ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:33 pm

Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:18 pm
Claims for £600-700 are quite common I know for rogue trader builder/roofer type actions, but I don't know enough about the system to say you can definitely bring a number of smaller claims together easily, and just pay the fees for the action once.
We don't know the full story, but it's presumably possible that the contract was between schools and the coach or could be regarded as such. In other words the school pays the coach £ X for a lesson or series of lessons and recoups it in some manner from the parents.

Nick Grey
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Nick Grey » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:37 pm

Is there any obligation on ECF or the ECF coaches to whistle blow to schools and local authorities in their area? Are we discussing an after school club?

Roger Lancaster
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:56 pm

Nick Grey wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:37 pm
Is there any obligation on ECF or the ECF coaches to whistle blow to schools and local authorities in their area? Are we discussing an after school club?
Well, Nick, it's a bit like cheating - one can't simply go around accusing all and sundry without convincing evidence.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:01 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:33 pm
We don't know the full story, but it's presumably possible that the contract was between schools and the coach or could be regarded as such. In other words the school pays the coach £ X for a lesson or series of lessons and recoups it in some manner from the parents.
Well, in that case there would prima facie appear to be contract A between the school and the coach (school pays coach for services) and contracts B, C, D and so on between the parents and the school (parents pay school for services, that is, procuring coach) in which case a breach of contract A (presumably a worthwhile amount) would presumably be actionable. LOL, that's on the basis of the facts as stated which, in practice, they rarely are!

Nick Grey
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Nick Grey » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:37 pm

Well, it's intriguing that this has come to light at the start of term, and the apparent suspect is male. It is for these reasons why we advise schools to check these type of relationships, including 'contracts'. That is for potential parent complaints as well as other possible liabilities. My advice Jonathan is to suggest to the parent to take it up with the school in the first instance. It seems that ECF are aware of possible issues and that it appears to be a dog eat dog world in junior chess coaching. It gives all of us a bad reputation if we ignore complaints.

As it is my birthday cheer yourself up with a cake and a drink.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:07 pm

I think the key point is that `ECF Accredited Coach` does imply a qualification from the national body. We know that it's not actually as impressive as it sounds but a parent or school with no knowledge of chess administration wouldn't. If the accredited coaches scheme was still extant I would be suggesting that the ECF should investigate the concerns and remove the individual temporarily from the list until it is resolved. If the claims were proven and the individual continued to advertise themselves as an ECF accredited coach then the ECF should take legal action. Of course they could not stop them offering their services as a chess coach as they don't have that authority.

But as the ECF have scrapped the accredited coaches list (although as was noted up thread existing coaches might still have a `live` membership card) there is little they can do.

I suspect Carl wouldn't accept naming but it would be helpful to know a bit more about the individual involved (such as location and whether their involvement in chess is limited to coaching).
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Matt Bridgeman
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:01 pm

It may be helpful if the ECF contacted the coach in question and asked them not to advertise as a ECF accredited coach anymore. If he chose to carry on he’d actually be committing a criminal offence under a banned practice found in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. But probably the local Trading Standards would also just warm him to stop advertising in the first instance.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:08 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:24 am
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:48 pm
However it would not solve the immediate problem, namely the refund of fees.
Does the ECF need to be involved? Make a claim at the Small Claims Court.

This was my initial thought but on further discussion it became clear that this suggestion rather misses the point - for reasons that have largely already been outlined up thread. Whilst the total amount is - to my mind, at least - a significant sum, the amount lost by any individual parent is relatively small. In any event the main loss is not financial but the inconvenience of no notice changes to child care arrangements and the disappointment of children who missed their chess club.


Andrew Martin wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:37 am
To me, scrapping the scheme altogether just said that the ECF didn’t have the manpower or time to do this. A pity ,really.


I mostly out of chess at the moment and had forgotten that the scheme had been cancelled. FWIW I"m sure you’re right - and I agree that it’s a pity - but think it is probably better not to do something if the you’re only able to do it half-arsed. As mentioned above, you risk leaving people with a fast impression of what it means/meant to be on the scheme.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:21 pm

Nick Grey wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:37 pm
It gives all of us a bad reputation if we ignore complaints.
Quite. "We" being chess players in general and the "ECF" in particular.


I’ve been contacted by a couple of people asking, "is it X". Both were wrong. As we’re talking about the south of the country, Andrew Zigmond may also be wrong with his idea of who it is.

Sadly this and the several years I worked in the field leads me to conclude that cases of chess coaches providing poor service to their customers are not as isolated as most of us would like.

As an aside I once had a chat with somebody who ran an extensive chess programme in an independent school. The main topic of our chat was their lament at how many people seemed to feel that "the lesson you will give starts at X o’clock" didn’t imply any obligation on them to be present in the classroom at X o’clock. Pitching up y minutes late on a regular basis (whilst claiming full fee) was apparently considered perfectly acceptable to some.

That experience matched my own (albeit in a rather different context).


There are many many excellent chess coaches around working in the junior sector. Unfortunately there are also too many who’s standards of behaviour range from slapdash to thoroughly unprofessional and unacceptable.


Which brings me to ...

Nick Grey wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:37 pm
Is there any obligation on ECF or the ECF coaches to whistle blow to schools and local authorities in their area?
An interesting question. I’m not sure of the answer. I suppose it depends on the level of seriousness of the concern.

A more relevant concern - certainly to me - is which names the ECF allow to appear on their own website. The person in question is on there.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:38 pm

John Swain wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:46 pm
It is therefore possible that some coaches are unaware of what has happened and may still be "trading" under the title.
I forgot to respond to this in my previous replies.


FWIW I suspect it’s most likely that this is the case here. Or perhaps it’s an old website which has not been updated or has been forgotten.

From what I know of the situation it seems to me the person in question is a bit of a shambles - unable to get himself to places on time; unable to conduct his activities/deal with any issues he may have without inconveniencing people due to lack of communication; perhaps even too much of a shambles to understand that he is a shambles etc etc - rather than some kind of criminal mastermind who has set out to defraud people.

Which is not to say it doesn’t matter if you routinely turn up late or fail to provide services you’ve been paid for.

Ian Thompson
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:50 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:21 pm
The main topic of our chat was their lament at how many people seemed to feel that "the lesson you will give starts at X o’clock" didn’t imply any obligation on them to be present in the classroom at X o’clock.
If I was receiving a lesson starting at X o'clock, I'd expect the teaching to start at X o'clock. That means the teacher ought to be there early, so you don't lose the first 5 or 10 minutes of the lesson while they get themselves ready to start.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:01 pm

Indeed.

I certainly wouldn’t expect the chess tutor to routinely roll in at xx:yy o’clock and/or the tutor presuming somebody else will set up the room for the lesson because the coach is never there to do it

John Swain
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by John Swain » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:04 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:38 pm

From what I know of the situation it seems to me the person in question is a bit of a shambles - unable to get himself to places on time; unable to conduct his activities/deal with any issues he may have without inconveniencing people due to lack of communication; perhaps even too much of a shambles to understand that he is a shambles etc etc - rather than some kind of criminal mastermind who has set out to defraud people.

Which is not to say it doesn’t matter if you routinely turn up late or fail to provide services you’ve been paid for.
It seems to me that the responsibility of the school needs to be addressed.

It's normal practice for a school to require one of its teachers to be responsible for an after-school chess club and to be in loco parentis sitting in the room preparing lessons or marking books and intervening if necessary (e.g. if disciplinary problems arise) whilst a chess coach operates. It therefore follows that the teacher should have monitored the performance of the chess coach, had a word with him if he was late and, if this persisted, raised the issue with the school's senior management. Allowing a chess coach to get away with being persistently late reveals as much about the competence of the school management and the teacher involved as it does about the time-keeping of the chess coach.

A chess coach failing to turn up for several sessions (a dozen over 2-3 years) is again an issue which should have been addressed by the school's senior management. There may be an understandable and confidential reason for this pattern of absenteeism, possibly recurring illness for the coach or one of their immediate family, which school management may be aware of.

I would have expected competent school management to have paid a chess coach after a certain number of sessions delivered, rather than in advance. If the money is collected from parents in advance and disbursed to the chess coach retrospectively, there should have been no problem - the parents can simply be reimbursed for the sessions not delivered. Paying the chess coach in advance was asking for trouble; teachers are not paid in advance so why should they arrange for a chess coach to be paid in this way?

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:36 pm

John Swain wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:04 pm

It's normal practice for a school to require one of its teachers to be responsible for an after-school chess club and to be in loco parentis sitting in the room ....
Not in London* it isn’t. I personally took clubs after school/ at lunchtime in dozens and the number I supervised indirectly must have been into three figures. School staff were only present in a tiny handful of cases - literally just 2 or 3 - and only then because that person had a pre-existing interest in chess.

That said I do agree that one of the issues that gets thrown up when things go wrong is where the responsibility lies and who the ‘client’ is. Schools will usually be the ones in contact with the chess coach but they’re not the one that pays.

So I agree it’s an issue - but not one that interests me too much personally as it happens. More relevant for me is the standards of chess coaching and how we police ourselves.



* for clarification, this particular incident didn’t occur in London




John Swain wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:04 pm
A chess coach failing to turn up for several sessions (a dozen over 2-3 years) is again an issue which should have been addressed by the school's senior management. There may be an understandable and confidential reason for this pattern of absenteeism, possibly recurring illness for the coach or one of their immediate family, which school management may be aware of.

I agree with your point here to an extent.

Yes, illness would justify sessions being cancelled

But


No, illness doesn’t justify sessions being cancelled without notice - which was the problem here

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:53 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:36 pm
John Swain wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:04 pm

It's normal practice for a school to require one of its teachers to be responsible for an after-school chess club and to be in loco parentis sitting in the room ....
Not in London* it isn’t. I personally took clubs after school/ at lunchtime in dozens and the number I supervised indirectly must have been into three figures. School staff were only present in a tiny handful of cases - literally just 2 or 3 - and only then because that person had a pre-existing interest in chess.
You're talking at cross purposes here.

John was referring to the situation of a school chess club with no peripatetic member of staff going in. John looked after chess at a secondary school for a large number of years while employed there as a teacher, and while he is a chessplayer himself and therefore has an interest, this is not always the case - and so a member of staff will have a chessclub in their classroom at lunchtime, the children will normally get on playing chess while the teacher parks at their desk at the front of the room doing some marking/planning. This is the normal model of most school chess clubs in secondary schools, I expect.

You're a peripatetic going into schools specifically to do chess, and in these cases, you're treated as a de facto member of staff who is trusted to get on with it by themselves. I think that's by far the most common model in primary schools. The "sit in the room" model also exists in primary schools, but given the age of the children, you need to do a bit more babysitting to keep order.

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