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To think being a school secretary must be AWFUL?

(24 Posts)
TimelyNameChangey Fri 12-Dec-14 09:14:07

I just had to telephone as one DC is sick. It rang and rang and went to answerphone a lot.

I had to speak to the secretary regarding something important so I called back about three times over half an hour.

When I got through she quizzed me about how many times I'd called as "I'm close to tears here! It's been a terrible morning!!"


A: If it's that bad she might need to speak to the HT
B: Surely she shouldn't be under that pressure?
C: She shouldn't be telling parents that.

I'm now a bit worried that she won't remember what I had to call in about! It was about DD2s medication.

EatShitDerek Fri 12-Dec-14 09:19:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SquinkiesRule Fri 12-Dec-14 09:23:51

Our tiny school has one secretary,and she usually answers unless she's away in a classroom dropping something off. Then the head will answer occasionally too. They all seem very happy when you pop in to give them anything or ask a question. Always up for a chat it seems.

TimelyNameChangey Fri 12-Dec-14 09:34:35

Ours seems to be close to a nervous breakdown! it's not appropriate to tell parents you're close to tears surely?

manicinsomniac Fri 12-Dec-14 09:38:51

Gosh, I don't think she should have told you that!

Ours are stressed sometimes but no more so than anybody else.

I think it's one of the most competitive jobs out there in some ways.

EatShitDerek Fri 12-Dec-14 09:39:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Fri 12-Dec-14 09:42:25

Why can't you email the school about an absence? I always do.

SageSeymour Fri 12-Dec-14 09:48:45

I did it once . Lasted about maybe 4 months and walked out. Terrible job with zero support and loads of hassle and kids around you all day and just NO

Mind you I was in a school that was relatively small ( 130 pupils ) so it was just me - it may be better where there's a few of them in there so work is shared out

I hated it

TimelyNameChangey Fri 12-Dec-14 09:55:00

Bun we have to call....there's no option where a recorded voice says "press 1 to report an absence" like in some schools either. And anyway even if I could I wanted to speak to a human being about other DDs medication.

Bunbaker Fri 12-Dec-14 09:57:59

It sounds like the school needs to revise their system for reporting absences then. DD is at secondary school, so there is an automated telephone menu where you press a number to report an absence. I can also email.

There is a lot of illness around right now so perhaps the secretary is rushed off her feet.

OOAOML Fri 12-Dec-14 09:58:18

Ours is always cheery and seems to cope with everything but I have no idea how she does it - the office is tiny and there are towering piles of stuff everywhere. The school is quite disorganised (I feel like they assume none of the parents have things to do and just sit around waiting for a last minute invitation to class assembly/buying or making dress up stuff/bringing in random items) and she seems to have to pick up the pieces of last minute communication, multiple requests involving sorting out permission slips and bus fares etc.

WorraLiberty Fri 12-Dec-14 09:58:57

Sounds like they're really short staffed but YANBU, she shouldn't have told a parent that.

The Primary I'm a governor in, has 7 office staff so it's really easy to get through and speak to someone.

TimelyNameChangey Fri 12-Dec-14 09:59:35

Bun yes it would make sense. But you do sometimes need to speak to a person too.

Andrewofgg Fri 12-Dec-14 10:07:59

It takes a certain mentality. Charming on the outside and tough as old boots on the inside. Polite to all and intimidated by nobody. Everyone should speak well of you but be nervous of crossing you. Including the HT. Especially the HT!

TimelyNameChangey Fri 12-Dec-14 10:19:39

I've seen our HT pop her head round the door and mollify the secretary before now when she's been squeaking about something or other.

Dionysuss Fri 12-Dec-14 10:44:48

My schools office is all pretty much run by a robot. If you DC is not registered by 9:15 a robot rings you. Push 1 if your sick, it then reminds you to send in a written letter when they are back; 2 if your late, or 3 if they are there and there's a mix up, in which case you can speak to a person.
All dinner and milk money is paid online, as well as any clubs or trips.
Any forms you need are always emailed. My eldest is in yr 4 and I've only ever had to venture into the office once.

EElisavetaofJingleBellsornia Fri 12-Dec-14 10:47:44

Is yours Miss Dene, OOAOML? fwink

OOAOML Fri 12-Dec-14 11:12:07

Good one Elisaveta She's a lovely woman but she's no Miss Dene. Although of course Miss Dene had the advantage of not having to send home notes to parents asking for bus money, dealing with school photo orders and getting permission slips signed (I hereby consent to my daughter going on a trip with a very low pupil:teacher ratio, with a very high chance she will be stranded in a hut with no toilet facilities and will drink hot chocolate made with snow and a bar of chocolate unearthed from someone's pocket) although she did have the task of letting parents know at short notice that the holiday dates are changing because an Old Girl is visiting/a thunderbolt struck the cricket pitch/the drains are manky.

victorianhomedreamer Fri 12-Dec-14 11:18:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

redskybynight Fri 12-Dec-14 12:06:35

Obviously speaking for my own DC's school here but ... I do find the school office staff to be incredibly disorganised, which just leads to more work for them.

Example - if you don't send out a message explaining there is a problem with a particular option on school lunch, and could everyone send a packed lunch, you WILL have a bunch of DC expecting school meals who you then have to ring parents for.

If you don't have a proper system for accounting for cheques you WILL lose some which means that you will be having to send letters home to parents who have paid, and said parents will ring in asking where their cheque is.

If an after school club is cancelled and you only let some of the parents know, then you WILL have children after school wanting you to ring their parents.

If you send 28 copies of letter to a class that has 30 children in, the teacher will (after she's photocopied the extra 2) will come and remind you EVERY TIME


(all of these have happened to me, and I am just one parent at the school, so I imagine multiplied by 400 that's a lot of things that could be avoided)

Fallingovercliffs Fri 12-Dec-14 12:30:05

Well that particular secretary seems to have a stressful job, but I don't think it's logical to assume that all school secretaries have an equally bad time. My friend works as a school secretary and while the job is very busy, she enjoys it.

profpoopsnagle Fri 12-Dec-14 12:37:37

Our secretary works wonders. She's all things to all people and if she's off the school goes to pot!

I think we're all reading into it too much. I think she said it as an apology for not being able to answer the phone earlier?

It may be that something extra has happened this morning- a child being ill just as everyone's coming in with money for a trip/something special happening for Christmas etc.

weebarra Fri 12-Dec-14 12:37:47

Ours are short staffed but lovely. I will always remember that when I had had my first chemo last year, DS1, then 5, was sick at school and needed to come home, instead of me having to go up to the school to get him, one of the secretaries brought him home. That was above and beyond. I have their chocs wrapped to take into school next week.

larry5 Fri 12-Dec-14 12:47:55

I worked as a school secretary in a secondary school and we had three staff in the office. One problem is that as well as answering the phone you might plan to do several things during the day but can come to the end of the day having only managed to do one of them because lots of problems get in the way such as injuries and illnesses.

Certain times of the year are more stressful and I would think that at the moment all school staff are tired and there is quite a lot of illness around.

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