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oppressive school

(17 Posts)
kevinjones20 Wed 11-May-16 00:55:45

I have a year 10 son who has a 22 hour statement of special needs, he is blind in one eye, has early glaucoma (specifically blood pressure behind his eye), profound deafness in one ear and cognitive memory issues. He attends the notorious City Academy secondary school in Hackney.
I issued my son with a mobile phone to assist him on his 5 mile journey to school, he does not use the phone in school, or on the premise, he only uses it to let me know he has arrive at Homerton in the morning, after school to let me know where he is on his journey home or to tell him where to meet me.
Last friday 6th May the SENCO at his school saw him using his phone on the train to Stratford and also on the Stratford concourse.
On Monday his 9th May his phone was confiscated from him, he was issued a 2 hour detention for using the phone at Stratford, and will not be given back my phone that I purchased for him, for safety reasons, and well being reasons until the end of school in July 2016.
The school has clearly over stepped its jurisdiction but as a Academy they are unaccountable and able to do what they please.
It seems very wrong to me that a child with special needs and various disabilities is treated in this oppressive manner.
But this morning I established that there are numerous children in City Academy who have a unspoken permission to have mobile phones, that they keep in their possession.
How can this be challenged KPMG the sponsoring multi national seem to agree with this regime.
I want my son to travel to and from school safely but the school seems determined to prevent this and overstep its remit in terms of discipline, but not due care and safety.
Is it me or are there other parents who feel that their children are being oppressed and bullied by City Academy's regime of young offender style discipline.
Is a school allowed to put a childs health and safety at risk like this for use of their phone on a train to Stratford, especially a child with special needs

noblegiraffe Wed 11-May-16 07:48:09

Presumably you were aware that mobile phones weren't allowed in school when you bought your DS the phone, and the penalty for being found with one on him.

Schools can also apply rules to students outside of school who are wearing school uniform.

So I think they can do what they did, regardless of whether I agree with it.

However, if there are other children that have phones that are known about, I would be taking that information to the school and arguing that DS also needs ones for safety reasons, and have it written into his IEP.

BabyGanoush Wed 11-May-16 07:52:55

He used the phone on a teain? How can they stop that? Why woukd they want to?!

Very oppressive and weird.

Fight your corner on this one!

titchy Wed 11-May-16 08:07:45

Get a a copy of their complaints procedure and follow it to the letter. Given your sons disabilities you may find support from external bodies, RNIB, MP or other charity etc to help you.

Wibbs Wed 11-May-16 09:04:19

They do seem to have overstepped the mark a bit here. I remember there was a bit of a fuss about this at the City of London Academy in Islington, it even made it to a sad face daily mail article and everything - but in this case the phone was used in school (just).

Definitely check their mobile, e-safety and discipline policies and follow the complaints procedure.

Best of luck - I really understand the position you are in. I'm considering sending my son to a neighbouring academy, which also has a mobile phone ban. While I 100% support the ban of using mobile phones within school, I am unhappy with the idea of him travelling in London without a phone just in case something goes wrong and he needs help. He has autism and is not the best problem solver. I'm really not sure what I will do.

donotreadtheDailyHeil Wed 11-May-16 09:11:33

While a school has a right to impose a mobile phone ban, it can't dictate what happens outside school (unless bringing the school into disrepute) and definitely not for a child with a disability (or more than one). I agree you should insist on a resolution to this. And keeping it until July 2016? Who the h**l do they actually think they are? I'd refuse to let him do the detention as well. I'd just go into reception and not leave until they return it to you. It's not their property.

Reasonable adjustments anyone?

Academies - ugh. And the government wants us to have more of them. Watch SATS and GCSE results get worse because the exams are harder, but them expect the same standards, and then force "failing" schools to become academies. The apparent "u-turn" is nothing of the sort.

kevinjones20 Wed 11-May-16 12:27:19

NobleGiraffe, Babyganoush, Titchy, Wibbs and Donotreadthedailyhell
Thank you for sharing your advice, insight and wisdom.
Your responses have empowered me to filled me with the energy to fight this school and its very restrictive unaccountable and oppressive behaviour which KPMG sanction.
Thanks again

titchy Wed 11-May-16 12:59:58

Seriously leave KPMG out of it. They have nothing to do wth the day to day running of the school or its discipline policy. Head and Governors are who you want.

t4gnut Wed 11-May-16 13:18:10

Academies are just as accountable as maintained schools.

Maintained schools the channel is governors then LEA. Academies is governors then DFE.

Ionacat Wed 11-May-16 13:30:21

I had a look at the school-home agreement for the City Academy which states that mobile phones must not be brought onto the premises. I suspect that the member of staff therefore assumed having seen your son use his phone on the train that he must have had it on school with him and hence the confiscation. Ideally this should have been discussed with a member of SLT, and special permission given for him to have his phone in school should have been sought in the first instance, as had his phone fallen out of his bag etc. then he would have also had it confiscated. (Please note I don't agree with this, having had experience with many schools, this is the likely response.)

However this shouldn't stop you challenging it, fair enough no mobiles to be seen on the school premises, but it is reasonable to allow them to have them in their bags for the way home/going out after school etc.

I would find a copy of the school's complaints procedure and arrange a meeting with the relevant member of SLT as a starting point. You need to give concise reasons why your son needs a mobile phone with him for the journey home and mention all the medical reasons etc. Remember that you signed the home-school agreement that agreed to no mobile phones on the premises as they almost certainly bring that up. Be polite, be persistent, keep emails and follow up any meetings with an email saying we had a meeting on x date, x, y and z were said and this was agreed. Then follow the complaints procedure to the letter. Don't stand in reception and demand the phone as one person suggested, having seen parents try that one it invariably never works as it causes hassle for the office team and for the teachers that are called out of meetings/clubs etc. to deal with it.

You need KPMG out of it, they aren't relevant to this, the head and governors who sign off the policies are the ones that are relevant and if you start going on about KPMG then chances are you'll be ignored.

Cleo1303 Wed 11-May-16 15:20:48

I would suggest to the school that your son leaves the phone in reception on his way into school and collects it on the way out.

Don't let them bully you into not letting him have the phone for his journey. He needs it for his safety in case he has a problem.

Try and find out the names of specific children who are allowed to have phones in school so you can refer to this. If the rules are being bent for those children, why not for your son?

MrsGuyOfGisbo Wed 11-May-16 17:25:39

The school has dealt with this in a completely disproportionate way - agree with lone cat re following complaints procedure, but also deal calmly with the need for him ( and indeed any child in the school) to have it on journeys.
I do agree with a draconian approach to phones being seen in schools. I go to lots of schools (supply teacher) and there is a very direct correlation between phone banning in school (and confiscation to be collected by parent by appointment during a school day) and good behaviour and concentration in lessons.

Blu Thu 12-May-16 08:32:52

I agree it was / is disproportionate and I can't stand the boot camp regimes of some of these schools. It isn't necessary. My DS is at a non leafy S London comp and they don't need to treat kids like inmates to promote good behaviour.

Out of curiosity: with a statement, did you not have a choice of schools? Was this kind of Academy (and journey) the best to suit his needs?

Were you / he aware of the phone bean? Was he using his phone because he needed to for support getting home?

I would definitely complain, but in the stance of seeking a way forward that suits your DS's needs, but does not give him carte Blanche to disregard school rules beyond those needs. Getting it out in his IEP for his journey is a good idea.

Good luck!

minatiae Thu 12-May-16 08:40:25

He wasn't at school when he was using it so I don't see what it has to do with the school. Go in and tell them you want the phone back immediately.

minatiae Thu 12-May-16 08:46:07

And if the problem was him using it in uniform, have him change into home clothes before travelling home. Safety is important and he needs to be able to contact you.

defunctedusername Thu 12-May-16 10:51:36

Demand your phone back and if they say no, phone the police. They cant keep your property its theft. Get the use of a phone for travel use put in his statement.

Speak to your MP, complain to the regional schools inspector, Ofsted, Governors, head and possibly a lawyer about discrimination. This is unacceptable and putting your DS in danger.

Can he stay at home because it not safe for him to travel without one? As soon as the schools attendance figures are impacted they will take this mater a lot more seriously.

Popocatapetl1234 Thu 12-May-16 11:19:10

I think you have a really strong case for your DS to have a phone for his journey to and from school. I also think the teacher who confiscated the phone probably exceeded her authority.

That said, I also think it is in your DS best interests for you to maintain a constructive relationship with the school if you want him to stay there.
- So I would make an appointment to go in and discuss this with HOY/Senco.
- Send them an email asking for a meeting and outlining what you would like to happen and why. This will help you all get the most out of the meeting.
- Get a friend to help you draft it so it does not come across as aggressive. I always find that better if I am very emotionally involved in something.
- Take a friend to the meeting with you and keep the tone neutral. Get the friend to take notes and produce a record of what is said.
- you can escalate later if you do not get a positive reply.

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