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Why do schools think they are above the law?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by David Getling, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Following St. Olave's appalling behaviour, it was made very clear that stopping a student proceeding to Y13 because of poor grades is illegal. And this is reaffirmed today by an article in the Guardian.

    Yet I've just had to report a local school for doing just this, despite me informing their head teacher that she was breaking the law.

    I've just taken on a young lady who despite being predicted a B did very badly in C1, C2 and S1. Now to me this suggests one of two things. Whoever predicted the B is incompetent, or the girl's performance was a glitch. Also for further maths her teacher only got through two out of three modules, which really doesn't inspire confidence in the school. Looking at all this, even without the full force of law, this young lady should be allowed to continue into Y13.

    This story gets even better! I informed the headteacher of a girl in an almost identical situation at another (better) school who had been given very positive encouragement to continue into Y13. Yet, despite knowing this, the head of 6th form in this school lied to both mother and daughter telling them that no school would allow her to proceed to Y13.

    Needless to say the girl's mother is extremely distressed. She took time off last week to go into the school, where she was made to wait a long time, before being lied to. And today she is taking more time off work to visit an FE college to see if her daughter can transfer to Y13 there.

    And all this from a Catholic girls' school whose website gushes about how caring they are. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
  2. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I agree.

    And I think the schools probably want to be good.

    So what force from outside is turning them?

    When people get into education to advance children's education, and let's face it they're not in it for the money, why would they do everything to artificially inflate their exam results?
    JL48 likes this.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Fear of Ofsted, fear of losing their jobs....
    slingshotsally, JL48 and PeterQuint like this.
  4. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Lead commenter

    Power corrupts.
    It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
    Aung San Suu Kyi
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    They fear the consequences of law breaking less than they fear the effect of a struggling pupil on the %A*-B A level results.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Has the mother gone to the papers? This story is fashionable at the moment.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  7. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Blazer, although the daughter has probably spent most, if not all, of her life in this country, I'm pretty sure that this is not the case for the mother. I think she would feel a little intimidated trying to use the press, LEA or legal system against the school, and at the moment her only concern is to get the best possible outcome for her daughter. I've absolutely no doubt that this is part of the reason the school thinks it can get away with what it's doing.

    I, however, will do my utmost to make certain that the school does not get away with this. As mentioned, I've already reported them to their LEA, and I fully intend to contact both the local and national press in the next few days if the school doesn't do the right and proper thing.

    Schools rely on the fact that most parents don't want to fight with them in case their kids are victimized. However, I thoroughly enjoy putting rogue headteachers in their place and love playing to the gallery: and they can't intimidate me.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  8. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    But if one school says X is an outstanding teacher, then she is found to require improvement during observations at the next school, only that teacher will get the blame-and probably sacked.
  9. inceywincey

    inceywincey Occasional commenter

    I am so pleased schools are finally being challenged on this. In my son's year almost 30% of the year were asked to leave just before the start of Y13. Some managed to beg their way back in, some repeated the year, but many were forced to leave and found no alternative education. The school refused to help. They were no longer pupils and that was that.
    It is nothing about education and goes against everything we should care about. It is all about league tables. A child can still be successful with 3 Ds, but schools only value A* - B.
  10. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    OK, I get given ( I dont choose, its not in my remit) a lot of students who simply will not pass muster on my A level course because the school have a policy of taking in weak students. Now their policy to date has always been to remove them at the end of year one. Again I have nothing to do with this decision.

    Those we take on into a second year - and again I end up with a number of these- who are weak are withdrawn before the exams. However, they can only be dropped from two of their three courses often and I end up with them being left in my exams. Again not my decision.

    That impacts considerably on my results and my grades. I then have to have an interview with the Heard of Teaching and learning about my ( MY not the students) poor performance in my subject. My teaching is blamed. I am told to reflect and look at why I do not perform as well as some other departments ( ie , the ones who remove students from their courses weeks, or sometimes days before the exam).

    I always make the same arguments - weak students, students who had difficulties in other subjects and were withdrawn, students who if they are generally weak and they have been removed from as many courses as it is possible to remove them from, will often do better in my subject than the others they sit. But at the end of the day, it is still my fault. I am a bad teacher.

    At some point now that this to do over St Olaves has come to light many more schools will be using the model of having to keep students and then taking them out of exams just before the exam sitting date. Schools will just move the point at which these students are withdrawn from courses. Mark my words.
  11. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Inceywincey, what a sad and shameful tale you have to tell. Yes, all over the country their are hypocrites who will gush about how caring they are, but will gut any students who threaten their league position, in an instant. One bit of advice to all. Never, ever, ever beg, plead or try to cajole a school. Always, go in like Rambo and make it clear that not doing the right thing will be extremely unpleasant for the school. This really is the only language most of them understand!

    Num3bers, the time not to take students on is at the start of the 6th form. I certainly would never have accepted any nonsense about my poor performance if I was landed with lots of weak students. As for withdrawing students later, the law is now clear. Withdrawing students, at any time, for reasons other than behaviour is illegal. I trust that all the money grabbing lawyers are rubbing their hands as they watch recent events play out. And, I'm sure, when it comes to paying out damages, it wouldn't be too hard to hold the headteacher personally liable, as he or she is the one who instituted the illegal act.
    Missbubbleblue likes this.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    The thing is, the reports are not of students doing A levels which they are likely to fail, but schools asking pupils to leave because they are unlikely to achieve an A or B pass. As many have said, for many students, an A level pass at grades C - E is all they need. It's a PASS, for crying out loud.

    Schools once existed for their pupils....
  13. RuthTom

    RuthTom Occasional commenter

    I agree, Chelsea 2. I do not have particularly impressive A levels, but went on to get a good degree at a college of HE and then a masters at a good University. I was just a rather late developer who was still allowed a chance. Children really should not be written off at such a young age.
  14. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    I had to smile at this. Maybe you should come and talk to the Head and SLT at my school? Maybe too even some of the staff.

    I mentioned this to some colleagues earlier in the week ( no names of places) and explained that we should be more selective because it was not acceptable morally or legally to allow students to start courses it might be clear they could not achieve in . Some staff are already trying to get year 13 pupils to leave their courses and were complaining that they should never have been allowed to return to year 13.

    They told me I was the fool and it was perfectly acceptable to just remove them, after all, they were not going to pass ever, ( but they are year 13, as you said, they should never have been accepted or they should have been removed early on maybe).

    Let me just put this on record: I have absolutely no problem with teaching any pupil/student any course ( I am sure they might gain something if not a qualification) regardless as long as they behave respectfully toward myself and others . I have no problem with them sitting the exam, pass with a low grade or even fail.

    What I do have a problem with is SLT who want then to make me responsible for the failure to get high A*B grades and 100% passes. Instead of messing around wondering why staff ( well lets be forthright) cheat, manipulate results, try and remove students by any means possible etc. , just stop using league tables as the bench mark of success.
    install likes this.

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