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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:41 am
Posts: 24
Hello, I've been reading this forum for some time and found it very helpful.
Are most of the parents here full time mums? any working parents actively participate in the discussion? What do you think about parents' involvements in schools? do you think children will be 'recognised' more by schools with parents' frequent appearances? Some of the full time mums in our local school are there all the time, whereas most of the working mums are rarely seen. :roll: is this another level of 'competition' in children at school?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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Are you talking about primary or secondary? I don't know any parent who is at a secondary school a lot - the problem is usually getting parents to engage with the school at all. I work full time, but there are other ways to get involved with a school - as a governor or on the PTA, for example. Or at careers events, helping out with mock interviews etc. If you want to get "noticed" this would be the way to do it. Are you worried that families who are involved get preferential treatment? I wouldn't worry at all. It's a sad fact of life that you are much less involved at secondary than primary as students are drawn from a wider area & tend to travel there by public transport or school buses (or walking, of course!), so you don't have the school gate contact.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:25 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
I did a careers event at DDs school when she was in year 7 (I do other schools too) and the head remembers me every time she sees me. However she is the sort of head that makes an effort to know all her students.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:58 pm
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Complaining gets you noticed :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:05 pm 
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Secondary school is a whole different game as you tend not to have that day to day school gate contact and children come in from far and wide.

I work and any involvement I've had has been connected with activities my sons' take part in ie helping with bacon rolls and coffee at Saturday morning matches. Working hasn't really impacted on the opportunities to help its just secondary and primary are very different.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:27 pm 
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I teach in a different school but have supported PTA events, concerts, plays and sports matches.

Secondary is different - most of DS's teachers knew I was a teacher but it did not affect how he was treated.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Occasional involvement here, mainly in musical events : for some years one teacher had parents in to supplement the "senior choir" for one more challenging concert each year - also on e or twice accompaniment of offspring at concerts. I seem to recall once a Year 7 geography day trip (though sadly all my hints about the 6th form trip to Iceland were in vain)... No sportiness in our household although I know that is another area for regular involvement. Did act as extra parent bouncer at the yr 11 after-prom party! But after 12 years of children passing through I guess I got to know quite a lot of the teachers, especially those who had the delight of teaching more than one of our children! and I was certainly more involved than many.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
My impression is that many parents take the transition to secondary school as an excuse never to get involved with anything school-related again other than parents evenings. And having said that, even parents evenings are avoidable if one is really determined and I could name folk who never got involved with a single event at their offspring's primary school, either. I particularly like the 'reason' often cited for not getting involved with the PA / PTA : 'It's always the same people who do things'. Well, if you pulled your finger out and helped occasionally it would be 'the same people' rather less of the time, wouldn't it?

Unfortunately, an issue particularly relevant to grammar schools is that a certain number of parents can always cite the very distance they consider perfectly suitable for their child to travel twice a day, five days a week as the reason for never coming anywhere near the school themselves. Perhaps it would entice then to volunteer if we crossed our fingers firmly and insinuated that 'PA' children do somehow gain preferment :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
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Or maybe after years of volunteering at primary, parents feel exhausted by secondary school with all the extra involvement at home in managing tweens and teenagers, maybe going back to or upping hours at work, or coping with younger ones as well as older ones, or simply breathing a sigh of relief that it's not as full on for them as primary school. All valid reasons I think. Ss long as these parents don't bleat that children of involved parents get preferential treatment then I dont see a problem with not getting involved.
Just because your child may travel a half hour on or out of school doesn't mean it's eay for you to do the same on top of a commute to work, or a trip to a sibling school, or a list of lots of others tthings to do.
Like many things in life, it's not always right to say "I don't have time" but it is perfectly ok to say "I don't choose to make the time".


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:07 am 
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We all have busy lives - it was very tough when I had one at secondary and one at primary and you are being torn in two directions - even now, with two in different years, there are events for both ages to balance, and our own lives too. I think if every parent helped out at one or two school events, the workload would be shared and every parent would have a better understanding about how hard won those fundraising pounds are - and would respect the extra curricular hours the staff put in more, too. And, they actually might enjoy meeting other parents and finding that these events can be quite fun too!

I do help out, a lot, and did in primary too...and one of the reasons is because so many other parents are reluctant to do it, but still expect the school to be first class (with a very small budget) and are happy to complain when it isn't. It's a nonsense that children of parents who help get preferential treatment - if there was even a sniff of that, the PTA's would be overrun with the pointy elbow brigade, let's be honest! I think people do use the "I don't have the time", when they mean "I don't want to do it" but if everyone did that, the school would not be the one that everyone wanted their child to be in. Frankly, I have a million and one other things I could be doing but feel an obligation to help as my children (and everyone else's) benefit from every minute I put into the school. I have had to put work contracts on the back burner several times - and know that the majority of the Committee I work with work full time and have to do all the preparation and planning in their breaks, as well as then coming in at the end of the day/weekends to run these events - some even have to take holiday days as events often have to be on a school day (rather than a weekend) otherwise people decide not to come as they have family commitments.

The distance thing is an interesting argument - we live about thirty minutes from the school so it is about an hour round trip - I've seen that used too - however, I see parents happy to bring their children into events after school, drop them off and then come back later to pick them up without blinking that they could have offered to stay and help.

It is frustrating to me as one who helps, but I accept that it is just different priorities. I have a whole lot less family time and my whole family has to come and help with a lot of my commitments - if other people offered, I would have more family time and they wouldn't have to help out at pretty much every event - but they are learning to be less selfish with their time, which is a good learning thing for them.

Saying that, I would encourage every parent to try and offer some time, even to the smallest event - you do really see a different side to the school and the staff there see a different side to you as a parent. Realistically everyone can spare one or two evenings and if not, when you attend an event, make the effort to ask people if you can pop on the bar for an hour or help clear up at the end - every little bit helps - and if it means someone who has been there all day setting up, could go home at the end of the event, then that is a real bonus!


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