School governors- advice needed please

(20 Posts)
redmaroon Tue 08-Jul-14 19:50:52

If you respond in writing to a parental complaint would you have to run it past the Head to get their agreement to it before sending?

I am curious as after complaining about some very serious matters the Chair of Gov's refused to discuss these and issued threats warning that legal action would be taken against me if the concerns were raised again hmm.

rabbitstew Tue 08-Jul-14 19:54:35

You'd hope that with a reply like that, they'd spoken to the HT, other governors and a very good lawyer... Otherwise, such a reply would be extremely foolish!

nlondondad Wed 09-Jul-14 10:05:18

@rabbitstew

Absolutely right!

@redmaroon

If the school is a Community School, (local authority school) take the letter to your local councillor. If the school an academy of free school, take the letter to your MP. Taking legal action against someone for going to their elected representative would be a very serious matter.

That is the lowest cost way to raise the matter further.

Of course if you have the means, or the right kind of Household insurance, you could also go to a lawyer yourself!

apermanentheadache Wed 09-Jul-14 10:08:34

The school will have a complaints procedure. Ask for a copy and make sure you have followed all steps.

Have they said that they consider your complaints vexatious?

Frontier Wed 09-Jul-14 10:29:27

The Chair has threatened you with legal action, in writing?

Presumably, as you've complained to the Governors, rather than the head you'd you've already spoken to the head and exhausted that avenue and therefore, your complaint was effectively about the head (or the school/staff he manages, so the same thing). Therefore, I don't think it is necessary for the Chair to run his response past the head, although it wouldn't be unusual if he did.

I would hope that the Chair has taken proper advice from the School Governor's Assn or the LA before sending it though.

Agree with others, get the complaints procedure and follow it to the letter. If you've done that already, LA or local councillor.

redmaroon Wed 09-Jul-14 18:33:23

This happened a little while ago so I was just wondering whether the Head would be privy to school complaints or deny all knowledge. Someone high up in the school had to tell the Chair what had gone on though to enable them to write about the issues in the letter iykwim. The complaints policy was requested on several occasions but not provided (they will only provide policies to parents if the Head gives authority to do so). Before that they apparently had received no parental complaints in over 10 years so I wonder now if they even had a policy!.

The local authority would not get involved as they claimed it was a 'school matter' even though some of their staff were complicit in the events that occurred. A lot of denial and passing the buck went on so I didn't think it would be worthwhile contacting a local councillor as they may have acted in the same way. I believe the threats were being made to try to protect their reputation and to get me to back off as they knew I was correct in what I was complaining about. There were also various attempts made to discredit me to further detract from the issues. sad I know it all sounds very far fetched and unbelievable but sadly it's not.

standingonlego Wed 09-Jul-14 18:37:46

"only provide policies to parents if the Heads give authority" - what??? All our policies are on school website! Sounds like something dodgy going on, agree with previous posters on finding an alternative route.

redmaroon Wed 09-Jul-14 19:27:49

They are an 'outstanding'school though

BlinkingHeck Wed 09-Jul-14 19:38:23

It is difficult to advise when we don't know the full details.

I would imagine that the school would be very careful when answering with a letter like that.

Have you made accusations before?

Hakluyt Wed 09-Jul-14 19:41:41

The policies should be on the website -particularly for an outstanding school.

If you are sure you are in the right, why not call their bluff?

rabbitstew Wed 09-Jul-14 20:00:56

redmaroon - can you persuade a group of parents to put complaints about the school on Parentview, so as to trigger and Ofsted visit? Or are you the only unhappy parent, or the only parent aware of the need to complain?

rabbitstew Wed 09-Jul-14 20:06:46

ie are you a lone voice, or are there a lot of parents as unhappy as you?

apermanentheadache Wed 09-Jul-14 21:58:54

They refused to provide the complaints policy? That sounds decidedly odd. For maintained schools, the complaints procedure has to be published by law. Academies would usually be required to provide a copy of the complaints procedure on request, and publish the complaints procedure online.

If you've been through all stages of the school's complaints procedure, then the next thing to do is to complain to a) the Department for Education if it's a maintained school (e.g., community, VA, VC, Foundation school) or to the Education Funding Agency if it's an academy or free school.

The PP is right that you may be able to complain also to Ofsted. It has to be a 'qualifying complaint' thought - there is info on their website about what this means.

If you have a safeguarding concern that is not being dealt with, you can also go to the police.

apermanentheadache Wed 09-Jul-14 22:00:11

Can you tell us what the complaint concerns in broad terms - e.g., SEN provision, teaching and learning, safeguarding etc?

Tipsyandpimms Thu 10-Jul-14 21:30:29

I was just wondering if it would be appropriate to involve Ofsted at this stage?

apermanentheadache Thu 10-Jul-14 22:03:37

Ofsted may accept qualifying complaints once the school's full complaints procedure has been followed

redmaroon Fri 11-Jul-14 09:52:04

Don't mean to drip feed but O fsted did accept it as a qualifying complaint. Plenty of evidence of illegal acts,safeguarding concerns etc. Still rated outstanding though. I really don't know what the point is of raising issues and complaints to official bodies when no action gets taken anyway.

apermanentheadache Fri 11-Jul-14 11:04:48

Have they said they consider your complaints vexatious?

Hakluyt Fri 11-Jul-14 11:31:22

What sort of illegal acts?

teacherwith2kids Mon 14-Jul-14 19:06:16

Redmaroon,

Di Ofsted act on the qualifying complaint, inspect the school and still find it outstanding? Or has it not been inspected yet?

The first of these happened to a school I know of - the unexpected Ofsted inspection that was triggered judged the school to be outstanding in all aspects, but there was a specific recommendation to do with tightening up the publishing of the paperwork around the content of the complaint: ie the judgement seemed to be that there was no underlying issue of any substance, but there was an procedural issue of paperwork being circulated in exactly the right way with exactly the right names on it, and the school were asked to remedy it.

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