How should a head respond?

(13 Posts)
jmspbro Wed 13-Jul-16 08:48:12

So, parents write a letter to the school head, in response to the end of year school report. The letter highlights concerns, inconsistencies in the report and adds previous comments and actions by the teachers, as part of the concerns.

Upon receipt of the letter, does the head:

(a) contact the parents acknowledging the letter with a way forward?
(b) ask a deputy to contact the parents acknowledging the letter with a way forward?
(c) ask the teachers concerned to contact the parents?

What would you expect?

LIZS Wed 13-Jul-16 08:50:09

Any combination of , but the head should acknowledge the initial letter.

TheRollingCrone Wed 13-Jul-16 08:52:02

I don't know how a head "should" respond. But I think the head at my dd school would ask the parent in for a meeting to discuss possibly with the teacher, she is very responsive though and it's a small school.

What would you like to happen?

Feenie Wed 13-Jul-16 08:52:58

Their complaints policy should be on their website - it's a requirement. Your initial letter is the first stage, and hopefully there will be a time scale for each stage stated on the policy.

BerriesandLeaves Wed 13-Jul-16 08:57:03

I think it's always best to try and sort it out with the teachers concerned first rather than going above their head and complaining. For that reason if he has done C I can understand why.

TimeforaNNChange Wed 13-Jul-16 09:02:20

I would say C, depending on what the complaints policy says.

If the complaints policy states that the first stage of the process is for the class teacher to respond, then that is what must happen - irrespective of what the parent wants - because otherwise the class teacher would have a valid grievance/defence if the complaint is escalated and they are subsequently subject to disciplinary action.

Even an acknowledgement from the HT could be considered a breach of the process - and acknowledgement from the class teacher ensures that the parent knows the issue is being addressed.

DonkeyOaty Wed 13-Jul-16 09:07:26

I would expect c, and then follow school guidelines

jmspbro Wed 13-Jul-16 09:35:32

Thank you for your responses.

It wasn't a complaint as such, but pointing out issues that have been rumbling along all year, which the school report brought to a head. Teachers have been involved earlier in the year, so had the previous head and head of year. The letter was addressed to the new head.

In fact, (c) occurred via telephone calls, which resulted in denials and obfuscation. One teacher went as far as saying, "I do not know what to do with him". Him being DS1. The telephone calls were not conducive.

DS1 has quirks but did very well at his previous school. To use the same terminology, the previous school 'knew what to do with him'. Based on that I just had an expectation his present school, where he has completed his first year there, would do the same. The present school even engaged with the local pediatrician, who found nothing wrong with him and couldn't understand why he had been referred.

I now have a disengaged DS1 who says he is bored at school.

jmspbro Wed 13-Jul-16 09:50:48

The school's complaint procedure is confusing. On one hand, it says any concerns should be made to the head of school (it is part of a trust). Elsewhere the procedure states that the concern should be raised with the class teacher in the first instance.

I would say that our letter in response to the school report could not be classed as a first instance.

irvineoneohone Wed 13-Jul-16 10:03:43

If it was about school report, I would speak to class teacher first. confused

t4gnut Wed 13-Jul-16 10:54:20

If it is the first time you have put this issue in writing in this format then it is the first instance, and yes it is usual for the head to pass to the class teacher first as (a) class teacher will have direct knowledge (b) the aim is to diffuse and address at the lowest level and (c) the head will not want to undermine their staff.

If you are disatisfied with the verbal responses then follow the procedure and refer back to the head asking to meet and for an action plan to be drawn up.

jmspbro Wed 13-Jul-16 11:24:09

A verbal action plan was drawn up earlier in the school year, for example, 'we will phone you if homework has not been done'. This was never followed through. I just feel we have gone beyond dealing with the teachers.

Time to step back and calm down. Thereafter look at options.

Again, my thanks for the responses.

t4gnut Wed 13-Jul-16 11:41:53

Step it up beyond verbal - sadly you need to be in a position now to point to something in writing.

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