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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:22 am 
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I saw my child's Year 1 exercise books at the parents' evening in October. She had done very little, I noted this and did not ask about it, teacher said herself child had not done much because she was chatting a lot. My DH was unable to go the meeting because of a business trip.

I made an arrangement to speak to the teacher briefly on the way through the gate at the end of school day - takes 5 seconds - teacher tells me whether it was good day or bad day. Has been 95% good since half term holiday, much more work done according to the teacher.

My DH would like to see her books as he couldn't go to the meeting, and also because it would delight our child if he saw her school work and praised her ------ parental involvement and all that.

We are having problems. DH has dropped the teacher a note to that effect asking if the books could go in school bag one day e.g. literacy and numeracy folder - nothing too arduous, so he could take a look and give child some praise. No response. So I asked the teacher. She said they would be available after she had done some assessment or other. But meantime over a week has passed since the original request and we still don't know when we'll get to see them. It does not seem that big a deal popping two folders in a school bag.

We have hit a similar block before at same school with older child. Child had been dropped groups, unbeknownst to us, child finally told us as she was upset and explained why. We asked if we could see her work to see where she might need more help at home, and to give her some praise if she was lacking confidence. Again a refusal. We took it to the Governors - their response was that parents' evening in October and June was quite sufficient, and books can be viewed at school in between times by special arrangement. It is well nigh impossible to make this special arrangement, and if you do succeed in finding a mutually compatible time, generally you are not left alone to peruse the books, you are given a quick flash while the teacher talks to you. DH can't take time off work in school hours so it leaves him out in the cold too even if it was a successful method of me seeing the books (which it isn't).

Now older child is in KS2 the problem has gone away because her books are in her desk drawer so you can take a look any time. But secrecy still seems to reign in KS1.

Why are some schools so secretive? What should we do? I'd just let it drop but it would make a big difference to our child if she was to get some praise at home for her schoolwork. I think she is really quite despondent about school at the moment. I tell her I've seen it at school and how chuffed I am but that's not the same as really having seen it properly and Daddy having been involved too.

I know Scarlett is sensible and just takes the view of bash on at home regardless of what is going on at school (which is very wise) but I still feely very strongly about this as it would make such a quick and easy difference. Also, it would help me to see if there is a big difference between what child is capable of at home and at school - how else can one see that?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:44 am 
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I wonder if it is because they don't want the "my child is on such and such a level" at the school gates - I know my DCs' infant school was quite secretive, and hated the stealth boasting that went on at the school gate, with some parents only helping out with reading so that they could find out what level their child (and other children) were on. Having said that, I don't think they would have refused a request to see the schoolwork, particularly if DH could not get to the parents' evening. I suspect they wouldn't want the books to go home though.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:49 am 
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Last edited by Belinda on Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:52 am 
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Why do you think a school would be so concerned about books going home? Dare I say it, we used to revise at home for exams from our exercise books at primary school!! What exactly is the problem? I taught secondary decades ago. The children did their homework in their classbooks. If they didn't bring it back next lesson they got a detention. It wasn't needed very often. I really don't see the big deal about it.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:06 pm 
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You would bring them back, I am sure, but in many cases they would get lost - and at that age it wouldn't be the child's fault so a detention might not be appropriate. Could your DH go into work late one day and drop off your DC, pop in to the class and explain that he will just have a look at the books in a quiet area/entrance hall/wherever to keep out of the teacher's way as she is so busy at the start of the day etc etc. Personally I couldn't tell much from their books until they got into about year 3 or 4 as they (or at least mine :shock: ) didn't seem to write very much, it was mostly worksheets.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:32 pm 
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:lol: No I wasn't suggesting a detention for a 5 to 7 year old, just that if you could trust a teenager with their books, it should be much less risky trusting a primary school parent - particularly ones who have cared enough to ask!! And no we don't get any of that art stuff home either. I expected loads of that in reception but there was next to nothing ......... even less now if that's possible.

What battles are you suggesting we should have with the school later on? :cry:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Oh, and no, I'm afraid DH can't go in to work late - if he arrived at school at 9:00am and stayed 10 mins to look at some books he wouldn't be at work until 11 or later - it just doesn't work like that when you have a working day that starts early and a long commute. I don't think a real-world employer could possibly understand that he would have to arrive at work over 3 hours late in order to spend 10 mins looking at a child's books, so it would come out of annual holiday. A right pain, and so unnecessary. He had to do this last year, for DD1 and got the quickest of flashes of the books while being entertained for half an hour by 3 members of staff ......... it's a small school so goodness knows who was teaching!!

I guess I shall have to go and look at them myself in great detail by staging a sit-in and take my 007 camera hidden in a smart brooch on my lapel to photograph the work for other half to view at leisure!!

Doesn't anyone on governing bodies ever ask themselves what this nonsense is about? It's not a daddy versus mummy thing either. If both parents are working it's quite ridiculous that you should have to have time off work to look at a child's books when you've been told they weren't trying and now they are putting in a special effort. We can do lumps of clay at home. And that's my cooking. :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:03 pm 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
I can't see the school where I'm doing my teacher training allowing books to go home either.

From a school's point of view, the books are valuable (kinda like a child's portfolio) and therefore, the fear that sending them home where they may get lost, chewed by the dog etc (albeit small), is too risky.

Primary schools in our day, had a laissez-faire approach. Nowadays, there's too much paper work involved and the books are part of it.

I know teachers are possessive over them but not to the point that they're reluctant to share them with parents if requested...although in your case, Mystery, the teacher doesn't seem to be communicating very well. All this 'partnership in learning' that we've been learning, comes to mind...

Personally, I think there are benefits in sending books home on a regular basis. We had a kid in our Year 1 class who wouldn't complete the work on time because he kept chatting. The Year 1 teacher managed to sort it out by keeping his dad in at the end of the school day, showing his dc's book and the work that could have got done had he not chatted. But that's good for parents who do the school runs. It's a different story for working parents.




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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:13 pm 
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OK, well if that's the real worry, I'll see if I can pay to photocopy them in the school office!!

It's all a bit silly really as it's at secondary that the exercise books are more useful as, hopefully, they are useful for the student to use for revision for external exams.

If my daughter's exercise books are really a portfolio of anything useful well, um, oh dear.

I hope your teacher training is going well.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:26 pm 
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mystery wrote:

Doesn't anyone on governing bodies ever ask themselves what this nonsense is about? It's not a daddy versus mummy thing either. If both parents are working it's quite ridiculous that you should have to have time off work to look at a child's books when you've been told they weren't trying and now they are putting in a special effort.


I'm sure you could predict what I might say to your main question Mystery so I will spare you. :)

But as someone who sits on a governing body - no we don't ever ask ourselves this kind of thing. I have just finished reading the agenda for tonight's meeting of our GB (yes, going ahead despite the strike) and it includes Finances, Training, School Improvement Plans, Staff issues, the question of academies, policies, more policies, inspection regime, more policies, committee business, governor visits, more finances...


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