Tara Talks: I am THAT School Parent


This is a Tara Talks grumble, sort of! Is it just me or do we, as parents, have to remember an awful lot of school stuff these days? I don’t mean the nightly reading, the weekly spellings and the homework. I mean everything else. I think perhaps that it could be just me. I am THAT school parent who loves to hate certain school traditions yet actually quite enjoys them when they come around.

World Book Days

I don’t have a problem with reading. I love reading. We have bookcases full of books and visit the local library frequently. When it comes to World Book Day many schools seem to have a book fair (where a book company brings in full priced children’s books to buy) and everyone dresses up as their favourite book character.

If you have a child who hates dressing up, if you don’t have a dressing up box to call upon or time to sew/put something together you are going to struggle. If you have more than one child at school, you’ve had it! World Book Day is one of those days that seems to be less and less about books and more about the event. Or is that just me?

This has nothing to do with the fact that school parent who is terrible at sewing, at all.

The Class Bear

That blooming bear! Don’t get me wrong, the school bear is cute in the way that only a bear dragged around for five years by primary school age children can be. Cute is less than helpful though when your darling children appear on Friday evening with The Bear. For those who haven’t encountered this fun tradition yet what often happens is that a child gets to bring The Bear home for the weekend. The Bear is then supposed to have a weekend full of fun activities. You take photographs of said Bear enjoying the activities and then stick these, along with a write-up, into a book that every parent after you gets to read.

The Bear is expecting more than a PJ day on Saturday and a walk to the local park on Sunday, followed by ravioli and toast for tea, (because it is the weekend before payday). What makes it so much worse is the fact that when you child comes out of the school door, clutching that bear, you can see that they are absolutely thrilled by the honour and are determined to make their weekend the best. Darn it!

Cake Sales

Have you ever seen Great British Bake-Off? When your child’s class bake sale comes up what do you do? Do you:

  1. Spend an afternoon baking beautiful cakes.
  2. Buy baked goods from the shops and rough them up a bit so that it looks like you might have made them.
  3. Buy baked goods from the shop and hand them over proudly.
  4. Forget and then let them keep the change/hand over an extra fiver when you buy the obligatory plate of cakes.

I’ve done three of these. I’m going to let you decide which ones you think those three are.

I Have the School Parent Answer

Obviously, I am more than happy to support our schools, we all are. After all, they do so much for our children and the lack of funding that schools have to deal with is ridiculous. I genuinely do not know how they make things stretch as far as they do. I think I know how we can help schools fund things without having to make people deal with my badly sewn costumes and wonky looking cakes.

I saw this idea online a few years ago and thought it was genius. Why can’t we just give the school the money that we would spend on the new costumes, the cake ingredients (and buying back the cakes) and so on. We’d be spending exactly the same however, we could save so much more time ourselves and for the staff. Genius, right?

This idea would also free up our PTA and similar “Friends of x School” groups to look at other ways to raise fund i.e. looking at applying for grants and so on locally and nationally. If anyone gets their school to agree to this please let me know.

On a Serious Note

Don’t get me wrong, our teachers, teaching assistants and school support staff work incredibly hard and I am very grateful for all that they do. I am also supremely grateful for all of the work our PTA does. I would love for the Department of Education to fund the shortfall that these fabulous people make up every year so that our children can continue to enjoy the many brilliant school experiences that they do.

I’d also love for someone to volunteer to be my school parent personal assistant to keep me on top of everything that I need to remember. I can’t be relied upon to remember which days are dress in blue days and which days require something for show and tell! Is it just me?


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