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Not picked to help on school trip - again. Do I ask why?

(253 Posts)
sayhellotothelittlefella Mon 21-May-18 00:07:51

This might be longer than the actual subject warrants but I want to put as much as I can in the OP so there’s no drip feeding and to explain my strong feelings.
So yet again I’ve offered to help on DS’ school trip and yet again I haven’t been chosen. Last time I wasn’t picked I did phone up and ask if my DBS was still current as I hadn’t been picked to help for several years. I suppose it was a bit obvious this was a roundabout way of asking why I wasn’t able to help - only to be told they didn’t have the reply slip with my offer of help but I would be 1st on the reserve list and next time make sure the letter was back on time and there wouldn’t be a problem. Not so. Last thing on Friday the volunteers list came out ( anything vaguely contentious always gets sent out at 3:15 on Friday) and it’s the SAME few names as it is every trip and has been for years ( even the mums themselves say they always get to go). Normally wouldn’t bother me but with my older DC we made a lot of effort to help with one trip for each of them - DH would take a day off work to watch the younger DC so I could go.
There is a bit of back story with the school but it would derail this thread to go into it - suffice it to say they have no grounds to not pick me. There were no issues when I helped previously, it’s different teaching staff anyway, I give a lot of time to the PTA and the other schools my DC attend have a VERY favourable attitude towards our family. This school is renowned for having favourites. It’s the same with the pupils - always the same few families who’s DC get to do everything. I don’t know how to pitch this really and am genuinely looking for advice and a different perspective. So AIBU to go in tomorrow and ask why I’m still not picked, why is it the same people ( others do also offer) and that after such a long time it’s getting harder to pretend it’s not personal?

Chapman31 Mon 21-May-18 00:16:48

It might be because others got there first.

It’s more likely that teachers have a preference for who they have helping and you’re not it. This might be because other parents might be more useful on trips, or it might be that they just don’t like you.

The teachers have also got more to worry about/deal with than a parent getting the hump because they haven’t been chosen to go on a trip.

Lairyfights Mon 21-May-18 00:18:32

As a teacher, I wouldn’t have any issue with a parent popping in for a chat about it. Parents usually worry they’re annoying the teacher or wasting their time, but you’re not! It’s much easier to sort out an issue if you just ask. It could be something simple like the teacher genuinely doesn’t realise that you really want to go.

The forms we have to fill in for trips are endless and have to be started 2-3 months in advance, so I know it is often easier to pick those parents who you know won’t turn round the day before and tell you they’re busy! Which happens so often and just adds more stress!

Good luck!

Whyarealltheusernamestaken Mon 21-May-18 00:25:47

Of course they will choose parents who have already done this over those who haven’t. Don’t take it as criticism, they just know these parent are reliable already. Sounds like a good school

3boys3dogshelp Mon 21-May-18 00:26:41

I can imagine the teachers pick the same people because they have used them before and know they can trust them to turn up/be on time/keep a close eye on their group etc. It doesn’t mean they think anything about you - they are just sticking with a tried and tested formula.
Surely the priority should be ensuring that the children are safe and enjoy the trip rather than keeping the parents happy?

sayhellotothelittlefella Mon 21-May-18 00:30:17

@Chapman31 It’s definitely not first come first served - everyone is given until the deadline to reply. I can see how one Mum in particular would be useful and yes she is picked every trip but actually has said she would prefer not to be used in the way she is. And I don’t have the hump about not being asked to help, I just feel a bit sad really and so does my DS.
@Lairyfights funnily enough that happened last time with one of the ‘reliable’ regulars who didn’t turn up. I would like to say how keen I am to help but to whom? They will have a different teacher next year and would the office staff have any say? ( you sound like a lovely teacher btw)

Bettyfood Mon 21-May-18 00:33:16

Yes, definitely ask!

I did once as I returned my form and heard nothing and there had been a mix-up at the office.

Puffycat Mon 21-May-18 00:36:33


sayhellotothelittlefella Mon 21-May-18 00:36:40

@Whyarealltheusernamestaken & @3boys3dogshelp I have helped before (if a good few years ago) and have a lot of experience dealing very successfully with groups of children. Also how do they know this small group of parents are better able if they never actually give anyone else an opportunity?

greenlanes Mon 21-May-18 00:37:52

Happened at my DC school. I was good enough to volunteer, clean the library, support children with choosing a library book, help with the PTA etc. But funnily enough when it came to trips, and despite having a current valid DBS, I was never chosen. It was always the same few "parents " (I do mean mums). After years you realise that it is deliberate. I was once asked. 2 days before a trip if i could go as someone had dropped out. I quite enjoyed being able to say that No, I need to plan several weeks in advance and couldnt do short notice. Sounds horrible but it really had quite upset me and I am no snowflake on stuff.

sayhellotothelittlefella Mon 21-May-18 00:44:34

Greenlanes yes it does become obvious it’s deliberate. I was asked at 8:15 on the morning of the trip when I was the reserve but had to say no because I had no time to arrange for someone to do school run for my younger DS at a different school and was too late to book breakfast & after school club. I was sad as I knew deep down that that was probably my only chance.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 21-May-18 00:47:34

I have always nobly given up any sort of claim for volunteering on trips...mostly because it sounds like something to be avoided at all costs. I hadn't realised until today that it was some sort of prized, parenting reward.

shizzlethenizzley Mon 21-May-18 00:49:24

“Backstory” is why!

cariadlet Mon 21-May-18 00:52:24

Do you help in school at other times or just offer for the trips?

Some trips that we go on are just walks to places in the local area so everybody who offers is welcome. But sometimes trips involve coaches and - depending on the size of the coaches and whether each class in the year group is going on the same day (90 children in 2 coaches) or on separate days (only 30 children in 1 coach) - space is limited.

If space is limited and more parents offer than I'm able to take then I give priority to regular helpers. Trips are can be quite popular and it seems fair to give priority to parents who regularly give up their time to come into class to hear readers etc over those who are never able to give day to day help, but are happy to go on a trip.

Whyarealltheusernamestaken Mon 21-May-18 00:56:01

If I liked and got along with the other volunteers why wouldn’t I choose them, you admit your previous was many years ago. This is a hard job and experienced volunteers makes it easier, it’s not at all about your ego but more who is best for the kids. Put yourself in the schools shoes, you have two choices of babysitters, one does it all the time and is great, one did it a long time ago, no references. Who would you choose? What’s best for the kids as opposed to your sad hurt feelings?

Dragonade Mon 21-May-18 00:56:35

lol PTA gets first dibs and even the PTA has a pecking order. I bet if school policy was that you never have your own child in your group you wouldn't be so keen to volunteer again, that's what happened to me when I took a class of 7yr olds to the Natural History Museum. Never again

crunchymint Mon 21-May-18 00:58:35

This will simply be teachers choosing parents who have done it reliably in the recent past. And I doubt anyone remembers the conversation about how you would do it next time.
It won't be a deliberate snub to you OP. Just a - we know this works with these parents, so have asked them.

crunchymint Mon 21-May-18 00:59:25

Also most schools would not let you have your own child in your group.

sayhellotothelittlefella Mon 21-May-18 00:59:30

@PerspicaciaTick not a parenting award, just something a lot of parents would like to have the chance to do with their DC
@shizzlethenizzley the back story is long and complex and very off topic - short version is ;- long time at the school, older DC went there - DD4 wasn’t happy so moved her to neighbouring school which was superb- current school going downhill rapidly and crap leadership so decided to send youngest DS to same neighbouring school ( leaving other said DS at current school so they all noticed his younger DB didn’t arrive in September as expectedgrin)

crunchymint Mon 21-May-18 01:02:32

Except this isn't about doing something with your DC. This is about helping the school.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 21-May-18 01:02:36

My DCs school doesn't let parents lead groups with their own children, so it isn't something that you do with your own children. Which is why I have always viewed the women who volunteered as saints for giving up their time. There has never been any hint that anyone actually enjoys it.

TrippingTheVelvet Mon 21-May-18 01:04:21

I'm guessing the back story is why.

sayhellotothelittlefella Mon 21-May-18 01:04:40

@Whyarealltheusernamestaken as I said before I have a great deal of experience with groups of children it’s what I do every day and have done for over 15 years. I strongly suspect It’s not what’s best for the kids that is uppermost when choosing unfortunately it is the parents who’s faces fit.

crunchymint Mon 21-May-18 01:06:44

It is fraught with possible issues having a parent lead a group with their own DC in it. From playing favourites with their own child, to neglecting the other children to focus on their child. That is most schools don't allow this.
And as someone who used to organise trips with kids and take parent volunteers, I would not have chosen someone who wanted to go so they did an activity with their DC. I would have chosen someone who wanted to help out and look after the kids in their group.

soapboxqueen Mon 21-May-18 01:09:33

Tbh I'm not sure why they are asking for support in general if they always ask the same people anyway.

I personally don't like asking for parent helpers. Too much of an unknown quantity. I try to make do with staff but if I really must I'll ask other staff about which parents are reliable and ask them directly.

I wouldn't take it as a snub but I would maybe ask why they keep asking for volunteers to not take people up on it ever.

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