Helpline

2nd December 1994 at 00:00
Q Our school has obtained a report from the examination board on the performance of our candidates in a particular subject last summer. One parent is demanding to see it. Can she?

A Schools sometimes seek reports from the board when a particular set of results seems to be seriously out of line with what teachers had been expecting, or with results in other subjects.

The information can be helpful to a head, who needs to know that the teachers are doing their job properly, and to teachers, who need to know whether they have fallen short in their preparation or have simply been let down by their students.

The information is for those professional purposes and it is not a report on the performance of individual students. There is a separate process for reviewing the marking of an individual.

Parents do not have a right to see professional reports of this kind, which are general in their nature and do not identify individual performances. How the head deals with the parental complaint is, therefore, a matter of professional judgment. If the report reveals serious weaknesses, the head may wish to share it with the governing body, in order to seek support for remedial action.

Q We have fitted seat-belts in our school mini-bus. What are the legal responsibilities of teachers, whether driving or not, to ensure that pupils are wearing them at all times ?

A Where seat-belts are fitted, they should be worn. A notice to that effect should be displayed in the vehicle and the teacher in charge should make a visual check before starting.

Where there is a teacher, or other responsible adult, travelling as a passenger, it should be easy to ensure that pupils remain "belted up". Where the driver is the only adult, it is impossible to maintain such close supervision, although a responsible youngster might be told to keep an eye on the others.

Where the teacher in charge has taken reasonable steps to ensure appropriate safety standards, the law should be satisfied.

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