Harvest Horror – The Final Outcome
Many of you have been following the story of what happened to me at my son’s Harvest Festival in October this year and the subsequent letters to and from school. Today marks the final instalment in the saga.
Following on from the Chair of Governors’ response to my complaint, I decided to request a hearing with the Governing Body Appeals Board, and this took place last week. There were three governors there, someone from the LA to take minutes and advise on procedure as needed, as well as the Head Teacher and myself. It was an uncomfortable process to go through, although none of the governors tried to make it so. We met in the Head Teacher’s office and spent an hour going over the events. We were then asked to wait outside whilst the governors discussed what they had heard and came to a decision.
It took about an hour for them to do this, and in the meantime, the Head Teacher and I sat together in the staff room, drinking coffee and trying to find some common ground on which to spend our waiting time. It could have been awful, but I think we both managed to behave like adults and found our common ground in politics. We also chatted about how Bean is doing since we took him out of school (and I made the point again that this situation was not the reason for our taking him out of school). The whole thing reminded me a little of teaching interviews, where having done your best to “beat the opposition” you then have to wait together until they tell you who won.
Eventually, we were asked back into the meeting and told of their decision. I’ve waited until now because I wanted to have their decision in writing before I wrote about it, to make sure I had it straight in my head. That arrived today, and so here we are.
- The governors believed that there was no malice in the head teacher’s actions that day, and that she was just trying to protect certain students from being silly. They therefore felt that the apology I had already received was appropriate.
- However, they agreed that the situation and the letter sent home to parents were in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and that the school should have a breastfeeding policy in place that is fully compliant with the law. The Appeals Panel will ensure that the staff and Governors discuss and agree upon such a policy.
- The science curriculum in years 2 and 6 deals with breastfeeding (I don’t know if this has always been the case, but it is now). The Governing Body will review this periodically and ensure it is being delivered.
I have the option of appealing against this decision by taking the matter to Michael Gove, but I have informed the Appeals Panel that I am satisfied with this outcome.
And so I would just like to thank everyone who gave their support, whether on here, by email, Facebook, Twitter, text or in person – it was much appreciated. I’m hearing lots and lots of stories of mamas being asked or told to stop/move when feeding their babies and something needs to change. It’s an odd society we live in when it’s OK to see a child sucking on a plastic replica of a nipple, but it’s not OK for them to get their nutrition from an actual nipple. Babies need to feed, whether that be from breast or bottle, and they should not be shut away to do that.