Where was the duty of care
in that school?
A child who is neglected or abused, and who knows absolutely nobody in the world will stand up for them, is learning a very hard lesson. Had a bit of that myself and it made me determined never to dismiss children's problems. If adults know, it's our duty to intervene.
You know all this and so did that Head. It should have been taken to the police.
She didn't take it anywhere and it wasn't possible to go direct to the LEA over her head, as her husband was a high up, IIRC (either that or a Head himself who had a lot of connections, I forget). The whole thing would have been quietly "filed". (I hadn't been teaching long but already knew how incompetent and positively malign sometimes, that LEA was).
I should add: was only a supply there but the staff who'd had to put up with this Head told me that she only got the job after her husband threw a dinner party for some high ups in the LEA. Prior to that she had been so lacklustre she had got well into her 40s without any promotion then suddenly, mysteriously, got this headship out of the blue when she was totally incapable of the job. It could be that because I was a supply, I wasn't believed but also the child probably wasn't seen as a potential victim because he wouldn't tell anyone what had happened and every time I had asked, I got a different story. Can't recall the details at this length in time but it was along the lines of, he'd say he'd walked into a door, then a wall, then fallen over... No explanation he gave ever implicated the parent. But none of the stories he told were consistent which made me think summat had happened to him.
I had been a neglected and in some ways abused child myself, so I had an instinct about it but the child wouldn't say a word and the Head was terrified of some of the parents, including that one and so I think the child was questioned, then I was carpeted for having raised the issue in the first place, then the whole thing was dropped. As a supply, I couldn't push it.
We were trained to take it to the Head and they dealt with it how they saw fit - as a class teacher, you couldn't go over their heads (so to speak). As a supply, I wasn't in a position to do anything other than keep an eye on the kid and if there had been another incident whilst I was there (there wasn't), I'd have had to go to her again (and been carpeted afterwards, again). That was very much the culture, then - you got the strong hint that you
were the problem, as a teacher, if you raised any red flags. "The past is a different country" etc. (I kind of hope things have changed). I went in some hellholes as a supply, that was one of the "nicer" schools, as well, just for context.
This was at the height of social services taking kids away from their families for imaginary satanism, etc, so I wonder now whether it was also the case that heads at that time were reluctant to act, because they feared they'd trigger a child being removed from their family? Of course, now it's gone the other way and social services deliberately leave kids with abusive parents. I got the distinct impression I was strongly disliked for having even raised the issue.