Swadelands / The Lenham School . A convenient Mistruth

I am at a loss to understand why this organisation will not deal with my serious complaint when their own investigations have identified that my statements were truthful and have engaged solicitors who have been nothing but what I find to be threatening and bullying. A school should at the very least set and example and practice what it preaches to its kids.

I must admit, I have pretty well given up on this so will be redacting various corresspondence so it shows more how this organisation behaves then the detail and identities of the original complaint. Overall shameful!

I will no doubt get further threats.

Starting with a simple question:

A summary of how schools deal with serious matters that they would rather walk away from.

1. A breach of the data protection act 1998 is regarded as a criminal act

2. A lie is when somebody makes a statement that is untrue

3. Abuse is when something is used to bad effect

Pending a civilised response from the Headteacher or anybody representing this particular school I had earlier decided to withdraw the bulk of the content which identifies the individual within the school and uses the schools own statements about a serious matter and what I have referred to as a malicious disclosure by one of the teachers from this page.

All details remain for Governors or Trustees to view. Next step was a complaint to VIAT, but I soon realised that their complaints process wasn't! All I get is what I feel is bullying from their Solicitors, I prefer not to be bullied and tend to ignore their threats. Anyway, no libel, its all using the school's own statements.

The Background

The complaint arose when a very private email, expressing concern about the well being of a staff memebr in a situation working with children, to their manager was immediately forwarded by that member of staff to the subject - I have stated - contravening the Data Protection Act 1998 and in my opinion in a malicious manner. The staff member who I originally approached responded to me in a manner that can only be described - in my opinion - as malicious, in their response to me, they clearly stated that they hoped it had damaged, possible finished the relationship with the subject.

So, A private message, clearly associated with the business of the school was used as a personal attack against me.

When I raised this with the headmaster, she, the staff member, denied that the email had been passed on. The Headmaster confirmed to me that on investigating the IT system, there was no evidence that it had been passed on. My own proof, which was both the original email and the staff member's response, was dismissed. (all communication is by email )

The schools response to me, through their solicitor: "No evidence had been uncovered within the email system indicating that the original email had been forwarded"

The schools response to the ICOL: I approached the Information Commissioners office (ICO) who then requested a response from the school. Now the investigation of the same IT system - for the ICO - showed that in fact it had been passed on. I only found this out by making a disclosure request from the Information Commissioners office.

30 April 2018. (5) "xxxxxx when interviewed stated that she had not forwarded the email"

9th May 2018 (8) "It has been uncovered that the original email sent to xxxxxxx by the complainant time stamped 04:56 1 March 2016 was forwarded.... "

Why the orginal email was disclosed in the manner it was, I just do not know. I strongly believe it was malicious and cannot understand why the school is not taking this matter seriously, in particular when I have provided proof of its - in my view illegal - communication.

The school have said that the corresspondence was correctly shared, however only the data controller can make that decision, the member of staff did not have that role and the correspondence was very clearly marked NOT to be shared.. The DP Act 1998 which applies here, clearly states this was a criminal offence.

The school and their solicitor have agreed that my corresspondence was "This email was perceived as a professional communication as it had been received to her professional email address"

Without doubt it was a breach of trust and the subsequent falsehood from a member of staff protecting herself when she knew she had done wrong.

I have had threatening letters from the schools solicitors demanding I keep this matter secret, even though the sequence of events that I have stated, has been confirmed through their own investigations. (though only after the Information Commissioners Office was involved). They have accused me:

I have no problem identifying the school or person who did this, I would have thought the school would want to deal with this matter in a manner that addresses the concerns I have raised rather than simply making threats. The threats I have felt are bullying. What is a school doing supporting bullying?

I am sorry that teachers in Kent might feel tainted, however if the response I have had is indicative of the way that schools deal with serious complaints, then things need to change.. I have no personal problem identifying the person, I just rather think it would make it very difficult for her to function in a school environment. If the headmaster asks, I will identify them immediately. The board of Governors are fully aware, equal shame on them for accepting bullying tactics to silence legitimate concerns.

So, Making a formal complaint to the school's controlling trust.

The school is part of VIAT, here is their complaints policy: VIAT Complaints Policy

This is what they say about complaints:

‘an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action’

It is in everyone’s interest that concerns and complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. Many issues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of the complaint’s procedure. VIAT schools take concerns seriously and will make every effort to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. If you have difficulty discussing a concern with a particular member of staff, we will respect your views. In these cases, the Head Teacher will refer you to another staff member. Similarly, if that member of staff directly involved feels unable to deal with a concern, the Head Teacher will refer you to an alternative staff member. This person may be more senior but does not have to be. The ability to consider the concern objectively and impartially is more important.

None of this commitment was followed.

I was IMMEDIATELY threateed with being taken to court for harrassmenet - for following their guidance!

What I got was a letter from their solicitors, I found it largely nonsensical, bullying and threatening.

Click to see example from 6th APRIL 2021 With regard to the responses in their letter. I find them bullying and I will utterly refuise to start to justify anything to a bully as part of their bullying.

While the headmaster stated - based on the earlier mistruth, that the matter was ended, even with his own investigations confirming that his member of staff was lying, the solicitors repeated that the matter was closed.

This was a serious matter that needed dealing with.

None of this has been addressed

What should have happened / what would I have done in the head's position? Well, I would have leant towards trusting my staff in a case of he said / she said. The moment they were found to be telling faleshoods, in such a serious matter that has caused such personal damage., Well I would immediately look at what actions to take to put things right. Most certainly not take the approach of issuing threats and what I found to be very abusive and totally incorrect statements through solicitors. That's just a cover up and smacks of being a bully.

From all this. The lesson and advice to anymbody who has a concern about a member of staff at a school, possibly that there is a risk of violence. Just walk away. Your corresspondence might well be passed to that person identifying you. A complaint to the school will likely - as happened to me - result in solicitors letters and threats to ensure your silence.