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Parent helpers and confidentiality agreements? How common?

(20 Posts)
singersgirl Mon 15-Sep-08 12:00:28

I'm revising our primary school's parent helper guidelines and wondered how many of you who are volunteers have actually been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Did you mind? Does it make any difference? Do you think people respect it?

I did at the school my DS1 previously attended, but haven't here. The guidelines do have some blurb about the importance of keeping things confidential, but I just wondered whether we should go one step further.

Dandi Mon 15-Sep-08 12:19:57

i was a parent helper last year in dd's reception class. I didn't have to sign anything nor were there any guidelines- only requirement was the police check. I'd be happy to have signed something like this - maybe our school didn't want to put people off, by being too formal - they don't get many volunteers! Maybe some guidelines that you have to sign to show you understand and accept them?

Romy7 Mon 15-Sep-08 12:24:34

always done here.
child protection guidelines - all helpers given copy etc and details of who to speak to in any given circumstance.
all helpers have to sign agreement and crb before starting.
whether people respect it or not is another issue but it gives you a formal framework if there are ever any issues wrt confidentiality and makes it easier to refer back and explain difficulties with behaviour/ give a reason for no longer being allowed to help in the classroom etc...

Romy7 Mon 15-Sep-08 12:29:18

i would go further though - if a parent is going to do group work or individual work with a child/ children with specific issues, it does help if you are given a quick heads up beforehand. (not a low-down, but at least some idea of how to help/ approach)
being a reading buddy for a child with speech and language problems, i would quite like to have known before they opened the book! a lot of effort round here goes into helper's responsibilities, but not a lot into the teacher's responsibilities towards the helper iyswim...

cocolepew Mon 15-Sep-08 12:38:18

Give them a policy, to keep, which includes child protection guidelines and the schools policy on confidentiality. As Romy said it's easier to deal with an issue, ie speaking out of turn, when you know they have read what the school wants.

lemonlady Mon 15-Sep-08 12:43:03

I haven't at my dd school. Doing TA course and placement in class so maybe they just assum it. Obviously never would talk or repeat anything.
New head last year said cannot go into dd class anymore, not just me across the board. Less helpers will go in. Something happend in a class (not sure what)

ninja Mon 15-Sep-08 12:44:48

I didn't have to, but agree it would have made sense.

singersgirl Mon 15-Sep-08 13:32:19

Thanks for feedback. I agree it would make sense. We do the CRB checks already and we advise on child protection issues.

Any others already do so?

lljkk Mon 15-Sep-08 13:44:41

I've helped out for years, never been asked about a confid. agreement. Last January was the first time someone thought to CRB me (but I was known to have been on preschool committee before that, where everyone has to be CRBd, anyway, so perhaps that was taken into account). I think value of CRB-check is rather over-rated, anyway.

Like lemonlady said, if we couldn't go into our own children's classes and if there are too many rules/forms/screening, people just wouldn't volunteer often any more.

Seeline Mon 15-Sep-08 13:48:40

I've helped but never had to sign anything. I wouldn't have objected if i had to - surely it goes without saying though doesn't it? Did have a CRB check though.

lou031205 Mon 15-Sep-08 13:52:09

I have just joined the pre-school committee, and have had to sign confidentiality agreement, have CRB check, read and sign child protection policy, read and sign the committee creed lol.

lljkk Mon 15-Sep-08 14:25:02

Our preschool confid. agreement was ridiculous, in theory it said you couldn't discuss anything about the preschool except in a committee mtg, and you couldn't discuss anything that you had discussed in a committee mtg outside of committee mtgs.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 15-Sep-08 15:47:01

As a governor I've been CRB-ed but (unless I've just forgotten) haven't had to sign any confidentiality agreement as a parent helper. Renegade that I am, I don't really see the point of it. Anyone with any nous or sensitivity wouldn't breach a child's confidence by discussing what went on in the class - that's the teacher's role and I have never (for example) told one mother with whom I'm quite chatty that her child regularly absconds from the classroom - but, even if they did, the school could quickly and easily deal with it but withdrawing the invitation to help. I don't see what is gained from a confidentiality agreement, as there's no other sanction which could be applied to anyone who broke it.

singersgirl Mon 15-Sep-08 16:58:08

MadBadetc, I think that's been our school's policy in the past. I just wondered now that everything is becoming more formalised (forms and checks for everything) whether this might be a useful addition - but we don't want people to feel resentful etc.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 15-Sep-08 17:14:56

I wouldn't be resentful - I wouldn't be offended - I just can't see what 'value' would be added. People who don't understand the need for confidentiality are probably the ones who would ignore any policy and (as I said) I don't think the existence of the policy would give the school any more options for any breaches of confidentiality as there is only one ('sacking' the volunteer). But I know that we live in an age when everything has to be formalised and sewt down on paper ....

choccypig Mon 15-Sep-08 20:27:02

I think being asked to sign an agreement seems a bit OTT, but a briefing note reminding helpers of the need for confidentiality would have been useful. I started helping when DS was in reception, and it took me a week or two to realise it's not really on even to say to one parent "Oh your DS did some lovely colouring", because they can then go and say "Choccy says my DS is the best colourer in the whole class" and before you know it, WW2 breaks out. Didn't actually casue any problems for me, but now if people ask, I just say " I was working on fathers day cards" or "We did PE today", and don't mention specifics.

Hulababy Mon 15-Sep-08 20:43:20

I work voluntarily in DD's school and haven't had to sign anything like this.

Wen I worked as a etacher I never did either. It was just taken as the norm you would act professionally and appropriately.

TBH I wouldn't imagine it;d make any difference. If someone was the type to gossip about things they saw/heard as a result of being in school i think they would still do it, even if they had signed beforehand.

I think just reminding people of this point before they help out should be enough personally.

WigWamBam Mon 15-Sep-08 20:45:28

I've never been asked to sign one, but wouldn't have an issue with it if I was asked to. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Hassled Mon 15-Sep-08 20:51:31

I've been helping in schools on and off for donkey's years (my oldest is 21) and have never been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. I didn't even realised they existed in schools. Not that I have a problem with the concept - it does make a degree of sense - but I can't imagine there are too many parent helpers who would spread details of Little Johnny's appalling behaviour or dodgy reading level around the playground, are there [naive emoticon]?

singersgirl Mon 15-Sep-08 21:06:26

Thanks all for your thoughts. Will see what the view at school is.

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