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Volunteering at school - Scottish parents in particular but curious to know how it is eslewhere

(13 Posts)
Pinkspottyegg Wed 26-Sep-12 20:24:45

Since the Curriculum for Excellence came in we seem to get increasingly more notes home from school asking for volunteers to help out with yet another trip, outing, extra gym, stuff in class.

At one point, if I'd volunteered for everything asked of me I'd have been in the school 4 days a week and I only have the two kids and fortunately am a SAHM but it must be a nightmare for those with more kids and who also work full/part time.

I do quite a lot for the school anyway but I'm seriously fed up with the amount of parental involvement that seems to be required now. I'd much rather my kids spelling improved and their writing was neater than having them swan off for yet another 'learning experience'.

What's it like in other schools and what do others think of CfE?

withgreatpower Wed 26-Sep-12 21:41:46

I used to help as much as possible when I wasn't working (that meant up to 4 times a year per child, which didn't seem much to me), but now that I have a full time job, the school are not asking me anymore. I miss going on school trips, etc etc.

I also asked (when I was not working) if I could help in the classroom, during the lessons, but they said No, Thank you!. (I was probably considered a bit weird and too interfering) We lived in England before, and lots of parents helped in the classroom (well, not lots lots, but it was quite common).

CfE is rubbish, and most of the teachers think the same (I think). As you, Pinkspottyegg, I would like my children to spend more time on handwriting, spellings, reading comprehension, logic problems, rather than blah blah blah (topics of their own choice ?!?!?), but I have to admit that sometimes my kids teach me historical facts (although I think they learn most of these from "Horrible Histories")! And when I helped in the classroom during a castle building activity, I did learn a bit about the different types of castles!

Would be interested in knowing what Scottish primary teacher thought of CfE.

motherstongue Thu 27-Sep-12 15:34:14

I don't much like the CfE either. I have no idea how my DD is progressing, there are no tests to indicate if she is attaining a level that you would expect for her age. Having had my DS go through primary pre CfE, I much prefered the old system. How it manages to work at high school, I have no idea. I'm all for an appraoch where the kids can cross over from one subject to another but please, please, please, let us have hard facts about their attainment.

meditrina Thu 27-Sep-12 15:44:06

Not Scotland. We get requests for parent volunteers for trips out, and at the start of each year they ask for reading volunteers (they CRB check the latter, so only want those who can commit to doing it regularly). Then there are odd requests usually via the PTA for one offs, like covering new books for the library.

Pinkspottyegg Fri 28-Sep-12 02:06:36

4 times a year would be a breeze but 4 times a week is taking the piss. I don't mind the traditional school trip but not slotted in like a glorified teacher - which is what I feel like sometimes. I honestly think the poor teachers are so busy ticking off the boxes for CfE that there is hardly any teaching time left. And the pupils now think it's a given that they get a trip out every week so they no longer know how to sit on their arses and learn.
Sorry, am old school. My mum was never asked to help and I don't feel deprived because of it but I left primary able to read, spell, write and do sums coz the teacher did a darn good job and the class had 35 in it

piprabbit Fri 28-Sep-12 02:17:56

You don't have to say "yes", there are generally other parents ready to jump at the chance to get involved.
At my DCs school, the school trips sometimes have waiting lists of parents eager to help.

Pinkspottyegg Fri 28-Sep-12 02:33:54

Fraid not. We all have volunteer fatigue. Even when I haven't said yes sometimes I would still get a call asking if I could help as not enough people had come forward and the kids would miss out otherwise. Now that would suggest that the school is doing too much and should pare it down a bit

Euphemia Fri 28-Sep-12 07:02:09

I think it has nothing to do with CfE and everything to do with cutbacks in education.

Classroom assistants are a rarity these days, and they used to do a lot of things that parents used to be asked to do. Yes, there is more "active learning" going on now, which means that children are up and about, moving around the classroom, but that's going on everywhere and not just in Scotland.

CfE feels muddled to me. I trained as a teacher just as 5-14 was being phased out, and still schools don't quite seem to know where they are with it. Each new government and council administration comes up with new initiatives we're all supposed to embrace, but then pulls the rug from under our feet by not replacing Classroom Assistants when they leave, taking PE and Music specialists out of schools, reducing numbers of Learning Support teachers, etc.

I think the ethos of CfE is good, but it hasn't bedded in yet.

No to testing, please!!!! Speak to your child's teacher if you want to know how they're getting on, don't leave it until parents' night! You don't need a number and a letter attached to a child to feel they have been assessed.

Euphemia Fri 28-Sep-12 07:03:10

^parents are being asked to do

Pinkspottyegg Fri 28-Sep-12 08:02:08

I'm not too bothered by tests. I can see for myself how they are doing by the huge amount of homework they get. But I agree with you totally regarding cutbacks.

adeucalione Fri 28-Sep-12 08:59:01

As a SAHM I help out whenever asked - usually 2-3 times per term for trips, sports events and big art projects.

I really think that you and the other fed up volunteers just need to say no, or feed back that you feel that you are being asked too often, as that may be the only way that the school get the message.

vodkaanddietirnbru Fri 28-Sep-12 09:29:33

I am a parent helper but only get asked to help out with trips rather than in the classroom. I have 2 trips coming up before christmas and that will be the first trips since the kids went back to school. I went on the behaviour reward trips at the end of last year - a trip to bowling and 2 trips to soft play plus a trip to see the olympic torch but not much else.

prettybird Tue 02-Oct-12 12:38:44

Ds' primary school never asked for help except for "Careers" Day.

CfE hasn't made much difference to the way that they taught: they already did a lot of "team teaching" and would combine learning across different topics.

However, maybe that's because it already has "extra" resources that it uses well because of its demographic (lots of English as an additional language, relatively deprived area). The depute and head both spend a lot of time teaching too and as a result never have time to have lunch

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