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Not allowed to talk about anything to do with DD's school on any social networking sites.....

(82 Posts)

And I have to sign something to say that a)I won't, and b)I acknowledge I could be prosecuted.

Any thoughts?

I'm a bit worried about sending dd to a school with such a gagging order.

And, have I just breeched the terms and conditions already?

Second question:

Is MN a social networking site?

ouryve Tue 18-Jun-13 14:38:36

It seems very OTT. Prosecuted for what, exactly?

We were simply reminded not to say anything we wouldn't say openly, face to face.

ouryve Tue 18-Jun-13 14:39:21

Plus, the kids' school is on twitter, anyhow!

TwiglightZone Tue 18-Jun-13 14:41:23

I'm not a lawyer so this is only my opinion. I would say that MN IS a social networking site. But I would refuse on principal to sign anything to say that I won't post. If it is a complete T&C with various bits and pieces which you have to sign, I would strike-through those clauses, and initial your strikethrough.

SuperiorCat Tue 18-Jun-13 14:44:32

Sounds bollocks to me. IIRC only the CPS can prosecute. They just don't want people moaning on facebook.

I suppose I could do that. Not keen to fall out with a school dd isn't yet attending though.

I bit annoyed with them any how because they have given us a date for home visits and stated that they cannot be moved under any circumstances.

When I phoned up to tell them that I could not make that date because it was ds' first day in his new class at his SS, and we had been asked to accompany, the answer was short and sweet 'then you won't get a visit'.

Bloody inflexible, intolerant bunch. I imagine I will have quite a need to write lengthy posts about them in the future.

Is MNSN a social networking site or a support group, or an informational forum?

Hmm, I'd strike through those parts as well. They really mean Facebook and other sites where the information isn't anonymous, I guess.

Perhaps clarify that you use information forums where the information is general and anonymous, but you won't discuss the school on Facebook?

Just got an email saying that they will not be rescheduling dd's home visit.

BAD start.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 15:00:43

First, as others have said, prosecuted for what precisely? There are , of course, laws on defamation but if you are telling the truth and not identifying anyone, that's not relevant. There are laws on data protection, but again, if you are not in a position to release protected data, no relevance there. Very odd.

Secondly, Mumsnet is defined on wiki as a website with discussion forums. Wiki defines a social networking site here

However, MN describe themselves as "the UK’s biggest social network for parents".

Thirdly, how on earth do they think they are going to 'police' this? Seriously hmm Spy on people??

Fourthly, what happened to freedom of expression??

I don't think you are being difficult to ask them to clarify their comments about people being prosecuted as this is very intimidatory.

I've got bigger fish to fry seemingly.

Their refusal to change the home visit time as a 'reasonable adjustment' to accommodate a situation arising from disability.

Damn it! We CHOSE this school for dd. Starting to regret it.

So I can reword it to state I will not use names nor lie but reserve my right to freedom of speech.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 15:13:34

I think you can say I reserve my lawful right to freedom of speech - end of.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 18-Jun-13 15:14:53

Quote the EHRA at them - I think one of the first clauses is freedom of speech!

Also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 18-Jun-13 15:18:24

From the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights -

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


They have an ASD unit, a SENCo AND an INCo.

You'd think they'd get the fact that I am expected to accompany ds with ASD to school on his first day and therefore am not available for dd's home visit and make the fecking REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT of giving me another time.

And besides, I have quite a bit of information they OUGHT to know about dd as a young carer, that I am unhappy putting in written form.


Thank you Bluebird.

What a funny school hmm confused

You know what is really sad?

DD has had such a wonderful year and so have I, schoolwise. Her nursery teacher (attached to another school, not this crazy one) has hugely restored my faith in teachers and I was looking forward to dd's school career. Now I am dreading it.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 15:33:13

UNDHR not enforceable in this country. If you want to quote enforceable law, quote the Human Rights Act which implements the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 10 sets out the right to FoE.

This is a qualified right which means it is not absolute and can be limited by law but if you use the word 'lawful' that covers you.

You know what?

I'm not sure I can do this again. I called the council and confirmed that dd would be first on the waiting list at another outstanding school (the one she currently attends at nursery) should I email them and request she is put on it.

Just need to speak to dh and think on it.

However, as some of you know by now, I always have to have a plan B. It helps me be brazen in my determination to make Plan A work.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 18-Jun-13 15:40:36

Dammit ie, you've ruined my budding career as 'internet 'uman rights lawyer for hire'!! grin

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 15:44:00

Make all the inquiries you can Star until you feel comfortable. I would be put off by that

Bluebird - happy to explain the distinction between international treaty law and domestic law to kick start that HR career!!

Can your run a MN academy on it?

You know I'm so pissed off I want to cry.

Perhaps I can make an assumption that the decision stuff about not moving home visit date (which I think is fairly important for us due to dd being a young carer and some concerns I have for her that may impact on her learning), is just a jobsworth office bod thing and if I request my email is raised to the HT there may be more accommodation!?

Then again I wonder if there will given the HT probably sanctioned or instigated the gagging order.

mymatemax Tue 18-Jun-13 17:08:07

just dont sign it, what can they do? Im sure it doesnt form part of the local LEA admission process.

Fck'em I say, Fck'em!!

Do you think your dd will be ok without a home visit, if so dont worry, just saved yourself some extra tidying up ;)

If I'm honest, - probably she'll be more than fine. They'll get to know her quickly because she's starting with a small group on the first day and will probably be one of just a few staying the whole day and for lunch. We'll probably make a communication passport for her too, just because when I did it for ds all the teachers said how wonderful it was and that they would have loved something for their other children.

I'm just rattled by the autocratic inflexible nature of the communications and feel it doesn't bode well.

It is also a breach of the DDA to refuse to make a reasonable adjustment for her in light of us being elsewhere on the day due to an unavoidable appointment regarding ds' disability. They have responded in their email that they are sorry the date is 'inconvenient' for us.

I could leave it, but feel I ought to correct their mistake, even if no home visit is forthcoming.

zzzzz Tue 18-Jun-13 17:21:45

On the gagging doc, just don't sign it.

On the visit, just phone again and ask to speak to the head.

mymatemax Tue 18-Jun-13 17:23:27

I'm feeling all hippy & relaxed today, so personally I would just let it go & allow them a little error of judgement.
Just in case the school is the right one for your dd, you've plenty of time to change your mind & move her if they do end up being crap

mymatemax Tue 18-Jun-13 17:26:24

Oh but I wouldnt sign.

Our school did send a letter home asking parents not to post photos of children other than there own in school uniform on FB or similar. There are looked after children at the school who are at greater risk if their school is identified

They apologised via email that the time and date wasn't convenient.

I'm about to reply:

Thank you for your email. I'd just like to clarify that we were not requesting a reasonable adjustment for our convenience but to account for our responsibilities to our child who has a disability.

I am sorry that you feel excluding our daughter from the home visit schedule is the only remedy to this.

What do you think?

Perhaps you're right Mymate, but on the other hand I need to figure out if I even want to send her there and I'd rather have a blow up now and move her in time than halfway through the year.

A big apology and a bunch of flowers plus an invitation to high tea with the HT would probably help.......

cornyblend37 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:43:45

Can't believe they won't change the poxy home visit date.
And yes I think you're probably right that they are in breach of the DDA as dd is being penalised due to her brother's disability because they are refusing to make a reasonable adjustment. ggrrrr!

cornyblend37 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:44:33

but yes I agree with mymatemax
I would probably quietly seethe and let it go

googlyeyes Tue 18-Jun-13 17:46:30

Fwiw I will actively be dodging ds2's home visit. I don't think they make one iota of difference re how your child settled at school and in fact I find them faintly sinister. I really don't like the thought that the teacher knows which kids live in the immaculate mansions and which live in the smaller, more chaotic abodes. I don't think they can help but form judgements and I just wish she could start the year with a completely neutral viewpoint (as much as possible, at least)

That's true you have a point googly.

A friend of mine suggested that I did send it however, in order to warn them from the outset that there will be some accommodation required from them.

5madthings Tue 18-Jun-13 17:52:37

I wouldnt sign it and tbh that and the issuw with the home visit being so inflexible would really put me off.

Email back expkaining you need home visit changed due to special needs of your other child and see what they say. Or if they know that already say you are disappointed that they coukdnt make a reasonable adjustment for special circumstances.

You dont want to go in all guns blazing but i would (after they move the appointment) say that the process has not been the mosr welcoming of starts.

zzzzz Tue 18-Jun-13 17:53:47

I too find the home visit thing frankly weird. Such blatant "please let me snoop so I can pigeon hole you". shock

5madthings Tue 18-Jun-13 17:55:14

Oh i agree with googly re home visits, they make me uncomfortable. We never had one but if you feel it would be beneficial foryou and dd given her young carer status etc to have one then the school should make reasonable arrangements so she can have one.

I don't think dd needs the home visit tbh. I think it's more THEM that need it. She's quite a one.

I'll just let her loose on them without warning and they'll either sink or swim, - so good luck to them......

MumuDeLulu Tue 18-Jun-13 18:47:36

Hmm, I think it's already doomed, tbh.

1) issuing high-handed commands, without explanation, about what consenting adults without any contract of employment can say in public
2) 'policy' to visit each home (not offer) & no attempt at convenience
3) poor choice of tone in home visit invite
4) general inflexibility and default 'discrimination by association'
5) probably 'well in' with the LA, as hosts the in-county ASD unit
6) subtle traits of ofsted outstanding/ league table / oversubscribed etc

Don't email. 'Pop in' to drop off a little note instead. And from reception's response to that, you'll get a feel for if the jobsworth 'computer-says-no attitude' is the dominant culture. In which case, run for the hills.

MumuDeLulu Tue 18-Jun-13 18:49:11

And I'd be really wary of letting your ds gain a sibling link to what sounds like the main local alternative to his special school.

zzzzz Tue 18-Jun-13 18:56:14

Mumu that is scary but sounds horribly accurate. shock

cansu Tue 18-Jun-13 18:59:29

Tbh home visit is a waste of time. I suppose they have an automatic policy of not rescheduling because they are struggling to fit them in in the short time span allowed. Reception teacher has to be covered while she does them, so if they change times she may need another couple of hours cover etc. I know it seems like they are being unreasonable but I think you need to see the bigger picture. I wouldn't write the school off because they couldn't make this change for you. Personally I would write a note saying thanks for the offer of the home visit but you can't manage it because of the appointment at ss for ds. If they are able to reschedule then you'd be happy to meet but if not you will phone the teacher for a brief chat about your dd before she starts. I have so many things to get pissed off about that I wouldn't make this one of them tbh.

Mumu Thank you for that list. I was struggling with dh, but you know, boys like lists (wild generalisation).

I'm not worried about sibling link for ds. The school were already consulted and refused him. Too expensive severe!

Can I add to your list?

7) Just become an academy


PolterGoose Tue 18-Jun-13 19:21:56

I wouldn't sign that form either.

Remember it's the Equality Act now and that it prohibits discrimination of people associated with those with protected characteristics. Although tbh do you really want/need a home visit?

MumuDeLulu Tue 18-Jun-13 19:27:44

Cansu, normally I'd agree with you about not getting uptight about one stupid visit etc. It's the wider pattern that makes me a bit twitchy.

Do you know what? I don't want a home visit.

What I want is to experience for the first time, the normal ritual of having your child start school for the first time with all the procedures and excitement and ridiculous home visits etc., without it being overshadowed and ruined by fear, fighting and hostility.

I guess it's just not in my stars.........

Maybe I'll get that with no. 3.

MumuDeLulu Tue 18-Jun-13 19:29:29

Find a nice helpful school, preferably on a sink estate.

ALL the schools are full.

Seriously. Most have bulge classes too. What on earth was happening 5 years ago?

MumuDeLulu Tue 18-Jun-13 19:32:23

We'll be thinking of secondary soon enough. I'm scouring the league tables looking for the best schools.
My criteria are the worst ofsted, A'level lowest-performing, and/or highest % of FSM / EAL / SEN etc

MumuDeLulu Tue 18-Jun-13 19:33:55

The subjects of the 1971 demographic bulge were mating


I think that plus the beginning of recession and redundancies making it a career decision for many women who were planning on pregnancies but 'waiting for the right time'.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 18-Jun-13 19:40:28

Starlight <hug> It's a sodding nightmare isn't it! I detest homevisits - pointless snooping activity I think... so I'd be happy not to have one. However, I would not be happy about their attitude - it shows a total lack of ability to work with you. I wouldn't send a child into that environment. I'd be putting her name down on the waiting list elsewhere.


inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 19:45:54

Polter - associated discrimination only applies to direct discrimination and not the need to make reasonable adjustments for a disability.

So it doesn't apply in my case?

PolterGoose Tue 18-Jun-13 19:52:50

Ok, thanks ie I had interpreted it as Star being treated less favourably (missing out on home visit) because of her association with her ds who does have a protected characteristic? So that wouldn't count?

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 20:20:18

The problem is that direct discrimination means what it says, you have to treat someone differently because of their disability.

You have to approach it this way:

Imagine Ms X rings up school and says, I can't do home visit on that day because I am working and school says, we can't re-arrange, it is a one-off thing, so you've had it.

Then Ms Y rings and says I can't do home visit on that day because I have to collect my child who has a disability from school and school says, we can't re-arrange, it is a one-off thing, so you've had it.

The reason they are saying no to re-arranging is because they are arses, not because of the disability.

If the reasonable adjustment duty applied to associated discrimination, Ms Y could say well you have to make an exception (a reasonable adjustment) in my case because of my child's disability.

But the reasonable adjustment duty does not apply so they are just arses.

PolterGoose Tue 18-Jun-13 20:23:28

Thank you for such a clear explanation flowers

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 20:25:28

Did you notice the technical language - I have got multiple degrees in the language of 'arses' grin

So my email should really say:

Just sending an email to clarify that the reason I am unavailable for a home visit is due to our responsibility to or ds at that time.

I am sorry that you have chosen to be arses.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 18-Jun-13 20:31:31

How about:

Just sending an email to clarify that the reason I am unavailable for a home visit is due to our responsibility to our disabled ds at that time.

I am sorry that you could not accommodate this as it places carers at a significant disadvantage.

They won't know jackshit about the EA. That's a technical term too.

PolterGoose Tue 18-Jun-13 20:33:28


bochead Tue 18-Jun-13 20:33:52

I agree with Mumlulu's list and would sadly have to decline the place and sit it out on a waiting list for elsewhere. Too many red flags methinks & it's horrid once the child has started to fall out.

No way would I sign any gagging clause, out of sheer principle tbh (I don't even have a FB account). If the schools alright, then why the need to shut you up before you even walk through the gates?

coff33pot Tue 18-Jun-13 23:34:46

I am the most awful suspicious person since battling for DS and reading what goes on around our SN corner with regards to some schools and if I am honest I wouldnt touch this one with a barge pole x Follow your instincts you are good at that smile

Would not ever sign something so Orwellian in nature. Even the Americans would not do this.

I'd also be looking at other schools for your DD. This place could well become a DFS - disaster from the start.

Can't persuade DH.......

He can sign the stupid thing then!

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 08:51:58

Why not?

What part of this does he find acceptable?

What part of this leads him to believe that they will work with you to accommodate DD's needs?

Why is he getting the final say?

How involved is he with her schooling?


Sent email. Lost enthusiasm for home visit.

Doubt it will be DFS though as dd is probably one of their desired cohort. Autumn born articulate and confident girl who tells the teachers every 5 minutes how much she appreciates whatever activity they have laid out and gets cross on the last day of the week as weekends are boring and she 'wants to learn things'.

He thinks it is a small price to pay for an 'excellent school'.

I guess we differ in our interpretation of excellent.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 09:00:15

Did you ask him how them being completely unprepared to change the date of a home visit makes it an 'excellent' school?

Does he just think this is about you being able to post on MN?

No. I don't think so.

I think he thinks that they are being like this because the home visit isn't important, so they're not prepared to bust a gut for something so worthless, and that they have either had a 'situation' regarding facebook that they are trying to avoid repeating or it was just ill thought out.

crazeelaydee Wed 19-Jun-13 10:05:23

Hmm strange, I'm guessing they have had similar happen before then? makes you ponder a bit about what that could of been about?

I find it slightly unsettling that they need to cover their arses just incase confused

amistillsexy Wed 19-Jun-13 10:25:18

Star, if I were you, I'd be looking to find a more flexible, accommodating school for DD.

With the best will and the most spiffing organisational skills in the WOrld, having a child with additional needs often means that you get called to do things with them unexpectedly. This call often (IME!) happens just at the time when you should be colllecting your other child/ren from their local school. That's when you need them to be sensitive and accommodating. The rigid, inflexible rules they are already imposing suggest to me that they won't take too kindly to a last-minute call at 3.15 telling them you're at DS's SS dealig with an emergency incident, so can they please keep DD safe for half an hour while you sort something out?

Although the local school my youngest two attend has many failings, I know in an emergency they'll look after my two, keep them safe, happy, fed and occupied so they don't worry about where Mummy is. They even offered to bring my two homw the other week when DS1 ran away. That is so much more reassuring than anything OFSTED might say!

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 10:32:55

That's what I think amistill - it's not about the home visit, it's not about the contract - it's about their attitude which is already showing them in a pretty unaccommodating light.

However, I suppose DH could be right - but before I signed anything I would want to know what had brought about the need for the contract, why they wouldn't reschedule the home visit and what would happen in the situation you described. As you say, all schools have their failings I'm sure - but I'd need to know they could do this as a bare minimum before I settled a child there.

Starlight how involved with DH be with school once DD starts? How much will he be affected by it compared to you? (In terms of them not meeting your or DD's needs rather than DD not being happy).

tryingtokeepintune Wed 19-Jun-13 10:44:27

Sorry to hear of additional stress which you definitely do not need.

FWiw, dd now attends the school that I fought to get ds out of. It was a horrendous fight which became a little personal and I really worried about sending dd there. However, my dd sounds just like yours, autumn born, articulate, interested etc and although I don't like her teacher (cos I am still struggling with what ds endured), I have to admit they are really accommodating in dealing with dd - but then dd is part of their desired cohort.

So, this school might actually turn out to be okay...fingers crossed.

I don't know how involved he will be. ATM (summer term) he is able to take her to school every morning on the way to work and occasionally help out in the classroom for trips etc. This is likely to be the case most summer terms because of the nature of his work. It also means that he can take the pressure of my competing demands at this time of year. smile

bochead Wed 19-Jun-13 11:16:38

So send her as it's not worth marital discord. If it does turn into a DFS then it'll be next summer it'll come to a head & he'll be around to deal with it himself lol!

Just "lose" the letter re social networking, OR refuse to sign it saying "if you have nothing to hide........." depending on how bolshy you are feeling. I flat out refuse to sign anything that reduces my own personal freedoms just as a point of principle, thin end of the wedge and all that. Too cynical to risk getting bitten in the behind 5 years down the line when a "situation" crops up and I've forgotten all about some daft form I signed back in the day.

In my case I'd shrug my shoulders and say I didn't think it applied to me as I'm not on face book, and then helpfully thrust the medical form under their nose as a sign of my eager but dumbness wink.

amistillsexy Wed 19-Jun-13 12:14:15

tryingtokeepintune that's my situation as well...I won the Tribunal for DS2 just as they were constructively excluding DS1. It has led to alot of money being spent on therapy to persuade DS2 that DS1's troubles didn't all stem from him (DS2) starting school!

I think the 'don't chat on Facebook' letter is an over-reaction to something that has happened in the past, as someone said up-thread. It's a ridiculous thing to be asked to sign, but if you're talking about the school under an assumed name, and without actually mentioning the school name, they would hhave a hard time proving you were doing it...wouldn't they? <<looks around the back of the laptop for surveillance devices!>>

They've apologised that I found them insensitive and have forward my comments to the CT.

I suppose I just thought that past was behind. DD's nursery teacher is absolutely amazing. I spent a long time wondering if it was an illusion and she would have failed ds, but I have seen her in action with children with needs, and I have heard from their parents. She has really restored my faith (not in teachers in general, but in humanity and some teachers) and so I was kind of hoping the past was just a bad dream.

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