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in thinking that school children shouldn't be answering the school telephone?

(26 Posts)
Nbg Tue 09-Sep-08 12:38:05

I called the school yesterday to speak with dd's teacher.

A young girl answered the phone and said that the teacher wasn't there atm but she could take a message.
So I asked if she could tell her I had called, gave her my name and phone number.

Teacher never called and said today that she never got the message hmm

I should say that the girl was very polite but really, a school child answering the telephone at a primary school.

FAQ Tue 09-Sep-08 12:39:07

hmm sounds like the receptionist was out of the office and an errant child on her way to the toilet decided to "help" by answering the phone.

Nbg Tue 09-Sep-08 12:40:37

Well she explained that the teacher wasnt available (her words) and could she take a message?

Bonkers if you ask me.

FAQ Tue 09-Sep-08 12:41:38

my DS's would do that when answering the phone (as they have at home on occasions if I've been on the loo or something) - so maybe this girl does it at home for her mum and thought she'd help the teacher out.

Candlewax Tue 09-Sep-08 12:42:45

In my ds's primary school, year 6 children had a rota and they covered the admin office telephones every lunchtime. They were very good at taking and passing on messages.

Bramshott Tue 09-Sep-08 12:42:57

DD1's school have one of last year's Yr 6s helping in the office this week because her secondary school doesn't start till next week. The issue is not so much that she is helping, but that you didn't get the message Nbg - which clearly is concerning and irritating.

PrimulaVeris Tue 09-Sep-08 12:43:02

At my dc's primary the Year 6's have a rota of office duty at lunch and break times whilst the school sec has her toilet/sandwich break. Not entirely on their own - always head or other member of staff in back office.

Good for developing responsibility and highly commended in a recent ofsted inspection too grin

My dd's secondary has a similar reception desk system too

tamarto Tue 09-Sep-08 12:43:05

I can't see it being policy to let a school child answer the phone. Probably a child thinking that they were helping.

morningpaper Tue 09-Sep-08 12:43:14

how do you know it wasn't a temp?

bellavita Tue 09-Sep-08 12:43:58

In our Primary school - Yr6 children are in charge of bell ringing, phone answering etc on a rota basis, so after the child's lunch they go and sit on reception whilst the teachers are in the staff room (they are not allowed to be disturbed by phonecalls).

DumbledoresGirl Tue 09-Sep-08 12:44:28

Oh I had this last year. I am a supply teacher and rang a school with an important message only to be told by the child that answered that it was Friday afternoon and Year 6 always manned the phones on Friday afternoons and there was no adult he could pass me over to.

I wasn't impressed, both from the POV of not being able to pass on my message which really needed to be said, and also from the POV of a parent, thinking that this was what passed for education on a Friday afternoon.

I know that learning to answer the phone is an important life skill, but I teach it to my children at home as a parent. I would not be happy knowing it was a regular event at school.

DaphneMoon Tue 09-Sep-08 12:45:17

Can't see what the problem is, however it might have been one if the message had been extremely urgent.

DumbledoresGirl Tue 09-Sep-08 12:46:33

Just to make clear: I am talking about children answering the phone in lesson time (which he made clear to me was a regular Friday afternoon thing) not during lunchtimes which I might not object to so much.

Nbg Tue 09-Sep-08 12:46:40

It was definately a child MP.

I remember doing reception duty, at Secondary school in year 10. Not primary.

Fair do's if schools want to let the kids do this but make sure they pass the farking messages on!

FAQ Tue 09-Sep-08 12:47:15

ahhhh now you see I'm coming from the point of view of a parent that's only just got her oldest child up to junior school YR3, whereas before he was at infants (Reception to YR2).

The YR6 answering the phones thing I could imagine possibly happening at the junior school he's just startd as they're got an excellent Student Council which does play a big role in how the school is run.

DumbledoresGirl Tue 09-Sep-08 12:47:22

And for times when an urgent message needs to be given straightaway, I really think there should be an adult available to take the call.

PrimulaVeris Tue 09-Sep-08 12:50:43

The Y6's should all have been briefed who to grab (usually head or deputy) if urgent

They should write everything down. May be worth gently bringing it up informally at school - sounds as though it's new Y6's on very first reception duty and not being briefed properly/too scared as first time?

francagoestohollywood Tue 09-Sep-08 12:54:19

I love the idea of yr 6 children having a rota of office duty, I'd have loved it as a child!

Eddas Tue 09-Sep-08 13:01:10

i have to say that i thought it odd when I phoned dd's new school(she starts in Jan) that a child answered. I can see why but I wanted to speak to the secretary so just called back later. If you're an existing parent and know that children answer then that's probably ok, but I was certainlyshock and suprised!

Cammelia Tue 09-Sep-08 20:04:04

I would hate that. It certainly wouldn't happen at dd's school - way too unprofessional.

mumto2andnomore Tue 09-Sep-08 20:18:03

Fine at lunchtimes, not in lesson times and she should have passed the message on.

Yorkiegirl Tue 09-Sep-08 20:30:08

Message withdrawn

poppyandsam Tue 09-Sep-08 20:30:45

An infant school near here (not my DS's) has the Y2 children answering the phone on a weekly rota. I guess there must be an adult in the room with them.

clam Tue 09-Sep-08 20:38:46

I think quite a lot of schools do this, actually. The fact that, in this instance, the message didn't get passed on does not mean that the practice is necessarily a bad idea. I've left plenty of messages with adults in the past that don't get passed on either. Sometimes people can say that they didn't get it, when in fact they've just forgotten to deal with it. Which would have been unfair on the child/person who had the idea of kids manning the phones in this instance.
But who knows? Ask the Head the reasons behind it.

clam Tue 09-Sep-08 20:39:08

I think quite a lot of schools do this, actually. The fact that, in this instance, the message didn't get passed on does not mean that the practice is necessarily a bad idea. I've left plenty of messages with adults in the past that don't get passed on either. Sometimes people can say that they didn't get it, when in fact they've just forgotten to deal with it. Which would have been unfair on the child/person who had the idea of kids manning the phones in this instance.
But who knows? Ask the Head the reasons behind it.

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