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Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by mychuck, Oct 5, 2012.
Can I contribute as a Deputy?
Complaint from a parent that history teacher is teaching and setting unsuitable material.
It turned out that the history teacher had set the class a research task to research one of three medieval castles. Lazy child had just typed castle into google (or some other search engine) and printed out something about Castlemaine XXXX and stuck it in her history book. Don't know how she managed it, I don't think the drink even exists anymore....
Queue interesting conversation about parental checking of homework diaries and monitoring of HW generally.
As others have said in earlier posts, I'm so glad that I've read this. I'm a new Headteacher and I would say that at least 90% of my time has been taken up by parents complaints....not that I wish this on anyone else but it's nice to know that I'm not alone. Some of them, I think, have been to suss me out as a new Head.
I've had a petition by parents to move a teacher to a certain year group, as they 'know' that 'she'd be better there to prepare the children for SATs.' When the Governors supported the decision (by the previous HT) not to move her, one parent is not happy about the outcome and asked for a complaints panel to be convened. She still wants the teacher to be moved half a term in - it's not going to happen!
A parent complained about our homework, wanting traditional endless worksheets, instead of the more creative homework they have now. Never mind about the vast majority of parents and children who like the homework...'It needs changing!'
A child has been separated from his friends because the class organisation had to be changed due to numbers (had this complaint a few times by different parents in different year groups - surprisingly they say virtually the same thing and are often talking together on the playground!). My answer has always been that the parallel classes work together as a team, they don't necessarily sit with their friends during lessons and they still play together at playtime (not to mention that they're still in a class of at least 15 children who they were with last year!) The threat to take them out to another school always makes me smile...how many 'friends' will they be with then, in a new school with new children? One parent yesterday (when I mentioned this to her) said that, it didn't matter because he would still see and play with his friends after school and at the weekend. I managed to bite my tongue and not point out the obvious, that he could do that now too!
Another parent said that she didn't know any of the teachers now and the school's getting too big, and this means that the feeling of 'community' was going. She said that the parents don't seem to come in any more, when her eldest child was here there were a lot more parent-led fundraising etc. She also complained that the parents were too 'clicky' and she felt excluded on the playground when she collects her child. After suggesting that she joined the PTA, reminding her that we're looking for another parent governor, and she's welcome to come into school to help out, her response was...'Oh no, I don't want to get involved in all that, I'm too busy.'
Some of the many many complaints I've had have been genuine, but not many. Although every complaint has needed to be investigated, written up and fed back to the parent doing the complaining...spending time that I'd like to have spent getting to know the children and the school better. I should have expected it, I'd had 5 complaints from parents on the desk of my previous school before even starting the job (about new class structures etc). I'm trying to look at it positively though, getting the parents into school has always previously been an issue, but it's very easy to become 'bogged down' with the complaints. It's also easy to forget about how many families are NOT complaining. There are lots of fantastic, understanding parents in the school who appreciate that sometimes things go wrong and need looking in to, but they also trust us to make decisions about their child's education; decisions based on our educational knowledge, experience and professionalism. 'You can't please all of the people all of the time,' has become my personal mantra over the past few weeks!
You need to start to worry when the parents who have been a thorn in your side and complained about really pathetic things start to be pleased at what you are doing...why? because you know you are pleasing the wrong people.
Had no complaints from anyone this week!!!
Well done! Here's hoping for a moan free week next week too!
Ah but I've upset the LA this week. I have complained on behalf of schools. Sorry but I'm going to rant again. We are being sold off big time by the LA ... not their fault but by government pressure. Things will cost more in the future and at what cost to the standard we receive.
Parents expect us to keep providing the same (if not better service) but we have less funding.
Funding is getting tighter and the LA are providing less. HTs are being asked to provide more in less certain times. Self improving schools, federations, teaching schools, self supporting systems for free. The return... well with a smiling OFSTED inspector and willing academy trustesses you might keep your job.
We're in the same boat. My la have always been excellent but having to make £24 million worth of cuts last year has taken its toll.
Curly - you and I seem to see things the same way. I am really worried for the future. Everyone is looking round the table and thinking " what's in it for me?". We are looking at our partner schools and thinking are you really a long term investment? Really all I should be worried about is my children and my results. 12 months ago I wasn't thinking about co-operatives and umbrella trusts. Today there seems no alternatives. We are ok as we are but that doesn't seem viable at all. My LA is making massive spending cuts and I am sick of the term 'commissioners'. Since when were children a business. I'm part of it all because I care but I'm sick of it all.
The day we start viewing children as a "product" is the day I ship out. I know of schools very close by who've had the Dfe bods trying to force them into academy status. So far my la has very few but the Dfe aren't going to like that. Scary times indeed.
At a NAHT meeting last week we heard of a school who were coverting willingly (before forced) who were fighting to retain the excellent HT. The DfE are being very forceful and approaching governors without the HTs knowledge.
So much for. " choice " eh? You can choose as long as it's what the Government want you to choose.
Our LA are actively 'advertsing' the fact that you get £25000 if you join an umbrella trust. The DfE are not happy that more primaries have not converted to academy status.
Because most primary heads know it'll detract from their headteacher role, cause more hassle and bring absolutely no financial gain.
They also realise that the job didn't come with a magic wand and that just because the sign out side says academy doesn't mean that everyone is outstanding. God if it were that easy we would have done it years ago.