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Where do I stand with Parents' Evenings?(186 Posts)
I am a part-time teacher on 0.6. My school published Parents' Evening dates at the start of the year, four in total for my classes, all on days when I work. I was happy to attend all of them.
The school has now doubled the number of Parents' Evenings, so there are two per year group. Again, these are all on the same day of the week, so, in terms of my working days, I would be expected to attend.
Each time there is a Parents' Evening, DH has to take a day off work to have DD, as the distance from home is such that I wouldn't have time to take her home from childcare and then get back to school for the Parents' Evening.
I have therefore said to my line manager that I would like to discuss attending these Parents' Evenings in proportion with my salaried time (0.6).
Where do I stand?
Thanks if anybody has advice.
I’m not sure I understand why your DH has to take the whole day off work for each Parents’ Evening. Is he not able to simply pick your DD up from childcare himself, or am I missing something really obvious here?
In terms of where you stand legally, I don’t know. I am part time secondary but attend all the parents’ evenings relevant to the classes I teach - tbh, it never occurred to me not to. It seems the professional thing to do, and also, for me personally, it is very important to be able to touch base with parents.
You work 60% and do all the childcare pick ups for your child? I think a few early finishes a year for your DH is not an unreasonable adjustment to his working life as a parent.
Yes, he does. Why isn't really relevant, but since you ask, childcare is near school, so if I collect her at the end of the school day and take her home before returning for Parents' Evening, which generally starts at 4.30, I will be an hour late for it. So usually when we have Parents' Evening, he stays at home with her. It's worked well for us so far, but 8 days out of his holiday allocation is far too much.
It's great that you feel able to attend them all, but I don't think it's about professionalism. I do a lot outside my job description; I just can't do this.
Our childcare arrangements are fine. I won't go into the detail but he is definitely not shirking. It wouldn't be a case of early finishes but of whole days off.
You should only attend 60%of them. That's how it works in Scotland. Not sure if the same elsewhere?
There are some posts about this on the TES forums which might give some insight (I'm in Scotland so might not be the same here). I was told Parents' Evenings and other additional duties are pro-rata. According to the TES forums though, you cannot be asked to work on a day when you are not contracted to work. So if you have a job share partner, they couldn't be asked to do their 0.4 of the Parents' Evenings if they're all on the same day when they're not in. Maybe the school could have some on different days as surely this must come up for any jobshares?
Some colleagues had this problem when the Parents' Evening which fell on their contracted days was for a year group which they didn't teach, but I think they just went to the relevant year group ones regardless of what day they were.
Someone on the TES forums said that their management had said they only had a duty to report to parents and could do it by phone or email during their contracted days, so maybe you could suggest that?
Same would also go for after school meetings etc.
No need to be a martyr to pp.
If you're part time you're part time.
TES is useful for when it isn't your working day (you definitely can't be directed to go) but not for when it is always your working day 😂
School won't move the dates and I wouldn't expect them to.
But agree about not being a martyr - they get their money's worth, alright!
I would see if another parent could help out, or a childminder. Speaking as a parent, I would be pretty unhappy if one of my child's class teachers wasn't there at parents' evening. DD has 2 class teachers job sharing this year and both were at parents' evening. Equally, if a parent I knew asked me to help out and I could, I would be happy to do so.
There is nobody who could help. But I don't think that is the issue. Parents can be unhappy if they like. I am asking about my contract.
When I was unable to attend a parents evening I just wrote a letter to the parents and did it on a different evening. I offered phone conversations to those who couldn’t make my different date. Headteacher didn’t care!
You are blurring the lines of your question by mentioning your childcare issues. It has nothing to do with it.
Speak to employer about contract and parent evenings.
I think my HT will care. And that's fair enough. I just want to know whether he can direct me to attend, as I won't be otherwise.
State school? You should have a directed time spreadsheet which details your part time obligations for the year. It’s not necessarily that you do 0.6 of parents evenings, 0.6 of after school meetings etc, you just need to do 0.6 of directed time. You could do more parents evenings and fewer meetings or INSETs or whatever.
Two parents evenings per year group per year published after the start of the year seems excessive and would massively impact on directed time - have they taken this into account in their directed time calculations? You might need to seek union advice.
And yes, 0.6 means that you should do 60% of the full time work... but I find that schools very rarely take this into account.
It has nothing to do with it from the school's perspective. But I am not talking to the school.
I'm thinking you're right, Noble. They often talk in suitably vague terms about "contingencies" built into the directed time model, but I don't think mine has that much stretch in it. I don't necessarily want to get that combative about it, but will add it all up if I have to.
My understanding is you don't have to attend parents' evenings if they fall on your days off.
If they fall on your days in then you would to them (just like you would any meeting or directed time activity). You should only be doing 0.6 of the directed time budget.
I would guess that whether you have to do them depends on what else you miss. E.g. CPD/pastoral meetings/faculty meetings etc. If you miss enough of those then there's an argument for sucking up the parents' evenings.
If you end up getting hit for everything then senior leadership should be telling you where your 0.6 of directed time comes from.
I'm no expert though. Someone like noble will probably know the details.
Could you not arrange all your appointments to start at the time you can be back for? If you left straight after the last lesson surely you would be back at a reasonable time?
So what is it you want?
The problem with your contract is with your employer.
If you are asking for advice that's the answer.
But yeah, give me an eye roll for offering advice.
You need to have a discussion with Head. You can be directed up to 0.6 of 1265 hours (if in a state school). So attending them all might push you over your directed time.
Otherwise talk to other staff and raise collectively. Even full time staff might object to the increase in parents evenings and therefore direct time.
I think it's a bit more complex than that. There is definitely contingency built into the directed time model, so in theory they could direct me, but I am sure I read something about how the contingency should not be used in such a way that it impacts disproportionately on part-time staff. I was just looking for anyone who knew this for a fact, or knew it not to be the case.
I would try to be flexible within what you are able to do. So perhaps suggest that your appointments start later than other teachers so you can get back in time or that you do a telephone phone parents evening for the extra one they have added in.
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