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Infant School pushing to report me to SS for neglect. Can they do that?

(554 Posts)
pylonic Tue 08-Jan-13 18:40:40

My DD age 5.5 has had a poor lateness record since the beginning of Year 1. No excuses really, I only lived a 9 minute walk from school but we were late almost every day for at least 6 months. I had trouble sleeping but not to the point of Insomnia, just kept oversleeping through the alarm clock most times (dreaded snooze button).

She's also had some absence, genuine though, illness and doc's appointments.

Last year I was advised by letter that unless lateness improved the school would be referring us to a welfare officer.
3 months ago we had to move out of the village to a nearby town but no transfers in new town for DD so she still attends old school. Because I have had to rely on buses, we have been late again quite a few times, or other people that I have relied on to drive her in for me have been late traffic etc or there's been other logistical problems, so presumably the record isn't improving.

Today the head teacher called my Mum in for a word (I'm 44...why they need to call my Mummy I don't know), and the gist was as follows:

My children are being neglected because I have insomnia (I don't, I just needed to put some excuse down in the late book. Quite tame compared to other regularly late people's excuses), so they want to involve social services.

I have been seen in the village shop with my children buying chocolate bars. And that's it. I don't know what they mean by this? :/

My daughter has turned up without a cardigan on at least two occasions in 'extreme weather'. This constitutes neglect. But they are quick to complain if she's wearing a different colour cardigan to school because her two logo tops are in the wash.

She often has a chocolate drink in her lunchbox.

This is a very cliquey village, hence glad to have left it behind, but although the late record is admittedly quite dire, is it generally worthy of involving social services for neglect?

The head teacher and I "don't have a dialogue" she told my Mum, hence why she called her in to talk to instead.

I've only spoken to the head once, when I had to inform them about the children's father's DV past so that they do not let him take DD out of school without my permission.

I bristle under authority having come into my Catholic rebellion quite late in life, but I'm generally non-combative.

So I'm wondering what you think of my request, in that I want toask the head to write down all the concerns she has so I have it in writing, and then invite her to my home in order that she can ascertain for herself it is a proper, clean, comfortable and sustaining environment for the children.

I feel a bit Hmmmmm that she has gone 'running to my Mummy' instead of talking to me, the parent, especially considering this late book has been full of the same old, same old pupils including my sister's son, for the last couple of years, but I feel a bit singled out perhaps wrongly, I don't know, because of the whole single mother on benefits stereotype, DV background, and now they want social services to investigate the children for neglect.

The children's father also wants to play this card against me, so I'm just resigned to SS being involved in their lives anyway it's out of my control.

My DD is otherwise happy, bright, doing fine at school and paints happy pictures all the time.

Can an infant school really go down this route when there isn't actually any clear signs of any kind of neglect going on? It seems unfair to tar my DD with this brush and I'm also concerned how this is going to affect her In Year transfer to a school in our new town.

I think this is just a rant, it all seems to be out of my control. The head has a reputation for being an axe-grinder and their Ofsted isn't great for a village school. The conspiracy theorist in me is saying its all about the grades.

Hs anyone been investigated by SS before for neglect? What should I expect? Will it go against me in the forthcoming Vafcass report which their father wants to initiate too as part of his contact/custody case?

doublecakeplease Tue 08-Jan-13 19:30:23

Just a thought - When are they referring to you being in the shop? Is it before school and adding to the lateness?

StuffezLaBouche Tue 08-Jan-13 19:32:14

On two occasions she went in without a cardigan, just a normal non logo cardigan, or none at all, but the school gives a spare out to those without anyway.

For this alone I say a resounding PFFFFT!

pylonic Tue 08-Jan-13 19:32:27


They refer to having seen me in the village shop during daytime whilst my children are in school and nursery.....buying chocolate bars. It's the chocolate police. I wouldn't put it past this daft village.

scottishmummy Tue 08-Jan-13 19:32:49

school will liaise with sw about attendance and provide the info about times/ dates
you're child was inapropriately dressed in severe weather.these things will raise concern
I'd advusec cooperate with any plans made get good rapport with school and sw
prioritize getting child tp school,habitual lateness is a problem,it's disruptive
a child should have stability,good nutrition,routine and adequate clothing

PandaNot Tue 08-Jan-13 19:33:47

It's the collection of things all put together which will be concerning the school but they shouldn't have spoken to your mum. Have they got other concerns about her diet in general? Has the school nurse flagged her weight as an issue maybe? That's the only reason I can think they would be concerned about the chocolate-buying.

veryworried29 Tue 08-Jan-13 19:33:58

It is neglectful not to get your child to school on time.

ledkr Tue 08-Jan-13 19:34:05

Well the school can report you if they have concerns but in your case I'm sure there is not a case for neglect maybe just for some support and advice.
However! You should get her to school on time in a cardi with a nice lunch. Shouldn't you really? You know that.
I am a bit of a late person but I just about get mine to school on time because its just what you do!
Set the clock a bit earlier, go to bed a bit earlier, get stuff ready the night before. Good habits ready for senior school where they get into trouble for lateness.
You know you can.

pylonic Tue 08-Jan-13 19:36:23

Interesting point about the confidentiality issue. If that's the case then I will be putting forward an official complaint about the head.

Lateness runs in our family, my sister's son also attends same school, year above, same if not worse late record, but Mum has never been called in to talk about him.

I believe the head saying to Mum that her and I have 'no dialogue' is the clue. I suspect she anticipates difficulty talking to me. I broke a rule last Xmas by insisting I attend the nativity play with a sibling, against their rules. I marched right in with my young son, was not going to miss my child's first Xmas play because of a silly rule.

pylonic Tue 08-Jan-13 19:37:26

Yes it was laziness. Logistics now. And finances. Perhaps I was still g a bit from depression, that tends to keep you in bed doesn't it?

NorthernLurker Tue 08-Jan-13 19:37:31

No.....saying you can't afford the bus won't wash. You need to get your child to school on time. It's your responsibility. If you can get her there late, you can get her there on time. Goodness knows I love my bed but there limits woman. You MUST get out of it.

doublecakeplease Tue 08-Jan-13 19:37:50

Ok - surprised at that. I think you need to make every effort to pick your game up starting tomorrow. Lay everything out tonight -breakfast, uniform, lunch, bus money etc. Set your alarm early if you want to snooze. SHOW them that you are capable of addressing their concerns. Your poor dd must be fed up of being late.

Feelingood Tue 08-Jan-13 19:38:42


I thinks there's been some bits of advice on here that have been quite blunt and critical. I think your core issue is getting to school on time. Schools are adamant about this and don't budge, it's a life skill and is important for as others have said settling in.

It doesn't matter that they have assemblies first thing, your DD needs to feel part of the school in every sense and it's actually a legal requirement for school to provide collective worship.

I think you should concentrate on getting a n we routine, travel in
Lace to get yourself up and out on a morning - I used to be bad at this, so do sympathise but I did always get dc's there on time, just! Now I'm better at it we are not even rushing.

honestly I think you need help to get into a good routine

- get uniform ready night before - change immediately when home and Kay out or wash it.
- packed lunch and bags ready shoes and coat by door.
- get bathed/showered the night before, quicker wash in am
- alarm set for one hour before getting up time, no snooze. have a drink or banana by your bed to eat helps wake you up
- set a secondary alarm
- make jam sandwiches to eat on rout if desperate re bus journey or fruit and cereal bar, do this till you get in a better routine and build in cereal or cooked stuff later.

You need to decide on what you need to do and do one day at a time, kept going and eventually becomes a good new habit.

you sound like you have enough on your plate without this too.

Mynewmoniker Tue 08-Jan-13 19:38:47

*"This is provincial east midlands, not organic hummus and spiced legumes all round south Putney."

I hope that's not your attitude when speaking to the HT. It says a lot about you.

ihearsounds Tue 08-Jan-13 19:39:50

The school have procedures in place because of safe guarding. There are a number of triggers that can result in the school reporting to SS. They don't even have to let you know they have reported. The HT is doing what she thinks is the right thing to do. She cannot guarantee that the child's needs are being met. If she didn't do anything even though there are warning signs, and something happened, she would be in a whole heap of trouble.

I am a life long insomniac. Started as a child. It is hard, but every morning I get my arse out of bed and get my children to school and myself off to work. You know this is a problem so you look at solutions, not blaming the snooze button. The button has no control, you do.

Chocolate bars, because if this is all you seem to buy then it will get noted. Even more so if there are alternative available. And how many times a week you buy chocolate. Add this to the chocolate milk in lunch box and it is an unhealthy diet. There are many healthy alternatives.

You have a least 2 people (school and dad) having issues with your parenting. Take a proper hard look to see where you are going wrong, not just the stuff mentioned.

You need to get proactive, stop blaming everything/one for what you are doing. You have the power to make changes. And yes I have been investigated for neglect. School didn't believe I was trying to get my sn ds all the help available. But in my case I was able to show evidence from letters etc that I was trying just caught up in a minefield of referrals and waiting lists. Had the school asked me, I would have shown them, but they went straight to ss, which helped as they used their powers to get referrals and stuff pushed quicker.

scottishmummy Tue 08-Jan-13 19:39:56

look you need to prioritize timekeeping,not oh lateness runs in family.that's slack
do you appreciate there are concerns,you need to address lateness stop making excuses
do be open and cooperative,don't see this asadverserial. work with school and sw

Feelingood Tue 08-Jan-13 19:39:58

Lay out

Smudging Tue 08-Jan-13 19:40:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pylonic Tue 08-Jan-13 19:40:14


What do you think the school 'owes' me exactly? Because I can't see that they do. Can you make yourself clearer? They owe me nothing. Or are you just trying to throw a flame?

HyvaPaiva Tue 08-Jan-13 19:40:28

You are doing a huge disservice to your child. Get her to school on time, dress her appropriately, set a good example to her. 'Darned snooze button', 'Can't afford bus', 'village clique', 'silly rules' are all excuses you are pushing on us in your messages here. Where exactly are YOU and your responsibility? Stop doing this to your DD. Just stop it.

Portofino Tue 08-Jan-13 19:41:04

I don't sleep well and struggle to get up. I set the alarm earlier so I have plenty of time. DD is never late for school. What measures have you tried to ensure you are on time in the morning?

pylonic Tue 08-Jan-13 19:41:08

Mrz no, they specifically asked to speak to her. It was for more than 'just a minute'.
They do not routinely call in any old person who picks p a child from school to speak on such issues.

Smudging Tue 08-Jan-13 19:41:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

doublecakeplease Tue 08-Jan-13 19:41:19

Sorry but lateness doesn't run in families. Habitual idleness might but not lateness. Your comment about marching right in despite a rule has me bristling. If you're 'available at all times' there is no excuse to be late or not have uniforms washed.

Smudging Tue 08-Jan-13 19:42:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RyleDup Tue 08-Jan-13 19:42:26

Yes it was laziness. Logistics now. And finances. Perhaps I was still g a bit from depression, that tends to keep you in bed doesn't it?

Maybe so, but its not about you, its about your daughters education. And if the school think youre not up to the job of making sure your dd gets to school, adequately dressed, then they will enlist the help of social services. You seem to make a lot of excuses for yourself.

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