To think Primary schools should ask less of parents?

(139 Posts)
wonderstuff Thu 16-May-13 12:00:44

Supporting education is vital, reading, supporting maths, spelling homework in general I'm cool with.

But today I got an email that requests next Thursday I dress dd in a green top and brown trousers so she looks like a tree, all the children are having a tree themed muffty day. They are having an Eco day, guest speakers all fantastic stuff, it's a great school, but short notice, very specific requests like this are frustrating dd doesn't have a green top, I am fortunate in having the means to go get her one, but it seems a real imposition.

AIBU to be annoyed by this?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 16-May-13 12:04:18

At least you get a week! Its not unusual to be asked this kind of thing the day before!
Be prepared for an awful lot of people to pile on and tell you that schools are never wrong and you should shut up and appreciate they get an education, blah blah blah...

That is a very specific request. My DD doesn't have brown trousers or a green top TBH, and I wouldn't be inclined to buy them for a day at school.

I would make her into a flower or something grin

TBH my school asks very little of the parents. Too little probably. I actually feel a bit jealous of those schools with lunchbox rules et al - ours has people having sausage rolls, pints of Mars Bar milkshake and sweets all the time so DD thinks I am mean to not let her have a massive pile of crap every day.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 16-May-13 12:06:42

No. It used to drive me bonkers. come in a red spotty top tomorrow. pull a costume out of your arse for wednesday. spend a tenner at tesco to buy cakes that we'll sell for 25p... I am very pleased they are now in secondary and it is just a case of go to school. learn. come home. homework. done. grin

but I am sure the kids love it. And it's a very short time before they're out of primary. Scarily short! My tiny baby born only the other day celebrated his 14th birthday yesterday!

wonderstuff Thu 16-May-13 12:10:59

The lunch box thing I guess is supporting parents who are making positive choices, we have lunchbox rules, and I had never really thought of them as very positive, but you make a good point.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 16-May-13 12:11:55

HA Hec, with secondary school comes £800 trips to god knows where for 'educational purposes skiing!

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Thu 16-May-13 12:12:02

I know what you mean, but we always manage it somehow. The kids love it though...

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 16-May-13 12:14:07

True. grin I won't let mine go on the ski trips. Far too scared of them breaking every bone in their bodies!

their primary had a residential in y6 that was over £400! shock

wonderstuff Thu 16-May-13 12:15:51

I feel under pressure, I think that's what I resent, DD needs to fit in and be the same as her classmates, I don't want to let her down. But I also don't want to spend the weekend looking for a green top.

YY to secondary being a lot better. There is major angst over what to wear on non uniform days but thankfully that does not involve me.

hecsy my tiny baby born the other day is 15......I do not believe it.
and both teenagers are taller than me and have a much better social life than me, I honestly cant believe how grown up they are.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 16-May-13 12:19:18

Terrifying, isn't it? My 14 yr old towers over me! My 12 yr old is the same height as me. They're massive. and I close my eyes and they are the tiny little babies it seems they were only yesterday. I honestly don't know where the years have gone.

Wonderstuff - do you have a green top that she could wear with a belt or something?

EarlyInTheMorning Thu 16-May-13 12:20:39

I don't think that's a lot to ask actually, but more notice to source items and perhaps being less specific would be helpful of course. What do you expect the school to do instead, a. ask you for the money so that they can provide the items themselves, b. never do anything special for the children?

I gave up by primary 2 -dress like a fish - this was 2 days before they wanted it and not even a week after she was a pirate with 3 days notice get us luckily hmm the school she is at now get that parents don't always have time/money/ inclination / shops with the right stock to do this pish stuff.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 16-May-13 12:36:10

What do you expect the school to do instead Paint their faces like trees? Spend time making their own tree head dress? Collect leaves to pin on themselves? Anything that doesnt pass the buck to the parents?

Fakebook Thu 16-May-13 12:40:48

You have a week. I've been given 2 days notice to dress dd up in "sports" clothes this Friday. She doesn't have any sports clothes apart from a swimming costume and her P.E kit.

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 12:46:59

Am I being a bit silly, but why do you have to dress like a tree to learn about trees? Are there no trees on the school site which you could inspect, rub bark, look at rings, classify leaves out of a book?

The current fashion for dressing up does not advance education in the slightest, I don't think children who dress up on World Book Day do better than those that don't at reading because I don't think children make the connections between wearing a fairy costume and, say, watching a production of the Nutcracker.

I don't see this as special, I see it as unnecessary.

NotEnoughJamOnTheBread Thu 16-May-13 12:57:39

Teachers plan their lessons though don't they, they're not just winging it every day so I think its reasonable to give the parents more notice. I get well and truly sick of it.

bubblesinthesky Thu 16-May-13 13:12:08

YANBU. Your dc are clearly at the wrong school. You all need to send them to dd's school who gave me a weeks notice that tomorrow they are having an odd sock day (the odder the better)

Now THAT I can manage

OhLori Thu 16-May-13 13:23:12

What Mumsyblouse said. Creativity and understanding requires imagination and thought of the child, like Saggyclothes says. Not the parents going to shopping centre at w/e, frazzled and irritated to spend money on special coloured clothes for one day. I think the teachers must live in a very odd world.

BoffinMum Thu 16-May-13 13:29:18

I refused to pay out for a £300 trip where the kids were going to be 15 miles away for 3 nights sleeping in a county owned hostel in rooms of 20.

i mean, £100 a night???? shock

The school wrote me a snotty letter and invited me to come in to talk about my financial problems.

I later found out they had marked the trips up by over 100% for a select group of parents, as we were supposed to be subsiding a load of other parents, in a top secret unofficial means testing initiative based on how rich people looked. shock So half the class were asked for £300 each, and half the class were encouraged to go for free.

Nothing was said about this until later.

DS didn't go in the end, and they took it out on him something rotten.
I was singularly unimpressed.

One of the families that benefited from a free place subsequently went on a family holiday for 5 to Greece. Lovely for them and all that, but at the time holidays like this just weren't an option for us. I was even more unimpressed then.

hettie Thu 16-May-13 13:36:23

boffin shock dear god....
We have had dress up as a roman, a bird, an Aztec, and a book character already this term..... I had thought this a little unthinking (cost and effort for all those parents who can't afford the time/money). But on the back of Boffins post I count myself lucky!

Manyofhorror3 Thu 16-May-13 13:55:57

Boffin that's DISGRACEFUL!!! Did you complain to the LEA/governors? I'm honestly flabbergasted! Tell me more!
(And if our school did that, we'd be receiving food parcels cos we look like tramps but do fine financially!)

KevinFoley Thu 16-May-13 13:57:31

I know they mean well but the whole dress up as a book character with one day notice does get bloody annoying. Feel bad for DD going as Hermione in my old coat and glasses with her hair unbrushed while others are sent in a in full home made regalia while preening <just ran it up on the machine while out collecting for the PA> mums stand there looking smug.

mixedpeel Thu 16-May-13 14:03:05

I've started to think that schools must think there's no point giving parents much notice, as they assume everyone does it at the last minute anyway - it is the only reason I can come up with other than complete incompetence for the consistently short notice for these things.

Not all the kids like it, tbh. Both mine are much more comfortable in their uniform. Younger son will still dress up though, older hasn't done so since Y3 or 4.

Startail Thu 16-May-13 14:08:39

Specific coloured clothes are really shit if you have a pink/purple traditional girl.

DD2 may play football and tag rugby, but her choice of out of school clothes is as far away from navy and grey as she can get and while we might have red or blue. Brown and green, no!

dementedmumof6 Thu 16-May-13 14:15:11

Mine have to wear onesies one day this week, that after being pirates 2 weeks ago , having to pay money for a non uniform day, and sponser for something or another ever 2mths and £250 for a 3 day residential trip.
The high school is as bad £950 for a 4day ski trip, was going to be £550 for a 3day maths trip to Disneyland paris that got cancelled because most parents said no-way , and a 4 day trip to Europe at £600 for history

Summerblaze Thu 16-May-13 14:24:36

TBH my dc's school is ok and dress up days do tend to be broad so everyone should have something in their cupboards and the nativity is done with generic clothing with things they make (headbands with stars etc) on them.

However, my friend has her dc at another school and they are always told that they need dayglo tops for this or peach coloured leggings for that etc etc, usually at short notice. Friend works full time, is a single mum and doesn't do brilliantly financially as her ex dh is a tosser and dodges the CSA. She also needed sports clothes for some 'special day' and ended up buying her DD a pair of jogging pants and a hoody. DN is a very girly girl and is a quick grower so it will be quite unlikely that she will wear it again. DS also needed to wear pink for 'Breast Cancer Day" so she had to buy some pink socks that he binned when he got home.

Its ridiculous. I'm sure there are more inventive ways to learn than making parents spend a load of money and time creating outfits.

FossilMum Thu 16-May-13 14:26:07

YANBDU. Why oh why oh why can't they make their costumes, if they really do need costumes, AT SCHOOL as an educational craft activity, using some paper, paint and imagination, instead of expecting parents to fork out time and money on unwanted clothes? Argh.

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 14:28:23

Boffin that sucks! hey at least you look minted that's something

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 14:30:33

I'm on our PTA (feck knows how that happened) and I always try and speak up against too much dressing up bollix...trouble is its a really sure thing fundraiser, because they all want to do it (peer/pack mentality) and parents feel guilty if they boycott because their kids want to.

We give loads of notice though. And we don't do it that often, though our comic relief (which obv is for charity) dress up day was only a week or so from our Easter bunny dress up day, which didn't go down well, but only one was to raise funds for the school, but the non PTA parents don't necessarily consider that.

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 14:33:29

tatty so why not encourage mufti days then for fundraising? everyone has non school uniform clothes, not everyone has brown trousers and a green top for two children (for those with three or more in the same school, it's just ridiculous). Our school is actually quite nice about this, lots of any spotted clothes or 'fun socks' and spares for those that don't have them.

meddie Thu 16-May-13 14:35:44

What mumsyblouse said

Babyroobs Thu 16-May-13 14:39:10

Boffin - I'm shocked at that, did they think the parents wouldn't discuss it amongst themselves? There is a family at my son's school just got the child's yr 6 residential paid for by the school. then the mum tells me they are going on a family holiday to Florida in August ( Dineyworld the lot) ! I accept perhaps family could be helping them but even so .

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 14:43:22

you may already of course!

cakebar Thu 16-May-13 14:48:12

Off the point and I know it still takes time but I got a green jumper in Sainsbury's for £1.50 a couple of weeks ago, they are selling off some of the 'last year' uniform I think. Yes, my son needed a tree outfit too.

ilovexmastime Thu 16-May-13 14:55:14

I tend to let the kids (aged 6 and 8) sort themselves out on non-uniform/wear something x colour/etc days. I have never bought anything special. The last wear something pink day they had, DS1 went in wearing a pink tank top of mine that he'd found in a box at the bottom of my wardrobe!

It might sound a bit mean, but no-one at our primary school takes these things too seriously, and there's always a good few that come in in uniform anyway because their parents have forgotten/can't be arsed.

BastardDog Thu 16-May-13 15:17:04

I hated primary school dress up days with a passion. As well as make a volcano for homework type tasks. Bring in cakes for the fayre etc etc. I do not have a creative bone in my body. I hate crafty stuff, making stuff and when they're at primary school it's the mums that do it, not the kids. No learning for the kids in that. All my kids learnt was that mum would regularly flip her lid all the way home from school at the latest request.

Secondary school is much better. My only gripe there is cooking lessons. I end up buying a tenners worth of ingredients cos dd needs a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 spoons of castor sugar and 4 raisins. Bloody ridiculous

Summerblaze Thu 16-May-13 15:23:57

Tatty I am also on the PTA and you are right, non-uniform day is a surefire way of raising funds. But we have found that if we don't have a theme but just a dress in what you want day, parents are more willing to shell out the £. If not, they come in the themed clothing but don't want to pay as they have already paid for the clothing.

Quangle Thu 16-May-13 15:31:37

On International Day DD had to go in dressed as a representation of the country she got allocated - and bring some regional food. We got Burkina Faso confused. Her bf got Guam confused confused

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 15:35:10

On International Day DD had to go in dressed as a representation of the country she got allocated - and bring some regional food. We got Burkina Faso confused. Her bf got Guam

Very funny. However, attempt at food kind of ok, but dressing up in a parody of other people's national costumes/traditional clothes, not ok by me anyway. Perhaps I'm a bit pofaced about it all?

Quangle Thu 16-May-13 15:39:33

I wouldn't at all have had a problem with my six year old wearing a flamenco dress to represent Spain or the equivalent for lots of other countries. I think that's absolutely fine. The really tricky one would have been the UK - what do you wear to represent the UK? <rhetorical question because the answer's not good...>

McNewPants2013 Thu 16-May-13 15:41:15

In reception DS was bringing letter home about teacher training with 1 week notice, I went in and said parents need more notice especially for working parent. At the same time I also pointed out that a weeks notice for themed days in unacceptable.

We now get at least a month notice

NoisesOff Thu 16-May-13 15:44:36

How can the school call it an 'eco' day and then request you to go out and buy new stuff just for the occasion which will probably end up in landfill?

iloveweetos Thu 16-May-13 15:45:11

i agree a week is brilliant! we had 2 days notice to dress DD in 70s outfit lol
i didnt bother!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 16-May-13 15:46:37

I have raised this with DD's school as I work full time with nights and weekends and I am a single parent and ExH is useless he barely manages to feed DD when she is there. I spent three years raising it and running around like a blue arsed fly. Then I got stroppy and if I had less than two weeks notice I just very politely wrote back and pointed out that as I worked full time was on call Tuesday and Wednesday and from 8am Friday to 5pm Tuesday when exactly did they expect me to buy X and that no DD would not be bringing X.
Half a term of total non-compliance and now such requests come with 1 months notice and usually are listed in the calender issue at the beginning of term. In fact for their overnight field trip they gave us 4 months noticed of what was needed.
I am afraid the only way forward is to dig your heels .

MadeOfStarDust Thu 16-May-13 15:46:55

B...Dog - cooking is easier if your dd has friends in the same class- mine has 2 (luckily) - if they need a tablespoon of yoghurt, some raisins and a bottle of vanilla extract - each of them brings one thing and they share....

Our primary used to ask for all sorts of dress up - we were told by friends with older kids before we started to make sure we had...... a long Tshirt and leggings in brown/beige, something spotty, something stripey, something red or pink and a white sheet - covered all bases. Charity shops have served us well - and have had all the items back to resell......

iloveweetos Thu 16-May-13 15:48:21

and omg boffin!!! thats ridiculous!

buildingmycorestrength Thu 16-May-13 15:54:00

I also utterly utterly loathe the dress up as a character for charity days. The charity gets £1 or whatever per child in the pot, while Tesco and Asda make a mint on costumes because parents DO NOT HAVE TIME or inclination to trek round assorted charity shops sorting it out.

My son also hates dressing up so won't engage in choosing a costume, but feels left out and confused when he sees his friends dressed up.



Chocovore Thu 16-May-13 16:04:25

Can you borrow something from friends? That's what we normally do. Or do you or partner have something green/brown even turned inside out? I never buy anything, I don't think anyone every takes it very seriously.

buildingmycorestrength Thu 16-May-13 16:06:20

But isn't the problem that all the people who still have children the right size are also doing the dress up day? It is for me.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 16-May-13 16:33:05

Most dress up things are annoying, especially when the children gain very little from it.

It's fine for plays and I had no problem when my children had to be dressed as evacuees for a thing they were doing, but crap like dressing like a tree is just pointless. And it's not as if they are even going to end up looking like sodding trees anyway!

topcatrocks Thu 16-May-13 16:50:29

Boffin - the school's actions are disgraceful. All parents should be clearly informed of financial arrangements, especially if they're subsidising others without knowing it (obviously the children should be kept in the dark about whose parents are "richer" or "poorer").

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 19:03:50

Totally with you on the mufti days. But headteacher is meh about non themed muftis. She says she likes the "incidental learning" that happens when you dress in theme. Also, she has a theory that all pupils go loony on mufti days. I'm sure they do. As loony as any other day. Or loonier, but for £££. Gah.

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 19:04:46

PTA been campaigning for a straightforward mufti since last Sept when I joined. Also want nail painting, tattoos and hairspraying at fete due to lack of (free) facepainter.

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 19:05:51

All this to make up money for spending last year on a reading system that isn't older than we are. I know people hate PTA but that's really what they do...apparently they have just enough money to pay the teachers and keep the building from crumbling hmm

ninah Thu 16-May-13 19:21:35

I teach, and I agree with mb. What does it add? strange fashion dreamed up by a certain kind of SLT who think it makes school look 'creative' and fun ..
I hate dressing up and if you think the dc have it bad be grateful as an adult you aren't required to go to work in a pirate suit
(forgot I had this on and went into corner shop, was asked 'are you local?' grin)
I love the film bad teacher, it parodies this kind of thing

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 16-May-13 19:24:08

shock @ Boffin's post. Just. Unbelievable.

Dd1 is now in yr 9 and incredibly (apart from the occasional 'wear what you want' day) the school do not harrass us for anything, do not keep throwing random fancy dress up days and basically just get on with the job of sticking to the point and just teach.

After primary school where none of that applied I'm wondering how they do it tbh. Because Primary give the impression that they cannot make a single move without any of that malarkyhmm

Can't wait for yr6 to be over for dd2 so that all this madness (including SATS) will blissfully end. I thought some weeks ago that we might, just might have had the final dress up day, but ooh nooo they're managing to squeeze in at least 2 more before July. Not to mention (no doubt) a costume for the school play.

I can only assume that the people that keep throwing dress up missives my way do not really understand the reality of their expectations. 3 dc through the primary system and I am waving a feeble white flag of surrender. I have a cynical suspicion that an over fondness for dressing up days is really just an Ofsted brownie point scoring exercisehmm because the default for every single blimmin thing they do is to dress up for it/as it no matter how bizarre or abstract the topic. My dc got sick of it ages ago.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 16-May-13 19:29:45

I too am really shock at that boffin!!

AWimbaWay Thu 16-May-13 19:53:25

What NoisesOff said, not very Eco at all for a load of parents to go out buying clothing they neither need nor want.

Am also truly shocked by Boffin's post.

BoffinMum Thu 16-May-13 20:11:37

Well I pulled my youngest out of the school because of that and related crap (eldest was about to leave anyway). Youngest spent his days on a 'thick kids' table with an unqualified member of staff and could not write at eight, because the classroom teachers had demanded lower ratios for themselves and this was a way of reducing numbers. Moved him up the road and he was writing beautifully in a month and went on to get level 5 in his SATS. Star pupil. Said it all, really.

What makes me really cross is that I had been buying those bloody teachers Christmas presents. What a fool I was! total and utter fool!

BoffinMum Thu 16-May-13 20:14:06

LOL at looking minted though! grin

loopydoo Thu 16-May-13 20:16:05

I can sort of understand infant pupils dressing up but anything older than that is defo overkill. Poor kids and poor parents.

IsThisAGoodIdea Thu 16-May-13 20:23:25

I don't remember any of this when I was at school yet, amazingly, we still managed to learn stuff, pass exams and have a whole heap of fun along the way.

But then we didn't dress up in general. Parties didn't have princess/pirate themes and we didn't get dragged round Tesco dressed up as Spiderman or waiting tutus. It seems fancy-dress is much more common now so maybe children expect it.

IsThisAGoodIdea Thu 16-May-13 20:24:41

Tbh, the dressing up wouldn't bother me as much as all the science/craft projects I read about on here. I dread all that!

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 20:25:09

Gotta piss on that Mulberry and hide the rolex in the glove compartment if the Lotus if it fits yeah grin

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 20:26:13

Or get Harlequin to use the Mulberry as a sick bag wink

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 16-May-13 20:27:56

I once suggested that instead of paying a pound to dress up/mufti days, working parents paid somewhere between two and five pounds not to participate. I think the head teacher's lips are still engaged with the cat's anus !! But, it would have been cheaper for many parents and would have raised more money.

loopydoo Thu 16-May-13 20:30:14

Yep isthisagoodidea, totally agree. Our parties used to consist of wearing our only best dress and playing party games and eating sandwiches, jelly and cake. Then we went home. But we thought that was great.....expectations from kids are way above normal these days....

I reckon the whole dressing up thing has come over from the US. They dress up more as kids over there.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Thu 16-May-13 20:37:06

I think it's just an easy quick way to show 'what a great school we are' when it's actually the parents that facillitate it.

It just looks like the school are doing something when they're not. Smoke and mirrors.

DontmindifIdo Thu 16-May-13 20:41:42

I particularly hate that we get these for DS's nursery, it's a nursery, where the parents use it to work - they know they are asking households where both parents work outside the home ot get these short notice outfits.

OP - to make it easier/cheaper, you'll probably find brown trousers and green t-shirts or polo shirts in the boys sections - try supermarkets rather than spending a lot. (For pre-school boys there seems to be a lot of green and brown in Sainsburys, haven't looked in the older sections but guess it seems to be a reaction to the 'bored of blue' so many parents have mentioned to them)

Wallison Thu 16-May-13 20:59:35

marriedinwhiteagain that is a genius suggestion. I would happily give 2 or 3 pounds or even a fiver over to the school rather than having to spend my lunch hour frantically looking through shops for whatever fucking dressing up clothes the school has decreed I buy "to raise money for charity" (raise money for Marks and Spencer more like ffs).

Oh and if anyone else's school has a 'wear something spotty' day for Comic Sodding Relief I can save you the bother of looking for boys' stuff now by telling you that there are NO spotty boys' clothes in any shops, ever.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 16-May-13 21:13:53

The last two times my children have been made to wear something spotty I have just gone to WHSmith and bought a packet of their little spot stickers, then covered normal clothes with them.

Wallison Thu 16-May-13 21:19:09

That is a good idea! I have blu-tacked cut-out paper circles onto t-shirts but will do the stickers next time. Why didn't I think of that before? [slaps forehead]

buildingmycorestrength Thu 16-May-13 21:23:21

Spots with face paints.

OP, if you have face paints maybe paint a tree on their face. Or something?

idiuntno57 Thu 16-May-13 21:25:45

my Ds's school is obsessed with dressing up. Kids win prizes for best costumes etc.

I believe it is part of their war against working mum's.

idiuntno57 Thu 16-May-13 21:26:20

sorry mums

notahappycamper Thu 16-May-13 21:31:20

This will probably out me. Not dressing up but a letter in book bag said that it is Food Revolution Day tomorrow (WTF?) and can we send in an interesting piece of fruit to school for the class to discuss.
The bottom of my fruit bowl is very interesting I can tell you but I cant send any of that in - or should I?

picnicbasketcase Thu 16-May-13 21:32:24

I can cope with something spotty, or wear blue for anti bullying or whatever but World Book Day really annoys me. Neither of my DC have brown trousers or green tops though so that one would be a bit difficult.

ninah Thu 16-May-13 21:32:44

ds has survived being sent to school in a colander on space day and jeans on 'India' Day (as worn in Bombay) - the latter was particularly frowned on by the painfully Caucasian HT who cut a dashing figure in turban as he showed off his 'Bollywood' dance moves in the playground

HeadFairy Thu 16-May-13 21:33:42

ds is only in reception and already this year we've had World book day, make your own hat to represent your favourite book day (with 5 year olds, are they kidding?) Red nose wear red day (thank God he was ill for that one grin) Children in Need wear spots day, come to school dressed in high vis day, plus three mufti days. On Friday there's a go green day when they have to come to school dressed all in green.

That's to go with the termly cake sales, selling ice lollies after school every day, costume for the Christmas play etc etc etc. It's bloody endless.

Cherriesarered Thu 16-May-13 21:38:20

Yanbu, I spent £20 on a red rugby shirt for St. David's day so as NOT to be caught out AGAIN this year only to find that school decided NOT to wear red this year. Arghhhhhh

LadyInDisguise Thu 16-May-13 21:39:19

I actually think that dressing up like * deters* children from learning. Esp when they little, they are all to excited by being dressed in a different way. They all know they are supposed to do 'something special' today none of which will facilitate learning.

At our school we have Roman day, Egyptian day etc... depending on the year. All less than a week notice. All that for what? The children arrive dressed up and they just do whatever they would normally do during that day. Oh and they have a one half an hour lesson on the egyptians....

I agree that the one it does is to fill the pockets of Asda, M&S and Amazon, all that to try and have a reasonably decent outfit for your child.
All that because let's face it, in our school you actually DO have some parents mums who have the time and the inclination to spend a day making a costume. The dcs arrive and look great which means everyone else feels they have to live up to that and rush to buy an outfit for their dc.
And there is actually little regard for the parents who could hardly afford any of that. To have checked, buying material to make a costume is actually more expensive than buying one. You can buy one at £10~15 a piece or go into one charity shop after the other in the hope to find something sort of appropriate and usually not managing. That's either a lot of money or a lot of time required from the parents.

When not complex ie the roman etc...). I now usuall use a white PE tshirt and do some painting on it. You can have spots, lines, a guitar, flags etc etc....

Cherriesarered Thu 16-May-13 21:40:24

Ninnah that is very amusing I can't picture it perfectly!

piffpoff Thu 16-May-13 21:41:11

You are soo NBU, it's not just the costumes, I got back from a particularly arduous 12 hour shift at 9:30 PM to find both DS still up saying "we need a costume for world book day tomorrow", no sodding notice from the school at all.
But it's the home work too,DS2 has a Roman theme at the mo and I've been up to my eyes making Roman shields and the like, when painting eggs for Easter he told me that his teacher had told the class to make holes in the ends of the aforementioned eggs and then blow out the yolk and bake in the oven before painting like I've got fuck all else to do of an evening!
blush sorry went on a bit of a rant there.

Lollyheart Thu 16-May-13 21:44:50

I haven't read the whole thread but I know you're near me, what age top to you need? I have a green tshirt you can have?

Mumzy Thu 16-May-13 21:47:08

My best one was when dcs primary gave us 24 hours notice to contribute to "world feast table" by bringing in a dish which reflected our family's "cultural heritage"hmm I didn't engage with that one. I long for the days at my primary school when parents were only expected to contribute a multipack of crisps or a bottle of Tizer for the school xmas partysmile

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 16-May-13 21:49:25

The one I will never forget was the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings - yes in Hastings, coaches and everything.

I still remember DS's plaintive, as I sprayed the black primark pyjamas silver, "but johnnies mum has knitted him chainmail armour with silver wool" and trying to respond politely with johnnie is an only child and his mum doesn't go to work. He liked his shield and helmet though and he was small enogh to wear my black boots smile

When I dropped him that orning a more experienced mum laughed and said "oh ya, time for the bloody battle of Hastings again". She had three older boys at the school.

That was the worst one actually - a DS aspiring to knitted effing armour!! Wooly hugs on MNet et your hearts out!!

HalfBakedCleverCookie Thu 16-May-13 21:57:15

I couldn't agree more! So far we have had, superheros, book character, own clothes, pj's tomorrow is dress as an Indian (from India, not pocahontas) and next week is wear purple.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 16-May-13 22:09:15

boffin, if you had cast-iron evidence that the school had charged some parents £300 and others nothing, in order for the first set of parents to subsidise the second set, why on earth didn't you take your evidence straight to the school governors?

And did the school really write to you and ask you to come in and talk about your "financial problems"? Is hat actually what the letter said? Had even one of those things happened to me, I would have asked to discuss it with the head, not moved my child to a different school.

tallulah Thu 16-May-13 22:33:44

This really makes me appreciate DD's school. We have a very high proportion of FSM so we don't have any of this nonsense.

In YR we had "French Hat day". We bought a beret but most parents managed to make a hat out of cardboard. In the summer we had Sports Week. They had to wear sports gear (that was a bit difficult since we didn't have any) and a T shirt in a specific colour. Luckily we got white grin. We also had Princesses day, and most of the class seemed to already have the obligatory Disney dress (the ASDA version, not the official Disney Store one) That was it.

This year so far we've only had red nose day wear something red. The uniform is red, so no change there. Sports week is coming up but I know what to expect this year.

They don't do world book day dress up, nor any of these other things, and the costumes for the nativity are supplied by school. The only downside is that DD is a dressing up girl and has a wardrobe stuffed full of costumes she never wears.

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 22:41:44

It's all a load of ====================

wonderstuff Thu 16-May-13 22:44:48

Lollyheart thank you that's very generous. Actually I have now realised that she is in the right house to have a green t-shirt for PE (there are 4 different colour t-shirt for PE, depending on what house you're in). She's just got to manage to keep it clean all day because its sports day the next day.

UKSky Thu 16-May-13 22:50:29

Has she got an old white tshirt? Have spring greens or spinach for tea and then soak the tshirt in the water. Rinse in cold water and dry. One green tshirt

BoffinMum Thu 16-May-13 22:57:25

Suburban, it's pretty complex what happened, and if I say too much I will out myself, but yes, the insulting letter did happen and I wrote back pointing out it was massively overpriced for what it was, and we just couldn't afford it. They had no answer for me really. They would not let me teach him at home for those days (I am highly qualified and have QTS) and instead they sat him at the back of the next class down with virtually nothing to do, demanding he was completely quiet and didn't talk to the other kids. He came home in tears, I phoned up in disgust and demanded to speak to the HT, and after that there was a slightly greater effort made but not much.

In terms of the info about why it cost so much, as well as the sitting of my youngest on a special table with minimal contact from the class teacher, one of the other parents, who is a solicitor, rumbled this along with a few other of the more informed parents, and came to tell me. She took a formal complaint, I believe. We were leaving the school at this time because of all the problems, and I was absolutely ready to bugger off and wash my hands of the whole lot of them. I was also about to give birth, and dignifying all of this by trawling a complaint through the governing body was not something I could be arsed with. I did insult the HT's leadership and management abilities publicly on the way out then (in relation to the four menacing letters demanding dinner money, when in actual fact they had been paid in full months previously and were just incapable of reading a budget line on an Excel spreadsheet). Plus I backed up the family whose kid had been hit with computer cables by one of the teachers .... spoke to the police when they rang me about it ...

Really, shit school, shit HT, should have pulled the kids out a lot faster, luckily we ended up in an absolutely wonderful school straight afterwards.

cozietoesie Thu 16-May-13 22:57:55

It's actually not a lot to do with either kids or parents - but teachers. A weak HT will just say 'Oh What A Good Idea - speak to the school secretary and organize it! ' when someone in the staffroom comes up with their latest idea. Keeping everyone happy.


HibiscusIsland Thu 16-May-13 22:59:05

My favourite bits of this thread have been Boffin's
The school wrote me a snotty letter and invited me to come in to talk about my financial problems. grin
and ninah's
jeans on 'India' Day (as worn in Bombay) - the latter was particularly frowned on by the painfully Caucasian HT who cut a dashing figure in turban as he showed off his 'Bollywood' dance moves in the playground grin

BoffinMum Thu 16-May-13 23:03:20

Writing about that shitty, stupid school has brought all their bollocks back now. Grr. <and breathe> <om>

Tobagostreet Thu 16-May-13 23:03:37

Sorry - haven't had time to read the whole thread yet, but am very jealous that the OP was requested for her DC to wear brown trouser and a green top envy.

I'm envy because if my DC's school asked for that outfit - I could actually do it, at short notice, and without having to buy anything blush.

I get asked to dress them as story book characters or head to toe in red.... envyenvyenvyenvy

Sarahplane Thu 16-May-13 23:16:36

Yanbu. so far this year we've had high viz day with a competition for the brightest outfit, autumn colours, spring colours, Scottish clothes, spring themed bike decorating, wear green for eco day, jammies day, make a bird feeder out of rubbish, bring in newspaper articles about food, egyptian costumes, nativity costumes and book character costumes. I'm sure theres more that I'm forgetting. next thing is the bake off competition.

Sarahplane Thu 16-May-13 23:20:21

oh and ds' s nursery is just as bad. He's 20 months and has had spotty day, union jack day, a whole week where they had to wear a different Olympic ring colour everyday, silly hats day, autumn colours, dress like a firework, Xmas dress up....

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 23:21:49

Kudos to ninah on India day. I think saying to parents 'dress your child as an Indian' is a weird thing to do- lots of Indian people I know wear fairly Western clothes and I don't think dressing up in a sari, unless you are from that culture, really helps children understand what it is like to be from that culture at all. It's not really about dressing differently (what, like an Indian schoolchild who might wear a smart uniform, or an Indian worker who wears jeans, like ninah said upthread), is it? And surely all the children of Indian heritage just wear their own clothes!

Thank god when we had Greek week, they dressed as Ancient Greeks! Although getting coverage in the right places with the safety pins was the challenge on that one.

RubyGates Fri 17-May-13 07:21:03

I'm still raging over the Christmas play. "Oh didn't we tell you that we want them all dressed in white tomorrow?"

Erm, no. You didn't. Who keeps white clothes suitable for a chilly hall for a dirt-magnet toddler?
NO-ONE that's who. Idiots.

And you still haven't managed to find the hand-made tudor shifts I lent you last year so you could dress the little darlings as angels. 5 of them. (I charge £80 each for them). "Oh we put them in the wash, I can't think where they've got to". Grrrrrrrrr. angry.

tourdefrance Fri 17-May-13 08:48:48

Wow this makes me think we're really lucky with ds's school. Have had a few non uniform days and for red nose day it was wear something red or funny. Ds went as father Christmas using my outfit from a fun run a few years ago. Nursery are actually worse. DS2 is there and have had silver to be bell in the nativity, spots for children in need and next month pink for breast cancer. I've already told them there are no pink clothes in our house so will be asking mums of girls there if I can borrow something.
We've also had the bear he from nursery so he can have adventures and write a diary. For a 2 year old ffs!!

Ruby why don't you go back to the school and tell them that as they appear to be lost, you will unfortunately have to charge the school the full cost of these tudor shifts. I would not be surprised if they suddenly find them after all.

Luckily for me DS's school is pretty relaxed. As DS doesn't really like dressing up, he simply takes in a small charity donation and wear uniform. His choice!

On Children in Need day, I made a few triangular scarfs out of a bit of spotty material, splitting the cost with another mum. Re-usable for future years at a cost of 50p per scarf. DS likes red so we always have something in red to cover red nose days. And everything else seems optional.

freddiefrog Fri 17-May-13 09:29:17

Our school is quite bad at this too.

My year 6 DD finished her SATs yesterday and as a treat they're having a beach themed day today so can they come in dressed up - ie grass skirts, Bermuda shorts, etc. They told us this at 3pm yesterday. A) it's bloody freezing and B) we live in the arse end of nowhere, where the heck am I supposed to get a grass skirt from with 18 hours notice

We seem to have a constant stream of onesie days, or wear a spotty t-shirt day, or please bring in cakes that we will sell for 25p days.

I wonder if they think we have a bottomless cupboard in our houses full of random tat, just in case we need to pull out a squirrel costume with 5 minutes notice

iseenodust Fri 17-May-13 09:58:30

DS has been trained to accept his mother has no creative talents & won't be spending a fortune. I refuse to get competitive about any of it. I do think though dressing up for book day is the better one (Disney princess outfits should be banned grin). It can trigger conversations between the DC about who you are, what book, what happens, why do you like it. Conversations most self-respecting 9 yr old boys would never otherwise hold.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Fri 17-May-13 09:58:52

'I wonder if they think we have a bottomless cupboard in our houses full of random tat, just in case we need to pull out a squirrel costume with 5 minutes notice'

Yes!! That must be what they think.

It's the assumption that we're all on standby for our next 'parent's project' that gets me. The easy bit is cooking up this madness in the staffroom, then it's dumped on us to achieve. Why must they default to dressing up for everything?confused Can't they teach imaginatively without it?hmm

pussycatwillum Fri 17-May-13 11:07:16

When I was teaching the same would be asked of the staff and plenty of muttering went on in the staff room. One Head announced a clown day and insisted that staff had to hire costumes for the day (at our own expense of course).

Non-uniform day is nice for children and normally brings with it nice donations to charity, but when it does become annoying is when certain colours or costumes are needed as it normally costs money, or time you don't have. I'm lucky as mine have never had days of certain outfits, only world book day where they are required to wear an outfit of any character and mufti days where they can wear home clothes.

I feel sorry for all these parents that have to rummage, beg, be cash strapped for these silly last minute costumes & the like.

amidaiwish Fri 17-May-13 11:24:25

Top tip: make friends with a parent with older kids and borrow everything... Isn't that what most of us do?

chocoluvva Fri 17-May-13 11:28:55

YANBU. The tone of the letter is bossy. "We were hoping that the children would come to school wearing things that represent trees," or suchlike would get my back up less than a thoughtless request to find a green top and brown trousers.

There are two trees in my garden - a copper beech (I think), which has no green on it and another one which still has pink blossom.

I am indignant and despairing of the educational value on your behalf.

Glittertwins Fri 17-May-13 11:30:30

We had similar this week. Note in the book bag on Tuesday about dressing up as a wild animal Friday. I told the teacher "forget it". I have said before I need a weekend in which to either go and buy required items or the materials necessary to make something. Since I work Tues-Friday until 5:30pm, I have no opportunity to buy anything.
Looks like most of the children were in those "onesies" however both DH and I hate them and we refuse to buy things like this or other things we don't have for one specific day. We are lucky in that financially we can afford it but one of those reasons is that we don't fritter it away on silly things like this would be for us.

freddiefrog Fri 17-May-13 11:34:46

It's the assumption that we're all on standby for our next 'parent's project' that gets me

Yes! Totally!

It seems to be assumed that I'm sitting here, with crepe paper and papier mâché at the ready, awaiting instructions.

Yesterday, I was told 'oh, it's easy to make a grass skirt, some green crepe paper strips stapled to a ribbon'. Yes, easy, assuming I have a cupboard fully stocked with green crepe paper and ribbon.

Make a neck garland with strong and tissue paper flowers - ok, but I don't have any tissue paper to make the bloody flowers.

If I'd been told earlier in the week we could have done something, but I can't pull crepe paper and tissue paper out of my arse

And we had other plans last night, I wasn't here to make the bloody grass skirt and flower garland, assuming I suddenly had the ability to magic the required materials up from the contents of my house

Ok, rant over. The school is generally fab but sometimes I wonder if anyone actually considers we may have lives out of school

Alligatorpie Fri 17-May-13 11:42:37

Quangle - that is hilarious!!! Not sure about the food in Burkina Faso, But i had some pretty amazing seafood in Guam.

soverylucky Fri 17-May-13 11:45:28

My dd is in year 3 - they have had one dress up day for world book day. That was easy. Other than that - nothing, except for jeans for genes day once and for that we had to borrow a pair from a friend as dd doesn't wear jeans.

If I got these requests, especially at such short notice I wouldn't do it.

Alligatorpie Fri 17-May-13 11:56:27

Pussycat - clown day would be awful. Lots of children are scared of clowns. I hope it didn't happen.

chocoluvva Fri 17-May-13 11:57:50

The difficulty soverylucky is that the children want to please their teacher and be like the other pupils. You need to persuade lots of other parents to not be bossed around by the school too so that your children doesn't feel different/left out.

confused At clown day! Frightened adults and frightened children, I can see that going down really well (pulls sarcastic face)hmm

merrymouse Fri 17-May-13 11:59:37

No you are not being unreasonable.

The irony is that the easiest way, (possibly only if you don't have friends/family with similar age children who can lend you clothes or time to go to second hand shops), to comply with this request is to go to the kind of shop that supplies cheap, non-eco friendly clothes manufactured the other side of the world.

There are plenty of tree related activities that don't involve dressing up, many of which children do spontaneously themselves (climbing trees, collecting leaves, building dens, building miniature forests from twigs, making things out of old bits of bark and sticks) that would be far more relevant than wearing new clothes.

In fact, I think dressing up children (as opposed to them playing at dressing up themselves) is an incredibly patronising way to teach. Providing some bolts of brown and green cloth/old curtains, and other junk materials and giving the children the opportunity to make a class tree sculpture or letting them make their own costumes would be far more relevant than sending parents in a mad scramble to Primark for new clothes.

Mumsyblouse Fri 17-May-13 12:01:00

Wild animal Friday? I am despairing that anyone would think the best way to get children excited and educated about wild animals, with all the amazing BBC documentaries, online resources and so on, is to sit in their tiger onesie. It's just not education, really, is it?

soverylucky Fri 17-May-13 12:06:35

Thinking about this, when we were at school we used to make masks for things ourselves out of paper plates and paint, in class time too. Perhaps primary schools could think about this for some of their silly dress up days.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Fri 17-May-13 12:06:38

I am shock at some of the prices mentioned for residential trips! What worries me is I have twins so will be hit twice at the same time. They have just turned 2... I think I need to start saving!

boffin I am just appalled at how you and your son were treated. Glad he's at a better school now

Glittertwins Fri 17-May-13 12:07:30

They have gone in wild animal t-shirts / socks that were bought for them in Australia/US/Sth Africa instead. And yes to the BBC documentaries about animals too especially as they are wonderfully narrated.

Glittertwins Fri 17-May-13 12:08:20

Posted too soon.... We also have twins so its a double whammy at the same time.

Miggsie Fri 17-May-13 12:23:20

At DD's old school these days were just a demonstration of:
1)The mums who have tons of cash and buys top of the range dressing up stuff
2)The SAHM who could sew and spend days and days making costumes the NAtional Theatre would pay for
3)...and everyone else.

after 3 years we were well aware who had lots of time and or money or neither of either.

Frankly it would have been easier just to get badges permanently laminated to the mums.

I would have given £5 happily not to partake. Worst thing was they awarded prizes - and always to the same people whose mums had lots of cash or lots of sewing talent. Total waste of time. DD got sick of it and said she was never bothering again. Shortly after that we moved her to another school where we discovered they never ever do dressing up days.

Mumsyblouse Fri 17-May-13 12:25:53

Thinking about this, when we were at school we used to make masks for things ourselves out of paper plates and paint, in class time too. Perhaps primary schools could think about this for some of their silly dress up days.

I agree with this: tiger masks, painting, drawing, art- if it's so easy to make a hula skirt (as someone was asked to make)- why not make it in school time, with the things they typically have in school but not at home?

The only thing I engage in every year is the hideous decorate the egg competition which is crazily competitive- but I have two children so that's two weekends (one each) making eggs to a historical/Olympic theme.

quoteunquote Fri 17-May-13 12:26:36

send her in a red top, and say she is a copper beech, or white trousers, a silver birch, red trousers, a giant sequoias,

almost any colour for the trunk, anything green, yellow, orange, red, purples, blues,

japanese acer come in every single colour possible.

You can wear any colour and be a tree, anyone who claims they are brown and green, needs to get out more , open their eyes and have a good look at the world.

Mumsyblouse Fri 17-May-13 12:30:17

Supporting education is vital, reading, supporting maths, spelling homework in general I'm cool with.

This was in the OP and this to me is the heart of the matter- so many children don't have support with this at home, either because their parents aren't great with their own literacy/numeracy or they are disengaged with education. When will schools realise that all this 'parent-child' dressing up/making things together only works with parents with a lot of time on their hands and the confidence and interest to do it? This is sadly not all parents.

In the school my mum works at, they didn't ask the parents to make costumes for the Christmas play, but bought/made a load and reused them every year (think lots of teatowels/angel halos plus sheets!)- because if they didn't, many children's parents would send them in with nothing to wearsad

chicaguapa Fri 17-May-13 12:50:11

I do think we should support the schools but it does annoy me when they're so focussed on what they're doing that they don't realise that parents have lives and other commitments outside of the school.

I had a moan at DC's school the other week as we received a very dictatorial letter with instructions on how we were to take our DC to another school for a particular time, send a packed lunch and pick them up at a particular time, both which were outside of the normal school hours and meant I couldn't do it because my working day is very carefully planned around the normal school times.

merrymouse Fri 17-May-13 13:00:30

I also think that a late night full of frayed tempers while a costume is made/project is finished is probably not a night when much story telling gets done, and a weekend spent trekking around the shops is not a weekend when you can have a family trip to the beach. 'Involved parents' do make a huge contribution to their child's education, but it isn't by buying leggings for some spurious theme day.

If a project is truly meant to be done by a child, fair enough. However, I'm sceptical that any job that involves going to the shops can truly be done independently by somebody who is in primary school.

liveinazoo Fri 17-May-13 14:27:31

in the zoo house we are tired dress up dys and the sneery looks some mums as i dont rush to disney store etc for every lot make masks/hats etc to wear<we made one into mr messy for world book day last year using a cloud shape piece of cardboard box stuck with squiggledy string pattern and painted and attatched to her!i appreciate this reqiures a lot of time,a precious commodity for many but cost implicates <4dcs> we dont have the funds for every whim.outfits dont make an event frankly

ChewingOnLifesGristle Fri 17-May-13 14:37:52

shock at 'Clown Day'. What were they thinking of?? Lots of children are scared of clowns. Imagine rolling up at school to find 300 of them in one place honking horns and squirting people with water-pistol flowers.

And where (for the love of god where??) is the educational value in that?confused

ErrorError Fri 17-May-13 15:37:42

Dress your DD up in loads of pink sparkly dress stuff with brown tights and say she's a cherry blossom! grin

Don't know where the dressing up trend comes from, when I was growing up we only did World Book Day, Children in Need & Comic Relief. Seems like there's a special day for everything.

I've no DC, but quite enjoy fancy dress myself and have tons of bits & bobs for materials plus loads of face paint. So when the time comes I will be well prepared (question is, will I ever have the time?)

Shocked at Boffin's post. What an awful sounding school. I'm glad you're out of there, but bit crap for the other children whose education will be suffering because of it (that's if the school hasn't been shut down or anything.)

Also... decorating eggs. I've blown the yolk/white out of holes but never heard about the baking thing. Is this something to do with salmonella concerns? IME, after blowing the egg and washing/decorating it, the paint usually blocks up the holes anyway so no white leaks out.

SuburbanRhonda Fri 17-May-13 18:55:43

Boffin, well it does sound like you are well out of it then.

Though I'm amazed that someone like the DM didn't pick up on the story about the child being hit with a computer cable shock

marriedinwhiteagain Fri 17-May-13 21:27:17

The funny thing was though and I had forgotten this. One year (and DS cringes now) DS said for. A week he didn't want to dress up - until 8.30 the night before. I got cross and said it's too late - he showed off and I said go as mowgli then and made a few rips in an old pair of beige shorts which he worre to bed. Got up next morning and but for some mud smearing in the garden was ready to go. He took a dressing gown but it was a warm day. He won a prize.

But the thing was one of the rips was near his willy ( and of course because he jumped straight out of bed he didn't have pays on) and he was vair grumpy that he had had to stop it peeping out all day!! Easy dress up though. He was 6

marriedinwhiteagain Fri 17-May-13 21:28:23

Kids aside - you OK boff?

SirChenjin Fri 17-May-13 21:33:37

Thought of this thread today...a letter came home today instructing asking the kids to dress as their favourite food or food colour hmm next Friday, and to bring money for the privilege and a can of food for the local food bank. The latter is fine, no problem, but dress as your favourite food? Not sure I really want to dress DC3 as a chip and a chicken nugget smothered in ketchup <shame>.

BoffinMum Sat 18-May-13 23:09:34

Suburban, there were one or two stories in the press, as it happens, about related things. <discreet>

Marriedinwhite, not too bad, getting there I think.

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