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Voluntary parent readers

(23 Posts)
user1486416586 Mon 06-Feb-17 22:04:56


I'm new to mumsnet as I cannot find any information on the Internet with regards to whether as a Mum I should be informed a parent is now in my child's classroom and being a 'voluntary reader'.

This was only made aware to me through my son's year group social media page last night, the woman said she had spoken to the children and they had told her what they need with regards to book changes etc.

I am fuming!! Why on earth has a parent who's child is in the same class as mine been allowed to have access to my child without my prior knowledge? I had to find out on social media.

The reason I'm annoyed is my son has sen issues. What right has a fellow parent got to know them issues? I have read many articles today and it is suggested schools have parent readers in classes different to their child. Why on earth have the school done this, what makes it worse is her child has tormented my child for over a year!

Clever thinking on her behalf but I'm outraged.

Does anyone know if a school should tell you if a parent helper is around your child? I'm led to believe by a good TA friend children under the age of 14 you have to be made aware.

Please help!!

PatriciaHolm Mon 06-Feb-17 22:09:59

No, the school has no obligation to tell you.

Many schools will place helpers in other classes away from their child, but again there is no legislation to say they have to do so.

What have the school said about the bullying?

If you really genuinely believe there is risk of her gossiping about your child outside school, then raise it with school discretely. But storming in saying you are outraged that they have parent helpers and you haven't been told won't achieve anything.

Campfiresmoke Mon 06-Feb-17 22:19:22

I think it is pretty common to have parent helpers listening to readers and it's a big help to teachers. I wouldn't expect the school to inform parents. The helpers should be DBS checked.

SpartacusWoman Mon 06-Feb-17 22:58:39

I don't think they have to make you aware.

DDs had several parent helpers in every year from reception to y6 and ive never once been made aware by school. It's also not in common for the parent to be put in the class with their own children. They tend to send them where they are most needed.

If you genuinely think that she has volunteered to get access to your child, or that she will gossip then I'd have a calm word with the class teacher. There's also the option for you to volunteer if you have the time, it might put your mind at ease to see what info parent volunteers actually have access to.

But Its very very common for parents to volunteer to listen to reading, and I'm very glad they do, otherwise the teacher wouldn't be able to listen to every child read for five/ten mins. If there's 30 in a class and only the teacher allowed to listen to reading, at ten minutes a time it's five hours teaching time lost a week.

Witchend Mon 06-Feb-17 23:02:35

Very very common. In fact more schools I know do it than don't. Actually to my knowledge all schools I know anything about do it.

It's great for the children as they get to be heard read far more often than the teacher can manage.

I've done it, and really you get a little bond up with those children. They smile when you ask them to come and read and they come up to you in the playground and tell you proudly they've moved up a level or they read to the next door neighbour's cat last night and little things like that.

I've only once ever said anything to a parent about their child's reading in school. And that was when a friend of mine said her dd said she was bottom of the bottom group of readers and was getting upset, and she knew I read with them and came and asked me. I replied that she was in the second group and seemed to be about average in that group.
I wouldn't have even said that much to a parent I didn't know as well, nor would I have said anything if she'd just told me her dd was saying that, although I probably would have suggested she talked to the teacher. But as she came to ask me if it was true I was able to reassure her.

Some of my little readers from year 1 are about to take their GCSEs and some of them still shout hello across the road while towering over me and come to say how they're getting on.

jamdonut Mon 06-Feb-17 23:07:17

No, no-one has to know about parent helpers. I was one before I trained as a TA ,and in my own son's class.
Obviously we ( there were others) were expected to be confidential. But if all she is there for is to listen to readers, she is hardly going to be party to anything earth shattering! I've never heard anything about letting the parents of under 14's know ,before, and I've been a TA for 8 years the same school that I was a parent helper.
Parents should be told about interventions, but being heard reading is not an intervention.
Why do you think she has ' clever thinking' ???

jamdonut Mon 06-Feb-17 23:20:01

Why don't you offer to listen to readers?

TwoLeftSocks Mon 06-Feb-17 23:26:07

There's also a thread in SEN...

WhoKn0wsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 06-Feb-17 23:27:28

Totally normal, they are given guidance on confidentiality and safeguarding and anyone caught gossiping would be relieved of their duties in my DCs school. I did it for years and managed not to divulge anything about anyone.

mrz Tue 07-Feb-17 05:33:06

I'm afraid your TA friend has misinformed you.

irvineoneohone Tue 07-Feb-17 06:42:36

I think if the parents only wants to help in child's class, they can't refuse since volunteers are very very helpful for school.
I have a bad experience on this, so I can understand your worry. One of parent helper mentioned me about my ds' sats few years ago. I was furious.

irvineoneohone Tue 07-Feb-17 06:55:21

I wish I complained, now she is hired as ta, and spreading more gossip in the playground. I can't complain now, since my ds is good friends with her dc, and don't want to spoil the relationship.

SmileAndNod Tue 07-Feb-17 07:06:43

I volunteer. I am not allowed to work within my child's year. I have also been DBS checked and had to sign a confidentiality agreement. A breach of this and I would be asked not to return.

I keep all reading notes very general eg lovely reading Betty (not real name! ) as I'm not a qualified teacher I feel i cannot comment on anything else.

Of course I'm aware of the levels that the children are on and who struggles with x y z, but I would never dream of talking about it. Not even with my own children. When we talk about our days at dinner i keep it very general eg we did some measurement in maths and we did story mountains in English.

I enjoy my role immensely and I'd never jeopardise that.

Jinglebells99 Tue 07-Feb-17 07:28:25

I used to hear readers when my children were at primary school. I did it for the whole of year one and two. I helped in my daughter's class and found they also asked me to help for other stuff too, like trips and swimming. It's quite a commitment to go in for a morning or afternoon every week, but the children at that age, love practicing their reading and showing their new skills. I only felt a bit taken for granted when the teacher asked my daughter where I was one day because she'd wanted me to take small groups of children cooking, and she was treating me like an unpaid teaching assistant. However, I don't really understand your assumption that the mum is going in to have a nosey about your child. I used to go in and help because I had a bit of free time and I enjoy working with children and helping them. Some children didn't appear to have much opportunity to read at home and all of them loved to practise. None of the other parents were bothered that I was going in. One friend asked me how her son was doing compared to the rest of the class, and was a bit put out when I wouldn't say. I used to work in a career where confidentially was paramount so I'm not one for gossiping .

Seeline Tue 07-Feb-17 08:38:26

I used to volunteer wen my DCs were at primary. Always worked in one or other of their classes.I was DBS checked, and had strict confidentiality rules to follow.
I heard kids read, helped with sewing projects, helped with cooking, went on local walks round the area, and accompanied on weekly swimming trips, as well as any other odd jobs requested by the teachers.
It is a big commitment but very rewarding and you get to know the kids well. But I was never told anything personal about the children by the school - and wouldn't have expected it.
However, the children talk amongst themselves, and DD in particular seemed to know most things about most children! Obviously I didn't repeat any of this information unless it was offered by the parent concerned first.
I know other parents regularly gave up holiday to go on the school trips, others did gardening, clubs etc. I was always very grateful to anyone who enhanced my children's learning. we were never given advanced warning of any parent helper - why would you?

TeenAndTween Tue 07-Feb-17 08:52:04

I listened to readers, for 5 or 6 years, 4 years with my DD's class.
Yes I learned a few things about the children, but to be honest nothing that my DD couldn't have told me by y2 anyway.

As a parent you tend to learn some way or other who the bright children are, the whizzes at maths, the sporty, the shy, the ones who go out for extra time with TAs, the ones with behaviour issues etc.

If you don't want the parent listening to your child, you can request it of the school. I'm sure they can find a way to subtly work it.

Foxesarefriends Tue 07-Feb-17 08:55:31

In my dcs schools, you were not allowed to help with your own child's class. This did a good job of sifting out those who were doing it for altruistic reasons and those who were doing it for the benefit of their own child. That's the best way I think.
It was introduced after one parent did cause a lot of trouble through gossiping.

nat73 Tue 07-Feb-17 09:48:51

Agree with everyone else. ...

If you have evidence she is gossiping (which she shouldn't be) you could mention this quietly to the class teacher. I'm surprised she's writing about it on FB!? What is the class doing having a FB page??

thegreylady Tue 07-Feb-17 10:20:54

I volunteered for 2 years. I worked one to one in a cubby separate from the rest of the class. I worked in my grandson's year group and one above/below. I am DBS checked and requests for volunteers go out in the newsletter. I gave up when dgs moved rom KS1 to KS2. Parents weren't informed as such but knew of the system.
It may be irrelevant but I am a retired teacher.

Witchend Tue 07-Feb-17 13:48:12

I suspect the fb post was something along the lines of:
"Love going to help in X's class. Doing reading with them today." so nothing confidential.

Crusoe Tue 07-Feb-17 14:01:13

I volunteered in my sons year group for a couple of years. It was impressed upon me the need to keep any information to myself. I was told nothing specific about any of the children including those with additional needs.
I soon figured out who the strongest and poorest readers were but it's all meaningless in the great scheme of things. They all had different strengths and skills. Some could read brilliantly but without any expression it was hard to stay awake. Some were less able but made big improvements with more input, some just had other things going for them, politeness, kindness etc.
Sometimes other mums asked me for feedback, I always answered with something vague like "she puts lots of effort in" or "he is such a friendly boy I like spending time with him" and then refer the parent back to the class teacher.
I can't imagine a school informing you that a parent volunteer was listening to your child - why on earth would me.
At my ds's school when some parents discovered I was volunteering they actually came and thanked me for trying to help their child.

Narnia72 Tue 07-Feb-17 14:28:15

I volunteer. I am allowed to go into my child's reception class, but after that you are not allowed to go in with your own child's year group. We are not allowed to comment on their reading in the homework diaries, just to write read with parent helper. We are absolutely not allowed to mention anything about the children, either in a general way or specific. So if I'd posted about going into read with year 1 on Facebook and it was reported to the school, I wouldn't be allowed to read with them anymore. Their fairly draconian ruling came about after one parent, reading with her own child's class, saw a list of results, took a photo on her phone and shared the information. Shit hit fan and for a while parent helping was suspended. It's really frustrating, as although I don't care which class I read with, a lot of parents are only prepared to read with their own year group and parent helper numbers have dropped dramatically.

If she's put something on social media I'd screenshot it and show the head in a confidential meeting. That's really not on.

thegreylady Tue 07-Feb-17 16:38:54

There was a folder with a sheet for each child where I filled in the name of the book they were reading, how many pages read and anything I felt should be mentioned e.g. 'Struggles with polysyllabic words' or 'book completed, perhaps try next band?'
I also had a sheet of stickers one of which was given to each child after they had read with me.

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