A mum has been banned from visiting her children’s school after she fell out with the headteacher.
Following a dispute with senior staff at Heron Cross Primary, Sally Willis is no longer allowed to attend parents’ evenings or other events at the Stoke-on-Trent school.
Although the 39-year-old is permitted to pick up her kids, she has to go through a local authority intermediary to find out how her children are getting on in class, The Stoke Sentinel reported.
Ms Willis claimed the ban followed a complaint she filed with the school objecting to the headteacher sharing her personal information, which she has argued was a breach of data protection.
She said: “I can’t even talk to the school about my children’s education. They have someone working as a go-between who tells me about what is going on.
“It’s very frustrating.”
The problems with the school started when Ms Willis, who was facing redundancy at the time, asked if she could volunteer at Heron Cross as a teaching assistant.
But the headteacher told her should couldn’t because her battles with postnatal depression meant she was a high risk to young people, she claimed.
Ms Willis then lodged a complaint with the school and asked to have her concerns heard by a panel of governors.
However, the school claimed she then ‘verbally’ dropped the complaint – something Ms Willis has strongly denied.
She added: “About three-and-a-half years ago I had postnatal depression and in June this year I was being made redundant and went to the headteacher to ask about volunteering work.
“She said ‘no’, which was fine, but when I said about other schools she said teachers talk and because I had mental health issues I was a high risk to children.
“I felt this was a breach of data protection to discuss my personal information.
“I escalated it to the council who did an investigation. I apparently said I didn’t want the complaint to continue, but that isn’t true.
“On top of that my eight-year-old son was sent home with a folder that contained other pupil’s details which is another breach of data protection.”
Ms Willis is now calling on the school to acknowledge her complaint about data protection and for both the school and city council to improve how they deal with people who have battled depression.
She added: “I’m not happy with how the school or council is treating people who have postnatal depression and I want it to be stopped.”
In a letter, Rob Johnstone, from Stoke-on-Trent City Council , defended the school’s decision to ban the mum from the premises.
He said: “Our enquiries have established that you visited the school on Thursday, June 28 and met with the school business manager at your request, to discuss your formal complaint regarding the headteacher.
“At the conclusion of this meeting you advised the school business manager that you would not be pursuing the complaint as you felt it was not going to ‘get you anywhere’. From the school’s perspective, the complaint was therefore closed and there was no requirement for them to escalate to the third stage of the complaints procedure which is a governors’ complaints panel. We have no evidence to suggest the school’s recollection of events is incorrect.
“In this case, having reviewed the documentation, the decision to ban you from the premises was unrelated to the handling of your complaints. It was instead carried out in line with the Department for Education’s guidance ‘Advice on school security: Access to, and barring of individuals from school premises’.”
Heron Cross Primary declined to comment.