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Bloody trains! - dorsetgirl
September 24th, 2012
08:43 am
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Bloody trains!
My kids get the train to school every day unless I know in advance there’s a problem, in which case I will give them a lift. I always keep an eye on what’s going on with the couple of trains before theirs, and I’d noted that the one immediately before my boys’ train was running 25 minutes late. As that train leaves our station fifty minutes before their train, it’s very difficult to know whether the next one, theirs, will be affected. It doesn’t help that the website gives NO INFORMATION WHATSOEVER about a train until after it’s supposed to have left.

So when I needed to drop them round at the station because we were all running a few minutes late this morning, I stayed to make sure the train actually left on time. When it didn’t leave at the appointed minute I parked and went onto the platform to check the screens, which told me it would be leaving three minutes late. So when the train duly pulled out of the station three minutes late, I drove home and got some washing sorted.

I’ve just checked the website again and it’s now telling me the train left our station twelve minutes late. Which gives the kids only a minute or two in hand before they start getting an “Unauthorised Absence” marked on their record. So I phoned the oldest and apparently the train pulled out of the platform and promptly sat ten yards outside the station for a long time. I’d told them to ring me if they were going to be ten minutes late leaving and I’m come and pick them up, but obviously I can’t pick them up once they’re outside the station, so now they’re in danger of being late for school.

Which shouldn’t much of a big deal, but their school has started giving “Unauthorised Absence” markers for even one minute late. And that applies for the whole morning. Yep - arrive one minute late because the train company fucked up, and on paper you’re just as bad as someone who couldn’t be arsed to go to school at all.

So there’s a brilliant start to the week - it’s not 8:30 yet and already I hate the world.

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(4 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:September 24th, 2012 10:39 am (UTC)
Unauthorised absence if the fuck-up is on the part of public transport? You should lobby the governors for a change of policy.
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Date:September 24th, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought of that - but I wouldn't know how to get hold of the governors and I bet they wouldn't take an anonymous complaint anyway.

I've just gone looking for a definition of Unauthorised Absence and - not relevant to today, but one day back in the summer - it includes "couldn't get up". Unfortunately my oldest told the truth, that he'd had difficulty getting up and had missed the usual train, and he was marked UA for the whole morning. This despite the fact that he's past compulsory schooling age, and sixth-form didn't have to go in that day anyway. He'd have been better off not turning up at all that day.
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Date:September 24th, 2012 11:22 am (UTC)
If your school has a web site, then you should be able to find details of the governors and how to contact them on that.
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Date:September 24th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
You'd think so, wouldn't you. I had a quick look around and couldn't find anything, so I googled the school name and "Governors", which got me the Complaints Policy, which mentioned the Governors with no contact details, and the Admissions Policy which gave an email address for the Governors. Unfortunately, it's the standard school office email address...

On a similar note, a couple of years ago I wanted to contact Ofsted with some information while they were actually in the school. The school said I had to take my letter to the school office and they would pass it on. I think not, thank you. I then spent an hour on the phone to Ofsted HQ and finally got the information that parents totally ARE allowed to contact the Inspection team direct, and they gave me the mobile number for them. The team then gave me an email address, which I passed on to the ten other parents in my son's class who had concerns, and we all sent in our submissions. Oddly enough, the school got a much better grade than we felt they deserved, and the report specifically said that parents were very happy with the way the school was handling the particular area of concern we all wrote in about.

I hate the school quite often, it has to be said, and my kids are only still there because in some ways it's actually the best for them. Just in some other ways it stinks.
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