Taking Parents Seriously - Getting Heard by Schools & Councils

(2 Posts)

Hi,

I thought folk here might be interested to know that I’ve set up a website to offer a guide for parents in Scotland on how to get their school and council to listen to their views, what are their legal rights and how to complain.

Last year our son DS started school in Linlithgow, West Lothian. He was born in December 2008 which means that he started school aged four years and eight months. We soon realised he wasn’t ready for school, and asked the school and council if he could move back to nursery and re-start school a year later.

After two months, and without properly considering the request, they said no. We withdrew him from school a few weeks ago and since then we’ve faced threats and pettiness.

So we decided to set up a website with a blog:

takingparentsseriously.wordpress.com/

This is for two reasons. The first is because we put a lot of effort into finding out what rights a parent has over their child’s education, and what they can do if they’re not happy, so we thought we should share what we’ve learned. The second reason is as a place to record the difficulties we have had in getting our request taken seriously, and the petty, insulting and threatening response we’ve had from the school and council since, as a potentially interesting anecdote for other parents.

There’s quite a bit of support around for parents of children with additional needs and disabilities, and for homeschoolers, but we couldn’t find any useful resource for bog-standard parents dealing with other issues such as deferrals, bullying, or just the rotten lunches. We hope our site will help.

On the site there is a page on the legal rights parents have, as I understand them. I’m not a lawyer so there’s a big disclaimer at the top. If anyone spots any mistakes or have any suggestions please let me know.

There is also a page on how to be heard, which we really hope will help as a resource for other parents. Our situation has brought us into contact with so many parents who have had similar fights with their child’s school or council, but hardly any were aware of all the ways they could assert their rights or influence decisions. Almost all backed down in the end, when there were still many more things they could have done. If our site encourages just one parent to be bolder in getting their voice heard, we’ll be very happy.

The website doesn’t mention us by name, or the school involved. This is partly out of respect for the privacy of those involved, and partly because I’m a civil servant, my wife is a teacher, and we respect our employers.

We’re not angry malcontents, or militant critics of school education. We’re just pretty mainstream parents who have not had our wishes taken seriously, and we’ve seen it happen to lots of others.

I hope mumsnetters might find the site interesting and useful. Please get in touch with suggestions, advice, corrections – anything at all.

Thanks for your time,

GS.

Got my first blog up now, I'd be very grateful if anyone wants to tell me if it's any good, or a waste of my time and for everyone who reads it.

Education – Parents Can Look, But They Can’t Touch:

takingparentsseriously.wordpress.com/

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