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To think that parent helpers in school should sign a confidentiality agreement and should not be marking work (and discussing it with other mums?)

(23 Posts)
lilacrosa Sun 07-Apr-19 21:43:12

First post so please bear with me.

There are lots of parent helpers at my child's primary school who regularly go in and help with sticking in work, reading etc.

Two mums seem to be completely over-invested in this and view this volunteering as the opportunity to do some espionage work. They regularly discuss with other mums what they have seen in class, who got told off, who is on the highest book band, which class is more advanced than the other one etc etc.

This has always irked me but I just felt that they clearly had too much time on their hands if they were THAT bothered about the minutiae of life in our children's primary. However recently I have been told that one of these mums is actually marking work on a weekly basis (an easy to mark yes or no test) and is reporting back to other mums on how the kids are doing, which class is better etc etc. I feel REALLY uncomfortable with this. Some of the more 'competitive' mums are getting even more whipped up by tales that this mum and others are telling and I just think it is so unfair on the children.

AIBU if I let the teacher know that this is happening? I know how much work teachers have to do so don't necessarily disagree with this being given to a volunteer, but surely these volunteers should have to have some basic awareness of diplomacy and discretion?!

And AIBU to think that this mum should go and get a job in education if she is this bothered about what goes on in a.n other primary school, England?!

gingerbiscuits Sun 07-Apr-19 21:47:48

I'm a Primary School HLTA & we would be appalled if that was going on & would DEFINITELY want to know about it! Those parents would be ditched with immediate effect! All of our parent volunteers, student teachers & even work experience students have to sign a full confidentiality agreement. I would definitely speak to the school about it.

DelphiniumBlue Sun 07-Apr-19 21:48:29

I' d go directly to the head. Volunteers need to be properly trained, and that is the head's job, not the individual teacher's . There is a real confidentiality issue here, and the head needs to be aware of it.

mineofuselessinformation Sun 07-Apr-19 21:51:59

Definitely report this to the head direct.
There is no way that this is appropriate.
They are massively over-stepping the boundaries of anyone who works in a school - voluntarily or not.

Rockbird Sun 07-Apr-19 21:52:04

That's appalling. I'm a TA in my children's school (not their classes) and everything I see or hear stays in school and certainly doesn't get discussed with parent friends. We don't sign a confidentiality contract because it should be a given. I would absolutely raise this.

Darkbaptism Sun 07-Apr-19 21:52:06

At my children’s school the volunteers have to go to a meeting about safe guarding and confidentiality before they start.
Any breeches of confidentiality would be taken very seriously.

lilacrosa Sun 07-Apr-19 21:53:16

Thank you both for reassuring me I am not going mad!

I did consider going to the head, but I do not want to get the teacher into any trouble as I know how hard the job can be, particularly when it comes to workload. Your comments have made me think I should speak to the head though - he needs to know, doesn't he?

MiniEggAddiction Sun 07-Apr-19 21:53:26

YANBU I bet the teacher would be fairly horrified to know this was happening. in DC's class the parent helpers are never allowed in the same year group as one of their own kids. I suppose they might still know some of the mums but it at least makes them less invested in what they see. I can't believe they aren't embarrassed about being so ridiculously competitive about this trivial rubbish.

lyralalala Sun 07-Apr-19 21:56:10

Speak to the Head. They will want to know.

Good parent helpers are worth their weight in gold in a school, but the teacher and head need to know when soemone isn't a good one.

gingerbiscuits Sun 07-Apr-19 21:59:46

As a teacher in my son's school with lots of 'mum friends' I've had to be pretty blunt at times & remind them I absolutely won't discuss anything school related - most of them are fine but some have been arsey & we're no longer friends!!

Leeds2 Sun 07-Apr-19 22:22:43

I would tell the Head. It is completely unacceptable behaviour, and one with which the teacher cannot deal with herself. I imagine that they will then get all volunteers to sign a confidentiality agreement, and you will have to report again if there are any breeches (and I would hazard a guess that there will be).

Island35 Mon 08-Apr-19 12:38:57

This needs to go directly to the head. The school employs, paid or unpaid, via the head and therefore this is so much more than an issue that the class teacher can deal with. There might be a training issue here but there is absolutely a confidentiality issue and I would be far from happy to hear about my daughter via another parent.

WorldCupWidow Mon 08-Apr-19 12:49:15

Had this situation at my school where a mum was “telling tales” in the play ground about who had got what marks and who had been told off and why, behaviour on school trips etc, even down to what kids had in their packed lunch on trips as how unhealthy they were.

The teacher was made and they were spoken to and no longer volunteer at the school.

MrsCasares Mon 08-Apr-19 14:04:43

U r totally nbu.

I had the opposite situation. I was a parent volunteer who heard children read. One little boy struggled to read, really struggled. I noticed he held the book at arms length.

Put the book near him, he couldn’t see it.

Waited till class had finished and told the teacher.

End result little boy had glasses on when next I heard him read. His reading came on really well.

Boys mum came up to me in the playground and thanked me. Thought that was really nice.

MitziK Mon 08-Apr-19 14:08:39

Absolutely report it.

The marking isn't a problem (after all, it's better than entrusting the six year old next to you to do it properly), but the discussing things is completely out of order.

BlingLoving Mon 08-Apr-19 14:12:51

Our school makes it clear that parent volunteers have to treat everything they see and hear confidentially. If your school isn't already doing that, I'd be shocked. it's far more likely that the parents involved are just blatantly ignoring the guidelines (and any NDAs they may have signed). I'd report it, confidentially, to the head.

It's also quite sad as the most useful thing I got from being a parent volunteer was an insight into how the children operate and I learned some things that I wouldn't dream of telling anyone, but that really helped me to understand better why the school does or says certain things. It's a real pity that these women are using it to gossip and belittle people instead.

DolceNow Mon 08-Apr-19 14:12:56

I would talk to the teacher first. Tell her your exact concerns regarding confidentiality and if she doesn't address it then escalate.

Glitterblue Mon 08-Apr-19 14:14:04

This is going on in my DC's school as well. There is one mum in particular who makes friends with people who volunteer and they always seem to give her loads of inside info about what level various kids are on, what she's heard in the staffroom, who's been naughty, who's on lists for bad behaviour etc. It doesn't sit right with me.

AWishForWingsThatWork Mon 08-Apr-19 14:18:38

Please go to the Head. I work as a TA and this is not on at all.

We are very selective re parents who want to volunteer. We kind of know who wants to come in to genuinely be helpful and who just wants to have a nosy and choose accordingly.

EchoLimaYankee Mon 08-Apr-19 14:47:49

Please go to the teacher. It’s easily sorted this way. They can then inform the head if necessary. By getting the head involved you could get the teacher into trouble. From my experience heads love passing the buck and will blame this on the teacher. Even if there wasn’t any guidance on how to handle parents or school based training for helpers.

Sarahjconnor Mon 08-Apr-19 15:50:37

I complained to the head when this happened and it stopped immediately.

lilacrosa Tue 09-Apr-19 12:08:24

Thank you all for your comments. We are on school holidays at the moment but I will speak to the head when we go back.

fargo123 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:30:31

We had a similar thing happen when my first child was in year one.

There were three classes and the volunteer mums in the other two classes were using it as an excuse to blab everything that was going on with the kids in those classes. I can't remember all the details now, but it all came to a head one particular day and those parents were immediately banned from helping out and I believe they were all given a stern talking too. One of the teachers refused to have any more parent helpers that year, but the other teacher allowed a few new/different parents later in the year, who were thankfully a lot more intelligent than the first lot and knew to keep their mouths shut.

I was a helper in the third class and the other mums and I were thanked by our kids' teacher for being so discreet and respecting confidentiality. I don't think it occurred to us to blab TBH.

One of the banned mums moved her vile kids to another school a couple of years later thank god and she ended up being banned from the entire school for pulling the same stunt when her second child started year one.

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