4-year old excluded of Reception class for biting 3 weeks after starting school... Anyone experienced the same???

(329 Posts)
brette Sat 07-Feb-09 19:19:22

Hello,

My son is 4 and started reception 3 weeks ago after 12 months in nursery. In nursery, he had trouble settling in but after a while and a lot of patience and encouragement from the dedicated staff, settled in very nicely... with the occasional to frequent bitings. Never in a "malicious" offensive way, more as a "defence"/compulsive/impulsive way when his space is being invaded. Very hard and stressdul for everyone involved (the bitten, the biter, all parents...) But they got it under control after a lot of praising and generally speaking a gentle and psychological approach. He still has to be assessed to see if there's anything related to sensorial issues. He's the youngest of the class, loves school and is extremely bright.
An Early Intervention team got involved, he was observed, the conclusion was there wasn't anything "wrong" with him, many reports were written and before he went to Reception, we had a meeting with the new school child therapist, the Early Year Intervention team therapist, the nursery staff, etc... so that the transition to school would be smooth.

First day at school, the headteacher tells me: "I understand your son has special needs" ...
Second day at school, the teacher tells me: "He bit a child today, is it something he's done before?" I told her nicely to read the report we had taken so much time to make specially for her...
Two weeks later, he bit a child and the child bled. shock Very shocking and inacceptable. The head called me and asked me to collect him to "punish" him and as he was a danger to other kids. On collecting him, I saw the child therapist of the school who admitted they hadn't been any communication of reports between the nursery and the school. That she had just spoken to the nursery therapist and that she had a better picture of the situation. I said I was surprised they didn't get any of the reports since their whole point was to avoid this very confusion...
And now all the head is telling me is "This behaviour has to stop..." Err, we all agree on that, if we knew how to, we would...

Anyone has experienced something similar?

Sorry very long post, but I feel let down and angry by the whole situation.

macdoodle Sat 07-Feb-09 19:22:40

the school need to sort out their communication problem - you seem to be trying your very best to sort this out - they seem determined to ignore this fact - if I was you I would be going in all guns blaring but then I am not known for my calmness !

I agree - it seems crazy that you have been aware of this situation for 12 months have been doing yours and the nursery's best to evaluate and deal with this but to have no communication is just shocking!

Who have you been able to speak to ?
The Head needs to get his/her fact before summoning you really.

ChippingIn Sat 07-Feb-09 19:42:33

Ditto macdoodle's post...

Grrrrrrrrrrangry on your and your DS's behalf...

Sorry, I haven't experienced it myself and don't have any solutions for you, but feel very sorry for you and your DS. It sounds like you would have tried anything I might have suggested already.

One thought though, if he is the youngest in the class would it be worth keeping him in nursery until the next intake of reception children? I don't want to offend you and I am not suggesting in the slightest that he is 'behind' the other children or anything like that, just that he might feel more secure and able to cope with boundaries/personal space/big school after a bit longer in nursery where he can be a 'big kid'... just a thought.

Leo9 Sat 07-Feb-09 19:43:15

Arrange a meeting with the Head and the Class Teacher; take along any report copies you have and read them out if you have to!

A meeting is definitely required; they should be sharing this sort of information but clearly they're not; your son will never have a better or more passionate or informed advocate than you smile

I think (IME) it seems quite common for schools to completely ignore info from nurseries; <whispers; could it be that they don't respect the opinions of staff who work in nurseries and aren't 'proper' teachers??!!>

charmargot Sat 07-Feb-09 19:48:32

How do you start a new thread??
Asking here as this conversation most recent - have spd problem

sarah573 Sat 07-Feb-09 19:51:07

Hi Brette, what a horrible situation for you. I have a 10 year old who was a biter (hitter/pusher/shover....), it transpired later, but not until he was 8, that he has Aspergers Syndrome (not that Im suggesting this is the case for your DS). By this time he had been subject to numerous exclusions.

It sounds like the school have handled the whole transition very badly. There is no way they should be excluding a 4 year old 3 weeks into school, not without taking the appopriate steps to support him. Is he on school action/action+?

You could re-post on the special educational needs forum. Alot of us have been there, and you'll get some great advice and support.

Tclanger Sat 07-Feb-09 20:17:01

Goodness me exluding a four year old that's shocking! My son has a severe language disorder and sensory issues, he is often agressive. I'd want to know what the school can do to make your poor DS less anxious, as it sems to me that he is lashing out because he's distressed. Several of the little boys in nursery class did this in M's year its usually a passing thing. You could ask for a meeting with the school senco and special needs governor id they have one.

We have the help of the behaviour support team but this is a long way down the line and Ds has complex issues. I have found the educational pyschologist helpful along the way too, but we couldn't get access to see one until Ds was five.

Please come and find me in special needs if I can help any more, but I do think this is an over reaction x

nkf Sat 07-Feb-09 20:20:32

Biting at that age is unusual. I don't know what to suggest but I think the report saying that there was nothing "wrong" was probably premature. An educational psychologist maybe.

nkf Sat 07-Feb-09 20:20:51

I hope you get it sorted out.

charmargot, go to 'topics' choose the most suitable topic adn go to bottom of list of curent threads in topic you choose.

Select 'start new thread' and follow instructions.

op: definitely ask for a meeting with class teacher and senco/head.

Question what reports they have read adn give them further copies if necessary.

Ask fro plan of how they will support your ds to settle in to school.

brette Sat 07-Feb-09 20:32:02

Thanks a lot for your support. It helps a lot. I will go on the special need thread.

To answer a few questions,
he was on school action + and then put back on school action. The child psychotherapist who was fooling him at nursery wanted him referred to a sensory therapist, but she thinks it will not require more than one session. Of course, we can't assume anything before actually seeing this therapist.

And we thought about leaving him longer in nursery. But then he might have been bored as he needs a lot of intellectual "feeding" (he can already read both in Engligh and French, write phonetically on a computer, counts up to whatever... all self-taught -well thanks to the buses actually - we don't push him at all)
so we opted for school and he's very enthuastic about it.

I have to be fair, the head has offered that someone monitors him for a week, just observing him in class. But he's not sure who this person is. It all seems so disconnected. A lot of people involved but no cohesion whatsoever. A waste of ressources.

Also, I would like to point out that the teacher and the headteacher started both working a the school in January.

brette Sat 07-Feb-09 20:36:56

Of course, I mean "following" him... What would Freud say about this one, I wonder.

queenofbeas Sat 07-Feb-09 20:51:39

There does seem to be a communication problem here and it does need to be sorted out. However, i would'nt want a child that bites (more than once in a blue moon) in my DC's class - sorry.

ChippingIn Sat 07-Feb-09 20:55:44

Wow - a really clever little lad [Does he fancy a spot of tutoring?? I mean him tutoring me!! My french reading level is less than desirable these days!! blush.

I can really see why you didn't want to keep him at nursery any longer.

I can see how with both the teacher and head being new, the reports might have not made it to them etc but when on the second day you made the teacher aware of them they should have made sure they had all the info to hand.

I would be in there next week making sure they are both up to date and there is a plan of action so that your DS (and the other children) don't suffer anymore than is completely necessary... get mad and get action!!

Good Luck!

ChippingIn Sat 07-Feb-09 21:01:06

Also - try not to stress too much, enjoy tomorrow and don't spend the whole day worrying about it. Maybe it's just one of those things that will take a little time for him to 'grow out of' (with a lot of help and encouragement from everyone to speed it up!!), he has developed much faster in other areas than most children, maybe he's just a bit slower growing out of this phase (which loads of kids go through).

brette Sat 07-Feb-09 21:07:41

Thanks, ChippingIn. He could also take you around London as he remembers every bus and tube route he's ever taken

queenofbeas, of course no one wants their child to be bitten at school, but what would you advise I should do?

toddlerama Sat 07-Feb-09 21:19:30

I was a biter. I'm 27 now and have given up. wink
However, my parents tried everything and I wouldn't stop. I eventually 'grew out of it' at about 5, BUT when I was 12ish, an older boy at school got in my space and in my terror, I bit him hard on the arm! I think in my case it definitely stemmed from anxiety. Perhaps he is feeling overwhelmed and needs to work in smaller groups or something?

Poppycake Sat 07-Feb-09 21:19:36

I don't know what to suggest but just wanted to add my support as you're obviously both having a tough time. He sounds an amazing little boy - can't help wondering (in my totally intrained way, I might add) if the biting is because of some sort of mismatch between how far he is developed intellectually with how far he is emotionally, and with a little time for one to catch up with the other he'll be fine. Whatever it is, he doesn't need stressing out about it.

Of course it's not ideal, but there are going to be kids that hit, kids that bully, kids that are in all sorts of ways "not ideal" but we all (kids included) have to learn to deal with the fact that life isn't ideal. Personally, I'd be chuffed that my dd1 would be sharing her class with someone so clearly bright and interesting.

seeker Sat 07-Feb-09 21:26:08

Is this a state or a private school? Not trying to make a point, but in my experience, stare schools often have much better strategies in place for challenging children 9because they have more of them!) than private schools.

MilaMae Sat 07-Feb-09 21:35:37

Errr sorry I wouldn't be that chuffed bright or not,totally unacceptable for the other children involved.

Rec is a scary year as it is for many children so I think the head is doing the right thing excluding. Biting is unusual at this age so this previous report would probably be of little use anyhow.

That obviously doesn't help your child. Do you follow up these instances at home with sanctions etc? If it was me I'd push for more help on where to go from here and focus less on the previous report.

brette Sat 07-Feb-09 21:44:57

toddlerama, how very reassuring to read your post Re "Perhaps he is feeling overwhelmed and needs to work in smaller groups or something?" You're absolutely right: at nursery they would try to make him work in small groups as he is easily overwhelmed when surrounding by many kids in a small place.

Poppycake, thank you for a very kind post. I personnally think there's a discrepancy between his "academic" skills and his social skills. I tend to think you cannot learn everything at the same time IFYWIM and some areas will suffer.

seeker It is a state school. They seem to have a lot of ressources but they don't seem to be used in a coordinated way as far as I can tell. Let's hope it will get better. I made my point quite clear to the head yesterday (strongly fighting back tears... silly me).
It feels like my child is the biggest danger the school ever saw... Or I might be oversensitive. But when you hear "your child is a danger to others", it feels a bit... shock hmm angry all at once.

Dropdeadfred Sat 07-Feb-09 21:45:40

biting til someone bleeds is quite severe though isn't it...I mean he must have applied alot of pressure which couldn't happen in a quick nip....what did your son say about the incident? he sounds amazingly bright so can he vocalise what he thinks/feels when he bites?

brette Sat 07-Feb-09 21:56:06

He said he was playing with a truck and some rectangles and triangles. A boy came and tried to take the rectangles (it all gets very technical here ), Ds didn't want the boy to take the rectangles, and offered him the triangles instead. The boy still tried to take the rectangles. Bam! (if I tell him that I won't tell him off, he explains every single incident very clearly and it's always more or less the same scenario)

He is extremely logical and I can see that he doesn't understand that the whole "use your words" thing is not working when he's using it properly (which he seems to be doing most of the time). So the next step was to explain to him that sometimes words don't work immediatly but that it is not a reason to bite and hurt and that he should go and speak to an adult immediatly.

Poppycake Sat 07-Feb-09 22:11:38

In that scenario dd1 would have burst into extravagant tears - obviously not painful for anyone else, but not the appropriate response either. Her teacher did semi complain to me that she's "very emotional" which is true, but (and this is where I think it's relevant) it's a long haul trying to get her to understand that she can't make the world the way she wants it. I'm not sure that she's as bright as your little boy sounds, but she's certainly no slouch and is capable of explaining very clearly how she feels and has a good range of vocabulary. Of course, that works well on us, but not necessarily on children of her own age.

So, to try and help her I do try and arrange as many playdates as poss. It's also helping that her little sister is now learning to talk, and she's realising dd2's limitations and, IMO, learning how to deal with them quite well. There is a lot of helping dd2 with clothes and toys etc so I think she is learning some patience. Of course helps that they adore each other! Despite dd2 being really quite annoying sometimes smile

But I am firmly of the opinion that exlusion would only make things worse. He needs to learn how to deal with other children's shortcoming behaviour

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