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.