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What is the right thing to do?

(10 Posts)
GigiB Tue 24-Nov-15 11:26:27

About 10-15 families seem to do everything at our primary (which is a small percentage), if others did a tiny bit more e.g. at least show up at the events organised by the PTA, it could raise so much more for their own children/the school, and often is only an hour once a month.

I'm interested to hear if mums think there is the right amount of time and/or money to contribute to a school. I feel i 'should' do things at the school, despite being very busy (like us all) with work, family etc. i"m interested to see even if you think you should not participate... any why? If so is there anything that would make you do more?

I ask this because an amazing teacher has recently left our school and others are looking to leave the profession because some of the parents are so demanding, but I do not always see these particular parents giving much back... Is it ok to demand an level of education and not give anything back? ie do we/should we treat it like a service industry or not?

Sorry lots of questions but i'm really interested to see what people think!

PoundingTheStreets Tue 24-Nov-15 11:37:19

Playing devil's advocate, I think parents should be more appreciative of what schools do, but I also think schools (or rather the Dept of Education) needs to recognise that in a world where both parents have to work while also juggling childcare, caring for elderly parents, and 101 other commitments, the short-notice demands for money and time from parents are often going to fall on deaf ears.

I for one would rather set up a direct debit and completely dispense with the letters demanding contributions of money/tins/chocolates (which I have to then find time to go out and buy) in three days time for another fundraising drive or school trip. I'd also appreciate more than 8 days notice (which I only get because I asked, letters have still not been sent out) for a school production that has been in production for the last two months. Getting time off work at such short notice is a complete PITA and unnecessary when it's been on the school calendar for such a long time already.

I am extremely time poor but will happily make up for that with financial contributions. Other parents may not have much money, but plenty of time. Some parents will be in a position where they are both time poor and skint, while others will have a family set up where one is a SAHP and wealthy and can do more. Twas ever thus TBH.

MerryMarigold Tue 24-Nov-15 11:43:07

I'm one of the 15 so probably not in a position to say. However, I would say that a few big events a year (like 3 per year) is the best way to run things. People don't feel they are being constantly asked. I think internally the 15 families need to reach out to just 3 more each and get them involved and then you have half a school. A lot of PTA's are very introspective and everyone is friends with each other. Why not try and make friends with a few more people and get them involved, it makes a much closer school community.

In terms of the school, a simple thing our old school used to do was to keep the playground open after school. If kids had an after school club, the parents could wait with other kids, bring snacks, play on the equipment and chat. It was really bonding.

redskybynight Tue 24-Nov-15 12:16:22

I think parents need to support school but agree with a PP who points out that school needs to support parents (a point I made in a letter I sent DD's school after they'd changed the day and return time of an out of school day school trip for the third time for no particular good reason that I could see or they could explain) by being aware that parents have other commitments.

I think parents are put off helping because if you offer at all it tends to turn into you doing more than you want to. My DC's old school PTA was hugely welcoming and made a point of defining jobs very clearly so people still didn't feel they were taken advantage of, but still no one was interested.

My son's cubs did run very successfully for almost a year with all the parents taking it in turns to do planning, organizing, helping at and running meetings but it did need every single one of the parents to be totally behind the idea, which I think is a point you'll never get to with a set of school parents.

BlueJug Tue 24-Nov-15 12:39:22

Don't know how to encourage people TBH.

I agree that if you work the constant letters and lack of understanding of time is problematic so agree with PoundingTheStreets on that.

I gave a lot of help when I had time and money when I had that.

Some people - a lot of people - are simply entitled. The current prevailing attitude everywhere is not what you can do, what your duty is, your responsibility but what you deserve and and are entitled to. This shift in emphasis manifests itself everywhere.

If people don't see that then it has to be done by other means - and the kids get less.

BlueJug Tue 24-Nov-15 12:41:49

redskybynight - makes some good points

Enjolrass Tue 24-Nov-15 12:52:45

Personally I think demanding parents are usually pains in the asses. They aren't demanding their kids get a good education etc. They are usually demanding, in a round about way, that their children are treated differently.

In regards to the school expecting parents to do things.

I also think it's gone too far. Last year we had aspire mornings where one morning of the week, parents went into the school to work with their children. Ours was Friday every week. I went to quite a few but could go to them all.

Parents who didn't, were judged the head made it clear. The head also openly judged parents who didn't attend a school concert with 24 hours notice.

The last half term of the school years has something going off so often, that I can find myself in school 1-3 mornings a week.

Then bake sales where I spend £2 on buns, so ds can go in and buy a different bun for 50p.

I would rather buy ds a bun and give the £1.50 to the school.

Just before the last half term, we had a parents assembly and harvest assembly in the same week, A school disco, a non uniform day and the friends of the school meeting.

Add on parent consultations and stuff you have to attend and it's a nightmare.

I work from home and help out as much as I can. I can move my work round to a certain degree.

Tbh it never really appreciated, but it made clear you are judged for not attending everything.

Luckily for us that head teacher has left and the new head has more understanding that people work. That people want to be involved, bits it's not always possible, every time.

I think some parents need to appreciate schools and staff more and school need to appreciate how difficult it is for parents too.

Topseyt Tue 24-Nov-15 13:10:18

My reply would be along the same lines as pounding and redsky, who have both put it very well.

When I was time rich as an SAHM, we were cash poor so could hardly contribute much financially. It didn't stop the school from making demands for things that cost us money though, such as themed dressing up days and stuff for tombolas.

Now that I am working again, I could contribute more comfortably financially ( though still not masses), but I have much less time.

I realise funds are in short supply for a lot of schools, and I don't believe in just taking without contributing anything back, but I didn't find it that simple.

Mine are getting towards the end of their secondary school careers now. Whilst they were at primary school though, it really felt as though we were bombarded from all sides with things to do, to go to, to pay towards, stuff to provide such as costumes etc. Often at very short notice - e.g. being informed about a school trip only the night before it was due to happen because they had forgotten to send the letters out, and would we please pay £X immediately.

Topseyt Tue 24-Nov-15 13:16:05

Enjolrass has it pretty much spot on too.

GigiB Tue 24-Nov-15 14:26:52

I agree that if you are one of the ones that do things, you end up doing way more than you have time for and it becomes quite an overhead. thats why I wish its was spread around a bit more...

Quite a few people have said that they are happy to give (reasonable) financial contributions rather than time which is potentially something at our school we could try and work on..
There are some parents, who are 'playground present' and the first to complain/gossip, but never seem to find time to be present at the actual fundraising! or reading groups etc. I'd love to get them involved..as it would be so positive, but i think i should maybe give up, do what i can, and leave it at that...!

Sorry to vent but i don't want to take my negative vibes to school.. so if i vent here i can go in with a smile.

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