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 She has no real friends and is getting more and more withdrawn and insular.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?

bellejar Sun 27-Jan-13 15:52:18

"Next week" of course. No jokes please sad

Dawndonna Sun 27-Jan-13 15:54:19

Is she perhaps worried about cost to you? Is it a longer journey in the mornings? Personally I'd move her anyway, particularly with gcses coming up. It may also be a fear that after the 'honeymoon' period, things will be no different at the new school.

Iactuallydothinkso Sun 27-Jan-13 15:55:06

Yes, without a doubt, move her.

Give her a fresh start. I worry you will regret it otherwise. The way your dd is going, it's not going to get better at her current school is it?

manicbmc Sun 27-Jan-13 15:55:51

She will be worried about the change but if you think it is best for her then do it. I wish I had been able to do the same for my dd.

Just be aware that things may not change for her and if this is the case see your gp and get her referred to CAMHS.

BambieO Sun 27-Jan-13 15:56:00

No real advice I am afraid but I do want to say that it's parent like you that should be applauded.

It takes a lot of courage to address the problem head on and I think being responsible and checking the Internet history is a move which could really have made all the difference in helping your daughter.

You could potentially have helped her more than you know by doing this as you now know the true extent of her feelings without her feeling she has to try and muster up the courage to share if she isn't ready.

If more children had parents like you there might not be so much sadness in the world amongst children these days


Please move her... My mum did this for me when I was the same age and it turned my life around completely.

I expect she is worried that the bullying is her fault and the same thing will happen at the new school. Poor thing, she is only picking up on what adults like her form tutor, think.

I would explain it's your job to keep her safe & happy as you can and that is why you will be making this decision for her. YANBU.

Katiebeau Sun 27-Jan-13 15:57:06

No jokes Op but a big thumbs up for doing what's right for your DD. given what happening to her in school and how low she clearly is she can probably only see what might go wrong not how her life might improve.

Her current school is doing nothing to help. The new school cannot be worse and sounds much better.

Good luck to you and your DD. I hope it goes well.

balia Sun 27-Jan-13 16:11:03

Could you investigate counselling/family therapy/psychiatric help available without making her move schools? GP as a first point of call? I'm not an expert (didn't want to read and run) but have heard that people who self-harm can feel that they can't control anything else in their lives. Forcing her to move schools if she doesn't want to sounds like a kind of high-risk strategy. Also, whilst I get how massively worried you must be (my DD has recently been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder), reading her internet history is a huge invasion of her privacy, and if she finds out, she may well feel that she can't access the one source of help she has found.

Would these sites be of any help?

bellejar Sun 27-Jan-13 16:12:45

OMG thank you. I have just burst into tears. big hugs all round

The money is not an issue - thank god that is one thing we don't have to worry about. Granny is stumping up the first term and we are cancelling plans for a new bathroom to tide us over the 2 sets of fees (she's already in private which makes their attitude make my blood boil).

I think she is terrified and the reality has hit home so she won't admit failure. But if (devils advocate) she IS a bit odd in the social skills department, then new school should pick this up and it won't be something she faces when she goes to college.

I took her to the GP last week about her depression. She wouldn't admit the self-harm. She is being referred to CAHMS already thank goodness.

WilsonFrickett Sun 27-Jan-13 16:15:37

Agree with balia don't tell her you've read her history because it seems to be a good, positive way of getting support.

I would move her though, absolutely. No need to tell her you've read her Internet history, just accept you may be the bad guys for a whole and do it. And I'd also investigate counselling or some other kind of support too.

Well done for getting to grips with the problem and good luck.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 27-Jan-13 16:18:02

you are amazing, keep going, tell her that the mumsnetters think her life will be much better from now on. really. its scary but sometimes scary things are worth doing.

if people (other pupils etc) ask her why she's moved she only need say 'my parents told me this was a better school for me'.

daughter was bullied through primary. she moved on to an independent high school and had a pretty wonderful seven years, with lots of opportunities she wouldn't have had elsewhere.

best wishes to your daughter on the start of a much happier phase in her life.

timidviper Sun 27-Jan-13 16:18:02

My son was not happy at school (although not being bullied, just generally not fitting in), we asked him if he wanted to move, he said no. We eventually explained to him the reasons why we felt he should move and that, as his parents, we felt we knew what would be best for him. He moved, settled well and never looked back.

thebody Sun 27-Jan-13 16:18:19

Well done for being a lovely parent and most defiantly move her..

Do hope she gets the help she needs so she can be happy again.

Pilgit Sun 27-Jan-13 16:42:34

Thank you for standing up for your daughter and doing what needs to be done. She is probably a bit fearful of change and like all of us - better the devil you know. She will be afraid that it will be worse at the new school and as she can 'cope' where she is she doesn't want things to get worse. The possibility of it being better sometimes does not seem worth the possibility of it getting worse.

As to the school fees - it might not get you anywhere but I'd argue with her current school about paying them as you're moving her because of their failure to deal with a very real issue.

I agree with other posters - don't tell her you've looked at her browsing history - completely understand why you did it and I would have done the same in the circumstances.

BambieO Sun 27-Jan-13 16:49:43

I agree about not mentioning the browsing history too. Although I probably agree for the wrong reasons, my reason is that I wouldn't want her to delete it if she knows you would check just so you can keep tabs for a while, even when she starts her new school to make sure she is settling in ok and not still having issues.

Once you are happy she is content then I would probably ease up on the checks.

I hope she gets on fabulously in her new school and realises the other girls had the issues not her.

Good luck!

Floralnomad Sun 27-Jan-13 16:57:37

Definitely move her , my son was very unhappy at school and when he moved he was like a new person . I hope it's successful for your daughter ,and if the new school are aware of her issues hopefully they'll keep an eye on her. Good luck !

Narked Sun 27-Jan-13 17:03:40

Move her. And have an exit meeting with the head and form teachers.

bellejar Sun 27-Jan-13 17:04:38

BambiO - agree totally, I would never tell her we snooped on her as we still need the insight into her mind. You are as devious as I am braces self for the flaming

It's hard to not tell her that we know how miserable she really is and she has just admitted that she's worried the same stuff will happen in her new school. And yes, at least at current school she knows where to hide: ie in the loos cutting her arm with a pair of scissors.

God, what a mess. sad

We have just given her an ultimatum that she 1) moves + has lots of TLC, support and confidential chats 2) stays, but we tell the Head and a meeting needs to take place with so-called friends and their parents. What will NOT happen, is that things stay the same.

Thanks everyone x

ALittleScatterOfRain Sun 27-Jan-13 17:07:39

YANBU at all, I can see why she's unsure/nervous about it but it sounds like she'll definitely be happier there. Did she enjoy the day there? Is there somebody in her new class she could perhaps e-mail or meet again, just so there's somebody she knows a bit better?

FWIW I think it'll be easier moving now (I'm guessing she'll have a week or two before half term?). She'll have those two weeks to get settled and get to know a few people and then after half term going back won't be such a big deal.

Also, tell her she needn't worry about the work. They won't expect her to have done exactly the same things, when she first goes they'll be more interested in making sure she's settling in well and happy than making her work day and night to catch up!

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 27-Jan-13 17:11:45

Move her. She will be shitting herself in case it's worse, better the devil you know and all that, but it won't be worse. It will be really hard for her to walk into on the first day and she might well be thinking that she would rather put up with what she is putting up with than take the leap. If she won't take the leap then you are going to have to push her. It will be hard at first, it will be awful, but it will get better.

cocolepew Sun 27-Jan-13 17:13:17

Definitely move her, the attitude of her school at the moment is shocking.

I have a anxious DD who had a breakdown at age 11, her school was exceptional in the help and support they gave her.

Your DD is probably worried and anxious about starting anew, but it really seems to be the best option.

I hope it works out for you all smile

BambieO Sun 27-Jan-13 17:26:13

bellejar I actually nearly wrote 'I agree for the wrong reasons as I am a devious moo grin but I didn't want you to think I was making light of the situation! We can be devious together haha

bellejar Tue 29-Jan-13 09:30:04

OMG, DD really doesn't want to move schools and is now denying the bullying by trying to trivialise it and brush it off. She said that when she spent the day at the new school she had a bad feeling that things would be the same and she knew that she didn't want to be there whilst she was sitting the entrance paper. She's been crying and crying for 2 days now.

We have written the letter of withdrawal and I have phoned the current school asking for an urgent meeting with the Head of Pastoral. So far no response so they have till lunchtime today to get in touch otherwise the letter is delivered.

AIBU to still move her even though she doesn't want to go?

HappilyUnhinged Tue 29-Jan-13 09:40:46

Move her. There are times in your life as a parent where you have to just stand by the fact that you know you are doing the right thing, even when your child fights to say otherwise.

Even if her current school pulls out all the stops, they are not in control of the bullies who will always find a way.

One other very reasonable thing to do is pull her from her current school and let her stay at home with you until Easter. She can study at home for any exam worries she might have and when it comes down to it, you will put her above any grief you get from work if you have to take time out to be with her.

You are doing all the right things, just stay firm and remember to look forward to her in a new position away from the old issues. She can't see it, so you have to see for her.

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 09:57:47

op - move her

you are absolutely doing the right thing,

Sometimes when our kids are distressed we have to do what it best for them, be the adult and make the decision thta they can't make for themselves.

The new school sounds lovley. She will end her school years in a caring supportive envirnment, just think what that will do for her confidence and her view of further education, her memories of school etc etc.

Hope she does well op

Kyrptonite Tue 29-Jan-13 10:00:08

Move her. I wish my parents had done this for me. It's only now (I'm 24) my mum says that she regrets not taking me out of the school I was in.

jan2013 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:06:32

I think you sound amazing. be aware that her issues might have become a way of coping and might not just go away without a lot of help and support, but by being removed from the situation that has possibly caused a lot of the triggers, she will have the best chance of overcoming her problems. all the best

Agree with others, I would still look at moving her, & another one who is impressed at your approach, insight and determination to help your dd flowers. How was she when she actually went into the school? You said in your OP that the teachers & girls liked her, but what was her reaction? She may not be able to remember it now herself, but it might help you feel confident.

We've recently (last week) moved our son between schools - although for different reasons to you - he had lots of wobbles when we were talking about it, about missing his friends, not knowing what to do etc. A few things helped him:
- getting him to talk about what he had liked about the school (ie not me telling him!) - and looking into things like clubs/after school activities/school trips that he was more likely to engage with. I guess your daughter may be less easily swayed (mine is only Y4) but some of that stuff might help?
- getting a buddy set up before he went, so he had someone he knew to walk in with him on the first few days. Luckily he already had mates at the school who could do this.
- going in a couple of times before hand - each time he came out remembering things he'd noticed & liked.
- now, we also told our son that if he hated the new school after <insert appropriate time> we could talk about moving back to original school. We knew we wouldn't actually do it, though, and perhaps more of a gamble with your dd.

We went from making the decision to starting at the school in less than a week, & I think that helped too - less time to dwell on things.

Another thought, I wonder if it'll be easier for her once she knows it defn is happening - the process of making a decision is often the stressful bit - once decision is made, things can feel clearer <hopeful>

SpicyPear Tue 29-Jan-13 10:26:18

Move her. She is probably getting very nervous as the reality of having to start again approaches. She has coping mechanisms in her current school (albeit very unhealthy ones) and probably finds it difficult to imagine things being different. This is where as her parent you have to step in and act in her best interests when she isn't able to. Given their attitude and the presence of this bully it seems, sadly, unlikely things will resolve in her current school.

Well done OP. You are doing a great thing taking her issues seriously and trying to help her. For many reasons we are heading towards crisis with the mental health of girls and young women, so I find it really encouraging to hear about a parent really engaging with it.

PessaryPam Tue 29-Jan-13 10:27:35

OP I would do it. Sometimes you as a parent have to do what is best even though the child doesn't understand it at the time.

BarbarianMum Tue 29-Jan-13 10:35:09

Another one saying move her. I can absolutely understand why she doesn't want to - its an unknown and her self-confidence is in shreds - but you know its the right thing.

I was bullied and unhappy for 4 years at middle school. The thing is, you get used to it sad and don't realise that its not how school/life should be. When I escape to upper school it was like a cloud lifting but had you asked me at the time, I'd have said things weren't too bad.

diddl Tue 29-Jan-13 10:36:33

I think you have to move her tbh.

She is being bullied & nothing is being done-that is surely reason enough.

And the school are effectively blaming her/washing their hands of it by telling her to stand up for herself!

No wonder she thinks the same might happen again!

Really if she has few/no friends where she is-what is there to lose?

LittleChimneyDroppings Tue 29-Jan-13 10:43:52

Move her. She may be upset but shes in a very bad place right now. She cant carry on as she is.

bellejar Tue 29-Jan-13 10:45:35

Thank you, everyone! You are all a tower of support. Well, the letter of withdrawal has been written and its in my handbag. I left a message for ths school to contact me urgently and guess what - nothing so far. They've got till 4pm today.

Again, thank you, lovely mumsnetters smile

Pilfette Tue 29-Jan-13 10:55:52

Belle, I totally support looking at their internet history, my 14yo had a tumblr blog that I looked at and found similar stuff. She self harms but around her hips/thighs and I had no idea. She's now having private CBT to try and address this, her father is terminally ill so a lot of it is her trying to deal with that.

I would absolutely concur with the majority of posters on this thread re changing schools and also seeking some support regarding the self harm. It seems, for my DD at least, to be quite 'addictive' as a coping method and is taking some time to come away from. We're now on 4 weeks of no cutting, so it can be done! In the meantime I'm sending you unMN {hugs} because it's so upsetting for you all. I do hope things improve.

SirBoobAlot Tue 29-Jan-13 10:59:18

Move her. I wish my parents had. She will be angry at you, and she will tell you she is fine, but in the long run she will be glad you did.

But just please be prepared for the fact that self half and making herself sick might not stop immediately. Both become very addictive behaviors, so even when the actual problem is removed, they are easy to fall back on.

FreckledLeopard Tue 29-Jan-13 11:04:25

I wish so badly that my parents had known how suicidal and miserable I was at school. As it was, I stayed there til I was 18, got great grades but the misery I suffered has had a lasting impact on me.

If you think your daughter is best having a new start, then go for it. At the same time, is there a chance that your GP could prescrible anti-depressants for her? I know it's controversial for teenagers to be given medication, BUT, I only wish that I had been put on Prozac when I was 14, rather than living in absolute misery, self-harming and being utterly depressed until I was finally prescribed them at 19.

Sending lots of positive vibes your way...

MakeItALarge Tue 29-Jan-13 11:22:55

Another vote for moving her! I too wish my parents would have let me change schools, instead I became so unhappy I dropped out before my GCSEs and it took me until I was 22 to go back to education and finally get my degree.

I dont want to worry you anymore but have you checked things such as her facebook page and mobile for signs of bullying and nasty messages? On a practical note vitamin E helps to reduce scarring sad

Pilfette Tue 29-Jan-13 11:37:43

MakeIt, is Vit E better/the same as bio oil? My DD is at the point where she would like to start fading her scars, if possible.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Tue 29-Jan-13 11:44:37

Another vote for moving her.

SomethingProfound Tue 29-Jan-13 11:45:59

OP, Move her.

I had a horrid time at school, and the school just ignored everything. My mother suggested that I move schools and I had a place at another very good school (I had been on a waiting list) but I refused out of fear of change. How in hindsight I wished my mother had forced me.

Your DD is not capable of making this decision, she is clearly very upset and mixed up at the moment.

You mentioned that you have family at the school could they not talk to her about how nice it is or take her under their wing perhaps that would help put her mind at ease and make her feel more positive about moving.

Sending lots of positive thoughts to you and your DD.

MakeItALarge Tue 29-Jan-13 11:56:42

Pilfette I got told to use both, she can take vit E supplements and use bio oil, or get the vit E capsules and use the oil instead of bio oil which can work out massively cheaper.

The best thing Ive found to hide the scars once they have started fading is fake tan, the daily moisturising ones are quite good at just evening the skin tone out.

SoggySummer Tue 29-Jan-13 12:07:20

Hi, I really really feel for you. My DD is in year 9 (at an independent) but having a miserable time at school. Underhandbullying - the type you describe - girls pretending to be friends but mocking her etc, bullying by exclusion etc etc. Her self confidence has plummeted and I am sick with worry alot of the time. She is pretty miserable and very negative about school where she used to be so enthusiastic. We have had mixed response from staff - some very good, the ones you would not expect, such as certain subject teachers who only see DD a few hours a week. They seem to have gone above and beyond with their support. Others like Head of Year and House Mistress - say the right things but dont always seem deliver.

We have had several chats with DD and like you I sarted looking at alternative schools. We sat down at the weekend (after more tears) to talk about it and she went mental - saying she will hate us if we make her leave, its not that bad, she is "happy" to make do.......

Its so hard and I really admire your stance. I am sure (as much as any parent of a teen can be) that DD is not self harming but its in my radar as I know of lots of teen girls who have done/do do it. If we ever got to that stage then I think as a parent I would have to the final say and do as you are doing.

I think you are doing the right thing OP. There comes a point where I dont think things can be allowed to continue. Its so hard though isnt it - to see your DD so unhappy and yet they reject your efforts to try and improve things.

I think its disgusting that the school have not got back to you yet. I am hoping they dont now - as I just dont think you will get the ongoing support from them. Anyway - sorry for waffling on, just wanted to offer some support to you.

Let us know how it progresses.

spiderlight Tue 29-Jan-13 12:08:10

My godson moved schools last year after being bullied. He was scared too, didn't want to move, downplayed the bullying, but his mum stuck to her guns. I saw him this weekend for the first time in several months and the difference in him was absolutely unbelievable - he has absolutely blossomed and his confidence has improved beyond all recognition. The new school isn't perfect and there are a couple of horrid boys there who ocasionally pick on him (he's very bright, quiet, bookish, a bit quirky and outstanding at science and maths, so he's always going to be one of the 'different' kids), but it has been SUCH a good move for him overall.

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I agree that the urge to self-harm won't go away overnight and she'll need other outlets for her emotions. An elastic band around the wrist, snapped hard against the skin, can sometimes help with the urge, but she'll need proper advice and something like CBT to get her through it. She's lucky to have a mum like you to support her. Make sure someone's supporting you too though - you must be exhausted with the worry of it all.

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 12:30:44

just a thought
when teenagers feel overwhlemed by the situation and are saying 'its fine really I can cope' one of the things that they are experiencing is that they are trying to be and adult, but feel out of their depth.

I wonder if actually saying to your dd, you are not old enough/wise enough/experienced enough to make this decision. (Your dad and) I can see it from the outside because I/we are your parents. So, because we are your parents we are going to make this decision.

Actually tell her you are taking control. May bring initial melt down however.

OP, you are really being a great mum to her

fromparistoberlin Tue 29-Jan-13 12:37:15

yes, move her

I agree that she wll be experiencing fear, gult and nerves

what hapilly said, soemtimes the parents needs to make the call

and whatever happens, academically it should be better (I hope!!!)

and frankly she is self harming, and the school are clearly not adressing it

good luck, and I hope she blossoms in her new place xxxxx

fromparistoberlin Tue 29-Jan-13 12:40:21

I also think (contraversial view) that in some cases, bullying is worse at state schools

I was stateschool educated and there were alot of angry, deprived and unhappy children. Many were being raised in a sub standard manner. It it any suprise that they bullied???

the girl that bullied me cruelly for nearly 3 years, guess what? in a care home

I am not saying there is no bullying in private education, but I think there are likely to be less angry deprived and neglected little souls

gordyslovesheep Tue 29-Jan-13 12:52:10

Good luck x x

lovetomoan Tue 29-Jan-13 12:58:35

Move her. My DH had the same problem (bullying) and his parents never noticed. It will be a fresh start for her.
It breaks my heart to read this as someone close to me had the same problem. She is a very successful adult now. Wish your DD all the best.

Goldmandra Tue 29-Jan-13 13:07:38

OP I think you need to get the GP to contact CAMHS and ask them to give her an emergency appointment.

Your DD sounds terrified of the prospect of this change and needs help to manage it.

She already has a history of self harm and contemplating suicide and she is not allowing you to help her with the awful emotions she is experiencing. You can't wait for a routine appointment to come through.

flamingtoaster Tue 29-Jan-13 13:09:37

Move her. I should have moved DS a year before I finally did and it is a source of constant regret that he experienced a year of unhappiness that could have been avoided. I wish your DD great happiness in her new school once she has settled in.

SpicyPear Tue 29-Jan-13 13:11:12

gold makes a good point. If you can find the money to do it, I'd actually get a private referral asap.

MamaBear17 Tue 29-Jan-13 13:15:07

Move her. Be confident in your decision - you are clearly a very supportive parent and she is lucky to have you. Consider taking her to your GP and see if they can get her in for councilling much sooner. I am a head of year, your daughter's treatment at her current school makes me so angry. A child who is harming themselves does it for a reason, usually because they are desperate for some attention from the people around him/her because there is a problem. That is a very serious issue that needs addressing. Good luck to you all.

bellejar Tue 29-Jan-13 14:32:40

Thank you everyone - I have arranged for DD to see cousins over half-term to big up the new school. DH lost his rag last night and told her she was moving, end of. I am still waiting for her current school to phone. Good point about the emergence CAHMS appointment. And thank you for your support x

fromparistoberlin Tue 29-Jan-13 14:56:32

yay! I am so pleased this sad chaper is coming to end

pls keep us posted

blueemerald Tue 29-Jan-13 15:04:11

I've only read your posts OP but please move her! Teenagers (human beings at any stage actually) don't like change, there is a terrible fear of the unknown. She may actually be crying out for you to take total control of the situation away from her. You have been incredibly strong so far so just make this little push, change schools and by Easter you'll already be seeing the changes in her.

degutastic Tue 29-Jan-13 15:35:57

I think you should take it out of her hands and move her too. Good luck, I hope things improve for her sad

Floggingmolly Tue 29-Jan-13 15:49:17

Don't hesitate. She won't be in the frame of mind to make the decision for herself just now.

TerrariaMum Tue 29-Jan-13 16:14:41

I was in the same situation your DD is in, though maybe younger. My parents moved me. I was furious at them, but honestly, it was the best thing they could have done. After a few days at the new place, I stopped feeling that twisted knot in my stomach and felt a lot better. The new school wasn't perfect, but at least I wasn't being bullied.

Conclusion: Move her!

Yfronts Tue 29-Jan-13 16:40:31

My friends DD moved schools in such circumstances and it was the making of her. Lovely private school with great pastoral school. She will be fine once she has been at her new school a month or so.

I was desperately unhappy at secondary school. I wish my parents had acted as you are doing - you're doing absolutely the right thing.

LynetteScavo Tue 29-Jan-13 18:02:21

Of course she should move schools, and of course she is scared.

Take the decision away from her and tell her she is moving.

Make a big point of telling her her grades are not an issue for you. (I would imagine this would have the effect of her relaxing, and therefore doing better in the long run.)

SoggySummer Tue 29-Jan-13 19:57:45

Did the school bother with calling you back?? Did they explain why its taken 2 days to respond to a request for an urgent call back??

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

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

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


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.

cocolepew 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 09:50:51

Thank you x

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 15:26:42

Blimey goldmandra - are they at the same school??

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

an academy, not and academy!

I really should take my own advice and preview posts!

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.

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

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.

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

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

Minutes???? Bloody phone. Mumsnetters!

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.

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.

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.

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

thanks for posting

I soooooo hope she is happier xxxx

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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