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Head teacher knows my marital status - is this normal?

(50 Posts)
windygallows Thu 22-Feb-18 22:23:54

DCs have been at their independent school for about 6 years. I've never spoken to the Head Teacher in person ever, just a mere nod or smile, mostly because I work FT and not at many school events.

At parent/teacher night I mistakenly brought DCs (school had sent out a letter asking that they not come but I forgot). In retrospect I couldn't leave them at home - I've been single for the last 4 years and ex lives hours away. I would have practically been able to get a babysitter for a 5 minute meeting anyway.

So at the parent teacher night the head teacher saw me with the children, told me they shouldn't be there and asked that they wait in a classroom while I see the teacher (rather than in the waiting area with the other parents). She was polite but I was a bit embarrassed about being chastised and mumbled something along the lines of 'I'm so sorry, I'm single and don't have anyone I can leave them with.' To which she replied, 'Oh yes, I know.'

ACK! Why does she know this? I've never told the school, communication still goes to both Ex DP and I, there's nothing formal to indicate this unless I just look like a woman scorned. If my 10 year old DC said something at school about her parents not being together, would this get back to the head teacher? Or do they keep some sort of demographic record of the children?

I'm mortified. I really felt judged - and already feel shitty being the outcast single parent at a school filled with posh married mums.

I'm not a teacher but posting in the staffroom for views from those who work in schools. Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
selftitledalbum Thu 22-Feb-18 22:24:50

Kids mentioned it?

selftitledalbum Thu 22-Feb-18 22:25:09

You filled in a form with your title?

C0untDucku1a Thu 22-Feb-18 22:27:30

We have parents lots if single parents, hetero sexual parents married, homosexual marrie parents... A parents personal life is of no interest to me beyong how effective they are at dealing with their child!

Maybe she meant, yes i know that must be difficult???

CotswoldStrife Thu 22-Feb-18 22:27:44

She might have been responding to the fact that you didn't have anyone to leave them with and sympathising with that.

I have to take my DD to evening events as my DH is often away working. So marital or relationship status may not have come in to it at all.

RunRivers Thu 22-Feb-18 22:28:16

If the father lives hours away, I suspect they have noticed his address?

TheNecroscope Thu 22-Feb-18 22:28:40

You and your ex are entered under two different addresses on their records?

C0untDucku1a Thu 22-Feb-18 22:28:41

Wtf happened to my post?!?!?! Honestly i can string a sentence together normally!

Theshittyendofthestick Thu 22-Feb-18 22:29:27

Conversation with kids? I'd be surprised if there was any judgement from the head about being single. You'd have to live in a different universe to find your situation noteworthy in any way.
I'd stop thinking about it if I were you and certainly don't feel bad on account of the other mums!

xyzandabc Thu 22-Feb-18 22:30:30

If they communicate with both you and your ex then they know you live at different addresses surely.
I would definitely expect a form tutor to know the home set up of kids in their class. I know this was the head but maybe info filters up?
Or 'i know' was an indicator that she understands rather than knows your circumstances.

windygallows Thu 22-Feb-18 22:32:12

I've always used both maiden and 'married' name so nothing has changed in names.

If my DCs mentioned to their teacher, would that teacher then tell the Head teacher who doesn't teach the teacher directly?

I feel like I am sullying her otherwise glossy parent/student body!

OP’s posts: |
threeelephants Thu 22-Feb-18 22:33:47

Teachers take an interest in who the children live with, it helps to build a picture of their life! I thought this would be obvious and normal. Not just single parents, but...who is sometimes picked up by aunty, whose dad works away sometimes, whose grandparent is ill in chat to us! We get to know them as people, it helps us to bond with them and meet their needs.

In other news it's 2018 and no-one cares about your marital status.

KennDodd Thu 22-Feb-18 22:35:32

I'm more puzzled about why you're bothered?

windygallows Thu 22-Feb-18 22:35:34

Contact details have always been at my address but Ex continues to get copied into email communication. I'm just surprised that this information filters up to 'Head'. I doubt she would go through each individual person's address or paperwork?

Teacher definitely said 'Yes, I know' as I am aware rather than a sympathetic 'Yes, I know/understand'.

I think it's just symptomatic of the fact that I feel uneasy there - DCs are getting a great education but I really dislike the uptight vibe of the school. But no surprise as I'm sure that's coming across!

OP’s posts: |
Cel982 Thu 22-Feb-18 22:36:18

I think you’re overthinking it, honestly. I would guess she meant “I know... it can be difficult arranging childcare for things like this”, rather than that she was specifically referring to the fact that you’re single. Either way, it’s highly unlikely she was judging you. You’re absolutely, definitely not the only divorced parent at the school, I guarantee it.

windygallows Thu 22-Feb-18 22:36:43

three elephants it's definitely not 2018 at this school!

And I'm bothered because of the way she said it like it was the 1950s and I should be ashamed!

OP’s posts: |
windygallows Thu 22-Feb-18 22:38:16

Anyway I probably am overthinking it. Thanks for your quick replies!

OP’s posts: |
Unicorndiscoball Thu 22-Feb-18 22:41:36

Our old head would’ve known but there wouldn’t be any judging. He knew everything and everyone. Spoke to him last week and and he quoted verbatim a conversation we had over a year ago grin that kind of memory is simultaneously a blessing and a curse in a boss!

AppleKatie Thu 22-Feb-18 22:42:39

More likely she said it as a reflex. Sounds like the sort of school where the head would consider it their job to know stuff like this. If she didn’t (because you haven’t told her) she bulshitted pretending she did (albeit with a sharper tone of voice than she intended because you caught her off guard).

In some (but not all) of the independent schools I’ve worked in the head would consider it if pastoral importance to know this information- shows they know, understand and can support your DC.

In all of the schools in any sector I’ve ever worked in the heads like to give off the appearance of being omnipresent and hate being made to feel they aren’t omniscient to boot.

SkeletonSkins Thu 22-Feb-18 22:43:52

When parents split, and this is often mentioned at school, we have a ‘vulnerable children’ list which sounds more than it is, basically as the split is in process, or any other major life event which might cause distress like a close relative dying, they are on the list which means we keep an extra eye. Normally no further action required but could have been something like that? If I had parents in the process of splitting I would let our head know, we care about our families and it’s a big change for everyone.

SkeletonSkins Thu 22-Feb-18 22:44:44

Also agree though that our head makes out she knows everything even when she had no clue!

SkeletonSkins Thu 22-Feb-18 22:45:15

By ‘this is often mentioned at school’ I mean by the children. Children do tell us quite a lot.

CumBahYa Thu 22-Feb-18 22:47:57

Senior leader in a prep school here. I and my senior leader colleagues know the marital status, parent names, sibling names, dog names, village, jobs and cars of pretty much all of our families. Knowing this stuff is important, and part of the reason why people choose to pay for a class of 12 over a class of 30. We know about the lives of your children - about their hopes, dreams and fears. This is a good thing, and it is not for judging purposes, but so that we can help them to find the best of themselves.

Grobagsforever Thu 22-Feb-18 23:00:14

Never mind how she knows- how dare they tell you off for bringing DC to a parents eve at a private school!

You're paying them thousands per term. They therefore don't get to make rules that make you life harder! That privilege is for state schools. Private schools should treat you like the paying customer you are.

Next time I suggest you remind her that you are a paying customer and one does not tell paying customers off!!!

Grobagsforever Thu 22-Feb-18 23:01:56

Sorry - tell paying customers off for non-issues like having to bring DC to a SCHOOL in the evening. Obviously if you did something genuinely bad like shouted at s teacher that's different.

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