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AIBU?

AIBU to find schools terrible comms frustrating?

38 replies

FFSandmoreFFS · 05/09/2022 12:12

DD started Y3 today.

school have always had pretty poor communication but they’d get there eventually with everything.

they are getting worse and worse and it’s driving me nuts. Every email they send it terrible - either conflicting info, missing key info, leaving everyone with loads of questions and often they just make no sense!!

they decided to bring school dinners and breakfast/after school club in-house this year. It’s now lunchtime on the first day of term…. no info about school dinners (how to pay, meal options, how to sign up) and no info about after school club (does my child act have the place I requested?? How to pay, where to collect from afterwards)

people are ringing and emailing but getting no proper response.

how can they not see that this is unacceptable??

what is the best thing to do? Write to governors? Involve PTFA? They seriously need training or resources or something to improve what’s going on!!

argh….. stressed rant over!! 🤣

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

85 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
15%
You are NOT being unreasonable
85%
Oysterbabe · 05/09/2022 12:18

Our school communication is awful too. Always loads of unanswered questions with any communication and stuff constantly sprung on us at the last minute. Last term there was an artshow and they told us the day before what time it would be, so it was too late for me to organise work so I could go. They seem to assume that no parents work and we can drop everything and be there when they click their fingers.

StarDolphins · 05/09/2022 12:22

Our is the same, telling us what they need for PE but not what day it is.

gurantee on Red Nose Day they’ll do as last year & expect us to magic up some unusual outfit.

They never miscommunicate asking for money though, £2 here, £3 there… bring cake donations in then buy said cakes back at cake stall🤣

StarDolphins · 05/09/2022 12:23

*guarantee

Peccary · 05/09/2022 12:27

Seems a common issue, we seem to have to find information buried in the website. Last term they sent a letter telling us DD's new classroom would be Miss X's old classroom. No directions given, DD is my first child at the school, how would I know where that would be???

Connie2468 · 05/09/2022 12:45

The school should have a complaints policy available. It won't have anything to do with the PTA, they are for fundraising.

First step would be a formal complaint to the Headteacher.
If you don't get an acceptable response, you can complain to the Governors.

FlemCandango · 05/09/2022 13:06

Many issues with all the schools I have dealt with over the years (including the Primary I was a school governor at). I have 3 children close in age but schools often send generic "your child" emails without specifying a year group so we have to work out who it relates too.

They don't write clearly so you have to wade through bumpf to get to the point. And don't get me started on the school that forwarded anti immunisation propaganda because it looked official, without checking it's legitimacy!🙄

Good communication is hard to do and easy to get wrong.

Cocktail70 · 05/09/2022 13:11

My daughters primary school is the same. They sent a random newsletter out back in April that had lots of dates on it for things happening in July. No further communication was sent out about these July events so when it came to the day, hardly anyone was there!
Or they will let you know of something happening on the same day when you will already be at work. Absolutely rediculous. I've seen so many kids crying because there parent isn't there and others are.

ethelredonagoodday · 05/09/2022 13:13

Same at our primary. Almost every message causes confusion or needs a follow up sending. The secondary school does seem much better though!

Flopisfatteningbingforchristmas · 05/09/2022 13:15

You need to follow the school’s complaints procedure. It should be on there website.

Notjusta · 05/09/2022 13:21

I think the thing is, just as @FlemCandango (can you hear me, Flem 😁) said, good comms isn't easy, and most people who work in schools aren't employed for their communication skills.

But, just to balance it out, both my kid's schools are pretty good, but previous schools have been terrible.

Kokapetl · 05/09/2022 13:23

I thought ours was pretty poor but some of these sound even worse!

At our school, the main problem is how last minute everything is. For example, today, they've sent out an advert for an external after school club. However, the first session is after school today. They've sent nothing at all before the start of term except a dinner ordering reminder which may well be automated! There's no information yet on other clubs making it really hard for those who are working normal hours to organise childcare.

mamabear715 · 05/09/2022 13:24

It ALL drove me crazy. SO pleased my kids have all finished school.
Sorry, that's not helping, but it's TRUE!

FFSandmoreFFS · 05/09/2022 13:40

I would have thought good communication should be an essential skill for working in admin at a large school.

I’d be dragged over the coals if I repeatedly sent out confusing information which resulted in everyone being inundated with emails and calls to clarify things.

Is it really that hard to plan an email? Think about content required, consider how it will be received by recipients and proof read it to ensure it actually makes sense.

OP posts:
LittleMy77 · 05/09/2022 13:51

Ours is awful too. They haven’t even sent the new school year calendar by email - just posted it on twitter and FB (which not everyone is on!)

Some ‘notable’ examples from last year:

  • sending out wrong dates on the calendar for holidays etc
  • trying to change an inset day with two weeks notice when everyone had sorted childcare, to then change it back again when everyone complained
  • having no proper way of booking parent teacher conference slots without bits of paper
  • not having teacher email addresses meaning emails have to go to the office who then send to the teacher meaning stuff gets delayed and lost
  • last year they set up purple mash for ereading books and gave everyone the wrong login and password, took 6 weeks to correct it and then they couldn’t be bothered to use it
  • really poor at sending updates / reminders on adhoc stuff not on calendar like mini music lesson concert, red nose, meetings with new academy trust, meaning if you work you can’t go as there’s less than a few days notice
blabberchops · 05/09/2022 14:30

@FFSandmoreFFS do email the chair of governors and cc the head, but be polite and friendly in a "I hope you don't mind me mentioning ..." sort of way, so as to not come across too aggressively. And include lots of examples to evidence your points.

I'm a school governor (vice chair) and a parent. Governors operate at strategic level, not operational, so we can suggest that the school develops a Comms Strategy, then hold the Head to account for it. However, the Head will never prioritise developing a strategy unless he is aware of the issue, and it is unlikely that he is aware if nobody has told him.

Oysterbabe · 05/09/2022 14:42

Literally just got this email. No surprise as this happens all the time. We got 20 minutes notice at least.

AIBU to find schools terrible comms frustrating?
Mumsafan · 05/09/2022 14:53

My DD's school is the same. Terrible comms. They have 3/4 receptionist / admin ladies who have been there for years but often they will forget things, or send them out late, the spelling is appalling, or the grammar is juvenile ( lots of "should of" instead of should have and "your" instead of you're. . My daughter has a name that isn't unusual but can be spelled in a variety of ways, one of these women told her (when she asked for a certificate to be corrected) "well, I have never heard of anyone spelling it that way!" - my daughter gave her 3 famous examples and seems she had actually heard of it. I know that seems a petty thing but it is so aggravating.

More important things have involved forgetting to send out reports, sending reports to the wrong child (more than one occasion) , sending the incorrect times and dates for school trips, forgetting to tell parents that children needed packed lunches, forgetting to tell parents the school bus is late or cancelled etc

At least once a fortnight they send an email saying "see attached" and the attachment isn't there so it's followed up with another saying sorry , with the attachment.

No idea how they stay in a job, apart from the fact I know the school pays a complete pittance to admin staff so probably can't attract anyone better trained.

FFSandmoreFFS · 05/09/2022 15:10

blabberchops · 05/09/2022 14:30

@FFSandmoreFFS do email the chair of governors and cc the head, but be polite and friendly in a "I hope you don't mind me mentioning ..." sort of way, so as to not come across too aggressively. And include lots of examples to evidence your points.

I'm a school governor (vice chair) and a parent. Governors operate at strategic level, not operational, so we can suggest that the school develops a Comms Strategy, then hold the Head to account for it. However, the Head will never prioritise developing a strategy unless he is aware of the issue, and it is unlikely that he is aware if nobody has told him.

Yes, that sounds like a plan.

the head is definitely aware and it was also flagged by Ofsted as an issue during the recent inspection (where we dropped from Outstanding to Inadequate).

they sent out a survey re comms at the end of term but spectacularly missed the point. It was entirely focussed on method/platform of delivery, whereas all the parents are saying we don’t mind how we get the info as long as it is correct etc.

someone asked today about emails confirming lunches and after school club and the head said she’s more concerned with the curriculum than with communication. Really unhelpful.

OP posts:
LegoVsFoot · 05/09/2022 15:21

I started a thread with similar and got the most vile replies so possibly most people think it's ok. But I feel the same. I still haven't had replies on anything I've asked them.

https://www.mumsnet.com/talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/4623246-to-say-ds-wont-comply-with-school-uniform

KissMyElbow · 05/09/2022 22:23

Peccary · 05/09/2022 12:27

Seems a common issue, we seem to have to find information buried in the website. Last term they sent a letter telling us DD's new classroom would be Miss X's old classroom. No directions given, DD is my first child at the school, how would I know where that would be???

We had that as YR parent last year, no map, no idea where XYZ teachers classroom was and still don’t. We have emails, texts, newsletters, info on website and two school platforms. RIDICULOUS

NeverDropYourMooncup · 05/09/2022 22:32

Conflicting information and instructions, things left to the last minute and then poor spelling and grammar - yep, that's what working with teachers is like.

Hotandbothereds · 05/09/2022 22:33

Notjusta · 05/09/2022 13:21

I think the thing is, just as @FlemCandango (can you hear me, Flem 😁) said, good comms isn't easy, and most people who work in schools aren't employed for their communication skills.

But, just to balance it out, both my kid's schools are pretty good, but previous schools have been terrible.

If you’re employed to communicate information to parents as a key part of you me job then good communication skills is most definitely what you should be employed for, it’s a huge part of the job!

ellieboolou · 05/09/2022 22:40

Ours is communication overload but on different platforms! Google classroom, school app, email and texts, drives me insane!
Since covid it's like I've more chance of winning the lottery than being able to a actually speak to a teacher.

figmaofmyimagination · 05/09/2022 23:08

Primary schools are notoriously rubbish at comms. My favourite was durivng covid when they banned bags, so then said they wouldn’t send any letters home, so all notices would be written on the whiteboard on the playground… except we weren’t allowed on the playground cos covid. You needed a clear diary, a dry day and superhuman vision to know what was happening!

Cactuslockdown · 05/09/2022 23:31

Urgh, same here. Primary was bad, secondary is the same. Conflicting information, resent emails due to errors, last minute notice for sports fixtures, equipment needed, and just a lack of comms in general! How hard can it be?!?! I’d never get away with it. School office jobs are meant to be sought after 🤷‍♀️

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