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School governors - bullying problems ,WWYD?

(14 Posts)
Nonnymus Tue 23-Jun-09 20:21:50

Sorry, have name changed for this so school won't be identified.
I am an inexperienced parent governor and I am hearing countless moans from parents about bullying at the school and the head brushing it under the carpet.
The perpatrators are getting away with it (the parents' perception is that some of the bullies' parents are quite influential and raise lots of money for the school so...) and the head says things like ''oh all the children are as bad as each other.''
''Oh they're all tired and playing up as its the end of term'' etc ''oh it's horse play gone wrong''

and basically seems to honestly think there is not a bullying problem in the school.(or is burying her head in the sand...hmm)

Much of this has come to my attention too late to put on agenda - we had a meeting recently.

What, if anything, should I be doing as a governor? I am concerned the school is getting a reputation for bullying and action not being taken.

I also have to admit that one of my children has been a victim, but he was adamant that he could handle it and so I never approached the school.

Fizzbomb Tue 23-Jun-09 20:36:39

How about suggesting to any relevant parents that they put any concerns in writing to the HT, mentioning the word "bullying". Isn't there then a requirement for the school to deal with the bullying issues? Asking for it to be put on the agenda for the next meeting, saying that parents have expressed their concerns to you, might also be useful.

2009 Tue 23-Jun-09 20:41:19

Ask for a copy of the school's bulling policy. They all have to have one in a written form.
Then read it and see if it is matching what you are witnessing in the school. If not, bring it up as an issue for discussion with the head.

Hassled Tue 23-Jun-09 20:45:23

You have to remember that you are not there to manage the school - only to provide strategic vision and guidance, and to monitor improvement/development, etc. The governors have effectively delegated management of the school to the leadership team. However, you are also there to represent the parents - being a parent governor is a very hard balance at times.

Firstly - find and read the school's Anti-Bullying Policy. See if you can identify which bit of the policy the Head is not following - because adherance to policies is very much the Governors' business. Then talk to your Chair of Governors for further advice, and arrange to meet the HT with the Chair, if possible. Make it clear that while the FGB have signed off the policy, it has to be followed. You don't need to wait for the next FGB to discuss this - but certainly ask that bullying be on the agenda if it's not sorted by then.

Nonnymus Tue 23-Jun-09 21:58:35

I know this sounds stupid, but how do i get a copy of the bullying policy (which isn't in the prospectus) without alerting the head to my concerns? Even although i am in in my rights as a parent to ask for one, the school office will be buzzing within seconds...

Hassled Tue 23-Jun-09 22:01:32

It should be on the school's website. Failing that, google your local county council/LA +children's services. There will be a link to Schools, then Governors. In there will be standard policies - most schools adopt the county Anti-Bullying policy, with maybe minor tweaks.

But your Chair will know - I really think you should talk to your Chair about this.

llareggub Tue 23-Jun-09 22:01:53

Ask for copies of all of the policies. I was very much encouraged to get copies of all policies as part of my induction into the role of governor.

saintmaybe Tue 23-Jun-09 22:06:58

Why don't you want to alert the head to your concern?

surely that's exactly what you want to do?

poopscoop Tue 23-Jun-09 22:07:09

If the parents feel that they are not getting anywhere in complaining to the Head, then the net step is to write to the Governors, and they will have to address it. So perhaps if parents mention to you that they are feeling nothing is done, ask thm to put it in writing to the chair of the govs.

Nonnymus Tue 23-Jun-09 22:33:07

I have tried to encourage them, but as several of the children affected ar in yr 6, there is an element of ''well, we're all out of here ia couple of weeks anyway and don't want to make a fuss...''

I however, feel strongly that this is irrelevant and it hasn't been dealt with.
stmaybe, i do want the head to know, that is why I have posted. i want to know whether it is in my remit, oand how to prceed correctly.

saintmaybe Tue 23-Jun-09 22:41:14

Good that you're there, and you'll probably find that you have a lot of support.

gagarin Tue 23-Jun-09 23:02:57

Parent governors are in a difficult position. Their role is NOT to act 100% as a parent champion but - as has been said - to "provide strategic vision and guidance, and to monitor improvement/development".

Having said that it is any governors role (def not just the parent governor's role) to respond to parental concerns by pointing parents in the right direction - to make their points themselves. You can of course go with the parents to meetings if they are too nervous to go alone but it should be the affected parents who lead the issue.

You cannot spend your time passing on parental feedback if the parents themselves are not going to express their concerns. If you become seen as a conduit for moans from parents who will not actively deal with their concerns themselves then you will be setting yourself up to fail - the parents will be cross you do not have a magic wand to solve all their problems (because they told you and it's not solved) and the school will be cross that you pass on negativity and do not seem to be working in a constructive way.

My advice is to read the policies over the summer and aim to address some of these issues in September

You should read all the policies you are interested in - inclusion, SEN, collective worship, PHSE, behaviour, homework - and there may or may not be a specific anti-bullying policy. If there isn't you should find it in the behaviour and PSHE policies.

Breeze into the school office and say "golly gosh...did you know as a new governor I should be reading all the policies?"

Then smile sweetly and ask where they are!

mummyrex Wed 24-Jun-09 11:59:28

As I understand it the title 'Parent Governor' simply refers to from where you were drawn and NOT who you represent. You represent the interests of everybody involved with the school in the same way as ANY other Governor.

I ditto that you should be talking to your Chair who will be able to provide you with the documents you want but also advise you as to how to deal with direct approaches from other parents (ie you need to know what procedure to suggest that they follow).

Your close ear to the (play)ground will help inform you when such things do come up more formally.

Good luck

katiestar Wed 24-Jun-09 14:34:52

As i understand it a parent governor is a representative parent NOT a parent representative.I would have thought your role would be to express your concerns to the HT .He is paid to prevent and resolve any bullying.
I think PG is a very difficult place to be -almost a conflict of interests being both en service user and service provider.

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