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Primary school bending the rules?

(38 Posts)
mumtobealloveragain Tue 14-Jan-14 11:16:24

I posted here before about my slightly strange circumstances. In short.. My children spend a week with me then a week with their father, shared residency. I discovered last term they were late 2-3 days a week every week they were with him (never late with me). It's affecting one of our children who is anxious about being late, hates people "staring" at him, worries about it and it's become and issue when he is here with me too despite us never being late.

The Educational Welfare Officer noticed the lateness and became involved with the school and asked them to try and rectify it. The school spoke with my ex, have sent him two letters as well. My solicitor has said if it doesn't improve that I have a good chance of getting a Court to agree that the children need to be with me on school days to ensure their educational and emotional needs are met, but I need the school attendance reports showing the regular lateness to show to a a court.

I've had a meeting with the school last week who has said the lateness has greatly improved and it's now only once a week ish that he's late and that's shown on the lateness/Attendance records.

The thing is, I know it's not correct. My step children go to the same school and I'm there most days. I see him taking the children in late most days, yet he's not getting a late mark! The school policy is children arrive 8:50-9am. After 9am is marked as late. Yet I'm seeing him walking down the road at 9am or going in the school gates at 9:05 and it takes a few minutes to get round to their classrooms, sort bags and coats etc.

I was straight with the head and explained this. She said the teacher starts the register "soon after" 9am but it means that latecomers between 9-9:10 are marked in otherwise there would be lots of late marks and that looks bad on the school. She said the EWO reviews their books regularly. She said they lock the doors (no gate as such) from 0905 onwards but there are 4 doors so parents can usually get in one of them up until about 0910-0915 as it takes time to lock them all (rubbish!)

I'm so annoyed. It seems that the lateness is being "fudged" so make the school look good to the EWO's. What's the point of that. It totally ruins my point for Court too. sad I've this morning seen my son being dragged down the road moaned at and crying cause my ex couldn't get his arse out of bed on time. He walked past me gone 0905 so they wouldn't get into class til 0910 so ten mins late but his attendance report will not show a lateness I bet!

Shall I tell the EWO? Will they even care? Does lateness/attendance get taken into consideration for Ofsted reports etc?

nostress Tue 14-Jan-14 11:47:17

Talk to your ex regarding the distress it is causing your DC.

mumtobealloveragain Tue 14-Jan-14 11:48:57

Oh I have spoken to ex. He does to care. He has even told me he doesn't think I should be speaking with the school as what he does in "his time" is his business.

nostress Tue 14-Jan-14 11:54:13

How old are the DC? Could they say something to their dad. The problem is you don't want to turn into the 'baddy'. 50/50 care of the kids is a great thing and it will benefit them. If you talk to EWO and involve courts etc. then you have a good chance of turning into the mum who restricts access of DC to their Dad. They will ultimately blame you even if he was in the wrong.

sashangel Tue 14-Jan-14 12:14:55

I would speak to the school and the EWO and perhaps they could have a meeting with you and your EX to discuss the problem.

Get the EWO to get a full explanation as to the lateness policy and why the school isn't abiding to it. Also to explain that it is having an effect on your DS is suffering from the lateness.

Other than standing outside the gates and timing him yourself if the school aren't recording it properly I don't know what to suggest. However that is a bit creepy shock

Danann Tue 14-Jan-14 12:37:10

Note down time and date each time you see him arriving late and ask the head if she would be prepared to write a letter to the court saying that although the children are arriving before the end of registration at 9.10 they are still not making it for 9 am, that way her records still look good but she is backing you up to the courts.

mumtobealloveragain Tue 14-Jan-14 12:50:06

Nostress, unfortunately courts are already involved, we have a Court Order in place for 50/50 residency. They are a bit young to voice their concerns to their dad to be honest. He doesn't see being late as an issue, he's always been like that and even a warning from the head didn't help! He doesn't care basically.

I am making a note of what time he arrives so I can show it to the head teacher. It's not really "stalking" lol grin as I am there at the school anyway and whilst I'm on my way back to where we park he has to pass me to get to school, if that makes sense.

Danann. I may do this. I already have a copy of the letter the he's sent him saying it's having a detrimental affect on them. A letter from thgrin head confirming they often arrive 09:00- 09:10 would help.

What I really want to do is get the EWO to force the school to implement their own policies and record lateness correctly. He'd be shown as late almost every day of they would, then Id easily win the argument at Court and I can make sure they arrive in time everyday, much better for them both

DeWe Tue 14-Jan-14 13:37:50

I doubt any court would believe you if you note down every time they're late unless the school will back you up.

I'd work on the school (emotional distress of them being late etc) to work on him.

mumtobealloveragain Tue 14-Jan-14 13:57:04

Yeah DeWe that's the problem. Bloody school aren't helping but ex is laughing isn't he. He must be wondering why he can be late all the time and the school no longer moan at him for it! hmm

Danann Tue 14-Jan-14 14:05:58

DeWe is right, a court wouldn't take times and dates on their own as proof, unless of course your ex is likely to admit to the judge that he's often late, then you could use it as a way of showing how often it is.

I meant keep a list of dates and times to go with the letter from school.

nostress Tue 14-Jan-14 14:56:42

I am playing devil's advocate here... but the real issue seems to be you don't want a 50:50 share with your ex? If we are going to talk about emotional distress then you have to consider an unequal share as an emotional distress to at least some of the parties involved. I'm a teacher and the children are not missing anything that early in the day although it may be annoying/embarrassing for them. Taking this back to the courts will only upset them long term. Yes speak with head and get him to pull up your ex and make sure he complies with the school rules but don't use this as a means to get back at him or take the children from him.

Blueberrypots Tue 14-Jan-14 15:47:47

I agree with nostress

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 14-Jan-14 18:44:10

Are you perhaps reading a bit too much into the policy? I'm not sure it's supposed to be read as you need to be in at 9 on the dot or else. More likely the register will be taken at 9 ish and if you are not there by the time it's taken you will be marked as late so better be there before then.

I wouldn't mark a child as late if they were in the classroom by the time I got to their name. I might mention it if they were consistently arriving at that time but never late enough that they arrived after the register was taken but that doesn't apply in your case as they are arriving that late 2-3 times a week and the EWO is involved. If I remember you last thread correctly they were arriving very late i.e. sometimes more than 1/2 and hr. I would think that would be enough evidence with out the additional lates.

auntpetunia Tue 14-Jan-14 19:25:55

in my school registration starts at 8.55, children are late if they arrive between 9.05 and 9.30 and unauthorized absence if they arrive after 9.30. I have been known to be lenient if they are at the gate buzzing by 9.30 but don't get across yard till 9.32!

I would ask to see their lates policy and tell ewo its not being correctly actioned and give dates and times you've seen him. photos with a date stamp on would be good.

do parents have to sign late children in, could that be checked.

Frikadellen Thu 16-Jan-14 10:18:50

The primary ny youngest is in has a late before register closes policy that gives an exrra 10mins or so before the y het marked late. If they arrive after gate has been shut then they have to be signed inband are marked late. Sounds like the school uses a similar set up and as I understand it that is permitted.
May be worth looking at how to aid your ds witu feeling less anxious about beibg late yoi voild request the school to aid you there if they have noticed tiss too

Frikadellen Thu 16-Jan-14 10:18:57

The primary ny youngest is in has a late before register closes policy that gives an exrra 10mins or so before the y het marked late. If they arrive after gate has been shut then they have to be signed inband are marked late. Sounds like the school uses a similar set up and as I understand it that is permitted.
May be worth looking at how to aid your ds witu feeling less anxious about beibg late yoi voild request the school to aid you there if they have noticed tiss too

Canthisonebeused Fri 17-Jan-14 14:08:37

Get the head to put in writting to your solicitor what she has explained to you the reason for not giving them late marks despite knowing they are late. If she refuses then you advice her if the marks do not begin to reflect an honest picture you will report her to posted for falseifying the registrar, which is a legal document.

Canthisonebeused Fri 17-Jan-14 14:09:32

Report her to Ofstead not posted

jamtoast12 Fri 17-Jan-14 14:18:07

Our school starts at 8:50 but the teacher doesn't even start the register til 10 am so in theory you could be 15 late and not be "late" too

Canthisonebeused Fri 17-Jan-14 14:32:00

There are legal requirements about marks they registar by law should closed at a certain time after bell official start times.

mumtobealloveragain Fri 17-Jan-14 21:15:38

Thanks all. I'm wondering if it is wrong though. The attendance policy states they must be at school by 9am. However it doesn't state when the time cut off is for a late mark. It seems at the moment the register being completed, rather than a set time, is used as a late mark cut off point. If you scrape in before your name is called you are not late. Today I saw them arriving at 09:06 so wouldn't have been in the room until at least 09:08, they were being half dragged along the road and moaned at by my ex. The road down to school and the school playground was empty, all the other kids were in and parents had already left. They didn't get a late mark though. hmm Would Ofsted care or would it be the EWOO "report" them too? Thanks guys all much appreciated x

mumtobealloveragain Fri 17-Jan-14 21:15:57

"Them" being the school of course

Canthisonebeused Fri 17-Jan-14 21:41:33

Rug port to both

Canthisonebeused Fri 17-Jan-14 21:50:04

They may not get a late mark then, The register technically doesn't close until half an hour after school start time. So late before register closes is marked L and late after closes is marked U but if still taking the register when they get in then a L mark does not need to be added I suppose.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Fri 17-Jan-14 22:39:45

In my school, school starts at 9.00 and registers need to be taken by 9.10.

This is because the gates close at 9.00 and it takes a few minutes to get from the gate to the classroom and hang up coat/ bag.

The rule used to be registers at 9.00 but lots of parents understandably complained because they had sent their children in before the gate shut, but the child hadn't entered the classroom before 9.00 and so was late for the register.

I think it's quite a tricky area.

I now ask the children did you come through the gate or the office and if they say gate they get marked in but if they say office then they are automatically marked late.

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