To confront head teacher

(57 Posts)
MissedTheBusHome Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:46

DD aged 7 should have got the bus home from school today.

Usual procedure is after lessons finish at 2:15 she waits in atrium and is collected by bus monitor and arrives at collection point 2:50.

Today she was not collected from atrium. She along with 6 other children were missed off the bus. The first I knew of this was when I received a call from person meeting her to say she hadn't arrived at collection point.

I rang school - for twenty mins I couldn't get through. After twenty mins the answer phone indicating the school office was now closed kicked in.

There is a second bus that runs to deal with DC's who do after school activities so I asked the person due to collect her to wait in case she was on that one. It usually arrives at 3:50. It eventually arrived at 4:15 and thank goodness DD was on it but I am fuming.

For almost an hour and a half I had no idea where she was or if she was safe.

The school obviously became aware at some point that she missed the bus but didn't think to call me to let me know all was ok.

I'm minded to head to school first thing tomorrow to let the HT have it with both barrels -AIBU

genuine a since I may have lost perspective due to another incident

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:14:21

So no adult in the school waited or noticed they were there. That's not good. Someone somewhere should have known.

Janeatthebarre Wed 05-Dec-12 13:15:28

I would definitely make a complaint. Why was she not collected from the Atrium? Some individual must be at fault here.

LemonBreeland Wed 05-Dec-12 13:16:56

I would be furious and be asking for a very thorough and speedy review of procedures. I can't imagine how you felt all that time no knowing where your DD was. School should have called you, never mind you having to constantly phone them and not get through.

lisad123 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:18:57

I would seriously be angry
It's my nightmare situation with dd1 who gets bus

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 13:20:14

Before "let the HT have it with both barrels" at least ask if he / she knows about it!

Fakebook Wed 05-Dec-12 13:21:36

Are you writing this from the future? confused

LadyBeagleBaublesandBells Wed 05-Dec-12 13:24:28

What's an atrium?

Mulledandmerry Wed 05-Dec-12 13:25:03

In which case Fakebook, there is still time to do something about it, but hopefully without interfering in the workings of time dr who Back on topic, I would be absolutely furious.

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Wed 05-Dec-12 13:25:36

perhaps from a different time zone...

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 05-Dec-12 13:27:53

Is there not a list on the bus to check everyone who should be there is there before the bus leaves. This is the protocol at DD's school.

HoHoHokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 05-Dec-12 13:28:18

I would go and speak to them.

Someone missed your dd and no one bothered to call you - i would be bloody furious!

Mulledandmerry Wed 05-Dec-12 13:30:37 are clever....darn, no wonder I never win at quiz nights grin

Rollmops Wed 05-Dec-12 13:48:34

Both barrels. As the head, she is ultimately responsible for the children in her school.
Both barrels and reload.

Fakebook Wed 05-Dec-12 13:51:12

Ladybeagles, an atrium is a chamber in the heart. I think.

Ah crwp. Bloody time zones.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:53:34

I'm normally pretty laid back about this sort of thing but I think that is really sloppy and troubling. Defintely let them now how unacceptable it is and how frightened you were

HoHoHokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Wed 05-Dec-12 13:53:50

Or Ladybeagles her daughter might have been asked to wait in an actual building and not someone's heart chamber!

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:54:06

We always have a member of staff wait with children who are not collected "by the usual route".

The system needs looking at.

NatashaBee Wed 05-Dec-12 13:56:17

Yes, rip the headteacher a new one. Surely every school must have a procedure to ensure all children are collected and a backup plan in case they're not picked up?

MissedTheBusHome Wed 05-Dec-12 13:57:31

Sorry not dr who style time travel - just a different time zone.

pendeen ultimately I don't actually care if the HT knows or not. He is responsible for ensuring that the proper policies and procedures are in place and that they are adhered to by his staff.

Not only did they fail to account for DD on the bus, they subsequently failed to notify me as soon as they became aware that she wasn't and in fact when a member of staff noticed (some 40 mins after the bus left) they were hanging around when they were taken to reception they were spare y berated by reception staff for not coming and notifying them earlier confused

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 14:01:39

Doesn't matter if you "don't care", you are likely to fare better if you are civilised rather than "rip the headteacher a new one"

HairyGrotter Wed 05-Dec-12 14:05:47

I'd be livid BUT I'd ask questions before storming in and ripping new arseholes. If the answers are not satisfactory and no apology is forthcoming, I'd commence the slaughter of the arseholes in spectacular style.

Answers first, actions later (if necessary)

MissedTheBusHome Wed 05-Dec-12 14:06:12

Well yes it does matter that I don't care whether he knows, because I won't be accepting a lack of knowledge on his part as an acceptable reason for the breach of procedures. In fact if by tomorrow he doesn't know I will consider it an additional failing that the matter hasn't been properly escalated to him internally.

I don't think I suggested I would be "ripping him a new one" did I hmm ?

fairylightsandtinsel Wed 05-Dec-12 14:06:52

I agree you need to speak to them but it is never productive to go in screaming and shouting or in an aggressive manner. Clearly mistakes were made and they need to be addressed but if you are unpleasant and confrontational you will put yourself in the wrong also and perhaps accomplish less. What is your aim, to improve the system so this doesn't happen again or just pick a fight?

LiveItUp Wed 05-Dec-12 14:17:21

YANBU. Sloppy procedures - quite a few failings by the sound of it. How could they just put your dd on another bus but not phone? How could they assume someone would still be waiting, and what would have happened if no-one was?

Get there early - the parents of the other six kids are likely to be lined up and looking for blood too.

mummytime Wed 05-Dec-12 14:51:50

Are you in the US? Because this sounds more likely to happen there than in the UK.

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 15:19:01

Most public sector organisations have a so-called 'zero tolerance' approach to customers who - in your own words "..let the HT have it with both barrels"

In the average hospital, council office or school anyone who behaved in that manner would be shown the door and told to come back when they could behave in a civil manner.

Besides which, most people react far better to a reasonable approach and are more likely to help.

ChasedByBees Wed 05-Dec-12 15:25:15

What makes you think letting them 'have it with both barrels' is going to be screamy and aggressive? For me it would be being clear about what I want to happen (i.e. review of procedures), being clear about my facts and being very firm in my arguements. It would be calm, logical and assertive - I'd describe that as giving both barrels so don't assume OP will be a screaming banshee.

OP I'd be furious too and insisting to know how it happened and what they plan to do to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 15:27:29

I will assume what I like based on the OP's comments however if she defines what she means then I am hapand py to retract my previous comment

socharlotte Wed 05-Dec-12 15:41:48

*Most public sector organisations have a so-called 'zero tolerance' approach to customers who - in your own words "..let the HT have it with both barrels"

I don't think they meant be abusive, just give him a bollocking !

MissedTheBusHome Wed 05-Dec-12 15:58:42

mummytime nope not US - although curious as to why you think it might be more likely there?

Also to clarify - I certainly have no intention of being abusive or discourteous. I do however wish to make it perfectly plain that what occurred today was absolutely unacceptable and I will not be accepting any excuses. I will also be making the point that the receptionist seeking to apportion blame to my DD for failing to notify her earlier was inappropriate.

Honestly I just can't believe a school could be so fucking stupid. Aside from the issues re her not being put on the bus, once the error was noted why why why would no one think to contact me?!

At the moment I'm debating turning up to school first thing v an email tonight.

ImperialSantaKnickers Wed 05-Dec-12 16:04:00

Do you know the parents of any of the other six children who were abandoned? A united front would give you a total of fourteen barrels to fire at the HT grin

twinklesparkles Wed 05-Dec-12 16:14:14

That's really unacceptable

Am glad your dc got home ok, hope the other kids did too

I'd definetely be having serious words with the headmmaster

Why wernt they collected from the atrium? :/

needsomeair Wed 05-Dec-12 16:15:27

I would send an email tonight. Make it clear, precise and detailed.

Say that you want a meeting first thing to discuss what you believe to be an appalling breakdown in procedure/security etc. and that you will report to the office first thing.

cumfy Wed 05-Dec-12 16:23:32

Think bus monitor will be getting both barrels.

MissedTheBusHome Wed 05-Dec-12 16:25:42

needsomeair yes I think email might be good idea - trying to compose now but I'm struggling - I am raging!

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 16:28:28


Fair enough, my error.

It was your "... I am fuming" in relation to the "... both barrels" which made me think of some of the more vociferous mums I have seen 'in action' at our school when things have gone wrong.

Panzee Wed 05-Dec-12 16:32:56

I am a teacher. If I had made an error like this I would expect both barrels. This is completely unacceptable and needs to be sorted.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Wed 05-Dec-12 16:34:58

If you know who the other 6 children are then I would try to contact their parents and organised a united front.

quoteunquote Wed 05-Dec-12 16:40:05

Suggest that in future that all children are collected from reception, then if there are any problems, the children are already in the care of the people who would be able to deal with it.

Clearly the system does not work at the moment as this incident has demonstrated , so by making sure the children are in a place of safety, the system is less likely to fail.

LeeCoakley Wed 05-Dec-12 16:42:57

Also, does the bus driver have a register of who should be on it? If there is a discrepancy he/she could put a call in to the school. If there are children missing or children who shouldn't be on it then there needs to be some way of accounting for them.

MissedTheBusHome Wed 05-Dec-12 18:57:39

No worries pendeen whilst I remain fuming I will be calm and collected.

There are so many failings:

No adult waiting with them
Monitor not accounting for their absence
When school realised they weren't on bus failing to notify me
Putting them on later bus without ensuring the would be collected.

I'm actually getting crosser - anyone of those failings would get me cross but all of them?!

Anyway I decided to email HT it will be waiting for him in the morning...will be interested to see what his response is. I am betting v defensive

whattodoo Wed 05-Dec-12 19:04:44

Wow, i'm not surprised you're fuming. Is DD ok? What have you told her to Di tomorrow at pick up/bus time?

ByTheWay1 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:19:59

There are many many ways a system can break down through no one person's fault... so I would make sure of all the facts before going in with all guns...

I would first - check with child, were they at the collection point for the monitor at the correct time and paying attention so they (the six) didn't miss anything - were they the only ones waiting to be taken by the bus monitor, or were they late or overlooked.

Was the bus monitor called away or taken ill at a crucial time?

The office should have contacted a parent when the kids were put on the later bus in case of pick up issues, but have you checked they have your correct number....

(your child could also have asked the reception to call you since they had not got the bus)

was there a problem with the bus? the second one didn't get there on time - did the one she was meant to get actually go?

just saying.... since I am one to jump to conclusions and end up with a red face when there is sometimes a convoluted combination of facts that have played out a totally different way to reach the same end....

mummytime Wed 05-Dec-12 19:22:25

US is where I know of there being two sets of buses, and depending on school procedures and age of children, children could "decide" to stay for the late bus.

I think the worse aspect is phones not being answered while children are still on the premises, although I have this with DCs senior school (which seems to assume after school all children can be contacted by phone, even though they are strict about their non-use during school hours).

kim147 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:42:12

Trying to contact a school after hometime is very very difficult. That can be a cause for concern.

showmethetoys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:55:40

I know this was not a lighthearted OP, but I am really LOLing at this thread!

ohfunnyface Wed 05-Dec-12 21:01:04

Awful system. Email ahead first then go in so you can be given some answers.

bamboostalks Wed 05-Dec-12 21:17:06

Why did the school finish up so early? Are you inIreland?

Rudolphstolemycarrots Wed 05-Dec-12 22:20:23

Make the complaint in writing so they have to record it officially. Chew his ear off when handing over the note?

needsomeair Thu 06-Dec-12 00:30:47

What is going to satisfy you?

A wholehearted apology for the abysmal f**k up (to both the parents AND the children who must have been quite worried)?
A forensic examination of "what went wrong"?
An assurance that procedures will be put in place to make sure this will NEVER happen again?

All of the above in writing wink

That's what I'd want as a minimum smile

sashh Thu 06-Dec-12 06:44:25

I understand why you are angry but I'm suprised that out of 7 children not one thought to go to reception and say they had missed the bus. And how did they miss the bus in the first place? I can sort of see one missing but seven?

From the times you have given the school found out she was not on the bus at the same time you did.

Do you know they were not trying to call you when you were phoning them?

I'm not saying that your dc was in anyway at fault,, what I am saying is that the procedure needs to be looked at.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Thu 06-Dec-12 06:56:03

This has happened a number of times with my older child (which isn't as worrying, but still concerning, especially considering how scattered he can be). I talked to the school and asked if there was anything that could be done because it really scared me and I was worried sick that something had happened to him. The special needs coordinator came up with some ideas and they worked.

I agree that getting cooperation and sympathy from the staff is more likely to get you what you want than tearing them to shreds.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Thu 06-Dec-12 06:56:25

sorry, my younger child who is older than yours is what I meant.

mummytime Thu 06-Dec-12 08:17:04

I am wondering (you sound like an ExPat, from the time zone comment) if the people local to you would worry about this. For example childrn in lots of European Countries are expected to make their way to and from school at a much younger age than in the UK. Much more like the situation when I was young.

Does your child have any SEN, and how old are they? Because these are all relevant factors.

MissedTheBusHome Thu 06-Dec-12 09:36:54

Ok trying to deal with all qs:

shhh. My DD was the eldest of the group at 7, as I think is usual with DC of her age she had very little concept of time. She knows she has to wait in the atrium to be collected and would have I think struggled to realise when she had been waiting "too long". Additionaly one of the fundamental rules we drum into her is that if she gets lost or someone doesn't collect wait where you are and someone will always find you.

I don't know when the school found out she hadn't been put on the bus - sometime after the first leaving at 2:15 and the second leaving which is usually about 3:15/25. The significant point is for at least one hour they knew she was somewhere other than she was supposed to be and no one thought to let me know (or check that she would be met from a bus she wasn't supposed to be on)

I absolutely know they weren't trying to phone me when I was phoning them. I used a landline number to call the school and I have a work and personal mobile that didn't rung the entire 1.5 hours. They have the two mobile numbers (which they contacted me on as recently as last wek) but not the landline.

No SN.

No idea why they missed the bus - they're supposed to be resorted from class to atrium where they are handed over to bus monitor. For context the school is huge: 2000+ students from 3-18. Home time is not a peaceful affair!

We're in middle east. Whilst some might argue there is a more relaxed culture re DC it's a major British school, the teachers are all Brits and had this happened to a local family heads would roll.....

mummytime Thu 06-Dec-12 10:54:08

I would then complain loudly and make it clear that you are not going to "shut up".

There could well be a culture of not acknowledging fault, and of if you do anything then you are the one who will be blamed. So if anyone had spotted the kids and tried to contact you, they would have been the one in the firing line.

I have to agree it is totally unacceptable in your circumstances, and the excuse of local culture does not apply.

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