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Dear Stephen...who can I complain to

Discussion in 'Governors' started by seagirl, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. I am the head at my school and I wish to make a complaint about the behaviour of my chair and vice chair of governors. I can't go into details, but their behaviour is completely out of order. They manipulate the rest of the governors, who are weak and 'buy' into everything that is said. They undermine my authority with the staff and make decisions without following due process. I have had the LA in to do some training with them, but they only pay lip service to it. I feel the time has come to make an official complaint, but who to and how...?
  2. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Have you said anything to them?
  3. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    <font size="2">No doubt you have a complaints policy in school. School complaints policies rarely cater for this kind of scenario, but the purists will say that you should follow it. </font>

    <font size="2">Personally as head I would take the direct route of requesting an informal chat with the Director of your LA&rsquo;s Children&rsquo;s services assuming that you are a community school to set out your concerns. The Dfe route would be useless as there is little that they can get involved with and they would take forever. </font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">What type of governor is the chair and vice chair?. If LA appointed a complaint as suggested above to the DCS will have more clout and in exceptional circumstances, say bullying the LA can remove them completely from your GB as they would be the appointing body. </font><font size="2"> </font>behaviour is completely out of order&rsquo;. Any single governor including yourself can easily launch a motion in this respect giving the sufficient notice period for a motion &lsquo;to remove from office&rsquo; (not remove from the GB, as there are other avenues for that) You would of course need the support of the majority of governors and you would need to have regard to replacements for chair & vice chair and you would need to consider what will happen to what ever level of harmony you currently have.
  4. Thank you for taking the time to be so helpful montiagh. The other governors are not aware of the situation as I have tried to address issues through training and LA advice, but they are two very influential people in the local area and not willing to listen to anyone else I am afraid. Things have now got to the point where I cannot see a way forward and I have serious concerns for the long term future of school. The other governors would not stand up to them, nor would they be willing to take up the reins, again I don't want to say too much here. The complaints policy will not help me in this situation. Oh and Tafkam, yes I have spoken to them on many occasions and have an email trail of inappropriate actions and behaviours - so plenty of evidence to support a complaint.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Governing Body is your employer what about bringing a work-related grievance and ask for a panel of governors from another LA school to hear the grievance?
  6. Yes that's a thought - I ought to have known that, but this is quite an unusual situation. The only thing is, it's not so much about me, it's more about the school, the children and parents and the community that are the cause of my concern. I don't really want it to be about me.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  8. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    An NLG is usually not brought in at the invitation of the Head. You would have to get this one past the C&VC and balance of GB. But it sounds like you could certainly do with one. Having a grievance heard by an independent GB will need to be facilitated by your Children's Services Department. I would certainly re-iterate a one to one with your DCC.
    You must have other staff members of your GB and you or one of them could begin a motion and within that motion ensure that there is a secret ballot conducted by someone who is independent. If you do not have anyone waiting in the wings to take up the C&VC I am sure you DCC could have one / two governors/chairs of repute parachuted in if there is sufficient concern about the quality of governance and the potential breakdown of relations.
    What you seem to have without us knowing the detail is an exceptionally difficult nut to crack. Some GB's up and down the country have autocratic local big wigs running the school not for the children but for themselves.

  9. Your local authority must have a head of governance services that provide training and support for governors - go to them and ask for help. They should set things in motion for you to either get support from other governors or to talk directly to the people in question.
  10. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Is your school VA or community school? It will be much easier if community I suspect. If it's VA is there someone at Diocesan level with whom you can safely share your concerns?
    How long have these people got to run as governors? Do they have children at the school themselves?
    What about making a "qualifying complaint" to OFSTED? !!
    What a tricky situation.
    Is it possible for you to make the governing body minutes more obviously public than they are so that parents can see the ridiculous discussions that must be taking place at these meetings and your sensible disagreements with them? There might be a local "clan" who give themselves a lot of self-approval but surely there must be some sensible parents who might see through the "puff"?
    However, to what degree can a governing body really ruin things for a school when the head is responsible for the day to day running of it, and is the education expert? Are you worrying unduly, pain the **** as it must be?
    Can you somehow flood out the governing body with some new members with a bit of brain of their own?

  11. Thank you all for your responses. I'd love to say more about this, there's plenty to be said, but I cannot on here. To answer your question though Mystery10
    trust me - there's plenty they can do and are doing! And no parents will see through them as they put their spin and are believed on every matter.
    This makes me sound really weak doesn't it? Trust me I'm not, it's because I have stood up to them and tried to get things on a more professional footing that they are behaving like this and I know they won't rest until I'm gone.
  12. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Sea girl - I am sure from your last post whether you have taken any of the advice. Have you thought about some kind of mediation process?
  13. My first advice would be to contact your trade union. The complaints policy is for &lsquo;external' complaints - i.e. complaints about the school rather than the internal workings of the school. The school should have a grievance policy and as a member of staff you could use that to raise a grievance. If training has not helped then you may wish to raise your concerns with the appropriate local authority officer, as if the governing body is not following proper procedures then it may need to consider making a formal intervention.
    Stephen Adamson
  14. Thanks everyone, I have considered the advice carefully and am putting in an official complaint to the LA. Mediation would definitely not help as there is no will to change or admit wrongdoing by the chair - he really does think he can do as he likes! Can't say any more - thanks for all your help.
  15. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    Can't add much more to this than your other posters, and I realize that with a sensitive issue like this one you are severely limited in what you can reveal. So I will just ponder out loud and don't feel obliged to respond and put yourself in difficulties. Your professional well-being is important.
    Did you inherit this individual from a previous HT time?
    How did he get in? Co-opted LA rep?
    Is there anyone of strength who could be co-opted onto the GB to balance him - if that's possible?
    How much longer does his tenure have to run as a governor? Is there a likely candidate to stand against him?
    How does the Vice Chair react/ perform? How does he affect his fellow governors? Have they complained to you, or the LA? Would they resign? (And would they put their concerns in writing???)
    Are your staff aware of his antics? Is it starting impact on their work,? (If well done to you if it hasn't, but I know that it will only be a matter of time. He is holding your school back and that is not right)
    Is the community outside the school walls aware of the problems? Could this impact on the school's reputation?
    Are parents complaining you and the local authority? Or to staff?
    Are you able to log all problems either stemming directly from him, or he is an indirect influence e.g. certain ideas and suggestions are not put forward or implemented because of the effort involvled in either having to deal with him, or try to circumnavigate him??
    Take all the advice routes suggested to you here and I hope for the sake of your school community (and for yourself) this problem can be resolved!!
    ps Have just been reading about narcisstic behaviour in the workplace-which is very common and destructive, apparently.Could this be him? Might be worth a look to give you extra tips?
    Best wishes and good luck.
  16. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    Sorry just re-read your post and I realized that you are up against two of them! Chair and V. Chair! No wonder your feeling creased!!!
    I hope that you have a supportive DH and SLT behind you.

  17. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    My guess is that Seagirl is on her own and that she unwittingly stepped into a hornets' nest when she took this job. Hope she's OK. I would ship out of it if I could. It seems wrong in two ways to have to do so - bad for the school, and bad that there's no way of putting the mess caused by others right ... but sometimes you have to go for self-preservation.

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