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governors failure

Discussion in 'Governors' started by DENIS80, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    When a parent has raised an issue with an Academy school which reached the Governors but not been resolved satisfactorily where can the parent go next? I can think of 6 options-some more public than others-but which is best or appropriate ?
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Impossible to answer without more information.

    What was the issue about?

    Was a formal complaint made using the academy trust's complaints policy? Did the trust follow the procedures in the policy?

    When you say it wasn't "resolved satisfactorily" do you mean it wasn't resolved the way you wanted or is there something else wrong with what the trust has done?

    What are the 6 options you can think of?
  3. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

  4. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    a simple matter(classroom disruption) became an issue when senior management refused to answer emails,A formal complaint to the Principal reference VicePrincipal using stated policy was not responded to.The Clerk to the Governors acknowledged receipt of problem raised 2 months ago,promised response but now silence.
    6 options----County council,Ofsted,local MP,education minister,local paper, national paper(a particular national named the school as 1 of 6 which had a problem with precisely my"simple matter" in an article 7 years ago---so perhaps a sensitive problem)
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If you are not happy with how an academy has dealt with your complaint you an refer them to the the ESFA (who deal with complaints against academies on behalf of the Department for Education). It's explained here:


    Note that the ESFA will only take action if the academy has not followed proper procedures or has acted illegally. ESFA are not a 'court of appeal'. In most circumstances if the academy has followed proper procedures and acted legally there is no appeal against the academy trust's decision.

    It's unlikely any of your other 5 options will help you. (A complaint to the ESFA is a compliant to an education minister)
  6. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    thanks looks fine-will wait until term starts--
  7. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    To avoid confusion I oversimplified the problem.
    I contacted the Head of Department on behalf of a parent regarding disruption in a named Year 10 class and subject.The name of the pupil was requested but I explained why it would not be given.
    A Vice Principal then took over and implied that unless a parent raided the concern no action would be taken.I explained that the parent and pupil were concerned that fellow pupils would take reprisals on a "snitch" or "whistle blower".A request asking about School Policy justifying that only a parent can raise a concern was ignored as was another email requesting other clarification,not even acknowledgements.
    .If School Policy that only a parent and hence a named pupil can raise a concern is correct then with the national worry concerning teenage self harm this is a real issue.Perhaps this should be a different topic?
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Can you clarify,

    -- are you a parent at that academy yourself?

    -- why doesn't the parent want to make the complaint themselves? Did you disclose to the school the name of the parent on whose behalf you were complaining?

    -- Which pupil did you decline to name? The one committing the alleged disruption?

    -- Is the complaints policy on the academy website?
  9. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    not a parent
    parent afraid child will be picked on by fellow pupils if name known
    parents name not disclosed as pupils name then disclosed.The parent/pupil is the one whose learning is affected by other disruptive pupils-----takes education seriously.
    policy on website
    "This policy provides guidelines for handling
    concerns and complaints by parents and others"
    Concerns and Complaints
    This policy applies to the whole of CfBT Schools Trust
    Encarna Aparicio
    All employees, consultants and volunteers
    CfBT Schools Trust
    January 2019
    Next review
    January 2021
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Did you tell school name of pupil(s) who was allegedly causing disruption?
  11. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    Perhaps part of my original email,deleting names,would help:
    From a number of conversations there is compelling evidence that during Year 10 Science Set 2 tuition a high degree of disruption from a small number of pupils is being tolerated,which is adversely affecting the education of others.I note Ofsted have referred to "low level disruption"and "off-task behaviour". Before this becomes intolerable could you take some proactive/reactive measures.
    The above was all that I intended to write until I saw your list of Science teachers.The pupil who appeared to be at the centre of the disruptive behaviour is ****** ******* .A connection to Mr ****** ****** cannot be a coincidence.
    A reply included :
    Please do be aware that there is no personal connections between any members of the science team and students. Similarities in names are purely coincidental.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    @DENIS80 From the brief extract from the complaints policy I'm assuming this is the full policy. As it is a generic policy applying to all CfBT academies and does not name any individual school this link does not identify the school you are complaining to.


    [Slight digression, but while searching for the policy I discovered here that CfBT is changing its name from September to Anthem Schools Trust]

    I know you didn't ask for comments on your complaint itself, but I'm going to give my view anyway :) (I am an experienced governor on complaints panels and a National Leader of Governance, but I have no connection or involvement with CfBT).

    IMO the school is acting correctly within its complaints policy and ESFA would be unlikely to find significant error. It may have exceeded some timescales, I can't be sure from your posts, but in essence I think they are entitled to refuse to consider a complaint from you.

    Firstly I think the policy only allows complaints from parents - it says it is for

    "...complaints raised by current parents or legal guardians and others. It may, at the school’s discretion, apply to a parent whose child has recently left the school."
    IMO "others" means people with a similar status to parents - other people who have parental responsibility, such as grandparents a child lives with. You aren't in that category. You personally have no parental responsibility or family relationship to any pupil at the school so aren't eligible to bring a complaint. The law on academy complaints policies does not require them to allow complaints from people who aren't parents.

    But let's suppose the school accepted your argument that you aren't bringing the complaint in your own right but on behalf of/as agent for someone who is a current parent. But you refuse to tell the school who this parent is (and presumably therefore you have no written evidence to give to the school to show that you are acting on behalf of a parent). So as far as the school is concerned this an anonymous complaint - they don't know the name of the parent or the pupil. It's the same as if the parents themselves had sent in an anonymous/unsigned letter of complaint through the post.

    Page 8 of the Policy says:

    "Anonymous complaints

    The school will not investigate anonymous complaints under the procedure in this Concerns and Complaints Policy. Anonymous complaints will be referred to the Headteacher who will decide what, if any, action should be taken."
    It appears the school has followed its policy on Anonymous Complaints and the action they have taken is to tell you that they will not consider it further unless the parents themselves raise it as a complaint.

    And IMO there are other reasons, nothing to do with the policy, why the school is correct to refuse to discuss this with you. From the school's point of view (I am not saying I necessarily agree with them) you are a total stranger who has walked in off the street (so's to speak) claiming to be acting for an anonymous parent, who you won't name and don't have any written letter of authority from, asking the school to discuss with you other people's children who you do name but have no connection with. In those circumstances I'd be surprised if any school was willing to discuss the matter with you. It would potentially be breaking data protection law and your request could raise a safeguarding concern.

    However, if you are still convinced the school is in the wrong then the place to complain about them is the link to the ESFA I gave you earlier, and let us know how you get on!
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
    Flanks likes this.
  13. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    Your reference to a limited interpretation of "others" appears reasonable.However if that was so,then it could/should have been stated more explicitly.Secondly,the words "Staff wishing to make a complaint should refer to the Grievance procedure",which appear later,would have no meaning.Therefore I do not accept it.
    I do not see that my formal complaint to the Principal can be described as anonymous as it required my name,address,telephone number.
    My concern now is that some reason will be found among the 43 Policies to justify why all the inaction was justified.
    I do note that you make no reference to the real fear about pupil identification.
    Although the V.P. failed to acknowledge receipt of emails asking for clarification,which I found discourteous ---unprofessional,and the Principal failed to even acknowledge the formal complaint-----unacceptable,the Clerk to the Governors acknowledged my latest immediately.Some result is now expected in September.
    Will keep in touch.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    What I think doesn't really matter, if you complain to the ESFA it's what they think. But you did come here asking for advice and I've given you some!

    My point was that you are not making this complaint in a personal capacity. You personally haven't suffered any disadvantage because of what happened in the classroom in Y10 science so you would have no grounds for making a personal complaint even if the policy explicitly permitted complaints from non-parents. You are making a complaint as a representative of a parent presenting their complaint and so it is their identity the school needs to know. Or if that is not disclosed their complaint is anonymous.

    I don't know enough about what has happened to comment much, but it seems a rather illogical thing for the parents to worry about. If the disruptive pupils are questioned or disciplined by the school and work out it is the result of a complaint they will assume the information came from the pupil you are representing anyway, irrespective of whether it did and who came in to complain.
  15. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    some progress
    the new headteacher phoned me and we had a friendly discussion----so I am not anonymous.
    There is a new Chair to the Governors but as not yet in place no response yet!
    Just for the record my communication to the Governors is to protest under the Complaints policy at the manner in which I was treated by the previous Principal and a current Vice-Principal.Perhaps I shall here by Oct,31.
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Let us know how it goes @DENIS80.

    Just for clarification, as I made the earlier posts about Anonymous Complaints in the Complaints Policy, I never thought you personally were anonymous. The academy knew who you were all along, I assumed. But you told them you were complaining on behalf of a parent and you kept that parent anonymous and didn't disclose their identity so it's the parent who was (still is?) anonymous.

    Did you make a complaint to the ESFA?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  17. DENIS80

    DENIS80 New commenter

    No,not to ESFA. Will await Governor response,when Chair appointed.
    Parent is probably not now anonymous to the Headteacher for other reasons(I passed a message on to the parent)

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