Disagreement with childs teacher after raising safety concern

(74 Posts)
Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 10:53:53

Hi all,

My 4yo has just started full time school. Today is her first full day but shes been going since the start of Sept. Prior to this, she was at the nursery at the same school for a year.

When they first started school, each child was given a book bag that parents pay for. Then their full names were written in huge (and I mean huge) letters on the front of them above the school logo. As a journalist with a focus on parenting, I have read a lot about the dangers of personalised items like bags etc. Basically, if a predator sees your child's name, then it will be easier for them to lure them away. 'Oh hi Penny, your mum is just over here' etc. As a result, I personally dont like personalised bags or items. I've discussed this with my daughters childminders who said to tell my lo's teacher as it may not be something that they have thought about. So, this morning, not thinking it would be a huge conversation, I raised the issue as I was leaving the class.

The reaction I got (from supposedly the nicest teacher in the school) was not pleasant at all. I simply asked why the names were put on the outside of the book bags and not on the name labels provided, and she said that the name labels were too small and the kids would never see them. When I pointed out that I'd read a lot about it possibly being a safeguarding issue, she said, 'we would assume that they would never be anywhere without you.' My daughters childminder was there with me and began to make a point, she too was swiftly shut down, 'we would assume they would never be without you.' She was very abrasive, very rude, and made a point of saying that she would give my daughter a blank bag with her name on the inside but this would hinder her progress as she would need help to pick it out. I was so shocked with the reaction I got that I left the classroom shaking. Am I absolutely nuts here? I'm not expecting policy to be changed because one parent has said something, but I also felt like I have the right to raise the point concerning safety...

The head was on the playground as i was leaving so i did talk to her about the situation, and she was much more understand and gracious. I now feel a) irritated that I now feel like there isn't an open line of communication with the teacher of my child and b) concerned about my daughter feeling singled out.

All I wanted to do was have a conversation, but clearly she didn't like her practices being questioned. The head suggested that maybe I caught her at the wrong time, but I honestly didn't think it would be a serious conversation that would cause friction like this.

OP’s posts: |
ProhibitedRodent Mon 23-Sep-19 10:57:54

Wow! What a cow.

I totally agree it is a huge safeguarding issue and I'd be taking it further. Doesn't matter if they're "always with you", it only takes once....

DinosaursWouldEatYou Mon 23-Sep-19 11:03:09

She sounds like a deer caught in headlights and wasn't sure how to respond to you or your childminder. But at least the Headteacher listened and hopefully will change things for you.

There was an article on Facebook about how a Primary School writes on all work books Jack (1) Jack (2), Amy (1) Amy (2) instead of last names due to safeguarding (it was a bit silly cause the mum claimed her son was losing his identity).

But don't think too much about it, you did right questioning something you didn't feel comfortable about.

myself2020 Mon 23-Sep-19 11:04:40

To be honest, if you want to find out a child’s name, just spend 5 minutes at the school gate. you really don’t need to read it from a bag, it will be shouted by adults and kids about 20 times in the 5 minutes.....

TuckMyWin Mon 23-Sep-19 11:09:18

Wow, she sounds fun. Your point was perfectly valid, and I'd follow it up in writing with the head teacher. My child's school tells us not to use the name labels (even though they have a cover) on the outside of the book bag, but to add a key ring so the child can quickly identify their bag. Perhaps something you could suggest to the HT, so as approach it as constructive criticism so to speak?

Babdoc Mon 23-Sep-19 11:18:20

At my primary school, we each hung our bags and coats on our personal coat peg in the cloakroom. Each peg had a picture of a different animal, or flower, or whatever, so we could identify our own things. We used the same peg every day. This meant there was no need for names on bags at all, either inside or outside. Nobody ever seemed to go off with the wrong bag. This seems a safer system than giving predators your child’s name and helping them pretend to know them already.

Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 11:20:07

Thank you! It was one of those situations where I definitely felt like I was being put in my place, but I started to second guess myself after, like 'am I being unreasonable?!' The childminder was shocked as I was, as everyone rants and raves about this teacher...up until now I thought she was great, too! I'm very glad to hear that other schools are careful with it, so I definitely know it's not just me.

OP’s posts: |


saraclara Mon 23-Sep-19 11:24:11

Raising any issue with a teacher as you leave the class is a very bad idea!
Seriously, they have a classroom full of children to attend to, and all manner of things buzzing in their heads at the start of the day, and other adults milling around. You are never going to get a proper conversation, and they're not going to have time to consider what you've said properly.

ChicCroissant Mon 23-Sep-19 11:28:45

I think you have a valid point about the full (inc surnames) on the outside of the bag.

DD was advised to add some kind of hanging charm/keyring to the outside of her bookbag so she could pick it out - they used to put them in open crates in the classroom so it could be a bit hectic at the end of the day, but you look for the one with the toy/keyring/whatever on that is yours.

Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 11:30:43

@saraclara I dont disagree with you and I probably could've picked my moment better, however I honestly didn't think it would be a big discussion. I actually thought she would suggest talking about it in depth privately, but perhaps I should've asked to have talk to her alone when she had time. I just didn't feel at the time that it warranted a one on one, but maybe it would have gone better if I had. Still, doesn't excuse the way she reacted, mind.

OP’s posts: |
Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 11:34:18

@chiccrossiant I like this idea! the teacher explained it as a development issue, like it helped them to learn their names. But, their names are on various other things in their class, like their drawers, their pegs etc. It was as if I would be severely stunting my daughters progress by not having her name on the bag, which is nonsense. My LO can spot her name from a mile off and has been writing it herself for over a year. I know everyone isn't the same, though, but surely there are other ways without compromising safety?

OP’s posts: |
Milkstick Mon 23-Sep-19 11:41:11

In our school kids put keyrings on the loop at the top. They're stored in boxes and they go fish. It would be easier if they were on pegs but i don't think there's space (and there would be coats, kit on floor etc when kids needed to get them).

Breathlessness Mon 23-Sep-19 11:44:17

You could have chosen a better time to raise your concerns but you’re right.

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 23-Sep-19 12:43:04

First thing in the morning isn't a good time for that kind of thing.

First thing is for:
- DS didn't sleep well so may be tired
- The cat died and DD is very upset

Also there are ways of saying things:
"names on the front are a safeguarding risk" versus
"I was wondering whether you have considered whether names on the front could be a safeguarding risk"

I would think it is much more of an issue for 7 or 8yos than 4 or 5 yos who, as the teacher said, shouldn't really be anywhere without their adult.

Disfordarkchocolate Mon 23-Sep-19 12:46:23

We've never done readable names on clothes, bags etc purely for safeguarding reasons. I'm very surprised the school did this and I would have commented too, and I doubt I'd be the first.

sashh Mon 23-Sep-19 12:55:16

I can totally understand you OP

And if I were you I would put a keyring on the handle of the bag, something your dd choses so she knows which one is hers.

Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 13:01:11

@TeenPlusTwenties agreed, as I said in a previous comment I probably could've picked my moment better, but I really didn't think it would be a big thing. My exact words were 'I just wondered if there's a reason why their names are put on their book bags?' Believe me, I am the least confrontational person out there and was super polite and not accusatory at all, which is why I was so surprised and taken aback by her reaction. I'm glad that the childminder was close by as a witness so I could get confirmation on it. As I work full time I only do the drop off and not pick ups but in hindsight perhaps I should've asked for a private chat. I specifically didn't as I didn't want to make it into a huge thing where it looked like I was campaigning for change or causing a ruckus. I really just wanted to mention it as maybe it was something they hadn't considered.

OP’s posts: |
TheCanterburyWhales Mon 23-Sep-19 13:05:08

You lost me at the journalist bit.

What about the predators within the family? You know, the ones that make up 98% of child abuse cases.

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 23-Sep-19 13:06:02

OP. I think your concern is reasonable, but raising it on the first day that some DC were going full time was probably what went wrong.

YouJustDoYou Mon 23-Sep-19 13:09:32

The policewoman who came to our children's school to talk about safety mentioned this, and said to make sure no names are put on the outside of kids bags, lunch bags, clothing etc. I'd go with police advice, tbh.

Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 13:11:36

@TeenPlusTwenties third week of school, first day of full time, but you could be right! Hopefully we can talk at another time and get it straightened out.

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Kpea123 Mon 23-Sep-19 13:13:42

@thecanterburywhales sorry to have lost you. On average 50 kids a year are abducted in the UK, I would personally just like to minimize the risk of our kids ending up as a statistic.

OP’s posts: |
TheCanterburyWhales Mon 23-Sep-19 13:18:56

Make sure you quote me in your article though, eh?
You can put that I'm safeguarding lead at my school as well if you like. Unless you're a red top or a blogger.

Out of interest, how many of those 50 children are abducted by family members following acrimonious divorces? Or foreign girls taken to back street butchers for genital mutilation? You don't need to answer, because I have the figures as part of my job.

BlueChampagne Mon 23-Sep-19 13:20:49

There should also be a Safeguarding lead on the Governing body. You might have to trawl through the policy on the school website.

thegreylady Mon 23-Sep-19 13:29:57

When you get the blank bag attach a distinctive key ring to the handle and your dd will have no trouble picking it out. My dgs had animals in nursery, vehicles KS1 and their own weird choices in KS2.
Mind you all the other dc did something similar in their school.

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