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Parent volunteers

(113 Posts)
Tigersteeth Sun 16-Jul-17 21:27:28

What jobs do you give parent volunteers in your primary schools? Since the publicity about budget cuts we've had a lot of offers, but I'm struggling to think of genuinely useful jobs they could do...
Maybe sticking in?
Obviously the old classic of 'hearing readers', but is that really helping anyone?!

Honestly, there's not many jobs where completely unqualified people turn up and expect you to find them work and be grateful! Politically, it's hard to turn them away though. Any good ideas?

Doomhutch Sun 16-Jul-17 21:36:58

Some kids do just need to practice reading with an adult, but it's not all children (some need proper targeted phonics intervention for eg).

Helping with admin things, like organising the library?

I can't think of much I'd be happy parents doing, though. Some trained TAs aren't that great at being useful with children (moving them on), so although some parents might be great at it, it would be a big risk.

Snap8TheCat Sun 16-Jul-17 21:42:51

I guess the message to parents is don't bother offering help then. It won't be wanted so we shan't waste our time.

WTFShouldIDo Sun 16-Jul-17 21:50:09

We have a "volunteers" tray in the staff room and our do photocopying, laminating, cutting out etc. We love our volunteers!

BoraThirch Sun 16-Jul-17 21:50:27

Hearing readers (not sure why it is important for parents to listen to reading at home but pointless at school?)
Sticking things in books
Helping children change books
Photocopying/laminating/preparing resources
Extra adult for trips/forest school/pe

Tigersteeth Sun 16-Jul-17 21:52:05

Sorry to offend Snap8, but I think you've taken it the wrong way! I'm looking for jobs that will make good use of volunteers' time, not just 'busy-work'.
However some of the children who need the most help are also our most vulnerable, so I'm not happy to hand over their education to unqualified people, no matter how nice!
Do you volunteer? What jobs do you do?

Doomhutch Sun 16-Jul-17 21:52:33

There's no point being arsey about it - people are trained to work in schools for a reason - because these are jobs which need training.

I don't need help washing out paintpots or sticking things on the wall, I need people who are trained to deal with the complex emotional, behavioural and cognitive needs of children in a school setting.

Grumpbum Sun 16-Jul-17 21:53:40

I volunteer, maybe I shouldn't bother. At present I get given a list of children who appear from their reading diaries to not read at home. So I listen to them, discuss the book and I enjoy it.

Tigersteeth Sun 16-Jul-17 21:54:47

Bora, it's important for you to share books with your own child, so your child knows you value the skill, and builds their love of reading with you.
In school, it's more important to have someone skilled at identifying next steps and how to get there. Owning a child doesn't always qualify people to teach them!

andbabymakesthree Sun 16-Jul-17 21:55:00

Displays. Library duties. Photocopying. Lost property control. Store cupboard help.

That's all stuff outside the classroom ^

SavoyCabbage Sun 16-Jul-17 21:55:36


Notadacrefan Sun 16-Jul-17 21:57:26

I'm not a teacher, but at my children's school we help listening to children read.

Parents also help with sticking things into school books, photocopying, cutting out pictures....

"Evidencing work," for Ofsted as I understood it.

From my point of view, if I am around and a free pair of hands I'm happy to do whatever, even if it's the unglamorous side of life, but it means there's an outside chance you might then get a lunch break.

FlowerFairyLights Sun 16-Jul-17 21:59:00

Our schools do an afternoon "training" before put in a rota to hear children read. Those not listened to at home get to read to a regular parent volunteer. Each morning it's a different selection of volunteers.

The primary school also has regular morning volunteers that help out with kids changing books or admin stuff each week on a regular day. Often those looking to be TAd in the future building up experience.

Snap8TheCat Sun 16-Jul-17 21:59:44

Yeah maybe I have misunderstood you but you sound bloody ungrateful. And rather stuck up.

JoWithABow Sun 16-Jul-17 22:00:27

This thread definitely puts me off volunteering. There's no point if people think it's a waste of the volunteers time, you'd be better off asking them to donate money or fundraise, or just tell them their help isn't required.

Snap8TheCat Sun 16-Jul-17 22:02:11

I'm a childminder 4 days a week and am available on the 5 th to help if they need me. I cover short staff over lunch, listen to readers, help on outings, set up activities, do shopping.

DancingLedge Sun 16-Jul-17 22:06:12

Surely if you 'train' parents how they can support reading, either one to one or guided reading and comprehension in a small group, they can simply get so much more time at reading than solely with a trained teacher?
It doesn't have to be instead of, but supplemental.
Have most KS1 teachers really got time to read individually with each child 4or5times a week? That's the sort of frequency you can achieve with a team of well directed volunteers.

Rhubarbtart9 Sun 16-Jul-17 22:06:33

Yes this thread puts me off volunteering too.

The parents in my kids school are often professionals/specialists and have a huge range of skills to offer when working part time.

Penfold007 Sun 16-Jul-17 22:09:05

Well I now know my volunteering was a complete waste of time. Won't fall into that trap again.

Rhubarbtart9 Sun 16-Jul-17 22:09:18

In my kids school the parents read regularly with all infants. They also teach music/gymnastics/Spanish to small groups. Help regularly with trips and cookery sessions.

FairyPenguin Sun 16-Jul-17 22:10:27

I help the children who need more support in the maths lessons, do some handwriting and fine motor skills practice with others. I do listen to some readers who need extra support. Sometimes I have the able readers and do more advanced activities with them like reading a playscript. Or if there is a class arts and crafts lesson or a science experiment then I've helped as an extra pair of hands. I've also helped with getting things ready for displays, filing marked work, photocopying and laminating. I'm happy to do anything asked of me and I know it is appreciated.

ParadiseCity Sun 16-Jul-17 22:13:03

If a client/customer came into my workplace 'to volunteer' I'd need to find out their skills and then invent a job. I'm not sure why anyone is offended by that.

Hassled Sun 16-Jul-17 22:14:25

Why would "hearing readers" not be helping anyone? There are many, many children who never read to an adult at home - and you're in the best position to know which of the kids in your class that will apply to. And you know how important fluent, confident reading is. So if nothing else, why wouldn't hearing readers be a positive way for a volunteer to contribute?

Tigersteeth Sun 16-Jul-17 22:16:00

But would you go to your local accountants, and volunteer, because you've run your own bank account? Or volunteer in a restaurant kitchen because you cook tea at home?!
Would you really be happy if your children were being taught by an army of well-meaning people who've had an afternoon of guidance? I am not saying that our volunteer parents are not lovely kind people, I'm just trying to the find the most effective way to utilise their support when what my pupils are actually crying out for is specialised SALT, or sensory OT, or mental health support. Maybe I should just get a nice helper in, while I get on with the colouring! hmm

BoraThirch Sun 16-Jul-17 22:16:48

Tiger - some children read 5+ times a week at home, others only read in school. Of course it is valuable for all children to have regular opportunities to read to an adult - this isn't replacing "teaching" hmm

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