AIBU to feel prejudiced against by the school because we work?

(102 Posts)
NoWayNoHow Thu 18-Jul-13 10:52:13

DH works full-time long hours, I work 5 days a week PT hours to fit in with school. I thought that this would be ideal as it enables me to drop DS and collect him every day, which is brilliant.

However, I've been really disappointed in his first year of school at how many things I've had to miss because of when they're scheduled.

Every important school assembly (including Nativity, Harvest festival, etc) - 9:45am
Every talk on literacy/numeracy/how to support your child better at home - 2pm
Every school picnic/concert - 2pm.

Out of 10 or 12 events in his reception year, DH and I only been able to go to two between the two of us, and I can't help but wonder how the other parents are managing? It's quite an affluent area, though, and tbh I've noticed that there are a lot of families with just one earner, and lots of mums/dads who are SAHP.

I just feel so sad at the thought of yet another picnic tomorrow where he's going to be all by himself while lots of the other children will have either their mums or dads there... Why do they organise these things at a time when most working parents can never attend?

LalyRawr Thu 18-Jul-13 10:54:19

I presume because a lot of it will have to be during the school day?

If they did these ings in the evening you would A&E another set of parents who couldn't attend because of younger siblings, child care issues etc.

I'm not sure the school can win either way.

LalyRawr Thu 18-Jul-13 10:54:55

Have not A&E.

Fuck knows where that came from confused

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 10:55:43

YANBU - but it seems a lot of schools are like this. To be fair, they don't have a lot of choice with assemblies.

Could you talk to the Head about having some of the talks after school? Could your DH take a half day's holiday to go to a few things next year?

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 10:57:14

LalyRawr, I think the slot between 3.30 and 6 is quite a good one for those with younger sibs. Schools should aim to have things on at a mix of times so that everybody can make it to something.

EasterHoliday Thu 18-Jul-13 10:57:33

It's the same at our school. Prize Giving and sports day (each hour and a half long) split over two days, both in the middle of the day. The point Laly is that if they started at teh beginning of the school day and things were combined, then attendance would be substantially easier - in the middle of the day, you can't even work a half day and still manage it.

NoWay - is it a private or state school? are two working parents the norm or not? It's not at our school - at least not judging by teh number of people in gym kit at drop off time (unless there's a statistically improbable number of gym instructor / PTs amongst the parents)

gordyslovesheep Thu 18-Jul-13 10:58:38

but the school day is 9-3 - If things are that important use your annual leave - I do - this year I missed sports day and 2 concerts - I did take leave for a stay and play session and 2 nativities and 2 Easter shows - teachers don't even get the option to do this!

RedJeans Thu 18-Jul-13 10:59:00

They couldn't really have a picnic in the evening though? Well maybe in this weather but not at other times. And assemblies should be in school hours otherwise kids will have to do extra time in school when they Should be at home! I would expect workshops for parents to be in the evenings but other than that I would say YABU

manicinsomniac Thu 18-Jul-13 10:59:06

Unfortunately, I just don't think there's any way of pleasing everyone. Our infant school has most things during the day and our Junior school has most things in the evening. A different set of parents can't make the events.

I know how you feel though. I work at my children's school too so they see me being 'the baddy.' At sports day she came over and told me her race was soon and would I go and watch her. I had to say 'no, I'm working on the long jump' watching other peoples' kids not you !

PatriciaHolm Thu 18-Jul-13 10:59:42

Picnics, assemblies etc will always be in working day, as they need to be held when the kid are at school. Talks about literacy etc will be similar as they need to be during the teachers' working day, however you could if maybe once a year a later meeting could be held?

Doing things out of school time/evenings would inconvenience people too, schools really can't win.

MaryPoppinsBag Thu 18-Jul-13 11:01:02

I think it's just to be expected that these things are organised in the normal school day.

Teachers / TA's miss all their children's events at school. And they can't take holiday days to go and see their child's concert etc.

Can you not take a morning or afternoon off to go?

It is totally impractical to drag children back to school after 6 to suit working parents. Our school does it for the whole school (primary) end of year concert and the children are tired.

PatsyAndEddy Thu 18-Jul-13 11:01:33

Its frustrating but just the way it goes. Do you have a grandparent or aunt that can be invited so your dc has someone there?

I'm lucky I work local and can nip away for a bit but its not always possible

For a while our school were really bad with short notice but they are getting better at giving people more notice to arrange time off. But they only got better after hearing from us! Speak to the school

NoWayNoHow Thu 18-Jul-13 11:02:44

Easter, it's a state school but in a high earning area (yy to parents in gym kit!!) so I think 1 working parent is probably the norm - maybe that's why they do it?

TeaTimes, DH and I barely have enough leave to cover existing school holidays, and that's when you take into account our lieu days and the fact that we hardly see each other in holidays! It would be really tricky to take more time off, although that's what we've done to get to the events that we have been to.

LalyRawr Thu 18-Jul-13 11:02:53

Also, having everything out of school hours will mean teachers take time away from their families.

It would be physically impossible to please everyone.

wigglesrock Thu 18-Jul-13 11:04:05

But then teachers and support staff would be working outside their work days - what about their families? My daughters primary school has a mixture - nativity plays in both the evening and day. Talks about curriculum in the evenings. Sports days and parent/teacher interviews in the day time.

Between 3.30- 6.00pm is possibly the worst time - other school pick ups, after school activities, the thought of bringing my 2 year old to the primary school for a talk or meeting brings me out in a cold sweat.

LilacPeony Thu 18-Jul-13 11:04:33

I think it's normal to hold sports days and nativity plays in the school day. If they wanted to fit in with most working parents' hours they'd need to hold them at about 6pm and the children would probably be tired by then and wanting their dinner. I think many working parents are able to attend nativities and sports days as their work lets them go in later on special days like that or the parents take it in turn to attend so the child has someone there. They may be able to make the time up later, or even take it out of annual leave. It depends on the type of job of course. Some people are fortunate to be able to send grandparents. Curriculum meetings at our school used to have an evening option, but this has recently been changed to allow teachers to go home to their own children.

gordyslovesheep Thu 18-Jul-13 11:04:50

I work the holidays and use holiday clubs - I am only allowed to take 2 weeks leave over the summer holidays anyway - you are lucky you can and don't have that expense - it's all swings and roundabouts - you have leave - you choose not to use it - I don't think that's the schools fault

Schools often exclude younger siblings too hence alienating parents with younger children who don't have any handy grandparents. I've reached the conclusion that the school looks after itself and you can choose to conform or not to their timetable.

On a more positive note is there another working couple that you could buddy up with for the b level 'come and see jonny's class display of junk models which will be cluttering your sitting room for the next 3 months, tomorrow between 11:15 and 11:25, no siblings permitted' activities, so that you can tell ds that 'james' s daddy is coming this time and you'll come next time.

Often I am quite happy to take someone under my wing and video them too, I know it's not the same cos I'm even nicer to children who aren't my own but at least then you know that someone is keeping an eye out for them.

NoWayNoHow Thu 18-Jul-13 11:12:27

Gordy, we also use holiday clubs. We by no means have enough leave to cover it all, which is why it's difficult to take more time off for events in the middle of the working day.

I understand that it's the easiest thing for schools to do it during the day. I guess I'm just a bit envy that I'm not in a position to be able to attend them all like others are.

Bramshott Thu 18-Jul-13 11:14:42

There will always be stuff that happens just after drop-off or before pick-up as that's when the kids are in school.

If you work short days, would your work agree to you say starting at 8.00 and finishing earlier on occasion so you could get to school earlier (obviously you'd need to find someone else to take your DS to school on that day), or coming in later and finishing later (and then someone else would have to pick him up.

Most parents have to shuffle and juggle, use childcare /call in favours where necessary (to facilitate the scenario I've outlined above), and accept that you can't be there for everything. If I'm not there, I ask a friend to watch and then tell my DDs that so and so's mum will be watching their bit and reporting back to me (with pics if possible).

NoWayNoHow Thu 18-Jul-13 11:15:19

3birthday, that's a really good idea. We have a neighbour whose DD is in the same year, so I was thinking of letting her have the picnic-ey food tomorrow morning and just asking her to keep an eye on DS if he looks excluded.

I also worry (probably too much) about how DS feels in all of this. What does he think of us when all his friends' mummies and daddies are around and we're not? Is he drawing any (unhappy) conclusions from that?

yes, been there for the last 7 years of primary. One year I had to ask a friend (parent of a friend of my elder son) to go to my younger son's christmas craft session as I didn't want him left with nobody - our school has a big mix of Unemployed parents/SAH parents and large extended families where Aunts/Grandparents go to everything and anything. Families with 2 working parents are very much in the minority.

we have no family nearby either.

At the end of the day, it's sad to miss these things and I have made as much effort as I possibly can to go to the important ones - I have sometimes had an odd timed lunch break so I could drive back to the school to show face and wave to my children at a sports day or whatever so they think I was there and then drive back sad But I struggle to see what else the school can do - it's not their fault that we work.

They didn't feel deprived as far as I can acertain.

Owllady Thu 18-Jul-13 11:15:57

I don't think iot's anything to do with there being more sahp's tbh, I think it's just making the school 'open door' for certain things. I know you feel bad about not being able to go, but please don't. we all do what we cvan as parents and you shouldn't feel guilty or upset about it

NoWayNoHow Thu 18-Jul-13 11:19:32

Bramshott, my primary function at work is break and lunch cover, so it's really difficult to flexi time as if I'm not there when they need me to be there, it screws it up for the rest of the team. They will generally have no problem letting me go 15/20mins early if I work through my short lunch break, but I can't do this tomorrow as we have people on leave and it will leave the team shortstaffed.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 18-Jul-13 11:33:41

Agree that the 3.30-6 slot would be hideous. Kids all tired, siblings in tow, after school activities mucked up.

I think things during the school day are the best they can do - although the curriculum evening at our primary is in the evening, but you can't bring the DCs so that means only one of you going or finding a babysitter, or needing a babysitter because one of you is still at work.

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