At my last school, each year we would take our Year 8s to Normandy to visit the landing beaches, war cemeteries and the Bayeux tapestry. We wanted everyone to go, not only for curricular reasons but for social ones, too. As we prepared for one trip, we had a mother who was extra-protective of her daughter and wanted to come with us.
When we told her this was not possible, she "discovered" that she had a relative buried at one of the cemeteries and would take the opportunity to visit the grave while her daughter was being looked after on the school trip.
Imagine our surprise when the coach driver asked if we were expecting a car to follow us. As we pulled into the coach lane at the ferry port, a familiar-looking adult pulled up in the car lane and watched us as we supervised the girls while they took a break.
Once on board, we found our designated lounge and told the girls who they would be sharing dormitories with on the trip. They were allowed to take a quick tour around the ship, but 10 minutes later the "over-protected" pupil told me that her mother had said she was not allowed to share a dormitory.
And so it continued throughout the four days. Everywhere we went, the blue car would be there. On signing the visitors' book at the cemetery we noticed the mother had visited half an hour earlier. We were 15 minutes late leaving Mont St Michel and, as we walked out via a side gate, the mother passed us on her way into the castle.
Eventually, we succumbed to the pressure and asked the mother if she would like to take her daughter home with her, rather than letting her go home on the coach. Our relief at no longer being followed was palpable.
The writer is a former teacher in Kent schools. Send your worst parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.