Teacher not interested in potential bullying incident

(6 Posts)
thedevilworeboden Thu 14-Nov-13 11:03:38

My son is 8 and is in a mixed Year 4/5 class. The class is mainly comprised of Year 5 boys and my son is the youngest in the class (July birthday), he also quite immature.

Until now he has always been with his own year group and has never had any friendship problems. His own year group (most of whom are in a Year 3/4 class) are generally lovely children.

In the past few weeks he has been relating incidents that have made me quite concerned. Some is on the level of name calling, and although seems fairly low level in itself, the concerning thing is that the older boys seems to be ganging up on him and he is quite isolated. As well as being physically older, they are also much more 'streetwise', e.g. swear a lot, tease my son for not being allowed to play 18 rated video games etc. My son has said to me that all of the year 5 boys 'hate him'.

Recently there have been more physical incidents. One boy in particular has been the perpetrator of these, e.g. shoving him into the fence, hitting him in the face, and most recently shoving his head in a locker and then hitting his head with the locker door. None of these seem to have been witnessed and no action has been taken. I went to speak to his class teacher, and his response was not to talk to the Year 5 boy "as that would make him realise that he is having an effect". All he could promise was that he would keep an eye on the matter.

His teacher just doesn't seem interested in tackling the matter and I'm concerned that it'll escalate. I'm also concerned that other children in the class, who had previously been friends with my son, have now turned against him, presumably because they don't want to be the next victim.

Part of the problem is that I don't know whether it's just a case of the older boys not wanting to be friends with my son, and him continuing to hang around them and be a bit of a pain (he can be quite irritating!) or if it is a case of bullying behaviour. It's hard to tell as I hear everything from my son's point of view and his version of events is often quite confused. The physical incidents are clearly not acceptable however.

Now that I've written all of this down, it seems quite clear to me that I should speak to the Head, but any other advice would be very welcome!

Alonglongway Thu 14-Nov-13 13:23:52

Sorry he's having a tough time. My DCs went to a primary school with mixed classes too so I know what you mean about the dynamics. I once got a really good result when DD1 was in similar situation by asking the HT how the incidents were being logged so that we all had a good record if things didn't settle down and I wished to escalate my concern. In other words, "please show me how your class teacher is applying the behaviour policy and how you as head are managing it". In our case, that led to far more proactive strategies from the teacher and I had a good sense that the head was monitoring

If the teacher doesn't witness incidents himself, can you and DS tell him/write it down and ask him to add to his record?

MorningHasBroken Thu 14-Nov-13 13:50:10

Go back in again. And again. And again. And... you get the message. Make dealing with you more of a pain in the arse than it is to deal with the kids and the teacher will soon pull their finger out. That's been my experience so far anyway!

If your son is being physically attacked, then they need to do more - speak to the Head directly to make things move faster, perhaps request your son is moved into the other mixed class (that sounds more suitable for his age?). I would imagine that the Head would be pretty miffed to discover that the teacher has tried to sweep this level of bullying under the carpet and will probably act pretty quickly.

thedevilworeboden Thu 14-Nov-13 19:02:39

Thank you both for your advice, very helpful. I have made an appointment with the Head as the class teacher is clearly not dealing with it, and will do what you suggest, Alonglongway. I've also thought about asking for him to be moved to the other class. I am a bit reluctant as he is doing well academically and is enjoying the work, and part of me also feels that I don't want to give in to the bullies, but it is something I would definitely consider further down the line.

We have a new head who seems determined to tackle the issues raised in our recent Ofsted. Unsurprisingly, behaviour was one of these, so am optimistic about getting some quick action on this.

Thanks again, really helpful to get your comments, and to feel that I am not overreacting.

jenn1234 Sat 16-Nov-13 00:24:33

Bypass the teacher and take it directly to the head, teachers are there to teach, heads efficiently deal with problems to ensure everything runs smoothly.The last thing a head needs is the attention of an unruly child brought to their list things to deal with that day so tend to nip it in the bud or instruct the teacher to do so,who, if doesn't comply, will be added to the list of heads problems alongside the child causing the problems.
It's unlikely you are the only parent pointing out this child.
My elder daughter was bullied and it was heading in the same direction for my other daughter until she herself came across a book in a charity shop called
' How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies
A Book that Takes the Nuisance Out of Name Calling and Other Nonsense'
It is by KATE COHEN-POSEY,M.S.,LMHC,LMFT
from Rainbow Books
It changed her life around I would recommend it to any one it is brilliant even if she didn't have the confidence to start with to use the advice she had it in her head and always smiled to herself.

Strix Mon 18-Nov-13 13:27:48

What a terrible situation you describe. You are absolutely right to be talking it to the head. And I say this as a parent who pulled her 8 year old son out of one school and put him into another largely but not exclusively due to bullying last year. It was a bit of a rough ride for DS. But he is now settled into a much nicer place and it was very clearly the right decision.

There came a point when the children being bullied were covering for the boy bullying them. It reminded me of the abused wife syndrome, and I knew it was time to get him out.

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