What a great way to help put an end to the ‘claims culture’ gripping the UK, opening up the possibility for pupils in schools to complain about their teachers or headmasters and, if the complaint is upheld, receive compensation.
Way to go Ed Balls. The plan appears to be to give pupils the right to complain to a watchdog about all aspects of a head’s conduct, including their running of the school, discipline policies and the curriculum. Not only that, the right to lodge a complaint would remain with the pupil for 12 months after he or she has left the school.
This right to complain is separate from the rights of parents to make complaints and pupils would be permitted to lodge complaints even if their parents were opposed to such action or decided not to make a complaint themselves.
Under the proposed complaints procedure, pupils or parents will first be expected to take their grievance to the school governors, but if still dissatisfied, they may proceed to the ombudsman. They must, however, show that they suffered an ‘injustice’ due to the conduct of the head or governors.
Injustice can be defined as hurt feelings, distress, worry, inconvenience or a detrimental effect on their education or happiness. They have to be kidding. Teachers have little or no powers as it is, so what better way to totally undermine their authority than by making them think twice about asking a pupil to do any work in case it hurts his feelings, causes him distress or worry.
Parents and pupils have always had to right to raise concerns with their schools if they are unhappy. We are not changing that right, but the new service will help resolve disputes between schools and parents.
Naturally, but why introduce the ‘compensation’ clause? It will only lead to abuse and open the door to complaints based upon a personal grievance, factual or fictitious. Just look at what is happening in every other area of society!