Verbal abuse from parents leads school to ban teachers from speaking to them

Fed up with "inappropriate behaviour", a Glasgow primary headteacher insists that parents must stay in the 'parent zone'

Tes Reporter

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Teachers at a primary school will no longer speak to their pupils' parents at the end of the school day, after staff were subjected to verbal abuse, a headteacher has said.

Fiona Donnelly said that staff at Sandwood Primary School in Penilee, Glasgow, had faced "inappropriate behaviour" from parents collecting their children.

She responded to the incidents by writing a strongly worded letter to parents, asking them to make an appointment to speak with staff instead.

'Behaved inappropriately'

The letter states: "We are putting new procedures in place with regard to parental contact with staff. Staff will no longer be available at the end of the school day at dismissal to speak with parents/carers.

"Any parent/carer wishing to speak with a member of staff is required to make an appointment via the school office.

"This is due to a rising number of incidents where family members have behaved inappropriately towards members of staff, shouting, using offensive language and causing significant stress to staff.

"It is with regret that these procedures have been put in place as we recognise that many parents welcome a catch-up on occasion at the end of the day.

"However, I am not prepared for staff to face this at the end of a school day and for my pupils to witness this behaviour."

Parent zones

From Monday, parents and carers have been asked to wait in designated parent zones to ensure the safety of pupils at the end of the day.

If they do not behave in the correct manner, parents have also been told they could be issued with a warning which could prevent them from entering school grounds.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: "The school is introducing a new system to make it easier for parents and carers to contact the school about matters relating to their child's education.

"In addition, as the school roll has increased significantly over the last couple of years, the headteacher has devised a playground layout for parents and carers to collect their children at home time that will help in the smooth running of the school day and ease any congestion.

"As in any Glasgow school, inappropriate behaviour towards staff is unacceptable, will not be tolerated and action taken to set a good example to our children and young people."

'Unusual situation'

Susan Quinn, local association secretary at the Educational Institute of Scotland, said: "Generally, teachers will work as hard as they can to promote good relationships with parents and carers. It would be an unusual situation that that becomes broken down.

"Clearly everything has to be done to ensure teacher and pupil safety is the highest consideration."

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