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School issues

(88 Posts)
MissAdventure Fri 29-Dec-17 12:03:00

Some of you may remember the problems encountered regarding schooling when a parent was too ill to take the child.
The school told me that they weren't bothered about grandson missing days, as they knew the circumstances.
We had a mentoring charity helping us for the last little while, which was sadly, too late. However, when my grandson finished school for Christmas, he came home with a letter addressed to his mum, at her address.
Considering I have informed the school that circumstances have changed, do you think its reasonable to request a meeting to ask how on earth such a thing has happened?

NannyTee Fri 29-Dec-17 18:59:19

This happened to my DS who passed his 11plus in primary school. Lost his Dad suddenly and ended up back min comprehensive school because the strict masters saw his anger as thuggish. confused

NannyTee Fri 29-Dec-17 18:59:38

Back in

Marydoll Fri 29-Dec-17 20:13:59

As a retired teacher, I am absolutely horrified at the way your family has been treated. I cannot comprehend the total lack of compassion shown by the school and authorities. This whole situation is totally unacceptable.
In my own school, we bent over backwards to support families who were struggling. On a few occasions, the HT himself brought a child to school, when the parent was unable to. We have also been known to take children home to take pressure off a parent.
In special circumstances, children would be taxied to school and this was paid for by the LA.
The attendance Officer would also be informed of the circumstances.
Furthermore, the management team would ensure that all staff were made aware of these circumstances, so that if the child was distressed or their behaviour became difficult to manage, staff knew what lay behind it.
School should be a safe haven for children, not a place of stress and unhappiness.
A number of our staff were also trained in bereavement counselling and weekly sessions were held to support children who had suffered the loss of a family member through death or divorce.
My first port of call would be the Head Teacher and if that gets you nowhere, go straight to the top, the Director of Education.
I am so sorry that you have not received the compassion and support that you deserve.

Eglantine21 Fri 29-Dec-17 20:25:54

I suspect, maybe wrongly, that the school is an Academy and not under the auspices of the LEA. So the Director of education wold be powerless and only the Attendance monitoring carried out by the school.
Academies are a law unto themselves I'm afraid.

Nezumi65 Fri 29-Dec-17 20:29:35

God that’s awful sad Definitely go to the head.

NannyTee Fri 29-Dec-17 20:37:09

Heartbreaking . This should never have happened . flowers

grumppa Fri 29-Dec-17 21:07:58

Go to the Head, and if their response is inadequate go to the Chair of Governors with a copy to your MP.

eazybee Fri 29-Dec-17 22:26:13

Take the letter you received to the Head at the beginning of term, and insist that he personally changes the details on your grandchild's file, in your presence. Explain the distress it has caused. and ask what provision he is putting in place to assist your grandson in the future.

I find it very hard to believe that a primary school (if it is so) can behave in such a callous way during illness and bereavement; normal compassion would operate among staff, even if mistakes were made.
If you continue to be treated with indifference, then you need to contact the Chairman of Governors and request an explanation.

Jalima1108 Fri 29-Dec-17 23:19:05

I am shocked and surprised that this has happened and think that their actions have been insensitive and uncaring.
A primary school especially should have better pastoral care of its pupils and any Head Teacher and class teacher should be well aware of the circumstances and offer help and support under such difficult circumstances. They should have offered more help than just saying they weren't bothered if he missed days off in the past few months.

You should definitely contact the Head and the Chair of the Governors - both for an apology and to ensure that support and understanding is given to your DGS in the difficult time ahead.

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 11:21:18

I contacted the school by phone this morning first thing, to ask for an appt to see the head teacher. They are going to phone me back with an appointment. Apparently.

minesaprosecco Wed 03-Jan-18 11:36:55

Don't let them fob you off missadventure. The school office will have a copy of the HT's diary and be able to make you an appointment, even if it needs to be confirmed by the HT later. Prepare what you're going to say carefully, stay calm, but let him/her know how angry you are. This is such careless behaviour from so many people at the school. As an ex deputy of a primary school I find it beyond belief that the communication system is so bad. Good luck, and remember you are in the right.

trisher Wed 03-Jan-18 12:09:13

MissAdventureI hope they do. If not I would say ring them and insist on speaking to the head. If they tell you she's busy say you will stay on the line (effectively blocking it) until she can speak. It sounds to me as if there is an admin person there who hs been put there to block access. These people are quite often little despots and regard it as their duty to keep anyone away from the head. Great advice above.
Try to stay calm although your emotions must still be so raw. Your family have been badly served. You deserve an apology and the school needs to make sure it never happens again.

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 12:17:02

Thank you. My strength is dwindling by the minute. I just don't feel up to all this, but I am going to persevere, thanks to everyone's encouragement.

eazybee Wed 03-Jan-18 12:20:39

If it is the first day of term the office will be very busy, but if you are not offered an appointment before the end of the day arrive at the school and demand to see the Head in person. Loudly.

Any Head worth his salt would phone you personally to apologise. It does sound an extraordinary place, not like any school I have ever worked in.

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 12:36:39

It never ceases to amaze me, too, eazybee. Every time I think they've finally 'got it'...

Eglantine21 Wed 03-Jan-18 12:36:59

Do you have an assertive friend to take with you? This is a very emotional issue for you. Sometimes it can help to have a less involved person there to keep the meeting on track.

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 12:40:17

Um, I may be able to find one. I'm really concerned that I will just blub as soon as I start speaking. The whole list of things that they have failed in is huge, and although I wont fetch them all up, they'll be on my mind. The last part of my daughters life was made so much worse by their incompetence and lack of thought.

Eglantine21 Wed 03-Jan-18 12:51:45

I'm afraid (as I know to my cost) that once the blubs start it gives them the opportunity to say 'I can see you're upset" lay on the sympathy and pretend that you're making an issue of things because you're upset and not because the issue is real!

Sometimes having a spokesperson is the way to go. But if you can bear to, write it all down, factually and in bullet points. Hand over a copy at the start and say you have documented your concerns.
Then if you feel you are losing it at any point ask them to continue reading and wait for their response. It will give you a chance to compose yourself.
Sorry I'm being bossy....
I'll send you a pm

Jalima1108 Wed 03-Jan-18 12:55:16

Good advice Eglantine and it will give you a chance to get your thoughts in order and make sure you don't forget anything MissAdventure - sometimes in stressful situations like that your mind can go blank and you remember everything you should have said afterwards.

Or take a friend with you.
I cannot believe that they would be anything less than sympathetic, but, having encountered the way that some HT's can turn the tables very neatly and turn it all into your or your child's fault perhaps taking someone with you could be a good idea too.

trisher Wed 03-Jan-18 12:57:20

Great advice Eglantine21. Try to imagine us all behind you MissAdventure all GNers, we can't be there but we are with you in spirit. You have right on your side.

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 13:05:11

Ah, thank you. You really are a kind lot, when push comes to shove! Its so difficult, my daughter was the one to give me a strength to do things, its almost making me get 'the blubs' thinking about having a posse of grans behind me!

Coolgran65 Wed 03-Jan-18 13:25:13

Eglantine's advice in her last couple of posts is superb.
A list ... and even prioritise within the list using a highlighter.
Maybe even a copy of the list to the HT for the file.

Great idea about taking a friend with you. The friend would be emotionally slightly removed from the situation and able to hold the meeting together if you needed to compose yourself.

I am so angry on your behalf.
I have worked in school administration, in hospital administration, and handled matrimonial issues in a solicitor's office - all needing a high standard of efficiency. It pains me when I see such lax administration and the harm and hurt it can cause.

Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.... all you are wanting is for a sensitive matter to be dealt with efficiently and with sensitivity.

Will you ask where the communication fell down, not so much to point a finger at one person, but to check the school policy in such circumstances. Have they got a set procedure that was not adhered to. Or do they just wing it and hope for the best.

I am really sending good karma your way. Imagine we are all, every one of us, standing behind you in spirit. You and your DGS do matter. If you feel dissatisfied after your (and friend) meeting with HT...... ask to arrange a further meeting to include HT, Chairman of Board of Governors. Perhaps the SENCO teacher rep.

NannyTee Wed 03-Jan-18 13:29:29

Really feel for you MissAdventure. Good luck. flowers

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 13:36:09

They have just phoned. Appt is at 2.45. I shall picture a legion of women behind me. No time to find a friend now, I look like the wild woman of Borneo. Will have to get my skates on!

MissAdventure Wed 03-Jan-18 13:38:51

coolgran the Senco teacher rep is the person who said they had no issue with grandson missing school as they 'knew the circumstances' (that my daughter was dying)