1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Dear Stephen - Letter from the Chair of Governors at my son's school

Discussion in 'Governors' started by MrsMacPLatt, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Dear Stephen. I have received a letter from the Chair of Governors at my son's school accusing me of bullying and harassing staff. He includes a direct threat that "if you do not change your tactics, I will take whatever steps are necessary to make sure it stops". He also says he has asked all staff to let him know if I make any contact with the school. I have been in correspondence with the Head Teacher and the Governors about the provision at the school which uses its Language College status to attract students but which cannot muster enough students to create a viable group for a second language at GCSE. My son is a talent linguist in the top 5% in his year in 2 languages and I am not happy with the provision for G&T linguists at the school. Should the Chair of Governors be disciplined? Should he lose his position on the Governing board?
     
  2. Dear Stephen. I have received a letter from the Chair of Governors at my son's school accusing me of bullying and harassing staff. He includes a direct threat that "if you do not change your tactics, I will take whatever steps are necessary to make sure it stops". He also says he has asked all staff to let him know if I make any contact with the school. I have been in correspondence with the Head Teacher and the Governors about the provision at the school which uses its Language College status to attract students but which cannot muster enough students to create a viable group for a second language at GCSE. My son is a talent linguist in the top 5% in his year in 2 languages and I am not happy with the provision for G&T linguists at the school. Should the Chair of Governors be disciplined? Should he lose his position on the Governing board?
     
  3. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    If it isn't viable, it isn't viable. What precisely do you expect the school to do about it?
     
  4. The School is a Language College and attracts students on this basis. Another Language College down the road has 20% of its students taking a second language. All students have to take 2 languages from Years 7-9. I think it says a lot about the teaching. My son would get 2 A*s for languages, if he were able to do both.
    However, my real question is about the behaviour of the Governor towards me and his accusations and his threat. The Language issue clouds the matter of his unprofessional behaviour he should remain impartial and not become abusive to parents from the school.
     
  5. The School is a Language College and attracts students on this basis. Another Language College down the road has 20% of its students taking a second language. At my son's school all students have to take 2 languages from Years 7-9. and yet they cannot muster a viable group for 2 languages at GCSE. I think it says a lot about the quality of the teaching. My son would get 2 A*s for languages, if he were able to do both.
    However, my real question is about the behaviour of the Governor towards me and his accusations and his threat. I only gave informtion about the correspondence to give my question about his behaviour come context. The Language issue clouds the matter of his unprofessional behaviour he should remain impartial and not become abusive to parents from the school.
     
  6. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    Not necessarily.
    Without knowing precisely what you have said or done, it is difficult to judge his behaviour. If you have been a royal pain, it may be perfectly legitimate for him to send a letter requesting that you desist and informing you that the school may seek legal advice if you do not.
    Your information does not give enough context.
    Why?
    I do not see that he has been abusive.
     
  7. I have been professional and respectful in all my correspondence. I have answered letters sent to me and included research about the provision in other Language Colleges in my county. Iam not asking them to do anything I have not found on offer in other local Language Colleges. I have spoken to the Head of Languages once since this correspondence began. I do not expect to receive threats from a Chair of Governors. Parent Voice is an important aspect of school governance and I have a right to ask for evidence that the school is doing enough for my son. I have not been provided with that evidence.
     
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    Can't think why. The school clearly considers you have been bullying and harassing staff, even if you don't. It's impossible for anyone here to comment on whether your approach to the school staffl has been reasonable or not. I don't know why you think the Chair should be impartial. Impartial between who or what? What is the evidence that you've been asking for?
     
  9. I agree that he clearly thinks I have been bullying and harassing staff. His letter is not copied to anyone and he does not refer to conversations with the Head Teacher. It is very personal. I do not think he should threaten to "shut me up". I have had a friendly exchange of emails with the Head which she initiated and I have thanked her for her attention to my questions. I have seen her since our exchange of emails and felt her greetings were civil and professional. It is his duty to examine my complaint. He can support the School, if that is the way the investigation goes, but he should give me the Governors' findings in full and in a civil and professional manner. I guess that is the sort of impartiality I am asking for - professionalism. I am asking for evidence that my son's language ability - and that of other students in his year - is supported by the school. That my son is stretched and that his learning is not disrupted by other less interested linguists in his group. If the NQT who has been teaching his class all year is not up to the job then she should be supervised and her development monitored to ensure she is.
     
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I suspect we're getting near to the gist of it now.

     
  11. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Welcome to TES, Mrs Mac ...
     
  12. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    So, to summarise:
    -You have a problem with the process (not being informed of outcomes)
    -You have a problem with communication
    -You have a problem with the external outcome (the CoG's letter)
    -You have a problem with the internal outcome (asking staff to report contact)
    -You have a problem with structural provision (not offering course to your liking)
    -You have a problem with comparative provision (to other Colleges)
    -You have a problem with applied provision (the NQT's teaching)
    -You have a problem with the extra-curricular provision (the French trip)
    <u>YOU </u>sure have a whole host of problems...Have you considering moving your child to one of the better providers in your area? Or opening a free school for talented linguists?
     
  13. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Mystery 10 a parent does not have to threaten to kill someone to be behaving in an inappropriate way. Without knowing the full facts of the case it's impossible to know whether the letter from the chair is justified or not. Let's be realistic. Mrs mac is not going to admit in a thread to being a right royal pain in the **** do we've only got her word that she's acted in a reasonable manner. I'd be interested to know how many letters she's sent, the length, the tone etc. are the letters/ emails a daily or weekly occurance? If the head has responded and answered her questions then to continue to pursue the matter could be construed as a vexatious complaint.
    Sadly schools are not always in a position to give parents what they want, just because they want it. If the school have given their reasons behind their decision and the explanations are reasonable , it's pointless pursuing the matter, to continue to do so would be construed as vexatious and the cog would be acting reasonably by writing to the parent.
     
  14. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Clearly no we don't know the circumstances. But taking it at face value she has apparently only asked why they can't provide a second language at GCSE, which really one would reasonably expect of a language college. Yes, if they can't get enough children, they can't get enough children. But maybe they could come up with some other arrangement e.g. with the language college down the road, if it is not economically viable to run a second GCSE for one child, which normally it is not.
    I don't consider that to be bullying or harrassment. Sometimes people go a bit too far in their quest to stop a question which they have no good answer to. It probably is very embarrassing for a language college that they will not be able to run a second language at GCSE, and presumably therefore not at A level either. Can one maintain language college status on this basis? I don't know.
    Sometimes customer service type language goes a bit far. I've had similar experiences with a particular bank; nothing works on their internet service when you try to withdraw your money, so you phone up and they tell you to go to the branch, you go to the branch and they tell you it's an internet account and they can do nothing, so you sound a little upset at them and ask them to find out a little bit more rather than just saying no because you really need your money, and they say that they won't serve you if you speak to them like that.
    If you find out from elsewhere that they should as a language college provide a second language then don't be put off by this letter Mrs Mac. If they have no duty to provide a second language then for the sake of your own blood pressure give up on this lost cause and see if there is some other way you can get your son into a different school where he can do a second language - appeal if necessary for a place at the language college up the road.
    If we take all of this at face value, I'd say I wouldn't want to stay at a school with such a rude chair, unless really he is talking out of turn and the head does not in the least agree with him.
     
  15. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Sometimes it's not what's said, it's the way it's said. I've worked with people who've had vexatious complaints made about them. It's most unpleasant. I've seen a very strong head almost quit because of a parent who made a habit of complaining, she had a history of it with various people. On the surface she appeared mild and reasonable but I saw other side of this woman. She was vile. In the end she was banned from school premises and had to be removed by police on more than one occasion. If you'd spoken to get on here though she wouldn't have mentioned that, just that she had what she considered a "perfectly reasonable" complaint and received a "rude letter" in reply.
    I'm not saying this is the case with the OP, but I don't think it's possible to judge the situation based on a post in here.
    To the op- if you feel your complaint is genuine pursue it with the LA.
     
  16. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Will she have to formally complain to the governors first? It shouldn't matter that the Chair has already been involved in some way as it will be heard by a separate complaints panel. I really wouldn't bother complaining about the Chair though, even if he was completely wrong in his accusations. I don't think Mrs Mac would get anywhere with that one. It's better not to get sidetracked from getting what you feel your son needs - a second language at GCSE.
    However if the school is within their rights not to run a second language then it's very frustrating, but tough. Hopefully there is another way round this for Mrs Mac and her son.
     
  17. grrmummy

    grrmummy New commenter

    I have to confess to feeling uncomfortable with the responses I have seen to the OP.[​IMG]
    The main issues need to be clarified:
    <ol>[*]GB's have a responsibility as employers to protect staff from harressment and to ensure that Health and Safety at Work legislation is not breached.
    Rightly or wrongly it would appear that the COG at the academic institution in question has been led to believe that staff feel intimidated or threatened by the behaviour of the OP (parent). As such the COG has a duty to act on the concerns raised by staff and to communicate this to the parent[*]GB's have a duty to act with integrity, objectivity and honesty in respect of any matters that are brought to their attention - by either staff or parents.This means that any complaint made (by either parents or staff) has to be taken seriously and resolved.It is unclear whether the OP has formally made a complaint to the GB about the injustices s/he feels apply to her child[*]The educational institution (currently) holds a language status specialism. It would appear that courses are unviable and that this may be under GB strategic planning review. [*]The OP has raised a concern that s/he feels is worthy of consideration and has requested answers . [*]The GB is responsible for ensuring accountability and may (or may not) have communicated appropriately with the OP regarding the concerns raised.</ol>I personally do not feel it helpful to attack any parent who raises in good faith concerns about a school. The real point about vexatious complaints is that they should never reach that stage in the first place and a GB that allows this to happen needs to reflect on the reasons why this has happened.
    The implied advice from one poster to remove a child if you are unhappy is not particularly helpful either. Other factors do enter the equation - not least the child's views - and sometimes such GB directives say more about the exercise of power than about setting strategic direction.
    The simple fact is that none of us know the full circumstances of this case. I just hope that the eventual outcome for the child at the centre of the dispute is not one that is regretable.[​IMG]
     
  18. What a lot of interesting responses to my problem ranging from the assumption that I have been bullying and harassing staff to giving me the benefit of the doubt...

    I started this discussion with the school in response to a request from the Head of MFL to write to the school asking for proper timetabling of the second language. She told me she was asking all the parents of the double linguists to do this. I still do not have a resolution from the school re the second language. This is because I agreed with the Head that we would wait to see what options the Year 9s put in. She did agree to add French to one of the three available option blocks in addition to the language option block therefore offering the opportunity to test the viability of a second language group. She has not defined what she accepts to be viability - I only know that 5 is too few. She offered and I agreed that strategy in an exchange of emails which I thought friendly and good humoured. It was after this that I received the letter from the CoG full of its accusations and personal attacks.

    After I initiated the correspondence at the request of the Head of MFL, I have only replied to letters which have been written to me. In response to the first letter from the Head, I did the research about other language college provisions in the county through their websites and presented this evidence to her and to the CoG. My letters have been direct, but I do not see the point in asking questions unless you are clear about what you want to achieve. They have not acted to correct the errors on their website. I raised questions about the information on the website because I was trying to understand provision they said they offered.

    The CoG has not actually addressed any of my concerns about the provision for my G&T son or his classmates - his only correspondence with me has been the letter to which I refer. I have only attended the school at the school's request for Parents Evenings or to temporarily take my son out of school for orthodontist appointments. I am not in the habit of visiting the school otherwise - my son would be mortified if I turned up unannounced and was discovered shouting and screaming like a hooligan - they would be within their rights to call the police if I ever did that.

    No one at the school has suggested that I remove my son, though I have asked if they might consider allowing him to take his language studies at the nearby Language College which offers excellent provision and gets excellent results. I have not had a response to that from either the Head or the CoG. I have not yet asked to provide my own tutor at school, though this is next on my list of requests. My attempt to correspond with other parents has been blocked by the school which returned the letters I tried to send to them, so I'm not sure how I ask other parents to contribute to tutors. I think that might be an admission too far for the school to allow a tutor into the school when they have staff available to teach.

    The letter to me from the CoG is in the hands of the Local Authority now, having been forwarded to them by a friend who is a County Councillor. She did this without seeking my consent. It was passed to the Head of Education and by her to the Head of Governor Services. I have not heard anything about it since except that the full correspondence has been requested. The responses I have read here have prepared me for any response I receive from the LA.

    For what it is worth, the letter from the CoG felt very personal, almost as if he was responding alone to what he felt was a personal attack on him. I wonder whether he passed his letter past the Headteacher - whether she knew he was intending to respond to me in that fashion.

    I would still be interested to know if Stephen has a view on this saga.
     
  19. There are specific mechanisms in school for dealing with parental complaints and if you have a problem with the provision at your son's school then you should follow this procedure. If you have already followed the procedure to its conclusion then you could complain to the Secretary of State for Education. You say that you have been in correspondence with the governors, but it is not clear whether you have lodged a formal complaint about the language provision. The Chair of Governors acts on behalf of the governing body so if you have been in correspondence presumably the chair's letter is a result of that correspondence. Governors are appointed to the governing body in different ways (some are elected and some are appointed). Whether a governor was appointed or elected makes a difference to whether s/he can be removed from the governing body. There are some general rules about disqualification which apply to all governors.
    Stephen Adamson
     
  20. R13

    R13 New commenter

    Others are far more qualified than me to answer the original question but I owuld just like to point something out to the OP.

    You have stated that the Governor should be very concerned about the quality of provision because of your numerous letters. As an independent person what would make me concerned about provision is lots of letters from different people. IF the Governors here have positive feedback from the vast majority then even huge amounts of negative feedback from 1 person would make them feel that you are unhappy with it and not that 'it' must therefore be poor.

    If at an election you think one candidate is really useless and do lots and lots about it . . . . . they will still win if everyone else votes for them
     

Share This Page