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TA texting a parent

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by boogie19, May 18, 2019.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    @caterpillartobutterfly Surely it isn't necessary to grovel is it. Why does she have to suggest she's being daft or fussing. I think it's out of line for the TA to do this and she's got good reason to want the head's opinion. The OP can just ask the head what they think about the incident because she needs to know the school policy.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter


    Any queries of absence should come from the School Office. That's the policy of every school I've worked in.

    It might be the HT doesn't mind. It might also be the TA is lying to try and cover herself. Raise it with the HT to check out what the policy is and whether it's being misinterpreted.
  3. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    From the practical point of view, it should be clear who is responsible for checking on absence. This should not be a teacher if STPCD applies, as it is a purely administrative function, and I don't think it should be a TA either. A danger of somebody just deciding to do it is that the parent receives more than one query.
  4. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    It would be an absolute no in my school. Any queries about attendance etc are dealt with through the office.
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    It’s a no for me, but it’s the parents place to complain and not really something I’d worry about if I were you?
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I'd tell the HT in a somewhat offhand, casual way and let her/him do whatever s/he thought appropriate.
    Flanks likes this.
  7. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Doesn't sound like the end of the world - well-intentioned, if a bit odd.

    As long as she doesn't make a habit of it and the parent isn't complaining, I wouldn't worry about it.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    There's something not right about what you are telling us.
    In post #11 you say you have spoken to the Lead Teacher who says it is fine, but the HT is not there til Monday. But now you are saying you'll wait until Monday to hear back from the Lead Teacher and do not mention the HT.
    You say you are new to the school, that this feels wrong to you and makes you feel uncomfortable, that things were very different in your old school, and you feel the need to check with somebody senior. At one point you say you've already checked, and then you make it clear you haven't.
    I find you confused on this, as if you really want it to be wrong but cannot yet substantiate it.
    Anyway-what if somebody senior does get back to you and says "no, that is out of order"?
    What are you looking to happen about it? As soon as the TA told you about the text, which in itself means she was probably used to doing this, you told her what was wrong with doing it. You had your say already.
    But she refuted that.
    You sound to me as if you want to get this TA into trouble.
    annascience2012 likes this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I wouldn't be groveling, no. But it would be a good idea for the op to ensure it doesn't come across to the head that s/he is trying to get someone into trouble. Both the head and lead teacher have said it was fine, yet the op still wants to go to the head because she thinks it was wrong. If the head genuinely does think it's ok, the OP could find themselves in a tricky situation.
    And this needs to be avoided when speaking to the head.
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think policy does need clarifying, so I think something does need to be said, but as others say, avoiding any suggestion that you want the TA to be in trouble.

    As Piranha says, on this issue it could lead to the parent getting two queries about the absence - and the office need to have a response. If some texting is allowed, it needs to be clear what the boundaries are, and who needs to be kept in the loop. That goes two ways, too - the member of staff needs to know that they're not going to start getting unsolicited texts from the parent.
  11. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    So a simple solution would be to ask for a policy without mentioning the TA - just saying that people are unsure. The school can then issue a clarification, everybody knows what to do in future and nobody is in trouble. A win all round solution, in my opinion.
    annascience2012 and sbkrobson like this.
  12. boogie19

    boogie19 New commenter

    You're right... I'm making things up, tripping over myself and all with the view of getting someone in 'trouble'. :rolleyes:

  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Well I'm not saying you are making things up at all.
    It's just that there is a material inconsistency in how you relate what happened (#11 and #16). You don't seem to have clarified that in your response though.

    I guess another part of my point is that you are new and have stated that you don't like something, so to go and name somebody to a senior person on that basis does indeed look as if you want to cause trouble. Or perhaps subconsciously establish yourself somehow. I get that if you are new, but I don't get why you need to bring the TA into it.
    It's different if you were to just ask in principle about texting in the way you describe.
  14. boogie19

    boogie19 New commenter

    I spoke to the lead teacher. Didn't seem too worried. They said leave it to me I'll get back to you... Hence why I said I'll wait until Monday. I have to name the person as it does make a difference and then someone can just deal with it appropriately.

    No power struggle, not trying to establish myself, no ego, I have no need to do that. Its just clearly not the right thing to do and establishing that. Came on here to explore as that is what forums are used for.

    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  15. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    I wouldn't have waited until Monday. I'd have got the head's personal mobile and text him there and then. Maybe that's just the way they do things there?
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    That is in fact the very definition of getting somebody into trouble.
    Because even though you have passed it on, even though you want somebody else to deal with it-you are still waiting for something. Presumably to hear about what happens?

    If you were just concerned about the wrong thing being done, you'd pass it on and not even bother about waiting until Monday. For...I'm not sure what tbh.
    annascience2012 and boogie19 like this.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It is hard to see why you need to name the person.

    So the lead teacher is dealing with it. Sounds like you have done what you need to. If it is done properly, then the TA will be spoken to quietly and that will be the end of it. You should not expect confidential details of such a conversation to be made available to you, so you may not know what the lead teacher has done. If you then go to the Head, you will be undermining the lead teacher as well as (possibly) getting the TA in trouble. However, if I were the Head, I would think this too minor an issue to take any further, and go along with whatever the lead teacher had done.

    The consensus is to try to avoid causing trouble for this TA. Were you really looking for advice, or just wanting us to approve what you had already decided to do?

    It sounds as if you have already decided. As a last attempt to give a contrary view, have you thought about the effect doing this will have on your relationships with other staff, especially the TA and the Lead Teacher? Do you want to be the person who causes conversations too dry up in the staffroom because people are afraid you will report something to the Head? Perhaps I am too old fashioned, but I grew up in the days when trying to get somebody else in trouble was frowned upon.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    How the heck would you go about getting that?
    And do you actually have a head who would do anything except tell you off for having texted such a little thing to his/her personal mobile?

    (Apart from an emergency closure telephone ladder or similar and this is hardly an emergency!)
  19. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Call it convoluted logic, but what if there was a safeguarding concern about the child and the TA's text had ended up being seen by someone outside school other than the phone's owner?

    To my mind, the TA would be more sensible to use school absence notification policy to the letter rather than personal initiative, however well intentioned. If it had backfired, following policy would make it a whole school issue, whereas a personal text would become a personal issue. The line you might take is that you're watching a colleague's back, not punishing them.
  20. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Yes, you're totally right. And 5 bonus points for taking such an obviously flippant comment so literally.
    annascience2012 likes this.

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