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AIBU?

To find school expectations infuriating for working parents?

349 replies

JustARegularPoster · 17/10/2023 14:36

I'm not very well, so I might be being overly sensitive, but my children's school is driving me bonkers with their expectations that parents can drop everything to attend events in the middle of the day.

Are all schools like this?

I know there is probably no answer to this, but the repeated reminders and the "we strongly recommend that all parents make every effort to attend", just makes me feel awful when I can't attend due to... well... working. I only work PT as well, so if something falls on my day off then I will obviously attend, it must be even more of a nightmare for parents that work FT.

The latest of these is an event at 1:45pm on a day I work - and for this one they got my oldest child to hand-write me an invitation, which he'd very carefully coloured in. And he brought him home and very earnestly asked me if I could attend, which I really can't. I thought getting the children to write invites for their parents seemed particularly unfair - and school must surely realise that a lot of parents work and won't be able to make it.

FWIW I do what I can to attend, even if I am working - I take holiday, ask to WFH if possible, or make time up.... but honestly my employers good will only goes so far and I've reached the point now where I'm out of holiday and don't feel like I can ask yet again.

What does everyone else do?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

1710 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
8%
You are NOT being unreasonable
92%
enchantedsquirrelwood · 17/10/2023 14:37

Ignore the guilt tripping and go to things when you can.

I don't know why schools do this - teachers are parents themselves and can't attend events for their own kids. So why they assume the rest of the (female) adult population doesn't work, goodness knows. Time they moved out of the 1950s.

Sanch1 · 17/10/2023 14:43

Go to what I can go to and dont go if I cant. Dont feel guilty. Its that simple.

frenchfries111 · 17/10/2023 14:49

My DDs primary also thought you needed zero notice. So told you on a Monday about something happening Friday. Or stack them up so several things would happen close to one another, again wouldn’t tell you so it’s not like you could pick the most important one. So you’d move mountains to go to 2 things that weren’t important and then miss the one that was (and have ti listen to a comment from the teacher about how disappointed they were).

I know OFSTED weren’t very happy with the HT recently, communication being a particularly problem.

flumposie · 17/10/2023 14:51

As a teacher myself I couldn't attend things at my daughter's primary school either.

BoohooWoohoo · 17/10/2023 14:52

It is ironic that teachers can't leave their classes during the day for events like this but expect others to do the same for "their" events.

It must tug at the heart strings that they came home with a home made invitation 😢 Yanbu to be unable to attend 💐

TryAgainWithFeeling · 17/10/2023 14:55

Ridiculous. Ours are pretty good - most things are at the beginning or end of the school day, so normally whoever is collecting the child can manage to tack 20 mins on. There’s little pressure, the only thing that the kids really get excited to have their parents at (VIP assembly) we get a month’s notice of.

I would have had strong words with them about the personal invitation. They should be helping children to manage any disappointments, not exacerbating them.

RavenT · 17/10/2023 14:59

YANBU - Yet more guilt tripping for women.

Then women at work say they have to leave early, or change days because of something at school, and suffer the rolled eyes at work too.

You can't win.

CurlewKate · 17/10/2023 15:03

Bloody schools. Organising stuff for kids.

JessicaBrassica · 17/10/2023 15:04

My dad's care home is the same. Chiropodist is coming in tomorrow he needs £17. Ok. I was at work. An hour away. I forgot to take it over in the evening. He'll have manky nails.

TeaGinandFags · 17/10/2023 15:07

This is dmotional blackmail. Sit your kids down and explain tbat you would love to go but have to work. They'll get it.

Write to your LEA and complain. You will be writing to parents and the school is being unreasonable.

ichundich · 17/10/2023 15:07

Just don't go / ask another parent to film it (if allowed). If parents weren't invited into school, many people wouldn't be happy either. I missed go into my kids' school during Covid.

Cheesymonster · 17/10/2023 15:10

YANBU. Ours have given notice on a Thursday for something happening on the Friday.

SacAMain · 17/10/2023 15:11

YABU

because most of the school staff will be working parents themselves, and aside from some TAs, with kids in different schools.

They get it, they are at school with your child instead of being with theirs.

They offer events, you attend what you can. Parents complain if nothing is happening, parents complain if it's first thing in the morning, in the school hours or if it's in the evening. School cannot win.

Up to you to be the grown-up and not take everything personally, and explain to your child when you can and can't attend.

ShutItYouSlag · 17/10/2023 15:11

Oh is this still happening?

When DS was at infants and juniors, it was a never ending plea of letters home about fund raising, concerts at lunchtimes, fayres for one thing and another. I used to get the side-eye a lot for being a SAHM and not pushing myself forward to help. What the school and most parents did not know was that I was also caring for my DDad who had suffered several strokes and was sliding rapidly into dementia. He couldn’t be left for very long as he would wander off out of the house.

I just ignored the sour looks and cracked on. Once the DCs had moved on to Secondary school, the teachers were no longer interested in the Mums anyway! There was much moaning about this.

Marblessolveeverything · 17/10/2023 15:12

Our school changed events to 08:30 `Friday morning - which means a lot of parents can pop by on way to work. There are ways around it to make things at least somewhat workable for typical working families.

Heatherbell1978 · 17/10/2023 15:13

I've learned not to feel too guilty about it. That said my work are pretty good about this kind of stuff and especially around Xmas they seem to be ok with me blocking out some time to go to school events. Everyone does it. Helps that I work from home and school is a 10 min walk away. DS will be going to a school in town next year so I have no idea how I'll manage 2 at different schools.

rosesinmygarden · 17/10/2023 15:13

Teachers (in the main) really don't expect parents to take time off work regularly to attend these things.

Teachers are put under pressure by management, some parents and ofsted expectations to put on these events. They know working parents can't attend - they aren't stupid!

rosesinmygarden · 17/10/2023 15:15

Teachers are also put under pressure to attend evening and weekend events, requested by parents who can't attend day time ones. They really can't win!

spitefulandbadgrammar · 17/10/2023 15:15

We’ve got one tomorrow that I wasn’t planning to attend until last night at bedtime DD announced, “And on Wednesday it’s mummies and daddies day in the classroom so I’ll see you!” Fack.

Blackcoffee1 · 17/10/2023 15:17

Getting your child to do a handdrawn invite is not on. I actually would talk to the teacher about that.

I’m a working parent and I do agree it’s OTT. Attending the school nativity or play - yes, fine. I remember my parents doing that as a child.

But parents attending every harvest festival assembly, Friday assembly, etc etc, during working hours is too much. It wasn’t a thing when we were kids.

There is no shame in being working parents, or having a job with responsibility which means you can’t drop it at the last minute (as PP have said, a teacher is a good example of this!).

Just be clear with your kids, and clear with the teachers, “we both work so we can’t attend these things”.

Passepartoute · 17/10/2023 15:18

Why not have a constructive word with the teacher about it?

SacAMain · 17/10/2023 15:18

RavenT · 17/10/2023 14:59

YANBU - Yet more guilt tripping for women.

Then women at work say they have to leave early, or change days because of something at school, and suffer the rolled eyes at work too.

You can't win.

why "women"?

Unless the school is specifically writing asking "mothers" to attend, if they address communications to parents and carers, you can't blame them if some women take it personally but men.. don't.

ICanSeeMyHouseFromHere · 17/10/2023 15:18

Do what you can.

I have the opposite problem - I can shuffle stuff around in the day, but as a single parent I can't attend evening events - no PTA, no quiz night, none of the intro to the curriculum events etc.

Blackcoffee1 · 17/10/2023 15:18

SacAMain · 17/10/2023 15:11

YABU

because most of the school staff will be working parents themselves, and aside from some TAs, with kids in different schools.

They get it, they are at school with your child instead of being with theirs.

They offer events, you attend what you can. Parents complain if nothing is happening, parents complain if it's first thing in the morning, in the school hours or if it's in the evening. School cannot win.

Up to you to be the grown-up and not take everything personally, and explain to your child when you can and can't attend.

Sending the child home with a hand-drawn invitation for their parent clearly shows that they don’t get it.

SacAMain · 17/10/2023 15:21

Blackcoffee1 · 17/10/2023 15:18

Sending the child home with a hand-drawn invitation for their parent clearly shows that they don’t get it.

oh yes, how dare the teacher make the kids practice their skills on a real-life example 🙄

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