It always seemed like a no-brainer choosing my school for my daughter to attend. After all, shouldn’t it be good enough for our own children, as well as the community we serve?
But it turns out that making this work it is not always that easy.
Things not to do if you teach at your child’s school...
- Never assume that you know your school’s uniform code. Sure, you may have written it and you may enforce it every day, but that will not stop any arguments in August with your child when it comes to selecting trousers. Or shoes. Or anything else.
- Equally, this applies to equipment. Of course your child does not need a see-through pencil case that can be taken into exams and they certainly don’t need a calculator. Glittery, smelly gel pens are, however, essential.
- Never take a bath, sunbathe in the garden, put on a face-mask or fall asleep in front of the TV with a glass of wine dribbling if your child likes to FaceTime their friends. Intentionally or not, you will feature in the background of the call looking less than professional – and such news spreads around school quickly.
- Use your family as any kind of an example in lessons or assemblies and it will get back to them – or worse, they may be present and never forgive you. When a male colleague shared a photo of himself as a baby in an assembly and later asked his daughter what she’d thought of it, her response was, “urgh, you never told me you looked like a girl.”
And more things not to do if you are the headteacher...
- It isn’t really fair to conduct any quality assurance on your child’s teacher yourself. Delegate such activities to someone else. Once I popped into my then-eight-year-old daughter’s class on an informal learning walk and ended up being hugged by not only my own child, but by another four or five children as well. It destroyed the lesson, as well as any sense of authority I’d once had.
- Try not to be disappointed by or look surprised at the friends invited over to play or to birthday parties. You may know all sorts of things about the child: what they may get up to, whether they owe you homework and even if they have been less than perfectly behaved recently. You may have held difficult meetings with their parents, not authorised a holiday request or noticed that a child was recorded as ill on the same day as they turned up at your house to play. You cannot ever let on.
- Don’t phone your child’s teacher at 8pm on a Sunday night to find out what homework should have been completed by Monday morning. Really, you need to be the model parent and be ultra-organised – always remember PE kit, trip letters, dinner money and turn up at the right place at the right time.
Keziah Featherstone is Headteacher of Bridge Learning Campus of Trust in Learning Academies in Bristol, co-founder of #WomenEd and a member of the Headteachers' Roundtable