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How to complain about school?

69 replies

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 11:45

Hello, my son is 8yo. He lives with me full time ( 6 nights per week) . I wanted to change his address at school over to mine,as my address is secondary to his mother. School tells me that they can't change it without mothers permission. They know that our son lives with me, because before he moved in with me couple of years ago,he was upset and stressed out on days when his mother used to pick him up. So the school put him on SEN learning due to his emotional problems and from this point he lived with me. By his choice. We don't have a court order in place,and there is no conflict regarding our arrangement. Whenever I ask school to literally call my ex and confirm the situation so that the address issue can be resolved they say that they don't want to get involved. They said if she called by herself then 'yes. Obviously she is difficult and says that there is no reason to change anything since school holds both addresses. The problem is however if I take care of my son every day,I think it's sensible for school to have my address as number 1. When my son gets ill or something at school,am the one being called to pick him up early. I asked school for separated parents policy or anything how child's address is registered. They told me that they don't have any policy when it comes to this. I said ok ' wonderful. Can you do annual review of where the child lives? They said that they go by whoever registered the child at school ( years ago) it stays this way. I made rival Child Benefit claim because my ex still receives money towards our son. I'm waiting for response from HMRC. Even though this might not be a problem who's address is number 1 ,but I don't want it to be just incase.. I asked school for Governors board contact and was told that every complaint first goes to school reception and then is being forwarded to Governors. Which means I will have to wrestle with school over this issue for very long time. Any advice?

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Spendonsend · 25/01/2023 11:49

You have to follow the schools complaint procedure to the letter. There arent really any other options.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:00

@Spendonsend Well.. yes but it goes back to school reception. Which means they will keep on fobbing me off, for months. I feel enraged and discriminated whenever they open their mouth to be honest. When I asked for letter with my address on it , they told me that they use school app and no sent letters. When I then requested attendance record on paper, they issued me one without my address on it. I asked for the one with my address. I was told ' no because it may be used in wrong purpose.

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Comefromaway · 25/01/2023 12:03

If you follow the formal complaint procedure they cannot just fob you off. It has to be dealt with within a specific timeline and then if you appeal it has to go to someone different.

You need to do this in writing and use the words Formal Complaint.

Needmorelego · 25/01/2023 12:08

You still haven't got this sorted?
Ask for an official meeting with the head teacher or if there is an executive headteacher (if the school is part of a chain) go to them. Maybe the school governors too.
Talk to them calmly and ask why they keep refusing this.
To be honest I think you should make his living arrangements official by going to court.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:09

@Comefromaway ok do you think I'm in my right? I don't want to be doing this if I'm not 100% sure. My solicitor told me even though it's nothing to do with family law as there's no conflict in regards to parenting time. The school is discriminating me and they should use common sense and therefore update the address.

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Comefromaway · 25/01/2023 12:10

The issue is that your child's records are not accurate. So, yes, formally complain.

Needmorelego · 25/01/2023 12:11

And as others have said...ask for the complaints procedure and follow it fully.
They can't refuse you the information about the complaints procedure.
If they do then if they are a local authority school contact the local authority. If they are an Academy - whoever is the top person in the Academy chain.
I would also contact your local MP.
This is ridiculous that they keep refusing to do this.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:13

@Needmorelego I'm still waiting for CB results. Last week was deadline for submitting documents. When I called them they told me that my ex didn't surrender CB but didn't provide any details in regards to where my son lives. From what I understood she didn't return the form

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Needmorelego · 25/01/2023 12:17

@Rick81 I think you definitely need to go to court and get the living arrangements official.
You as his main parent living with you and his mum with visitation.
You frequently mention your solicitor - why are they not telling you to do this?
You son has lived with you for some time, you care for him so I seriously doubt the court would give custody over to his mum.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:18

@Needmorelego solicitor said to wait for CB results and then contact him

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Needmorelego · 25/01/2023 12:20

@Rick81 your solicitor sounds useless to be honest.
This shouldn't be taking so long.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:25

@Needmorelego he said that I can apply for mediation first and then take it from there as mediation is required. But he advised to avoid court since there is no conflict in regards child care. He said that last year. He also said that child benefit should be sorted quick and easy if my son lives with me. Back then am sure he didn't realise that school is going to be a pain to deal with and CB may take up to 10 weeks

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Simulacra · 25/01/2023 12:35

It took my Dad 18 months to get the CB claim changed when I moved in with him at 14YO (mid 2000s, just after I started Y10).

My Mum refused to confirm I was living with him, as she didn’t want to lose CB, CTC or the fucking child support my Dad was still having to pay the entire time.

After around 6 months of this crap he did engage a solicitor and it still took a further year to get the benefits changed over and child support stopped - he wasn’t even entitled to CTC due to his earnings but needed the CB in order to get me a bus pass/other funding so I could go to college.

When it was finally sorted out, she was slapped with a huge bill of CB/CTC to back pay and CSA took her to court for that overpayment.

In our case, school and the GP changed my address within a month of me moving in but as she didn’t engage he had to go through the official process and it took the piss.

I am not surprised it’s still the same 20 years later.

LIZS · 25/01/2023 12:43

You had lots of advice on previous thread. Did you change at gp successfully? Have you gone to court over contact? You say there is no conflict with your ex yet you then describe just that. School need clear information and you still do not seem to have that established.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:44

@Simulacra ok . So atleast school cooperated properly in your case. Did your father hire family law solicitor or someone else to get the benefits sorted?

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Simulacra · 25/01/2023 12:46

Family law. Consisted of writing letters to my mother, CB, CSA. They were mostly ignored, until he threatened court action.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:50

@lizs I spoke with CB department which is dealing with my case. They said that one address record is enough and I should send only one. I asked them if dentist is good enough, they said yes. I have dentist and opticians under my address. I didn't go GP because I think a parent needs to be registered there too. I'm not registered at surgery where my son is. I would probably need to re-register at mine, which is just 200yards from the one he is at the moment.

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LIZS · 25/01/2023 13:03

Have you spoken to the school officer manager or business manager about how to resolve the communication issue and what evidence they need?

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 13:05

@LIZS also my ex had one night per week. Since beginning of January she really has zero nights. My son asks her on her day to call me so that I can pick him up from hers just before bed time, and she does it. So basically she doesn't even refuse his request. I wouldn't call this a conflict really. Frankly am not realy sure if she would have caused any problems if school really called and asked for our child living situation.

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Needmorelego · 25/01/2023 13:05

@Rick81 why not register him at your GP Surgery. Just go in there and DO IT.

Aaron95 · 25/01/2023 13:17

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 12:09

@Comefromaway ok do you think I'm in my right? I don't want to be doing this if I'm not 100% sure. My solicitor told me even though it's nothing to do with family law as there's no conflict in regards to parenting time. The school is discriminating me and they should use common sense and therefore update the address.

It may make more sense to do what you are asking but you have to look at it from the school's perspective.

They have one parent asking for the address to be amended but the other parent has not agreed to this change. Without any documentation showing that you have custody, they cannot make such a change without the agreement of both parents.

You can complain to the school, but I doubt they would uphold the complaint. You either need to get your ex to sign a letter agreeing to the change or find some other way to demonstrate that you are the primary parent.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 13:17

@LIZS i did with head and other senior. They said that they don't want to call or speak to my ex unless she calls them about changing the address. I told them that they should call her and ask about my sons living situation because they want to update details after all those years . They said that it's good the way it is and whoever registered child,stays this way unless that person requested changes.

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LIZS · 25/01/2023 13:22

It is not up to the school to ask her on your behalf or interfere unless there are safeguarding concerns.

Rick81 · 25/01/2023 13:24

@Aaron95 and that's what exactly my lawyer says. She also has no documentation of custody and therefore they should conduct review of where the child is staying by interviewing parents. Otherwise they should produce policy which states why things are the way they are. I spoke with 3 different solicitors about this particular problem during free initial consultation and all 3 said same thing. But they all also said that this isn't a problem since they hold both addresses. It doesn't weight against my situation in any form.

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Rick81 · 25/01/2023 13:27

@LIZS well am a parent. I pick up my child from school 5 times per week. Whenever my child is ill they call me. So when I say my child lives with me, please call mother and verify am telling the truth. Why can't they call?

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