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Refusal to send DD to school

(37 Posts)
directaction Mon 15-Oct-12 14:40:45

Apologies, name change as considering some direct action against school and don't want to be identified.

DD in school that needs to improve and is currently in transition to academy status. LA running school with interim head. Lots of good teachers have left and posts are being filled with supply teachers - school cannot fill posts long term due to academy transition - they are only allowed to offer fixed term contracts. High levels of sickness as LA management is highly demanding and very negative.

DD teacher off sick, likely to be long term. Other local options aren't much better (also Require Improvement) or full, or not accessible as I don't have a car.

I am considering removing my DD from the school, but not from the register, until quality of teaching is more consistent - at present it involves a different supply teacher everyday, most recent ones haven't even been primary trained. I am not worried about being referred to Education Welfare. I'm not convinced that they would take me to court. I have been VERY involved with the school and know a great deal behind the decision making that has led to this scenario and I don't think they'd appreciate the publicity. What I do want to do is force their hand to more proactively manage our school and bring about positive change. We cant wait until transition, by then there won't be any staff or children left in the school.

Any words of caution/wisdom/ advice?

DeWe Mon 15-Oct-12 15:16:01

I suspect the school doesn't have a lot of choice how to act. I think it would be the LA that took you to court rather than the school though.

I doubt removing one child from school is not going to force anyone's hands.

prh47bridge Mon 15-Oct-12 18:10:14

I agree with DeWe. Removing your child from school will not force their hand at all. It is far mroe likely to end up with you being fined or worse.

The LA would not be worried about the publicity as they would start with a penalty notice, which doesn't involve a court hearing at all. Even if it did go to court there is a good chance the court would simply refuse to hear what you have to say about this school on the grounds that it isn't relevant. I'm sure you think it is relevant but the quality of teaching is not a defence.

NellyJob Mon 15-Oct-12 18:15:12

i think that would be a very negative move and wouldn't make you look good or force any change, just end with you in a whole pile of doo doo and your daughter without a school or a social life.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 15-Oct-12 18:17:25

Are you able to move your child to a different school? One person keeping their child at home isn't going to change things I'm afraid.

jamdonut Mon 15-Oct-12 19:58:08

Wow, that could almost be our school,except not going to be an academy. We have worked long and hard and things have 'improved' considerably - for the children, but staff are worn-out,demoralised and lots have quit or 'left'. And a couple on sick-leave for stress. (And I know it is definitely stress - you should see how much work has to be done to tick all the boxes for the LA...and still they add more and keep changing the goal-posts). But I don't see the point of you removing your child unless it is to send them to another school. I am sure the LA have issued all sorts of edicts to ensure the children's learning is moving on,and supply teachers will usually have been chosen carefully for a school that is in special measures or with a notice to improve. Are you absolutely sure that there is no learning going on?

RosemaryandThyme Mon 15-Oct-12 20:25:15

Ok - so your childs' school is naff, you want her to be in a setting that teaches her more, your not planning on full time Home Ed so your left with finding another primary or waiting it out at current one.

Waiting it out is no longer an option as even if new status was fixed overnight your still looking at a three to six month timeline for fixing a permanent teching post, so basically your child pretty much stagnates for a year.

Moving locally you've looked into and nothing doing in walking distance.

OK - buy a car, google schools, phone any within say 20 min drive to see if they have places. if you don't drive book yourself on one of those speed learning courses that promise no re-examination fees if you don't pass first time. If you no money for car or lessons consider reviewing local transport timetables to see just where buses etc could get you in time for a school drop off and collection.

nkf Mon 15-Oct-12 20:31:04

Keep her at home to do what? You will home educate? No? If she is on the register, you will be contacted once her attendance falls below a certain level. And if you find another school, she will be on the register until this school gets the paperwork, saying she's now on the register of another. I appreciate your despair and anger but this can't be the way to deal with it.

directaction Mon 15-Oct-12 23:02:00

Thanks for all your input. I genuinely appreciate all of your advice.

If none of us did anything because only one person can't make a difference, then what would be the point of doing anything? The card in my favour is the level of involvement I've had in the school (sorry, not prepared to go into details). Any action such as taking DD out of school would be accompanied by a letter to the school and the LA outlining my reasons for the decision and a confirmation that she would return to school once the quality of teaching improved. All I'm asking for is consistent teaching ie. not different supply teachers every other day. The story behind all of this is to do with LA mismanagement and a complete lack of experience in how to turn a school like ours around. Until the academies agenda our LA ignored schools like ours because it doesn't have many in the authority - we're a very MC area.

The only other accessible school is little better than our own - in fact, they are likely to follow the same journey but have yet to reach the really bad times. If a car was a possibility then I'd have one, and public transport is not really an option. I will HE my DD - I'm very confident about doing that, but I'm not prepared to remove her from the school system completely. Also, if I were to move DD elsewhere then what about all the other parents who don't have that option? What is happening at our school is just not acceptable, but running away is far too easy a solution and doesn't really solve the problem.

I am certain that the LA would not be happy with me taking this action and would notice because of issues alluded to (apologies, but not drip feeding, I won't be giving any more details).

Thanks again.

prh47bridge Mon 15-Oct-12 23:19:38

I remain of the view that the most likely outcome of your actions is that the LA will issue a penalty notice against you, which means you will be fined £50 with no court hearing.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 15-Oct-12 23:21:04

Directaction.

I do sympathise with your situation, the education system is not good and imo will only get worse.
However, the points others have raised are quite true.
The LEA will only be bothered that you have broken the law if you decide to take dc out of school. In order to use your right to H.ed you have to deregister otherwise your are truanting.
I know you have your principles and feel very strongly about this, but the only legal way to leave is to deregister.
FWIW, H.ed is more than I thought could be possible, we are enjoying it so much and removing barriers to learning is so refreshing.
Good luck whatever you decide.

annh Tue 16-Oct-12 08:59:40

I echo what everyone else here has said and think you are deluding yourself if you believe that keeping your daughter at home is going to suddenly escalate the speed of change/improvement at the school. You keep referring to your involvement at the school but as others have also said, the immediate outcome will be that you will be fined for your DD's absence without anyone being interested in your well-meaning reasons for it. Also whatever your involvement in the school (Governor, former teacher, even the former head teacher herself!?) whatever you "know" about issues is already well-known by the school and LA and as this information is presumably not public domain I don't know who you think you can share it with - other parents, the press? Aren't you bound by confidentiality?

Delalakis Tue 16-Oct-12 09:50:02

I completely agree that your gesture is realistically unlikely to achieve anything. I think you either keep your child there whilst entering formal complaints all over the place, becoming vocal on the parent-teacher association, going to Ofsted, etc etc; or you deregister her, telling everyone concerned why you are doing this.

I don't think there is any advantage whatsoever in keeping her nominally within the school system and earning yourself a fine or even imprisonment. If your concern is whether you can get her back in when you want to, I strongly suspect that the school is going to have vacancies just because a number of families will be taking their children out permanently. If it doesn't, the local authority has a duty to find your child a place and, if it's more than three miles away, they will have to provide transport.

DesperatelySeekingPerfection Tue 16-Oct-12 10:16:40

I do not understand why you don't just delete her from the register and home educate? You have said you will HE so what is the problem. Presumably the school is not oversubscribed so you could just get her back in if need be?

The most important thing is your child's education and well being. Using her for some crusade will not help you or her.

If the LA are already involved with the school then you are unlikely to change the course of action they are taking regardless of your perceived importance etc.

MrsMelons Tue 16-Oct-12 12:51:56

How old is your DD? Is she unhappy and want to be taken out of school?

skewiff Tue 16-Oct-12 12:57:33

I would write a deregistration letter and home educate for as long as you think is necessary (ie until school is sorted out). Then you can put your DD back onto the waiting list and get her back into the school - do you think???

I have been contemplating doing similar with my DS if things go down a similar route with out school ...

directaction Tue 16-Oct-12 13:36:55

Thanks. There are a lot of very sensible comments here.

It is highly likely that the LA would ignore my action. And, you're right, they may not care about what I do or don't know. If I was to bring publicity to the school they could always make me out to be a disgruntled parent with 'issues'. All of that is probably completely right and true.

However, I don't want to completely remove my DD from the school - she has friends who she has been with for a number of years (she's in KS2). With a constant string of supplies then HE is a better option, but if they improve the quality of teaching then, for us, school is the better option.

I know what the legalities are surrounding HE, but can anyone advise on where to find legal details on what the duties of the school are? I could very easily deregister DD and its highly likely that school would have places if/when things improve, but that doesn't help my DDs friends and ultimately her. My point in not deregistering would be to keep our case in the LAs mind - if we just deregister then we're out of their concerns. It is a small LA - the EWO office is in the same place as the school improvement team - conversations do take place between them.

I know this sounds like a ridiculous campaign of a parent with an overinflated ego, but that really isn't quite the case.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 16-Oct-12 14:58:29

Directaction.

I think it is important to do what your dd wants to do. Even a lower end Ks2 is capable of thinking things through with the right info.
We deregistered in July and have been H.ed for this half term so far. We left school on good terms though and are still in contact. Netherless I still think we would have kept in touch with dds friends had the terms not been good, although I can see that this would be difficult if parents views bcame into school politics as well.
We make an effort to arrange dates with dds old school friends and as yet she is still on birthaday invite lists, although maybe this will dwindle in time. There are also many H.ed groups throughout the country where kids meet which aids with their social life.
There are good threads in H.ed section here. Go to education, then click more, then choose from the list.
Good luck with your decision.

teacherwith2kids Tue 16-Oct-12 14:59:26

You can only go one way or the other - stay in school (and attend) or deregister.

I have no idea what you are trying to achieve by holding your child in limbo. I can't see any reason that anyone would take any more action to help her and her friends than they would if she was present or deregistered. You'll get fined and the school will also have higher absence rates to contend with.

If you think she'll do better if you HE, then do that. You could even encourage other parents to HE and then get together to form a local HE group, involve occasional visitors or teachers or tutors etc.

The LA will say that their aim IS to improve the quality of teaching. They will not do something different due to your 'one child' campaign which will suddenly completely change their approach and lead to the introduction of excellent permanent teachers. The underlying issues are what they are, the move to academy status is what it is, the levels of work required to turn a school around ARE horrendous. In the short to medium term - certainly in any timescale you could conceivably hold your child in educational limbo for this prupose - the siutuation is likely to remain as it is. The reasons for the use of lots of ssupply teachers are clearly laid out in your post and are part and parcel of the whol situation. There is not a 'magic wand' that can be waved to return everything to stability and a normal, happy workload for every member of staff.

Deregister her, or get a car and move her to another school, or take a longer term view including the move to academy status and decide whether the long-term outcome could be positive despite short to medium term pain.

DesperatelySeekingPerfection Tue 16-Oct-12 17:28:26

What about flexi schooling? Could you put in an application saying that you feel that there is not enough continuity in lessons and try and raise it via that avenue ?

directaction Wed 17-Oct-12 08:18:47

OK, so if I decide to HE even short term I'll deregister.

Flexi-schooling is an interesting option, but I don't think the LA would agree (although I may try). My reasoning would be the need to 'top up' DDs education because the quality in school is so bad - not something the LA are likely to jump for joy over!

As for DD, she isn't particularly happy at school, but friendships are important to her. Moving schools would be a huge gamble wherever we choose to go as many schools in this area are just beginning down the same path as ours is already on - it isn't a happy place!

Just to make it completely clear, DD is still in school - refusing to send her is an option I am considering but not one I have acted on. Of course DDs welfare is the most important consideration in all of this and she isn't aware of much of my angst, other than very brief conversations regarding the possiblity of changing school.

cory Wed 17-Oct-12 09:26:42

From my own experience of dealing with a school that failed to meet standards (or indeed conform to the law): Never ever put yourself in the wrong!

midseasonsale Fri 19-Oct-12 23:11:24

Can you look at home ed and put your DC on a waiting list for a better school. A space should eventually come up. Try and find a school your DD will like and blossom in. She will make friends.

midseasonsale Fri 19-Oct-12 23:12:18

There are lots of h.e social meets and educational trips

LadyLapsang Sat 20-Oct-12 13:48:52

If you take your child out of school without deregistering her then we, as taxpayers, are paying for a service that is not being provided and you are preventing another child taking up that place. Think you either need to work constructively with the school to raise standards of teaching or remove her when you have found a better setting.

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