My DD, just turned 4 and youngest in her year, has just started Reception.
She is at an independent school where she has also spent over 1 year at pre- school which she loved.
She came home on Friday with a cut lip. Both upper and lower lip with quite a scab on them. I asked her what happened but she got very upset, cried and would only say that "someone pushed her"
Yesterday I asked DDs teacher who just shrugged and said she hadnt noticed (how you can miss who big scabs who must have bled, I dont know).
Yesterday DD comes home upset again. This time tells me a particular boy has been pushing her around pulling her hair and trying to pull her pinafore off! I comforted her and told her she should always tell a teacher if something like this happened.
This morning I took her up to the class room because she wouldnt go on her own. I notice that her teacher has sat her next to the boy who has been pushing her and been physically aggressive with her. The boy in question has SEN and is a whole year older than DD who is the smallest in her year.
There are only 3 girls in DDs class. I saw this morning that the two other girls have been sat next to each other by the teacher. Leaving DD as an outsider next to someone who is assaulting her.
My mothering instinct tells me to go back to the school and remove her immediately. Obviously this is emotion and not constructive. So please help me be constructive here and get perspective on this.
I told DH last night and spoke to him again this morning after drop off. He wants me to ring around other schools for a place for DD.
They are not caring for your daughter or this boy either. Your DD needs to be safe and the boy needs to be supported so he is not lashing out....I suspect he has a sensory defensive thing to tactile contact.
But your DD had scabs from cuts and the teacher did not notice
I am presuming your DD is/was happy at this school other than the issue with this particular boy.
I would go into the school and see if they deal with it first (doesn't stop you looking at other schools in the interim). I would ask for a specific meeting (get a fixed time) with the teacher, don't just chat to them about it at drop off or collection as their mind will be on other things and they may just want to get rid of you so they can get on. Explain the situation but be really firm with them and insist your DD is moved to another table immediately, as it has reached a point now where your DD cannot be expected to sit next to someone who has physically hurt her and whom she is scared of. Also request that the people who supervise playtimes are informed and they keep an eye on DD, you could insist that you speak to them yourselves with DD so that DD knows she can go to them if she is upset or worried and they will understand.
Then I would give it a week, if there are further incidents escalate it to the HT. The difficulty with these situations is even if your DD is moved away from this child the likelihood is that he will find someone else to pick on so really there should be work done with the class as a whole about being kind to each other and that violence is unacceptable.
Don't forget to ask for a copy of the schools bullying policy and if appropriate insist it is reinforced. I do feel for your DD and I hope this can all be sorted out for her but as a small, quiet summer born girl she may struggle in a boy heavy school generally, although it could also make her a stronger personality.
Jammie. Yes DD was very happy at the school before this happened.
I agree that more than just moving DD away from the boy needs to be done.
I have been drinking tea and thinking calming thoughts. I am about to make an appointment through the school office to see DDs teacher and discuss it.
I will take your advice on escalating it to HT after a week of no action.
I also wanted to mention that for the first week of the term DD was sitting somewhere else (I saw when I dropped her off) and another little boy sat where DD now sits. I know that his parents came to the school to see HT and the little boy would scream and fight to avoid being taken into class. Now he calmly goes to class as he sits elsewhere.
Its not good is it.?
I am also particularly upset about the two only other girls sitting together. Those two already share a cultural back ground that my DD does not and sitting DD alone only furthers her to be a loner on the outside.
Sounds like this little boy has known problems and the school should do more than just keep moving people around. I totally understand the way you feel and I would feel exactly the same in your situation (plus I would be holding onto DH's coat tails trying to drag him back for shouting at what appears to elbe a rather unobservant teacher!!! There's nothing like over protective fathers!
Interms of tone to use I wouldn't be all guns blazing as I often find people listen to you less but I would be incredibly firm about the approach that you expect to be taken. Some schools have their bullying policies on their websites so worth a look there.
What size are the class tables? Is there space on there for her to sit with them? I would raise this as a side issues and suggest that she be moved there, it can't do any harm. Also is it a one form or two form entry as there could be the option of a different class if there are girls there?
I would grab a biscuit to go with that tea and maybe write a list of all the points you want to raise (there's nothing like walking out of a meeting and remembering something you should have said).
Aside from your immediate problem, 3 girls in a class may cause you problems in the future. It is not enough. I would have a look round at places elsewhere as you may want to move her in the future anyway.
Agree with everything Jammie has said. I wouldn't go in all guns blazing as that tends to make teachers feel defensive, I would try to stay calm and firm. I'd focus on the violence as the most important issue, rather than the other girls sitting together, but the latter would bother me too.
It sounds like this may not be the right school for your DD. If you move her now, so early in the year, she should have a chance to settle in quickly to a new school.
Thanks everyone. Feel calmer now and more able to handle it without DH going mad and me being shrill and shouty.
DD spent over a year at this school in their pre school and she has loved every minute of it. They have been really fab so far. DS has just started there in the pre school and he loves it.
The class is very small - just 11 of them. They were expecting two more girls from DDs preschool class to have joined. However one didn't because they could no longer afford it (I met her in supermarket over the summer and she told me then). And the other girl had apparently been on a waiting list for the local outstanding State school and she actually attended the first week of term with DD at the school but was then offered a place at state school and left because its meant to be as good educationally but obviously free.
The other issue is that the teacher is new. The previous reception teacher left at the end of summer term. This new teacher seemed very capable and has worked at two other localish independent schools with good reputations.
Sorry I am rambling on but I just want to do the best for DD and for her to have the very best school experience possible.
I would prefer to solve this with the school because DD has been there for over a year already and is so used to it. She knows other pupils from Year 1 and Year 2 from when she was at pre school. She knows all the staff too. The school has a good reputation and excellent OFSTED.
I know there are always difficulties along the way of school life. I just didn't expect it so soon.
Also came on MN this morning because I didn't want to go to the school and be all PFB about DD without some sense check from MNer who are more versed in school life than I am.
Jammie. I hope so too. Was worried. And thanks to everyone on MN I was able to handle it calmly and not flap around like I usually. And keep DH away from it
I think the teacher was very genuine. To be honest my expectations should probably have been higher as the school is outstanding particularly for its pastoral care and early years dept.
Still you hear so many horrors about children being bullied from the moment they start school even in supposedly amazing schools. It's my big fear for DD because she is the youngest and a very gentle soul. Less worried about DS for when he starts because he is a very robust character and throws himself into the fray