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Should we have listened to the parent?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by edenhendry, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. I wondered if anyone can tell me what the best practise should be in the following situation. I'm a TA and I was uncomfortable with the decision that the CT made below.
    A Y2 pupil had been away with a particularly bad case of the chickenpox. On her return, her parents had written a note to the CT, asking her to be excused from PE that day as she was very self-conscious of the number of scabs on her front and back.
    The CT turned to the pupil and said, "will you be okay to do PE?", and the pupil said "yes". (nothing more than that, and no discussion about getting changed).
    CT was not there during the PE session, but the HT and I were. In the classroom, the pupil was told to get changed, and several children noticed the numerous scabs and made pupil self conscious. The HT then proceeded to check over the front and back of the pupil, whilst her peers looked on, and said "You'll be fine to do PE".
    Pupil got on with the lesson, more subdued than normal, but got on with it nonetheless.
    The parents are now miffed as the CT & HT went ahead with the PE session against their wishes. They say the child came home and was upset by the attention she had received during changing time. CT & HT sticking with their side that they discussed with the pupil whether she would be okay to do PE. Parents saying that they specifically asked for her to be excused as they know how upset she has been about the scabs.
    I'm erring on side of parents, but I wondered if any of you have any thoughts or experience of when you should listen to a parents wishes, and when you should ignore them.

     
  2. I wondered if anyone can tell me what the best practise should be in the following situation. I'm a TA and I was uncomfortable with the decision that the CT made below.
    A Y2 pupil had been away with a particularly bad case of the chickenpox. On her return, her parents had written a note to the CT, asking her to be excused from PE that day as she was very self-conscious of the number of scabs on her front and back.
    The CT turned to the pupil and said, "will you be okay to do PE?", and the pupil said "yes". (nothing more than that, and no discussion about getting changed).
    CT was not there during the PE session, but the HT and I were. In the classroom, the pupil was told to get changed, and several children noticed the numerous scabs and made pupil self conscious. The HT then proceeded to check over the front and back of the pupil, whilst her peers looked on, and said "You'll be fine to do PE".
    Pupil got on with the lesson, more subdued than normal, but got on with it nonetheless.
    The parents are now miffed as the CT & HT went ahead with the PE session against their wishes. They say the child came home and was upset by the attention she had received during changing time. CT & HT sticking with their side that they discussed with the pupil whether she would be okay to do PE. Parents saying that they specifically asked for her to be excused as they know how upset she has been about the scabs.
    I'm erring on side of parents, but I wondered if any of you have any thoughts or experience of when you should listen to a parents wishes, and when you should ignore them.

     
  3. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Did the child have a note from the doctor saying they can't do PE?

    If not, they need to get on with it.
     
  4. Yes, I understand there is no medical or physical reason why the child couldn't do the games session. I'm also not questioning the 'legality' of the situation. More thinking about the ethical and moral implications of going against a parent's wishes.
    However consideration must be given (surely) to this request? A 6 year old child being told to 'get on with it' won't exactly help her self confidence when she is feeling vulnerable. I also think the way the HT handled it by inspecting her in front of the child's peers was incorrect.
    I should reiterate that the child had severe chickenpox. Some of the scabs were half an inch wide and most of the trunk was covered.
    My thoughts are that it was a request for her to miss one games session, she could have sat with one of the other Y2 classes and there would have been no issue to deal with.
    Even if the CT thought she could handle the session, then maybe a quick call to tell parents what was happening.
    There seems to be too much of a 'power struggle' these days between schools and parents, and it is issues like these that highlight it. The school thinks they know best for the child, and the parents think they do. Whereas I think they both have input and if they talked this situation through over the phone first, all of the bad feeling would have been avoided.

     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    They asked the child if she was ok to do PE and she said yes. What was the teacher supposed to do? Tell the child she was lying? After a fine day at school she would have been self concious sitting out of PE as well.

    Tough call to make, but either way would have resulted in unwarranted attention. I don't think we should always do what the parents ask, but hey ho!
     
  6. And in years to come if that child hates PE, will it be any surprise? If she developes issues with body image will it be a surprise?
    Where is the emotional support that the child needed at this time? As her parents had asked for her not to do PE, then she should have been excused. A child can be well enough to come to school and yet not well enough to participate in some activities and we, as teachers, need to be sensitive and accomodating enough to understand that.
     
  7. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    Tough one to call without being there/knowing the child. Technically she
    should have done P.E., realistically I would have probably let her miss
    a lesson. If her scabs were that severe I would have been more worried about cracking them or tearing them off which would have been even more traumatic.
     
  8. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Personally, I wouldn't have even questioned the parents judgement and would have accepted it straight away!!

    I usually judge it on how fit the child is to actually do PE. Sometimes they come in with a tiny cut, or have had one sneeze at home and are asked to be excused, but in that case yes I would have probably sat them out... Others may disagree though.
     
  9. I would not have asked the child if they were doing pe.
    I would have given them a digital camera and told then to take pictures of 'good kicking' or whatever.

    I don't really understand the fuss. Its no skin off my nose if the child doesn't do PE, but clearly an issue for the child\parents.
     
  10. I would have let the child do PE in her uniform if the issue was just getting changed. I think you need to know the child and parent in the circumstances though - you would know if the parents were regularly making excuses.
     
  11. Minnieminx - I'd question why teacher was asking the child, when the parents had already asked for her to be excused. I know 6 year olds are independent creatures, but sometimes they say what they think adults want to hear, and maybe not exactly how they are feeling.
    I'm kind of glad that I'm not alone in thinking that this should really have been a non-issue and CT should have just accepted the note from the parents. They aren't a family that are 'awkward' or a 'nuisance', and don't seem to pander to their daughter's needs.
    These parents are now really peeved and questioning why the school thinks they have the final word on their daughter's welfare.

     
  12. Could she have just changed elsewhere?
     
  13. Yes little Lucy off to the lepers corner please!
     
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    The thing is, while in school the teachers do have the final say. We are in 'loco parentis' and so need to make our own judgements. Not everyone needs to agree, but we do need to make what we feel to be the best judgement at that time. At the moment of PE both teachers judged the child to be able to take part, who are any of us (who weren't there) to disagree?

    Yes of course a chat between parent and teacher might have enabled a compromise, but that would be in an ideal world. Real life isn't always like that.

    It does worry me a little that TAs can come on here and openly criticise their classteacher though.Hope the classteacher isn't a regular poster...
     
  15. Should this luxury be reserved only for those with QTS? You should google superiority complex.
     
  16. I think ignoring the parent in this case looks, to all intents and purposes, like a deliberate undermining of their request - which could well have been a reasonable request.
    Clearly they should have put it in writing and been insistent.
    It's almost like putting fingers up to the parent and suggesting that they are making a fuss about nothing.
    We all know of parents who do make a fuss about nothing, so knowing more about the situation would be necessary - as in any other question raised on a forum - nevertheless, it would be difficult for many children to stick up for themselves against their teacher's underlying attitude.
     
  17. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Noooo because I'd also say the same thing in reverse. Teachers coming here and openly questioning decisions made by a TA would also be a concern to me.

    General chit chat yes, gossiping and criticising one's colleagues, maybe not.
     
  18. Oh, that's okay then! :) Personally I make my feelings known at the time and with the person in question, without being rude or condescending (I hope).
     
  19. Earl Davids wife

    Earl Davids wife New commenter

    Totally agree.
    I'd not have questioned or gone against the parent's wishes either. Having had chicken pox at the grand old age of 32, I know how horrible chicken pox spots can be and how embarrassing they are too!
    Bit of an oh dear me situation - just as well it was the head...........
     
  20. I thought I'd respond to these comments.
    The thread was started off as I was unsure what the 'best practise' in this situation would be. I understand that I am a TA (and not a CT) and hence these decisions are not mine to make.
    However, these forums are a great resource to find out how other schools and colleagues would have handled matters.
    Yes, CT could be a regular visitor to this board. I have broken no confidentiality rules. Their ID remains private. As such, I do not feel I am openly questioning their judgement (I'd have thought that would have been if I had stood in front of CT and child/children and told them I thought their decision was wrong - I would never have undermined them in that way).
    As for whether I am criticising a colleague's judgment, well, I suppose I am in a way. Maybe, in best 'Strictly' fashion I am critiquing my colleague. If we never question how things are done, the world would never change.
    gossiping? I don't think I was gossiping with this thread. Maybe I am being naive though.
    I usually post on the TA forum, but felt this comment needed to go on a more general forum to get other CT views.
    From the comment above, I am disappointed that a minority of users of this forum think that TAs are second class citizens. No, I don't have QTS. However, I still work in a school environment, interacting with children, providing learning support. I come to this website to find resources to use with the class, get ideas about how to inspire the children, and get advice from colleagues.
    This website is for those who work in education. Not those with QTS alone.
    Maybe this thread might be read by other CTs who may come across this situation in the future and rethink how they would proceed? Surely that is part of the forums' charm - learning through others experiences?
    Minnieminx, maybe you just haven't met the right TA yet? [​IMG]
    For me, from this thread thus far, I think I have gained confidence that my gut feelings weren't completely 'out there' and I would be more confident in this situation in the future that I would have a private chat with CT at break time to ask their thoughts behind their decision (and no, not in a condescending way, just in a curious way to find out their thoughts behind it). Y'never know, they may have reviewed the situation in their head and decided that maybe they would do it all again differently next time anyway.
     

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