Private Vs State for discipline with a boundary pushing DS

(104 Posts)
jalapeno Fri 08-Feb-13 18:26:03

DS is a bright boy but showing some challenging behaviour. He has been assessed for ASD, ADHD etc but nothing can be diagnosed as he is not displaying "symptoms" of any one particular disorder, he isn't like this with us at home (it is the opposite of the good state of affairs which is challenging at home, angel at school!) and despite us being extremely poor at the moment and mildly opposed to private education I am tempted to look into a private prep school.

For example DS has been spitting on the floor. He spat once on the floor at home about 8 months ago and I dealt with it and nothing at home since. At school, I am mortified to discover that he does it several times a week, they have written him a "social story" to show him why he shouldn't do it. Personally I think they should read him the riot act and he wouldn't do it again. There are other examples of this flowery approach and I think he has sussed it. He is a boundary pusher but responds well to a strict set of rules.

Am I being daft? Are prep schools more disciplined? Or should I just tell school to man up a bit? Would he flounder in a prep school because they would expect perfect behaviour?

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 10:32:26

Yes happygardening this is what I think is happening. I'm not happy about him misbehaving of course but I do think it could be dealt with better, he's only 7 and should know that the teachers are in charge!

happygardening Sat 09-Feb-13 11:04:27

OP some people just have a natural air of authority "a don't mess with me" personality others who may be perfectly good teachers dont. I personally have no time for "social stories" most 7 year olds know they shouldn't spit on the floor especially if he doesn't do it outside of the classroom.
Is it attention seeking behaviour? IME boys are often disillusioned with education especially the way its taught in the primary sector where the whole thing is aimed at nice well behaved compliant children (dons tin hat and hides) at a good prep but were talking serious money they will have specialised teachers/classrooms for most subjects lots of games/pe a MFL separate lessons for each subject and no literacy numeracy hour. Boys IME often find the variety and the increased level of activity even if its changing classrooms every 40 mins helpful and yes expectations of behaviour are very high and I suspect few would indulge in "social stories".
One final point has he been professionally assessed my DS1 was assessed by his primary school for dyslexia and found not to have it three subsequent professional assessments have found him to have moderate dyslexia but in a very rare form he just didn't tick the right boxes on the assessment carried out by a well-meaning teacher.

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 11:37:00

Thanks yes the teachers at school are lovely however all very young, no kids of their own etc. I expect they have everything in their locker but are not used to this sort of child! I expect a teacher with more experience (and kids of their own!) would naturally have the BS detector switched on and not take his manipulation...however they might not deliver such good classes perhaps you just can't have it all!

He has been assessed by two paediatricians and one paed OT. My mother is a SENCO and has tested him for dyslexia (2 years ago) but there is nothing like that he can read and spell very well. She is of the opinion that there is nothing "wrong" either although obviously she isn't experienced to diagnose. She works in a private senior school so mostly sees dyslexia etc. but the DCs are well behaved (and older).

Someone upthread mentioned that a social story is usually deployed when a child has ASD, is this your experience?

I think he would benefit from variety and exercise! He loves maths and French but they only have French one lesson every fortnight shock. As I write he is doing his homework at the same table as me, he loves French and although wriggling a bit in his chair he looked through his vocab book and asked questions and did the French worksheet homework without fuss. Now he is doing spellings, writing each one out once. He is prevaricating a bit. His homework involves writing a bit more so I predict a riot...

Oh and I'm going to make him do some writing for me later on, wish me luck!

LIZS Sat 09-Feb-13 11:46:38

I would be wary about automatically assuming any school, private or state, would be stricter and may benefit your ds. ime private schools vary in their boundaries and discipline. There are often harsher rules but those who have SEN and those who fail to respect them or "fit in" may be asked to leave but on the other hand, their behaviour may be tolerated at the expense of others if they are perceived as otherwise being beneficial to the school hmm.

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Feb-13 11:52:45

I agree with others upthread that the problem may not be with 'state' school but with THIS state school.

I have recently moved from a school in a deprived area with a VERY mixed intake (30 - 35% of children on SEN register, high FSM etc etc) to a school in a much 'nicer' area with almost zero FSM and very few children with SEN.

One of the things that I have noticed is that the discipline is different. In school A, low level disruption was dealt with instantly, there was lots of support for SEN but also very firm boundaries in place - because so many children COULD have been a problem, no problem was ever allowed to develop from the first grumblings. At school B, because low level disruption doesn't have the same tendency to escalate (and many staff who have been there for many years are only used to dealing with 'nice well behaved children') it is not dealt with so firmly. Children with SEN are made out to be quite a big problem, because they are so rare, and fewer staff have the experience needed to support them effectively (if a third of every class is on the register, every teacher and every TA is well versed in SEN...if you only have an SEN child every now and again, you don't have the same up-to-date hands-on experience - it's not a criticism, just an observation. I, on the other hand, am not as adept as other staff at dealing with aggressively pushy parents, as they have not been a recent part of my teaching experience!)

Look at other schools, talking especially to the SENCo at each school. You may find that there is no need to move sectors to get a completely different experience. My DS became a selective mute at one school, but thrived at another school. Both were state, but as different as chalk and cheese.

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Feb-13 11:54:51

(I did investigate private schools when DS moved schools. None displayed any tolerance for his 'difference' - although he is no longer mute, he does have ASD traits - and made it clear that a) I would have had to pay extra for SEN support in many cases and b) other parents expected that children who 'took up too much time' / failed to conform were asked to leave)

Mutteroo Sat 09-Feb-13 12:04:32

DD's private senior school assured us that because she was a good speller and could read, that she could not possibly be dyslexic. She IS dyslexic! Dyslexia is like ASC, there's a range of issues and a person may have any combination of these. In other words, never discount anything!

I'm not sure what the answer is with your son and I can see money is tight, but I would try and save/beg the money to get him privately assessed by an Ed Psych. That way you have an independent report to take with you to any school he attends. We presumed DD had ADD and her old primary school presumed she was mildly affected and gave additional support. The pupils with more complex and severe barriers to learning were always going to be ahead of her in the queue to be assessed and they quite rightly they always were! I've always found that knowledge is power which is why I'm advocating the assessment. It may be that nothing is diagnosed, but at least it enables you to rule things out?

Trust your instincts OP. Wish I listened to mine much earlier as DDs diagnosis at age 15 has left her with all sorts of confidence issues! It may be that your son is rebelling against the schools 'flowery' policies and it may be that he prefers clear boundaries. You know the answers because your his mum and you should be listened too. Good luck

CecilyP Sat 09-Feb-13 12:09:49

I can't see why school think spitting is not a problem, especially when he doesn't do it at home.

I am sure the school does think it is a problem, but they are handing it in their own way. The firmer line taken by a private school might be, 'we do no accept this' but if he continues to do it, they will suggest that you look elsewhere.

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 12:12:06

Thanks teacherwith2kids I could weep as you have just explained EXACTLY what I think is going on. I thought that struggling with a huge mortgage to be in a nice leafy MC school area was the best thing to do for my children but now I actually think DS1 would thrive in a much more mixed environment. There are no statemented children at DS's school, I don't know how many on the register but would guess it is a very small amount of DCs. There is hardly any on FSM either.

Do you think teacher I should write to school saying I want them to be firmer with DS and let me know weekly what is going on or will this make them cross? I want to work with them so I don't want to come across as saying I want special treatment for him. I am also thinking of putting DS2 in nursery an extra morning a week and volunteer in class to sort books or tidy up art stuff or something. I'd be interested to see if he is different in class to how he is at home and also see if teacher notices he is different when I am there. Would this be a good idea or not in your opinion?

JoanByers Sat 09-Feb-13 12:40:06

It might help if you could say where you are, so as to suggest possible schools?

happygardening Sat 09-Feb-13 13:26:13

I'm not saying the private sector would necessarily deal with the OP's DS better there are plenty of lovely young childless teachers in the private sector as well. and many are right the private sector will frequently charge for extra support and also ask a very distuptive child to leave. But I do think the variety and range of activities offered in top prep schools can benefit wriggling boys. I think the point already made up thread is that the current school/individual class teacher may not necessarily be dealing with the problem in the most effective way. What happens next year? A different teacher? Do you know anything about him/her? Strict teachers often have reputation travelling before them (I know I'm not a teacher but work with children and am considered by my colleagues and children I work with as not standing for any crap strangely I don't get alot either!). Or is this ethos coming from the head? If yes if I was in your shoes I'd look at other schools get a feel for what's out there.

Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 15:15:37

I think a lot depends on the teacher as well as the school. My DS 1 is pretty docile but had some very challenging boys in his class in Reception and y1 when the class had sweet, nice, young teachers. In Y2 they got a bit of a dragon and now in Y3 they have a very experienced, strict but fair type, and there really aren't any behaviour issues now. They just needed a much firmer hand, which the first two teachers couldn't offer. Now my DS2, who can be challenging, is in Y1 with a very nice but inexperienced teacher and he is running rings around her. I can't wait for him to (fingers crossed) get the dragon in Y2! Point of all this being, is the whole school too flowery or is it worth holding out in the hope of a more suitable teacher for your DS next year?

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 16:21:22

Thanks biscuits, I'm really not sure. There was a young teacher (DS had her in yr 1) who was brilliant, she "got" him and ruled with an iron rod but a suger coating! Loved her, sadly she has left...to go to a prep school grin

The rest of them all seem very nice but I've not felt that much of an affinity with them.

WE have a temporary head (might be the problem, actually).

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 18:21:44

I have bought a book for helping with stories. Story 1 is about a first day at school. I can see why the teacher is at the end of her tether...it must have taken 3 hours for him to write the beginning of the story. Lots of crying and "I don't know what to write!" often he would have two good ideas and couldn't decide between the two.

Two ideas I am thinking of are some sort of decision maker, like a big cube with "option 1" or "option 2" on the sides. Another thing which may help is a sort of timer?

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 18:29:32

I think timers are fantastic. It means the end is is sight for everyone- there is nothing worse than homework dragging on for ever. Do a deal. He works as hard as he possibly can until the timer goes, then it gets put away and not mentioned again. If it's school homework, if necessary send the teacher a note explaining what you've done.

Oh and you can find out about your schools's SEN and FSM %ages by looking on the Dfes league tables.

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 18:30:36

Sorry forgot to say, 20 minutes is more than enough time for any task at this age- much beyond that and it gets counter productive.

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 18:37:46

Thanks for that seeker, FSM less than 5% and Statement or school action pls is just over 3%. ESL less than 8%.

The problem is seeker given 20 minutes he will just sit and faff about. What he has written is actually really good (and he even chucked in a bit of atheist thought so I'm quite proud grin) but he is just convinced he can't do it. My instinct is to just keep at it and eventually he will get used to doing it and confidence will improve. I hope I'm right!

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 18:39:10

Oooh just googling a decision cube came across story cubes, has anyone used those for reluctant writers?

http://www.storycubes.com/

happygardening Sat 09-Feb-13 18:41:23

I'm a completely slack parent and have never bought a flash card or book like you described in my life. But when my DC's were your DS's age and younger I used to make up mad ridulous stories everyday when we walked the dogs after school. I would encourage them to expand on the story and add there own bits and make decisions about what happened next they used to love it and we would laugh so much doing it. Both now teenagers are excellent at imaginative creative writing and have lots of unusual ideas this may be a coincidence but I doubt it did any harm. Kids can learn so much informally we don't have to sit with text books and timers especially after a long day at school.

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 18:55:35

Ah yes but he can do all that in his head and speaking out loud happygardening! Teacher very impressed with his ideas, in fact some of what he has just written here is brilliant. He draws endless pages of stories (he wants to invent stories for computer games when he is older, so he tells me) so drawing is fine, writing he hates.

It is a "blockage" between the head and the page.

happygardening Sat 09-Feb-13 21:31:42

OP may I suggest an ed. psych assessment (which I suspect you might have to pay for) dyslexia does not necessarily just mean problems with reading and spelling it can also mean problems with writing/organising ideas on paper, reading and spelling can be unaffected this could account for his behavioural problems in school.

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 21:47:06

Oh really? I didn't realise. SENCO says the school isn't having a visit from the EP until after half term in the Summer term, even then he is not be top of the list because he is achieving well.

I looked into this last year, I think they are quite pricey!! If he has dyslexia of this type, what would they do to help him?

JoanByers Sun 10-Feb-13 00:01:11

Don't mess about with LEA EPs. If you've got the money for private education, you've definitely got the money for an EP's report.

A proper EP report would be personal to him and involve EP spending several hours with your son. This clearly isn't going to happen with an EP who is just visiting a school to see hundreds of children.

happygardening Sun 10-Feb-13 07:37:47

"'If he has dyslexia of this type, what would they do to help him?"
A $64 000 000 question. Your school can do anything from absolutely nothing, or at least understanding why he perhaps behaves inappropriately to understanding him and putting measures in to help him (if your really lucky). Dyslexia cant be cured but children eventually learn to overcome and manage some of its associated difficulties, extra time is usually available as is the use of a lap top. Dyslexia especially when its not the classic cant read/spell is an invisible disability frequently misunderstood by teachers who seem incapable of understanding that dyslexia is not just about poor reading/ spelling. It effects all part of their life and as the curriculum gets harder and more complex bright dyslexics who cant write/process information usually under-perform in relation their IQ. But at least you will know what the problem is. Most dyslexics with this problem compensate by being very articulate and of course imaginative.
I dont live in London but friends who do I believe pay about £700 for an ed. psych report recommendations are usually made and completely ignored by teachers and then you can discuss what your individual school or prospective school will do.. If he is reading but not writing due to dyslexia you are highly unlikely to get a statement becasue the problem wont be "bad enough".

happygardening Sun 10-Feb-13 07:51:44

Meant to add I too wouldn't waste my effort trying to get a LEA one especially the initial one a private one will also include IQ scores etc if a diagnosis of dyslexia is made and iQ scores obtained it wont change and then use the LEA in the future to recomenedations for help our LEA only has 1 ed psych for the whole county!
If you cant or wont pay and your school wont help you need to try and get your DS's GP on board schools as a general principle don't like GP letter a suggestion from him or her that you son is assessed by the ed. psych will usually produce results.
Does anyone in you family have dyslexia? Although I didn't realise I had it until my DS's were diagnosed I too read beautifully and very fast like one of my DS's but write all nearly words back to front and cant spell anything with more than two syllables and write slowly but spelling apart thought this was normal. I labelled careless/slapdash at school hence causing the words to be back to front and although knew I wrote significantly slower than friends thought I was just stupid.

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