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Ever had a parent complain?!

(26 Posts)
PhyllisDietrichson Mon 29-Feb-16 18:25:38

Sadly they had not remembered all the extra time I'd put specifically helping that child via phone calls and emails or the extra sessions I organise each week that the child often misses, or the full day I ran in the hols for the group to catch up (that the DC did not attend) or that I'd given the child an award last year.

Just an injustice inaccurately reported/felt and acted upon.

Really upsetting.

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Clonakiltylil Mon 29-Feb-16 19:14:06

All the time in the private sector.

DraenorQueen Mon 29-Feb-16 19:18:52

Oh yes. Not in my current school where almost all the families are in extreme poverty, but quite frequently in the more affluent school I was previously at.

"You didn't enter my child for the level six tests - you're not teaching her properly."
"You made my child wait for five minutes before permitting them to have a drink in PE."
"You're teaching French with the wrong accent."

I practically bit holes in my tongue during that particular job.

PhyllisDietrichson Mon 29-Feb-16 19:23:33

Wow DraenorQueen you deserve a medal, I'd prob have blurted out a withering comment a couple of those!

OP’s posts: |
PhyllisDietrichson Mon 29-Feb-16 19:24:18

This is a school in a very chelsea tractor area

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Mon 29-Feb-16 19:26:12

If it's justified, act on it. If it's not justified, then fuck it.

PhyllisDietrichson Mon 29-Feb-16 19:27:30

Wise words Noblegiraffe!

OP’s posts: |
DraenorQueen Mon 29-Feb-16 19:27:36

I know this isn't the most professional thing, but I actually kept a copy of a complaint letter that was so outrageously entitled, misinformed and PFB I just kept looking at it and shaking my head in wonder.

In my current school I've had to see and read about family situations that are utterly heartbreaking, but I have never worked with children with such a love for learning and a respect for the adults who are helping them.

DraenorQueen Mon 29-Feb-16 19:28:12

Giraffe I think that should be every school's complaint policy!

GinandJag Mon 29-Feb-16 20:02:02

Loads and loads of complaints here.

albertcamus Mon 29-Feb-16 20:13:21

This was par for the course Phyllis in my last (so-called Ofsted 'Good') school. The degree of response chosen by SLT depended on their perception of the parent eg Governor > grovel, blame the teacher, agree that PFB etc had every right to whinge & blame their teacher for their underachievement, pushy vociferous middle-class parent > tell teacher to phone & take the blame and adapt their expectations to suit the child in question. If the parent did not fall into either of these groups, their complaints were largely ignored, unless SLT wanted ammo against the teacher in general.

In contrast, at my previous school which was in an extremely deprived area, very much like Draenor, I experienced nothing but appreciation & respect from parents, and was not complained about once in ten years.

It always hurts to learn that you've been criticised, doubly when SLT are unsupportive and untrustworthy.

teacher54321 Mon 29-Feb-16 21:04:37

In the private sector here and complaints are par for the course. i invariably get very cross and upset, swear a lot in the staff room about the injustice, email/have a meeting to discuss the problem and it usually gets sorted pretty quickly.
In my current school my SMT are fabulous and supportive and it's much less stressful. IME primary schools are worse for complaints than secondary

seven201 Tue 01-Mar-16 14:11:22

Yep! Were they ever justified or true? No. They make you think 'why do I bother?' And feel like you're about to be told off at any minute.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Thu 03-Mar-16 23:49:31

Yes, I had a good one last year. After a year 11 reorganisation in the last half term, purely based on Janiary entry grades and with no thought to behavioural combinations, I ended up with half a class of boys who clearly styled themselves on football hooligans, and half a class of quieter girls, with a span of five target grades. After a few nightmarish weeks I told the hoologand that as they couldn't care less, their grades were no concern of mine and that I would instead be focusing me efforts on the ones who were trying. Only to receive an email from one of the quieter girls who had told her mum I said o didn't care about anyone's grades as I was leaving. Bullshit.

The head was already gunning for me as I was refusing to inflate KS3 teacher assessments and questioned the impact of shocking behaviour across the school on the more conscientious ones. She publicly told me she's received the complaint in front of staff and students. When I challenged her on that later, she told me my mum's terminal illness was making me ill and that I should work til Friday (this happened on Monday) then have a test the following week - when Estyn would be in. This is Wales where schools have 6 weeks notice and significantly more due to indiscreet hotel staff blabbing about their bookings I have never worked for a less ethical HT and it destroyed my teaching mojo forever.

christinarossetti Sun 06-Mar-16 23:02:52

My friend teaches in a school where the demographic has rapidly changed from being very predominantly economically poor families to more middle class families.

His stress levels have risen considerably, despite the children being ostensibly 'easier' to teach as they speak English, have lots of support at home, exactly because of the endless, petty complaints from some, but not all, families.

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Tue 08-Mar-16 22:55:12

Oh yes. All the time. The tiniest and pettiness of things, obviously seen and reported through the distorted eyes of an annoyed child.

glamourousgranny42 Thu 17-Mar-16 21:30:43

I once had a parent complain that I had been off for 3 weeks with flu "Nobody has flu for 3 weeks" apparently. I was actually off work for 4 days!
The same parent complained that i took a day off to take the class on a trip. A trip which her child went on!!
These complaints were made on the morning of an exam when her child was panicking (probably because she hadn't bothered to attend any of the revision classes.)
I once worked at a boarding school where a mother complained that a particular teacher was not at parents evening (because she had childcare issues) , Said parent then informed me she felt it was important to stay at home and look after children rather than work outside the home. Both her children were at full time boarding school and didn't even go home at weekends despite living fairly close.

I also had a parent write and complain that i was wrong to tell the class that racism was unacceptable because everyone was entitled to their opinion!

Wolfiefan Thu 17-Mar-16 21:36:51

I had a parent complain that I accused their child of plagiarism.
If you are going to cheat. Understand the words you are copying. Also try changing some so that when the teacher googles the "stolen" phrase it doesn't immediately come up!

ardlewardledoodle Fri 18-Mar-16 06:04:04

A parent complained I was marking their child late for my lessons, whereas they were on time for everyone else's. I said I marked them late because they were late, that is after the bell and without an acceptable reason.

(Let's leave out the possibility the child was singling my lessons out for lateness and go for the more likely one of other teachers not making waves and marking them on time when they were, in fact, late) hmm

I was treated to a patronising, "how I record pupils as late" by the HOY which meant, effectively, not following the school's rules on recording lateness.


ScarlettDarling Fri 18-Mar-16 06:22:03

I once had a parent complain to the head that I was being too tough on their little boy. I wasn't, he was v challenging and would run riot if we didn't treat him with a firm hand.

The head placated them by saying "oh, it's because she's pregnant, she's not normally like that."

Supportive eh? angry

Rebecca254 Fri 18-Mar-16 06:31:33

I had a parent spy on a PE lesson I was giving and then email the headteacher and say that I was effectively endangering children. Funnily enough I had received one to one training from the headteacher (at my request) on this particular equipment and was following it to the letter. He sent a polite but firm email referencing county and national health and safety policies and said I was following them all.

What annoyed me more than anything was that instead of speaking to me about her concerns she went straight over my head to my boss hmm

echt Fri 18-Mar-16 06:54:10

OK. Here's the Pepsi challenge.

Have you ever ever been told by a parent that a pupil is really gifted but isn't stretched by your lessons?

Has the pupil ever ever produced anything that you could stretch them by? Or anything at all?

Has the minimal evidence offered been anything more Ish?

Noodledoodledoo Fri 18-Mar-16 12:04:45

echt I have a similar experience this year.

Student keeps complaining he is bored in my lesson, work isn't hard enough to Mum and HoD.

I reply with he barely does anything in the lesson, in the exams he just sat one paper half -2/3rds were just random guesses - when I asked if he had found it hard, didn't understand, ran out f time etc he just replied with 'nah I just got bored and couldn't be bothered to try'.

I repeated this at parents evening and Mum looked less than impressed with him! I pointed out I have zero evidence to put him up a set with what I have currently!

IoraRua Fri 18-Mar-16 12:11:50

Oh yes. I think king of all the entitled, ridiculous complaints was the mum who took precious diddums on holiday in school time and then complained when I was not willing to do unpaid, one to one overtime to "make sure his right to an education is met". hmm

PansOnFire Fri 18-Mar-16 16:28:43

I was accused by a parent of not teaching a novel in preparation for a GCSE exam, despite the students having work related to that exact novel in their exercise books. I was investigated and had to produce all of my planning for the whole of the GCSE course for that particular class.

Parental complaints are taken very seriously in my school, even when they're not justified. It was an awful time for me but I was innocent of any wrongdoing and I knew it so just had to ride it out.

I also had a year 7 parent complain because I made her child read in my lesson. It was the class novel and it was independent reading for 15 minutes at the most in any one lesson. I phoned her to clarify that short bursts of independent reading took place in the lesson she told me reading was a waste of time, I didn't know what to say when I realised it was exactly that she had an issue with.

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