To think its a bad idea for a school to employ too many parents?

(43 Posts)
whattodooo Mon 11-May-15 19:57:14

I don't know if this is specific to my childrens (primary) school or not, but it seems that every TA and lunch time assistant has a child in the school. A few of my friends have found the TA parents are indiscreet and sometimes unprofessional in the way they handle certain situations. (I.e discussing sensitive incidents in the playground rather than in the classroom and commenting on friendships and playground politics).

At least half of them aren't formally qualified as TA's or Classroom Assistants, and recently the head has approached a parent who volunteers in the uniform shop and suggested they apply for a SEN support role, for which they admit they aren't qualified but are going to apply for anyway because he suggested they did.

Now they don't actually have the job yet I realise, so it might come to nothing, but AIBU to feel there should be an element of professional distance between teaching staff and pupils, and that the children possibly aren't recieving the support they deserve?

WombatStewForTea Mon 11-May-15 20:02:45

Some of our best TAs are patents. So are some of our less professional ones. Dinner ladies are slightly different. Many of our parent TAs did placements with us while they were working towards their level 1 then as jobs became available they applied and were successful.
We certainly don't employ them because they're parents!

SaucyJack Mon 11-May-15 20:05:37

On the flip side, it's quite good to know the less discreet parent TAs as they're more likely to dish the dirt on what your kid's really up to at school.

Hulababy Mon 11-May-15 20:08:26

We go through interview procedures for all out TA jobs, for which there is often high demand. We employ the person best suited and best qualified for the job. If this person was a school parent, then we would still employ them. All staff are expected to use discretion and follow confidentiality procedures.

We don't employ unqualified TAs - this is the bigger issue I feel, rather than the person being a parent of the school.

We have got one TA who will have a child at . Generally they wouldn't be placed in that child's year group wherever possible.

If any member of staff is indiscreet and goes against school procedures, then they would be dealt with accordingly by school.

whattodooo Mon 11-May-15 20:12:26

I think part of the problem can be that when the TA's are indiscreet, parents feel they can't complain because they're essentially causing a 'friend' problems at work. It blurs the boundaries between friends and a professional parent/teacher relationship and makes it hard to speak up.

Metaphors Mon 11-May-15 20:14:29

The standard TA role is so badly paid that it's really only attractive to parents who need school hours and for that to work the children need to be in the same school or very locally.

That said, just being a parent doesn't qualify you as a TA, many will have volunteered in school beforehand and the head will know what they're capable of in terms of relating to children etc. It's far less risky to take on a parent volunteer who you know and have seen at work with children than to take on a stranger.

IMO for most TA roles, you don't need much more than that. The HLTA role is a different animal, but for a regular or SEN TA patience and getting on with the children are the main "qualifications"

They should all know about discretion and confidentiality though! Complain if you have been affected by a TA talking when they shouldn't.

whattodooo Mon 11-May-15 20:33:01

I really thought you'd need more than that as a SEN TA.

I must admit that I haven't been directly affected by it, but have had upset friends on a few occasions which just made me take notice of the situation really and how it all gets a bit close for comfort in the playground.

Kampeki Mon 11-May-15 20:35:34

I think schools should employ TAs who are professional and who understand the concept of confidentiality - regardless of whether or not they have kids at the school.

Metaphors Mon 11-May-15 20:36:03

IME the SEN TAs (you mean the 121 for a child struggling with school?) are the least well qualified/experienced.

MrFMercury Mon 11-May-15 20:49:21

It depends on the person. It can be a godsend and it can cause problems. I did a craft course one afternoon at infants school and the dinner lady and one of the TA's (not parents) sat and bad mouthed various children despite knowing the rest of us were parents.

My friend volunteers a lot at our kids schools and she's excellent and qualified. I've never met anyone with the same level of patience where children are concerned and gives it her all. But. It was pretty hard when a parent helper was chatting to her one home time and started to discuss this really annoying child with her 'air quotes' special needs and how she never bloody shut up and how they'd all being saying the same. That would be my child. I don't want to know they are slagging off my child.

whattodooo Mon 11-May-15 20:49:57

Really Metaphors? That really surprises me - although I suppose, yes, patience and a good rapport with the children is essential. I just thought there'd be more specialist training needed.

Metaphors Mon 11-May-15 20:54:27

It depends on what the SEN is (and the attitude of the HT) but a lot of the time the 121 TA is there to stop the child disrupting the rest of the class and do some basic numeracy/literacy work with them 121.

If there is a medical need, they will receive specific training on that, usually from the child's medical team but nothing more than that, IME. Other schools might do it differently.

MrsEvadneCake Mon 11-May-15 20:59:22

To do SEN or be a TA at our school you must have a level 3. If you start as a parent,which two of our staff have, then you complete college too. I was qualified first, became a parent there and now work there. An indiscreet TA will be like that whether they are parents or not IME. It's unprofessional and unhelpful to those of us who do our jobs really well and not just because they are convenient or fit in with pick up and drop off.

chairandchairalike Mon 11-May-15 20:59:53

Why are they in the playground? Aren't they in school during those hours?

TheScottishPlay Mon 11-May-15 20:59:53

In my DS school 4 or 5 of the teachers have children at the school. It's a nightmare as teachers move up and down the years to avoid teaching in their child's year group. It has led to my DS class having probationer teachers for 2 years running which has stunted their learning in a way from which they are yet to recover.

MrFMercury Mon 11-May-15 21:02:02

Chair if that's to me, the parent helpers had come in to help on a school trip so were outside with the rest of us at home time the day after.

Charlotte3333 Mon 11-May-15 21:06:57

I'm a TA at the infant school DS1 went to. I began volunteering while I studied once he'd left to move up to junior school, and am now employed there as a Level 3 TA. I'm beginning the HLTA course in September and will carry on working/volunteering at the school. DS2 has just got his place at the school so I won't be working in Reception (my own choice, I'd rather he had no blur between school/home life) and I'm hopeful there'll be no complications.

I have friends who have DCs at the school where I work and have never had any issues; you simply need to smile and not engage when certain topics are mentioned. And never tell anyone about stuff that goes on (except for DH, who only listens to 14% of the time anyway). If TAs are being indiscreet then the school should always be made aware.

Whatamayday Mon 11-May-15 21:14:53

I agree entirely, both as a teacher and a parent.

As a teacher, I see too much familiarity between some of the TAs and the pupils eg they live in the same community and know each other's families. There are also breaches of confidentiality.

At my dc's school, there are so many parents working as TAs with no training, experience or qualification it is ridiculous.

Metaphors Mon 11-May-15 21:18:39

I agree with you Whatamayday, TAs would ideally be better qualified but the "ordinary" ones (not HLTA) earn around £8p/hr. What kind of qualifications do you think you can expect?

Bunnyjo Mon 11-May-15 21:21:55

At DC's school there are 2 TAs with children attending (only 5 TAs in total as it is a tiny village school), the school cook has his children at the school, one of the lunchtime supervisors has her children at school and, prior to attending secondary school, the admin assistant had her child at the school. All but one of the children transferred to the school after their parent had started working at there.

I can say, categorically, that I have no problem with this. The staff are all extremely professional and I actually think it is a reflection of the school that so many staff wish for their own children to be educated there.

IamTheWhoreofBabylon Mon 11-May-15 21:26:42

I agree
My DD has SEN and her TA is unqualified
Her approach is awful, she treats her like a naughty child. I've had loads of meetings and complained but HT will not listen

ReallyTired Mon 11-May-15 21:27:44

I could not agree more. I hate it when you have parent helpers helping out in their child's class. I also think that children need a bit their own space away from mum. It's not so bad at secondary. I am working in my son's school but I never see him as there are 1200 children.

MrsEvadneCake Mon 11-May-15 21:32:33

You should expect good qualifications. I'm very qualified as are my colleagues. It says more about the school leadership team than the people who are employed. SLT should expect a professional manner in staff and look to employ those whose are most qualified, not convenient.

Metaphors Mon 11-May-15 21:38:38

I think this is very affected by the demographic of the local area TBH. At £8p/hr people aren't going to travel far, or take on childcare costs. In some areas, there is an abundance of well qualified SAHMs, looking to do "something" once DC start school, but not needing to earn a living wage. Probably have a good support network that means they can do the courses and get the specific TA qualifications.

In other areas, while we still get loads of applications, a very high % are from people who are barely literate.

MrsEvadneCake Mon 11-May-15 22:00:05

I think that there is good and bad in all walks of life. Speaking personally we all travel and it's our living wage. We are a school with a high % of FSM and have high expectations of staff in all roles. We are highly trained and have continuing professional development. I think it's sad personally that other schools don't set high standards and they are the reason that TAs are often seen as poor value for money.

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