Do schools need to know about parents' criminal convictions?

(40 Posts)
Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 16:53:35

I have discovered something today about the father of one of my dd's closest friends. He was convicted a few years ago of something which I would consider would put his children at potential risk of serious harm within their home. Would school automatically know about this, and if not, should I say something? The child's attendance record is poor, but child seems well cared for and is lovely to speak to. My dd has been to their house on numerous occasions, but will not be going again following what I have found out today. Trying to be a bit cryptic to maintain confidentiality but I don't know what, if anything, to do!

VerySmallSqueak Mon 18-Nov-13 16:57:41

I think you should mind your own business tbh unless he's engaged in criminal activity now that you are aware of.

TheRobberBride Mon 18-Nov-13 17:00:10

Apart from the conviction, do you have any reason to believe the child is on danger? If you have any concerns, then social services rather than the school should be your first port of call. I would hope that they would already be aware of the situation though.

It is not your place to inform the school of this. If you have concerns then call social services. They wilkl then involve the school if they feel it is needed.

Greensleeves Mon 18-Nov-13 17:00:55

If he's a convicted sex offender who has targeted children, then yes I would

otherwise no

TheRobberBride Mon 18-Nov-13 17:02:24

* will

titchy Mon 18-Nov-13 17:03:17

Presumably SS do not agree his dcs are at risk in the home, if he's still there, so beak out.

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 17:03:24

That's the thing - I don't know. Could well be. I think all I can do is ensure the safety of my own child by not sending her there to play again. It is a shame for the child though as her father's actions are going to affect her friendships. Happy to have the child round to mine, but it is going to look a bit odd after a while that it is so one sided and I don't want to admit to the family what I know as it could be dangerous.

ChoudeBruxelles Mon 18-Nov-13 17:04:36

I presume if he has convictions that would put his own children at risk ss would be involved already and would advise the school anyway. The school is not going to let you know personal details about another pupil and their family

Greensleeves Mon 18-Nov-13 17:05:21

yes titchy because no child has ever slipped through the omnipotent net of SS hmm

thousands of children are at risk and still living with their abusers. No idea whether that is the case here or not, but your comment makes no sense.

meditrina Mon 18-Nov-13 17:05:21

If he is/was on probation after his sentence, and if the offence was relevant to the school environment, then it's possible that this will already be known/monitored.

If heis just dropping off and picking up, then it may not be a issue either.

If he wants to volunteer in the school then he would need a CRB check, and offences will come to light and the school would have to decide if his record is compatible with access to pupils or not.

The school however cannot disclose the criminal record of one parent to third parties, including other parents.

ChoudeBruxelles Mon 18-Nov-13 17:05:29

Also how do you know what you've heard is true?

titchy Mon 18-Nov-13 17:09:37

I think when someone has been convicted they're a lot more visible to SS. If OP is genuinely concerned about the well being of a child (any child) she should ring SS. Assuming what she knows is accurate and not hearsay and genuinely puts a child at risk.

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 17:16:50

Google produced news reports which confirmed it is true. Offence not directly related to children, but involves violence as well as production of dangerous substances. I doubt he would pass a crb check but then he's unlikely to volunteer I would have thought.

I would guess the EWO is already involved because of school attendance but don't know if they would be on the lookout for other problems, which they may be more concerned with if they knew the history. At first impression the family is friendly, well-off and respectable-seeming - probably quite capable of lying/misleading a social worker if questions were asked.

Probably shouldn't do anything then.

Blu Mon 18-Nov-13 17:16:53

If it was a sex offence he would be on the sex offenders register and social servoces would be very aware of the family.

If it was something SS would consider put his children under continued risk, they will be aware.

It isn't your job to go passing on things you have 'heard' to the school, and you could well look like a judgemental busybody.

Suppose he is a completely reformed character? Does he not get a second chance now his conviction is spent?

If you have serious evidence that the children could be at risk of harm now then you should tell the school or SS, yes.

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 17:22:38

There is a reason why I think something strange might be going on now, but I can't say what it is as it would be too identifying. I don't believe the child is in immediate danger though so I think i'll just keep quiet and hope he's a reformed character. Still not sending my dd round for tea though!

auntpetunia Mon 18-Nov-13 17:35:29

If you are in any a concerned phone social services anonymously, they have to act.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 18-Nov-13 18:18:25

This was all a few years ago,and presumably you've had no concerns about your child going round until this came to light.

So your judgement was that there was nothing untoward going on then.

I think your posts are all too cryptic to be able to offer serious advice.

If you seriously believe he's up to his antics again then I would just keep my distance and telephone the police/ss if you have enough grounds to.

But I hope you're not reading stuff into this that isn't there,just because of the information you heard today, because this is another family's life that you're dealing with.

HedgeHogGroup Mon 18-Nov-13 18:39:09

They would need to know if he volunteered to go on a school trip.

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 18:43:40

I did have a concern last year with something the child said to me which I mentioned to her teacher, so this is not completely unsurprising, however it is much more serious than I would have guessed. I think keeping distance is the way to go, unless evidence presents itself.

I do get what you mean about reading too much into this, but the more I think about it, the more other strange bits and pieces fit into place. I don't think I am making too much of it, but I will definitely consider that point before doing anything. Thanks

tiggytape Mon 18-Nov-13 19:04:16

There's no such thing as "beak out" if you have any concerns about a child's welfare.

Yes hopefully, if he does present a potential danger to any child, his situation would be known and monitored. But things don't always happen as they should. Changes aren't always updated. The people who need to know don't always know. Information isn't always passed on or shared.

Regardless of his prior conviction, if this child has said something to you that leads you to question their safety or wellbeing it is your absolute duty to report it. If you want to go via the school rather than SS (if that feels less intimidating) then do that. The staff at the school will take the appropriate action in passing information to SS from there.

I understand people’s reluctance to stir up trouble for something that may be nothing or may be coloured by finding out recently about his past but keeping quiet / minding your own business / waiting for concrete evidence is not the way to go if you have even a vague suspicion that all might not be well. This unfortunately is how children slip through the net.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 18-Nov-13 19:10:32

I have to agree that if there have been concerns before,then perhaps you should follow what seems to be your gut instinct.

I was thinking this was possibly a knee jerk reaction on just finding out today about the prior convictions,but if it is acting as tying together little pieces that have concerned you (yet you haven't been able to add them up to make a whole) then I think you should act and pass on your concerns.

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 19:17:56

Thanks tiggytape. The child hasn't said anything to me recently (since last year) but she rings alarm bells for me because she is very quiet and "buttoned up". It wouldn't surprise me at all if she is told not to mention certain things to anyone and she has always seemed very wary of her father.

They have moved house since the offence was committed and he goes by his middle name rather than his first name - not sure if that has always been the case - so I don't know if that would be enough for social services to have been shaken off if there was involvement once he was released.

I don't feel there is anything for me to report at the moment, but I just wondered if school should/would be aware of the potential risk involved to the child to keep a closer eye out for her.

crazymum53 Mon 18-Nov-13 19:18:54

It does seem to be a shame to discontinue the friendship - it isn't the child's fault. Instead of going round to each others houses would it be possible to meet in a public place such as soft play or a park instead?

There have been cases where people have been mixed up with others of similar name due to Google searches, so there is a possibility that your information may not be fully accurate. However if there are concerns based on what you have seen and heard it would be worth having a word with an appropriate professional (probably the teacher in this case).

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 19:19:49

thanks verysmallsqueak - x-posted.

No - I hadn't considered everything completely fine before, this just as you say "ties together the little pieces".

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 19:22:11

I don't want to discontinue the friendship - the child is lovely! However my dd will not be going to their home again. This will be hard to explain to the mum without letting on that I know, so not quite sure how to manage that bit.

Don't think it is a case of mistaken identity - most of the home address was in the report too.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Mon 18-Nov-13 19:31:56

Maybe you should just be up front and tell the mum your concerns.

VerySmallSqueak Mon 18-Nov-13 19:44:18

If you are concerned that he is re-visiting his violent past,I am not sure I would want to be too up front tbh.

If I was going to pass my concerns on I would probably do so quietly.

rwepi Mon 18-Nov-13 19:46:41

I think you should call SS. If they already know then no harm done, especially as the information is already in the public domain. If they don't then you may have helped.

I wouldn't tell the school. SS will if they think there's a need. The only "action" the school can take is to tell SS.

soundedbetterinmyhead Mon 18-Nov-13 19:53:35

If the name and address has been reported in the papers, I expect the mum won't be at all surprised for you to approach her and explain that although you value her friendship, you're going to have to redraw some boundaries in the light of how this information makes you feel about your DD going to her house. If you do this sensitively and privately, she might be relieved to talk to someone about it - it's a big load for a non-offending partner to carry.

There's no need to tell the school though - if you have any concerns about the child, ring SS - they'll take an anonymous referral.

Runoutofideas Mon 18-Nov-13 19:56:43

Lumpy - I think that might be a very bad idea! I just don't know what he is capable of, and don't want to get on the wrong side of him.

Thanks all for your comments.

Lakota Mon 18-Nov-13 19:58:05

I'm guessing this is a conviction involving drugs - the making of them in the home? I agree with soundedbetterinmyhead re how to handle it, if asked why your daughter isn't visiting any more.

Lakota Mon 18-Nov-13 20:01:31

Cross-posted.
In that case I would always have prior engagements if invited, but continue to be friendly and welcoming and issue invites to your own home. They will probably know why you've stopped letting your daughter round but be relieved you haven't nixed the friendship altogether. Anon call to SS for any ongoing concerns re the child's safety in her own house.

FrussoNeedsGin Mon 18-Nov-13 20:11:32

Why don't you ask the mum?

Runoutofideas Sun 24-Nov-13 12:14:55

Just as an update for anyone who commented on this thread - sorry for being so cryptic but it appears there was good reason. I mentioned to the head teacher that I was concerned about the child as she had been absent from school. The mum and children are currently being protected by the authorities and it is doubtful that the child will return to school. Feel desperately sad for all of them and hope that they are able to have happy, fulfilled lives in the future.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Mon 25-Nov-13 12:04:19

I am glad you mentioned it and I am shocked people on hear are saying 'beak out' etc. When it comes to safeguarding children (or anyone for that matter) then minding your own business does not apply EVER. If there is a misunderstanding or nothing untoward is actually happening then that is fine if you have dealt with it in the correct way ie going to a professional such as a HT or SW rather than accusing or gossiping then there should not be a problem

You should never go home worried about the welfare of a child!!

Runoutofideas Mon 25-Nov-13 12:48:31

Thanks cloverkiss. I now feel really bad that I didn't try to offer the mum more help before. She and the children have clearly had a terrible time. I hope she stays strong, stays away and is able to rebuild their lives. Now I just need to break it to my dd that her friend is not coming back..... sad

CloverkissSparklecheeks Mon 25-Nov-13 15:14:59

I think it is very difficult to offer help early on as you never know what the reaction from the family themselves will be. I think we are all very cautious about getting involved especially when many peoples opinions are that it is none of your business.

You shouldn't feel bad as you didn't know the situation before and once you did you talked to someone about it.

titchy Mon 25-Nov-13 16:47:30

Clearly a very sad situation for that family - but someone actually told you the family was under some sort of protection? Jesus I hope whoever told you isn't always such a blabbermouth- its disgraceful that a professional should have told you such obviously confidential information.

titchy Mon 25-Nov-13 16:47:54

Clearly a very sad situation for that family - but someone actually told you the family was under some sort of protection? Jesus I hope whoever told you isn't always such a blabbermouth- its disgraceful that a professional should have told you such obviously confidential information.

Runoutofideas Mon 25-Nov-13 18:15:51

Titchy - it became necessary because of the current behaviour of the dad. Person who told me didn't really have much choice in the matter at the time.

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