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How do you make a formal complaint about a school?

(21 Posts)
temporary Sat 06-Oct-12 15:56:35

I have been shocked this weekend after finding out about what amounts to negligence on behalf of my daughter's school.
I am going to go to talk to the head on Monday and write a letter to the board of governors - but are there any further channels I should go down?

mam29 Sat 06-Oct-12 16:03:38

it depends on the complaint

if its safe guarding kids then last year a parent called social servces and they investigated.

There was a recent accident in playground I did onder may be covered by health and safety executive,

I guess if assault-the police.

However i do urge you 1st port of call should be the head before ringing ofsted

The governers if no luck with the head.

its hard to say without nature of complaint.

but kids can say things wrong or parents spread rumours so by time it gets to head its severly distorted.

has it personally effected daughter or potential danger for all?

temporary Sat 06-Oct-12 16:10:21

It is to do with a second time complaint re lack of seemingly any filters on computers. The children have a lot of computer use at the school and they can access hardcore porn. This is a primary school.

DeWe Sat 06-Oct-12 17:27:53

How do you know that they can access hardcore porn. Have you tried?

Thewidewideworld Sat 06-Oct-12 17:33:16

If a child has accessed hardcore porn at school that is a safeguarding issue and you should complain to the school's designated safeguarding officer (who is often the head) to the head if they are not the safeguarding officer and to the chair of governors. If they do not treat your complaint seriously, then to the local authority who will HAVE to investigate.
If it is just that you believe that it would be possible for them to access porn then you need to write a letter to the head telling them why their IT systems are not sufficiently secure and stating that you believe this to be a safeguarding issue and asking what they propose to do about it. CC this letter to the chair of governors.

Hassled Sat 06-Oct-12 17:37:56

There is a standard school complaints procedure which the school may well have a link to on their website, or the school office will be able to give you. Google "school complaints procedure + your county" and you should get an idea - usually it's the Head, then the Governing Body, then ultimately (though very rarely) the Local Authority.

temporary Sat 06-Oct-12 20:52:45

OK I will look at the school complaints procedure online and who the safeguarding officer is. Thank you for the pointers.

I have looked again at the web page in question, and I have noticed it is images only, no text. So now I am wondering whether that means that they do have filters in place but that maybe filters can do nothing about pages without text?? That is probably a question for the geeky section.

mrz Sat 06-Oct-12 21:07:01

Most school's internet access is filtered through the LEA.
Have you accessed the web page from the school internet? Sorry I'm confused how you know what can and can't be accessed in school.

temporary Sat 06-Oct-12 21:15:45

It's an issue for the LEA then.
My daughter told me the search term used, through google, and kind of described what she saw. (It was a boy sitting at her table who showed her, she was disgusted.) After putting her to bed I went and googled and the page that came up at the top of the results fitted her description.

admission Sat 06-Oct-12 22:11:58

No access filter is going to be perfect but from the ease of what you have inputted it should be rather better than it would appear.
This is a significant safeguarding issue and needs to be bought to the attention of the person responsible for safeguarding in the school, which in a primary is almost for sure the head teacher. I would put the complaint in writing and tell them exactly how to access the internet file. Please do not just tell the head teacher on Monday, tell them and hand over the letter so there is no way of avoiding the issue. Ask for a response within 24 hours and the first action should be to suspend all computer use in the school.
If there is not an immediate response from the school and I mean by the next day, because this is really significant, then your next port of call is to the LADO (the local authority designated officer) who has overall responsibility for safeguarding. The headteacher would normally make any referral for safeguarding issues to this person. If you ring up the LA and ask for the LADO I am sure that they will put you through to them.

mrz Sun 07-Oct-12 09:38:12

My LEA went "slightly" OTT with filtering and overnight blocked EVERYTHING! We have to provide them with the web address of the site we want unblocking

2tired2bewitty Sun 07-Oct-12 09:50:28

You're not in Essex or sussex are you? The -sex bits of their names can make effective filtering difficult

FermezLaBouche Sun 07-Oct-12 11:01:53

Our school's filter is run through the LEA, as mrz says. It's virtually impossible to screen inappropriate images, depressingly. (Don't bother trying to look up "Scattergrams" - Took me a while to work out that one.)

I get why you are so pissed off but realistically I'm not sure what can be done. I just tell my kids that if they see anything that makes them feel uncomfortable to tell me immediately. I do have sensible kids though.

WofflingOn Sun 07-Oct-12 11:04:05

They will have a complaints policy, setting out the correct procedure and the people and bodies to be contacted. Ask for a copy and go from that point.

WofflingOn Sun 07-Oct-12 11:06:13

I teach in Sussex, the filter system is to die for. It blocks all sorts of things for a variety of reasons, and it can be a real PITA. Not just on the children's logins but the teachers' too.

cumbrialass Sun 07-Oct-12 11:26:34

My authority used to block almost everything useful you could think of, BBC Bitesize and CBeebies was blocked at one point. Yet it is almost impossible to block everything, even the most innocent of searches can come up with things you would rather were filtered out. Most schools/authorities do their best, if something appears we would rather not, we can inform the authority who will block the site immediately but even the most sophisticated webfilters aren't infallible

IAmLouisWalsh Sun 07-Oct-12 17:26:05

Filter systems are a nightmare and can crash.

You need to notify the school first - are they aware of the issue? We only find out about gaps in our excellent blocking system when they crop up. The technician doesn't sit around googling porn to check it works!

RiversideMum Sun 07-Oct-12 20:41:32

We have an LA filter too. We can't access Google Images in school or any kind of blog. At one point earlier this term, the lunch ordering website was filtered out. Tiddly pom. All schools need to have an internet safety policy.

wherearemysocka Sun 07-Oct-12 22:21:33

I was once blocked from an exam board's website as apparently it was pornography...

seeker Sun 07-Oct-12 22:25:00

Why don't you just tell the school, and they will sort it out? It sounds like q mistake- I'm sure they didn't mean her to see it!

Parasaurolophus Mon 08-Oct-12 08:50:30

We had to sign a permission slip letting our children use the internet at school, and acknowledging that although the filters exist they are not perfect. Parents who did not want to take the risk do not let their kids use the internet at school.

This led to a very frank conversation about porn with my 9-year-old DS, who was totally disgusted and very sure he will never, ever want to look at stuff like that! smile

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