Should We Be a Mums Army?

On Thursday up to 750,000 teachers, lecturers, civil servants and other public sector workers take action over the government’s plan to change their pensions.

Whether you agree with the strike or not, it’s bizarre that the Education Secretary Michael Gove is calling for parents to act as a ‘mum’s army’ and help out in schools during the strike.

Essentially what he’s asking is for parents to cross picket lines and come in and take over a class, giving kids something ‘constructive’ to do. He says the aim is to save parents having to either take a day off work and/or pay for nanny and babysitting costs.

The idea is foolish on so many levels. Firstly, to come in cross a picket line and look after a class don’t you have to take a day off? Secondly and more importantly just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you are equipped to look after/control a large class of children.

I’m the parent of two children, but I would not be able to keep a class of 30 reception kids (never mind older kids) under control and doing something constructive for 30 minutes, never mind six hours.

What’s more as a parent I don’t want someone I don’t know who is untrained in childcare and education to look after my children. Plus how are all these parents going to be CRB checked (and who will pay for it) in time for Thursday? Or maybe Michael Gove has forgotten government legislation prevents parents helping out in school without being CRB checked first.

But most of all what about the bigger picture here? For a school to work well there has to be a good connection between parents and teachers? Crossing a picket line doesn’t seem the obvious way to nurture this very important relationship does it?

What do you think? Should we really be a mum’s army or support the teachers? 


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