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Complaint against a Head - worth it?

(18 Posts)
assertivity Mon 22-Apr-13 20:03:14

I have a situation with a Head. DD has been moved from their school because of bullying. Head did everything possible to prevent the move, including calling Children's services, who have confirmed they have no concerns, telephoning a prospective school and telling them dd has SEN (untrue) so that matters were delayed while this was explored, and to top it all I have now received a compliance letter from tax credits about childcare stopping - again not a concern as I notified them of the childcare changes immediately, but another stress, obviously. Head badgered dd about the move when it was first discussed and I was telephoned to say that she could not leave when I proposed. Parents have also witnessed the Head speaking really unkindly to my daughter. Governors fully support the Head who is pushing the school towards outstanding, so I don't feel it would be useful to complain there. Could I usefully complain to the LEA about the way the transfer out was handled? or should I just let it lie.

cansu Mon 22-Apr-13 20:04:55

Let it lie. You will get nowhere and will waste your time on it. If your dd is elsewhere and happy now I would draw a line under it and move on.

assertivity Mon 22-Apr-13 20:08:48

I know it makes sense but I can't believe the plain nastiness.

admission Mon 22-Apr-13 23:23:48

It does sound from your description that the head teacher has over stepped the mark of what is reasonable.
The bottom line is that every school has a complaints process and that process needs to be followed. In your case it would be a complaint to the Chair of Governors about the head teacher's actions. However the latest versions of the complaint process now has no fall back to the LA about what happened at a school.
If you feel the need to take up the complaint with the LA then it will have to be around the actions that happened during the school transfer and what the LA did or did not do in that regard. For instances could you reasonably say that the LA should have taken some action against the head teacher because of the untruths he told the LA. You do however need to have some very clear proof about what the head did say before you can make that kind of allegation.
I tend to agree with assertivity that it is best left though

assertivity Mon 22-Apr-13 23:41:25

Most of the evidence is circumstantial simply because the people who could verify it won't wish to commit time and energy to becoming involved. The 'SEN' phone call to other Head was mentioned in a governors' meeting, not sure it was minuted though. I am left with the negative comments on the transfer form, and correspondence to me about dd's 'significant needs'. Dd has no such needs and is not receiving support at new school.
I realise there is nothing for me to gain, personally. I am loathe to just sit back and accept the abuse of power, because if no one stands up to it, it will carry on. I had every expectation of dd completing her primary education in our local school, which, to further muddy the waters, ds still attends (another reason to be circumspect).

bamboozled Mon 22-Apr-13 23:48:12

Really crap, but I would advise to let it lie... We had something similar, including the head reporting me to social services as an unfit mother (!!!) as we moved our 2 dds to a different school midterm, (glad to say they totally ignored her over this) but as much as DH wanted to take the head down, and I'm sure we could have done, I just think it extends the misery, leaves you burning with rage, still fighting the system and continues to affect the kids.
Out of sight. Out of mind is better- although we did have a ceremonial burning of their homework planners from the old school - the children loved that!,,

bamboozled Mon 22-Apr-13 23:50:44

Sorry you have to go through this though, it was one of our worst times as a family, we all felt so broken by the end..
Happy to say, that was 2 years ago now, and our dds LOVE the school they are at now, really appreciate the sacrifices we had to make to sort it all out for them, and re doing fantastically. I really hope you end up the same way.

assertivity Mon 22-Apr-13 23:53:34

no way bamboozled, I can't believe that happened to you, too! I've never been so ashamed in my life - Head was practically rubbing their hands with glee but the SW was lovely, said she had no idea why she'd been called out!
it really is a misuse of authority, and a waste of professionals' time when there are so many real problems
dd was determined not to go back after the holidays but the old school thought they had won by delaying everything. They phoned me on the last day of term to tell me she thought she was leaving and children had made her a card but she was NOT leaving as the other school wouldn't take her! shock

assertivity Mon 22-Apr-13 23:54:55

you really do understand sad
I am on my own with dc and I think Head capitalised on that tbh
I don't want anyone else to be treated this way - I feel I should stand up and be counted

TheSecondComing Mon 22-Apr-13 23:58:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

assertivity Mon 22-Apr-13 23:59:53

No confidence in Governors I'm afraid.

bamboozled Tue 23-Apr-13 00:05:06

We were mid custody case with my ex husband - we'd been divorced for 5 years but I remarried so hetried to unsettle everything by changing contact agreements etc - the headmistress turned up at the family courts, voluntarily, without being summoned, to give evidence in his favour as to why the children should move homes every three nights, as she felt I was a bad influence - simply because we had left her precious school as they had totally let our dds down... Utterly extraordinary behaviour.
The judge threw her evidence out of court - thank goodness, he said he was astonished at her behaviour and that my and DH's behaviour just showed that we solely had the children's interests at heart.
I am still furious with her and seething at the injustice that she had the power to potentially alter how many nights a week my girls were in our home, but I couldn't let it contaminate our lives any longer.

bamboozled Tue 23-Apr-13 00:08:35

No confidence in governors really either, we issued a freedom of information request to see if we could get anything concrete to use, and got a very strange letter from the school lawyers.... That was the point I decided to to step away from it all, as it had become the only thing we thought/talked about - life is too short to rehash the terrible moments all the time, if you can avoid them...
Poor you x

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 23-Apr-13 00:16:14

If you do decide to make a complaint you need to get a copy of the complaints procedure (either from school or from your LA website) and follow it to the letter. First stage in a complaint against a Head is to complain in writing to the Chair of Governors. The Chair must respond to you within a set time, I think it's 14 days but don't quote me on that.

If you are not happy with the Chair's response you can escalate the complaint by writing to the Governing Body via the School. The Governing Body is required to convene its Complaints Committee. Trust me, your complaint will be examined in depth at that level, even if you feel it wasn't before. I once sat on such a committee and we spent 4 hours deliberating to make sure that we had addressed every point of the complaint and that our decisions were informed, rational and, most importantly, legal.

That is the last stage of the school-based procedure and from here you can only proceed if you believe that your complaint wasn't handled properly, eg if the Governors haven't given it due consideration or have mishandled the complaint and have therefore come to the wrong conclusion. This is done by contacting the Children's Secretary at the Department for Education.

It's a long drawn out process but if you have evidence to support your complaint then you should never feel that you can't make that complaint. School Governors exist for the good of the school, not the Head, and the school must be their first priority. If they want Outstanding they have to deserve it not just pay lip service to it.

FadedSapphire Tue 23-Apr-13 07:01:49

Apart from all the detailed complaints you have her crap attitude could be brought up in a complaint.
Think even if gets nowhere she will not enjoy process which may make it worth it.
Tread carefully though and get someone you trust to check through your complaint. Definitely get complaints procedure. I imagine letter to Chair of govs first [and copy to whom you please?! mebbe not..].
Good luck.

assertivity Tue 23-Apr-13 07:43:37

Yes, the school complaints procedure is first to Chair of Governors. This person is very pro Head and I know has supported her in the past when staff members have been 'managed' out. For that reason I would feel it more useful to approach the complaint as an admissions issue, with LEA. I need impartiality!
I would totally have let it go if not for the compliance letter. I know the Head is involved because of the way she spoke to me yesterday. DD has left now, it is sheer vindictiveness and I don't know where it will end if I don't do something about it.
Thanks for all the support. I haven't slept much. Will think it over when less strained.

FadedSapphire Tue 23-Apr-13 11:20:20

If you go above governors at first fence then explain to LA why -ie you have no confidence in Head or Chair treating your issues/ complaints with impartiality. Also that there is no 'challenge' from Chair to Head. The Head Chair relationship sound too cosy.

HedgeHogGroup Tue 23-Apr-13 19:27:54

You can't complain to LA anymore - they have no part in the process. Its Head - Governors - Michael Gov... seriously hmm

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