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Staff asked to use their personal mobiles to phone students...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by WMFanClub, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. WMFanClub

    WMFanClub New commenter


    I had a quick look around and I think this is the best place to post my question/concern.

    I work in a small secondary school. Our school has been closed since Boris advised thus, and we have been working from home. We are gradually returning (part time) to sort classrooms, and make 'video' calls to students. We have a system in place whereby a list is made of students NOT SEEN in the video calls for the day. These students are then telephoned by staff members, to check on their welfare.

    My concern is that we have been asked to make these calls using our personal mobile phones, whilst we are at home. I have yet to be added to the rota to make calls, but it is imminent. I have been advised by a colleague that "it is ok" to use our own phones, without blocking our numbers. This means students, and their families and friends, will have our mobile numbers.

    I am not ok with this. I intend to 'block' my number using the prefix 141 prior to dialling a student's number. But one of my colleagues said the students will not answer if no mobile number is displayed on screen. Some of my colleagues are making calls with their numbers freely displayed.

    I believe giving our numbers so openly to students and their families leaves us open to all manner of problems. I want to stick to my guns, but I fear reprisals (it is that sort of school).

    Any advice please?!
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Oh dear, my phone is - lost / broken / stolen / lent to an aged parent or relative / requires a new battery / other. Delete as applicable.
  3. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Can't you make the calls on the days you are in school?
    tall tales, Pomza, steely1 and 3 others like this.
  4. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    No, no and thrice no.

    Cannot believe you are bring told to do this.

    If there is a rota the school should buy enough phones for those on the rota.
    tall tales, Marisha, Lalad and 4 others like this.
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    You shouldn’t be doing it on a personal device.

    These are unfamiliar times, and you have to make a call whether you push not doing it or not. For me, TAs and admin staff ought to be doing it, and from school ideally on school land lines. After all, you’re teaching!

    Certainly block the number. Whether or not they answer isn’t your problem
    Marisha, Pomza, madcatlady and 5 others like this.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no, don't - email them instead.
  7. Owleyes00

    Owleyes00 New commenter

    Complete breach of safeguarding there. We have been making calls using personal devices and withholding the number using 141. Your colleagues are right some people don’t answer but I leave a voicemail and the next time I call they usually do if they are the sort of parent who would want to speak. You will struggle to get hold who don’t normally engage regardless.
    tall tales, Marisha, Pomza and 3 others like this.
  8. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Does the school pay your mobile phone contract? If the answer is 'no' then that's the answer you give to your school (add reasons from post 2 above if you want). And if you DO get coerced into phoning you MUST block your number, for your own protection.

    By the way, what does your Union say? I hope you have told them.
    Marisha, strawbs, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  9. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Not OK.

    Anecdotally, a (stupid helicopter) parent emailed me yesterday asking for a call. I refused on common sense professional grounds and she had a huff with me because "other teachers have used their own phones to call" and then lodged a complaint :rolleyes:
    ajrowing, Marisha, madcatlady and 2 others like this.
  10. Owleyes00

    Owleyes00 New commenter

    Also, even aside from the safeguarding concerns, we had issues at a school I worked at a few years ago where teachers gave parent helpers their numbers for school trips. They found themselves getting texts about homework on the weekends!
    Marisha, Pomza, madcatlady and 2 others like this.
  11. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    This lodging complaints is the modern scourge of teaching. Complaints sent on the slightest perceived slight.
    Marisha, Pomza, madcatlady and 2 others like this.
  12. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Exactly though to be honest that is the least of the problems you expose yourself to.

    Still cannot believe people are effectively giving parents and pupils their phone number.
    Marisha, Pomza, Catgirl1964 and 3 others like this.
  13. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Get a free sim and use that in your phone when phoning students. Throw it away later.
  14. mbee1

    mbee1 Occasional commenter

    Check the phone system in school. if it's a relatively up to date digital system you may be able to download an app that lets you call using that system. If the student gets the number it will appear as the schools number.
    Pomza, agathamorse and ridleyrumpus like this.
  15. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Is this a 'new school initiative' to 'outsource expenses'? Bloody check!

    We had something like this years ago, when we form tutors were supposed to phone the parents of students absent at morning registration. Finding time to do this during the day was difficult enough, and mostly pointless, as most parents were not at home, or could not answer calls while at work.

    It was suggested to us that we contact parents in the early evening! Most of us thought 'stuff that'! The few that took this 'advice' elicited complaints, as some parents, who 'did not like having their evenings disturbed'.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  16. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Another annoyance is the records of mobile numbers are seldom up to date, as some parents change numbers and proividers frequently.
    Marisha and agathamorse like this.
  17. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    Definitely withhold your number. If you have an iPhone, you can block it in the ‘phone’ bit in settings.
    We have put out a message to parents saying ‘you may be called by a withheld number’ so they know.
    Marisha and agathamorse like this.
  18. Penguin47

    Penguin47 New commenter

  19. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    In my place, phoning a student from your own mobile wold have you out of a job.
    tall tales and Marisha like this.
  20. siege

    siege New commenter

    I don't own a mobile - would not be able to do it
    I would never ever contact by phone without second member of staff present, too - subjected to a torrent of abuse then an accusation when calling once in distant past, using school landline. Communication now is ALWAYS by email
    Marisha and agathamorse like this.

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