Whole School issue(22 Posts)
Looking for advice on where to go from here.
What do you do when the Headteacher does not listen to parental concerns, does not appear to care about the pupils and when parents inform her they are withdrawing their children replies 'whatever' or 'I respect your decision' or 'I completely understand why', and does not attempt to keep them?
And sending a letter to the Chair of Governors is not an option. Her children are 2 of the worst bullies in the school. Along with the other governors children. I have known the governors for 4 years since my dd was at pre school. It has taken until last year for any of them to acknowledge me, and even then it is rare to get a smile or hello. We are talking complete blanking as if you don't exist. I am not the only one to experience it. They have had various names as a group from various generations of mothers and they have been together for years. They seem to see themselves as better than the rest of us, we see them as a group of women who never grew up and still act like a gang of clique teenagers. There are about 7 of them, 5 governors.
Due to the bullying in the playground/in school and nothing effective being done, no consequences to their behaviour, it continues. Teachers claim they see nothing, we are bemused as to how this can be, as some of it is really obvious. At times the Headteacher claims to have seen something different to a parent who has seen the same thing. Ie governors child pushes friends child to the ground banging their head against fence. Friend shouts at child (ok, should not do but it was a shocked 'fred!' not abuse) child runs off crying, HT follows that child to comfort them!!! Not to tell them their behaviour is WRONG.
Parents are taking their children out rapidly, 4 years ago it was bursting at the seams, now out of a possible 92 children we are down to 62. Another one left last week (that was down to education not bullying). I know of 4 other parents ready to withdraw children, all down to bullying and nothing being done.
I am concerned as it should be a lovely village school, with a family atmosphere, that is why I put my dd in. However the new head (3rd year), and I know new heads can get a hard time, is just not the right person. She makes it clear, as do the teachers, that we as parents are not welcome in the school. Every school trip the parents who go work at the school or are governors. We were invited to do things with the school to get involved in September, nothing has come of this (and that was down to a big row that kicked off at the beginning of term). We are at our wits end, I don't want my friend to leave with her 3 children, who ironically moved them from a school due to bullying, but what her child is getting now is worse bullying than she took him from!!!
HELP!!! What can we do? I fear if we speak up, the governors children will bully ours. It happens! The Chair's son goes round the playground telling pupils that his mum runs the school (he's in yr 5 and should know better!)
So I have 5 parents that are ready to meet up. If we have a 'meeting', what can we achieve with that? Do we go as a group to ofsted/LEA with concerns? Write individual letters to the school (non confrontational, laying out concerns) I do not want to do this it could potentially lead to bullying of our children, and the head does not want to listen and the governors children are the cause of bullying. We could go round in circles all day...
Sorry rambling now, its been a long ongoing situation and I just want my dd's to both go their and be happy. I don't want it to close. I want it to be a school to be proud of. Right now I would not recommend it to anyone.
Any advice much appreciated. Will be in and out all day so if you don't get a reply I'll be walking dogs/pre school run!! Thank you very much.
1. Form a Parents' Association, even if its informal, and meet up off site. Name a chair, secretary and treasurer (if you feel you need one or if money is to be involved) and exclude anyone directly involved with being on staff. Use your new found position to gather, collate and pass on all information, suitably and professionally presented, to OFSTED. Remember to try very hard to come up with positives or OFSTED won't listen, they'll just think of you as a bunch of complainers. Explain also why you felt the need to organise an 'off site' group.
2. Any kid who goes around telling everyone 'My mum/dad runs this place and I can have you kicked out' can only be dealt with collectively with the same, persistent response to their victims - all the other children need to be taught to respond with "We'll, they're not doing a very good job, are they?" And walk away.
3. Work together with everyone (parents and children alike) to have some off site fun and games, trips out, but not to each others houses and make sure you go Dutch - be clear you're doing it for the benefit of the school community, to pull the children together and ensure their happiness. If children have to be excluded because Mummy is a governor and will have people kicked out, so be it.
4. Take Dave Cameron's suggestion and open your own school!
5. Remember there is nothing so powerful as a peaceful protest.
Thank you Blissfully!!!!! Actually looked at PA...it was told to the Chair!!! by someone else...and she came up and asked me why...I explained it was a positive place for people to meet up and would gather up the parents at the fringes of the school who don't do the school run or don't feel able to go to governers...her response was that we didn't need it as parents could speak to parent governors....well no they can't because they are to far up their own backsides. I know that is childish/abusive, but its so true!!! They really cannot see it.
Just been told another incident of bullying today of my dd's best friend. Three children in year above taunting her that she couldn't be one of them. And NO ONE SEES well apart from my friends dd who is a yr 6, so if she can see it, where the hell are the teachers?!?!?!
So Chair does not want PA...so we set it up informally...like it. Yes to positives etc, that is what we want to pursue...so want this school to be a lovely one! With bullying being dealt with. We're made to feel like our children are just sensitive. My dd was told to 'toughen up' when she was last bullied. On both occasions she has had a bully, it was sorted by child leaving school (for other reasons). Otherwise I have no faith the school would deal with it.
Will take your list to meeting! Thank you.
My thoughts, collate the evidence and go to Ofsted. Bullying should not and can not be tolerated.
Like Blissfully Ignorants Point 2, made me chuckle.
The behaviours are absolutely unacceptable. It is easy for these cliques to develop in school and make others feel on the outside. I once volunteered at the school fair on the cake stand and nobody spoke to me, felt like I was 8 again! And ours is a lovely school with an exceptionally supportive head!
Don't stand for it!
What an awful situation. Firstly, I'd ask to see the school complaints policy, make sure you have gone through the 'proper' channels before you take it further.
I would suggest you start collating all the information you have. Names, dates, witnesses, responses from the school, etc. Keep it completely factual and emotionless. Use this to frame your complaint. If you feel it needs the next step, contact the local authority (unless its a church school? Then the local diocese office) and ask who you would need to contact about the situation.
Send a letter with the facts you have to them, copying in the head and chair of governors and Ofsted. Ask them to look into the situation and resolve it.
Our old prep school had the PA for "Fun, fundraising and feedback"...family was added after a really lovely lady suggested it. (She was really good and did ever such a lot for the school)
The newish deputy head once made the mistake of calling it the PTA so I very bluntly told him he wasn't to call it that; it's the PA, no teachers involved. Their choice - they hated being involved with the parents unless it meant us paying for their meals/booze
BT13...i did volunteer once when the clique were still at pre school...never again!!! Was made to feel like I was back at school again, it was the worst bullying I've had since school!
41 - School complaints, will check that out. Yes to proper channels otherwise pointless. It is the LA
Blissfully - good you had experience of a PA. Like the family bit.
This is really scary. Made to feel like the only one's complaining, mentioned it to someone who was with us at last row and she said 'what bullying?'. One of the mums does not want to be involved yet. 3 of us are seen as troublemakers with the school (inc me!!). Worried that if we set up a PA it will only be us and we will be laughed at by other parents...but something has to change! One parent left as she was a governor and the other governors excluded her from the decision making process. Apparently only the Chair and her best mate (also governor) make the decisions with the HT. This lady resigned and told them why in a letter and they didn't let her back in to her final meeting as it would be too upsetting for the HT (HT had personal issues at the time). Some really nice children have left the school with all of this. Some have been there until yr 6 and its got so bad they were taken out.
I just despair where this is going to end. I've also been told to say nothing negative about the school as the more that is said the less people will come and it will get a bad rep. Too late, the local parents at other schools already know! I feel bad I did not warn friend thinking of leaving that it was a school of bullies when she started...not that she was a friend then, but they moved to get away from this!
School results are excellent as well, so no reason for Ofsted to come back and visit. Funny they never speak to any of the parents who would speak the truth. I know its meant to be random but I do wonder.
Rambling again...scared of doing this...but something has to change. Setting up new school may be easier ;)
After Governors, it is the LEA as far as I know.
After LEA, local newspaper.
You may have an ally in the parent Governor who left.
Well done paperbacknovel for speaking up! Don't let the b******s grind you down! You have as much right as everyone else to speak up when you believe something is wrong. Write down everything that happens-including govenors who are trying to silence you. Schools are supposed to foster links with parents and the community, so still have a justifiable grievance to go to OFSTED with. Results aren't the only thing they look at and they will be concerned about falling numbers. And yes-children need to stand up for themselves-especially when teachers do nothing about bullying (most teachers don't). I have recently published an ebook to help children and young people feel more confident about standing up to bullies with lots of illustrated example of what they can say to them. Although originally designed for teenagers, I've had parents of 7 year olds saying how helpful it was. See website for details www.thelittlebookofretorts.com
If they are parent governors and have been there for 4 years, their terms of office should be up soon. Parent Governor elections must be announced to all parents, so that any parent of a child at school can stand.
amillionyears - will speak to ex parent governor...! Good idea!
Wendy - thanks for cheerleading! Don't feel like there is much out there...other parents just keep their heads down and let it go. I however have 4 friends, and myself that have children that have been or are being bullied. There are others who are not speaking up that I know of. There are also cases of neglect but the parent is too nice to speak up and tell the school they need to do better. If I were her I would have pulled my child out by now. There's only so many excuses that can be made.
I have a friend who is a governor but she is very much 'say nothing to other people otherwise people will stop bringing there children here and make it worse'. Well too late, other people at other schools know our reputation, numbers are still dropping and still nothing is being done. The Chair is still blanking most of us, the rest keep their heads down now as their attitude of superiority has bitten them on the bum and they are finding no one likes them.
Feels like David and Golath...worried that we will end up being ostracised! A PA with 4 members...
Anyway... first meeting tomorrow I think...just got to check with the 4th person who suggested we should get together..
They have been governors for various lengths of time, its been a gradual takeover, the last chair was a really nice bloke, didn't know he was chair for long time but he was very approachable.
Was up thinking about it at 4.15 this morning...!
Must not tell friend this time in case she passes onto Chair...think her first loyalty now is to school about any undercover activity, not me...will just do the 'ask no questions I tell no lies'... :D
Quite often with this sort of thing, there can be a silent majority.
I bloody hope so!!! We're just the trouble makers...ie we see inequality and don't like it.
Just thinking this through. What happens if a parent governor gets wind and asks to join? They are a parent, but also connected to school?
What happens if someone with a child is a known bully asks to join?
I was thinking we could have incident forms to fill in, to do as above...you know what happened, witnesses, was it seen by teacher? Where were they!! (presuming as usual they 'didn't see anything'), if it was seen was it dealt with in what the parent considers an adequate way, if no did you talk to school, was that dealt with in an satisfactory way?
Also a form for concerns ie school dinners not being adequately supervised, what happened, consequence ie reception child/special needs child went without lunch all day (happened on more than one occasion since we have been there), what would you like to see happen?
Hi Paperbacknovel-how did the meeting go? Something to consider is that govenors can be dissolved by the Local Authority if there is good reason. Put any complaint in writing to the govenors, keep a copy and log the response. Contact the LA if you feel the govenors are not discharging their duty appropriately.The term for parent govenors is 4 years-if more than one parents wants to be a govenor there must be an election. You could apply.
Hi Wendy thanks for asking
Didn't happen...only 3 of us interested in the end...spoken to my parent governor friend and she has cleared a few things up but because I'm not logging my feelings with the school re bullying her take is that the only way to get it to governors is to go through school first ie correct channels. Others have done this and failed and left...counted 4 out of 7 that have done this. And 3 out of 6 thinking of leaving.
Very much been made to feel that we should not be meeting outside of school (got found out! bloody grapevine...never trust no body!). I don't know where to go with this at the moment. Have had an invite into school to work on a project so that has made me feel a bit happier. And my friend made me feel listened too and suspect she will be taking some of my thoughts to the next governors meeting.
I hate this fuss! Friend said governors were parents too and got upset about the accusations flying around about their children...
Think I'm going to sleep on it over the weekend. Thank you for asking again
Get the school to sign up to one of these both are superb, and both sides of all bulling problems get sorted out, to everyone's satisfaction.
they will transform the school, and change how the school meet everyones needs.
Get the school to sign up to stonewall they will mentor the school, and come in and retrain the staff and pupils, it really helps to turn the school and attitudes around, the ripples effect helps a lot of other situations,
Ofsted really like schools to be on these programs, so if your school is not "outstanding" you can point out it will help them get there quicker.
social discipline window
Thank you for that, just what is needed! Going to sit back and wait for the moment...a lot of denial that anything is happening but have spoken to a governor and pressed home the fact that one of the main reason people have left (she thinks its all hearsay...unless I have a signed agreement from them ;) ) is down to bullying so seeing if she can persuade the rest of the governors to shift position...
The school should have an official complaints policy. I would go down that route. Any governor with a vested interest, or previous knowledge, of the complaint (e.g. your chair of govs) should not be allowed to participate in the process.
Ask how the governors monitor bullying. Does the school do an annual questionnaire with the children?
How do the governor's get feedback from the parents. Most schools have an annual questionnaire. Make sure their is a question asking parents whether their child has experienced bullying and if so, how well it was dealt with by the school.
Consider standing as a parent governor when a vacancy arises, actively campaign and kick some arse.
Good luck. Sounds bloody crap.
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