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If I've emailed the headteacher about something, is it reasonable to actually expect a reply?

(20 Posts)
whydoesitalwaysrainonme Wed 20-Jul-11 22:04:11

Yes I know she's busy but this is about something that's important to me as a parent. It's only been three days so far but I've not had a reply. Maybe the email went astray but it's unlikely.

I raised an issue a couple of months ago that was quite serious and didn't get a reply then either. Eventually it resolved itself but still. And with that one I know she definitely was handed a printed copy of the email.

I could go in for a meeting but the current issue does not really merit that - it's something she should be able to answer relatively quickly and I don't want to take up an appointment. Plus last time I tried to arrange a meeting there wasn't a slot free for weeks.

She has a reputation for hiding from parents. I suppose this should be in AIBU...to expect a reply?

onepieceofcremeegg Wed 20-Jul-11 22:06:20

It isn't unreasonable, no.
In your position I would ring the school secretary and ask his/her advice. Just say that you have e-mailed Ms X but not had a reply and does the secretary know if she checks her e-mail regularly/has had a problem accessing e-mail. Our school secretary is fantastic at replying to her e-mails, so you could also try that and send the secretary a copy of the one to the Head, and ask that it is forwarded.

cat64 Wed 20-Jul-11 23:56:14

Message withdrawn

MM5 Thu 21-Jul-11 05:41:20

If it is that serious, do not use email. Write a proper hardcopy letter or ask for a meeting. Cat64 is correct. Emails are not high on priority lists.

Also, usually, schools have a policy that even a hard copy letter will be answered within 5 days. You have NO idea what the HTs schedule is like and, what you consider very important, may be the least of the HTs worries at the moment.

whoknowswho Thu 21-Jul-11 07:03:14

I suppose every school is different. Our HT prefers email and usually very promptly even if its only "got your mail and dealing with it now", then sends a more detailed reply later, but at least that way you know that someone has read the email and action is being taken.

whoknowswho Thu 21-Jul-11 07:04:05

* usually replys verp promptly

PositiveAttitude Thu 21-Jul-11 07:21:00

I am in the same situation WDIAROM. I emailed last Thursday about something that needs attention before the end of term. A few times in the past I have had no response from emails, so I did ask for an acknowledgement. On Tuesday I forwarded a copy to her secretary to ask her to forward it as I assumed it had not been read. I received a reply saying that she had already received it. But why had she not acknowledged it, as I asked then????
DD4 is going into school with a hard copy today as I only have today and tomorrow to get this sorted.

mrz Thu 21-Jul-11 07:21:57

If it's anything like our LA email system at the moment ( taking days to get to my in box) you could have a long wait I would phone if it's important.

spanieleyes Thu 21-Jul-11 07:23:25

Our Head gets roughly 2-3 HUNDRED e-mails over a couple of days ( I know, I've seen her in-box!) I'm not suggesting yours has been overlooked but the end of term is probably not the best time to e-mail. Perhaps a quick word would help.

katalex Thu 21-Jul-11 11:47:05

YANBU. DH emailed the HT some time last year to offer to help out with the school web site. He still hasn't had a reply. He guessed the answer was no when they launched the new site in February. We know she got the email because she said to dd 'I got an email from your dad'. We weren't expecting a reply straight away but within a few weeks would have been nice.

WowOoo Thu 21-Jul-11 11:50:54

You don't know, there could be a lot of other parents, teachers, other staff and children who are way up there on the 'things to deal with and do' list.

Depending on how serious and urgent the issue is you could follow up with a call.
You might even get a reply later if you do nothing.

whydoesitalwaysrainonme Thu 21-Jul-11 13:23:00

It's not serious this time so I don't think it warrants taking further. It was last time but once the situation was resolved she still hadn't replied.

Yet when I am doing something for the school, she certainly does reply to emails quickly hmm

Point taken though that she might be very busy and need to prioritise to get through things at this stage in the term this time (not an excuse last time with the other issue!)

mrz Thu 21-Jul-11 18:56:08

All my school email is going to my spam folder and tech support don't know why it's happening ... they've also put a block on most web sites including their own hmm

lilystar Thu 21-Jul-11 20:32:36

mrz - I would suggest that some new filtering software has been installed on the servers and has not been configured correctly. Tech Support probably need to get hold of someone in their Infrastructure department (or whatever they may call it) to find out how long it will take them to set it up properly.

mrz Thu 21-Jul-11 20:34:36

They've been working on it since before Easter hmm

RoadArt Thu 21-Jul-11 20:46:36

I agree with teachers on here that they get so much crap they dont always see the genuine emails.

With regard to filtering spam, some school systems dont have the facilities or the staff havent been taught how to set up the programmes to spilt the spam away.

I always email my HT, and used to get miffed that it took days to reply, then one day I went to see her and asked why she hadnt responded; she went on her email and trawled down about five pages before she got to my email.
THe sheer volume was horrendous, she isnt IT literate, and I realised then that the best way was just ask the office to pass on urgent messages.

whydoesitalwaysrainonme Thu 21-Jul-11 21:36:28

I think it probably is simply a question of priorities and to be fair to her this question is a nice to have an answer to one, rather than a critical issue.

The other email she ignored was a matter of children's safety and the law so she should have replied.

As I think I said, funnily enough she replied straight away about something I was organising for the school the other day hmm. But that was before the end of term rush I suppose.

MM5 Fri 22-Jul-11 05:45:39

I think you can't make the assumption that the email actually got to her. Emails can and do go astray. I am always with the belief that if it is that important, you put in hardcopy and hand it into the school office. That way you KNOW it has got to school.

DownyEmerald Fri 22-Jul-11 22:34:50

This is weird to me. I work for a LA and we are instructed to treat emails the same as posted correspondance and to reply within 3 days. (it might not actually be 3 but it's not a very big number)

I work PT so I must admit I don't do that - would mean having to do work stuff on non-working days. Which I will do if it suits me, but not otherwise smile.

My boss gets zillions of emails (real ones, our spam filters are pretty good) and he is expected to adhere to this same as everyone else.

mrz Sat 23-Jul-11 09:54:18

Our spamfilter is very good ... nothing is getting through hmm

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