10 year old being ostracised by whole class

(65 Posts)
PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 16:07:29

Name change here

My heart is breaking for my 10 yo DS, who broke down in a right state on Christmas Day. We finally prised it out of him that his was ostracised by his whole Year 6 class for pretty much the whole of last term. He's still pretty clammed up about it, but it appears there are one or more kids who are intimidating the others, and threatening to send them to coventry if they play with DS. There is one kid he chats to a bit.

DS doesn't want me to talk to the school as "he thinks it will only make things worse". Can anyone tell me what sort of strategies the school would use in such a situation, so I can try and put his mind at ease that it's not going to backfire. I also can't get the name(s) of the perpetrator(s) out of him, as he doesn't want to snitch (although I have my suspicions).

We had no idea this was going on. He's such a lovely, caring kid. He's a bit geeky (not interested in football, lives a bit in his own world), so I can see how he might not click with some of the other boys, but doesn't deserve this sort of treatment. Any suggestions about what to do.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 16:49:55

Virtually - he's not that into sport. He has done various after school clubs, including Judo, but not really stuck at it.

Changing schools is a possibility. He's currently applying to one of the private schools for Y7 - we could move him into their junior school.

Virtuallyarts Fri 28-Dec-12 16:50:01

Brilliant that he does music - that is another route to being 'cool' (ish!) at secondary school, and also can provide a ready made social life outside school.
Does ds like any of the other boys or girls at the music group/band whatever he goes to - if so maybe invite them as well (but separately from school friends). Depending on what your ds likes, maybe have a 'noisy crowd of ten year olds playing on nintendo' late afternoon/evening - low pressure, everyone has fun (for some unknown reason!)?

Brycie Fri 28-Dec-12 16:51:11

Just a suggestion hmm sorry if it was really offensive or stupid. I feel sorry for your son.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 16:52:40

Brycie. Sorry if my reply was a bit abrupt.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 16:53:46

I know people are trying to help.

Sparklingbrook Fri 28-Dec-12 16:56:25

Give the changing school thing serious thought if you don't think it can be sorted as you would like.

DS1 is a completely different child since the move.

Virtuallyarts Fri 28-Dec-12 16:58:28

Maybe cycling or running - don't require coordination type skills, but are still really good for self-esteem, exercise etc? But I'll stop banging on about the sport if it isn't really your ds' thing..

I would see if the school can sort things out first, but keep moving schools before the end of year as an option rather than leave him for 2 terms being so miserable (you shouldn't have to do that though, so I would start by pressing school very hard to address this).

Is it likely that your ds will end up at the same secondary school as any of the boys in his class? I wouldn't normally advocate choosing a secondary on the basis of avoiding someone (not least because they may end up going there anyway at the last minute!), but occasionally it might be a good idea.

Your ds sounds like a lovely boy - and he is very lucky to have you to stand up for him. Can you do something cheering, as this sort of thing can be very stressful - watch an episode of blackadder or whatever your comedy of choice is!

Floralnomad Fri 28-Dec-12 16:59:21

I'd just move him if that's possible, its very difficult once things have got to this point as with the best will in the world the teachers can't make people be friends . My DD moved schools in year 5 and it was the best thing we ever did .

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 17:01:52

grin believe it or not, we introduced the kids to Blackadder last night. They really liked it.

We're down to a choice of two secondary schools - the boys comp, or a private mixed school - both v good schools. The comp will have a good number of boys from his class going. Only one other boy from his class (and one from the other Yr 6 class) are applying to the private school.

RooneyMara Fri 28-Dec-12 17:02:11

This happened at my primary school, I was in the class where it took place and it's horrific.

All sympathy to you and the lad.

I don't remember our teacher doing anything. But in y4 in ds1's school, there was a situation where one boy was being a bit of a bully to the rest of the class, and the teacher dealt with it really well - she took all the children and spoke to all of them, sussed out what was going on, then they had a kind of class talk with the boy who was causing the problem - he explained his side, the class explained how they all felt, it was sorted very quickly and all became friends again.

I'd suggest this would be an excellent way to deal with it. You need a strong willed teacher with a lot of common sense, for it to work well, but it really can.

Mrsrudolphduvall Fri 28-Dec-12 17:02:39

It happened to ds in yr 6..He wouldn't tell me why he suddenly didn't want to go to school.
I spoke to his teacher that morning..by lunch she'd sorted it.

4 boys in his class were not letting him sit with them/join in at break...ironically they were the non sporty boys whereas ds was very much into football, cricket etc.
Ds never told me who they were, but I sussed him out. Said I didn't want them home to tea...and those 4 never appeared again.

Head phoned me personally to say he was keeping a close eye on it and their parents had been informed. Interestingly, two of the boys were then bullied themselves in year 7 at their different schools.

I would go and speak with head/class teacher before making decisions about moving him.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 17:04:15

Although the comp is a good school, I have heard a couple of instances of boys having a rough time, although in the case which I know was reported, it was dealt with veery swiftly.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 17:07:57

That's very encouraging MrsRudolph.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 28-Dec-12 17:12:45

Thanks everyone for your concern and suggestions. I need to disappear for a bit now, but will be back.

Virtuallyarts Fri 28-Dec-12 17:14:25

Mrs Rudolph do you know what the teacher did to sort it out? It is great to hear of something being resolved so quickly, and would be really helpful to know how a good teacher can 'fix it' (as in RooneyMara's case).

Pp what is the boy in your ds' class like who might be going to the same school - if he's one of the problems for your ds, you might be able to ask for them to be in different classes if they both get in? You don't have to explain why, just say you think it might be a good idea. (I think - though this is just speculation! - that schools are reasonably happy with that type of request, what they find more difficult is dps asking for dcs to be put with a particular other dc!) However, that is all in the future..

Glad they enjoyed Blackadder! The Christmas special has been on over this holiday, so you may be able to catch it on iplayer.

OhMittens Fri 28-Dec-12 17:28:18

Oh your poor DS.

Definitely go to the Head. This is a serious matter, it's not some momentary squabble. For a 10 yo to break down crying on Christmas Day because he has suffered at school... that's a Head matter.

I think it would be ideal to resolve this issue working as a team with the teacher and the head, and for him to complete the year at his school and in his class, where he rightfully belongs. He deserves the opportunity to feel... comfortable in that classroom... accepted as an person and a valid member of the class. No, teachers can't force kids to be friends, but (decent and inspirational teachers) can definitely instill a sense of respect between classmates so that at least kids don't feel ostrasised, ridiculed or bullied.

If attempts at resolution fail, then consider moving schools.

Through all this, your DS needs to hear that no matter what is going on at school, to you and the family he is 100% accepted, loved and thought of as generally brilliant all round. Try to find examples of people in the public eye that he is aware of, who it is reported had a hard time at school. We all know there's so much more to life than these random crappy kids in Year 6... but he doesn't (yet).

All the best x

Mrsrudolphduvall Fri 28-Dec-12 17:28:47

She was a very experienced yr 6 teacher and had noticed ds being a bit quiet, but when she had asked him if everything was ok he said yes.

The day I called, she took him to a quiet room and asked him directly if someone was being unkind...he cried sad
She knew exactly who it was...the boys were "larger than life characters" (she later told me) .

She got them out of class one by one, and they fessed up, blaming it all on each other. I got told no more details when she phoned me later, but she assured me it would not happen again. And it didn't. I know they all had to apologise to ds.

They all got on ok afterwards...all at different schools now.

Sparklingbrook Fri 28-Dec-12 17:29:19

I think the big thing to remember is that there are options, and you are not alone.

Mrsrudolphduvall Fri 28-Dec-12 17:30:11

They were not bad kids at all, but got too big for their boots in year 6.
Just needed bollocking basically in our case.

Huppopapa Fri 28-Dec-12 17:38:33

Whatever you do, don't consider moving forms or schools as the first option. It may become the only option but surely his having braved it out for so long, you should at least try to back him up and take the fight to the bullies.

I'm concerned that the form-teacher has noticed nothing. That may show poor training but whatever is going on, I agree that you need to have a letter or e-mail in the head's in-tray on the first inset day of the year.

Good luck and all strength to your son. Defying bullies is a mark of honour and you should tell him so!

Virtuallyarts Fri 28-Dec-12 20:14:19

Mrs Rudolph, thanks that's v interesting - teacher or head here could do exactly the same thing to the 'ringleaders' and certainly doesn't have to say that op's ds has said anything - it can just be 'I think I've seen what you've been doing, have you? no? good, well make sure you don't or there'll be huge trouble'; or if the answer's yes, 'well you stop it now or there'll be huge trouble'.
(PP I'm definitely not suggesting you dictate the script to the head! but it's just useful to know what tactics successful teachers have employed in the past).

PP, I know you've gone off line for a while, but hope all our posts are helpful! For now, just to reiterate sympathies to you all. Can you do some fun things as a family over the rest of the hols as a family to distract ds - The Hobbit, ice skating?

PlaygroundPolitics Sat 29-Dec-12 09:27:48

Thanks again everyone. I agree Huppo that the first point of call should be to try and work out the problem within the school. In the meantime, he's still got a week off and I'll be arranging some activities and see if we can hook up with some other kids.

DeWe Sun 30-Dec-12 00:21:21

If you think the teacher will be along side then I'd speak to the teacher as first port of call. They're the ones that have seen it happening, will be dealing with it day to day. Very easy for the head to say "I'll tell Mr/Mrs. X to do something" to find that the form teacher says s/he's tried it, or would prefer to try something else first etc.

I wouldn't pull him out for two terms without trying to resolve it first because otherwise he's going into secondary with that behind him.

My dd1 had huge problems last year in year 6. The teacher did his best but it never really resolved. She went to a secondary without most of her yeargroup and it's been really good because she felt she could start again without anyone on her back.

Magdalena45 Fri 04-Jan-13 01:05:58

I work with bullied kids and it's a horrible thing! First it's important that it doesn't become about him (sometimes school's responses can imply it's the child's personality, etc. In fact, research suggests that it's quite random often. Your son needs to know it's not his fault)
I would ask to see both the head and the class teacher straight away. It is important to be (gently) realistic with your son that it can take a bit of time to completely sort out, but reassure him you will keep on until it gets better. One important thing is to agree with the school and him exactly what he can do if there is any comeback from the kids for "telling" (who he goes to, etc.) I would bet he's also not the only kid on the receiving end... If so, would be good to identify the others for solidarity.
My daughter was bullied and it's awful. I feel for you. Calling Childline can also be useful for them... Even with loving parents they sometimes want to talk to someone who is outside the situation and it's confidential so he could open up a bit more.

PlaygroundPolitics Fri 04-Jan-13 13:36:38

Thanks for that advice Magdalena. It;s interesting what you are saying about the child's personality. I suppose I could be guilty of implying that in my OP when I mentioned about him being a bit "geeky". I'm not saying he is to blame, just trying to rationalise the situation. I also hadn't thought about Childline as an option.

We've had a good week off - Hobbit, social activities with "neutral" kids, a playdate arranged for after school next week, etc. Not looking forward to next week though.

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