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to thinks if a school has issue with my parenting skills, that they contact me first?

(283 Posts)
mixformax Fri 25-Sep-09 12:09:06

I recently made the (long-mulled-over) decision to leave DD (13) and DS (12) alone at home overnight with close supervision by friend and neighbours. Both children are sensible, trustworthy and used to being left for a few hours at a time.

One of DS's teachers learned of this and, without making ANY attempt to contact me, or any of the other emergency contact numbers (4 in total) called in social services which resulted in a plain clothes DC turning up on doorstep and questioning DD.

Also DS and DD attend different schools - DS's school had the cheek to email the other school and alert them of the "problem". Thankfully this school seems to be a bit more in touch with the pupils and actually listened to DD when she told them that she was perfectly happy with the arrangements.

But WHY couldn't DS's school even attempt to listen to him properly before jumping to (very wrong) conclusions of neglect? angry

Lifeinagoldfishbowl Fri 25-Sep-09 12:10:18

may I ask why you left them overnight?

SolidGoldBrass Fri 25-Sep-09 12:12:30

That does sound extremely officious on behalf of the school, particularly as no attempt was made to contact you or anyone else before running off squealing to the SS.

ThePhantomPlopper Fri 25-Sep-09 12:14:28

Do they have some sort of rule where they have to go down that route?

punchandjudy Fri 25-Sep-09 12:14:35

The school my ds goes to states in their child protection policy, that they WILL NOT inform parents if they refer to SS.

The child comes first.

pinkthechaffinch Fri 25-Sep-09 12:15:18

YANBU about the way the school dealt with it but I don't think I'd leave children alone overnight at their age.

ThePhantomPlopper Fri 25-Sep-09 12:16:18

My preschool phone SS if the parent is late to collect the children more than once, different circumstances I know, but the school may have protocol to follow.

mixformax Fri 25-Sep-09 12:19:11

I appreciate that if they thought "abuse" or "neglect" then they wouldn't alert the alledged offender, but they also have ExH contact details as DS's father. Also two other friends.

What is also galling is that they are not returning my attempts to contact them today to discuss. (or even the office to email me a copy of their child protection policy)

PuppyMonkey Fri 25-Sep-09 12:20:09

What did SS do?

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 25-Sep-09 12:23:50

If they feel a child may be in danger in any way they have a duty to inform social services. It is unlikely that they will tell you as a child who is in danger could be moved/removed/primed or otherwise if a parent is informed of the move to tell SS.

Emailing the other school, well, I am in child protection for after-school clubs that are not tied to a school, I would have a duty to inform all schools involved if I felt there was a concern over the welfare of a child, further I would, specifically, NOT have a duty to tell the parent, that should be done by someone with the training and knowledge to handle it properly.

It may have annoyed you and you may have thought long and hard about it all but the fact is that being left alone at this age could be an indication that things are not right. The school acted appropriatly IMO. Sorry.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 25-Sep-09 12:30:06

I think the school was in the right, tbh. And I think that if they did think that it was appropriate to inform social services they didn't need to involve you in it.

I am sure that they would not have done this without thinking there was a valid reason, to be honest they may have come to conclusion that 2 kids this age left overnight on their own was a risk.

I think that 12 and 13 is too young to be left overnight, to be honest. I am not an overproptective mother by any mean, I leave my 13 year old on her own in the house for periods of time in the day. However I think that overnight they definitely should be supervised.

mollythetortoise Fri 25-Sep-09 12:31:17

You may know that you carefully risk assessed/one off etc but they don't. For all they know, you could be doing this every week.

And of course they shouldn't be contacting your friends or ex h first.
This is confidential information, I would be more annoyed if they had discussed with my friends!
Of course they have to report to SS who then investigate and I'm presuming they have and all is well.

I for one am glad these procedures are in place for children generally.

I think you have to accept this presumed "issue " with your parenting skills as something professionals have to do these day and stop making an even bigger deal out of it. They are just doing their job.

BTW I do think their ages are too young to be left overnight. Not in daytime, but overnight definately

TsarChasm Fri 25-Sep-09 12:31:59

Agree with DMNC and GetOrfMoiLand.

diddl Fri 25-Sep-09 12:32:58

They were both left alone in the house all night?

Sassybeast Fri 25-Sep-09 12:33:21

I would have thought it fairly obvious that any concerns about potential neglect of a child would be reported to the appropriate professionals rather than being brought up in a casual chat - this has been stated very clearly in any child protection policy I've seen. I know that's not what you want to hear but I think the school acted appropriately so YABU yes.

mixformax Fri 25-Sep-09 12:33:32

DMNC - No need to apologise! Its your opinion and that's why I posted here - to see what others thought. Interesting that there are no legal guidelines on suitable ages; it seems to be down to parental judgment.

diddl Fri 25-Sep-09 12:35:29

When you say close supervision-do you maen that someone was with them?

PuppyMonkey Fri 25-Sep-09 12:35:36

try again. What did SS do after the visit??

echofalls Fri 25-Sep-09 12:36:14

They are too young to be left overnight and the school have acted correctly imo. This is a child protection issue so that is why they called ss and not you.

Sorry but you seem to be surprised they did this hmm can you not see that it is wrong?

I take it you are leaving them so that you can work, which is probably the only sensible reason I can think there anyone who can stay in the house with them overnight?

HerBeatitude Fri 25-Sep-09 12:37:17

YABU because schools have to cover their arses and behave in this way. YANBU to believe that it is stupid that they have to, but given that they do, it would be unreasonable to expect them to step outside the bounds of professionalism and into the world of common sense and individual judgement.

Unfortunately, schools and parents can't talk to each other as human beings anymore. We're all circumscribed by our professional codes of conduct and our fear of being sued/ accused of negligence/ abuse. It's unfortunate, but there you go.

diddl Fri 25-Sep-09 12:38:49

If I knew children that young were being left overnight, I´d be tempted to call ss myself.

mixformax Fri 25-Sep-09 12:52:15

This was a one-off occurence. The neighbour across the street was aware that I was away overnight and was on "fire-watch" Another friend/neighbour 3 doors down had fed children supper and was planning to check on them last thing before she went to bed.

Before any-one drags out the ducking stool and the stones in readiness, the children did NOT stay overnight alone in the end! The friend who fed them kindly took them in for a sleepover.

SS notified the police who turned up on doorstep at 6pm (plain clothes) WDC then phoned me.

Echofalls - No I do NOT think it is wrong to leave them. It was my judgement call to make, and I had made a careful review and planned it with both children. They had previously been invited for the sleepover with neighbour but had politely declined

MovingOutOfBlighty Fri 25-Sep-09 12:55:11

Glad the school looked into this, perhaps calling SS was a little heavy handed but think that an adult should be in the house overnight.
Sorry you feel hassled but I for one am glad the system works.

diddl Fri 25-Sep-09 12:55:22

I think you were wrong, and ss obviously do as well.

And just because your children were OK with it, it still doesn´t make it OK, IMO.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 25-Sep-09 12:56:45


I think you were very irresponsible to leave your children alone. I can not see any justification and the school have acted correctly in my view.

And it is irrelevant to the school that someone else took them in. Whoever took them clearly didn't think the kids were fine on their own.

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