Saturday, 28 March 2015

Parents get an apology from Wigan Council

Last year many parents in Standish and wider afield came aware that some parents had concerns on safeguarding in Woodfold school and also how their disabled child was being treated. Trying to evidence and get to the bottom of it the parents put a recording device in the child's wheelchair and then recorded what they did, if anything. When they listened back to the recordings they were heart broken and hearing their child cry and scream and the teacher assistant in the play ground did nothing for them.

In the correct manner they raised it with the school and the head, Gill Lloyd - who has recent retired. The parents got no where and then their raised their concerns with the Local Education Authority, Wigan Council. Yet again Wigan Council completed made it up as they went along and treated the parents with no regards whats so ever. At one point the parents wrote to myself as their local Cllr for help and when they got no answer they quiet rightly gave me an ear bashing. When I said that I had no email and looked into the matter Wigan Council had deliberately intercepted the email so it did not arrive in my Cllrs inbox and I would not become aware of the matter. Disgusting!

Then when the parents complained and got nowhere they raised it with the ombudsman. The report from the panel that heard the complaint completely proves that the Parents where quiet right to raise their concerns and once they did the Council should have followed their own procedures and law. Yet again in a typical hash manner fashion that is Wigan Council they did what they wanted the truth to come out and justice for the parents and this child.

Now a report by the panel has been sent to the parents and Wigan Council with their findings and it proves and vindicates the actions of the parents. Now the Council has had to apologise to the parents concerned and admit their did not follow their own procedures and they got it wrong. Fundamentally got it wrong. The Council has had to admit that they will in future follow the correct procedure and retain staff so they know about safeguarding.

What's disappointing to me is that the parents first of all had to go to the extremes that they did, including putting the recordings online to prove their case as they felt they were getting a raw deal and being made out to be the bad guys and more importantly that this child has had so much disruption.

If a parent, any parent, they need to know that they can raise it and that the correct procedure will be done and followed. It seem the council and the Head didn't want the bad PR that would come. But what is important is not protecting a reputation but the children that go to those schools. Our children. After all they are the most precise things in our lives.

Wigan Council should not only apologise in private but in public too as their actions left a little vulnerable child out of the education whilst this was all going on.

Whilst I am pleased that the parents have been vindicated I wish I could, hand on heart say that Wigan Council would do things different next time. Knowing how this council is run in this fast food, slick ass, persian bizarre manner that we have all become accustom to, I can't say that things will have change. Heads should have rolled here. Have people jumped before they were pushed? Possibly. Have people lower down the chain of command been made scapegoats? Possible. But either way it is wrong because if it is the former then people have gone with a their reputations in tact to go somewhere else and then it happens to a child where they have gone. Or if it is the latter then that is equally wrong as the top is always who is, or should be accountable.

I have post some links below to the original story below.

1 comment:

  1. The slogan Wigan Council use is Believe. This is Unbelievable, infact it is appalling. Safeguarding allegations relating to a vulnerable young child were not acted upon correctly as per regulations. Policies and procedures were not followed or adhered to. Maybe other councils such as Rochdale and Rotherham had shared 'best practices' with Wigan Council ?

    The facts are as follows that during all of this :-
    At Woodfold School - Head Teacher handed in her resignation 2 weeks after returning from Summer Break ( strange that she should do this rather than at end of an academic year after 18 years at the school. Left school with little or no chance of finding a suitable replacement for her. Not that much loyalty showed there to both staff, parents and pupils. )
    Class Teacher had handed resignation in prior to Summer Break.
    At Wigan Council - Director of Chidrens Services hands in her resignation along with 2 Assistant Directors of Childrens Services ( according to Chief Executive of Council it was just coincidental that they all handed in their resignations )

    All the abve staff were directly involved in the allegations.

    In June 2014 the Chief Executive of Wigan Council appeared on BBC Look North West and stated that "a judge had looked into these allegations and found that Wigan Council had done nothing wrong" - this is untrue as a judge has never looked into this case. Maybe she had just been misinformed by staff from Childrens Services ?
    Also maybe it wasn't just coincidental that the Director and 2 Assistant Directors handed in their resignations ?

    Some will argue that Ofsted gave Wood Fold School 'Outstanding in all areas' including Safeguarding. Ofsted were informed by the Local Authority that recent allegations raised by parents had been 'investigated'and were found to be unsubstantiated - this is untrue as a full and proper investigation has never been undertaken. I wonder what Ofsted would think now ? Should they carry out another inspection ?

    On a similar note the Chair Of Governors at Wood Fold School sent a letter out to all the parents prior to the Summer Break in July 2014. I wonder if he will be sending another letter out informing them he was infact incorrect in his statements.

    Running parallel with all these events were the interception of the parents emails by Wigan Council ( they have admitted to this and apologised ) and the sudden removal from Gareth Fairhursts facebook page all correspondence relating to the allegations. Why would these actions be instigated ? Maybe someone from Wigan Council could clarify ?

    Finally, I would like to state for the record that my comments are not aimed at causing Political damage to a Labour run council at this important time, infact I have been a Labour supporter all my working life ( 36 years ). All I wanted was that a full and proper investigation was carried out into our allegations and that people were to be held responsible for their actions. The same sentiments that the famillies of the Hillsborough Victims have been fighting for for the last 26 years or so. Now look what is happening with that !


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