UVHS has a newly established Parent Council. The purpose of the Council is for parents to act as a ‘sounding board’ on a range of issues identified by the school which may aid the school to reflect on what it currently does. Additionally it will provide a range of parental opinions before new ideas or developments are implemented. The meetings will take place half-termly and dates will be published on the school calendar. News from the meetings will be published on The Parent Council page of the website. Should parents require further information they should contact the Headteacher’s PA Mrs Andrea Herman on firstname.lastname@example.org
Meetings are due to be held in the Memorial Meeting Room 5.30 - 6.30pm
19th March, 30th April, 11th June
Parent Council News - Monday 19th March 2018
Feedback from the previous meeting (5th February) was taken. Parents were pleased to see the Parent Council news is now available on the UVHS website and that all parents are encouraged to drop in as and when they are able/interested in particular agenda items. It was also agreed that a draft agenda should be circulated well in advance so that parents could add items. One opinion was that there was possibly too much information given, but it was agreed that detail was useful for parents to see the nature of the discussions.
Marking and feedback for students was discussed particularly with extended pieces of work. It was felt that prompt feedback is important or at least that students should be advised when feedback will be given. Additionally some students felt that at parents’ evenings teacher comments to parents did not match feedback to the students during the course of school, because of a lack of meaningful feedback in class. Other parents were pleased with feedback and declared themselves very satisfied, particularly when teacher comments challenged student’s understanding and encouraged a response which helped children to proceed to the next level. The issue was also raised that if a child is predicted the highest grades they cannot exceed this on yellow stickers.
Parents felt there was room for further explanation to parents how the yellow sticker system works, with a learning conversation created between teachers and students (and parents if necessary). Children need to be trained to respond to teacher comments otherwise their comments can be just ‘Yes miss/sir’ rather than any meaningful dialogue. It was suggested that younger children need quicker feedback and that deadlines could be set both ways for work submission and teacher feedback. Additionally it was agreed that verbal feedback in the classroom is very effective. However parents had no desire to undermine teachers’ professional judgement and acknowledged that there are times in the school calendar, such as GCSE and A level mock weeks, when feedback to other students may be less prompt than usual due to marking loads. Part of the transition to secondary school is children acquiring the skills to take responsibility for their own learning and being more independent, so this also needs factoring into the equation.
Regarding achievement/behaviour points the issue was raised that children are not always aware if, when and why they have been given points and that parents do not fully understand the system. Other children fail to advise their parents about any points given. One parent suggested that achievement/behaviour points could be recorded in planners. Failure to compete homework is a major cause for detentions issued. Alessandra Desbottes advised parents that a new lunchtime homework detention system was being introduced where repeat offenders would complete homework with her. She will raise the issue of how achievement/behaviour points can be better communicated to students and parents alike and this will be raised with subject leaders.
All of issues raised at the meeting will be taken to the senior leadership team for further discussion, and any actions will be fed back to the Parent Council.
It was decided that drugs education and sex and relationship education would be on the agenda for the next meeting. Sue Hewson (Deputy Headteacher – Student Welfare) will be invited to the next meeting to explain the schools policies and delivery.
The next meeting will be held on Monday 30th April at 5.30pm in the memorial Meeting room. All UVHS parents are welcome.
Agenda Meeting 30th April
Memorial Meeting Room at 5.30
All parents welcome
Drugs education and sex and relationship education – presentation by Sue Hewson (Deputy Headteacher – Student Welfare)
Matters arising from previous meeting
Parent Council News - Monday 5th February 2018
The first meeting of the parent council was held on Monday 5th February. The meeting began with a welcome and introductions. Matthew Hardwick outlined the purpose of the group as a ‘sounding board’ for the school on a range of issues affecting pupils at the school.
A draft constitution was circulated and feedback was taken from members of the Council. It was agreed that Alessandra Desbottes would amend this (to allow for parents to discuss non confidential issues with wider members of the community) and this was circulated this to members of the Council and suggested amendments made. See below for the constitution.
It was decided that the Council would meet half-termly and agreed that every effort should be made to encourage a wide representation of parents to attend the meetings: sharing notes from the meetings widely; informing all parents of the agenda topics in advance; and allowing parents to attend meetings on a one off basis.
A discussion took place about who would chair the meetings and it was agreed that a school representative would be chair but that a parent from the group could be vice-chair. This will be followed up at the next meeting.
Formal minutes from the meeting will not be taken but will rather be presented as ‘News from the Parent Council’. This will be emailed to parents and put on the school website on the new Parent Council page.
The subsequent discussion of the meeting was homework where parents shared their views on homework set by school. The main points raised were:
- Inconsistency about regularity, quantity and quality of homework set
- Some parent being worried about children being set too much homework and thereby limiting their availability for other activities
- Some parents feeling that pupils should be set more/better quality homework
- One parent mentioned the Show My Homework website which would allow teachers to set homework online and give parents the opportunity to monitor work set and see whether the work had been completed. This is an expensive option so school is now exploring a similar system offered by Microsoft.
- It was suggested that there needs to be a clear definition of what homework should be
- A suggestion was made that every piece of homework should be individualised but this was agreed to be impracticable but certainly homework should be differentiated to meet the varying needs and abilities of students
- All parents felt that the recording of homework could lead to difficulties regarding its completion. It should be clearly explained to children and recorded in planners. It should be unambiguous and reflect work recently completed in class. ‘Finish off work started in class’ is not appropriate as a homework task.
- In some instances parents reported that homework was not marked promptly and in some cases not at all. Matthew Hardwick explained that there are some stress points during the year when teachers are very busy marking exam papers etc., but this does not excuse the lack of feedback to pupils.
- One suggestion was that at these times longer pieces of work could be set allowing teachers a period of time to mark exam papers before assessing the homework.
- Some parents felt that their children were not sure what to do when revision was set as homework and that there should be more input from school on revision techniques
- It was suggested that parents should play a greater role in ensuring that children complete their homework and also that there should be better communication with school if a child is unable to complete it for whatever reason – notes in planners are the easiest way of doing this.
- Some pupils feel a lot of pressure from homework and in these times of mental health issues increasing care must be taken to ensure that pupils have a good understanding of work set in the first place, and understand that teachers will help if they are struggling to complete it.
The meeting closed at 19.00 and the next meeting will take place on Monday 19th March at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room.