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Advice please- Safeguarding Issue?

(11 Posts)
WorriedRDG Thu 15-Dec-16 10:46:11

Hi I'm new so apologies if I'm not up on the terms used!

My daughter is in Year 5. She has had some issues with bullying in her previous year group, with another child. Lots of excuses by the school and sadly not much support to my daughter. The bullying became violent and included threats which meant under school's Prevent policy had to finally be dealt with using Police intervention.
All very nasty and also affected her learning- she dropped from middle/top for her subjects to bottom in a year.
Luckily, new teacher is far more on the ball and has been brilliant.

We have seen a great improvement (child who bullied is also in another class so she barely sees him which has obviously helped), great level of support from teacher off her own back, really have been much happier and felt more confident dropping her at school.

During last year, I joined the PTA- I hoped it would mean I could see how the school runs on a daily basis, how teachers react to incidents etc and it was very helpful when engaging with the LEA as I could confidently say I had seen other incidents which had not been dealt with. At the same time, the school had an OFSTED inspection which they gained a Good rating but was mentioned they didn't get an Outstanding due to the Inspector witnessing bullying and other incidents not dealt with properly by specifically lunch time staff and two specific teachers (one being my Daughter's Year 4 teacher).
I really enjoyed being part of the PTA, I worked with children before having mine, and have volunteered on and off with schools and with Guiding groups, so I'm aware of current Safeguarding and other legislation regarding children and how one behaves around them.
The Head of the PTA and I got on well- easier as her daughter and mine were very good friends, I really supported her to the point she would telephone me and leave me facebook messages at 1.30am, in tears, with stress.
My attitude was always not to allow her volunteering to get to the point of upsetting her, we were not paid and under no obligation to pull off spectacular events! I didn't see it as something which should cause that level of anxiety, but I don't think she appreciated this and that other's more and more agreed with me.
I was put forward by others for replacing her and the other Head when they stepped down- they had already decided to do this, before I joined- it wasn't me taking over as a hostile bid! When this putting forward happened, the stressed lady turned on me.
She banned her daughter from speaking to mine, she told parent's I was awful and nasty, and then told parent's that the Head Teacher also felt I was "incapable of running the PTA" and "in need of too much support". (This turned out to be utterly fabricated but was really upsetting for me).
I have widely ignored her and given her a wide berth. She has, though, caused me all sorts of issues whereby she complained about my being part of a Youth group her child was at (that I scare her child and had sworn at her in the street- again, fabricated). I had to go through a two week enquiry and was found to have don't nothing wrong, instead she was asked not to help anymore adhoc, and she has removed her child (which I was gutted about).
In all of this I have tried to protect my daughter from it. She was only aware of an issue as the daughter told her they couldn't be mates anymore.
Anyway, I'm aware this is long but didn't want to drip feed!
This week, my daughter was giving out her Christmas cards and had made one for the daughter- they had continued to be mates until last week when the daughter told her friends her mother had told her she was "being watched" and thus is now too scared to play with my daughter.
My child walked over, I stayed way back so as not to wind the situation up a I really just want peace! Yet this adult and now solo PTA head took the card, threw it back at my daughter in her face, and shouted in front of others "NO GO AWAY, LEAVE US ALONE NOW". My daughter was devastated, as you'd imagine. I took it to her teacher who was aware of the situation, who was horrified and told me to straight away report to Head teacher.
Now, I think this is a clear safeguarding issue, regardless of PTA membership or anything else. You just don't shout at other people's kids!
The head teacher has done nothing. She is still roaming round the school. This happened Monday and I've asked what action has been taken and have had no response.
The woman lost control, and behaved appallingly. Even if this wasn't my child and I had seen it I would be really questioning whether she should be banned from school.
Any ideas MN? I really am at the end of my tether.

admission Thu 15-Dec-16 21:25:01

I am not convinced that it is a safeguarding issue in the way that the school would consider it. Yes it is something that the mother should not have done, it was a really nasty thing to do but it is an emotional outburst, not a safeguarding issue.
You do not know whether the head has done anything about it or not and you should not know. If I was the head I would have had the mother in and told her that her actions were not appropriate but in all honesty on the scale of things they fall well short of being banned from school grounds. The head teacher has no jurisdiction over who is in charge of the PTA but I might have been asking whether there is anything that is causing her stress. There is obviously something going on in this person's life which is stressing her out.
I think that your best course of action is to rise above the stupid erratic behaviour of the woman. Others must have seen or heard the outburst and just not responding is the right dignified response, which is going to get you far more positive respect from others.
The biggest concern is the effect on your daughter. I think that you need to get her to understand that the other mother had a very bad moment, that your daughter's friend is still the same person she was before and that your daughter has no reason to feel upset about the incident, in fact she seems to have handled it very well so far.

BackforGood Fri 16-Dec-16 00:25:27

I agree with admission
It's an outburst by a parent, for whatever reason none of us are aware of. Equally, you would / should have no idea if the HT has spoken to them or not.
I'm more concerned, tbh, at you saying you "joined the PTA- I hoped it would mean I could see how the school runs on a daily basis, how teachers react to incidents etc and it was very helpful when engaging with the LEA as I could confidently say I had seen other incidents which had not been dealt with" hmm

DonkeyOaty Fri 16-Dec-16 00:39:20

PTA volunteers should have no dealings with the running of the school shock

Not safeguarding issue, the other parent. An unpleasant experience for sure but no more.

bojorojo Fri 16-Dec-16 01:19:21

I think your motives for joining the PTA are bizarre. What you wanted to do is not appropriate.

This is not a safeguarding issue. I am sure that the Head and the Governors will take on board the concerns raised by Ofsted, draw up a Development Plan to tackle the issues and you should see improvement. A good school would tell parents what they intend to do.

WorriedRDG Fri 16-Dec-16 07:37:24

Sorry- was worried it was long what I had written, obviously that was far from the only reason why I joined! As I said, I've worked and volunteered with children for many years both before and after having my children, and after a period of time from having them (younger child has some ongoing health issues which meant I was out of the jobs market for longer than I wanted to be) I felt that getting involved with volunteering would go a way to help with the CV Gap, whilst also meaning I could help with our underfunded by Government school. Sorry if that didn't come across!

OK, so not safeguarding. I was going by the school's own Safeguarding Policy, as it says Volunteers of the school will provide a safe, calm and non-threatening environment to children within the school (I had to sign this document myself when I started out helping with Reading when we joined the school so knew it was something the school took very seriously).

I don't think I expect the HT to give me a blow by blow of what, if any, action she has taken. I would just like to know that she has "dealt" with it iyswim?

I think because with the bullying last year very little was done, bar telling the boy involved to say sorry (which did nothing- on more than one occasion they would be walking back from the office to class after him apologising and he would tell my daughter he would get her back later, and he would), and seeing that this woman is still in school, and being very smug, and still spreading all sorts of rubbish about me that I am just wondering whether the school gives two hoots for my child and her well being. Instead of dealing with the bullying last year, they kept telling my daughter to be "resilient". Now, I'm all for her being this way if it's a few nasty words, but when she was coming home with clothing ripped and covered in bruises then anyone, how ever old, would find resilience hard work. They also told me they couldn't engage with his parent's due to language issues, which later turned out to be rubbish as the mother was heard telling another parent to F off. A number of us last year had a gutful of this child and one mum decided to try and talk to his mum and that was the response!

I also know that other parent's have had letters home with warnings regards tackling people in the playground, without using raised voices or threats, so feel very much this woman hasn't had this down to the funding issue.

I know my daughter's teacher is unhappy as well, so she has kindly offered to take it up with the HT herself again today.

I just need to know that, when my children are at school, they are safe and well supported, and that no matter what, or who, should be nasty to them it will be dealt with. This woman has lost control of her behaviour inside and outside of school three times now, she tells her own daughter she is being watched, I really worry that if she keeps getting away with it I dread to think what she'll do when I'm not there. And I don't believe the school can prove that she wont behave abhorrently again to my child or others.

VintagePerfumista Fri 16-Dec-16 07:50:51

Don't the PTA just run raffles and stuff? shock You talked about other bullying issues at the PTA meetings? That you then went to the LEA with? Am I understanding this right?

I think this school needs more than an inspection if all this confidential information about students and teachers is being bandied about over the tombola.


WorriedRDG Fri 16-Dec-16 09:38:53

No, that's not the case, I meant I went to the LEA in desperation, as my daughter had gone from a confident, bright and happy child to refusing to go to school to the point she was sick. I was asked by the LEA if I could think of why the school had done next to nothing- I had all the emails and a photos of the injuries she had come home with and which I had asked the school for explanations of and they were confused as to why the school had done very little but make excuses. At that point I explained that I was told the HT had been less than complimentary about me to the woman who has been causing all this trouble.

The issue I see with the PTA and the children whose parents are heavily involved in it is they are treated with reverence. They fundraise so much money and the HT said at the AGM of the PTA (when I had first joined) that she was often able to show off that they have funding for things other school's don't. They are actually a registered charity, they made before costs £30,000 plus in the year before I joined. I can see how that would be a godsend, but it shouldn't be at the detriment of a safe, happy environment for the children. And, to be fair, although this lady is the Head of the PTA, she does very little but take credit for other's hard work whilst crying to people like me that the HT is mean and puts too much pressure on her. I'm quite a laid back person, and my advice was always that we were volunteers and under no obligation, and should never feel under stress down to that. I don't genuinely think the HT did put as much pressure on her, I just think she did it to herself.

But, no, we never discussed people's children over the tombola! Obviously parent's chat in the playground and the same names come up for being the rogue element when it comes to bullying- my daughter was far from the only one treated this way by the boy involved- and many of us feel let down by the HT. There is also a very big anti-PTA feeling amongst parents who get moaned at for being unable to help out with events, and they are seen as busybodies to avoid at all costs. I was quite surprised by that, but I'm known by a lot of parents from the year groups outside my children's down to my volunteering and they do joke about stuff like the PTA.

bojorojo Fri 16-Dec-16 10:09:12

Walk away from the PTA. Just volunteer to help out. Don't engage with tittle tattle. Keep your views to yourself. I feel sorry for the Head. All of this is caused be you being too involved. Step back. Or, find another, calmer, school! Who wants all this stuff in the playground all the time? It hasn't helped your DD has it? The school will take the Ofsted remarks on board. Just let them get on with it.

HalfShellHero Fri 16-Dec-16 10:20:44

I feel for you OP my ds old school was shit with bullying an older boy held his face in a sandpit and held it there, among other things, my ds has ASD tooangry ...the heads response, "most children are very resilient hes probably not that bothered" shock ...after i left it went into special measures.

irvineoneohone Fri 16-Dec-16 10:27:07

I just wonder why you let your dd walk over to the friend knowing her Mum was there. You could have told her to hand the card in the class instead, knowing the Mum already made clear she doesn't want them to be friends.

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