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At my wits' end about how to obtain ds's GCSE certificates from his former school

(27 Posts)
404NotFound Mon 04-Jul-16 22:27:00

My ds left his secondary school after GCSEs last summer, to move to a sixth form college. The school were not happy about the number of pupils leaving, and basically washed their hands of the leavers with immediate effect.

DC who moved for sixth form were not invited back for the award presentation ceremony in December, and some ex-pupils who tried to attend anyway were physically prevented from entering the building. shock

I have phoned the school several times to get information about how we can get my son's GCSE certificates, and asking for information about the results of the two re-marks which the school told him to apply for on results day last August. I have been given very conflicting information, or told someone will call me back, but they never have. I have now written a formal letter to the head outlining the problem and requesting that we be supplied with information about the re-marks and access to my son's certificates. Two weeks have passed, and I have not received any reply.

Where do I stand, and what should I do? I am anxious to resolve it before the end of term, before last year's results get caught up with this year's results, and the certificates disappear into a black hole somewhere (assuming they haven't already done so). I would be particularly interested to hear from anybody who knows what the legal situation is. I just have no idea what more I can do, but clearly my ds needs and is entitled to his certificates.

mangocoveredlamb Mon 04-Jul-16 22:28:41

Do you know who the exams boards were? Contact them directly.

RipeningApples Mon 04-Jul-16 22:31:13

Send a registered letter requesting information about where the certificates are within seven days copied to the chair of governors, exam board and local MP. You may have to apply for duplicates via the exam board.

Always always desk with schools in writing.

Finola1step Mon 04-Jul-16 22:34:11

Yes, try going straight to the exam boards.

Or try a new approach. Check the school's website, have they got an open morning/evening coming up? Ideally one aimed at prospective parents. If so, nowt to stop you turning up asking to see the HoY and loudly discussing the situation. And with lots of other pare rs in earshot. Bet you get the certificates then.

PreAdvent13610 Mon 04-Jul-16 22:37:20

Find out the name of the exams officer, tell them you will be in to collect exam certificates on xxx date, allow about a week. Email, copy in headmaster, chair of governors, MP (if you are really pissed off). Keep it simple, instruct them what to do, leave out any emotion.

If that fails contact exam board and make complaint that the school are withholding certificates, copy in OFSTED.

404NotFound Mon 04-Jul-16 22:43:28

I don't know off the top of my head which exam boards it was, though presumably it will be on the results slips which will probably be somewhere in the boy wonder's bedroom.

But that's a faff, and exam boards will not unreasonably charge me for duplicates, since they have already issued certificates which the school is not handing over. angry

I don't know who the exam officer is - one of the many stories I got when I phoned up was that the exams officer was on long-term sick leave and nobody else had access to his emails. hmm hmm hmm

I guess I could send a registered letter to the head stating the day and time when I plan to collect.

But flippin eck this is making me so cross. It's really unprofessional, quite aside from being really insulting to the kids who exercised their reasonable right to go to sixth form elsehwere. angry

akkakk Mon 04-Jul-16 22:47:14

Formal letter to the head setting out dispassionately when you will be in to pick up the certificates and results. Copy in the Chair of governors.

If no response, get a solicitor to do you a 'letter before action' setting out the details...

Formal, dispassionate, decisive with deadlines and clear expectations

404NotFound Mon 04-Jul-16 22:51:55

Yup, that's clearly the way, it means I'm not dependent on them having the organisation or the basic courtesy to reply to the straightfoward letter I've already sent.

I'm feckign fuming tbh, but I will put that aside and just write the blardy thing and then turn up to collect them. I'll have to go and pick the sodding things up myself, which is a PITA, since my dh is about to disappear abroad on a two-week work trip. Pah.

Thank you all for clarifying my thinking - I should have been able to come up with that myself, but I was just too sodding pissed off.

404NotFound Mon 04-Jul-16 23:07:20

I see in the meantime, while I was blathering on MN, my ds has taken the intiative and tweeted his old school. It works for Tesco, let's see if it works for schools as well. #notholdingmybreath

t4gnut Tue 05-Jul-16 09:01:54

"If that fails contact exam board and make complaint that the school are withholding certificates, copy in OFSTED."

For Gods sakes people stop trying to copy in OFSTED to everything - they don't care. OFSTED are there to inspect schools and that is it - they have no interest in your spats, complaints or wanting to dob the school in.

If you are going in to pick up certificates then ensure you have written instruction from your son giving you authority to do so. He is over 16 and they are his - you count as a third party with no automatic right to them. Tell the school you are coming in at x time to collect them.

(Tesco is a business in a cutthroat environment - it will go out of its way to avoid loss of sales. Schools generally don't care about attempted facebook shaming)

404NotFound Tue 05-Jul-16 18:28:19

No reply to tweet, do I will revert to Plan A, ie sending formal letter saying ds will be coming in on Monday to collect his certificates.
hmm angry

t4gnut Wed 06-Jul-16 09:19:10

Of course they won't respond to the tweet! Tescos has a media profile to manage and a permanently manned twitter account. The school has an admin somewhere who sticks something on it a few times a week when the have 2 minutes free.

404NotFound Wed 06-Jul-16 09:25:36

It was worth a go, I think. Ds's current sixth form has a very active Twitter account, which they use as an interface for all sorts of communications with students and parents. I've tweeted them to ask about arrangements for school trips or absence procedures, for eg, and had a more or less instant response.

Used well it can be really effective, i think, because it saves answering the same question to lots of parents individually.

Coconutty Wed 06-Jul-16 16:53:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gazelda Wed 06-Jul-16 17:00:10

I'd copy the examination board in on your letter.

OddBoots Wed 06-Jul-16 17:13:53

Is this a school or an academy? If is is a school I would be contacting the local authority for help too. Does the sixth form have any advice for you?

In the mean time I would make sure you know exactly where the original results slips are, it may be a faff to send off for replacements but it will be even more so if you don't know the boards to apply to.

lljkk Wed 06-Jul-16 17:24:15

What happens if you send the school a self-addressed large envelope with a letter requesting to please send your son his certificates?

As we are away this yr for results day & it's not easy for DS to pop into school later, I left a letter like that for the head's PA, hope we get the suitable reply.

Decorhate Wed 06-Jul-16 21:30:44

Given that the public exams have just finished, someone at the school has been carrying out the role of the exams officer even if the person in post is off sick. Unless it's a tiny school there is likely to be an assistant in any case. If it's not out of your way, why not call in to the reception & ask for the certificates in person ( take a letter from your son if he doesn't go with you).

I wouldn't be so sure that it's easy to get duplicates from the exam boards. I was always under the impression that you couldn't get a copy which was why it is important to collect & keep the originals.

ApocalypseSlough Wed 06-Jul-16 21:33:53

How bizarre. It's a faff for them to keep the certificates. Have you been to the school? Generally all leavers' certificates are held for collection. I reckon it's cock up rather than conspiracy.

Haggisfish Wed 06-Jul-16 21:37:57

Yes me too. You can get copied but they cost a lot.

Kummerspeck Wed 06-Jul-16 21:49:23

We had exactly the same with my DD. The school did not invite leavers back for the presentation (shameful when some of them had been there from 3-16), didn't notify them that their certificates were there and, oddly couldn't find things when pupils went in for them

Several of the pupils and several mothers had tried then one family had the ingenious plan of sending a father as this school always jumped to attention for men. The dad marched in, in his business suit, complained loudly that he had had to leave work early for this and threatened that his company's solicitor would be asked to represent the pupils who were being deprived of their lawful property if the certificates were not supplied by the end of the week grin
The school then admitted that they may have "accidentally" shredded some of the certificates but agreed they would order and pay for copies so we did get them all in the end although it took a while

avocadosweet Sat 09-Jul-16 12:33:52

I forgot that one of my certificates hadn't been there on speech day, until I needed it for something 12 years later. I emailed my old school and they sent it to me!

Badbadbunny Sun 10-Jul-16 16:34:22

* I reckon it's cock up rather than conspiracy.*

Sadly many schools are notorious for poor organisation/administration, so it's far more likely just to be a cock up rather than them intentionally trying to deprive your son of his certificates.

Clavinova Sun 10-Jul-16 19:20:03

You could try quoting JCQ regulations at them:
www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/general-regulations

page 16, 5.15
"the centre agrees to distribute certificates to all candidates without delay regardless of any disputes."
Certificates should be kept under secure conditions for a minimum of 12 months before being destroyed and "remain the property of the awarding body at all times."

404NotFound Sun 10-Jul-16 22:49:53

Yy, agree it's poor administration, and an element of wanting to wash their hands of the large number of dc who chose to leave the school for other sixth forms.

I think after two rather terse letters and a phone call, it has now been resolved (hopefully), and he's going to go and pick them up on Monday.

It's a bit shabby of the school, and leaves a bad taste, but hopefully that's an end of it.

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