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If you don't get on with the head teacher of your dc's school, does it have an effect on your children?

(21 Posts)
AfroPunk Wed 29-Mar-17 12:53:55

We've had a couple of run-ins with our dc's head teacher since our eldest started school in 2012. The recent one concerned attendance and an error made by the school about unauthorised absence (we were given good reason to think we would be allowed to take them out of school for a couple of days, but refusal letters for each child never arrived. I doubt one was even drawn up as the head couldn't produce evidence of a draft when I asked).

It got me really cross; we received a standard letter threatening EWO involvement (triggered for my 4yo had just under 95% attendance, too, and the 4 unauthorised absences will have contributed to that). The head apologised for the unauthorised attendance mistake, but it was a hard-fought-for apology and our children still have 4 unauthorised absence marks against them.

This happened just before February half term and I am still so annoyed, I can't look at or bring myself to speak to the head! I'm still really irritated by the whole thing. I know I should probably let it go but I'm finding that a very difficult to do. I'm just waiting for whatever is next. I wanted to complain to the school governors at the time, but was put off by a friend who said they the head might take it out on the children e.g. them not getting picked for things. I ultimately decided to just accept the apology as I thought she might have a point.

The thing is, I know that both my dd's attendance will not have improved this term. Dd1 was poorly with tonsillitis and dd2 (still not yet statutory school age) was off with a tummy bug (a 48hr rule applies with this), so I know I'll receive another attendance letter as their attendance will be between 90-95%. I know that I will want to inform the head that, actually, my children were really poorly and if others didn't force their children into school when ill (probably a result of the pressure they feel to keep high attendance by the head) then bugs wouldn't spread as much as they do. But is this the right thing to do? Would it be better to just bin any letters we get about this?

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Wed 29-Mar-17 13:09:03

Honestly, I would save your breath, it's massively important to you but it will barely be on her radar. I'm just about at the end of the primary school years and there have been times where I have wanted to let rip at the HT but a) it doesn't tend to get you anywhere and b) you need to pick tour battles and just go in about things that really will impact your child. Just keep your distance till you have calmed down and hope your DCs stay healthy for the rest of the year.

AfroPunk Wed 29-Mar-17 13:34:03

Thanks, that's helped a lot. I'll just try to be zen about it. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has felt pushed to the edge!

cece Wed 29-Mar-17 13:43:19

This is a very trivial matter from the Head Teachers point of view. In fact their hands are tied as they are not allowed to authorise absence and I expect the letters were generated by the EWO/computer so didn't come directly from the Head.

I suggest you keep out of their way till you have calmed down. And I second the pick your battles advice.

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Wed 29-Mar-17 17:24:16

Oh yes, I've had to bite my tongue a few times, but actually she's a nice person and a good HT. I have been quite an "involved" parent (SENs, PTA, volunteer helper) and if there's one thing I have learnt it's that what we see as parents is a tiny tip of the iceberg of how a school runs and that for the most part the staff do a hard job to the best of their ability.

Pud2 Wed 29-Mar-17 18:50:09

The school have to take action when attendance drops below 95% and they'll need to keep an eye. If your child is genuinely ill on regular occasions then it won't be an issue

Pud2 Wed 29-Mar-17 18:52:25

Also, to drop below 95% they must have been off quite a lot. EWO will also look for patterns, eg, are they often off on Mondays, are they sporadic absences or a few days at a time etc

smilingsarahb Wed 29-Mar-17 19:53:49

Heads are really busy people.
Mistakes happen
Class teachers are the ones actually interacting with your child and picking teams
It will be ok.

2014newme Wed 29-Mar-17 22:52:37

What a fuss about nothing!

jamdonut Thu 30-Mar-17 16:49:29

Mistakes happen, standard letters get sent...Like the NHS, Benefits Offices, Tax Office etc.
These things are not worth getting wound up about.Point it out, but don't worry about it!.
Most people go through school without having ANY contact with the Head, so it makes not an iota of difference to your child's schooling.

GeorgeTheHamster Thu 30-Mar-17 17:51:04

Unauthorised absences don't really matter. You're winding yourself up over nothing.

MiaowTheCat Fri 31-Mar-17 18:52:44

Can't stand the head at DD1's school. Since she's the type who hides in her office and avoids the kids as much as possible - we can co-exist fairly well enough (and DD1 adores her class teaching staff).

Unlike others on this thread - ours is utterly bonkers. Spends most of her time searching every local group on FB to make sure the parents aren't saying anything negative about her then rants on endlessly to new parents about it all... held the entire Christmas play hostage for 45 minutes until someone removed their car... makes the kids march down the corridors hands behind their backs (much of DD1's first week in school was spent learning how to do this) and would introduce knickers with the school logo on if she thought she could get away with it. Has absolutely no warmth towards any of the kids in the school whatsoever - we all just grin and bear it as she's the sort who's bound to be parachuting on to somewhere else hacking her way up the career ladder sooner rather than later.

SpeedwellBlue Fri 31-Mar-17 19:29:23

makes the kids march down the corridors hands behind their backs shock Whatever for?

DorotheaBeale Fri 31-Mar-17 19:36:38

makes the kids march down the corridors hands behind their backs
shock Whatever for?

Perhaps there's been some pinching, poking and pushing as the children walk along the corridors and this is the head's way of getting across the message 'keep your hands to yourselves'.

jamdonut Sat 01-Apr-17 14:53:30

Definitely sounds like " keep your hands to yourselves". Some kids just don't seem to be able to walk in a line without mauling others.😏

MiaowTheCat Sat 01-Apr-17 22:02:27

Nope - it's to protect the displays on the wall (which are all educational fad-wank like thinking hats and learning styles)

jamdonut Sun 02-Apr-17 12:24:35

Well, fair enough....Some kids can't walk in a line without running their hands along the walls, either! Or removing blu-tak from displays.

Whilst it does sound extreme, I can see the reasoning.
The walk to and from assembly every morning , for us, is a case of " Please keep in line, look where you are walking, you don't need to be hugging, don't interfere with the displays, hold the door for the person behind, no, you don't need to give the door-holder a ticket to go through (!),nor hi-five them, remember we walk silently into assembly....That means no talking...Someone is still talking....And so on.

VioletLips Sun 02-Apr-17 20:21:40

Dc had a letter about attendance after having an operation. Hospital letters etc given to school but still we had attendance letter. Bonkers.

MiaowTheCat Mon 03-Apr-17 08:26:25

I have told DD1 that she is NOT to go down the concrete stairs at school with her hands clasped behind her back as she follows rules in a very linear way - and that if she got into any bother from Miss Trunchbull for doing so I would defend her on safety grounds - as she was keeping to the rules so carefully she was heading to break her neck and the stairs at that school are flipping lethal!

Amaried Tue 04-Apr-17 17:56:45

Honestly it does impact kids if parents are seen as being " one of those" parents. In our school those children never get big parts in school plays or selected because a teacher friend told me they expected the parents to be in every second minute over some imagined slight and it wouldn't be worth the hassle.. harsh but true . I think you're over reacting and would bin these automatically generated letters when they arrive !

BackforGood Wed 05-Apr-17 20:36:43

Good grief! What a lot of fuss and angst over nothing!
If a child's attendance falls below a certain attendance, then letters are automatically triggered - it really wouldn't hit the HT's radar at all.
You chose to take them out of school, and should realise that is why they have 'unauthorised absence', not because of what the HT thinks. If it is that important to you, then don't take them out. If you made the decision that where you went was important, then there's no need to fret about the 'ua' on the register.

It's goo d that you listened to your friedn, not because the HT would 'pick' on the dc, but because you would have made yourself look ridiculous.

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