Sunday, 20 July 2014

Woodfold Primary School Situation

A few months ago some parents (Mr and Mrs Kay) removed their children from Woodfold Primary School in Standish because of a safeguarding issue. What triggered their concerns off I am unsure but they took the unprecedented step of secretly recording the staff that dealt with their child that had disabilities. They did this by putting a recording device on his wheelchair. Obviously the tape has not only picked up staff talking but also other children around that child as the recording device was on all the time.

After Mr and Mrs Kay listened back to the tape they were shocked and upset at the treatment their child received and passed the tape on to the police. Before the Police could listen to the tape the parents asked for the recording back, so I am lead to be believed. Mr and Mrs Kay obviously alerted the local Council about their concerns, which I would think most of us would.

For some reason, rightly or wrongly, Mr and Mrs Kay felt that the Council and school have not followed the correct procedure and not done a diligent investigation. I was informed of the situation when the parents contacted me and asked why I had not responded to their emails. When I said that I have not received the emails it became clear and confirmed after I contacted the Council that for some reason that the Council were blocking their emails and putting them into a holding area, including ones to myself. I was deeply concerned about this because ALL residents should be able to contact their Cllrs without interference's. I was assured that this matter as been resolved and the emails have been unblocked to myself.

Some weeks ago I spoke with the Council depts about the matter and I was again assured that the following week that an inter agency meeting was taking place and then the Council would be speaking with Mr and Mrs Kay and trying to resolve the matter for all concerned. After that I heard nothing and presumed that it had concluded.

Then there were some tweets to me saying I had no concerns about the issue. I engaged with Mr and Mrs Kay to try and find out what had happened. Since most of us have had a leaflet through our doors informing us about the situation and parents of the school have had a letter and email from the school. These two latest communications have alerted us all to the issue.

Some parents support Mr and Mrs Kay and some are against. Yesterday we had a number of concerned parents who tell us there is a strong up-swell of  strong feeling that their child(ren) have been secretly recorded. Now I can see their concerns but I don't think that Mr and Mrs Kay are interested in this but more the treatment that they say their child suffered but not withstanding that I can see why some parents would be upset if their child voice had been recorded by accident. I have been accused of supporting the parents and not others. All I can say is as a Cllr we have to be unbiased and we support things that are right and not wrong.

From my point I will be speaking with the Council on the matter this coming week on the safeguarding on behalf of the parents that have concerns and see how we can go forward with that part of the matter. Secondly I will also be speaking to the Council on the legalities that the parents have raised in today's surgery on the issue of their children being recorded.

I also believe that the parents that came to see us today are to raise some kind of campaign to ask Mrs Kay to resign as a parent governor. This is because she is a parent governor on the school. As I said yesterday there are no legal actions to remove her as a Governor unless she is sentenced to three months. So I do believe that the parent can remain as a governor till the end of her office in 2 years time. I have looked at this before as another parent Governor has said to other parents on the playground I donn't talk governors business on the playground. To me that is wrong. They are there as a Parent Governor and not for their own ego. In my opinion had the Governors been more open and let a parent governor do a newsletter to parents on what school governors are doing then that could have prevented some of all of this but the school governors at the school are obsessed with keeping things secret rather than being open and transparent.

My opinion is if some parents go and get a campaign against Mr and Mrs Kay who have the safe guarding issues then that may make things worse and I would suggest that they let the Local Authority carry out the work that they need to do. If the police need to be involved the authority and/ or the parents will surely bring them in. It is up to parents what they want to do and if they want to take sides but for me it should not be about sides but how we can resolve the matter as the children are the ones we should be concerned about not parents fighting against each other but I fully understand that both sides feel strongly about their issues and may well carry out the actions that they feel is correct.


  1. My children go to Wood Fold. I know Mr & Mrs Kay and both their children, and they are are all very nice people. I don't like the idea of children being secretly recorded, but I can also understand the concerns of Mr & Mrs Kay.
    On the issue of Mrs Kay being a parent govenor, surely as she is no longer a parent of a child at the school, she should either step down or there should be a rule that once you no longer have children at the school you're position as govenor comes to an end.

  2. I don't believe the children have left the school just removed until the situation has been resolved then I would imagine that the children will be coming back, so I guess technically she still is a parent governor of the school.

  3. Someone has tried to post and also tweet that I made up the issues of the Council blocking Mr and Mrs Kay emails to me suggesting that I was ignoring them.

    Below is the email that the Council sent after I reported it to them and they discovered what happened.

    Sent: 04 June 2014 15:55
    To: Fairhurst, Gareth CLLR
    Subject: FW: Safeguarding Issue at Wood Fold Primary School
    Dear Councillor Fairhurst,
    In response to your e-mail to …………regarding the e-mail sent to you from Mr & Mrs Kay. We have checked the holding area and found the e-mail to you dated 6th May (copy attached). It went into the holding area because that was where it was addressed to and we weren’t sure whether we were copied in or it was addressed directly to us.
    I have liaised with IT who have confirmed that any e-mails sent to Councillors will not go into the holding area.
    Apologies for any inconvenience caused and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
    Yours sincerely,

    No doubt I will be questioned about this too as I am sure they can't take in the fact that the Council do do this kind of thing, by accident or deliberate.

  4. If this was an issue at school would OfSTED not be involved?? this is an educational situation and not one for the Council surely. Recording anyone without their permission is illegal - They are breaking the law

  5. Ofsted are involved and have stated that they have Safeguarding concerns,and anyone who has listened to the clips on Youtube posted by Mr and Mrs Kay would feel the same concerns for their own children.What kind of example has been demonstrated to other children at Wood Fold regarding how to treat someone less fortunate than themselves.Is this not the major concern that should be occupying the minds of all parents?I'm sure the overwhelming majority feel this way,but there is always a vocal minority prepared to use any situation to pursue their own personal grievance.

  6. Ofsted are involved and have stated that they have Safeguarding concerns,and anyone who has listened to the clips on Youtube posted by Mr and Mrs Kay would feel the same concerns for their own children.What kind of example has been demonstrated to other children at Wood Fold regarding how to treat someone less fortunate than themselves.Is this not the major concern that should be occupying the minds of all parents?I'm sure the overwhelming majority feel this way,but there is always a vocal minority prepared to use any situation to pursue their own personal grievance.

  7. I think what is lacking in these recordings (legal or illegal) is the benefit of context. Without a visual representation it is impossible to comment whether this is a safeguarding issue or not.

    I know the parents and the child personally and I have a child in the same class. I'm 100% certain that they, and their circle or friends who mother the child to death in school, would have been over to help if they saw the child in distress and more specifically, unattended by an adult.

    My interpretation of the recording, again without the benefit of context, was that the child, for whatever reason, was distressed on the playground but there was an adult present albeit not trying to console or calm the child. Something that my child would have done instinctively if they felt the child wasn't being attended to.

    Side note - Cllr Fairhurst, buy a comma!

    1. Anonymous,I am surprised at your level of insight into the daily workings of Wood Fold and amazed at your degree of certainty regarding how the situation would have been dealt with.You must spend quite a bit of time on school premises.Paid or unpaid?
      Let me assure you that had we been able to allow my grandson to suffer his torment for any longer than the 3 consecutive days that we recorded this abuse,we would have had no hesitation in attempting to obtain video evidence,but I am sure even that would not have satisfied the people who are making uncalled for derogatory comments.
      Let me also assure you that no other children are identifiable as the recorder was very limited in range and as you would expect there is a great deal of background noise.
      Finally,let me further assure you that I fully understand people running to the defence of friends or family,that is after all exactly what I am doing.However,it is obvious that the cover up that is going on surrounding this matter is not for the benefit of the people responsible for my grandsons immediate care and welfare,it is to protect the people at the top of the chain who devised and decided on the implementation of this policy of neglect and abuse.The people at the bottom would have been suspended immediately and a full investigation implemented but that cannot happen because the real responsibility for this atrocity lies much higher up the chain of command.
      If you are content to have this kind of example of how to treat someone less fortunate than yourself being demonstrated to the children of Wood Fold that is entirely your choice,but I believe we all have a duty to protect all children and that is how I have brought my family up.
      Gareth,a point of information,GMPolice had the full 13 hours of recordings for 6 weeks and no-one listened to it!

    2. For clarity Norman, I do not work (paid or unpaid) at Woodfold, I am a parent of a child there myself. None of the staff there are my friends and certainly not family members.

      I hope you don't read my comments as derogatory, that wasn't my intention, all I was trying to suggest is that without the benefit of context around what exactly is happening at that moment, it's difficult to ascertain exactly what is going on and why the child is crying and upset and why it "appears" that no one is rushing to his aid.

      I too have a child who will potentially have specific needs when attending Woodfold and this situation concerns me deeply. I will deal with my particular set of circumstances with the school, behind closed, private doors to ascertain their capabilities when the time is right.

      No child should have to suffer any form of abuse, you have my support on that, what I am struggling to see in these recordings is evidence of the abuse. My opinion my offend you, I apologise if it does, however this is my opinion.

      I wish you and your family well and hope you find the closure you desperately need.

  8. These parents seriously need to think about their behaviour. There is absolutely nothing on those audio clips that suggests abuse. I really feel for them and it must be so hard to bring up a child with such needs but taking out frustration on other people is not the way forward. I am an ex pupil at Woodfold and have nothing but high praise for this school. Too often schools are blamed and put under scrutiny for anything and everything. Give them a break!


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