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Head of small school is bullying

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by betty_dlove, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. betty_dlove

    betty_dlove New commenter

    Hello all,
    First of all I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to find this forum. My mum is a TA at a small primary school and is terrified about posting anywhere in case her head of school finds out. My mum is a brilliant TA and the only full time member of staff at her school. Every other full time member of staff since she has started has left and been replaced by part time staff who lovely as they are and not there to be picked on as much as my mum is. This has been occurring for about a year, every single day she has something negative or disparaging about my mum to the point where she has been signed off sick twice with WPS. The head has had many problems at the school, she has been completing SATS tests for students, she has been suspected drunk at work and completely disregards any safeguarding issues that people bring up at any staff meetings and has caused massive mental and financial stress on her staff. I need help!!! What can we do?!? There is massive safeguarding issues at stake and this seems wrong! Any advice would be super helpful! We have thought to go to the governors but as many of them are good friends with the head we are concerned that she would be fired in response. Thank you again!!
     
  2. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    The governors may be friends with the head, but everybody is responsible for safeguarding in a school and this all needs to be raised. Also, hopefully your mum is in a union and she should contact them asap for support. You are taking about the mental stress on the staff but what about the kids - if they have a head who is disregarding safeguarding and turning up drunk at school, every single member of staff has responsibility to shout this from the rooftops...
     
    littlejackhorner and agathamorse like this.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Both those things, if proven, would almost certainly get the head sacked and probably barred from teaching by the Teacher Misconduct Panel. So there's a potential whistleblowing route in this too. But "if proven" can be the stumbling block, it all depends on what your mother actually has seen herself and what is second-hand rumour.

    Getting advice from her union is essential.

    Using the Grievance procedure is the obvious possibility but bringing grievances against the head when you are a TA in a small village primary probably won't end well for your mother. Head and governors being friends socially outside school is all too common in small village primaries.
     
    betty_dlove and agathamorse like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's a difficult situation.
    Make sure your mother is in a union if she takes it further, you have to be prepared for things to get nasty.
    Secondly document everything. Criticisms of the work your mother does can be subjective, while she may think she's done a good job, if it's not what the Head was hoping for, the she has a right to bring it up.
    Safeguarding stuff is more complex. Once stuff gets reported to the DSL, then you tend to hear little more about it. All you can do is to keep reporting it if nothing seems to be done.
    Good luck. Try to stay calm
     
  5. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    The head is drunk at work, falsifying SATs papers and ignoring safeguarding referrals?

    Whilst I appreciate this is not completely beyond the realms of possibility, I would also imagine it is far more likely to be complete nonsense.
     
    caress, rosievoice, nomad and 2 others like this.
  6. christubbs

    christubbs New commenter

    1) Your local council should have a designated safeguarding partnership who you can contact/report complaints to. They most definitely will do something!!!

    2) Keep a diary, fact based day by day at home.

    Good luck
     
  7. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Lots of solid advice above :). Consider also whether your mum's health is worth all this ? The school should have a whistle blower policy, see if you can access this and think about the long term benefits of not working in a school where this kind of thing happens.
     
    betty_dlove and littlejackhorner like this.
  8. geraldbeattie

    geraldbeattie New commenter

    If she is turning up drunk after or before driving, this becomes a police issue. Tell Mum to go somewhere quiet and dial 101. I know the police have a lot to deal with at the moment, but turning up and breathalysing someone is usually viewed as preferable to turning up at a accident. Imagine if she runs someone over!
     
    caress and littlejackhorner like this.
  9. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Definitely need to go down the Union route ASAP. The allegations made above can indeed constitute for a teaching ban and possibly a criminal record.
    Completing SATs tests on behalf of pupils, is indeed fraud- and turning up for work drunk- how did she get to work? If she drove, that’s committing a criminal offence.
     
  10. notreallyme75

    notreallyme75 Occasional commenter

    My head of a big school was a bully... serious safeguarding issues were ignored and staff left in pieces.
    I went to the LADO, I went down the whistleblowing route, I tried to speak to the governors who like in this situation, were very pally with the head.
    Nobody would listen to me. The truth came out after she left, but I found I was a lone voice amongst others who were too scared to stand up for what they knew was right. Sadly my experience was not a good one and exposed a corruption that shocked me.
    I am leaving, with my head held high. I tried my best but unfortunately it did not expose the truth. Even with union advice.
     
  11. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Ultimately it depends if your mum wants to fight what is going on, or run.

    If she has solid evidence of safeguarding issues and she knows that the Head or DSL will not adequately sort it, morally she should go higher..
     
  12. teapot24

    teapot24 Occasional commenter

    I am sure there is a hierarchy that she can use. If no one is listening to safeguarding concerns she must be able to whistleblow.
     
  13. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    It doesn't sound beyond the realms of possibility to be honest.

    Your mum will need to tread carefully - and if your user name could identify you as a member of her family, you should change it or ask for the thread before someone from the school sees your post.
     
  14. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    If there are safeguarding issues then they shouldn't get "brought up at meetings".They should get reported to the safeguarding lead. And how they are then handled is not a matter for the person reporting them.
    So I take issue with that point. It is a comment made by someone who is mistaken about what meetings are for, and therefore a person who can misinterpret a surface response from the person in charge.

    I also have an issue with the amount of the opening post which concerns itself with getting others into trouble, versus the proportion of the post which concerns itself with being made to feel rubbish at work . One is an interfering and pernicious characteristic,and the other is a genuine cause of distress.
    Reading between the lines, this imbalance in the content of the post makes me wonder which one is causing the other.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
    ACOYEAR8 likes this.
  15. geminiteach

    geminiteach New commenter

    Actually staff in school have a legal obligation to do this. Any member of staff can contact the local Safeguarding Children Board and must do if they have serious concerns that are not being addressed. A quick call to your local authority duty line can put your mind at rest, or even provide them with an essential piece of a jigsaw puzzle that may protect a child.
     
    jlishman2158 and Pomza like this.
  16. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If the allegations are true, the head (at least) is going to have no difficulty identifying that this is their school. And "mum" is the only full-timer...

    Probably best to pull the thread, contact her union and find out the whistleblowing procedures.
     
    jlishman2158 and Lalad like this.
  17. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    This a very good point, that many teachers seem unaware of. Anybody can contact a LA’s safeguarding team directly if they have concerns about a child. This includes where the matter has already been referred to a local DSL. In addition, the NSPCC also offer a telephone service for anybody who wishes to share concerns, including where one believes local safeguarding practice has been/is inadequate, whether in relation to one child or an entire organisation.

    If any school staff member is concerned for a child, it is THEIR OWN responsibility to ensure that the matter is referred to a competent relevant person.
     
  18. betty_dlove

    betty_dlove New commenter


    Thank you for your advice, we don’t really know who to turn to and it’s starting to really affect things. We’ve been keeping an eye out for other positions as getting definite proof has been difficult. The SATS papers for example are only handled by the head therefore been no way to see if there’s anything to use for proof. In regards to the safeguarding if she has a child testimony to something that is wrong she has been reporting to 101 but nothing so far has been followed up with. I will now try a Union as this seems the way to go!
     

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