School complaints Yr8

(59 Posts)
chaosmonkey Mon 10-Feb-14 19:24:20

DS1 and 2 of his friends have been very upset by a teacher threatening them at school - they are aware that his threats are empty and meant to be jokes, but are still terrified of going to his lessons (2 of them were in tears one day asking to be kept at home that day as they were so scared)

When I complained, they said that they'd pull all 3 in, hear their side of it, and reassure them that everything is fine.

DS1 came home very upset - he'd been pulled out of his maths lesson to be told off for telling tales. The school thinks they shouldn't tell us what has happened, and that they will be punished if they continue to 'tell tales on teachers'

The school said to me they wouldn't do anything unless I put in a formal complaint, but that if I did that I'd have to make a public apology if the complaint procedure decided that the kids weren't being bullied!

AIBU to be really upset about this?

deakymom Tue 11-Feb-14 22:09:02

public apology "im sorry your not funny and my children didn't get the joke im sorry that you feel children should not tell their parents if something upsets them im sorry im thinking of changing schools im really sorry for you"

think they would appreciate that one?

chaosmonkey Tue 11-Feb-14 22:05:25

Yep Holly - same teacher talked to me and the children.

thanks peeking - I really appreciate your help on this!

smile Sparkle. I have to admit I did a little dance when I got the email!

Loggle - am trying to prevent myself from following up with nasty comments.

In the first email I got from the head of the PE dept (not the teacher I was complaining about) he spelt misunderstanding as miss-understanding.

First draft of the reply said

I don't believe this is either a miss-understanding or a misunderstanding

But I removed it because I'm great at self-restraint. grin

Right - off to have a little tia-maria to celebrate stage one complete

Thanks everyone!

Peekingduck Tue 11-Feb-14 20:31:09

If you don't have that complaints procedure in your hand by let's say Thursday, ring up and ask where it is. If you go into school ask for it to be left in Reception for you to collect later in the day. They must have it, it is a legal requirement.

Peekingduck Tue 11-Feb-14 20:29:25

Lovely! Just what I was hoping for Chaos. Another element to your complaint, nicely documented. I'm sure you'll work through this fine once you see the procedure, it's normally quite straightforward.
I don't think you should engage in any more conversation or emails about this, just get the policy and use it. Document everything with dates in preparation. I think when you make the complaint, as you are going to mention the threats made, you should include a request for the Headteacher to consider if there are any Safeguarding issues to be addressed.

Good shot chaos - you got them to admit to it in writing grin

HollyMiamiFLA Tue 11-Feb-14 19:47:41

I think the Head of House is in for a bollocking from the Head of the School.

Is he also the one who said children should not "tell tales"?

chaosmonkey Tue 11-Feb-14 19:43:52

the bold bit is from the person who told me I would need to make a public apology - the head of house who is dealing with the issue...

innisglas Tue 11-Feb-14 19:34:25

Mmm, I'm actually more concerned about the boys being told that they cannot "tell tales" to their parents, that is sooo wrong in so many levels.

Logg1e Tue 11-Feb-14 19:22:04

I'd be tempted to ask, "so in how many cases (personal or otherwise) has a parent been made to offer a public apology?"

Only tempted though, 'cos you're right, they've done what you asked - clarified that it's false.

Logg1e Tue 11-Feb-14 19:20:33

"Purely personal and anecdotal"?? Who said that bit in bold?

chaosmonkey Tue 11-Feb-14 19:16:06

My comment about a public apology was purely personal and anecdotal and used to emphasise the seriousness of an allegation of bullying against a member of teaching staff. This is not school policy and I'm sorry if I led you to believe that this was so.

Is that the lovely sound of frantic back-pedaling, do you think?

Logg1e Tue 11-Feb-14 18:34:20

Sorry, I misread your post, I wrongly thought they'd asked you for more information on what you meant about the public apology. In that case I'd reply, thanking them for sending that out and asking them to clarify your other point, about a parent having to make a public apology if the outcome didn't go in their favour. You could say you were also curious about what, historically, had counted as "public" and how many times this had happened in the last two academic years.

chaosmonkey Tue 11-Feb-14 18:00:33

Further details on what? They are posting me the policies....

Logg1e Tue 11-Feb-14 17:26:34

Have you provided further details?

chaosmonkey Tue 11-Feb-14 17:03:33

ooh yes, I know that I've 'done' parentview before for the primary school - but now I'll consider putting something on that - depending on what happened.

Funnily enough, the response to my email asking for more info on the public apology said they'd post me the procedures and neither confirmed nor denied the public apology thing!

Peekingduck Tue 11-Feb-14 10:26:28

Oh, does everyone know about Parentview?
parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/
You know Ofsted look at that when they do an inspection don't you?

Peekingduck Tue 11-Feb-14 10:25:18

Holly - interesting you ask that. As far as I can see the Op of that particular thread didn't come back to update us. And yes, if I could have found that thread I would have copied and pasted. grin

I'll just say that most schools do their best to deal with complaints properly. And that in my experience they wouldn't accuse anyone of lying unless they were really sure of their facts. Also, there might be the odd rogue member of staff or HT coming out with daft stuff about public apologies etc, but the DfE would take a very different view.

HollyMiamiFLA Tue 11-Feb-14 09:38:50

And if you don't get anywhere, complain to OFSTED about bullying and behaviour. They take this seriously - and bullying is bullying be it by pupils or teachers.

They will also be very concerned about safeguarding as well. A standard question in teaching interviews is "How would you keep your pupils safe?"

HollyMiamiFLA Tue 11-Feb-14 09:37:06

Good luck.

There was a thread about a parent who had been accuses of lying by the school. It seemed the school just decided to ignore the complaint.

chaosmonkey Tue 11-Feb-14 09:35:17

Thanks all for your support and advice. I've emailed asking for the policies and for confirmation/further information about the 'full public apology'

I think that I'll put a complaint in, in the hope that the initial flashpoint (the boys and parents not supporting a rule which was unsafe) is removed, and maybe try to get them to agree that they shouldn't ignore complaints until key words are used, and then have a go at parents and kids for using keywords!

HollyMiamiFLA Mon 10-Feb-14 23:07:13

peekingduck

Did you cut and paste that from the last thread on complaints grin

I always wondered what happened to that complaint. Was it ignored?

Peekingduck Mon 10-Feb-14 23:05:53

There is some information you can ask the school office for while you decide what to do Op. Ask for the complaints procedure (which they have to have by law). This does not have to be published on their website, although it's good practice. The link to the school policies doesn't work on their site anyway... But they must produce it on request, and if you make a formal complaint they must follow it.
Like some others, I'm wondering about the safeguarding aspect, as it appears that students have been threatened. Statutory guidance requires that schools have a "Statement of procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff". You could ask for a copy of that as well and have a read.
If you decide to take this further make sure you know what outcome you want and state it when you put it in writing. It's really frustrating when a parent raises a complaint, gets to maybe a panel hearing of governors, but hasn't thought about what outcome they want. If an individual member of staff is involved then they can't give details of any disciplinary action, but would just assure you that action of some description had been taken.
The school cannot require that someone raising a complaint will have to make any sort of public apology if it's decided to be unfounded. That threat is grounds for a complaint in itself. I might be inclined to email whoever said that "With reference to out conversation, can I just ask you to confirm that if I make a complaint and it isn't upheld I will be required to make a public apology?". Answer could be interesting and worth keeping. If a complaint isn't upheld then that's the end of it, and normally the complainant will have been given enough information to agree that their concerns had been investigated and considered properly.
Ignore anyone telling you to "complain to the governors". If you decide to take this up then follow the procedure step by step. There is a stage after the governing body panel enquiry that gives you the chance to take a complaint to the DfE if you aren't satisfied with the outcome. That is in the complaints procedure. The school in question is "in category" as of the last Ofsted inspection - judged to be "Requires Improvement". Although their subsequent Section 8 inspection was favourable they aren't out of the woods and don't need a serious complaint getting to the DfE stage I'd have thought. Is it a Safeguarding issue? I'm not an expert on that, but staff threatening pupils qualifies I think.
This link www.education.gov.uk/schools/toolsandinitiatives/cuttingburdens/a00201669/statutory-policies-for-schools gives details of which policies schools are legally required to hold if anyone's interested.

Peekingduck Mon 10-Feb-14 22:43:09

I'm having a think about this one Op, will reply to your pm later.

HollyMiamiFLA Mon 10-Feb-14 22:15:44

I've been teaching for many years. I have discussed not letting children attend Xmas party unless their behaviour improves. That's a threat that can be carried out (but it would be really really mean).

But I would be appalled if a child felt unsafe or scared in my class.

chaosmonkey Mon 10-Feb-14 22:12:33

Thanks for your thoughts on this - I was starting to worry that the school were right and I was being unhinged...

That's what I thought Holly - I'm fairly certain I was told when DS1 was 2 never to make a threat that you can't carry out!

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