As a parent I want their best education for my children. Like most parents. I sit down every weekend with my eldest and work through his homework with him. I love the days when he really buckles down and finds joy in working through his maths equations or talking about how Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings make him feel. My son undoubtedly loves to learn. I however find myself putting myself under immense pressure to make sure that that his educational needs are met by his primary school teachers.
He started a new school at the start of the academic year and I am pleased that he is enjoying the new setting however I can not help but compare his previous school which I used to think wasn’t the greatest. After much deliberation his dad and I finally moved him to his present school which is a lot closer to our new home that we have lived in for the past two years. For the first year, we had to grit our teeth and commute a whopping 90 mins to 120 mins each way so that my son could attend school. Finally last September we made the decision that it was best to bring him closer to home and cut out the endless congested travel.
I researched as much as I could before applying to a new school for him, thoroughly scanning for as many Ofsted reports, parent reviews, curriculum, and areas that I could, and was granted with our third choice of school. Since his start date, I have attended one parents evening where I received great feedback from the teacher and his teaching assistant. They reported that he was settling in nicely and that he has shown a lot of improvement in the last four months. I was chuffed. He is now in his 6th month of being at this school and I am starting to see faults in the school and the way in which they teach.
The majority of his lessons seem brilliant and my son seems very happy when he talks about all the things that he has learned throughout the day, but I am not overwhelmed with the lack of support that they have given him through reading. I understand that when he first started, they had to judge what stage he was at and so they sent him home with a reading book at the end of the first week. My son had already read this book and I noted it down in his reading recorded and informed them of what Oxford Reading Tree level he was currently on. The following week they were happy to provide him with an appropriate book. He received this book, finished it within 10 mins. He could answer questions about the book and also recite the book in his own words. Brilliant. So the book went back to school the next day. From what the teacher told me, was that once he had finished a book, he could bring it back and change it for another. SO this is what I expected to happen. It was a whole week until he received another book to read. Keeping in mind that my son reads his own Oxford Reading Tree books at home and chooses other stories to read independently. I questioned the teacher about the amount of books he received and was met with an apology and promised two books the next time he changed his book. Well it has been 6 months, and my son is still only receiving one book about every ten days. I asked him if he reads with the teacher and he replies ‘no’. The most he seems to do in terms of reading at school is guided reading for 5 mins and on the odd occasion, an older child from key stage 2 will sit and read with him. Now I am unsure if I am worrying over nothing and that this is common practice in most school however, as I mentioned earlier, I cannot help but compare his previous school’s practice. I miss the fact that my son used to bring home 5 books a week, have a scheduled reading day and book change day, and actually read with a teacher.
I am struggling to adjust to this change and it is a worrying subject as I am a strong believer in education, and am trying to set a good example to my son. Like any parent, I want what is best for my son and hope that he is able to reach his potential without being a pussy parent.