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appealing against a fixed term exclusion

(55 Posts)
fiftyshadesofmum Sun 22-Jul-12 02:25:59

my son has just been excluded for 15 days for taking pictures/films of general stuff going on in school. Nothing nasty just stupid 14yr old kids stuff. He has never hurt or intended to hurt anyone, nothing has ever been posted online, the school has not been brought into disrepute, he has never been aggresive or violent, he has never placed himself or anyone else in danger and has never damaged school property. This exclusion starts as he begins yr10. Right at the beginning of one of the most important years at school. Other students at the school have had 5/6 day exclusions for fighting/bullying. One other student launched an unprovoked attack on a ASD kid kicking and punching him and only received a 5 day exclusion! I know he has broken the rules and when I spoke to his year head I myself suggested he was put into internal exclusion as punishment but a 15 day fixed term exclusion means that he cannot start his year 10 until 26th September!! How is this teaching him anything? He just thinks he is having a 9 week summer holiday!! I want to appeal but feel so helpless, especially as the school totally disregarded my thoughts and concerns on this. Has anyone got any advice on what to do next?

sashh Sun 22-Jul-12 05:15:15

First thing, it doesn't matter what any other kid was suspended for or how long. This is your son and his exclusion.

What is the school policy on photographs / films? Is his punishment in line with that?

You say he has not hurt anyone, not posted online, not put anyone in danger. So what and why was he filming? And how do you know, absoloutley, without question that no one was hurt or put in danger?

If the punishment is in line with school policy then there is not a lot you can do.

Don't forget the school has to send him work home. Make sure he does it so that he keeps up with work.

If it is not in line with school policy then write to them, say it is inappropriate and thaton the first day of term and you accept he may be in internal exclusion.

ClaireBunting Sun 22-Jul-12 05:42:11

One of these days parent will understand about the slippery slope that leads to cyber-bullying.

TroublesomeEx Sun 22-Jul-12 06:55:08

The thing is you're seeing this as a bit of a 'victimless crime' (as suggested by your reference to an 'ASD kid' (nice!) being bullied and details of all the crimes he hasn't committed). And it's not.

The school have no idea what he was going to do with the film, you have no idea what he was going to do with the film, he might not even have been complete sure what he was going to do with the film. But you cannot just go around filming people without their consent for any purpose.

People generally don't film people for no reason and the school have a duty of care to their pupils. He needs to understand that this was wrong and that the school will not tolerate it.

TroublesomeEx Sun 22-Jul-12 06:57:02

Oh and my son and his friends have got loads of pictures on their phones of each other pulling stupid faces and the like. I'm pretty confident any kid in your son's school will have similar photos on their phones so there must have been something about the photos/films your son took that was different.

prh47bridge Sun 22-Jul-12 08:42:04

As the exclusion is over 5 days you are entitled to appeal to the governors. The letter from the head confirming your son's exclusion should tell you how to go about doing that.

As sashh says, the school should set work for your son to complete during his exclusion and that work should be marked. You may have to collect the work from school yourself, however, as they are not required to deliver it to your home.

fiftyshadesofmum Sun 22-Jul-12 09:14:28

I totally agree that what my ds did was very very wrong. Not only has he broken the school rules but he also broke my rules (he is not allowed to take his ipod into school). His ipod is the only gadgetry he has. He does not own a phone, games consol or laptop and we have now taken it away. I have seen these pictures/films and there are two pics with teachers in the background. I suspect this is what the school sees as making these worse. These pics do not show a teacher doing anything other than teach. All the other pics are of kids posing with silly faces etc. He has been grounded for the whole summer hols and all social connections with his friends has been stopped and as I said I suggested to the school that he be placed in internal exclusion for 3 weeks. Me and my DH are really coming down hard on him for this especially as I am an HLTA in a secondary school! However 15 days! I really can't see how this can be worse than causing physical/violent harm to someone! The school has sent him some work - it is year 9 level 3/4 stuff!! I actually did the maths set with him in year 6. The books he has been asked to read for the english he read in year 5. His art is sticking and gluing and his DT work was actually a wordsearch and a word code.

MotionOfTheOcean Sun 22-Jul-12 09:21:09

If you want some advice on this,give these people a ring,they know their stuff and can advise you accordingly.It might be hard getting through,I dont think they have many people answering the phones,but I have used them twice and in both cases their help was invaluable.

FallenCaryatid Sun 22-Jul-12 09:24:15

Level 3/4 work for a Y10 pupil? If this isn't the level he's working at, then I'd ask for more work at the correct level, and enough for it to match the hours per subject that he's missing. They may have to give you that in September when the exclusion actually starts.
You could appeal for the exclusion to be shortened.
Failing all that, get the appropriate GCSE textbooks for his subjects and the correct exam board and use those to boost his workload. DS's science GCSE textbooks had quizzes in. There are materials online too.

fiftyshadesofmum Sun 22-Jul-12 09:57:26

Thank you all for the advice. I am so upset by all this. My ds is no angel but he doesn't generally get into trouble at school. The school in question has been an "outstanding" school for 10 years or so and I really feel that they are so intent on maintaining their ofsted rating that they will do this at any cost without actually considering students misdemeanors on an individual basis. As a parent I have to entrust his education/safety and wellbeing to them and I no longer believe that they are thinking about what is best for him too. Surely we want him to learn something from all this! My colleagues at the secondary school I work in cannot believe the schools response. How am I supposed to get through 6 weeks of summer with this hanging over us?

FallenCaryatid Sun 22-Jul-12 10:06:27

One of the elements in being an outstanding school is having and maintaining the highest expectations of student behaviour, including cyber-bullying.
If the rules are clear, and known to all, and the consequences likewise, then he made that choice and has incurred the penalty.

'How am I supposed to get through 6 weeks of summer with this hanging over us?'

I don't understand this bit. You plan what is going to happen to him in the 3 weeks in September, and make sure that you communicate with the school as to what is going on. You ensure that he understands the seriousness of his actions, and the fact that his time of being a child is coming to an end.
I had a discussion with my DS about college last year. That they had no detentions or exclusions, if he screwed up they'd just tell him to leave.

FallenCaryatid Sun 22-Jul-12 10:07:35

'I want to appeal but feel so helpless, especially as the school totally disregarded my thoughts and concerns on this. Has anyone got any advice on what to do next?'

Nothing to stop you appealing to the school and the board of governors.

enjolraslove Sun 22-Jul-12 10:17:34

It may be that there is more to this than meets the eye, or more the school are concerned about but regardless 15 days is an extreme sanction. In our area when you get to a total of 15 days fixed term in your school career, the next step would be a governors panel and then a permanent exclusion (we have never given more than 5, unless it was 'pending investigation' meaning 10 days while we figure out the next step- new school etc). As such I really think it would be worth appealing, particularly given this is a first for him. Cooler heads etc may prevail in sept. if not, then the good advice regarding quality work for him to do is vital. Good luck

fiftyshadesofmum Sun 22-Jul-12 10:22:39

My ds will be in the first batch of students who have to stay in full time ed until he is 18 so I do not feel anything is coming to an end soon.

I work in another "outstanding" secondary school and thought part of being outstanding was also about understanding students and working with them for their good.

I do not see this as a cyber-bullying issue as ds has not upset anyone but the school by breaking the rules (for which he should be sanctioned).

I have lost faith in our home/school relationship and no longer trust the school to deal with ds appropriately. Sending him back to people I don't trust is going to upset me for the forseeable future not just the next 6 weeks.

FallenCaryatid Sun 22-Jul-12 10:33:32

Do you want him to move to another school?

fiftyshadesofmum Sun 22-Jul-12 10:50:49

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and advice. I will go ahead and appeal and take this as far as I can.

DS is a yr10 working at a level 7 so I will be visiting his school to collect appropriate work and fortunately my job means that I am in a position to ensure he does not fall behind.

He will enjoy his 9 week sommer holiday!

Come the beginning of term he will see his mates everyday as he will be walking his sister to and from school every morning and afternoon(this is allowed as long as he is home between 9am and 3.40pm) on facebook he has become a legend within the school. (not something I am happy about but suspect he will rather enjoy when he finds out - currently he has no access to the internet at all).

I still cannot understand what he is learning from all this. All his mates are posting their pics from school all over facebook and ds is being held up as some sort of hero! His year head has told me that this will not show up as a permanant mark on his record! Obviously I don't want him to have a permanent mark on his record but part of me thinks why are they bothering then!

I have searched and searched my soul and cannot support such an extreme decision on the schools part. I will fight this all the way down from the governors, Ofsted, Ombudsman etc.

Thanks again for the support

NarkedRaspberry Sun 22-Jul-12 11:00:31

Have you actually talked to the school and asked them exactly what their issues are? You've said 'you suspect' so I assume you haven't. It sounds like they have a clear policy with a long automatic suspension to make sure that children don't take pictures/video in school - once those images are out there online/shared with friends you can never get them back. That's a really proactive way to deal with cyberbulling which can ruin childrens and teachers lives. Your DS knew the rule existed and chose to break it.

NarkedRaspberry Sun 22-Jul-12 11:03:31

And the fact that he hasn't posted the images online is irrelevant. They could be shared with the whole school through phones/ipods.

FallenCaryatid Sun 22-Jul-12 11:06:12

My son was given a couple of exclusions in Y7 as both he and the school worked towards a better understanding of how to manage his AS in school.
I worked with them and my DS, and pointed out that he hated school and that an external exclusion was pointless as a punishment as they would merely create a school refuser who would be delighted to be out of the system.
They listened and treated him as an individual, came up with alternatives including internal exclusion and skilling staff to match his needs, as well as DS working on his strategies.
If you don't want to remove him from the school, working with them is your best way forwards.

goinggetstough Sun 22-Jul-12 11:43:09

As has been stated more than once the op accepts that her DC broke the school rules and that he should be punished. Does no one think that the 15 day exclusion is disproportionate for the crime? A recent thread about possible victimisation where a DC had been excluded for 15 days had a number of comments from even some teachers saying that even in a difficult school they had not given out a 15 day exclusion and that it had to be for something terrible. It might just be that different mumsnetters have replied to this thread but it just seemed strange.
As for taking pictures in school leading to cyber bullying - it might but surely you can't punish a DC for something he might do.

FallenCaryatid Sun 22-Jul-12 11:44:34

' Does no one think that the 15 day exclusion is disproportionate for the crime? '

All the people suggesting that she appeal?

TheMonster Sun 22-Jul-12 11:45:24

He's shown that he isn't concerned about learning by playing with a gadget rather than paying attention.

noblegiraffe Sun 22-Jul-12 12:01:10

15 days seems an awfully long exclusion to me for the behaviour described in the OP (comparing it to sanctions in my school, I don't think we've had a fixed term exclusion for longer than a week, and for far worse than the OP). I would definitely appeal to the governors and at least try to find out why it is so long. Ask if they have any behaviour policy which states that this will be the consequence and if they don't, how they arrived at that particular sanction as a reasonable response.

ILoveOnionRings Sun 22-Jul-12 12:14:22

Hi Fifty Shades - 15 days is an extreme sanction and not one taken lightly at schools as other posters have said. Has DS been excluded before? It seems, and I am more than likely wrong, that there is more to this than meets the eye. What does the letter actually state/word as the reason for exclusion?

LeeCoakley Sun 22-Jul-12 12:41:13

What does he say about the photos of the teachers? Why did he take them? And have the school seen the content? How did he get caught and nobody else? It seems over the top to me. If all the other shots are posed it sounds like what all normal secondary school students do. Schools would be empty if anyone taking photos of their friends was against the rules. And what has this to do with cyber-bullying? Until those photos get up on the internet it's all hearsay.

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