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AIBU to complain to the school
24

SJCV · 16/11/2017 13:29

First of all - I am a F/T primary school teacher (11 years in) so I know full well how terrible the workload/hours are and how much of a PITA parents’ evenings can be. I’m off school today with a vomiting bug, hence posting at this time.

I have 3 DC, two of whom go to a local school. We got parents’ evening letters this week. All fine for DD, but DS1 (Reception) had a different letter.

Basically, the Reception teachers are only holding parent consultations during the school day or immediately after school (until 3.30). There is a sign-up sheet in the office where parents need to go in and choose a slot. There is no option to ask for alternative times if the ones available are inconvenient.

Is it just me who thinks that’s just unbelievably unfair on any parents who work?

  1. I can’t get into school to sign up for a slot as I am at school for 7/7.30 and stay until 5pm.
  2. Even if I could sing up, I can’t easily attend any appointments during the school day.
  3. The appointments for older DC are In the evening, requiring a second trip to the school.

    I am going to have to ask a friend to sign me up for a slot during my PPA (if there are any left) and hope that my head lets me go.

    I am (possibly) ready to accept IABU, but I don’t think I am. Our parents’ evenings at my school last until 7pm and if a parent can’t attend, we offer alternatives. Even when I was PT, I did parents’ evenings.

    What do you think?
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MadeinBelfast · 16/11/2017 13:34

My child attends preschool and their appointments were only during the school day. I spoke to the teacher and explained I worked in a school too and she was happy to arrange either a phone call later in the day or said she could see me on another day about 4pm. I don't think they are going to advertise alternatives as every parent would then want a more convenient slot but they were happy to arrange something for me as they knew I couldn't take the time off. Hope you manage to arrange something suitable.

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SJCV · 16/11/2017 16:49

I think if it was a pre-school I’d be slightly more understanding, but in a school where Y1-Y6 have conventional hours it seems odd. Particularly when they say ‘... it is extremely important for your child’s education that you attend’.

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cakeymccakington · 16/11/2017 16:52

I think you should talk to the teacher and ask if you can arrange a time to see her outside of your work hours

If they refuse THEN you complain.

Give them a chance to make it better first

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magpiemischief · 16/11/2017 17:56

Ask for an alternative time or failing that a written report. Email or send a note in with any questions about progress etc.

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magpiemischief · 16/11/2017 17:59

Or, alternatively, could your DC’s dad attend instead of you?

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wowbutter · 16/11/2017 18:04

Can't you call and sign up? Like call he office and ask them to read the slots out and pick one?

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Piggywaspushed · 16/11/2017 18:08

I do hear you! It's always bizarre to me that teachers of young children, so many of whom are mums themselves, work in schools where the whole system is massively inconvenient to full time working parents (male and female). It's almost like they think no women work! Mine are older now, but it was amazing how in their very early days (we have lower schools) things were run around casual sign up sheets on doors and nearly all communication was done at the school gate. The head of that school was female and there was pretty good before and after school care : but not on training days (and better parents' evening times that you are being offered!). It was the communication method that was frustrating.

But, yes, email or phone ad see if they will work around you.

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SJCV · 16/11/2017 20:12

Magpie DH can (and will, although he will need to rearrange meetings) go, but I do appreciate the chance to speak face-to-face to the DC’s teacher as I am never there for pick-ups or drop-offs so don’t get that opportunity on a regular basis. We could likely speak on the phone, but then I won’t get to look at books to see progess.

I have just never encountered these timings for parents consultations before and they seem to be supremely inconvenient for working parents (both male and female, teacher and non-teacher). Having spent 11 years being expected to bend over backwards to accommodate parents and their requests for ‘as late as possible please’ it strikes me as very odd, particularly when it is only one year group.

I have called and made an appointment for 2pm one afternoon (the only time left) and when I asked about alternative times later in the day for anyone who works, I was informed there weren’t any. I just need to hope that I can leave school during my PPA time and be back in time for my after school club.

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WreckTangled · 16/11/2017 20:15

Our reception ones are immediately after school too (I’m a parent not a teacher). The only reason I can think of for it is that the reception teacher is a single mum and therefore is unable to stay later. Must be a pain for you, hopefully they’ll be able to offer you an alternative.

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WreckTangled · 16/11/2017 20:17

Sorry cross posted. That’s really annoying for you, I’m not sure what the answer is though!

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MummaDeeDee · 16/11/2017 20:19

I feel your frustration. I work in a school and I’ve missed lots of my DCs things because of work. In my experience teachers will generally be happy to arrange a more convenient time if you’re working. I’d call the school and see if you can arrange a late appointment. If they say no, then complain.

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SJCV · 16/11/2017 20:24

Mumma I’m used to missing nativities/awards/piano recitals etc, and missing sports day is a blessing 😂, but parents’ evening seems like a non-negotiable. Certainly in my school we aim for 100% of parents attending, hence rescheduling missed appointments/offering alternatives and late nights.

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MsJaneAusten · 16/11/2017 20:32

Could you ask for a phone consultation instead? Either in the evening or to co-incide with your PPA?

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SJCV · 16/11/2017 20:35

But then you don’t get to see the books, Jane. I love seeing what they’ve been up to at school. I know it’s better than nothing, but it’s not the same.

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fucksakefay · 16/11/2017 20:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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Piggywaspushed · 16/11/2017 20:41

We never got to see books at parents' evening anyway! It was three minute chat and that was that...

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lorisparkle · 16/11/2017 20:46

As a teacher it always annoys me when they expect parents to do something that they would not let one of their staff do. I once asked the head if she would let one of her staff have time off to attend an event at their own child’s school and when she looked sheepish I said so why do you expect the parents to be able to get the time off. I am afraid I would say something but I don’t care if I am that parent.

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TheweewitchRoz · 16/11/2017 21:21

I agree with you Op - that’s totally out of order. I’d kick up a massive stink - complain to the head, governors, parents council & on Facebook actually.

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VelvetSpoon · 16/11/2017 21:31

At my DCs primary the last appointment was always 5pm. It was a fucking joke but because the vast majority of families had either a SAHP or one who worked OR or from home, they got away with being completely inflexible. As I worked 1.5-2 hours away, I had to waste my precious holiday taking a half day. Or not go. We had the sign up sheet for appts too. And that was the only way, you couldn't phone up and arrange it. So glad my DC are now older and I don't have to deal with their shit any more!

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MidniteScribbler · 17/11/2017 09:23

I can see both sides of the argument. I know that arranging time to attend is difficult, but there seems to be a double standard in parents expecting teachers to stay back and work unpaid overtime, and possibly pay for childcare that they wouldn't otherwise need, when parents are being completely inflexible and not willing to try and leave work an hour early or be an hour late once per year. There is an element of 'my time is more important than yours'. It should be something that works for both parties. You would not expect a retail worker to stay back for several hours to fit around you, so I'm not sure why that wouldn't apply to other industries as well.

I've had numerous times over the years when I've tried to arrange a meeting with a parent, and they only want it very late, around 7pm. Sometimes because they want to have dinner before coming to meet with me. Without any acknowledgement that doing so would mean me having to stay at work until very late that night and paying for a babysitter for my child. And since no one is allowed to be at school out of hours without someone else there for safety, it also means that someone else would have to do the same thing.

Before I moved DS to the school I am working at, I had to sometimes make arrangements in order to be a parent AND a teacher. I swapped planning time with someone, I left work right on the bell to be at the other school 15 minutes later so his teacher wasn't left hanging around too long waiting for me.

I think the once or twice per year parent teacher interview option of up to 7pm is fair, with any other meetings scheduled during the year no later than 4:30pm.

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gandalf456 · 17/11/2017 09:24

I do think this is unusual and many parents of school aged children do work and it also eliminates fathers, too.

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lorisparkle · 17/11/2017 13:06

Staying late for parents evenings is not overtime it is part of a teachers directed hours. Teachers can be directed to work 1265 hours over 195 days. Schools should therefore lay out at the beginning of the year the additional hours they expect teachers to work above the pupils school day at the beginning of the school year. In secondary my dh does open evenings and parents evenings much later than primary because that is how the school has organised the teachers directed hours.

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MiaowTheCat · 17/11/2017 14:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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Littlefish · 18/11/2017 19:28

I am a Reception Teacher. I think that system is crazy! We are a Reception team of 3 teachers who job share for 50 children. because of the way our curriculum is arranged, we all see all the parents. That meant 2, 5 hour sessions, from 3.15 to 8.15, and then another 8 separate sessions on odd days to fit everyone in. We did our consultations on the same days as the rest of the school but started/finished earlier or later, depending on what was needed.

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