Papermover v RR teacher

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Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:27 pm

So aren't governors supposed to have any input into the curriculum Derrie? What about the situation I'm now in, where the school is failing in its statutory duties? If I take my concerns to the Governors could they do something, if they had the will to?

Yes the vicar is on the Governing body. He's new, been in post about a year. I don't attend church so don't know him but hear he is approachable. I know one other parent governor to pass pleasantries with.

I'm trying to be more positive. When the head asked me for a quick chat instead of the meeting I declined ( all by email) and declined the original invite to meet. To paraphrase my response I said...I'm glad he is a good manager that is concerned about his staff, but a meeting wouldn't benefit me. I stand by everything I said and did. I've had enquiries from parents who were there who were interested in my points which were calmly and politely put. I'm aware ( from another conversation with him) that he couldn't care less about the law but I still felt it was important to point out the facts to other parents . As for the teachers misunderstanding of The Code, it's hardly her fault if she teaches in a mixed methods school, but it's no excuse for parents to go home missinformed when someone there had the correct info. I'd love to attend more parental reading sessions when the school fulfills its statutory duty. Till then let's just agree that I don't be asked , or attend.
I didn't mean to question the Teachers professionalism but would now; entering another teachers classroom without asking to acost a parent in a bullish manner while that parent was dealing with a distressed child, culminating in the NQT being left to deal with said child...now I am questioning.

Edited for typos.
Last edited by Papermover on Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

volunteer
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by volunteer » Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:29 pm

Good. I think that is the right way at this stage to deal with it.

What date and what grade was their last OFSTED report?

And how is your daughter's reading going? It would be lovely to hear how you are feeling things are going and what you feel is due to the extra phonics teaching you have done with her at home.

Unfortunately, all this upset at school can take time away from the planning that you need to do to make the most of the small amount of time you have to educate your child at home when they are attending school full-time!

By the way, I am very interested that you have caught the ear of your fellow parents so well and that some of your methods may be able to rub off a little on them. None of the parents in my very middle class school were in the least interested in moving forwards with phonics and decodable readers in reception - apart from I discovered afterwards one parent who took on board some of the information I supplied quite secretly and worked through a phonics scheme at home, meanwhile declaring publicly that her son had had a "breakthrough" and had suddenly "got reading". She seems to be quite influential with school (i.e. always seems to get what she wants for her children) so I was disappointed that she never dared to stand up and be counted as she perhaps stood more of a chance than me of getting somewhere rather than meeting a brick wall / attack.

The group approach like yours works well because if you do succeed somehow "by the backdoor" in boosting several children's reading it can have a positive impact on the whole class's achievement as reading gains impetus and more children and parents want to enjoy the same success and pleasure in reading.

Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:17 pm

Sorry for those dreadful typos, I was typing while doing something else. I'll go back and edit.

The last Ofsted downgraded the school from Outstanding to Good. It was just before my child started the school, very end of the summer term 2013. From what I can tell the poor SATS and phonics check results triggered an inspection. Everything was thrown at the last cohort of y6s and the SATS have improved no end.

Let me get back to you with the info on the interested parents and my daughter later tonight.

elsiep
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by elsiep » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:46 pm

From my experience;

1. Never attend a meeting at school without a clear, explicit agenda in advance. Don't discuss anything important that's not on the agenda.

2. Never attend a meeting without a companion.

3. Make sure you or your companion take notes, independently of any minutes taken by the school.

4. Don't criticise teachers in a public meeting unless you've talked about the problems with the teacher in question first.

5. Don't accuse anyone of acting illegally unless you are absolutely sure you're right and are prepared to make a formal defence of what you've said.

6. Don't be afraid to apologise for any upset - you're not admitting that you're wrong by doing so, and it can smooth over some troubled waters.

7. Children with autism are as different from each other as are any other kids. Can't generalise about reading or comprehension.

elsie p

Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:36 pm

My daughters reading is fine, I am only occasionally concerned. She can read anything, but will guess at unknown polysyllabic words if left to herself. I imagine this is because this is what the school do. However her code knowledge is good-with me as scaffold she can always work out a phonetically plausible suggestion for words she doesn't know, also more often than not she can then self correct to read the word correctly,as the word is actually in her vocabulary. I know this isn't 100% great, but it is better than I expected! She will only read books with beautiful illustrations in them, but to be fair I like a decent picture book too, we all have our literary preferences. All these positive things I put down to SP.

What the school have been good at is teaching her basic grammar and how to use it in reading. She can read with incredible fluency and expresion.

I've found the spelling aspect more difficult, simply because it requires us to be sat down at a flat surface with writing materials. Somehow the teaching of reading can happen more easily and slyly, as in she doesn't know it's happening. However I've found it's really important she says the sounds when she is writing, I don't know if this is a school thing as well as a SP thing?

The parents are friends with children in my child's class. Recently the kids were all playing Trivial Pursuit at the pub with my child reading the questions. I had to say to the parents that my child isn't a genius, and although I have taught her myself I haven't been pushy. At that point alot of stuff I had been ranting abut all year obviously found an ear. Up until that point no one was really interested. One of these parents was at the fated coffee morning, and listened to what the RR teacher said, and what I said. The statutory aspect was important to her.

These parents have now said I am doing a great thing, and they are behind me. It's ok, I know they may well be a long way behind me at any crucial moments!

Another parent wanted to remove her child from any schooling and home educate, so I pointed her in the direction of Phonics-International.

Yes elsiep, I'm sure you are right, that would have been the moral thing to do re no.4. It's just I wouldn't have got these parents attention again, I felt the need to create a debate. Also I couldn't shut myself up, I need to learn self control

As for 5. I am sure about the statutory nature of the aspect of the NC, I've got it written down. I don't know what formal defence I could make, take it to the Governors, the head- yes please.

And no.6, I don't know, I am sorry she was upset, but would I do things differently, I don't know, so it doesn't seem right to say sorry. Let me think about that one, I'm not always very nice, and maybe what you suggest is a lot more human than my normal way.

Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:52 pm

Also, from what I can see the Institute of Education trains teachers to use mixed methods. A lot of those teachers go on to teach in London schools. They then have more of the same in service training at the IOE. Then more teachers are trained In the schools where these teachers now teach...perpetuating the mixed methods route?

elsiep
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by elsiep » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:53 am

Papermover wrote:
Yes elsiep, I'm sure you are right, that would have been the moral thing to do re no.4. It's just I wouldn't have got these parents attention again, I felt the need to create a debate. Also I couldn't shut myself up, I need to learn self control
I didn't flag it up because it's the moral thing to do, but because it can be counterproductive if what you are trying to do is change the school's approach to reading. If the first a teacher knows about a problem is when she gets wrong-footed in front of other parents, she's going to be pretty defensive in future.
As for 5. I am sure about the statutory nature of the aspect of the NC, I've got it written down. I don't know what formal defence I could make, take it to the Governors, the head- yes please.
As far as I'm aware it's a statutory requirement to teach phonemic awareness and phonic knowledge. That doesn't make what the teacher was advocating illegal. I was simply flagging up that an allegation that a school is acting illegally is quite a serious one and one that shouldn't be made in the heat of the moment. Again, not so much a moral issue as one that might make the school dig in its heels, rather than change its ways.
And no.6, I don't know, I am sorry she was upset, but would I do things differently, I don't know, so it doesn't seem right to say sorry. Let me think about that one, I'm not always very nice, and maybe what you suggest is a lot more human than my normal way.
I've just had exactly this conversation with my son (16) who snapped at his LSA yesterday and an apology was demanded. He wouldn't apologise because it would be 'lying'. I explained the concept of the 'token apology' as in "I'm sorry if I caused offence/upset you/misunderstood". It's not a real apology, more of bridge to allow everyone to move on with their dignity intact.

I've had 12 years of negotiating with schools - I have one kid with a chronic medical condition and another with a statement of SEN. Sometimes it's worth losing a battle or two in order to win the war.

elsiep

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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by volunteer » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:17 am

I think that is very sound advice Elsie and I sincerely hope that they work for Papermover if the methods the school is using are having a detrimental effect on children's reading, spelling etc.

Maybe I have read more into the situation than is actually the case as I have had several very bad experiences. Maybe being "nicer" (I mean that in a superficial way Papermover, I don't mean you are being unpleasant or that you are not nice) will make a difference.

However, at my school I have kept it very much in the personal realm and very quiet - this is what I am experiencing with my child, what can I do at home, can she have decodable readers from school, can I see her exercise books so that I can help her with misspellings etc etc - and have always put plenty of thank you's and praise in letters for where things were going really well .... and also plenty of false apologies when I have been I think (deliberately) misunderstood or (definitely inadvertently) caused offence.

But it all still led to several of these extremely awful meetings where I was accused of this, that and and the other and various unpleasant threats made.

It is hard to know which realm we are in here. Only Papermover knows if today's meeting might have been a genuine attempt on the part of the school to try and resolve differences of opinion and misunderstandings or if it was going to be one of these awful pre-prepared threat meetings which I have inadvertently stepped into more than once.

elsiep
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by elsiep » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:30 pm

Agreed, volunteer. The meetings can be absolutely dreadful. You can have all sorts of unexpected things sprung on you. That's why it's important to stick to an agenda and sort additional issues out at another time and another place.

elsiep

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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by volunteer » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:00 pm

Yes I agree. So if Papermover did not get an answer to her question about what today's agenda was to be, that might have been a clue that it was not the right sort of meeting to go to.

Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:05 am

Yes, thanks Elsiep, you are right. Sigh, but it's so difficult for me to just shut up and think of the bigger picture. I am well aware that I can come across as a bit teenage, I can see where your 16 year old is coming from.

If it helps I did apologise to the RR teacher directly after the meeting, I said I was sorry and I hadn't meant to upset her. She wouldn't accept the apology, so there we have it. And, I'm on a role now, and, I've been personally attacked in an infant class size appeal by the school. They said I must be uncaring parent and not care about my child's education. We've been at the school over a year now and no one has apologised for that remark. They made a lot of blunders that were blamed on various types and groups of parents and when it can out it was their problem they didn't say anything.

So no, I don't trust them. I've already been to a meeting with no agenda and two teachers present. It was awful. I don't think I am going to change the way they teach. The only way that would happen would be a massive change in leadership. It's a happy friendly stable school where children thrive personally. What I could do is to cast enough doubt in other parents minds that they teach their children themselves, so the children never get to the RR intervention stage.

We can't change schools for many reasons, the distance to the next school with vacancies would make working prohibitive! And then we couldn't pay the rent AND it wouldn't help either the reading issue as this school is proud of its real books policy-as are all the schools round here.

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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by volunteer » Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:14 pm

Did you go to the Wednesday meeting or not in the end? Is that the meeting that you apologised at the end of? Maybe she has been reading this board and knew it was a false apology! :shock: I am joking, of course.

It's a shame that things started out badly at this school with the infant class size appeal and they were not straightforward then. Was it the governor who left who made the silly comment about you not caring about your child's education? Was the logic supposed to be that if you did care you'd find a school elsewhere with smaller classes? It's a pitiful argument of theirs if it was the best thing they could think of to defend themselves at a school places appeal. And on top of being a very poor argument it overlooks the fact that it's an offensive thing to say to a prospective parent.

It sounds as though you are making some headway with your child and with other parents. The school .... well it will be interesting to see if their early reading instruction is picked up on at the next inspection. If they achieve a good at the last inspection they can go quite a long time without another one if a quick dabble at the data shows that they haven't dipped since the "good" inspection. My daughter's school was inspected when she was at the end of year R, the report was published at the start of year 1, they achieved good. DD is now in year 6 and they haven't yet been re-inspected. I think I am correct in saying that they have to inspect by the end of this school year.

They have made some improvements to their early teaching of reading. More GPCs are introduced sooner and this has improved the phonics test results at the end of year 1. If my daughters' classes are anything to judge by, this is the sole improvement. Phonics is done very half-heartedly after the year 1 phonics check for maybe another couple of terms. My personal view is that the phonics check shows if there are any major decoding problems but children need to get to a higher stage in phonics than is needed to pass that check in order to develop their reading and spelling as accurately as possible.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:08 pm

My personal view is that the phonics check shows if there are any major decoding problems but children need to get to a higher stage in phonics than is needed to pass that check in order to develop their reading and spelling as accurately as possible.
I agree.

Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:38 pm

Did you go to the Wednesday meeting or not in the end? Is that the meeting that you apologised at the end of? Maybe she has been reading this board and knew it was a false apology! :shock: I am joking, of course.
No, I didn't attend a meeting. I apologised to the RR teacher after the coffee morning as I could see she was angry and I said I was sorry and I hadn't meant to upset her. She wouldn't accept the appology; fair enough.
It's a shame that things started out badly at this school with the infant class size appeal and they were not straightforward then. Was it the governor who left who made the silly comment about you not caring about your child's education? Was the logic supposed to be that if you did care you'd find a school elsewhere with smaller classes? It's a pitiful argument of theirs if it was the best thing they could think of to defend themselves at a school places appeal. And on top of being a very poor argument it overlooks the fact that it's an offensive thing to say to a prospective parent.
No, it was one of the leadership team, who is still there, and has never appologised. I won the appeal as we met the admissions criteria. The school made a huge bish that year. They obviously can't plan a admissions policy to save their live-can't see consequences. We had to go to appeal because the school messed up but they have never accepted that either, just blamed it on parents.

The school think the Phonics Check is a joke as far as I can tell. Children who don't pass then get RR...

Say I have 15 mins 3 or 4 times a week to do spelling with her-what would you sugest is the most productive thing to do? I can't spell for toffee and am really anxious about this part.

Papermover
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Re: Papermover v RR teacher

Post by Papermover » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:49 pm

Oh, has anyone been on a CLPE Phonics Course? This is who the school use for their inservice phonics training and I would like to know if it is the course that is at fault, or if it is the interpretation and implementation?

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