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Issues with my daughter's school and headteacher
#1
Hi,

I need some advice please re my 7 year old daughter's school.

First a little background information regarding my situation:

I split from my ex wife just over 5 years ago. She moved with my daughter back to the village her parents live which is a 40 minute drive from where we previously lived. (I still live 40 mins away now)

She is remarried and has two further children with her new husband. I have also remarried earlier this year but have no children with my current wife. I do have parental responsibility for my daughter as we were married when she was born and I am on the birth certificate.

My 7 year old daughter attends a small c of e first school in the village my ex wife and her now husband live. (It is in Worcestershire so they have the first, middle and high school system).

My previous issues with the school have been; that they have allowed my ex wife to change my daughters surname at school. At first it was double barreled with my surname and her new married name but for the last 12 months it has been solely my ex wife's new married name.
The school has told me her name has not been changed. However all her school books state her "new name" and my daughter now believes that this is her name. The school says they use her "preferred name" for day to day activities.

I have previously written to the school and also spoken to them on the telephone asking to be on the mailing/email list to get information regarding my daughters education, school trips and anything else. I was told their system only allows one email address to be attached per child so I cannot be on the mailing list. They state all newsletters etc are on the school's website so I have to look there regulary to find out what is going on. I am not informed about any school trips either and do not get sent consent forms. They told me the best they can do is to post me my daughters school reports.

When it comes to parents evenings I also do not get sent any information and have to find out from the schools website when they are and contact them to make a appointment.

The first parent evening I attended which was last year I approached the headteacher with a big smile and introduced myself as my daughter's father. She looked at me like I was the devil and pointed me towards the teacher and teaching assistant and said "Over there!"
This was the first time I thought that this little village school seems like a very "clicky" place!  Although I see my daughter most weekends due to the distance involved and work commitments I am never able to be the one to drop/collect my daughter from school.

However, her next parents evening is next Tuesday. I emailed the school to make a appointment. this morning I received the following reply:

Unfortunately staff are only able to provide one appointment for each child and parents were advised of this on the newsletter. This is alos posted onto the webiste.
Mrs **** have already made an appointment to see the teacher.

I would be able to provide a copy of the brief interim report the teacher writes to inform you of **** (my daughter) targets and achievements?

So it now appears that I cannot even attend my daughter's parents evenings?!

The school websites latest newsletter states: 
Parent Consultations – All Classes Including Nursery There is an opportunity for you to discuss your child’s progress on Monday 21st November 3.30pm-6pm or Tuesday 22nd November 5.30pm – 8pm. All appointments will be held in the school hall. You will receive a text message next week asking you to book your appointment times. We are only able to offer one appointment per child.

I will never receive such a text message as they say they cannot add two people to the contact list!!

This is also the same for any school productions or events as they state only two tickets per child are allowed and my ex wife and her new husband always take these and would never forgo them for me.

Is there anything I can do about this?

It feels like the school may have been given a bad picture of me as my ex wife is very much in with the school crowd. even though it was my ex wife's infidelity that led to us splitting, and she was getting married and already pregnant only 13 months after we split up. I have always been there and seen my daughter but am being shut out of important aspects of her life! :-(

Please advise. Thank you :-)
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#2
(11-18-2016, 11:49 AM)baz9239 Wrote: Hi,

I need some advice please re my 7 year old daughter's school.

First a little background information regarding my situation:

I split from my ex wife just over 5 years ago. She moved with my daughter back to the village her parents live which is a 40 minute drive from where we previously lived. (I still live 40 mins away now)

She is remarried and has two further children with her new husband. I have also remarried earlier this year but have no children with my current wife. I do have parental responsibility for my daughter as we were married when she was born and I am on the birth certificate.

My 7 year old daughter attends a small c of e first school in the village my ex wife and her now husband live. (It is in Worcestershire so they have the first, middle and high school system).

My previous issues with the school have been; that they have allowed my ex wife to change my daughters surname at school. At first it was double barreled with my surname and her new married name but for the last 12 months it has been solely my ex wife's new married name.
The school has told me her name has not been changed. However all her school books state her "new name" and my daughter now believes that this is her name. The school says they use her "preferred name" for day to day activities.

I have previously written to the school and also spoken to them on the telephone asking to be on the mailing/email list to get information regarding my daughters education, school trips and anything else. I was told their system only allows one email address to be attached per child so I cannot be on the mailing list. They state all newsletters etc are on the school's website so I have to look there regulary to find out what is going on. I am not informed about any school trips either and do not get sent consent forms. They told me the best they can do is to post me my daughters school reports.

When it comes to parents evenings I also do not get sent any information and have to find out from the schools website when they are and contact them to make a appointment.

The first parent evening I attended which was last year I approached the headteacher with a big smile and introduced myself as my daughter's father. She looked at me like I was the devil and pointed me towards the teacher and teaching assistant and said "Over there!"
This was the first time I thought that this little village school seems like a very "clicky" place!  Although I see my daughter most weekends due to the distance involved and work commitments I am never able to be the one to drop/collect my daughter from school.

However, her next parents evening is next Tuesday. I emailed the school to make a appointment. this morning I received the following reply:

Unfortunately staff are only able to provide one appointment for each child and parents were advised of this on the newsletter. This is alos posted onto the webiste.
Mrs **** have already made an appointment to see the teacher.

I would be able to provide a copy of the brief interim report the teacher writes to inform you of **** (my daughter) targets and achievements?

So it now appears that I cannot even attend my daughter's parents evenings?!

The school websites latest newsletter states: 
Parent Consultations – All Classes Including Nursery There is an opportunity for you to discuss your child’s progress on Monday 21st November 3.30pm-6pm or Tuesday 22nd November 5.30pm – 8pm. All appointments will be held in the school hall. You will receive a text message next week asking you to book your appointment times. We are only able to offer one appointment per child.

I will never receive such a text message as they say they cannot add two people to the contact list!!

This is also the same for any school productions or events as they state only two tickets per child are allowed and my ex wife and her new husband always take these and would never forgo them for me.

Is there anything I can do about this?

It feels like the school may have been given a bad picture of me as my ex wife is very much in with the school crowd. even though it was my ex wife's infidelity that led to us splitting, and she was getting married and already pregnant only 13 months after we split up. I have always been there and seen my daughter but am being shut out of important aspects of her life! :-(

Please advise. Thank you :-)

Put it in writing the school as a Formal Complaint. As you have PR they have to give you information regarding the child's Education.

They have a set time to respond, and their response has to tell you the next stage to progress the complaint, if your not happy with it.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#3
Yes but the complaints procedure states I must complain to the teacher first, then the headteacher, if I'm still unhappy then the governors get involved. I have just found out that my daughter's step dad is a governor! I feel like I am on a road to nowhere here :-|
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#4
(11-18-2016, 02:46 PM)baz9239 Wrote: Yes but the complaints procedure states I must complain to the teacher first, then the headteacher, if I'm still unhappy then the governors get involved. I have just found out that my daughter's step dad is a governor! I feel like I am on a road to nowhere here :-|

This would normally give you the right to take it to the next step, as there is a clear conflict of interest.

If they do not do that, the very least they should do is exclude this family member from any involvement in it.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
Reply
#5
The school's attitude sounds pretty outrageous. I suggest that firstly you have a good read of the Department for Education's advice for schools on issues relating to parental responsibility - it's at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...y_2016.pdf. There is quite a lot in there that supports your case to be kept fully involved, and it makes clear that schools must treat all parents equally. Then make a formal complaint in which you make clear what you want and quote all of the DfE's advice that supports your case. In my experience, primary schools often don’t know what the law says or what their full responsibilities actually are. If you start quoting it at them and make clear you are not being unreasonable, they will normally look for a solution (although like any official body they can be obstructive if they wish). While this is going on, you can also sound out the local education authority, the Department for Education and even your MP, explaining how you are being excluded and asking them to intervene if the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved by the school.

Do remember as well that you have a legal right to access all aspects of your daughter’s educational record. The Information Commissioner’s office explains how this works at https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/schools/pupils-info/, and there is a user-friendly guide on doing it at https://www.essex.gov.uk/Your-Council/Yo...ecords.pdf.

Regarding her stepdad, if the issue ends up being considered by the governors, he would be obliged to remove himself when it is as there is a clear conflict of interest which he would have to declare.
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#6
I've encountered similar communication issues with school, it's been a lot better since I managed to get my email address registered first when they started using an app.

My point though, is that it is very simple to set up forwarding of the emails your ex gets about school automatically to you. Takes literally 5 minutes. Surely it's not too much to ask for her to do that?

I also had the problem of one appointment per child at parents evening, as soon as I saw that I emailed school and asked for a report and any notes the teacher had made in preparation, they immediately invited me to come in on the day following parents evening.
I think they where being careful not to exclude me as I had shown an interest and asked for notes, easier to meet me than have to respond to a data access request, meaning they have to release all information on my child to me within 30 days.

I hope you get somewhere with this, it's vital that your included in her schooling, best of luck
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#7
As shown above you are entitled to see your child's school records and attend parents evening. Search the gov.uk website for lots of info. Your ex cannot change your child's surname. You have PR so read the leaflet quoted above. You are entitled to everything your ex is entitled to. Don't let the school fob you off, make complaints.

In my experience I took my ex to court and its in our shared residence order issued in 2013 that "child shall not be known by any other surname". I am on the emailing list for the school and booked my appointment for my daughters parents evening.
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#8
(12-02-2016, 11:46 AM)Thundercat Wrote: As shown above you are entitled to see your child's school records and attend parents evening. Search the gov.uk website for lots of info. Your ex cannot change your child's surname. You have PR so read the leaflet quoted above. You are entitled to everything your ex is entitled to. Don't let the school fob you off, make complaints.

In my experience I took my ex to court and its in our shared residence order issued in 2013 that "child shall not be known by any other surname". I am on the emailing list for the school and booked my appointment for my daughters parents evening.

Just a quick reply. We can give more info next week if needed but you might find this article on our website helpful: http://www.separateddads.co.uk/letter-te...ities.html
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#9
Hi,

When the nursery of my child ignored me I complained straight to Ofsted about that organisation. This (in my case) made a significant difference and they then made an effort to grant me access to the information I had asked for.

If this school is behaving as you have described complain to Ofsted also.

F.
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