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Is it normal for primary schools to have pupils manning the phones?!

(13 Posts)
theyoungvisiter Wed 04-Nov-09 14:42:04

Ok - so title says it really!

I just called a primary school to try to get an appointment to view it (for when DS1 starts school next year) and a person with a very little squeaky voice answered the phone saying "hello X school, how may I help?"

I assumed it was just the school secretary with a sore throat and launched into spiel about requesting an appointment, and the little voice said "Could you call back after 3.30pm when the grownups are here?"

Slightly weirded out tbh - is this normal? Why would a child be answering the phone?! (It was lunchtime but still...)

Was the main, advertised number on the school's website.

Avendesora Wed 04-Nov-09 14:54:59

Tis normal at our school, but usually only at lunch

frakkinaround Wed 04-Nov-09 15:02:28

I remember being left in charge of the school phone for about, ooooh, 15mins when the school secretary had to do something because I was head girl [preens a little] and that was when I was about 10. But otherwise no, I wouldn't think so!

Am impressed by their telephone answering manner - do you reckon that's part of the curriculum?

GrungeBlobPrimpants Wed 04-Nov-09 15:09:46

Oh yes! At our primary the Year 6 children man the office so the staff can have their lunch in (relative) peace. Good work experience and great fun. They do the same at Secondary on a rota too.

So if you want to speak to head/sec, best avoid lunch

ruddynorah Wed 04-Nov-09 15:12:52

ooh yes i used to love answering the phone when the secretary was on a break or busy or whatever!

MissAnneElk Wed 04-Nov-09 15:13:20

Yes at DDs school the year 4s man the phones at lunchtime. They take turns - 2 at a time and it is viewed as a privelige which can be removed.

dilemma456 Wed 04-Nov-09 15:53:07

Message withdrawn

bellavita Wed 04-Nov-09 15:56:20

Normal at our primary for the Yr6's to do it but only over lunch.

theyoungvisiter Wed 04-Nov-09 16:38:21

how funny! I had no idea it was so common. My first thought was either:

1) It's someone having a laugh
2) Civilisation has fallen and the children have tied the teachers to their desks and taken over the school
3) I am hallucinating and what she actually said was "When the secretary is here".

Neither of my primary schools would ever have let any of the pupils near a phone! But that was in the dark ages early 80s grin

theyoungvisiter Wed 04-Nov-09 16:39:16

yes, their phone manner was VERY professional. Which was part of what weirded me out! It was like that Andrex advert where the baby is leading the board meeting.

haggisaggis Wed 04-Nov-09 16:43:43

Our school does this - mainly when the clerical support person is not in school. Not just at lunchtimes either! I think it is great experience for children to learn how to answer teh phone in a professional manner. I remember starting work at 22 being TERRIFIED of having to answer the phone!

Maize Wed 04-Nov-09 16:45:03

Yes in some schools they do.

My mum is a Y6 teacher and her kids man the school at lunch time. They are VERY well rehearsed and mostly just ask people to ring back later.

I had to ring her recently as an emergency at lunch time, she was not picking up her mobile so I rang the main school number. The kids were so lovely but very determined I would not speak to her, lots of asking me to ring back later and they were not allowed to disturb her. In the end I said through very gritted teeth to get her NOW and I promised they would not be in trouble for it. They had a whispered conversation and decided to risk it!!

She had a chat with them about emergency phonecalls after that...

thecloudhopper Wed 04-Nov-09 17:02:46

Yes it builds up children's self esteem makes them importamt and a more integeral part of the school

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