Advice about Year 5 DD being made to play with bullying girl

(25 Posts)
TheHouseElf Mon 22-Jun-15 16:52:03

DD has been bullied off and on by the same girl since she started school at age 4. Understandably DD cannot stand this girl and has no wish to play with her, however the school have been making her play with her at break/lunch times.

DD has a small group of friends (3/4 girls) and all of them have been bullied by this girl over the years - in fact you'd be hard-pressed to find a girl in their year that hasn't! This girl complained that DD and her group of friends won't play with her and so they've all had to have meetings with the phase leader who is now making they attend a weekly lunchtime buddy club.

I've spoken to the phase leader and expressed that I didn't think that forcing DD and her friendship group to be "friends" with this child was a fair solution for DD (or the other girls). I also spoken to the Head who agreed with me, and said she'd speak to Phase Leader to seek a different resolution - but clearly they are determined to follow this course of action as DD tells me today that she has to go to Buddy Club on Wednesday.

What can I do about this? I now have a stressed 10 year old who no longer wishes to go to school. I can't see how its fair on DD (or her friends) to be made by the school to be "friends" with a child that they have no wish to be friends with.

caravanista13 Mon 22-Jun-15 16:55:31

Refusing replay with someone is a short term fix but not a long term solution. I think you should give buddy club a chance - hopefully the other girl will learn from it and they will all be happier.

SoupDragon Mon 22-Jun-15 17:01:15

If my DD had been bullied by someone for over 5 years, there is no way I would give "buddy club" a chance in order to make the bully feel better.

DPotter Mon 22-Jun-15 17:17:00

I think you need to stand firm here OP. A lot needs to happen before your DD will ever be ready to play with someone who has bullied her. Please go back to the Head and refuse to let your DD take part until the other child has apologised to her and anyone else effected and has desisted from bullying anyone for an agreed period. Even then it should be up to your DD if she joins the Buddy club. As long as she is respectful of the other child and works along side her nicely in class. why should she be made to play with someone she does not like ?

One of the things bullies have to learn is that their actions have consequences - in this case that other girls do not wish to play with her.

TheHouseElf Mon 22-Jun-15 17:56:24

Thanks for the replies.

I agree DPotter, DD shouldn't be forced into this Buddy Club situation. She has agreed that she will be polite and courteous to this girl if she has to work with her in the classroom etc, and I have communicated this to her teacher, Phase Leader and the Head. However, why the Phase Leader seems to be determined that she has to spend her lunchtimes with this girl is beyond me. So far its been Mondays and Fridays for 'meetings' and now they want her to do Wednesday Buddy Club - so she has just 2 lunchtimes to herself a week!

Feels like DD (and her friends) and being "punished" - doesn't seem like a positive thing at all, and if anything, I think its more likely to cause more resentment.

Does anyone know what rights we have as a parent in this situation?

QuiteLikely5 Mon 22-Jun-15 17:59:39

Your child has the right to feel safe and secure at school. Tell the head she does not feel this when she is forced to spend time with this girl.

What is so bad about the girl does she have problems at home? Are the school trying to compensate? Do they know she is a bully? Could her parents have complained?

Floggingmolly Mon 22-Jun-15 18:06:22

Sod that! The whole notion of Buddy Club is presumably to ensure kids aren't left totally on the outside through no fault of their own; it is not to facilitate badly behaved kids to experience no consequences for their actions.
I would stand firm and refuse to let your dd go.
You might have to be very firm, though.
When ds2 was in Year 1, another boy whom he'd never really played with before suddenly latched onto him and insisted ds2 not join in the football game he wanted to, but that just the two of them play whatever games Postman Pat that he (other child) wanted, every day.
When ds refused, the other child cried loudly to the lunchtime supervisor, who kept insisting the ds "stop being mean" to other child and basically do whatever he wanted.
It took three attempts and very very stern words to get them to understand that ds did not have to do the bidding of any random child just to make playtime supervision easier for them.

TheHouseElf Mon 22-Jun-15 19:41:50

Hi QuiteLikely5 - we've a new Head so she doesn't know about this girl's history. The Phase Leader has been there since before they all started school, so I'd imagine that she knows this girl's history. I did fill her in on all the years worth of incidents our DD has had to endure from her, but she really didn't seem interested at all - DD tells me she was told by this teacher to "get over it" and "to not hold a grudge". DD tells me this girl already attends the Buddy Club (with another set of girls - I believe Year 6 ones - so she has a known history.

I think she may be rather spoilt. She has an older brother and sister who are at least 10/12 years older, and I believe this may be a second-relationship/marriage for both her parents (hence the age difference). DD gets the impression this girl always gets what she wants! I don't know how interested her Mum is re: the bullying as when they were in Year 3 I had to get the teacher to intervene as this girl started being physical with DD. Her Mum never approached me to talk (or ideally apologise on her child's behalf).

DPotter Tue 23-Jun-15 00:19:38

Oooh my blood boils - 'get over it' , 'don't hold a grudge'. This is no way to speak to a child. Your poor DD and her friends.

I'd be wading in demanding my child spend her lunch break doing activities of her own choosing and no mistake.
IMO the teacher has now become the bully. So firm action plan- put your grievance in writting to the head - not email - but letter form. State that you find this treatment of your DD totally unacceptable and that attendance at 'meetings' on monday and friday will not include your DD likewise Buddy sessions on Wednesdays with immediate effect. If the head can't guarantee this, then you will complain to the governors.
Your DD needs to see you fight for her - even if she doesn't want you to make a fuss.
Is there anyway you could turn up at school on wednesday lunch time to make sure your DD is spared this charade ? If despite your efforts to date the phase teacher (never heard that phrase before) is continuing down this route, I think you are going to have to up the pressure.

Maybe moving the thread over the Primary Education / school would attract posters with more experience.

DPotter Tue 23-Jun-15 00:21:10

Sorry - I just can't get over the 3 sessions a week.................This really is bullying on the part of the teaching staff

MythicalKings Tue 23-Jun-15 05:07:35

If the school won't see sense then have her home for dinner until they give up.

TheHouseElf Tue 23-Jun-15 10:47:54

Thanks for your replies. We've tried this morning to make an appointment with the Head and are waiting to hear back from the school. However I have been advised by another school-Mum (who's asked to meet with the Head about an urgent medical matter for her DD) that she had to wait 3 days to be seen.

I think if the Head doesn't get back to us today then we'll have to become more formal with the school, and set everything out in a letter to her.

I agree - this Phase Leader is being a bully and seems determined that its her way or the high-way!

DD has been suffering from a really painful neck since Sunday - she didn't wake up with it, and had been sat on the sofa happily and it just came on. Part of me worries that this is actually due to stress as she was so worried about having these meetings. Since she is still suffering from it, I may try to make a doctor's appointment for her tomorrow lunchtime, lol, and get her out of the buddy club. wink

TheHouseElf Tue 23-Jun-15 14:00:52

Just an update - we've heard back from the school and have an appointment booked in for tomorrow morning with the Head. Hoping she will listen to us and stop DD having to attend this Buddy Club - and ideally all of these meetings (which she did agree wasn't necessarily the best thing for our DD when we quickly grabbed 5 mins with her in the school reception last week).

I think what I'll do is afterwards send in a letter confirming what we have agreed at this meeting (or not, if she won't be flexible, and set out our agreement/disagreement) and ask for this to be put on file. Do you think this is a good idea?

DPotter Tue 23-Jun-15 23:42:23

That's positive news. Think you need to be absolutely clear with the Head that these meetings and Buddy sessions are not acceptable to you and your DD in any way. Don't let them put your DD on the spot either to ask her if she would like to help this girl. This is you being a parent and deciding what is appropriate for your child.

Ask which educational theory this 'programme ' is based upon - sounds a bit like 'Restorative Justice' to me from the legal world. However both parties have to fully agree to take part. There's an article in the Times today about 'Dubious punishments and muddled ideologies' - Restorative Justice is listed as one of those. (Having said that, I believe the method does have some success in the legal sphere).

I think your idea of backing up the meeting with a letter is an excellent one. If you do not get the outcome you and your DD want - straight in with complaints procedure and consider how you can protect your DD. I don't know your commitments but I would be tempting to take my DD out of school over lunch and return for afternoon school. Not ideal but if your DD is getting really upset it may be something to think about. Actually thinking about it a bit more - if the school insist on theses meetings / buddy clubs - if you do go down the complaints route then insist the meetings are suspended until the complain has been dealt with by the Governors.

Think Mother Bear

TheHouseElf Wed 24-Jun-15 11:40:22

Thanks for your reply DPotter - unfortunately I didn't get a chance to read it before this morning's meeting, however I do have some positive news. The Head has agreed to suspended all of these meetings - which funnily she did after I stated that as her parents we did not agree to them, we did not give our permission for DD to attend, and we did not support the school in this approach.

When I explained to the Head how much this has been affecting our DD, and that it was affecting her health (she didn't even sleep last night!) she agreed that perhaps they have taken the wrong approach. I also presented the Head with an A4 typed document listing each school year (from Year 1 to Year 5) detailing all the incidences of bullying DD has endured.

I'm taking DD to the GP today (arranged for lunchtime coincidentally wink for lunchtime in case this Buddy Club went ahead) as her neck pain hasn't got any better - in fact its got worse - and she hasn't been able to do PE or swimming this week because of it. I truly believe this is all because DD has been so stressed.

The Head is going to let the dust settle and not push for DD to "play" with this other girl but thinks that we will now doubt have another meeting with her again (probably next school year, and she doesn't think this issue is going to go away).

TheHouseElf Wed 24-Jun-15 16:11:33

GP saw DD today and said her shoulder and neck muscles were very tense and after explaining all the problems she's been dealing with at school, said that it was most likely caused by stress! GP was very understanding and asked DD lots of questions, said if things got worse (or didn't improve) to come back and see him again, and I asked him to put a note onto DD records that this was stress induced. When I returned DD to school I left a message with the receptionist to advise the Head that the GP had said DD's neck pain was down to stress.

When I picked DD up this afternoon she told me that while she had been out at lunchtime, the Phase Leader told her friends that they didn't need to attend the Buddy Club - BUT she told them that they still have to play with this other girl! angry Which is totally against what the Head said to us this morning at our meeting. What is this woman's problem - she needs to be like a dog after a bone about this and will not back down.

DPotter Wed 24-Jun-15 17:16:10

I'm delighted the Head has seen sense - sounds like you went in cool calm and determined.
Also sounds like you have a good GP - I do hope your DD is able to relax especially with the holidays around the corner.
As for the 'Phase' teacher (what does that mean?) - I agree with you - what is her problem. Will you tackle this again in the morning ? I would want this clarified and could be heading for an actual complaint about the teacher.

TheHouseElf Wed 24-Jun-15 22:24:45

She's a Year 5/6 teacher, who's in charge of both year groups and overseas the other Year 5/6 teachers. The school has Phase Leaders for Early Years, Year 1, Years 3/4 and Years 5/6. Plus and Deputy Head and an Assistant Head.

I initially raised my concerns that things may be escalating for DD from this girl to her teacher (as that has been the pattern in previous years), then she called DD and one of her friends 'nerds' (after they came first in a quiz) so I reported this to her teacher and then the Phase Leader took over.

She hasn't said anything to our DD (yet) but did tell one of her friends that she didn't have to go to Buddy Club or the other meetings but still had to play with this girl as "its not fair on her". If she tries to force DD to play with this girl again, then we will phone the Head and ask her to tell this Phase Leader what we all agreed, and if she continues after this then we will definitely write a letter of complaint. The summer holidays cannot come soon enough for us!

MythicalKings Thu 25-Jun-15 07:01:37

I'd make it clear to the phase leader that your daughter does not have to play with anyone she doesn't want to. And that any attempt to force her to will result in an official complaint.

DPotter Thu 25-Jun-15 12:01:33

I'm with you Myth

DarkEvilMoon Thu 25-Jun-15 12:14:38

Make sure you request the schools complaint policy whilst you are going this. You might not plan on doing anything with it, but having it means that the school know you are not going to be pushed over on the matter and also that should you have to take it further you know what you need to do along the way.

DarkEvilMoon Thu 25-Jun-15 12:15:03

*doing, not going blush

TheHouseElf Sun 28-Jun-15 17:25:54

Hi, thanks for the advice - the complaints policy is available on the school's website and we've already printed a copy off lol. If the Phase Leader keeps pushing then we put in an official complaint about her.

DD's neck and shoulder pain has completely gone now which is a relief, but I am still so angry at the school that they were so insistent on this course of action which clearly made my child physically ill (and I am sure affected her mentally as well). Counting the days down to the summer holidays.

chaiselounger Sun 28-Jun-15 18:29:41

Keep up the good work op.

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Sat 04-Jul-15 23:51:21

I find this difficult ... let me explain.. DD was also bullied up til year 4 bully had no friends left no part invites sleepover etc. DD was always busy with friends. New girl joined, buddied up with bully and took a dislike to DD. They turned the whole class against her with lies ... move on two years of hell... anyway ....i assume the phase leader knows this girl is trouble and is targeted to help her social skills, she cant do this without `friends` .. hence the pushing ... If DD bully had help maybe the issue wouldnt of esculated. That said its not DD fault and no she shouldnt be part of the solution. I dont have an answer..., but move forward a year and DD has lots of friends in high school and bully is back at none, other classmates have realised their mistake and apologised. Still those lies are out their and neither girl has come away unharmed.

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