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Is this normal or correct?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by mystery10, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Someone I know has received a letter from their child's headteacher which states that:

    "......... as from today, we will not reply to your written communications unless we are legally obliged to do so. If you would like to talk to me or any member of staff regarding educational matters, please make an appointment via the school office. All meetings will be attended by a third member of staff or by a governor.

    If you wish to take this further, please follow the complaints policy and raise a complaint with the Chair of Governors."
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Is it normal? Well no, not many parents would receive a letter like that.

    Is it correct? Impossible to say without knowing what's behind it. It sounds like the head has concluded the parent is a vexatious complainant and/or is abusive or aggressive to staff. If that is the case then this would be a justifiable position to take, and within a school's legal powers.
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    My thoughts exactly.
  4. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for those thoughts. That's what I thought too.

    I don't think that's the case, but one can never be sure. But if they were abusive or aggressive in the past, asking for everything to be done face to face rather than in writing would be a strange remedy would it not? So, vexatious complainant maybe - but I don't think so.

    Even if it was the case, isn't using a governor each time this person wants to communicate a bit tricky for the school though - both logistically and if they did ever have justifiable grounds for complaint?
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The school's point seems to be that they are still willing to have meetings but that there will always be 3 people there. That suggests a parent who is aggressive/abusive/threatening. Although in my experience vexatious parents and aggressive parents aren't separate people, the two usually go together! I don't think it says there will always be a governor there, they say [my bold] "All meetings will be attended by a third member of staff or by a governor". Having a governor there at all is not usual in circumstances like this, although I suppose it might depend on what the parent wanted to discuss. Or if the parent is very aggressive maybe one of the governors is a cage fighter.

    It would only cause a problem in any future complaint if so many different governors had attended meetings that there weren't enough governors left to form a complaints panel. Not a problem if it's the same one or two governors each time, you just wouldn't put them on the complaints panel.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
    harsh-but-fair likes this.
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thanks - it still appears puzzling though. If abusive or aggressive behaviour is the reason behind this, why would they appear to be inviting face to face meetings instead of written communication by implying that written communication will probably be ignored? And if the requirements of this letter were carried out to the letter, does it mean that if this person approaches a member of staff they will be ignored cmletely or told to go and make an appointment?
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I think, reading between the lines, it seems a sensible move by the school to formalise how this person should approach the school with educational matters or formal complaint.

    I can only surmise that this person has caused the school an issue, maybe harassment by written correspondence or time wasting, and, or threatening to staff.
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    It's possible the parent has raised legitimate concerns which the school was not willing to address, and are therefore trying to put said parent off communicating at all by making it very difficult.

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