is this (private) school BU or am I overreacting ?(21 Posts)
Name changed obviously.
I moved my dc school over a year ago to a small private school. At first it was all "ooh what lovely clothes" or whatever , but as soon as I started turning up in my working clothes there pretty much turned up those noses. (I work with farm animals and although never am dirty, I'm not in my "fancy" clothes). I just always got the feeling they (staff and parents) just thought I was riff raff.
Anyway I couldn't care much about that as it only affected me (head literally made a disgusted face when I rushed into parents evening in my tracksuit bottoms - I had to go lambing literally directly after)
So, anyway, my ex rocked up and decided to play games - playing hard done by and needing information. He uses it to harass me and I told the school please don't give him information. I didn't hear anything back so presumed they were going to stop.
I organised an assessment for dc1 because he has always had somewhat challenging behaviour - first noted at the refuge I went to away from my ex 5 years ago, and it's because of this I had to move his school to half the class size etc. Anyway they told my ex and organised the date with him and he told them to send me the bill (£750). It was I who had instigated this (because I've been worried about dc for years). They accidentally called my husband thinking it was my ex confirming the "go ahead". Obviously he had no idea what they were talking about and said call me. They didn't. When I called them about something unrelated I mentioned that they called my husband and what was it for - then they told me. The assement had been authorised by my ex but they were worried about how it would be paid - further digging showed he had told them to go ahead but Bill me, but he couldn't afford it and he doubted I could either. When I questioned him he started giving me abuse and saying dc didn't need any assements (he had no idea what it was for however, he just saw it as a chance to interfere with me) and i www a fuckwit mother etc. I said if he wants to authorise it behind my back (so I never would have known the date etc) then he could pay. He then called the school and cancelled it all.
So, I said to the school that why did they involve him as he doesn't have custody and wasn't anything to do with it - I had had a meeting with them at th end of last term to set this up and somehow they went to him to authorise it, we're going to Bill me and also let him then cancel it all without involving me. I then got a shitty email back saying they legally can tell him what they like until I have a court order.
I am going to court soon (my ex has a big history of games with me and dc and this was the straw that broke the camels back - he's never even been to the school) so until then I can't tell them anything because they seem to be getting a kick out of it.
My dc vomited at school and no one called me, so I kept dc off for 48 hours. They called me on the first morning demanding to know where he was so I said "he was sick on the carpet and informed two staff members and they told him to clear it up, however no one called me". They denied it and said he stuck his fingers down his throat (???) and expected him back that day or the next. He didn't look well so I kept him off the second day, as I had been sick also a few days before. I just listened to a message on my voicemail from that second day saying if I did not explain myself to them they were contacting "dad" to find out where dc was (??????!!!) . It was just the whole tone, I had already said I believed dc when they said they were unwell but still they wanted an excuse to give more info to my ex. They never are with him so he wouldn't even know - they should call my husband (who I had put on the records) if anyone.
They have started to refer to me as "Mrs ex" with a little shitty tone too.
My DC was also kicked by the parents committee s dc and I sent in the pictures of the bruises but they just ignored it. They removed my DC from an 11+ practise exam because he wasn't sitting it via their school (they never informed me that's how they did it) the day before his real exam and everyone was laughing at him saying he couldn't do the 11+ and was too stupid etc. In three parents evenings they never mentioned it despite me talking about the grammar options I was hoping for then blamed me that I didn't come to the information evening (i trawled through every email and I had no invite and no idea there was ever one).
Am I overthinking all of this? Can they tell my ex what they like? Th assessment was via an external person so it wasn't even exactly related to school but still they told him and not me. I'm so fed up, I'm not a confrontational person but after hearing the message today threatening me with calling my ex (this never happened on any other sickness days, nor unsurprisingly do they feel the "right" to contact them when the fees or clubs and trips money is due". Would they suddenly start getting my name confused with my ex?? It's a tiny school (like 6-12 kids per class) so it just seems odd after a year of being able to use my name they have started this, and that bloody tone they use !!
Wwyd? It's really getting to me
I'm not an expert but I would have thought that if your ex is your DC's father and has parental responsibility then the school are able to contact him unless there is a contact order. I don't know if you can just tell them not to discuss anything with him. But it's not right that they have allowed him to say you would pay for something he has approved and I would query why that was allowed.
And yes the school were shit not to tell you your DC had been sick but you should also have called them every day your child is off sick, that's just common knowledge surely?
It does sound as if the school has massive communication problems though and I would reconsider if this school is good for your DC.
In terms of the work clothes and vomit things, they're totally unacceptable - and so is them addressing you by your ex's surname.
But in terms of telling things about your son to your ex, and allowing your ex to authorise things, they are probably (legally) in the right. You said he doesn't have custody, but if he still has parental responsibility, he can still make decisions.
You have many issues going on with this school, request a meeting maybe?
Was your Ex ever put down as a contact or fee payer etc?
The clothes stuff sounds a bit daft, I wonder worry about that.
They refer to you as 'Mrs X'
Who does? The staff at school to your face?
You put your DS in this school because he has challenging behaviour- then you and your ex are playing out your disputes using school as the middle man. Maybe they are a bit pissed off.
Did you discuss your DSs needs with them and talk about his early experiences with ex-p, which were presumably tricky, before taking up the place and were they willing to provide support?
I think most probably they can give information if he has parental rights. However, I see no reason for them to give information to him and not you, nor to proactively give information to him about an assessment you have arranged. I would put things in writing with this school from now on, so that you can more easily demonstrate what has happened when you are complaining about the inappropriate way they are failing to communicate with you. Who is paying for the school? I expect it's you/your husband. I would write to them and set out clearly your expectations for how they will keep you fully informed, including informing you of anything they communicate to the ex. Of course the first thing you should probably do is find a better school for your child - the staff here sound horrible and don't appear to have any respect for you. take your custom elsewhere and write to the governors explaining why that is.
YANBU. They sound very unprofessional, judgemental and rude! You are waiting to go to court for a court order and I think they are very wrong to be contacting your ex at this time. They don't know what he might be capable of do they? For all they know he might be planning to abduct them. They are taking a big risk imo to be consulting him. They obviously will be very keen to get all fees and payments due to them but they have a duty of care to the children and need to be considered and sensible when it comes to contact. Communication over this and other situations sound very poorly managed.
What do you want to happen now?
Is DC1 happy at this school?
It sounds as though your ex has confused them with regards to parental rights; custody arrangements and whether or not you are divorced from each other. You need to focus and identify the main problems. They can't ignore your ex if he has parental responsibility. However, you can send them a letter requesting that they update their files to say:
* the name you want to use
* both you and your ex should receive copies of every correspondence and letter
* who is responsible for fees and hence that they should be the only party authorising spending. If the other party authorises spending then the school needs to pursue them
Outline how disappointed you are that your DC missed his assessment and ask them to suggest how this is rescheduled.
If your ex is a game-player, then you need to make everything clear in writing to the school. You're not suggesting anything untoward to ask for duplicates of all information or for the person who pays the fees to be the only person who can authorise spending.
If he has PR and there is no court order to say he is to have no information then they are legally obliged to provide it, whether you want them to or not.
Hi OP. The legal position here is that the school can give out personal information re your DS to any parent having parental responsibility (presumably both you and ex) in the absence of a court order limiting this. However, if the school has been given certain "markers" re the information, such as the background and history with your ex, they are required as a matter of best practice to take these into account and act accordingly, e.g in the case of the assessment it should have been common sense to speak to both of you. They have a discretion also under secondary legislation not to disclose information if disclosure could cause harm to anyone including you, your ex or DS. I would advise that a court order is put in place as soon as possible-speak to your solicitor about the wording of this re the school dealing with your ex. In light of all the other things you've mentioned though, perhaps a change of schools would be in order. Sorry you're going through this
The thing is I was the one who instigated the assessment because of what the ex put us through. Seems very odd then they go and tell him and don't tell me that they had organised the person to come then allowed him to cancel it. The wait is enormous (months). The other schools only tell him what he directly asks and only what they legally have to answer, they don't call him and tel him every detail of what I'm doing. They could have told me they were going to do this when I first asked them not to contact him. Now he has my email address from them etc. Even my husbands phone number. If it was a mistake that's one thing, but this one staff member seems to be getting a kick out of it all.
As for the sickness I talked with the staff member , I said he'd be off 48 hours . It didn't occur to me to ring again and say the same thing when I said he'd be back Monday. It looked more like an opportunity to show me they can call my ex whenever they like . They know my DC don't go there and wouldn't be there. Dc hadn't disappeared off the face off the earth, I had spoken to them. They were going to achieve nothing by calling my ex, expect knowingly causing me more hassle (I told them he had sent a lot of abuse about my DC assessment after they informed him and also sent abuse if my DC are ever late or unwell) it was after telling them this they have started to "threaten" to tell him.
Sounds like some kind of moral judgement against you to me OP. And I suspect that's your gut feeling too.
Is there another alternative? It doesn't sound like a good environment generally - laughing at him for being "too stupid" to take the 11 plus?
I think you are taking this far more personally than intended. Make an appointment with the nominated safeguarding officer (likely to be a senior teacher) to reiterate the reasons why ex shouldn't be involved in general communication about your dc. Agree if he has or he has a right to know but they should be capable if restricting what info is passed on if it puts your child at risk. Tbh it sounds as if your child is not a good fit there and you should review where he goes next.
I think in your position I would make a complaint about several things . They have no right to give your personal information or that of your husband to your ex. That should be obvious to them if they have any understanding of their obligations under the data protection act - and if they don 't I would be worried about that for other reasons. You should also complain about the assessment. Their actions in deciding to make this a matter controlled by your ex and failing to give information to you, means that your son's assessment will be delayed and this is not in his best interests, so they are failing in their duty of care to the child. I would also complain about the sickness event - on what basis have they decided your son was making this up? and also about the 11 plus matter - very poor communication.
You also have to go above the individual who seems to have decided she believes your ex rather than you. They sound obnoxious, does the school have any redeeming features? Is there any member of staff you could discuss this with?
They have started to call me Mrs Smith (smith being my exs surname and Brown being my actual surname) (for example) recently. Believe me they know we are divorced - I never even told them my husband wasn't the dcs dad. He just found it out and went there and demanded all the info. Me and husband pay the fees and go to parents evening. There is no confusion as to who the family unit is. They aren't even the same race to even slightly get confused.
I wish I could remove him but given his history I'm not sure it will be better - my ex will follow us everywhere doing these things. Luckily the state school the other dc go to are amazing and obviously allow my ex to come to parents evenings ( which he never has) and have reports etc (which is fine!) they don't tell him every time I'm 5 mins late, or if I moved house. My ex had tried to remove my husband from the records and lower me to second parent and him as main but they told me and sorted it. It's just this school that are acting like this. He's going to secondary in sept so maybe I'll just plough on. I'm gojng to sort the assessment not via the school now, which is a shame, because they won't not inform him if I organise it again (despite his abuse being the reason!!)
He's so manipulative that even 5 years later the mediator won't allow mediation (I had tried to set it up but they said no way)
It sound like the school are using calling your ex as a threat?
It's not unusual but it is unacceptable
If they've given out your email address and DH's phone number to your ex I'd ask for an investigation and explanation while you decide whether to go to the Information Commissioner. Fuckers.
Yes, the other school is using some common sense! If the school has given out yours and your husband's personal information that is a data breach and a matter for complaint-first raise it with the school and then the ICO. If your husband made a SAR for all your DS' personal info held by the school, in view of the situation with your ex they would need to go through the info and redact your personal info and your husband's and any other relevant third party personal info. A GP's surgery was recently fined by the ICO for a similar situation. I appreciate this is a wider issue though, so I can't stress enough, get to court asap.
er, there is a DPA breach in your ?second? post if they have given out your new husband's telephone number and your email address to your ex. This should be reported to your solicitor ahead of the court hearing as whomever has done that in the school could be prosecuted individually together with the school.
If your DC is not resident with your ex, does not have contact with your ex and the school is aware, then they should not be telephoning him with regard access/illness etc.
Ahead of the court case I would ask your solicitor to write to the school asking that as there are several issues awaiting judgement then they could prejudice the outcome of the hearing if they give out information to your ex without prior, written consent, and also mention that they will be referring the release of your & your husband's private contact details to the Information Commissioner with a view to seeking recompense.
Hopefully that will at least halt things for now. There is also a body that oversees all public schools in Britain - I cannot for the life of me remember what it is called at this moment but you should be able to contact them. Further, public schools whilst outside LEA control are still subject to Department of Education rules & regulations, and they will be able to advise you on how to move forward. I think the link to that is on the YouGov site.
Good luck and I hope you get this sorted
Unless your ds is particularly thriving there, I would whip him out of there quick. You want a school that has your son's best interests at heart, and this school just seem to enjoy mixing and stressing his mother out.
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