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Advice please-school runners in secondaries?

(55 Posts)
wednesday67 Tue 20-Sep-16 11:29:36

My DCs secondary school use the children in year 7 and 8 as school runners. This entails the child missing a full day of school where they sit behind the school receptionist and run around the school with messages for her. They are not given any work to do (they usually just read a book between running errands) and they are told it is their responsibility to catch up on the lessons missed. I think it is old fashioned and a waste of 2 full days of education (each child does it for one day per year), plus in a massive secondary it is really hard for kids to catch up properly.
I have been told by the deputy head, that this is common practice but I don't know anyone else at a school where this happens.
I asked the school if they could make it clear to parents that this occurs, (as it is not on any of the bumpf) and consider consent. They said they did not want to get into the issue of consent and see it as a community service.
I would like to know if this happens at your child's secondary school and if so what you think about it.
many thanks!

TeaBelle Tue 20-Sep-16 11:32:13

It happens in about half of schools that I visit, maybe slightly more. I agree that it's a service to the school and not a huge issue. If your children can't catch up 1 missed lesson then I imagine there may be deeper issues

OdinsLoveChild Tue 20-Sep-16 11:38:11

Yes, this happens at my DD's school.
They are given work to complete though. They have to go and collect it themselves at the beginning of each period. So if they were supposed to be in Maths they would go to the Maths class and collect their work to do and again for the next subject throughout the day.

It is pre-planned. At the beginning of term they are given their specific date that they are doing 'office duties'. They must inform all staff beforehand they are doing it on whatever date and their work is then prepared for them to collect on the day.

I don't see it's much of an issue, just a bit unfortunate if they miss out on their favourite class like PE etc.

2014newme Tue 20-Sep-16 11:40:17

No way would I allow my child to do this. Is there an opt out? If not send a letter saying your child is not to be included.

ParadiseCity Tue 20-Sep-16 11:43:31

I've never heard of this happening, it didn't in my day (went to two different high schools) but am new to secondary parenting.

If DS misses a day of school it seems to take him forever to catch up with stuff. I think he would manage in Y8 but not so much in Y7 where he doesn't know his way around yet.

OTOH if DD had to do this I imagine she'd be sacked by lunchtime for delegating to the secretaries...

Laniakea Tue 20-Sep-16 12:22:55

they have year 8 runners at dd's school, only for an hour in the morning though. So each student misses one lesson for it in their entire school career. Far less than they miss from sports days, house days, vaccinations, PDP days, sponsored walk days, photographs, library days, bonding days etc etc etc. I can't say I have any problem with it.

wednesday67 Tue 20-Sep-16 12:31:55

Many thanks for your replies-very helpful. Thanks OdinsLoveChild- it would be great if they would do it that way but they don't unfortunately-which is why it bothers me. The kids just get told a few days before and there is no co-ordination with the teachers other than the kids themselves going around and contacting teachers about what they missed.
Thanks TeaBelle-that's helpful but its not just 1 lesson that is being missed. It is the whole day. When my boys try to catch up they seem to get variable responses-some are really helpful but some teachers say to them 'don't worry about it' or ' you can't really catch up' for example-if it was a revision session or practical. But it is helpful to know that other schools have this practice.

user1471516728 Tue 20-Sep-16 12:42:06

I remember doing it at my school in the 80's, it was considered an honour and we all looked forward to it. We had to sit by the main entrance, greet anyone that came in and take messages to whoever, like work experience but actually doing something useful and contributing to the school.

Missing lessons was a bonus, obviously....

TheDrsDocMartens Tue 20-Sep-16 12:51:58

My dds did it, they got work or homework to do whilst waiting.

Icouldbeknitting Tue 20-Sep-16 15:45:57

This is a new one on me, if I ever rang school with a message for someone they passed it on via email rather than with a runner.

OddBoots Tue 20-Sep-16 15:50:07

Normal at my DC's school, they are told about a week before so are expected to talk to their teachers in advance and gather some work to do in between jobs. Their conscientiousness in doing the jobs is taken into account when deciding on prefect and other student roles in school.

LunaLoveg00d Tue 20-Sep-16 15:54:42

They have this amazing system at our school called "telephones". If the office need to speak to a teacher or leave a message, they make something called a "phone call".


Having children running around the school on errands is like something out of the Victorian times.

Badbadbunny Tue 20-Sep-16 16:06:24

Having children running around the school on errands is like something out of the Victorian times.

Indeed. They've clearly not heard of email, texting or phoning. They don't do this at my son's school. What an antiquated and inefficient way of working. But then again, receptionists themselves are used less and less for messages anyway. I don't think I've ever talked to the receptionist at my son's school - the email addresses of all the staff are shown on the website, so I just send an email directly which is usually responded to within an hour or so during school hours.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 20-Sep-16 16:18:35

I once worked in a school where the only person who used this system was the attendance officer... Oh, the irony. She pulled a child out of lessons for a full day so she didn't have to go and check on individuals missed off of registers herself... Despite the school being a new build where eVery single classroom had a phone. Used to drive me mad. If it affected a child in my class I used to tell her they had an assessment they couldn't miss ...

cricketballs Tue 20-Sep-16 17:18:32

If I'm teaching how am I able to check emails, text messages (especially given one area of the school has direct reception for all networks) or answer a phone that is situated in a different room?

The year 8s that do it at our school love doing it.

GeorgeHerbert Tue 20-Sep-16 18:23:19

They do this at ds school, again it's something the boys will do only once in their school career and they look forward to it - ds missed doing it because he was at a competition and I never heard the end of it!

cricketballs Tue 20-Sep-16 18:30:16

sorry just read that auto correct changed 'dire' into direct! In other words in my one part of the building, no mobile network has a signal!

LunaLoveg00d Tue 20-Sep-16 18:30:31

If I'm teaching how am I able to check emails, text messages (especially given one area of the school has direct reception for all networks) or answer a phone that is situated in a different room?

So they do what happens at our school - "I'm sorry, Mrs Lovegood, Ms Cricketballs is busy teaching Art to S1 at the moment, can I take a message and ask her to call you back?" Then the message is passed on at break/lunch or the office staff get you to email.

If it's really urgent urgent, along the lines of a teacher's child being taken ill or another DIRE emergency then they ring the classroom, or one of the office staff goes to the classroom. Most of the messages that children are running around school with are not this urgent I'd bet.

SAHDthatsall Tue 20-Sep-16 19:41:02

Yes they do this in DS school as well. They also get them to wash the teachers cars, clean the windows, refill all the ink pots in the school, sharpen all the quills, and climb up the chimneys to sweep them out (only in the autumn term though in preparation for winter).

FFS people. Meant to be in school, not child labour!

Chickydoo Tue 20-Sep-16 22:33:21

Never heard of it!
Dear God if I found out my DS was running errands instead of in class, I would be livid!

Kerberos Tue 20-Sep-16 22:38:23

Livid? Really? FGS get a grip.

We did this at my school (a million years ago) and it was considered one of the best days of the school year.

oklumberjack Tue 20-Sep-16 22:48:24

They do this at one of the secondaries in my area that is very highly sought after and over subscribed with amazing exam results. When we visited on an open morning they introduced us to the two children who were on 'office duty'. It was indeed considered to be a good role to have and they seemed to be enjoying it. The school told us it helps them learn personnel skills, organisational Skills, time planning etc as well as 'helping' the school.

I thought it looked quite good.

VagueButExcitlng Tue 20-Sep-16 22:59:17

Yes DD's school have office duty. It's a split site school so they do it in y8 and y9. They each get one day a year, and choose a friend to do it with them. DD got chosen by two friends last year so missed three full days. Two of them in the same week!

I don't object to it in principle but I was pissed off at the two being in the same week. There is no communication with parents and DD didn't tell me beforehand so I didn't have chance to complain. I suspect she didn't tell me on purpose because she knew I'd intervene.

Chickydoo Wed 21-Sep-16 14:52:53

Yes I would be livid at 6.5k a term, I'm not paying for my child to run errands. Thankfully the school agree.

a7mints Wed 21-Sep-16 14:55:55

Oh for goodness sake! It can only happen once of twice throughout their school career.I thik it is a great way of giving the littlies in the school a sense of responsibility and service

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