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A mum has ignited a fierce debate after receiving a request from her child’s school, which she thought was totally ‘unreasonable’.

The drama all began when the mum received communication from her child’s school that requested that parents do not contact teachers after hours – in the evenings, weekends or on public holidays.

The mum expressed her outrage at the request in a post on Mumsnet, saying that her child’s school had asked parents to only email teachers between school hours of 8:30am and 5.30pm. The reason they gave was that excessive amount of contact impacts the teachers’ wellbeing.

However, the mum argued that it isn’t always possible to send an email while she was working during the day and just because she sent an email to the school after office hours didn’t mean she expected the teachers to respond straight away.

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The post read:

“We’ve had a message from DCs’ (darling children’s) primary school respectfully asking parents to only email the head and class teachers between 8:30-5:30 on school days and not during the evenings / weekends / holidays, for staff well-being reasons (they deserve protected downtime etc.).

Am I Being Unreasonable to think that this is ridiculous? I work in a job where I don’t always have access to a phone / computer during the working day and so, on the rare occasion that I need to contact a teacher, I tend to email in the evening at home or first thing before I get ready to leave.

Obviously, I don’t expect them to reply out of working hours, or even to read it there and then, but I had never considered that it would be intrusive. In my job, I get loads of emails at all times of the day and night and they just sit in my inbox until I am working!

Surely if it’s impacting on their downtime so much, then they should just not check their emails in the evening and turn off notifications etc.”

Ridiculous Request From The School

Most of the responses supported the mum, saying that the teachers should just stay off their emails if it was going to stress them.

“Email is electronic mail. You write when you write and they open it when they open it. It’s like specifying that I can only send a postcard during work hours,” said one.

“I agree, out of office replies exist for a reason. It’s not up to you to manage their time. What a ridiculous thing to say!” said another.

“Parents should be able to send emails at any time (it’s the equivalent if when you popped a letter in the post), but the school should be saying that their staff will only be able to respond during ”

Just Don’t Do It!

There were others who took the school’s side saying that teachers do enough work out of hours and shouldn’t be slammed with emails after the school day is finished.

And The Winning Answer Is….

One clever commenter suggested adding the following tagline to your email signature:
“I have sent this email at a time convenient to me, please reply at a time convenient to you,” which I think is just the best solution to this whole thing.

Do you think that the school’s request was unreasonable? Tell us in the comments below.

  • I have sent many emails late at night, after decoding the kids day at school and working out what needs to be done. I don’t expect a quick reply. If it is urgent call the school when it is open next, arrange an appointment. I am not sure the school understand that parents work too, between the hours of 8-6 if not more…….

    Reply

  • I often emailed teachers outside of school hours – but with no expectation for a quick reply. I even often prefaced it or explained that I would await a reply when it was convenient for them. How else are you able to access teachers in this day and age? If I rang the school, I was often sent to voicemail to leave a message. I’ve had teachers say they don’t check their voicemail, or will take many days to reply. Our school actually encouraged email communication, with the understanding that they would reply when they could. Happy with that!

    Reply

  • I agree that you send the email at a time that suits you and they reply when it suits them. Otherwise have a separate email for school business and one for personal.

    Reply

  • The winning answer sums up my feelings exactly.

    Reply

  • Loved the winning answer listed and would completely agree with adding this to all my emails in future.

    Reply

  • As a mum who works in a school, I actually don’t think it’s unreasonable to be asked not to contact staff out of hours.
    We have the parents who are great and don’t expect a response immediately when they send an email after school hours, of course.
    However we also have the parents who not only email and expect instantaneous replies, but who also contact staff via text messages, phone calls, finding the desired staff member on social media and contacting through there, finding the staff member at out of school activities that they are attending for their own children, and the list goes on. Yes we live in a town of 30,000 people, so you’re bound to see students and families somewhere outside of the school.
    But school staff and teachers DO NOT need to be harassed (or screamed at by random parents) because the parent thinks the staff should be available at all hours. But I know this all happens in big cities too.
    Sorry but school teachers and staff need their own time too!

    Reply

  • Advising you that teachers will only reds pond to your emails during the set hours is fine. To restrict the time you can send an email is ridiculous. Keep sending emails as you need to. If the teacher cannot manage their work that’s their issue not yours.

    Reply

  • I don’t think it’s unreasonable, but sending an email at night is fine. People can check tomorrow but don’t hound the people educating your kids… it’s a tough enough job as it is without helicopter parents making things worse

    Reply

  • Out of office replies exist for a reason. It’s not up to us to manage their time. They should just read / respond on emails when they’re ready and have the time


    • But to fume over such a request of school is a bit over the top for me.

    Reply

  • I agree it’s a bit silly but everyone gets so upset and offended by things these days. I’d be letting it go

    Reply

  • I get where they are coking from but I’m sure they have work email addresses which they can just check during those times. Thats the whole point of emails. But I also understand the stress of feeling the need to reply

    Reply

  • Definitely see where they’re coming from. But just reply during school hours. Sheesh!

    Reply

  • Im a high school teacher and when I recieve emails from parents etc I simply dont reply until Im at school. Its not that hard, you just need to switch off – which is unfortunately very difficult to do as a teacher!


    • That’s not only hard for teachers ;)

    Reply

  • I didn’t even think teachers had access to their emails before and after hours?
    It’s not like big companies where staff are given laptops and mobile phones so that they can be reached at all hours of the day.


    • That was what I was thinking too !

    Reply

  • My husband is a teacher and his schools implemented this years ago. Teachers have families of their own and find it hard to ignore an email from a stressed out students or parent at all hours. Yes, you can argue that they can just read it during school hours but you can also email them before 5:30pm. Teachers have difficulty switching off as they have so much to do for their students during their home time (marking, planning, prepping)


    • You have made excellent points and everyone deserves time with their own families.

    Reply

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