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AIBU to be frustrated with school?

(22 Posts)
100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 19:27:04

I'm getting increasingly frustrated with a situation at ds school but don't know if it's just me.

Ds is 4 and in reception, since the first week he has complained about a boy 'K', hitting him punching him in the head, pulling his ears etc, I spoke to the teacher and she told me that ds and K don't play together which is good and she'd keep an eye out. I'd also witnessed K being horrible to ds in he playground in the morning a few times and Ks mum had had to step in. It seemed to stop after that. All good.

Then ds started complaining about another two boys 'D', and 'J', that they keep saying if he doesn't do x they're not his friend, pulling horrible faces, pushing and hitting him. I didn't speak to teacher about it as it seemed to be intermittent so thought I'd see how it went.

Ds has a friend 'M' who he says he plays with every day, M's mum has corroborated this, offered ds to come round to play, they've played together like glue at parties, ds copies M in terms of what characters he likes and stuff, he mentions M every single day and call M his 'best friend', has done since the first week.

There was an incident recently at playtime which resulted in ds, K, D, J and another boy being told off by the head and all parents being spoken to. They were fighting, children were kicked whilst on the floor, heads were smacked against the wall, children were pushed over. It seems that all boys including ds were equally involved.

I've spoke to ds teacher, she seems to think that ds is a follower and likes to get involved with the silly stuff. she also said ds doesn't play and isn't friends with M, and is friends with the other boys (despite telling me at the start he didn't play with K, I do understands tha thtis may have changed) but that's his choice. This is completely not what ds tells me at home, he tells me M is his friend and that the other boys bother him. He doesn't like them etc. Ds says that when the fght happened it's because they were making him be the 'bad guy' and they were trying to kill him.

I've voiced this to the teacher but I feel that she's dismissive, she insisted that ds isn't being picked on, he doesn't play with M, although said that would be a nice friendship. There's no way that these boys can be seperated despite the fact that they seem to be continuously in trouble (not usually ds invovled) but I've heard her speaking to the other parents, and she's admitted that they're a bad influence on eachother.

She has been very positive about ds in general, said he's not a leader and doesn't instigate trouble, he's well behaved in class.

But I feel really frustrated, I can't be there obviously and I'm concerned about the level of supervision at playtime when 4 and 5 year olds are getting to the point of children being kicked on the floor before it's stopped by an adult.

I'm concerned that she's being dismissive to the possibility that these boys are bothering/picking on ds and he's getting dragged in. She says that's his choice, but he's 4! She's already said he's easily led and lacks social boundaries, so can he really make that choice? Ds has never ever had a problem with hitting and fighting, he never ever did anything like this at nursery infact he was the opposite, he's really laid back with his peers, I've observed him playing with cousins and friends both school friends at parties and other friends, and he just does not like fighting he plays really well and is kind, shares etc.

I'm also concerned that the teachers don't really know what's going on a lot of the time because these things are happening at playtime. I think this because she says ds isn't friends with M despite me seeing this friendship with my own eyes.

I'm really angry that 5 boys under 5 have been able to get involved in such an incident and it escalated so far.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill here? I've tried to voice my concerns twice now but feel that I just get shot down.

hillyhilly Wed 27-Feb-13 19:31:30

U think that the supervision sounds inadequate and you need to raise your concerns with the head. Your sons teacher will not be out at every playtime as they work to a rota so you could approach the head from the angle of getting the complete picture rather than complaining about teacher (though you have every right to raise it if she is dismissing your concerns)

bigTillyMint Wed 27-Feb-13 19:34:47

Regardless of anything else, this sounds quite violent behaviour and they are only 4/5! Is there adequate supervision in the playground? Ie are they spotting what is going on and stopping it asap?

MrsMushroom Wed 27-Feb-13 19:38:27

I've read your other posts about this trouble and I don't think you are unreasonble.

There seem to be a number of boys who are making trouble...some years are like this and have a bit of bother...the school need to get a handle on it now.

Not later...if it were me in your shoes, I'd get a bit Sherlock and have a quiet watch...in secret...at playtime.

I know it sounds stalkerish...but I did it when DD1 was in reception and said a few times that she wasn't playing with anyone else. Her teacher said DD was...but DD insisted she was not.

I spied on playtime...and saw her happily engaged with others!

I did it twice...blush it set my mind at ease.

Another tactic is to talk to the kids in question...build a rapport with their Mums and that way, you get an idea of what makes them tick.

I did this with younger DD and her bossy frenemy...they're great friends now by the way but they had some early bother.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 19:38:35

That's what I think BigTilly.

Even putting aside the concerns that ds might be being picked on at times, I can't believe it got that far before an adult stepped in.

All the school seem concerned about is telling me they've got it on CCTV and what bits ds did. But never mind CCTV why the hell wasn't it stopped before a child was kicked whilst being on the floor, another having his head smacked up the wall? It feels as though they're safety and well being isn't being 100% taken care of, and that's despite everything else.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 19:41:53

Thanks Mrs Mushroom, further post has come from a result of speaking to the teacher again today.

The problem is, the other boys, well they're mums never seem to be in the playground and going in or hometime, or certainly not on the days when I'm there. And those boys aren't at any of the parties either. The mums and boys who are always in the playground and who are always at the parties are the ones who I thought, and who ds says that he is friends with.

DonderandBlitzen Wed 27-Feb-13 19:43:06

I would be inclined to believe that you and your ds and M's mum have more of an idea of who your ds plays with at playtime than the teacher. After all teachers usually take it in turns to do playground duty on a rota and even when they do playground duty they would be keeping an eye on the whole school and not just taking note of who your son is playing with. I'd keep raising your concerns if your son feels he is being picked on.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 19:47:10

The teacher seems to me to be taking the stance that she's there, I'm not, 4 year olds don't speak the truth. And I can't really argue with that without ending up sounding petty.

Is it time to go to the head? I'm going to end up being one of those parents that they dread.

mynewpassion Wed 27-Feb-13 19:52:51

I think if you bring up him playing with M or not, it clouds the issue. You should focus on adequate supervision during play time. M is not involve in this incident. Talk to your son to avoid being with these other boys. Go to the teacher if they are bothering him. Control him and let the school deal with supervision problems.

MrsMushroom Wed 27-Feb-13 19:53:54

Get on spying duty OP.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 19:59:56

Sorry yes, I know mynewpassion, the reason it was brought up was at I said that ds complains regularly about these boys bothering him, the teacher said absolutely not they're his friends, so I said but I thought ds played with M? (M was off ill that day btw), I know it's a seperate issue and I can't raise it without sounding petty or clouding the issue.

BUT it's making me question every single thing ds tells me about school as the teacher is saying the opposite, and it's making me question the teachers observation of the children iyswim? But no, I can't really mention that.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 20:00:39

How did you manage that MrsMushroom? Outside the gates?

DIYapprentice Wed 27-Feb-13 20:23:43

I have a problem which although not the same, might be similar in some respects. DS1 was friends with a child, X at nursery, and this continued at school. However X is on the aggressive side, and with the reduced supervision at school DS1 has been hurt a number of times. Sometimes he thinks of X as his friends, other times he doesn't like X and says he's mean. A lot of the injuries seem to occur when DS1 either tries to get away from X or is playing with another child (most recently racing against another friend and as they were about to set off X launched himself onto DS1's back resulting in DS1 face planting the ashphalt and having a very scratched up and bruised face and knees).

Perhaps this is what is happening? Your DS is effectively being 'forced' to play with the other boys because if he tries to get away that is when the full on aggression starts rather than just rough behaviour - to the outside it may look as though he's playing with them but he is actually being picked on.

DIYapprentice Wed 27-Feb-13 20:25:53

Re spying - do you know any other mums or TAs who would be doing playground supervision? They could tell you what is going on.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 20:38:41

DIYApprentice thanks so much for your reply, it it might not seem a lot but you've sort of hit the nail on the head as to how I'm feeling / what I think might be happening.

I'm thinking The Rugrats, how things appear to adults watching is not always necessarily what's going on. And I can also remember similiar experiences myself as a child.

Obviously I can't be sure, but I don't like the fact that it's being dismissed, and ds claims are being dismissed.

I feel as though things are slipping out of my control because I can't be at school, I can only supervise ds whilst out of school and remind him about his conduct in school.

I feel that the school want to put it to bed now, which I understand to a point, but it will happen again if there isn't closer supervision.

How did you manage to resolve the situation with your ds DIY?

Yfronts Wed 27-Feb-13 20:45:37

spy on him at break time?

DIYapprentice Wed 27-Feb-13 21:15:54

Sorry to say I haven't. sad

X's mother is furious with me. She was a very good friend prior to this but now she actively ignores me. I'm actually going to see the teacher AGAIN tomorrow after school. The only positive right now is that this new teacher is taking things more seriously.

The Yr R teacher was hopeless, she refused to even talk to X's mother about it, and until I hit the roof over yet another serious injury (we're talking several incidents of deep scratches to the face, scraped back from being aggressively chased down cement steps, holly leaf shoved in the face and taking a chunk of skin off, deliberate scooter crash which left 3/4 of his face scratched up, numerous kicks, pinches, punches, name calling....) I threatened to go to the headmistress and things calmed down - so suspect supervision was stepped up.

It has started up again, not quite as badly, in Yr 1. But I'm now taking DS to martial arts classes and I'm hoping at some point that he will have the confidence to defend himself better- quite frankly (and I know a lot of people will be outraged by this but I'm beyond caring) I hope he gives him one solid wack while defending himself. It's no surprise to me that X doesn't try these things on with the other more 'robust' children - he knows they'll just hit him back.

The teacher had both of us in to tell us about the last incident (quite amusing watching her try to ignore me when there was only the 3 of us in the room!!!). But this teacher is only part time, and I suspect the full history has never been told to him so that's what I'm planning on doing tomorrow.

100DaysofSummer Wed 27-Feb-13 21:32:47

Oh gosh it sounds awful. I really hope you manage to resolve it soon.

I'd love to spy on him although I'm not too sure how I could do that thinking how the school is situated. I'd have to park literally across the road or hand around on foot!

I feel so frustrated because everything the school report back to me is the exact opposite to what I see at home. i.e he enjoys doing x activity, doesn't reflect at home, he doesn't enjoy y, well he does at home. He plays with children he tells me he doesn't like, he doesn't play with children he tells me are his best friends.

I want to support ds and the school but it feels like all I can do is speak to ds and trust the school to deal with things that happen there.

DIYapprentice Wed 27-Feb-13 21:37:01

Could you volunteer to go in and read in the class sometimes? You might see some of the interactions between the children.

bigTillyMint Wed 27-Feb-13 22:06:50

Ihave been present in many school playgrounds (professionally) and I can say with certainty that some playgrounds are not properly supervised. They may have the correct number of staff out there, but the staff aren't doing the right thing. They are not engaging with children, keeping an eye on what is going on in general and not stepping in when they see problems occurring or about to occur. And worst of all are the schools where the staff deliberately turn a blind-eye/physically look/move away from issues.

Thankfully this is not most playgrounds, but it definitely does happen.

I would also wager that his class teacher is rarely out there with him - most teachers only do one or two duties a week at the most, and not usually at lunchtime. Unless it is happening during normal Foundation Stage outside learning time? In which case it would be extremely worrying as the staff are not only supposed to be ensuring safety, but also developing learning outside.

DonderandBlitzen Wed 27-Feb-13 22:32:16

What i do with my children when they come home and say that so and so happened is to give them strategies of how to deal with it. eg. "Say in a loud voice "Can you stop doing that please!" and walk away. Or I say "If someone is being unkind or they don't want to play with you, walk away and find someone nice to play with." Or "Say "Stop or i will tell the teacher." etc etc.

Having said that if there was ongoing bullying i would email the teacher or write a note in the message book. I think sometimes teachers take things more seriously if they are set out clearly in writing as you have evidence that you asked for it to be dealt with! Obviously always write in a polite, non angry but determined way. I'm sure you would anyway.

DonderandBlitzen Wed 27-Feb-13 22:37:04

My eldest is in Y4 and i've found that some teachers got to know my children really quickly and well and some just didn't at all. My eldest is the quiet type who can blend into the background and i found that the recep teacher seemed to not get to know her at all, but most of the teachers she has had since then have got to know her quickly and well.

I think in a class of 30 it is probably easy for some children to go unnoticed, but some teachers are probably bettee than others at assessing children really well and keeping tabs on what they are doing. Maybe you are right and your son's teacher just doesn't know him that well.

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