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Just been hauled into HT office !!!!!! I'm so mad !

215 replies

alisonmc · 15/03/2007 09:29

Hi all,
I hate my DS school! At my DS school I am probably the only parent that actively tries to help DS with his work. We read every night, he likes doing sums and other spelling what is the problem - here goes:
a) We as parents "we are working against the school" by showing DS different methods of addition and subtraction, etc (see previous posts);
b) HT is worried about DS socially "does he do any activities outside school, has he got any friends, etc, are we putting too much pressure on him" - felt like saying FO!
c) HT is "very cross that I have obtained past SATs papers and DS has done them - well I might add!"
d) HT had DS in office on Monday for an incident "but was sorted out at the time, so no need to tell you about it" - until today that is !!!!
e) HT wants a meeting with DH & myself "to put us back on the right track!"

How ludicrous can this be ? There are thousands of children that get no help or support with their work, have severe home lives, etc - but a child who has loving and caring parents, great social life and home life is getting all this........

I am absolutely livid !

OP posts:
dejags · 15/03/2007 09:34


What a list! Wow.

How old is your DS?

MamaG · 15/03/2007 09:36

alisonmc - my friend does this wiht her DD and to be honest it ended up being quite confusing for her. I feel its better to be led by the school and continue what they are doing at home, rather than doing something different.

Your efforts to help your DS are to be commended, no doubt about that, but maybe you could work more closely with his teacher rather than having him work at home and then at school separately?

fireflyfairy2 · 15/03/2007 09:39

You are a fantastic parent by encouraging your sons learning. However, I can see that this would become confusing for him, be learning a lot of different ways at the same time.

My worry would be though, if he is at school all day, then when he comes home to do SAT papers & youteach him other methods..when does he get time to chill out??

twoisplenty · 15/03/2007 09:39

I'm with you alisonmc, but it's nothing new. When I started school aged 4 (a long time ago...) my mum was told off for teaching me to read, they said "its our job,not the parents' job!!"

But if your ds likes doing homework etc, why not? As long as its only for a short time.

MummyPenguin · 15/03/2007 09:42

Personally, I don't believe in doing SATS papers at home. Is your DS in year 6 Alison? If so, like my DD, they're eating, sleeping and drinking SATS in school at the moment, and to do more at home is overkill and just makes them heartily sick of it, if they're not already. They get a lot of homework too, in the final year of primary, and are thinking about their transfer to secondary etc. I think that's more than enough to be going on with.

I also have a DS in year 2, so he's doing those SATS and they're much lower key, but I wouldn't buy papers for him at home either.

The meeting with your HT should be beneficial, iron out any misunderstandings etc. I think it's a good thing that the HT is taking a personal interest in your DS.

LucyJu · 15/03/2007 09:47

Sounds like a very unhelpful meeting. I think that parental involvement has been shown to have a bigger effect on how well a child does at school than anything else, and I think it is something to be encouraged.

Possibly the HT might think you are putting your child under a bit too much pressure, but I'm sure you'lll know whether or not that's true.

Go along to the meeting with your dh and try to keep an open mind. What is most important here is the happiness and welfare of your child. See how all of you feel after you have had a chance to speak properly and explain things from your point of view.

dejags · 15/03/2007 09:47

I certainly think this could have been more sensitively worded, but, I do actually agree with the school.

DH and I could be classed "pushy parents", we have always tried to ensure that our DS1 is ahead of the game (he is obviously bright and we felt we were doing what was best for him).

We have subequently found ourselves in the precarious position of having DS feel as if he is a "failure" when he doesn't get things right. Along with a fair few associated emotional/social problems for DS.

I do think that at a young age (hence, I asked how old your DS is) conflicting teaching methods can be detrimental on an emotional level for a child. Our DS has had counselling and we are now going through parental counselling to try and even things out a bit.

I was really devastated when I realised the impact of our well intentioned pushyness and have subsequently really come round to the idea of letting the teachers do their job and for us to reinforce that with an emphasis on emotional wellbeing.

Our counsellor always says that we need to make sure the four legs of the table are of an even height, these being 1) empathy 2) discipline 3) fun 4) education. If one leg is longer/shorter than the others things will never be right. It made sense to me.

dejags · 15/03/2007 09:48

I also meant to add that you sound like a lovely, concerned mother

chopchopbusybusy · 15/03/2007 09:54

I was going to post my tuppence worth but I have just read dejags post and she's said it all. It does sound that you really want the best for your DS but pushing too hard is not always the way to go.

beckybrastraps · 15/03/2007 10:05

Are there concerns with how he is coping in school. I mean, if he wasn't getting confused between the different arithmetic methods, then how would they know that he was learning different ones at home?

And does he do any activities out of school - have friends round to play? I am really anxious about my son's social devlopment at the moment. I think it's of prime importance at this young age. If I remember rightly your ds is in year 2?

What makes you say that you are the only parent who 'actively tries to help'? Perhaps others don't have such a full-on approach. Perhaps that has it's advantages too.

Ali5 · 15/03/2007 10:06

I think it's great you support your DS so well, just see the meeting as another way of supporting her. It sounds quite positive, because they want to help you to help her, it's perhaps not been put to you in the best way, but some heads are not great at communicating effectively with parents!

beckybrastraps · 15/03/2007 10:06

Ooh - re-reading, that sounds harsh. Not meant to, just trying to see why the school would be anti-parental involvement.

Ali5 · 15/03/2007 10:07

Sorry, supporting him and helping him! durr..(need coffee)

wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe · 15/03/2007 10:18

?a) We as parents "we are working against the school" by showing DS different methods of addition and subtraction, etc (see previous posts)? ;

I think it must be hugely frustrating for teachers trying to teach 30 kids one way of doing things and getting them to try and learn it, to then have one child who insists that things can be done another way because that?s how he?s been taught at home. Why do you feel the need to teach your child different ways of doing things? It?s one thing helping a child with homework and helping them to do the things he?s been taught at school by reinforcing the way he?s been taught to do it, it?s totally another going against what he?s been taught and trying to bring in new methods of doing things that go against what he, and all his peers, have been taught. It must also be very confusing for the child to be taught one thing by one person, and another by someone else.

?b) HT is worried about DS socially "does he do any activities outside school, has he got any friends, etc, are we putting too much pressure on him" - felt
like saying FO!?

you need to ask yourself what makes him think like this. Why would a head teacher be concerned about one child?s social wellbeing? As parents we all want the best for our children, we all want them to do well at school, and in some instances, we want them to excel above their peers and be the best at what they do. But sometimes, as parents, we live vicariously through our children, wanting them to achieve the things we never did, and this can unwittingly result in us putting huge amounts of pressure on them without even realizing it. The ht is detached from all this, he is looking in from the outside, and he will have seen it hundreds of times before, whereas we as parents, although we strive to do the absolute best for our children, sometimes can?t see past the goals we have in sight for them. He is not trying to criticise you, he is trying to help you, and your son, to achieve the best he can. Your ds has the whole school day to learn how to do things, that?s why he goes to school. The time after school should be for playing, socializing with his mates, doing sport if he chooses, chilling out, not for continuing the education process and doing sat papers and learning different ways of doing things than the ways he?s been taught at school. If he?s doing all this extra work outside school when does he get time to be a child?

?c) HT is "very cross that I have obtained past SATs papers and DS has done them - well I might add!"

again, sat papers are for school time not for doing at home. And ?well I might add? says a lot to me about the way you feel about your ds? intellectual capabilities. The fact you seem to feel the need to reiterate that he did them well is, IMO, an indication of the expectations you have of your ds, and the fact you feel everyone needs to know how bright he is.

?e) HT wants a meeting with DH & myself "to put us back on the right track!"?

I think a meeting will be very useful tbh, and I think you should go in there with an open mind and not with your back up straight away. The man has the interests of your child at heart. He is not the enemy. Just because he disagrees with the way you?re doing things does not make him wrong, he is trying to help your ds to achieve the best he can, not just on an intellectual level but also a social/emotional one.

I have no doubt that you are doing the best for your child and that you want him to achieve the best he can, but he is only a child, and he will only be a child for a few years, there?s time for sats and exams and study and all that when he?s much older.

alisonmc · 15/03/2007 10:22


DS is 7+2 months.

  1. He always has enjoyed learning since before he started school, and has been reading, spelling and doing numeracy since reception. I do not want to quell the enthusiasm that he is showing - I'd rather have a child that wants to learn something rather than sit in front of the Playstation all evening. (He does have one of these by the way !)

2. DS only has 2 night off a week from clubs, Monday its football club, Tuesday night off, Wednesday - Internet Cafe Club, Thursday - night off, Friday - Tennis Club, Saturday and Sunday - plays for a local junior football club.
3. From all these clubs he has numerous friends and has about 30-40+ to every birthday party, he goes to football matches with his mates and soccer schools in half term etc., kids round to tea etc.
4. In the area that we live it has a great deal of social depreviation and a lot of the other parents in DS class like nothing better than to farm their kids off to others, and go clubbing, drinking etc. so supporting their children is way down the list of their priorities - Sorry to say in my experience this is the truth.
5. I understand that the school need to follow the government strategy, but if certain aspects of it do not work can they not be more flexible to show other methods?
6. I do not appreciate that as a supportive parent to be treated as a child by a HT who should be focussing on the more vunerable children in the school.

I think DS is a very rounded child who has all aspects of his world met. He is a happy and friendly child who just wants to learn. I am just so upset that the school sees this a problem and instead of praise it is suspicion first - what a sad world we live in!
OP posts:
beckybrastraps · 15/03/2007 10:24

Which aspects of the national numeracy strategy don't work?

misdee · 15/03/2007 10:28

so he has 2 nights off from clubs and you do 'work' with him. wehen does he just play. use his imagination, run about for the hell of it, relax etc?

i just dont get all these extra curricular activities.

bozza · 15/03/2007 10:30

You do sound very defensive about all this. I think you need to be asking the HT questions back - why are their concerns about DS's social life, what was incident on Monday about etc.

TBH I think it is good that the HT is interested and concerned about your DS. All too often we hear stories about children from homes like yours who are just overlooked while the children with bigger issues or more disruptive receive all the attention.

VioletBaudelaire · 15/03/2007 10:32

"I hate my DS school!"
So move him!

I have to say though, the headteacher must consider the work you are doing at home with your son to be to the detriment of his school work, otherwise why would he bother mentioning it?

coppertop · 15/03/2007 10:34

It seems unusual that it was the Head who spoke to you and not the teacher. Has the teacher ever mentioned these issues before?

alisonmc · 15/03/2007 10:36

wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe - The HT is a woman, who by the way knows me very well as I was on the school's governing body up until September. So she bloody well knows where I and my family are at! HT even runs one of the after school clubs that DS attends, and knows about football club (Monday) and Tennis Club (Friday) as they are both on the school's site !!!

I understand that when you are teaching 30 children (I used to be a Maths, Economics and Business Studies teacher myself) one method should be the basis, but any good teacher knows that they should differentiate for children who cannot grasp a method. Why should children get upset if they cannot do a method, but can do another just because it does not fit with NNS?

I am not living my life through DS. FYI, I have a Maths Degree (2.1), Economics Degree (1), MBA and PGCE in Business Education and am a qualified accountant. I don't feel that I have suffered academically in my life! So DS will achieve what HE wants to.

beckybrastraps - Its the addition/subtraction new method that DS is struggling with as he does not understand it when big numbers are involved. He understands the old fashioned partion method however.

OP posts:
dejags · 15/03/2007 10:39

Alison, perhaps you do need to look at the underlying reason for this.

My DS is outwardly the most confident and happy little boy. What happens in the classroom truly does contradict this (but we never saw it until we tried to homeschool him).

The school are perhaps seeing a side of your son that you don't see.

I am trying very gently to say that you should perhaps review the four legs of your table. Your son sounds overwhelmed with activities, with very little room for down-time.

I am sure the HT does have lots of important things on his list of things to do - if he feels it important enough to mention it to you, perhaps you should try to be a little calmer and respect his judgement a bit more with a few well placed questions.

dejags · 15/03/2007 10:40

Ooops sorry, presumed that HT was a man

Iota · 15/03/2007 10:41

excellent post from wannabe

I inadvertently showed my ds1 a different way to do addition/subtraction and had to do some furious back-pedalling as I didn't want to confuse him buy doing it a different way from school

wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe · 15/03/2007 10:42

?a HT who should be focussing on the more vunerable children in the school.?. I disagree. A good head will focus on all of the children in the school.

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