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Please can I have a moan about expectations about school clubs?

(105 Posts)
TheGruffalo2 Sat 10-May-14 08:59:49

After school clubs and activities does not automatically mean high quality teaching and learning; it means knackered teachers after they've taught clubs until 4.30/5pm, then have to clear up their classroom, mark, plan, etc. Or teachers that don't eat lunch and have a disorganised classroom for the afternoon session.

Sorry - being a bit ranting as we've had a spate of parents complaining we don't run enough clubs, so we are a crap school. Every night, except staff meeting nights, there are at least three clubs running and every lunchtime at least two, all staffed by teachers working unpaid. We have a spread of types, so not all sports clubs. We have a spread sheet to ensure we have a reasonable number for each year group, rather than just the older children.

But apparently we are lazy teachers, have poor standards of teaching(despite above national standards of attainment and progress) and (most hurtfully) don't care about the children.

We are doing the best we can; we can't change the gymnastics club to the night X wants as the hall is already being used for a dance club; we can't run a free Chinese club if no staff have that language skill; we can't run a club on Wednesdays to suit your childcare as we all have to attend the staff meeting; and most amusingly, we can't run a swimming club if we don't have a swimming pool.

Sorry, rant over (triggered by just opening another work email from a parent about it saying they were making an appointment to see the HT to complain that my cookery club is ending at half term so I can lead a different gardening one - we usually run clubs on a half termly rotation so we can give variety). I am really annoyed by the assumption of a large number of very vocal parents that a variety of clubs, staffed by teachers equates to outstanding teaching and learning.

Now breathe, Gruffalo, and return to your report writing!

SapphireMoon Sat 10-May-14 09:03:00

I think you need to have a section in a newsletter explaining how clubs are voluntary and how much work / time it takes teachers to offer them.
Communication here seems key.

TheGruffalo2 Sat 10-May-14 09:07:45

Oh, it is very clear. We already have that message on our clubs details on the website and paper copies.

Letters go out each term with the list of clubs that will be available and when, who is running them and it thanks the staff for giving up their free time to run them (as part of the "if you sign up please have the courtesy to inform the teacher if you won't be attending" paragraph). Then parents and children can make their choices and see if they don't get, for example netball, this term as it is over subscribed there are other options that will be given preference for.

Phineyj Sat 10-May-14 09:13:37

I am sorry you have some parents behaving like this and I bet none of them have volunteered!

Fram Sat 10-May-14 09:13:42

Tell them to fuck off! They can pay for the extra-curricular provision, like most people have to!

If they want more clubs to run, they need to request them, so you can get an outside provider in to provide it at cost.

A swimming club? They are being ridiculous.

Our school have a mix of free and pay activities, and we are so grateful that they run them, and give access to the free ones fairly.

Wolfiefan Sat 10-May-14 09:13:55

Teachers are there to educate. They are not paid extra for doing extra clubs. If they choose to run anything at all then I'd say thanks. Schools are not childcare and your little pfb is not the only kid in the school!
Perhaps you should ask for parent volunteers to run clubs! Haha!

meditrina Sat 10-May-14 09:14:23

Parents may have direct experience of other schools where clubs are rather different from what you describe as happening at your school.

I would be annoyed if a club was run by someone who found it knackering, or if the provision of clubs made an impact on how well an individual functioned. But I've not found that to be the case, and there was a strong range of clubs in the schools I know directly, and everyone appeared very happy.

I think standards and attitudes vary enormously between schools.

mrz Sat 10-May-14 09:20:55

as do the costs meditrina - free clubs run by teachers (freely offering their own time for the children in their care) or expensive clubs run by outside providers.

Two of our girls put up a sign on the school notice board asking for willing teachers to sign up for a cookery club ... do we ignore their interest or do we do as we have done run a club or perhaps you think we should hire in Jamie Oliver ?

Hoppinggreen Sat 10-May-14 09:21:47

I don't use after school clubs but it wouldn't occur to me that teachers ran them unpaid!!!
Some parents really expect too much.

EATmum Sat 10-May-14 09:25:01

My DD2's school has a few clubs that are run by parents as volunteers. Perhaps Gruffalo you should suggest to the ungrateful parents demanding more from the overworked staff that the school is a community where everyone's contribution is welcomed, and ask when they will be offering their skills to support the children.

rollonthesummer Sat 10-May-14 09:26:00

I would be annoyed if a club was run by someone who found it knackering

Really?! I was knackered every time I ran unpaid sewing club from 3.30-4.30 every Thursday. 20 people still happily sent their children to it though.

Panzee Sat 10-May-14 09:28:57

I'd probably stop doing them if that's the attitude of the parents. (But I'm quite awkward!) I do a couple of clubs and I get lots of thanks for giving up my free time. It makes it easier when I know my efforts have been noted.

starlight1234 Sat 10-May-14 09:33:04

Our school has run one club over the year from year 2. My Ds loves them but I would never complain when they weren't running.

Some parents are simply demanding and have no idea what ateacher has to do.

EmmaGellerGreen Sat 10-May-14 09:34:02

The PTA organised lunchtime clubs at our school run by either parents or outside providers, both with extra parent helpers. Word soon got round from the parent helpers about just how much work is involved. Staff run clubs are now very much appreciated!

meditrina Sat 10-May-14 09:34:17

I agree, MRZ, there are many ways of providing and funding clubs.

If a school has a community of teachers who do not want to volunteer, then of course no one can make them. But parents who have seen a different level of teacher volunteering if they have experience of more than one school will of course notice the difference and may comment on it. They know it's not an either/or issue between availability of clubs and overall school standards.

TheGruffalo2 Sat 10-May-14 09:37:08

I do wonder if it is just our school; lots of parents who aspire to or started their children's education in the private system.

I run a gymnastics club each autumn term. For the last two or three years I have not received a single "thank you" from an adult or a child when they are collected; parents bring in their buggies and stand them on the mats as they see me trying to put them all away; every week at least three parents are later than the 4.30pm pick up. Last year there were two sets of parents who regularly arrive at just before 5pm, despite me speaking to them directly and firmly about it, as they have to collect DD2 from ballet class first. They complained when I took their children back to our classroom so I could start tidying that rather than sit their like a lemon in the hall "You could have done some reading with her"!

I MUST stop MN-ing and forget about this issue as it is making my blood boil! I should be report writing instead.

3bunnies Sat 10-May-14 09:39:27

Or you could take it as a compliment that their dc has enjoyed the cookery club so much that they want to do more! If you are planning to reply maybe use that theme as the opening line and then suggest that they seek out an outside school cookery club so they can continue their skills. Or just cook more with their child at home.

I think that it is great that you have inspired little Jonny to enjoy cooking - they may not get the chance at home. I always make a point of thanking the teachers as my children enjoy the clubs even if they just do it for a term or two. off to suggest cookery club to overworked teachers!

cece Sat 10-May-14 09:39:51

We have to pay for after school clubs at my dc school, £3 per session, which is £27 per term. Even the ones run by the teachers. Perhaps they would appreciate them more if they paid for them wink

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 10-May-14 09:42:22

our school doesn't do after school clubs - it does a sports breakfast club - parents pay for, external provider and an after school thing run by a local childcare place off site.

there are some lunchtime clubs but these are limited, there really are only a few. We pay for our kids to do activities outside of school and I have never got my head around this expectation that teachers HAVE to run clubs as well as everything else.

Mind I am from a family of teachers so perhaps that is why I have more understanding of what ACTUALLY has to be done not just the bit parents see.

I would just stop running them if I was you - say you need to do your marking etc at home due to personal reasons and therefore have to leave school at a set time and can't run clubs anymore.

TheGruffalo2 Sat 10-May-14 09:42:27

Last post! We do put an annual plea out for parents to either run or support clubs. The only offers we get pull out when they realise they need a CRB / DBS and induction training from us or they are the sort of people we are too worried about the children's safety with (behaviour management / risk assessments) to be happy leaving our pupils with.

We do have outside agencies running paid clubs - tennis, rugby, art and French. But they are never full and often fold. We do have a mixed catchment and we recognise the financial climate, but we are a fairly affluent area and most parents have at least one overseas holiday a year!

AuntieStella Sat 10-May-14 09:42:52

Oh dear! You do have parents who are taking the piss.

Would you have any backing if you said that children who are picked up late have to leave the club? (You can give normally reliable parents a free one for the odd day something genuinely goes horribly wrong).

This sounds more about a few rude parents, rather than whether/how clubs are provided. Such parents may well be rude in lots of other circumstances too.

vindscreenviper Sat 10-May-14 09:48:37

The OPs school runs 3 afterschool and 2 lunchtime clubs every day, that looks like a very high level of teacher volunteering to me. Are there state schools about that offer so much more than this, to the extent that the parents mentioned in the OP are justified in feeling so hard done by?

BarbieCan Sat 10-May-14 09:49:50

I never understood clubs run by teachers, this teally baffled me when dd started school.
I would rather budget and save, make cuts on treats etc so I could pay for clubs done inside the school but run by outside people.
But I know it is hard as some parents don't bother paying even when the cost is only £1/week.
I would love to volunteer and run a club myself but I am yet to find the skills and confidence to do so.

It is very sad how teaching and childcare are not really appreciated and well paid. I think those jobs should be high profile.

mrz Sat 10-May-14 09:57:09

So meditrina on Thursday, one of the days when I help run the cookery club it happened that I managed to grab a 3 minute lunchbreak (didn't actually have time to visit the loo) spoke to a parent after school and was frankly so shattered by the time I eventually got home I went to bed without eating or drinking anything all day ... and that makes me a lower level of teacher volunteer ?

Preciousbane Sat 10-May-14 10:34:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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