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Corruption in head teacher

39 replies

lisalisa · 07/07/2009 23:54

If your child attended a Private Primary School and you had good reasons to suspect the Head guilty of corruption what would you do?

By corruption I mean favouring rich kids and those kids whose parents do favours for the School , interefering with the teacher's work in the classrooms to ensure those same kids get more recognition and teacher doesn't "waste" too much time on kids she does not deem worthy of the same and similar. By corruption I mean possibly and I do mean only possibly slightly doctoring SATS results or at least prepping kids to such an extent that SATS results inflated and also makring them in house so no external checks. I could go on......

You could say move schools. I am very nervous of someone who knows me or the situation reading this so I won't say too much but we can't move schools. We have moved dcs once already and this school is heavily connected with our lives and community.

I can't go to the Governors as their kids are the ones favoured and they would either turn blind eye and deaf ear or would not receive news sympathetically.

Is there some sort of external body one can appeal to or process to start to get head teacher removed or is all this out of hte question in a private school?

OP posts:
FluffyBunnyGoneBad · 07/07/2009 23:56

They should be under Ofsted still (I think) or the independant schools council, you could try either.

lisalisa · 08/07/2009 00:00

Thanks but aren't some schools completely independant and not regulated at all?

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FluffyBunnyGoneBad · 08/07/2009 00:01

I thought that until the old head brought ofsted in for an inspection. I've been lead to believe that the Independant Schools council have some clout(sp?). Hold on a minute.

lisalisa · 08/07/2009 00:02

Yes Ofsted do inspect but what clout do Ofsted have over an indie school?

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FluffyBunnyGoneBad · 08/07/2009 00:04

Nope, AVG have knackered the web browser so can't see anything. Look at the Independant Schools council's web site.

Quattrocento · 08/07/2009 00:05

This all sounds a bit hysterical and conspiracy theorish. I honestly think you should calm down, sleep on it and reflect for a good long time before doing anything.

Independent schools are not regulated by Ofsted - they are regulated by ISIS.

You need to be clear what it is that the headteacher has done wrong. Favouring rich kids is impossibly nebulous and vague.

If you have concerns that your children have not had their fair share of teacher attention, you need to make these concerns clear in writing to the head.

Independent schools can and usually do opt out of SATS. Ours has just started them and teacher assessments are I think normal for some years.

lisalisa · 08/07/2009 00:13

Quatt - yes it does but unfortunatly its not either hysterical or conspicary theorish.

The sit has been going on for years - many of the teaching staff have left as have many parents although peopel don't tend to talk about it that much. The school does have a good reputation as being quite academic and also non cliquey and welcoming too so parents sign up too.

many people are aware of the situation . I used to be a governor but resigned a while back due to situation. Tried to live with it for a while but can't any longer.

Please take it as a given that the situation is real and not imagined. I am more looking for practical advice how to move forward.

Its not just favouritsm - its also interference in the classroom. Some egs of favouritism would be getting head's kids to star in school play 2 yrs running ( 2 different kids) , forcibly removing some kids from front of show and replacing them with rich kids/governor's kids above teachers protets that they had put relevant hcild there as child sings better/acts well/is shorter and needed to be front row etc. There is staacks and ample proof - I just need to decide what to do and whether to and how to blow it out of the water.

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FluffyBunnyGoneBad · 08/07/2009 00:18

Is the school owned by the head or run by the board of governors?

lisalisa · 08/07/2009 00:26

Fluffy - very difficult to say. I don't know is the honest answer! There is a board of governors but school is pretty much run by Head. Is there any way I can find out who actually owns the sChool?

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FluffyBunnyGoneBad · 08/07/2009 00:30

Probably companies house is your best bet. Ds went to a school where the head was the owner, there were no governors so there wasn't really anyone overseeing what was going on. When she sold the school (without telling the parents) the twat that took over was a devoubt catholic that tried to convert the children to the catholic church. I voted with my feet and moved ds. Shame really, it was a lovely school but they lost alot of families due to his attitude. He'd tell parents about other parents/children, very unprofessional. It appeared he favoured the children of the more helpful parents aswell. It's tough isn't it.

lisalisa · 08/07/2009 00:42

Ah fluffy - so you have experience..... See we can't vote with our feet so am looking for alternatives. It's all so shadowy who owns this school. I'm going to dig around.

I really didn't know the head can actually own the school - sounds crazy doesn't it?

Can anyone offer any further help?

OP posts:
FluffyBunnyGoneBad · 08/07/2009 00:44

It sounds very secretive.

Check companies house, this will tell you who the registered owner/owners are. It's a start. The board of governors normally employ the head unless the head owns the school. You should have been given access to financial documents etc as a governor.

bloss · 08/07/2009 06:15

Message withdrawn

SueW · 08/07/2009 08:48

you could have a look at the charitiescommission website too.

any letter you havefrom school should quote its registered company number and registered charity number on the bottom.

i can pull entire sets of accounts for DD's school off the charities commmission website.

Simples · 08/07/2009 08:50

it is independent

GooseyLoosey · 08/07/2009 08:56

Is there a parents committee or anything similar that you could get on to and have an informal discussion about the problems? If they are as obvious as you say there must be many other parents who are aware of problems and not happy. Could you get them together - I suspect that group action may be more effective than an individual complaining. Once you have a group together, complain to whoever owns the school. In the current economic climate, I can't imagine that they would want to risk mass-desertion by parents.

LadyMuck · 08/07/2009 09:11

I have to say that I am surprised that you have your children at a school and you don't know the ownership? And frankly I am astonished and concerned that as a governor you were not aware of the structure.

If you have a board of governors then that would indicate typically that there isn't a single proprietor, but instead the school is owned by some form of trust or foundation (possibly charitable but not necessarily). Usually the board of governors would have the power to appoint and remove the head teacher, though they would have strict criteria to meet to do the latter. Independent schools still have to be inspected to ensure that they meet certain legal criteria (eg staff have been CRB checked, various health and safety issues etc.

Regardless of the ownership though, I think that you need to consider what the "crime" is. Headteachers are supposed to have a degree of control over what happens at the school, and that may mean dictating to teachers what can and can't happen in class. Corruption is a more difficult accusation. Favoritism is unfortunate but not uncommon especially in community-type private schools. To translate favoritism into corruption you'd pretty much have to conclude that the Head was accepting bribes or being somehow blackmailed/coerced into making certain decisions.

Even though changing pupils marks is a more serious issue, I guess you would have to consider carefully what evidence there is of this, and what the implications are. If the parents concerned are not bothered, and as the marks are not used externally, then it is hard to see how you could get an external body to interfere.

If the school has a website then I believe that it should be law give the full title of the body owning it somewhere on the site (assuming this is a UK school). You can then check this against companies house (for a fee) or the Charity Commission (free).

I would say that unless a huge majority of parents, and a good number of the governors are in favour of removing a head, then it will be probably impossible unless you can find some way to induce a criminal prosecution.

nessus · 08/07/2009 09:13

Simples, Independent Schools can still acquire charity status.

Fruitysunshine · 08/07/2009 09:18

I would say that whatever route you choose, make sure you have good solid evidence that can be supported by statements (people who are prepared to talk) or else a lot of people are going to be put under suspicion and possibly have their careers ruined by rumours alone for no reason at all.

To remove a head teacher from their post on one complaint or accusation without evidence seems highly unlikely to me. There will be an investigation that will probably take months, rather than weeks and all this time your children will still be attending I assume?

You have to weight everything up before you decide what to do.

janinlondon · 08/07/2009 09:20

I am v surprised that you don't know who owns the school? If it is the headteacher (which is not entirely unheard of, though I'd have thought it undesirable) you are on a hiding to nothing here I think.

AvengingGerbil · 08/07/2009 09:20

You really can always move schools. There is nothing on earth that can make you keep your child at a fee-paying school that you are unhappy with. What you mean is you don't want to. That is your choice.

OnceWasSquiffy · 08/07/2009 09:36

In our school, there is a parent in each class who does the 'community' thing, and also a thriving 'Friends' group that do all the charity stuff. And I think these people are passionate about the school and the ethos. Do you have the same in your school? If so, why not canvass them and see how widespread the views are? If widespread, then use this network of people to make a collective approach to the governers to demand that they take action to stamp out favouritism, asking them specifically to act to avoid any publicity that might otherwise occur should some angry mother go to the local press....

southernsoftie · 08/07/2009 09:39

Not all schools are with ISIS - we have been looking at schools and it took me ages to track down the inspection report for one of our choices - it turns out that Ofsted will do the inspections for private schools where the school is not affiliated to another organisation like ISIS, HMC, GSA etc. You should be able to work this out from previous reports you may have had (many schools link the reports on the website)and presumably you could contact the relevant organisation and ask them to investigate if that is the way you want to go.

Agree with LadyMuck though, there is a big difference between favouritism and corruption. Favouritism happens in our state school (always the same 2/3 children chosen for main parts, presentations in front of ths school etc), but that is laziness from the teachers and head who know those children can be relied upon rather than taking a risk on and giving a chance to someone untested. Complaining or just gently mentioning it changes nothing (several of us have tried to no avail).

From what you say it is mainly favouritism and that being so I think that a group complaint is much more likely to have an effect than you going it alone. You say that the issues are common knowledge but are other people willing to put their heads above the parapet? And if not, and if you can't move, will it really help your children to complain?

lisalisa · 08/07/2009 10:21

Hmmm - excellent posts her ethank you - particularly ladymuck and fruitysunshine.

I am aware of the need to tread more carefully than i have ever done in my life you all say reputations, livelihoods and futures are at stake.

I have spent a sleepless night over this. It is quite a long story and don't want to go into it too deeply as don't want any risk at all of being identified. In fact once thread is over will ask for it to be deleted.

there is one current staff member supplying much of hte current info to me. It is not new however - one seniour staff member left 5 yrs ago after dumping a similar load of heartache about the corruptoin /fixing/favourism issues on me ( as a governor ) at that time. We tried to hold a meeting to oust head at that time but it was narrowly voted down. School had only been running for about 4 years at that time. Now governors ( reamining ones - I left) are more firmly entrenched and i do not believe will do anythign about this as the beneficiares are their kids in part.

If i really wanted I could drum up about 4 or 5 staff members who are either still there or who have left since school started 9 yrs ago to give evidence. Then there is a sizeable parent body who either have issues and keep quiet or who have already left.

I just don't know whether I can take it on.

I think what just brought it on for me now is that at school show ( 2 were done - one inftans and one juniors) my 3 kidds were all back row and not seen. No problem - fully accept if they don't sing well/perform etc then fair does. Fair does anyway really - someone has to be at back but thought it would haev been nice for one of my children to at least have been seen or had said someithng. Anyway , enjoyed the show and shrugged it off as non consequential. Cue this senior member of staff who seems to have taken in upon herself to unburden herself about Head to me and has already told me far more than I want to know. She told me that one of my dds who is actually a lovely singer had been put at the front with a little solo and head had expressly removed her and told her to stand at back.

OK - so no big deal except head put her kid as star, reshuffled all so rich kids and governors kids starred and put those families she doesn't like etc at back. It stunk so badly my food I was eating at the time stuck in my throat.

This is only one issue and very minor however. There were other issues with my kids and thier schooling wchi I won't go into now but which , when this staff member told me, I was so incensed I wanted to punch Head's lights out there and then .

Still - not sure how if and when to blow this all open.

OP posts:
edam · 08/07/2009 10:29

If there is something real going on here, rather than just gossip and bitching about whose kids got the plum parts in the school play (which is irritating but can't see what you could do about it), then can't you get some aggrieved parents together and ask for a meeting with the head/governors? Maybe if you called them on their behaviour and made it clear lots of people have noticed and are unhappy it might rein them in a bit.

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