a local hotel with an auditorium, so off school premises but entirely a school event. I don't want to appear as it being a case of sour grapes...its purely the delivery of the result I have issue with. Some of the Y4 children actually think they were runners up, as normally that is how the school would announce results. We don't even know their score, as it was never read out. I wouldn't complain to the Governors, don't think it was quite that bad, but am still seething, so think will do a email to the Principal...just have to get across that I don't give a fig where the year came in, but that they should have had their points read out, had some feedback, and had a chance to be clapped like the other groups.
Other parents from different year groups were remarking on the upset children, so think a few observant types clocked what happened.

OP posts:

bonkers20 · 02/06/2011 06:48

I imagine that seeing some of the children crying on stage has made the teachers think again about how they announce the scores for future events.

Our Primary always announced Sports Day results (4 houses) in reverse order so all 4 got mentioned.

I do agree with you, but I don't think I'd say anything to the school as it was a one-off. Maybe if it looks like they're running a similar event you could quietly check how they will be giving out results.


hermitcrab · 02/06/2011 06:49

Thanks for the replies... off bowling with the girls now, as its our weekend here.

OP posts:

BornInAfrica · 02/06/2011 06:51

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 02-Jun-11 05:38:51

I understand where you're coming from, and I'm totally onside with your view.

Given the ages of the children, this is completely unacceptable, and I would even go so far as to say that it's a form of child abuse.

Seriously? You equate a bit of live performance disappointment with child abuse? Sometimes I really cannot believe the shite I read on here and I really hope your hysterical opinion is not shared by too many other people.


jasminetom · 02/06/2011 07:14

Presumably if Thursday is your weekend you are talking about an International school. I am in Qatar at the moment but have lived over the Gulf, Africa, Asia and I think it's a bit rum to come onto mumsnet and make out it is some little cutesy Surrey primary. International/British/English Speaking schools are hardly ideal models of fairness or up to date education. Usually competition to get into these schools is fierce, fees are prohibitively high unless you happen to have a sympathetic employer and, lastly, expat kids are not usually the meek and fragile wallflowers who will be damaged by a knock in a singing competition.
If i am mistaken and you are indeed in Surrey, my sincere apologies.


sunnydelight · 02/06/2011 07:20

I'm with you BornInAfrida, "a form of child abuse" - wow, let's hope you can continue to live in your little bubble izzywhizzy and never encounter real child abuse.

OP, not really pfb, it's never nice to see kids in tears but dealing with disappointment is a life lesson. Maybe some "constructive feedback" so it can be handled a bit more sensitively next time without making it a big fuss?


izzywhizzyletsgetbusy · 02/06/2011 07:36

Frankly, BOA, I don't give a shite about your views but I do give a shit that children competing in local school or community based events are judged by national dumbed down tv fake reality x factor-type standards.

I am not of the school of thought that insists that every child should be a winner, but nor do I believe that any child or group of children should be set up to fail - much less fail spectacularly in front of their peers and relatives in that they are not even accorded a mention in the roll-call of winners and losers.

If your child was competing in any event, do you not think that you should have the opportunity to applaud their effort even though they may not be the winner? Or that your child should at least be allowed to hear your, and others, approval when the final ajudication is announced?

Read the OP's post: their 9 as in nine not twenty-nine year old child is a singer in a choir. Four choirs particpated in a competition. One choir won. The winning choir and two other choirs were applauded for their efforts. The fourth choir, in which the OP's dd was a singer, received NO ACKNOWLEGEMENT WHATSOEVER OF THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE EVENT when the results were announced.

Maybe one day you'll wake up and smell the coffee unless, of course, you think that Starbucks is java heaven.

In the meantime, if you haven't got anything to contribute why bother to waste the OP's time merely to take me to task?

Hysterical, moi? If I am, it's thanks to adults (if, indeed, you are one) like you who think it's acceptable to set young children up to fail.


tallulahxhunny · 02/06/2011 07:44

its hardly child abuse ffs!! nowhere near !! I dont know and cant be bothered looking up to see what PFB means but i think you are over reacting. it wasnt very well announced but there is no need to complain it will just make you look like one of those mums who expect their child to "win" everything.


izzywhizzyletsgetbusy · 02/06/2011 07:44

sunnydelight your name says it all. Fake 'orange juice'.

Isn't it about time you gave your real brain a chance instead of signing it up to synthetic hype?


bigTillyMint · 02/06/2011 07:47

How wierd to have a competition between year groups. Surely 4 mixed-age teams would have been fairer, if they really felt that competition was so important. And yes, they should have announced all the teams and their points.

Anyway, as Bonsoir said, singing should be a feel-good activity. There are special events for school choirs to enter where the children perform but are not rated against each other, which is a far better way of doing it.

Actually, it reminds me of the horror of my DD's gym competitions where they place every child in reverse order for their group - not so good if you are last out of 17 or whatever Sad


jasminetom · 02/06/2011 07:54

Saudi? Oman? Ever been there?


meditrina · 02/06/2011 07:55

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy: I don't think that commenting on views within the thread are going to waste OP's time.

hermitcrab: if you go in saying this is child abuse, you can expect to be written off as OTT straight away.

On the other hand, if you want to make the point that the announcements were badly mishandled and that a whole year group missed out on the attention others received (feedback etc) and applause, I think you will get you message across far more effectively if you a) keep emotive terms out if it, b) enlist the support of parents who have the same views, and c) offer an alternative for future - feedback for all, then just announce winner, then more applause for all.

I hope your DD is OK today.


jasminetom · 02/06/2011 08:01

Not sure you would get very far with your MP! It is incomparable and ridiculous to apply UK principles to a place where we take our tax free salaries, servants, swimming pools and posh education in the knowledge that we are subscribing to a system that is not democratic or fair. If you make a fuss you will be deported. How can you suggest that it is reasonable to term a stupid and futile competition child abuse when in these countries there are children who are abandoned in their home countries, sent to live with strangers etc etc just so their mothers can come and be our maids for £100 a month salary and two weeks home leave once every 3 years? Izzywizzy you obvoiusly feel very strongly about this and I agree with you about the crap we are exposed to all the time but I think you are over reacting and I don't understand why you have to be so aggressive.


BornInAfrica · 02/06/2011 08:22

I'm glad you don't give a shite about my views Izzy. I really am. You see, you ARE hysterical and that is proven by your inability to do anything but spit and hiss now that issue has been taken over your insane conclusion that the OP's children were subject to abuse. In fact I'd go further - I think you may be a little unhinged. Of course nobody wants to see children in tears but for fuck's sake - we all managed to grow up relatively sane without this constant breast-beating and hand wringing about our feelings if we did not WIN everything.

I say 'we all' but clearly you lost just one time too many at the sack race and haven't managed to get over it yet.

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