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to make my Year 10 Self-harming DD change schools next wee

(90 Posts)
bellejar Sun 27-Jan-13 15:48:39

I know that my DD is unhappy at school. She has no real friends and is getting more and more withdrawn and insular. About 12 months ago I spoke to her form teacher about a girl who was bullying DD (whilst pretending to be her "friend") - teacher said my DD should stand up for herself more. Last summer I spoke to her new form teacher + Head of Year. Nothing happened. In November DD was making herself sick so that she wouldn't have to to school. I told her form teacher + Head of Year who said to her "Everything alright?" She of course said yes. Last week I found out that she was self-harming and has cut her forearm to pieces at school, since November. She doesn't know that we have read her internet history and it is full of messages to Childline about self-harm, depression and killing herself.

We looked at another school (private) who instantly told me about 1-1 pastoral care + counselling for her. We have family there. She passed the exam with flying colours and she went in a few days ago to spend the day at school. They said that the teachers and girls liked her.

Now DD says she doesn't want to move schools because she says it's not that bad. She doesnkt ow that we've read posts from her saying how much she hates her school and that she has no real friends.

I think she is frightened about moving mid-term and also about the work she is going to have to do. We don't care about her A grades - we just want her to be happy and well-adjusted.

We told her (we = DH + me) to write pros + cons for each school.

AIBU to move her anyway?

Springdiva Mon 04-Feb-13 12:52:48

I wonder if part of her reservations about moving might be because she is embarrassed about the evidence (which I assume there is) of her self-harming.

We do know that she won't change her personality overnight you might be surprised once she gets away from the unsupportive attitude and bullies.

I would definitely move her.

zipzap Mon 04-Feb-13 10:23:49

Sounds like your dd has been let down so badly ny her first school - and the way that the staff have dealt with it and the head writing such a horrible letter is tantamount to them using bullying tactics on you as a family.

I would give it a day or two and then write a scathing reply to the head and point out all his failings, the failings of all the other staff and how they are seriously lacking in their ability to provide pastoral care and to deal with bullying. And how you now realise how quite how bad their 'care' was given what you have now seen can be provided by other schools.

I would then copy the letter to the governing body and ofsted... And see how they like that.

I would also try to point out that when you have been effectively forced out of school as a result of their failure in their duty to look after your dd, that you shouldn't have to forfeit the next term's fees, even turn it round to suggest that they should be compensating your family for not providing the services they should have (no idea of the legalities of claiming this but I assume you must have a contract of some sorts with them when you signed your dd up for the school). Might show you are serious - and they might compromise at you not paying the term's fees which I am guessing you would be happy with!

Hope your dd is very happy in her new school.

Lancelottie Mon 04-Feb-13 09:49:36

Belljar, I know you can't organise playdates, but what you CAN perhaps try to do is be ever-so-available for giving lifts home from school events -- to people who missed the bus, anyone in your direction after late art class, sports events, school theatre trips, detentions but maybe that's just DS.

They chat and slag off teachers in the back of the car for ten minutes without any pressure, away from the rest, and it makes links.

Helped when one of mine changed schools, anyway.

saffronwblue Mon 04-Feb-13 09:46:43

Well done Op. I have learned that it is always better in this situation to do something rather than nothing. At some level your DD will experience that her parents are in control and you are looking after her. Even if she complains and protests about the school she will secretly start to feel better that the choice was made.
Good riddance to the old school!

NutellaNutter Mon 04-Feb-13 09:37:01

OMG, please, yes move her without a second thought. Sounds like you may very well be saving her life!

fromparistoberlin Mon 04-Feb-13 08:01:41

thanks for posting

I soooooo hope she is happier xxxx

Primrose123 Sun 03-Feb-13 23:53:42

Good luck OP, I hope your DD is happy in her new school.

My DD was bullied in primary school, but didn't want to leave her friends and move to a new school. She was very unhappy though, and suffered from IBS which the doctors said was caused by stress. We moved her to a different secondary, where she knew no one, and she is now very happy. She has no IBS symptoms at all. I wish we had moved her years before, but at the time we didn't know what to do for the best.

Please come back and tell us how she settles at the new school.

SoggySummer Sun 03-Feb-13 23:35:23

I am so glad you have decided to move her. Her old school sounds atrocious.

Good luck to you and your daughter. I really do hope it works out well for you.

stickyj Sun 03-Feb-13 09:27:32

Hi just to say my daughter self harmed. I found out from one of her friends, she still has a scar on her arm and she's 17 now.

I took her to see the Nurse, talking about her diet etc etc and made an excuse to go to the toilet (arranged in advance with the nurse!). Nurse told me that anything my daughter said was confidential but at least I knew she would get help. Not sure what happened but daughter has sort of outgrown it now, still very deep child but def happier on most days. Still doesn't really talk to me so I rely on her friends for info.

I hope your daughter finds the courage to stop and talk about the self harm to anyone who will listen.

bellejar Sun 03-Feb-13 09:05:31

Minutes???? Bloody phone. Mumsnetters!

bellejar Sun 03-Feb-13 09:03:01

Once again, thank you for your support. DD is coming round to the idea: we told her on Thursday that she was definitely going and she did look a bit shocked - I think she'd pinned her hopes on current school waving a magic wand and making everything better. I told her about the 2 sets of careplans from both schools and said that new school were more concerned with her as an individual and wanted to talk her through the issues which she could do in a privately + discreet way. What worries me about the current school is their attitude or "removing items from her which could be used as a danger to herself" - so in Art class the girl who started all this off 2 years ago wil be able to see the teachers scrutinising DD everytime she uses a pair os scissors and - boom - situation explodes. Girls aren't stupid. They can find out what's going on.

DD is sad to leave a couple of people behind and a few teachers - but I asked her if she wants to go to new school "a little bit" + she said yes. "A medium bit?" "Yes".

I will sort out skype for her and she can keep in touch with one girl in particular so DD knows that this friendship won't be severed (NB this girl is lovely but is a social butterfly: she is also friends with evil girl above who has told DD she doesn't like her + only hangs around with DD because of social butterfly girl.)

We do know that she won't change her personality overnight and, being 14, we can't organise playdates with the mums as you can with a 4 year old.

God, I hope this works out: I was wavering last week but the letter from the Headmaster effectively kicking us out of school means we now have no alternative.

Thanks Minutes x

FlipFlopFloss Sat 02-Feb-13 22:40:14

I cannot believe the awful attitude of the "old school". However, it has made your decision easier I bet.

How is DD now she knows she is leaving? Is she still dead against it or coming around to the idea do you think??

I wish you all the very best of luck and every success for your daughter at her new school.

munchkinmaster Sat 02-Feb-13 22:33:01

In terms of the camhs appt if her blog or whatever is full of messages re suicide this prob mean camhs would be obligated to see her inside a week. I'm guessing you didn't tell the gp about this in front of your dd. you could call gp or better yet call the camhs team she has been rJeferred to. Just say you are calling with additional info and if they are not keen to put you through ask for the on call worker for the day. they may, however, only see you once for a risk assessment and put you back in the queue. One appt may be helpful though.

Good luck. As a mental health professional I think previous schools approach to managing self harm is scandalous. Also in my experience private schools are often 'selling' a particular type of education (whereas as state schools are necessarily mixed). Some are very academic, some very pastoral care orientated. So a school which is excellent at hot housing a certain type of student may just not be able to provide the support another student needs to flourish.

Good luck

Move her. I was in a similar situation as a teenager and will now - literally - bear the scars for life.
She is clearly unhappy and this sounds like a fantastic opportunity to try and rectify that.
Good luck to you all and stay strong.

Goldmandra Sat 02-Feb-13 19:15:09

an academy, not and academy!

I really should take my own advice and preview posts!

Goldmandra Sat 02-Feb-13 19:14:05

Blimey goldmandra - are they at the same school??

No. DD's is a state funded academy. Their attitude has become 100 times as bad since they became and academy. They clearly know they are unaccountable and are making the most of it.

I'd be even angrier if it were a private school.

hackmum Sat 02-Feb-13 15:44:38

Move her. I can be completely unequivocal about this because I went through something similar with my own DD - she hated her old school but was frightened of starting at the new school because her confidence was shot to pieces and she thought they would all bully her. But within a few days she was loving it and happier than I'd ever seen her.

When you're vulnerable and lacking in self-confidence, change itself - even change for the better - can seem scary. But you are making the right decision.

mrsbunnylove Sat 02-Feb-13 15:31:25

The Head of Pastoral at current school phoned at 4.19 - an entire school day in which to phone earlier... anyone with half a brain would realise that as school finishes at 4...

op, i'm totally with you on moving your daughter and that the current school is not supportive.

but parents never seem to understand that a teacher's day is non-stop (my in-school working day is often from 6.30am to 8pm) and that we're not just sitting around drinking coffee and ignoring their calls! after 4 might have been the first chance the HoP had.

PessaryPam Sat 02-Feb-13 15:31:18

Well done, I hope all improves rapidly for your DD.

bellejar Sat 02-Feb-13 15:26:42

Blimey goldmandra - are they at the same school??

Goldmandra Sat 02-Feb-13 11:37:38

In some ways the staff at the old school have done you a favour. No responsible parent would leave their child in a school where the staff display this attitude. If you ever have a wobble all about the new school all you need do is go back and re-read that letter.

My DD1 is in a school with a similar attitude and I have had emails similar to the letter you describe. She is in year 11 so can't be moved but she will not attend their sixth form even though she has recently found a nice bunch of similarly geeky friends who she would like to be with.

You are sooooo doing the right thing and I hope she's very happy once she settles in to the new place.

bellejar Sat 02-Feb-13 09:50:51

Thank you x

cocolepew United States Sat 02-Feb-13 09:32:40

I hope your DD settles into her new school smile. The attitude of her old school is woeful angry.

bellejar Sat 02-Feb-13 09:07:20

UPDATE from OP

The Head of Pastoral at current school phoned at 4.19 - an entire school day in which to phone earlier. And anyone with half a brain would realise that as school finishes at 4 + it takes 10 mins to get out of school, that I would be driving at 4.19 with DD sitting next to me in the car! Also, he only phoned because at 3.45 I handed in the letter to the Head saying that we were withdrawing DD.

To cut to the chase, I finally spoke to Head of Pastoral on Thursday evening. His plan for DD is to work out how much of a danger she is to herself and to search her clothes for items ie scissors. Communication with me would be whenever I wanted but probably every half term. The Headmaster did not phone us but instead sent us the shittiest letter basically saying "you are bad parents for ruining her life. You are very bad parents, now fuck off."

So, current school has totally missed the point AGAIN, ie work on the causes of her self-harming (ie isolation and low self-esteem), not just humiliate the poor child.

We will be accepting the place at the new school, she is going in on Thursday to talk over the curriculum cross-over with the new Head of Learning and she starts properly after half-term. She's gone into new school today with DH as they have an open morning.

Current school made our decision for us: no help at all but just a tardy response, accusations that this is all our fault and a Headmaster who refused to be conciliatory. He is an arse: she is one of the year's brightest pupils but he couldn't even fight for her and make her feel valued and worth making a phone call for.

SoggySummer Thu 31-Jan-13 18:43:49

How are you getting on with this? Have you come to decision yet?

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