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Would you complain?

(28 Posts)
dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:16:40

DS is in year 5. His teacher is a NQT. He's had two already so I know that its hard for them in the first year but this one is different.

She shouts and loses her temper most days, often several times a day, usually with one or several children. however, she's had several rough encounters with various parents. I've never tried to make a complaint to her but it feels like she's trying to pick a fight and I have to be really patient and let things slide so that we don't end up arguing. I've never fought with her but she has fought with several parents (both sexes) and there was one time that she was aggressive with me when other parents were present in such way that people who weren't even there were telling me that they'd heard about it for quite some time after.

Her reasons for being angry - according to DS and the other children's parents - are primarily behaviour/ being distracted but also, at least twice, its been because a child was unable to do the work despite trying hard.

Earlier this week she started using bad language in front of the children - cursing to herself - but the whole class heard her, and were duly scandalised. she must have realised that they could hear her but she didn't backtrack or apologise, she just carried on as if nothing had happened.

These days she seems really stressed and that's why I think she does behaves as she does but she's been like that from day one, except back then it seemed to be more driven by her need to assert herself with the children.

Lots of children in the class are unhappy, having nightmares etc.

I don't know how the other children are progressing this year, but DS is not making as much progress as you might expect. Each week, the homework is full of mistakes and often we parents have to guess what she means the child to do. the children are worried that if they guess wrong, then they will be in trouble with the teacher i.e. they will be shouted at.

The teacher's administration is poor in that she keeps losing signed forms, books etc. Then she says she never received the form back or that the child lost the book and she refuses to provide a duplicate form/ new book (and the child is given a telling off). Then, typically, a couple of days later she finds the missing item wherever she put it and she lets the child know that they can attend the upcoming trip or whatever after all but she never acknowledges her mistakes or apologises for the impact she had on the child while the paperwork/ book was missing.

The HT has had numerous complaints, including one from a delegation of children! So she knows all about it but she's publicly is backing the teacher. If anything is happening, then its not making any obvious improvement, although the shouting does stop for a few days every once in a while.

DS doesn't even get shouted at as he's well behaved and quite able, but he's miserable having to go in and listen to it each day and its hard for him if one of his friends is crying in the playground. The only thing that happens, is she's lost his stuff 4 times so far this year and he is stressed while its missing because she blames him/ me until it turns up again.

So, is it worth complaining?

PS I looked for a new school but I found that the good ones are full with long waiting lists. As to the others, i am scared to make DS climb out of the frying pan and into the fire.

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:27:43

Maybe the other thing to say is that I get the sense that she's actually well-intentioned. She doesn't want to make the children unhappy or scared of her, its just she doesn't seem to know how to handle people.

Mumto3dc Fri 21-Mar-14 13:30:45

If this was me and my child I would be contacting ofsted, no question.

Sorry no time to write more but I have no doubt that is what I would do on the basis of what you have written.

ContinentalKat Fri 21-Mar-14 13:33:39

Goodness me, you have already raised it with the HT to no effect, now is the time to ask for the school's complaint policy.
Stick to the procedures outlined in the policy, as you will be referred back down if you miss a step, but do complain swiftly, insist on timely responses and escalate quickly!

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:37:59

I haven't complained to the HT yet but lots of other parents have. There have been phone calls, letters, joint written complaints with a dozen signatures, face to face meetings, etc.

So there is no doubt the HT knows but she recently spoke to all the parents saying how fun-filled the classes were, how well the children got on with the teacher (each of them has a special relationship apparently) and how well the class is progressing educationally. The she asked us to applaud the teacher!

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 14:08:39

What exactly would my complaint be? That DS is not progressing as well as he should and he must endure a miserable atmosphere each day?

TheGreatHunt Fri 21-Mar-14 14:10:02

Write to the chair of governors and copy in Ofsted. That should focus the mind.

I'm shocked!

TheGreatHunt Fri 21-Mar-14 14:10:34

The complaint is her conduct and impact on your ds.

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 14:14:39

Write what you put in your OP of course.

Parliamo Fri 21-Mar-14 14:24:19

If it's as bad as it sounds, I actually think the ht is doing a poor job too. The NQT should be being properly supported etc.

In my letter of complaint, if I were you I would be careful to seem as calm and professional as possible and focus on the effect on my child. Do you have any evidence of progress/ lack of?

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 14:34:25

Evidence of lack of progress; school reports showing NC levels, but obviously I only have my own child's attainment to talk about and any individual child poor progress can be written off with things like "sometimes children plateau..".

Also, I have copies of various homework things. e.g. when the teacher cannot spell the spelling words or geography homework where she clearly confuses cities and countries. e.g. research a country (such as Athens or Beijing) and describe the weather in that country. Or even just where she is incredibly vague... such as create a title page about water.

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 14:39:27

One thing I've started to do is google some of her phrasing... sometimes i can find a lesson plan that she's intending to give from the odd, out of context phrasing she used when setting the homework and then I can deduce what she means and get DS to do something in the direction she intends.
Sorry i know that is vague description but its hard to describe it better without directly quoting some of the things she has said, which when I then googled them, i find the phrase exactly matched in a lesson plan designed for year 5 children.

TheGreatHunt Fri 21-Mar-14 14:43:01

I don't know why you're not just writing to complain instead of searching her methods etc.

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 14:47:22

I google to get the homework done as sometimes i have no idea what she's on about.

OK.. serious question. If i complain, will anything change for DS?

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 14:49:32


ContinentalKat Fri 21-Mar-14 17:43:20

I complain about stuff on a regular basis, I know the HT doesn't like me at all, but so far they have been able to separate issues and my dcs are treated like everybody else. I have no doubt that they believe the dcs can't be blamed for their nightmare mum grin

MissMarbles Fri 21-Mar-14 17:55:12

Obtain a copy of the complaint policy and follow it to the letter. Ofsted will not look at any complaint unless all steps in the school complaints policy has been exhausted first.
Mention that the emotional welfare of your child is being harmed - that may make the HT focus on the matter a bit more.

If there have been other complaints then presumably they haven't been satisfactorily resolved so far and I would be concerned that you may just get fobbed off by the Head. Persistence is key so stick with it, the NQT clearly needs more support than she'd getting at the moment.

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:00:17

I'd agree about the HT who has been relatively newly promoted too. Incredibly nice person who sees the good in everyone but doesn't seem to have grasped that she now has ultimate responsibility for what the teachers do.

She needs to do better with supporting this teacher but apart from asking the teacher to keep her temper under control and maybe monitoring the homework , I cannot see what the HT can do.

Another parent told me that when she complained the HT replied saying that she knows the teaching style could be different but she believes it will improve with time and eventually the teacher will be an excellent teacher.

Obviously that's great but it doesn't help DS or his classmates who will be sitting their GCSEs by the time that happens. Once its gone, no one will be able to give them back this year of their childhoods.

TheGreatHunt Fri 21-Mar-14 19:06:17

Just complain to the governors. They have to mksten. You've nothing to lose by trying.

TheGreatHunt Fri 21-Mar-14 19:06:31

*listen not mksten

Parliamo Fri 21-Mar-14 19:54:10

So have you checked the official complaints procedure?

dalziel1 Fri 21-Mar-14 21:27:31

Its not online. I will have to request a copy.

I will only do something though if I think I can make a difference. Maybe I should be more public spirited about the current year 4s, but all i really care about is my son and to a lesser extent his classmates. I am asking myself what can happen between now and July that would make the overall experience much improved??

babybouncer Fri 21-Mar-14 22:12:17

If not you, who?

TheGreatHunt Fri 21-Mar-14 22:13:33

You know this teacher is shit. What on earth is there to think about? It won't hurt to write a letter or email.


Parliamo Sat 22-Mar-14 19:32:17

Because a complaint might provoke the school in giving their floundering NQT enough support to make progress. A while term still going down could get worse not better.

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