Stand back. I’m in a ranty mood… And it’s all about data protection, of all fucking things!
Now that intro has either massively piqued your interest, or totally turned you off. I’m not even sure which one!
Honestly, sometimes I wonder why I even bother trying to be nice and do ‘the right’ thing.
I’ve volunteered to become part of the school’s ‘Reading Army’. You know the sort of thing. Go and listen to the kids read for half an hour once a week. Or probably 3 times a week seeing as I have 3 boys in 3 different classes and ALL the mum guilt about not treating them equally.
I am already DBS checked because I’m on the PTA and helped at their Forest School once a week last year. See, I’m nice.
Therefore I was thinking that letting me listen to little Billy in Year One read ‘the cat has a big fish’ wouldn’t be too much of a big deal.
OH HOW UTTERLY WRONG I WAS.
Data protection and safeguarding – and a lot of it
A few weeks ago, I received two emails with 4 different attachments, and various forms to fill in which is totally fine. I mean, they need to know I’m not dodgy. I absolutely get that the days of just volunteering and being allowed in the classroom the next day with no checks or anything are long gone. I mean, I do live in the real world.
But the last one was a document about child protection and the like for me to *read. It was 47 pages long. FORTY SEVEN PAGES! Did I read all 47 pages? No, I did not. Did I skim read the headlines and feel that was sufficient for the job I was needed for? Yes I did.
The ironic thing is, had that document been maybe 5 pages, or (at a push) 10 pages of condensed information, I would have more than likely read every word of it. 47 pages? Not a chance.
And that wasn’t even the worst bit.
Then I had to sign up to some GDPR training scheme after which I had to watch an 11 minute video on data protection (clearly designed for teachers or anyone that actually WORKS at a school) to complete.
This is all fine for people who are actually employed at the school. As much as it’s a pain in the bum for them. It is part of their job, so they have to suck it up. Same as I had to suck up a whole load of pointless ‘e-learning’ when I was working in the newsroom. I was being paid to do it, after all.
Want to give up your time to help? Only if you pass a data protection test first
Then, THEN, I had to take a test on it! A TEST!! A FLIPPING TEST to be able to volunteer my own time and listen to little Chloe read ‘Ken has lost his cap!’ Because knowing how long a secondary school must legally hold onto the data of their pupils is really going to help with that. It’s until their 25th birthday in case anyone is desperate to know. Funnily enough, I wasn’t that bothered.
And the worst bit was I even FAILED the test hilariously! Mainly because I was trying to do it at the same time, as you know, er, MY JOB. So I had to do it AGAIN!!
I had to do TWO TESTS on data protection and (supposedly) read 47 sides of A4, to sit in a classroom between 8.30am and 9.00am once or twice a week and listen to little Jake read ‘the tip-up truck has mud in it’.
Let’s just think about that for a second, shall we??!
This is not my job. I am not a teacher (think we well and truly established that one during homeschooling). I am not employed by the school in any way, shape or form. I am not being PAID for this.
I am a mum. A nice mum. A mum who thinks that if I can help my boys’ school in any way that I can by sparing a little bit of my time then it is the right thing to do.
Has the world gone totally mad?
Oh my god. The insanity of the government-enforced red tape/admin/paperwork/rubbish is just something else! I feel so sorry for the actual schools who have to ask parents this sort of utter garbage.
By the way, this is not an attack on schools or teachers, or the poor administrator that was no doubt on the receiving end of lots of ‘what the hell’ emails on that particular day, or our fabulous school in particular (before I get told off again).
This has come from way, way higher than them and I’d put money on most of them agreeing wholeheartedly with this post if only they were allowed to say. In fact, one teacher actually messaged me to say she loved it when I posted something similar to this on my Facebook page.
And if any Karens are about to get on at me over the importance of safeguarding and data protection and blah blah blah, then just don’t. I get it, ok. It’s important. And I am nice, remember. All I wanted to do was help.
I totally get the child protection bit. 110%. But data protection? REALLY? What actual data are they thinking I’m going to actually glean from listening to little Bobby read ‘Floppy has lost his bone’, and then need to PROTECT? I mean, I’m not going to be sneakily writing down Biff, and Chip’s address and flogging it to my followers on the black market. Or Kipper’s phone number or Floppy’s next flea appointment at the vets, am I?
I am there to listen to five and six year old’s read. Quite possibly the ones who need a bit of extra practice, and maybe aren’t getting quite enough at home. And because the staff are under so much pressure to get everything else done, they are calling on the likes of me and other parents to help them out.
But if these are the hoops they have to jump through, it’s no wonder I’ve not seen a single other parent in there reading in the last 2 weeks.
Seriously, has the world gone TOTALLY AND UTTERLY MAD???
How did I do?
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