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To think it's perhaps a conflict of interest for children to attend schools where parents are teachers

(64 Posts)
purplemoonlight Fri 17-Jun-16 07:59:17

Please don't anyone take this as a personal slight.

I am aware there may be a lack of suitable schools, especially in rural areas, and some independent schools offer a discount on fees.

However, I can't help but think on the whole it's not in the best interest of the child.

My mum was a teacher at my secondary school. I transferred there in year 9 after the bullying at the initial secondary I attended didn't show any signs of abating. In hindsight, it was the worst thing we could have done. The relationship between us was intense and stifled, she knew too much about me and I knew too much about her!

It was the 'usual' things - awkwardness about boyfriends, awkwardness about any misbehaviour of mine being reported back to her (very mild things but still) personal questions, difficulty with friends and home visits/sleepovers - but also, and harder to articulate, I feel as if in some ways it squashed me down and made it harder to properly 'grow up.' That could just have been my mum though.

However, with the intenseness about safeguarding, it does put teachers and pupils in a yet still more awkward position.

AIBU to think it's not quite appropriate?

Dozer Fri 17-Jun-16 08:02:02

Sorry you had a difficult time but yabu, it will throw up issues but these should be manageable by the adult as both a professional and a parent.

Dozer Fri 17-Jun-16 08:03:48

Any safeguarding issues would be handled by another professional in the usual way.

Perhaps your parent didn't handle it as you would have liked, eg not having friends over. My DD has been round to her friend's house whose DM is a teacher and vice versa.

Egosumquisum Fri 17-Jun-16 08:10:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exexpat Fri 17-Jun-16 08:13:26

I think it depends hugely on the school (size, atmosphere, alternatives) and the relationship between parent and child.

My sister and I went to the school my mother taught at, and were both taught by her for one subject for one year, but moved for the sixth form, at least partly to get some more independence. Having my mother as a teacher at the school never bothered me, even though, as a relatively small school, it meant that I saw quite a few of my teachers at drunken parties at our house out of school.

It also made practical and financial sense - it was a private, mainly boarding, school with long hours (lessons or compulsory prep sessions after tea etc), so it was much easier if my sister and I were both on the premises when my mother had to work until 7pm. And of course there was the 50% discount on fees.

Some of her colleagues made other choices and sent their children to different schools - whatever suits. There are also children of staff (including children of the head teacher) at both my DCs' schools. I don't think a blanket rule is needed, it really depends on individuals. And I don't really see how it affects safeguarding at all.

dolkapots Fri 17-Jun-16 08:13:53

I was more thinking that it isn't the best idea due to potential nepotism. in my primary school there were a few teachers who had children there. They were always the lead in the plays and won the prizes, surprise surprise.

purplemoonlight Fri 17-Jun-16 08:14:18

The problem is when the 'usual way' wouldn't happen if the parent wasn't a teacher.

So if you are in year 11 and your friend confides in you she's pregnant, you can't confide in your parents as they would have to refer it. It's those conflicts of interest.

Witchend Fri 17-Jun-16 08:17:18

I think it's not ideal, however sometimes overall it is the best. Either transport, money off fees, being the best school anyway etc.

Andrewofgg Fri 17-Jun-16 08:18:22

Oh lord. There was about a year when my older sister was in my DF's class and it led to endless rows in the evening. But he was the only A-Level German teacher and there was no other possible school and we survived.

Egosumquisum Fri 17-Jun-16 08:20:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlmaMartyr Fri 17-Jun-16 08:23:19

I was in my mum's school when she was the Head. Not ideal in some ways but we coped. She had very strict rules about only talking to me about school stuff if she would have anyway. Nepotism worked the other way for me - I never got anything even when I'd earned it because of the concern of what people would say. That was quite difficult and the thing that has probably bothered me the most in the long run but I understand her position.

purplemoonlight Fri 17-Jun-16 08:28:36

There was nepotism in my case, but I've also definitely heard of cases where it goes the other way. either way isn't ideal, of course.

However, primary school is at a push a reluctant 'okay' from me. I think once you get to secondary though the sense of a parent's constant pressure is too much.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Fri 17-Jun-16 08:35:12

I left one school I worked in because having a child there was making life difficult for both of us.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Fri 17-Jun-16 08:41:51

I think it's all down to how you handle it. My siblings and I all went to the school where my parent taught and none of us made a big deal of it. Happily none of us needed to be in our parent's class. As a result, it was fine.

Where I live now, there is one secondary school where everyone in the town goes - quite a lot of the teachers live locally so their kids attend the school - they don't have much option really.

It's interesting that you think primary better than secondary - my gut feel would be that secondary would be easier as so much bigger.

Marynary Fri 17-Jun-16 08:44:38

I was more thinking that it isn't the best idea due to potential nepotism. in my primary school there were a few teachers who had children there. They were always the lead in the plays and won the prizes, surprise surprise.

Yes, there were problems with that at DD's primary school. The favouritism for one of the teacher's children was very blatant and obvious. It got to the point where dd wouldn't even attempt to do anything (competitions, lead in school play, form captain, school council etc etc) if she knew that the teacher's child was also going for it. The teacher had two other children in different years and the children in her classes complained about the same thing. It didn't do much child's popularity though.
I think it could work the other way though if the teacher wasn't particularly popular with the other teachers.

HanddivedBlackberries Fri 17-Jun-16 08:47:25

I've wondered about this, too.

My DM moved my 10-yr-old brother from our usual primary school into her own class at her primary school.

She was having an emotional affair at the time and although already sleeping separately from my DF, moved into my DB's bed at night "because it's nice to have someone to cuddle". She used to cart him around as cover for her affair ("DB wants to play at his friend's") and discuss her private life in front of him - claiming he was too young to understand.

I was a teenager and found this all slightly off, but couldn't articulate why.

I didn't see any sign of her colleagues being concerned. Although they didn't know about the affair and bedsharing, of course. Also no one ever tells DM she's wrong without being drowned in a shitstorm of victimhood, tears and accusations that she's being undermined, so no one likes to challenge her.

I wonder what an outsider's perspective would be.

purplemoonlight Fri 17-Jun-16 08:54:14

That's another BIG thing, actually, Han - I couldn't tell anyone about my mothers alcoholism and emotional abuse because she was a teacher in my school. I have to say to be totally fair here I probably wouldn't have anyway, but the fact she was there meant I definitely couldn't.

SmilingButClueless Fri 17-Jun-16 08:54:40

I think it depends entirely on the professionalism of the teachers. We had a lot of teachers' children at my school. One of the (large) departments - no issue; there were enough teachers that the parents never actually taught their children. A smaller department, where one of the children was good at the subject... Yeah, no-one else ever got any opportunities to do anything.

manicinsomniac Fri 17-Jun-16 09:10:16

Deliberately haven't read the thread yet. Definitely going to though, I'm fascinated to hear others' insights.

My 3 children have been at the school I work in since I started working here 10 years ago (well, the eldest has).

I chose this set up deliberately because I'm a single mum and this job meant I have free wraparound care and/or can have my children with me till any time at night (we're a boarding school) and also means I get subsidised housing. Of course it also means that my children are getting a pretty amazing prep school education at 85% off which I certainly couldn't have afforded otherwise. But that's slightly by the by compared to the other two reasons.

Logistically, financially and mentally, I don't think I could have coped any other way.

However - I do see your point.
* I teach Performing Arts. My children (well the youngest is only 2 so not her!) are passionate about and very talented in drama, dancing and singing - that's not meant to be a boast, it's genetics I guess, and they're dreadful at plenty of other things. But, although they've had good parts in plays and shows, they will never be able to have a lead part while they're here because it would look like favouritism. Same with the choirs and dance groups etc - they can be in them but I can't ever give them the solos (or only if there are several different opportunities in the same performance). It's not a huge deal I don't think, and they do stuff outside of school too, but people have mentioned them always being passed over as being a shame.

* We're a very hours heavy school. As a result many of my colleagues are close friends. It can be a conflict to have one of your friends working so closely with your child and to do the same with their children. It must be annoying for children to have their teachers come round to their house and be in their space.

* If my children are upset or in trouble other children find me and tell me. I don't get the 'down time' in the way that I would if I were away from them and only told about serious things. As colleagues we have learned not to tell other colleagues things about their children unless they are things we would phone or email another parent about. But other children obviously don't have that discernment. My own children will also tell me things at home and it's harder to be impartial in conflicts.

Those are the main negatives I can think of. Teaching my own kids doesn't bother me (I have to as I teach the whole school so can't put them in another class). And of course there are plus sides to seeing what your children are doing, knowing their teachers and curriculum well etc

spankhurst Fri 17-Jun-16 09:14:41

I work in a school where there are a lot of staff kids (big discount on the fees). It hasn't caused any problems; there is an unspoken protocol that colleagues don't talk about staff kids in the staff room etc. It's a big school with lots of prizes, tournaments, etc, so when staff children win stuff it's not that noticeable.

HanddivedBlackberries Fri 17-Jun-16 09:15:36

I completely recognise your description of the stifling, purple.

It's the never having a break from them, as much as the not being able to tell (and like you say, one wouldn't tell anyway).

I read the "Would you home educate" threads with mild panic. The thought of being trapped with her 100% of the time, without access to independent adults or the promise of change at the end of the year.... <shudder>

And to everyone outside, she'd look like the perfect, jolly, competent professional and parent - "Aren't you lucky?" people would have said.

purplemoonlight Fri 17-Jun-16 09:17:48

Yes, yes, yes Handdived

Some of my friends thought I was lucky. Ha!

Marynary Fri 17-Jun-16 09:39:34

It's a big school with lots of prizes, tournaments, etc, so when staff children win stuff it's not that noticeable.

I suspect the staff at DD's primary school might have said the same thing. Unfortunately it was very noticeable to the other children. It wasn't the teacher herself who was treating her children more favourably (she always taught different classes) it was the teacher's friends.

honeylulu Fri 17-Jun-16 09:40:50

Probably best avoided if possible but for practical reasons sometimes cannot. My aunt was a teacher and ensured her first two went to a different primary to the one she taught at. However she then had a surprise third baby after the older ones had gone to two different secondaries and it was just too complicated for the youngest to go to a different school. It was tough on my cousin at times as she had to learn to call her mum Mrs x and not mummy and likewise her mum's best friend who was cousins godmother taught at the same school and suddenly had to be Mrs Z instead of Auntie Y.
I went to a small private primary where the teacher of the top class had two sons at the school and the nepotism was shocking and no attempt made to conceal it. The younger son was the year below me but the year after I left (I had a sibling still at the school) it emerged that his mum had told him the date of the 11+ (which was otherwise a secret until the day) and let him sneak a peek at the papers.He then shared the info with his best friend who toms another friend .... but they basically denied everything and nothing happened. Apparently both boys had a tough time at secondary as having no one to "champion" them was a real shock.
Can also go the other way with anti - nepotism. Not an education example but for a while I had a Saturday job at an organisation where my dad was branch manager and he was so obsessed with NOT showing favoritism it went the other way. I was given the worst jobs (which were usually given to the most junior member of staff but had to carry on doing them even after more junior staff joined), had to call my dad Mr [surname] whereas the other staff called him by his first name, got called in at short notice to cover gaps in shifts sometimes just for one hour, would be told to cancel my plans if I was needed for short notice work, would be told off for minor misdemeanors AT HOME as well as at work (fair enough at work but no one else was chastised after work finished). Made me seethe! Hated it.

mawbroon Fri 17-Jun-16 10:02:49

Both my parents taught at the only secondary in our town and all of us went to school there.

I don't want to post anything too identifying, but it was fucking awful.

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