My worst parent - A monster in paradise

10th July 2009 at 01:00

My worst parent started off by being my best parent, which goes to show that you never can tell.

I worked in a primary school in an idyllic village, and thought I had it made. The school was hugely valued, the kids were mostly from comfortable backgrounds, the staff were tight-knit and well-led. We had all the boxes ticked; even Oftsed loved us.

Parents were keen to get involved. One of them became a tower of strength - always the first to volunteer. She was enthusiastic, competent and, given her lofty social status (her husband was Something in the City), refreshingly deferential.

Then I noticed that the relationship was changing. At first she would follow instructions, then she began to question. If she did something in "her way", it was usually over-the-top.

She began to show initiative, like re-arranging a classroom display without being asked. And she would turn up on a whim and expect to be listened to.

Eventually, I had to challenge her and she went berserk. She used language that would be inappropriate in a rugby club, let alone a school playground, and the head had to almost physically intervene. I realised she was used to getting her own way.

She withdrew her daughter and sent her to a preparatory school. My professional pride was restored and I realised that, in the classroom, there is only one boss.

The writer is deputy head of a primary school in Kent.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today