Has anyone ever made a formal complaint to the Chair of Governors at an Independent school?

(18 Posts)
tryingtobemarypoppins2 Tue 05-Jul-11 20:32:41

Was it worth the stress?? I have taken DS out but feel so angry about what has happened. But the culture all seems to be about 'covering' back etc so is it worth it?

OP’s posts: |
gingeroots Wed 06-Jul-11 17:08:52

It probably will be stressful and probably won't change much .
But if you have the time and strength I think you should go ahead - it might at least make the school think twice next time .
good luck .

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Wed 06-Jul-11 19:32:49

Thank you gingeroots. Might have to dig deep for that strength, sometimes I guess its just easier to walk away but I hate to think someone gets away with being so &&**^%$%!!!

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gingeroots Wed 06-Jul-11 21:38:30

Me too - do your best .
You'll find you learn things - even if it's only to keep notes/records/proof in future .
Tho IME those in power seem quite capable of wriggling out of even that .
But go on ,make a complaint - because they won't like it .

happygardening Thu 07-Jul-11 14:32:28

I'm sorry to be blunt but I suspect your wasting your time nothing will change. The school govenors are not accountable to anyone but themselves and are fully behing the head. What ever has happened, and I'm sure your very bitter as are many ex private school parents, the best thing to do is move on and channel your energies into making the next school work for your DS.

Schoolhell Thu 07-Jul-11 16:11:26

Not an independent school,but I have complained to Governors about the terrible way my ds with SEN had been treated by his school. Had a meeting but the Head and Deputy just sat there and lied throughout to cover their backsides. Have had the minutes back and even they are not a fair reflection of what was said. I would say it's probably not worth it tbh but I would make sure other parents know what has gone on. At least your ds is out of there now.
I am actually a governor myself so am shocked by what happened with my complaint which was made as a last resort. Trouble is,they know they can lie and you can't do a lot about it.

nlondondad Thu 07-Jul-11 16:23:10

Parents at independent schools have no rights as such, unless the school decides they should. So, for example, some independent schools are actually owned by the parents who choose the whole Governing Body. Some (an interesting variant) have a Governing Body chosen by former "Old Boys' or "Old Girls" etc and of course there can be quite an overlap with the current parents. Other independent schools are for profit businesses and may not have anything resembling a Board of Governors at all. Others have a GB appointed by some sponsoring body. A Cathedral Chapter, for example.

(Parents at state schools do have significant rights enshrined in law, but of course Academy Status changes that.)


jabed Thu 07-Jul-11 18:24:55

I keep reading this and thinking I should not get involved but I rarely take my own advice, so here goes.
The OP does not say why she wishes to complain so I may be way off ball here but it is incorrect to say that independent schools do not take complaints seriously or that they cover up ( I have seen that in state schools not in independents).

Most independents take any complain very seriously. You may not realise that but whatever the cause of complaint is investigated and it can cause much unnecessary grief for teachers/ staff on the receiving end.

So whiklst it may be useful to complain, please just make sure you are justified and have a proper complaint to make. I am not trying to say your DS is not a victim of some uncalled for action but there are two sides to every story. Of course having withdrawn your DS has hit the school where it hurts most - in the revenue. Even top schools are hurt by that at the moment. None are safe in this recession no matter what you may believe about the "millions" they are coining in.

I say what I do simply because I was once the subject of a complaint from a parent. The reality of the situation was not as his DD presented. It was the result of her throwing a weed and lying to me ( something I dislke ) and then when I caught her ( it involved her saying another teacher had done something she had not) she wanted to justify herself. I just refused to listen - so she went off on one and her father went off to the CoG with a complaint.
I was gutted because I actually liked the student concerend. I was more gutted because the accusation was false. It is on my record now even though no action was taken and the matter dropped completely. I did nothing to deserve that.

So, please make sure you are not making a mountain out of a molehill and that you are justified. If you are, then go ahead.

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Thu 07-Jul-11 21:12:17

Would other parents be told a formal complaint had been made??

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jabed Fri 08-Jul-11 06:32:10

Would other parents be told a formal complaint had been made??

Ah, so this isnt about making a formal complaint and getting action? This is about publicising your feelings and situation?

So because you dont want to go to the school ( or cannot) you would want to ruin its reputaion, undermine it and close it down maybe ultimately. If your DS isnt going there, neither is anyone elses?

If retribution and vindictiveness are your goals rather than justice, then you should stand at the school gate with a banner or send a letter to all those parents you know telling them how you feel. That will get what you seem to want.

Pity about the school though. I bet some decent teachers will lose their jobs in all of that a quite probably a good school will go down for a petty row.
Sorry - thats they way it is reading now.

SozyDod Fri 08-Jul-11 09:42:13

Ah, so this isnt about making a formal complaint and getting action? This is about publicising your feelings and situation?

...or she would like it to remain private.

OP I would assume other parents would not be told, why would they?

jabed Fri 08-Jul-11 09:53:26

Sorry, I may have jumped to a conclusion there sozydod. Maybe because the OP is so vague?

rosar Fri 08-Jul-11 10:28:43

From the persepctive of the Governing Body, there is always more than one story. From yours, it depends what you want - a mistake remedied, a better relationship because misunderstandings are corrected, or something else. Ask yourself if it's within the gift of the Chair. The school has to go on, how critical is your incident to its immediate and subsequent effective functioning?

Things are not perfect, we don't always have the whole picture, it may not be entirely possible to reconcile different viewpoints and individuals. You will almost always not get everything you want, unless it is something basic (e.g. the gross misconduct type events). There will always be damage, to you and others, although at best this is temporary.

So it is probably about being clear as to what you want (immediately and after) and whether it's worth pursuing, and whether you're prepared to change your position if given new facts, and what you would do if it goes against you. Most parents go for a happy outcome for their child, and schools competent in pastoral care will work on that. Most Governing Bodies go for a happy outcome for the school, which will include your child because that's what good schools are about. Bear in mind also that this varies with the calibre of the school/ Governing Body.

crazymum53 Fri 08-Jul-11 15:25:33

The nature of the complaints process is that the names of people with the grievance are kept confidential. When this has been dealt with in governors meetings this will usually be recorded as a confidential minute and reported as
" a complaint has been received from the parent of a child in year .... about ............" As a parent you would expect to receive a letter acknowledging your complaint and stating what action has been taken. It may be worth your while writing to the governors, but as it is an independent school you cannot really take this any further. (In a state school you can complain to the LEA).

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 08-Jul-11 17:20:28

jabed if I could say more I would! This is a highly sensitive matter which has cause a hugh amount of stress, hurt, worry and will have an effect on our family forever. Yes you have jumped to conclusions.

Many thanks for the other comments everyone. I am glad that our names could stay confidential however with the teacher involved and our sudden unexpected exit from the school it will be very obvious. I have had to handle peoples phone class and emails so carefully as I dont want my DS to have to carry with him what has happened forever......

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tryingtobemarypoppins2 Fri 08-Jul-11 17:21:19


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grovel Fri 08-Jul-11 17:40:44

My best friend is a governor of a very well-known girls boarding school. They take complaints very seriously.

nicholls88 Mon 19-Sep-16 21:38:01

hi their I may be able to help you , I have had plenty of exsprieance , over the years , with my elides child . it depending on the circumstances , you may wish to write a complaint to the chief executive , it some one in the education department for your local council. and if the council say you address the complaint through the school .. they are feeding you bull shit. something bad happened to me I am in the middle of a complaint I have seeked legal advise through a solicitor the other day . and that the advise I was given , hope this will help you . all the best Sue

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