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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:30 pm 
My daughter is in Year 10 of a small girls' independent school. Most of her subject teachers seem OK, but her English Language and Literature teacher whom she has had for the past 'two years, and also as her form tutor for the past two years, is really poor.

She is uninspiring, does not make much sense when I have tried to speak to her at parents' evenings and open days, and seems lazy when I look at the work covered and uninformative marking in my daughters' file. My daughter is forecast better grades in every other subject than English at GCSE, and is doing very well at Spanish and French. She does not enjoy English Language or Literature, and does not like to read in her spare time. She wants to do Spanish and French at A' level. I find the disparity in performance and enthusiasm for foreign language and English puzzling, and put it in part down to the teacher concerned who I would not wish to be taught by for 10 mins, never mind at least three years.

I think that a change of teacher in Year 11 might help. It is not the school's policy to change subject teachers between Year 10 and 11. I feel that as it is a small independent school with higher than average fees I have the right to ask for a change. What do you think the best approach is to the school? I have not found the head abundantly helpful on previous curriculum matters.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:42 pm 
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A really difficult one here!

Is homework being set and marked? If it isn't that is one area you could approach the school over - being uninspiring is probably not!

Unfortunately Independent school teachers do not have to have been trained to teach - and this sometimes shows.

Schools tend to be defensive so you have to show something one would reasonably expect e.g. marking is not being done.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:27 pm 
Have you tried talking to other parents to see how they feel about it.
Concerns coming from a number of parents would probably have more weight than from just one lone parent.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:20 am 
Is there only one year class. Perhaps you could get her moved into the other. My daughter dropped a language for A level because she couldn't stand the teacher. I said I would ask if she could be moved into the parallel class but she didn't want me to. As it transpired, she did languages at university and really regrets the loss of that subject. Sometimes there are personality clashes and it seems crazy to change a path you might otherwise take for the sake of avoiding someone you cant rub along with for 2 hours a week. There is of course the chance that your daughter may not be overly talented with English, or more to the point - interested. I don't see how a poor teacher would deter you from reading. A friend of mine was in remedial english and that then was like being left to do potato printing and yet she read like there was no tomorrow. How are the other girls in the class getting on with the subject? If enough are doing well you will be hard pushed to prove she is a poor teacher. I would go for the personality worry if there are two classes and the fact that it could be a good thing for the whole group to have new blood after that many years, but bear in mind your daughter may just not care for the subject.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:59 am 
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I am puzzled by this. I'll put my cards on the table, I don't believe in private education. However, even if I did, I would still be puzzled. If my daughter was at a State school, and "most of her teachers seem OK" but her English teacher and form tutor seemed "very poor" I would be complaining and if things didn't improve, thinking seriously about a move of schools. Surely, at a private school with "higher than average fees" you are in an even stronger position to complain? I only pay through my taxes - you are paying lots of money to a business -you have a right to expect an excellent service!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:14 am 
Of course you should complain if that be the case. I am merely thinking of my state educated daughter who, when she cannot be arsed to listen, says it is her teacher who has not explained it properly and has given out no homework. Later, talking to her friends it transpires that my girl has been off with the faries. Sometimes.. it is not the teachers fault and before someones job is in question, it is a good idea to see if anyone else has the same problem.. if it is merely a personality clash (why in that case should the rest of the class change) or if a child's parents have too high an expectation of their child. If it turns out to be poor teaching.. by all means take off their head.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:34 pm 
Thank you all for the sensible advice above. My trouble is as a divorced father who is only able to have my daughter to stay every other weekend, I am also slightly "divorced" from the school and other parents.

My opinion is gleaned from having spoken to the teacher concerned - it is impossible to get an informative or comprehensible answer out of her on anything, and my daughter's dislike of her and the subject although she gets on extremely well with all other GCSE teachers, and is generally considered hard working and conscientious. The French and Spanish teachers describe her as a talented linguist so I find the mismatch with English difficult to understand.

Also, when I look at my daughter's English file every other week, I cannot see anything in it relating to the English Language GCSE (she is currently half way through Year 10), everything appears to be literature. As my daughter does not do homework at weekends, and her file does not say what is homework and what is classwork, I do not know whether homework is being set and marked or not.

So, puzzled and frustrated!!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:42 pm 
I also have year 10 daughter, and most of her English homework does seem to be Literature based at present. Writing essays comparing poems etc.

But how does your daughter get along without doing any homework at weekends? The amount my daughter gets would preclude this!! My daughter gets 4 or 5 subjects on a Friday, plus any little bits of research that she hasn't completed earlier in the week. Way too much to leave on one side!!

:?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Can you attend Parents' evening? Some pupils make two appointments - one for mum, one for dad -you are certainly entitled to a copy of her report.

She will need a good grade in English if she wishes to pursue languages ...


Good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:00 pm 
What grade do you think a good university would expect in English Language GCSE if you were going to pursue a foreign language at degree level? I thought a grade C in English was sufficient for entry to any HE course.


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