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Help/advice needed regarding complaint against headteacher+school.

(13 Posts)
Muse23 Thu 13-Sep-12 13:42:54

My teenage Son has been physically assaulted again for the 2nd time in 2yrs by the same boy. The school failed to come down hard on him and we also took it to the Police who were looking at charging him with ABH! I informed the teacher dealing with it, i wasn't happy the school and wanted to take it to the Governors twice and asked what i would do next, i was ignored twice. I then tried twice to contact the Governors and after 2 wks finally got told there was a procedure to follow and to do that.
The headteacher is an absolute idiot and i really didn't want to speak to him but at no point has he made any contact with us to try and sort anything out and appease the matter. I have gone through some of the procedure now and spoken with other senior staff members but they still can't see where they're lacking in deterrents etc...or the serious of the Police involved. We are now at the point of having a meeting with the headmaster(of which i've had to iniate) and i've requested a Governor member to be there but the heads' point blank refused to allow this to happen! There are quite a few serious points that need raising, including some about the head.
So what i want to know is, can i stress that i want someone from the Governors present? Or should i just refuse the meeting and go over his head(so to speak) to the Governors anyway? I know that i'm going to get the same textbook answers from him. This has gone on for months now and i keep getting told i must see this person before this person, then this one, then holidays, then personal holidays.
Also, the same child is using soft drugs but the school are still doing nothing.

hattifattner Thu 13-Sep-12 13:55:56

You don't have to have the heads permission to contact governors.

However, if the complaints procedure says you have to go via the head and then only to the governors, then that is what you must do. Ultimately if the head teacher needs to be repremanded over this, then you will need to have followed the correct processes.

I recommend you meet with the head, and you outline your concerns at the lack of action previously and outline what you would expect to happen - using the schools disciplinary procedure and safeguarding procedures as the basis for your discussions and expectations.

After the meeting, write a note confirming the contents of your discussions, the promises made by the head teacher, and whether or not you accept that this will suffice.

Copy it to the Chair of governors and to the clerk of governors with a statement that you would like the governors to be made aware of the seriousness of the allegations.

You could also contact the LEA and OFSTED if you wanted this to go further.

Muse23 Thu 13-Sep-12 16:05:42

Thank you hattifattner.
The policy states if i have a complaint about the head, then i can bypass him and go straight to the Chair of Governors.
I do some some have serious concerns and breach of policy that need to be heard/raised, ideally by the Governors, but being old-fashioned i am giving the headmaster the courtesy of having a meeting with us all attending but he doesn't want to do that. I'm so fed-up at being passed from pillar to post in the hope that i will give up. From comments that have been fed back to me so far, i feel they view me as some over-reactive, hysterical, neurotic, a-typical female!
All i want is to be heard, preferably by someone with some clout that will listen and take me seriously and not fob me off with textbooks answers, false promises and a fake expression.
I can't make him do anything and it makes me so cross that the welfare of my child isn't enough to warrant any action. The old boys/girls network comes into play, they batten down the hatches and it ends up making you so ill, you give in. That's why sometimes, you need to cut out the middleman.
I wish there was a school advocate/helper to helper to fight your corner but so often it is- 'You-Them'.
Mine isn't the first it's happened too but no other child else has wanted to come forward.
Why won't the head have a governor there?

Muse23 Thu 13-Sep-12 20:44:57

I'm going to compile a list of questions but just feel reluctant when i know it's just going through the motions....

DeWe Thu 13-Sep-12 21:09:46

Focus on how the other child is effecting your ds. Adding that he does "soft drugs" (and anything else) unless it directly effects your ds (eg he's pressuring him to take them) will add to accusations of hysterical behaviour.

The thing about having a governor there, is they are volunteers. There are things they have to be in school for, and meetings they have to attend. Whereas it might be nice if one was able to be at the meeting, the reality is that there may be other things that take their priority. Like a complaint that has been through the head and now must have a governor.
Dh has been a governor several years, and I'd estimate that he uses about a week of his annual leave on governor stuff. And he's at a small infant school, with not too many issues.

I don't think you can think of a governor as an "advocate to fight your corner". I suspect that even if they reprimand the head privately, you'd probably feel in the meeting that they were backing the head, so you would feel even more "us"/"them". Dh wouldn't do that because he's stubborn and would know his own mind, but a lot of governors would see their job in that situation as to back the head.

You will have more clout to talk to the governors if you have a meeting with the head and he doesn't impliment what he says, or offers no resolutions. Take notes-you can take a scribe in with you if you want to concentrate on what you're saying. If he says he'll do something to resolve, get a timing off him. If he says it will happen eg by half term, and it's not happened by then, then you move on.

And what hatti says is very sensible.

hattifattner Thu 13-Sep-12 21:20:04

muse, you said earlier that "The headteacher is an absolute idiot and i really didn't want to speak to him but at no point has he made any contact with us to try and sort anything out and appease the matter".

I would re-iterate that you need to meet with the head to at least allow him to resolve the issue face to face, or to explain what the school intends to do about this.

Im assuming the assault happened in school time, because if it didnt, there is a limit to what the school can do.

Meet the head. Consider what he has to say, as he will consider what you have to say. If you do not get a satisfactory plan, take it to the governors, then to the LEA and OFSTED. There may be legal reasons why the head's hands are tied - getting someone expelled can be tricky and schools are loath to do it.

Muse23 Thu 13-Sep-12 21:45:00

Thank you both for your replies.
The other child isn't forcing mine to take drugs(there's a small minority of them that smoke spliffs, school have been told but seem very lax about it.)
I don't want this lad expelled, i just want him to know that he can't go around assaulting people as and when he feels like it and some kind of deterrent in school in the first place may have made him or others think twice.
The head just seems to hide in his office all the time. Yes, it did happen on the school premises, which is why we're surprised he hasn't tried to contact us at all, especially given that the Police were called in by both us and the school(as it happened in school time).
I guess i feel really let down at the lack of support, communication, action, empathy. My DS is the victim and yet i'm having to fight tooth+nail for a reason why this lad felt he could get away with his behaviour and the Schools' poor attitude since in responding, no policies available etc....
I have replied to say we will take up the meeting, thank you again for your replies.

hattifattner Thu 13-Sep-12 22:12:39

let us know how it goes Muse. The school must, as a statutory duty, have an annually agreed behaviour/discipline policy and a safeguarding policy. These must be available to parents. They are usually included in the prospectus.

Email the clerk of governors or the office and ask that, in advance of your meeting with the head, you could be sent the latest version of both policies by return email. Then you know what the school SAY their policy is, and you can refer to it in your meeting.....Its always a good thing to say "It says in X policy, item 5a that blah blah blah. Can you tell me how you anticipate implementing this section with regards to bratty child?"

It will also keep you calm and reasonable sounding, so no allegations of hysterical mummy can be made. Stick with the facts.

Muse23 Fri 14-Sep-12 08:15:12

The meeting is the end of next week, so i will get back to after that, thank you.

Muse23 Fri 21-Sep-12 20:02:32

Had the meeting today, i made lots of notes and had a list of questions but didn't do as well i wanted to i'm afraid. You know how you can do practicals but when it gets to the exam you just fall apart, well that's me! Or you can do your driving lesson but fail the exam.....
I think it was because i couldn't get over the part that the school had originally called the Police in because it was an assault on school grounds and we contacted the Police too because it was a Pre-meditated assault(the other child admitted to it).Sorry, getting back on to the meeting the Headmaster said he hadn't been in contact at all since July because he didn't think it was serious enough????!!!!!!
I asked how serious something had to be then? To which he said he looks at everything on individual cases and that's what his staff are for anyway, they are paid enough and he assumed they were looking after things(we'd had no contact from them either, i'd had to eventually chase them round like a headless chicken. My time+energy would have been put to better use smashing my heading off a brick wall or playing with traffic on the M5). So no he didn't feel he needed to contact us and we got a few text book answers and that was it.
I have since emailed him to ask him to clarify some points, that i wrote down and i don't think that he's going to reply because that would mean committing himself in an email in black+white. I really would like to go to the Governors but also it really is an Old Boys/Girls network at this school. However, first i'll give it a few more days to see what reply i get back but nothing has been addressed thus far, i'm no further now than i was and the communication channels are so very lax, they really need pointing out and addressing.

rainbowinthesky Sat 22-Sep-12 11:24:41

Muse23 - good for you ensuring the police were involved. I am a teacher and I firmly believe that assault is assault no matter where it happens. I can understand though why the head thought it unnecessary to contact you. There will be a hierarchy of staff and often such things will be effectively dealt with by a Head of Year, Assistant/Deputy Head. Unfortunately in your case none of these senior staff contacted you which indicates their procedures are not great especially as the police were called onto school premises.
Do you have a good friend in real life who could support you as not so emotionally involved?

rainbowinthesky Sat 22-Sep-12 11:25:15

I would write to the governors and cc the council.

Muse23 Sat 22-Sep-12 15:59:29

Yes, i think i will. Can you elaborate on 'CC'ing the council' please, obviously you mean you the education dept but what will i gain from involving them and why?
The school is an academy, does this change things? I'm a bit thick when it comes to any of this, having never had to take anything this far before. It's so hard not to be emotionally involved when you feel things aren't being taken seriously where your kids are concerned. I have got a couple of good friends but i don't like to drag people into things and tend to bottle it all up, hence me giving it a go on here.
I understand the Head not contacting us if he thought someone else was dealing with it but to tell us it was because it wasn't serious enough-words fail me!
I have a private email that i wouldn't use from the school liaison P.C dealing with the matter who admits in a round about way that the Headmaster is rubbish at dealing with these things and thinks i should pursue the matter for the sake of others in future and also reiterated once verbally, which may have been a tad unprofessional but it helped knowing i wasn't imaging or over-reacting to things, i wasn't complaining!

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