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Dear Stephen,

Discussion in 'Governors' started by kate2521, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    A groups of parents at my son's primary school have written formal letters of complaint to the Governors, for the attention of the Chair and the whole Board of Governors. They are about the way the Chair and the Head handled a recent vote on school uniform, and also about a public blog the Chair of Governors wrote in relation to this, calling the parents who disagreed with her "School bullies". We are complaining about the Chair and the Head as part of the school's formal complaint's process, in the hope of resolving this matter at a school level before taking it the the DfE.

    We have all now had letters from the Head in response to our letters, but have heard nothing from the Governors, although our letters were clearly addressed to the Governors. The letters say more or less that he does not accept our complaints and that this is the end of the matter. I even emailed one of the Governors, who said she would reply to me but the Head replied. We are not satisfied that our complaints have been dealt with properly.

    Where do we go now? Surely the Head shouldn't be answering letters addressed to the Governors?

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Certainly they shouldn't. Try writing to the Clerk to the Governors and the Governor's Support Dept at the Local Authority.
  3. keepthespirit

    keepthespirit New commenter

    Whilst not knowing the full situation it is still clear that this has been badly managed. As hbf says this should not be happening and I agree with his practical suggestions.
  4. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    Thank you both for your replies. Keepthespirit, there's more info on my other thread about ignoring the result of the uniform vote, but yes, the whole thing has been very badly handled. Will try your suggestions.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Is the head replying to you about your complaint about the head or your complaint about the chair? Does the head say how they got the letter? ie, does it say, anything like 'the Chair has passed me your letter of....'?
  6. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    The complaints were all addressed to the Chair of Governors and/or the BofG, and as far as I'm aware, the Head's letters say he's replying to the letter of complaint he received. I've only seen one so far so not sure of the contents of others. He has distanced himself from the handling of the vote, saying it was nothing to do with him, but a Governors decision so we couldn't complain about him. I complained formally about the Chair of Governors' blog to the Vice Chair. No one has heard from a Governor, only the Head.
  7. The HT will be a gov so distancing themselves from the GB is a bit political. Realistically the govs should not have said what they did but it doesn't appear they have done anything illegal. If you are dissatisfied next time a vacancy comes up apply.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If you complain about the head I don't see anything wrong with the initial response being from the head himself in relation to the complaint aginst the head. Who else would you expect to make the initial response? Your school's complaints procedure isn't very detailed so the reply you have had doesn't breach the procedure. Of course if you are not satisfied with it you can ask the governing body to review it.

    For your complaint aginst the Chair you should expect to receive a letter from the governing body (or the Vice Chair or a governors' complaints panel). If you haven't ask the Clerk to tell you what is happening. Your school's procedures don't have a psecific time limit for the governors to respond but it has the general principle that complaints should be addressed 'swiftly'. As I read your complaints procedure the Vice Chair should convene a group of governors "to discuss your complaint and decide if a review is needed". They might well decide that you cannot complain about a formal decision of the governing body. Whether they will feel they have jurisdiction to consider the Chair's personal blog remains to be seen, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

    I can't see that any breach of procedure has happened yet.

    As a matter of interest your complaints procedure encourages complainants to state how they would like the matter resolved. Did you do that? How do you want it resolved?
  9. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    We've asked for the decision to introduce uniform to be put on hold so there can be another vote, done properly this time, with clear information on how it will be carried out and whose votes will count for what. We have all received a letter - every parent in the school, not just those who complained - saying they will now only introduce compulsory uniform for KS1 from 2014, so next year's Yr 3 and 4 won't have to wear it. No response to my complaint about the Chair's blog and the letter was signed "FGB". No one who wrote to the Governors has had a personal letter from them.

    If a formal decision made by a Governing body means saying "If the majority of parents do not want uniform, we will not seek to take the matter further at this point in time", then going ahead with uniform even though the votes were 52% against, then I think we do have grounds for a complaint.

    The point about the letter being from the head is that we wrote to the Governors, not the head. We should be able to contact them without going through him, in fact a local headteacher is "off sick" at the moment for something that has one or two similarities. I'm sure you've seen it in the press.
  10. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    The head is of course a governor and only as equal a cog or portion of the whole GB as any other governor. I most certainly would not expect a response from the head to a request made to Governors. Was the letter addressed to the chair or to every single governor. This looks like one of those schools where the head wags the tail of the GB.

    This sounds to me like the vote was lost and the way around it was to hive off some of the voting intentions, and once KS1 is uniformed it will of course follow through the school. Was the voting counted independently?

    When a school decides on a piece of business and it is minuted it must stand by that decision until such time that a decision is made to reverse that decision or to decide that the matter is of such urgent attention that the chair is allowed to make the decision by themselves. School uniforms would not fall under matters of urgent attention.
  11. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    Thank you for your replies.

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