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How much strength do chairs of governors actually have?

(31 Posts)
Cantsleepwontsleep123 Tue 21-Jun-16 21:37:02

I have a meeting this week regarding many issues.
The biggest being that the class teacher repeated something to another parent ( which wasn't true, third party info and third party who is a TA is now saying she was misinterpreted ) about me
Unfortunately myself and the other parent already had a strained relationship as her child has hurt mine on a few occasions and I have dealt through the school in regards to that.
Obviously the conduct of the teacher is completely innapropriate in my opinion and nothing has changed even though she was " asked to take some time off " last year after calling my son a liar for informing her this child had hurt him ( She had taken the stance people were just jumping on the fact this child was more challenging however she was wrong in my sons case and made to apologise by the head upon her return )
it's all a mess however I feel I have to fight for what is right and this certainly isn't.
Pretty disgusted by it all to be honest as is the chair of govs, or at least he has been in all the telephone conversations we have had but the actual meeting is this week so any advice on what they can and can't actually do?

taptonaria27 Tue 21-Jun-16 21:41:21

What do you want them to do?
I think if you have an idea then it will be easier to find out whether they can do it.
It reads as though you won't be happy for the teacher to keep their job which frankly sounds like an over reaction

miwelaisjacydo Tue 21-Jun-16 21:42:05

Erm well the governing body can act on a complaint made about a member of staff.

I would firstly talk to thehaid about your concerns. If unresolved ask for the complaints procedure.

Usually a complaint would Need to be in writing addressed to the chair of governors.

miwelaisjacydo Tue 21-Jun-16 21:43:03

If the complaint warranted it then a verbal or formal written warning would be given.

bearleftmonkeyright Tue 21-Jun-16 21:43:24

As I understand the head of the school is answerable to the chair of governors. In this instance though I have no idea what they are answerable for. It's pretty difficult for anyone to say what they can do without knowing what you want to happen. I would suggest asking for a meeting with the chair and airing your grievances and take it from there.

steppemum Tue 21-Jun-16 21:50:13

the question you need to ask yourself is what do you want as a result of this meeting?

The chair does have some powers, but the head is responsible for the day to day running of the school, and the governors would not normally intervene in things which are operational decisions.

This sounds like the response to a formal complaint, and I would expect the head and chair together to come up with a solution.

I don't know how much actual power the governors have in the case of a complaint. The teacher will not be sacked unless there is a case of gross professional misconduct, which I don't think this is.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Tue 21-Jun-16 21:51:50

I would like an explanation of why she did this and an apology for causing a lot of upset and distress unnecessarily.
Whether she keeps her job or not is pretty much neither here nor there considering we have 4 weeks left of term.
The head is not interested as the member of staff this apparently came from has said she was misinterpreted and had no concern so the head is happy with that end of.
I am obviously not.
The teacher could have spoken to me / early years leader / head if she was actually concerned but she chose to mention it to the other parent who then brought it to the heads attention which is all completely unprofessional I think

steppemum Tue 21-Jun-16 22:01:54

I am sorry, but I cannot work out from your OP what the issue was, and how it involves this teacher and TA.

Put down for yourself in writing what you want.

If the TA has backed down, does that mean that the only evidence for what the teacher said has gone? If so, you will struggle to prove anything I think

Smartiepants79 Tue 21-Jun-16 22:04:45

Let me get this straight. A TA told a teacher some incorrect information about you? Your opinions? The teacher has then discussed this with another parent? Did the information impact on this parent or her child?
You are angry with the teacher? The TA?
The teacher is claiming that the other parent misinterpreted what she said?
Can I ask how you know what the teacher discussed/said to the other parent?
Are you very sure that this has occurred the way you think it did and what has been the negative impact on you?
It is normal that the head will (at least initially) stick by her member of staff. The chair of governors can perform an investigation into what's happened and come to their own conclusions that cans then impact on what happens at school.
If I was you I'd be thinking and looking quite carefully at whether this school is the right place for your family.

DanFmDorking Wed 22-Jun-16 02:02:19

If you aproach a school Governor about a problem all the Governor should do (Chair or otherwise) is to check that the correct procedures are been followed.
How the school addresses parental concerns is a measure of how good the school is.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Wed 22-Jun-16 07:51:36

Believe me, we've had our doubts that this is the right school however our child is very happy there, has made lots of friends and became very distressed when we tried him to another local school last year for a few days.
So this is the position we are in now.
Yes basically the teacher repeated it to a parent and the parent put in a complaint about me.
The head was not interested in any such complaint and luckily as this occurred in a classroom there were 3 other parents also helping at the time who emailed the head to let her know what was said etc however head said even if it was said, it should never have been repeated and the TA should have brought it to her attention which she didnt so now apparently she's been " misinterpreted " and all the blame is now on the teacher for repeating it.

t4gnut Wed 22-Jun-16 09:00:06

Sounds like adults behaving like children - Chair of Governors is going to love having to listen to this kind of nonsense.

Should you decide to waste everybody's time keep it simple and concise - what in 1-2 sentences are you actually complaining about, what evidence do you have that you can produce and what, realistically, do you expect to happen. Be aware the member of staff you are accusing is not obliged to say anything and the only apology you may receive is from the school.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Wed 22-Jun-16 09:33:01

Above op,
You may feel slightly different if it had been you who had a parent contact a headteacher to complain about you after an unprofessional member of staff gave her information that was incorrect and also information that should never ha e been given even if it was correct!
He seems pretty outraged so not sure "bothering him" is quite true
Thanks for your reply anyway, I've had ah apology from the school ( another one in a long line! ) but we haven't established why she did it.

PerspicaciaTick Wed 22-Jun-16 09:37:34

The school will have a policy for handling complaints, try and get hold of a copy and follow the escalation procedure. I suspect that you need to put your concerns in writing to the HT before escalating to the Governors. I'm not clear if you've already done this.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Wed 22-Jun-16 09:59:03

Yes already done and apology on behalf of school but no explanation of why this happened which is a concern as I find it worrying she is in care of my child all day if she can't remain professional

t4gnut Wed 22-Jun-16 10:55:29

So brushing aside all the heresay and 'she said then she said' the COG is going to receive a complaint that says a member of staff may or may not have said something to a third party that you did not like. For which you have what evidence? And I don't quite understand what explanation you're expecting should you be able to substantiate this was said?

steppemum Wed 22-Jun-16 10:55:57

I think you are angry, and want justification in some way, which I do understand, but I think you may have to accept that you aren't going to get it.

Realistic outcomes:
Your complaint is about lack of professionalism, the teacher breached your confidentiality by commenting on you to another parent.
You have already had an apology, so what else is reasonable to expect?

The school can reassure you that the staff have had a reminder in their weekly staff meeting about confidentiality, and how they should not comment on one child/parent to anyone else's child/parent.

ie, school has recognised there was a breach, and has addressed it, and taken steps to ensure it will not happen again.

Beyond that I am not really sure what you expect. Asking why is a bit pointless really, she made a mistake, the why is always hard to pin down.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Wed 22-Jun-16 13:46:37

But the head isn't going to tell me she has been spoken to / disciplined is she?
So are you all saying you would honestly just let this go?
I find it hard given the history this isn't malicious and purely done with the intent to cause distress.
She knew full well this other parent would put in a complaint given what was said, so now we have both had to go through pain and anguish and nothing is done about the source?
That doesn't sit well with me

steppemum Wed 22-Jun-16 14:03:20

When we had an incident at school, (a teacher posted something on facebook), the parent was told that there had been a review of safeguarding procedures, and a training update. It meant the teacher had been bollocked and the HT had reminded the whole staff about the policy wrt FB and social media.
As a governor, I know that was what happened, the version to parents was the professional version of that. As a governor, I was satisfied that the HT had done enough to ensure it didn't happen again. If I wasn't satisfied of that, then the governors would have taken it up with the head.
As it was we did grill her a bit to make sure it had been all covered and properly dealt with and wouldn't happen again.

Unfortunately you will not know all of that, you can only know the professional version (for want of a better word). But if that includes that she has taken steps to ensure it won't happen again, well, you have a choice, believe her or not.

If the head has had a word with the teacher, then the teacher would be incredibly stupid to do anything which is a repeat of this.
For me, an apology and a reassurance that the head has dealt with it, would be enough, unless my child had the same teacher next year, and then if I really felt it was malicious, I think I would ask for my child to change class, or if that isn't possible, I would consider moving.

I have to say though, most teachers are too professional to be doing this chinese whispers thing with intent to be malicious, it just sounds as if there was a careless mistake.

Cantsleepwontsleep123 Wed 22-Jun-16 14:42:15

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Honestly, I wish it was an honest mistake but seeing as what she is saying happened, didn't, I'm struggling with that.
She made an assumption, and repeated this to another parent.
If it had actually happened, there would be nothing to answer, it's the fact it did not that is the issue.
The governor seems very interested in meeting to discuss this all so I'm not entirely sure what's been followed through in regards to procedure.
I was just given an apology.
The movement of classes is something I am requesting but as at standard the school don't do it so don't want to.

admission Wed 22-Jun-16 22:37:03

There is a definite complaints policy for each school and that will for sure go through the head teacher and then if you are not satisfied with the response, to the Chair of Governors.
It worries me slightly that the Chair of Governors is getting involved when actually they should be directing you to the complaints policy so that the situation is carried out correctly.
That either means, to my way of thinking, that the Chair is out of their depths and is doing things they should not or they are getting involved because there are other things going on. It could be that there is already personnel issues with this teacher or other members of staff. That does not mean that you will get to know what is happening as it is a confidential matter.
I think you need to ensure that the complaint is in writing and the apology is in writing and after that leave it alone, you cannot expect anything else to happen.

bojorojo Wed 22-Jun-16 23:22:39

I think, because of his involvement and knowledge, the Chair of Governors should not investigate any complaint. His input is wrong at this stage where the complaints procedure has not yet been invoked and he has taken sides so cannot run an impartial investigation. Big mistake and naive. Does all sound convoluted and a bit petty really.

TimeforaNNChange Wed 22-Jun-16 23:29:06

The Chair doesn't have to form part of the formal complaints panel.

Many schools have written an informal conflict resolution stage into their complaints policy before a formal complaint is raised. A Governor (often the Chair) is sometimes trained to act in this informal capacity - or chosen to fulfil that role because of their skills in that area (a mediator, for instance)

It's often preferable for a complaints panel to be chaired by a Governor from another school anyway - which is perfectly possible if reciprocal agreements are in place.

lougle Thu 23-Jun-16 00:01:26

Oh dear. This is exactly the situation I was describing on another thread. The CofG should not have discussed this with you. S/he should have politely directed you to follow the school complaints procedure, which would not involve phone conversations with the CofG. By having those conversations the CofG is now hamstrung and can't act impartially. S/he will need to ask another governor to investigate if it gets to governor level.

You are entitled to an apology and a reassurance that the behaviour will not be repeated. I'm afraid you are not entitled to an explanation of why it happened or what action may have been taken in disciplinary terms.

TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 00:07:23

lougle can I ask why a complaints policy would prohibit the CoG acting in a conflict resolution capacity?
Many of the schools I work with have introduced this on the back of recommendations by the NGA - chairs are trained in conflict resolution, the policy allows them to get involved at the informal stage and if a complaints panel is required, a reciprocal arrangement with another school allows an impartial, experienced chair to lead.

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