Grumpy school secretary

(35 Posts)
MrsWinnibago Thu 05-Jun-14 14:54:54

My DD's go to a lovely small primary school. It's got a great ethos and wonderful teachers but the main school secretary/receptionist is just AWFUL!

I understand she's busy and probably has to field all kinds of daft/irritating phone calls but aibu to think she should try to sound a bit more friendly?

I just called to ask if it would be possible to get a message to my older DD that her schoolmate's Dad is giving her a lift home after school today...the receptionist speaks in the flattest possible voice without any intonation and manages to make me feel unreasonable for this request and that I'm interrupting important things...it's just the way she speaks with a sort of a sigh in her voice....long suffering kind of thing.

AIBU to think she should be a leeetle bit more friendly on the phone? And IABU to ask her to get this message to my 9 year old?

RockinHippy Thu 05-Jun-14 17:44:30

YANBU - DDs old school had one exactly like this, if not worse - I even found myself wondering if it were the the same schoolgrin - & according to DD & her friends she wasn't great with the kids either

After 7 years of grumpy holier than though belittling attitude, I'm finding myself quite shocked at how lovely DDs new school secretary always is & its a much bigger school too
smile

foslady Thu 05-Jun-14 17:45:27

Try having a Burser who stockpiles cheques for five and a half months and cashes them (all �200) the day before the school hols. When you question why emails back 'sorry for the inconvinience, will be cashing weekly' .........and then stock piles for 2 months and cashes the day the Easter Hols start.......and ignores any further emaols asking when the weekly cashing is going to start.....ggggrrrrrr

CheeryName Thu 05-Jun-14 17:49:36

DD leaves her school soon and I am really going to miss the secretaries, they are awesome and cheery and helpful and hardworking and kind.

At DS' school its a different matter, they sound utterly pissed off about everything, and totally snotty.

Hamuketsu Thu 05-Jun-14 18:02:47

In many schools, particularly small primaries, the role seems to be quite poorly defined, in that the "ad hoc enquiries" part of the job is actually most of it, whereas in job descriptions it's a footnote at the bottom.

Being a school secretary basically consists of being interrupted. That would be fine, if you didn't have a mighty list of financial admin/official returns that need concentration, but the phone is constantly ringing and people are queueing to see you, many of them with the "snap your fingers" attitude towards lowly admin staff that a previous poster mentioned.

In larger schools with a proper office and multiple staff, one person presumably fields enquiries whilst the others can get on with the admin. But if there's only you, it's a pain in the arse. I left in the end, because I was only filling in anyway, and the only way I could get the admin done was to do it for free in my own time (minimum wage job). The interruptions literally took up ALL my paid hours. I was amazed at how stressful I found it, being the secretary in a tiny rural primary. Pre-children I was in a management role in central London, so I'm not a stranger to stress - but at least the pay was better!

Not that there's any excuse for outright rudeness, especially on a regular basis. But it must take a very special person to be uniformly cheerful in the job.

WyrdByrd Thu 05-Jun-14 18:31:44

Hamu you've articulated that so much better than my attempt!

I was taken on as Secretary/Receptionist, after 3 years they recruited a dedicated Receptionist. 18 months later I still spend a third of my time helping cover Reception because the Receptionist is also being swamped with other jobs confused.

RedRoom Thu 05-Jun-14 21:57:46

YANBU. Complain to the head! I'm a teacher and rude receptionists give a terrible first impression of our school.

WooWooOwl Thu 05-Jun-14 22:10:05

A nice school receptionist makes so much difference to a parents experience of having a child in school, good ones are worth their weight in gold. Especially as in my experience, they don't get paid to work for enough hours to cover all the jobs that they actually have to do.

I was incredibly lucky with primary school receptionists, ours always got included in the teacher and TA gift giving at Christmas/end of term because she was just so lovely.

Nocomet Thu 05-Jun-14 22:18:21

Ham, you hit articulate the problem very well.

In DDs old small school the secertary ends uo doing everything, especially in the run up to SATs when the HT takes Y6 out of their mixed age class.

Every single interuption is her problem.

Therefore, occasionally grumpyness is excusable, but not the secretary who just behaved as if she didn't want the job at all.

My DDs school secretary is like this. Tbh she's downright rude. I'm a public facing secretary, i'd genuinley be fired if I was half as rude.

MrsWinnibago Fri 06-Jun-14 09:43:00

I actually sigh with relief if I have to call school and the Head Teacher answers! Our HT is very scary (brilliant woman but scary) but on the phone she's SO helpful.

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