how to address this

(41 Posts)
threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 12:09:48

I attended dc parents evening last week to be told that dc is not focusing in class. At the last parents evening in January I was told that dc is under acheiving. It seems to me that dc is just coasting along with no real support from the school in allowing dc to continue this way. I give dc support at home in school work. AIBU in thinking that the school is letting dc down. They don,t seem to grasp the fact that there is a problem here. The Teacher just seems to wash her hands of it and recommended that dc see a councilor.

Goldmandra Mon 04-Mar-13 12:26:31

HOw old is he/she?

Did the teacher say what she thought your DC should see a counsellor about?

Why do you think he/she is finding it hard to concentrate or keep up with the work?

Bejeena Mon 04-Mar-13 12:39:31

Did you appraoch your child about this last parents evening? Personally I think if a child is udner achieving then it is down to the child and the parents to sort out the problem. If the child was having difficulty understanding things then I would say this is issue of the school.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Mar-13 12:39:45

I am sure you'd be entitled to ask for more clarification from DC's teacher.

Is your DC at primary or secondary school, is it an exceptionally large class? Has this been recent or has it been brewing a while?

'Not focusing in class', does that mean behavioural issues, is s/he easily distracted or messing about? I take it your DC can see the whiteboard okay, no sight problems, is s/he able to hear everything?

'Under achieving' does suggest some difficulty in comprehension compared to his classmates. Have you noticed DC having trouble reading or with numbers?

Not wanting to pry but any stresses at home, any disruption to normal family life, or simply disturbed sleep patterns?

flangledoodle Mon 04-Mar-13 12:43:54

Something similar happened with my ds after some strategies that we tried and did not work I pushed for an assessment by an education psychologist which lead to a diagnosis of dyspraxia. Things much better now when we all know what we are dealing with.

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 14:01:54

Dc is 10. He has had problems in seeing the whiteboard, so I asked the Teacher is he struggling to see it and she said no problems. Took him to the optition and he did need Glasses afterall. Yes he is having diffulculty understanding but he is in a very small class size of 17 and always has been.
He has lately in the past couple of weeks taken an imaginary friend on, which is a bit late i,m told for a child to do this so im very worried about it.
Background is that his school is due to close in July and he has to go to another school. This also happened a couple of years ago and he had to change school. I feel that dc/ I need some sort of support from the school on this.

Ilovesunflowers Mon 04-Mar-13 14:05:17

At 10 he also needs to realise he is responsible for his learning. Yes school should be helping but your son is at fault for not concentrating. He needs you to give him a strong talking to IMO. 10 is old enough realise he needs to concentrate in school.

It sounds from your OP that you are automatically blaming your schools rather than seeing this as a choice your DS is taking.

MrsMushroom Mon 04-Mar-13 14:07:24

I had an imaginary friend at tenish I know I did. Are they offering him any extra help? My DD is 8 and needed support with her maths so she has a couple of hours a week in a small group...is he getting anything like that and if not why not? They sound a bit crap!

Why did the teacher suggest counselling as the solution?

MrsMushroom Mon 04-Mar-13 14:08:45

Sunflowers your response is VERY simplistic. If her son has problems with comprehension or some undiganosed learning difficulties then it's not his fault for not concentrating.

Some children can't for various reasons but can be helped with various strategies.

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 14:12:14

He knows he is responsible for his learning and he is a very bright child.. I am not blaming school but looking for help. His teacher has said she finds his behaviour lately a bit strange. I,m wondering if he has just shut off from school with all that is going on with the school closure and maybe he is not handling it very well.

Ilovesunflowers Mon 04-Mar-13 14:14:35

MrsMushroom your response is equally simplistic. Why do some people automatically jump to SEN as a reason for problems in the classroom? Perhaps the boy is just not concentrating. Believe me I've seen many a child in the classroom who underachieved simply because they didn't concentrate enough. It happens alot.

MrsMushroom Mon 04-Mar-13 14:14:51

threrings if he is struggling, it is their job as well as yours to find out why. Is he behaving ok at home? Sleeping ok? Eating?

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 14:15:08

Mrsmushroom yes I,m looking for strategies and think that the school should of put forward some form of support for him. Instead she said he needed counselling when I said about the Imaginary friend. To which she said thats what two year olds do having Imaginary Friends!!!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Mar-13 14:17:24

Wondered about the eyesight because it often happens that a DC doesn't like to mention any difficulty and copes well enough for teacher not to pick up on it.

If his school is closing this summer there must have been a lot of talk about it and perhaps he is feeling understandably unsettled. Under-achieving doesn't mean naughty or slow to grasp something, it can simply be a red flag if you like that something's wrong and affecting his performance.

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 14:18:16

He is fine at home, maybe a slight drop off in appetite. I really do think that he is stressed out more than I think with this move to another school and losing all his friends. He has to go to another school for just a year and this could be unsettling him in regards to him not concentrating in class.

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 14:24:25

On the eyesight thing Donkey he said he was struggling to see the board to his Teacher but she told him to stop putting his hand up and stop being a pain. when he came home that day he got very tearful and told me what she had said. I pulled her up on it because maybe I thought he misheard her, and she said yes she did call him a pain and apologised. I think that he just doesn,t bother to engage anymore in class for fear of being called that agian. some will say he needs to toughen up but it can be a confidence thing being called that.

fubbsy Mon 04-Mar-13 14:34:26

Is this the same teacher he has now? The one who told him to stop being a pain? If so, I don't think there is much point trying to engage with her.

If I were you, I would make an appointment to see the head to talk about ways that both you and the school can support dc so he doesn't underachieve.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Mar-13 14:35:18

sad Not very helpful was she.

Just read about the imaginary friend. I don't think your son's teacher knows how to handle this either but I hope she appreciates you discussed this in confidence.

Yes pre-schoolers sometimes have such imaginary friends but so can older children. At 10 your DS probably still feels a degree of powerlessness and through inventing a friend he can at least voice some doubts/fears or work through problems.

Does he have real friends or he is by nature a solitary child? You say he is bright, I am no expert but think it is perfectly normal for a child who is creative and imaginative to invent a friend whether or not he has rl pals.

Let him know you are here for him to talk to as well. Try the old start-a-conversation-in-the-car-so-you're-not-facing-each-other-directly trick.

I thought flangledoodle made a good point upthread, perhaps push for an educational psychologist, tbh am out of my depth here have you also tried the Primary Education topic for suggestions?

MrsMushroom Mon 04-Mar-13 15:07:38

I totally regressed when I moved to secondary school...I well remember feeling like I needed to be a baby again...I was 11!

I recall that a lot of love and attention made me feel better. My Mum and Dad made huge efforts to spend more time with me...we went on walks and things and I have nice memories from that time.

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 15:07:44

It,s a prep school so part of me thinks that they don,t understand certain traits in children and expect the children to conform. to their standards of behaviour,so nothing out of the norm. So yes no point in trying to engage with this teacher any further. It comes across as they think there is something wrong with him and I should get it dealt with. Not much support from them on this.

MrsMushroom Mon 04-Mar-13 15:08:25

Prep schools can be inflexible and unhelpful. Is there any way to move him sooner to his new school?: Like ripping a plaster off?

Goldmandra Mon 04-Mar-13 15:11:34

I second the suggestion to ask for an Educational Psychologist to see him.

He is clearly struggling in school. It sounds like he is not achieving his academic potential and could also be struggling socially if he feels the need to have an imaginary friend.

Ask for a meeting with the school SENCo, point out that the school has been expressing concerns to you for some time, that you cannot work out what the problem is and have done what you feel is in your power, e.g. optician appt. and that this has not helped so now they need to take the next step.

Push hard for it to happen as soon as possible so that the Ed Psych has a reasonable length of time to assess him before the school closes.

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 15:28:08

Have spoken to the Head and she has said that it,s not an Ed Psy he needs to see and the school won,t support that as it,s an Independant school. It,s a councilor from my G.P she has said. I stressed over and over how worried I am about him but they are batting me off and mrsmushroom I agree about inflexible and unhelpful.
He has been struggling since year 2 and I have approached them about this on many occassions and know I feel as though I have let him down.

Goldmandra Mon 04-Mar-13 15:42:11

I guess that is because the school would have to pay for this service.

TBH I don't know how the system works with independent schools. You could re-post in the Special Needs section and someone might be able to advise you.

In the meantime you could see if your GP will refer him to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). They may see him and assess him if you can show that his difficulties are having an effect on his well-being at home as well as at school.

I don't see how that HT can decide he needs to see a counsellor without having an understanding of what is causing the problems in the first place. It sounds very like she is taking the easy way out here and doing a great disservice to your son angry

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 15:50:28

the HT has no understanding of what is causing the problem, just that he is not pulling his weight. The Teacher has told her about the Imaginary friend and they have come to the conclusion that he should see a counsellor.
Few months ago a child inflicted an injury on my dc and the HT turned around and told my dc that this did not happen and that he had inflicted it upon himself. Makes me think that yes their are indeed doing a great disservice in trying to pass the buck.
I want and will support him in anyway I can but feel sad that the school seem to not want to address this.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Mar-13 16:09:56

Sorry to sound dense, I am not familiar with independent/private schools, I am not having a go or anything but I thought the idea of these was that as a fee paying parent you got more say not less with how your DC is taught, and ample support if he were struggling?

Is it just that they are 'coasting down' because they know they're closing in July?

threerings Mon 04-Mar-13 16:22:15

It could be but this is having an effect on dc and not helping him really. Don,t know how to go with this. feel like a naughty kid when speaking with HT and teachers as they are a bit snooty.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Mar-13 16:27:36

Surely they still have to be accountable, it doesn't seem that they are coming up with anything constructive. Sorry I'm not helping OP but at least this is bumping your thread.

GW297 Mon 04-Mar-13 16:43:57

Turn it back on them and ask the teacher and school what they are going to do about it. They have identified the problem now they need to come up with strategies to support your child - especially if you are paying fees!

Pixieonthemoor Mon 04-Mar-13 16:49:21

I don't really understand the head saying they won't support and ed psych visit as they are an independent school? That is so far out of my experience of both the independent school my dc's attend and those of my friends kids - if there is even a hint of some issue that needs addressing or some extra help given, they are all over it (frankly sometimes a little ott) with everything from ed psychs to OT to speech and Lang. If it is indeed stress then they might be right - an ed psyche wouldn't be the right person but it doesn't sound like you are getting any support at all. Sounds to me like they have just given up and are coasting to the closure - really crap tbh. No wonder they are closing! Can you ask the next school for help? Perhaps have your ds over for some familiarisation days to get him used to the place? Meet up with some other kids for tea so he knows some faces in the crowd?

flangledoodle Mon 04-Mar-13 17:14:25

I think the school's attitude is wholly unacceptable. It seems that they have decided he is lazy and that is that. How does she know what the ed psych would find? My son's teacher was adamant that he was just being naughty and was flabbergasted when diagnosis was given. I would insist.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Mar-13 17:38:31

I think the HT is abdicating her responsibility to some extent but can't advise you what to do. My concern if it were my DS would be that even if you seek help for him through your GP for example, I would not be very confident he is going to get his fair share of help from his teacher on a day-to-day basis. You have entrusted the school with your son's education but also a degree of personal development and general well-being. Is there some kind of learning support available?

threerings Tue 05-Mar-13 12:11:19

Head teacher has said that its not in the schools remit to have Ed Psych as they are an Independant school and its not what they can help with. Hence why they have directed me to my G.P. I,m not convinced with this as mY G.P only see,s dc a handful of times a year and does,t really know him on a daily basis like the school does. They always tend to see him as being naughty when in reality I think that he just struggling.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Mar-13 12:24:32

This must be very worrying, I'd be wondering why my DS was struggling. Why should your son fall through cracks and lose confidence thereby harming his chances of catching up and progressing at the next school? I can't believe they can wash their hands of him like this. If he has something like, for example, dyslexia they seem to have either missed or misinterpreted this as playing up or laziness. I wonder if the eyesight issue you mentioned earlier is the tip of an iceberg.

threerings Tue 05-Mar-13 12:32:09

There is no signs of Dysleixa or SEN. The bigger picture here is that all the staff are being made redundant at the end of this academic year and the children are leaving week by week. so it could be that there is low morale amongst staff, Which is rubbing off on the children and maybe why my dc is disengaging from school work. Some staff are leaving soon and being replaced with supply staff so further disrupting the children. But I am trying hard to hold it all together for him and encourage him in all I can. But the school should be addressing this more and the effect its having emotionly on the children.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Mar-13 12:34:32

It must be very unsettling and your DS may not be the only child who is showing signs of distress, for want of a better word.

Musomathsci Tue 05-Mar-13 12:42:52

If you want answers quickly, you may be better off seeking the opinion of an independent educational psychologist for an assessment. If you go through your GP, chances are the wait for an assessment by CAMHS may be very long indeed, and it sounds a bit over the top to be thinking of psychological problems on the basis of one 'symptom' ie the imaginary friend. It seems fairly obvious that the imminent school closure is stressing him, on top of any other issues that may be going on. I don't think you will get much help from the school - what would be the point? - from their perspective, they are closing shortly and there is no incentive for them to do anything other than get through the remaining time. Private schools are very variable in their approach to special needs. Some are great, but it seems others aren't very interested and rely on the fact that parents can and do go elsewhere if they are not satisfied.

MammaMedusa Tue 05-Mar-13 12:43:45

Can you move him sooner?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Mar-13 12:44:56

MrsMushroom asked that yesterday. Worth a thought?

threerings Tue 05-Mar-13 12:54:42

It,s in the pipeline to get him out at the end of term, But because of the short notice given it,s not a definate that he can get into school applied for. And it,s very possible that he won,t have a place come September.Part of me wants this sorted out for him before he leaves as I don,t want him starting a new school with this hanging over him, He should have a fresh start. It,s all up in the air as if I leave him there until July close will the teachers support him, from the looks of it I don,t think so.

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