School refuses to give out name of the Chair of governing body

(60 Posts)
nialopes Wed 18-May-16 15:32:44

Hi a bit of advice needed.

I want to make a complaint about my daughter's primary school and the headteacher. I contacted the office and the admin person has point blank refused to give the name of the Chair of governing body of the school. She says she can not disclose such information and that I need to meet with Headteacher first. The complaint is about the headteacher so I refuse to meet with her.

So basically they can't tell me where to send my complaint and who to address it to? Can they actually keep this information a secret?

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 15:34:50

This information is statutory and should be published on their school website.

Your local county council education dept will have details of who the chair is, and potentially contact details for them as they keep a record of this (not sure about academies though)

If not, the latest ofsted report for a school names who the chair was at that time.

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 15:36:15

And yes, if a complaint is about HT then you absolutely need to take it up with the chair rather than the head teacher themselves.

Definitely get in touch with your local authority/ academy chain etc etc

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 15:40:09

thank you for responding smile

I called the local council but they don't have the information as it is a church school! Catholic primary school so they have no info . She advised me to write a letter and say :

In confidence for the attention of the clerk to the governors.

Is that ok?

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 15:42:54

Right in that case you can contact the diocese, they should also have details of who the chair of governors are and will have an education team.

I would be wary of the admin/ office staff opening your letter (or the head!), but obviously depends on what the content is as to whether this is a problem.

FishWithABicycle Wed 18-May-16 15:43:16

The name of the chair of governors is usually on any school's website - have you checked there? Both the nearby schools to me have a "meet the governors" page on their web site in the "community" section.

You wouldn't be able to get the home address to write to them though - that would be private information which the school shouldn't give out.

You may be able to find out via your Local Authority - I don't know the exact rules but I think most schools who have a board of governors have at least one governor who is appointed by and an employee of the Local Authority.

moocowmrs Wed 18-May-16 15:47:21

I would just ask around the other parents someone will know it's quite common knowledge usually. Just be vague !

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 15:49:52

You are right! I found the name of chair of governors on their website! What a joke...why wouldn't she tell me if who that is if it says it on the website?

I don't want to write to their personal address but where to send an official complaint. So the local council says I should send to the school's address but address it to the clerk

now not sure what to do....should I address it to the Chair of Governors or the clerk. Local council told me they have no right to open letter if I write in confidence

LemonBreeland Wed 18-May-16 15:51:57

If the Chair of Governors personal address is on the school website it would be fine to send the letter to them there. If not then you will have to send it to school.

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 15:53:27

Your LA are right, school have no right to open it but I've seen it done before as well as my bloody letters grrr...

You can address it to either the clerk (as in theory they deal with paperwork etc) or the chair (who will be the one who responds/investigates)

FishWithABicycle Wed 18-May-16 15:57:53

I would send two copies one addressed "In Confidence: [Name of Chair]" and one addressed "In Confidence: [Clerk to the Governors]"

I would also print out a 3rd copy and send it, with a formal (and polite!) covering letter saying that you a giving them this for their information, to the head teacher themselves. The first thing that any Chair of Governors will do on receipt of a letter about the Head will be to show it to them and ask for their side of it, so it's not like you can keep the complaint secret from the Head. So long as your letter is factually true then this shouldn't be any disadvantage. People have the right to know what they are accused of and by whom.

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 15:58:34

Thank you very much smile

I will send in signed for and will write In Confidence so hopefully they don't open it!

They have been bullying me into paying parental contribution which they say are voluntary. I struggle financially and can not contribute at th moment and told them that but they don't stop. I feel like they harass people to give them money for school trips which I said they should not organise if they don't have the budget for. Anyway today was the final straw because the reception emailed me to say it's a shame I am not willing to contribute at my child has had already so much from the school. Basically she in other words said...shame on me

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:02:34

Perfect FishWithABicycle that's exactly what I would do!

Thanks

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 16:04:24

Are you eligible for pupil premium funding? You usually are if you are also eligible for free school meals, even if you don't actually take these. My previous schools used money from pupil premium funding towards trips etc where voluntary contributions weren't/ couldn't be made.

Yes, it's frustrating from schools point of view if people don't pay for trips but they shouldn't be shaming you about this- they don't know your circumstances and it's not their job to judge.

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 16:07:13

Oh and when I worked in an area where majority of parents couldn't pay for expensive trips we either scaled back the costs or sought sponsorship/ alternate funding rather than pushing this onto parents.

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:08:32

To be honest I don't know. I give my daughter packed lunch . It's just difficult times at the moment. I appreciate that they need money to do all the trips but at the same time I'm not asking them to take my daughter on those trips. They do if they can. They constantly send emails, letters, text messages and they just say this is ho much you owe! I don't owe anything as they are not the bank or the credit card company. If it is voluntary then remind me one and stop , right

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:10:48

remind me once *

YesYABU Wed 18-May-16 16:11:29

Sure, I'd see what the chair has to say about it.

WorraLiberty Wed 18-May-16 16:11:42

I'm Chair of Govs at my local primary and all of my mail gets delivered to the school, addressed to 'Chair of Governors'.

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:12:21

And now also my daughter is going to secondary school in September so the school uniform there is like over 200 pounds so I am saving for that. I am not on benefits, I do work but am trying to pay off actual debt that I have so it's hard

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:15:42

WorraLiberty thank you will address it same

rainbowstardrops Wed 18-May-16 16:16:18

You can ask for the school's complaints policy. That will tell you who to write to and the process involved.

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:21:27

I have kept all their emails, I think I have 1 per month as a reminder and also text messages and letters that they give to my daughter. They do say that it is voluntary but then they keep reminding you constantly and it just says you have an outstanding balance to pay.

I have spoken to other parents and they kind of feel the same...it is voluntary but really not ! So they are forced to pay.

And I quote:
"we assumed you were willing to pay for some of the trips that Amy has already received as she has received so much already."

What kind of statement is this?

LemonBreeland Wed 18-May-16 16:22:57

Alternatively is there an email address for the Chair of Governors that you can use?

nialopes Wed 18-May-16 16:26:19

An email? I don't think there is....it was a battle finding out the name! I will just put it in writing.

I just hope that they stop doing this. My daughter is leaving in 2 months time but it is not fair on other parents

I'm grateful for all your help.

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