DDs school rejecting her... I'm fuming! (long sorry)

(17 Posts)
Dinkysmummy Wed 27-Feb-13 10:29:45

My dd is only just 5, we moved to the area when she was 10months old. After checking everything out and talking to people I found the school I wanted dd to go to when she was 4. So I paid increased rent to secure the school of my choosing. I lost my job in November 2011 and in April 2012 we were made homeless. The school seemed to want to help and got her into play therapy. Her behaviour kept getting worse both at school and at home. So January they put her on the SEN register for behavioural and emotional difficulties. I found out the teacher had said she doesn't have a connection with dd.
Monday I spoke to the play therapist and she asked if I had any news on the housing front. I told her there was a couple of places but they were too far away from the school (and in a less desirable area of the town). She asked me to go in yesterday and speak to her face to face.

When I got there the head and the play therapist were in the room. Then they started. They were saying that the school in that area is really good (was in special measures 2 and a half 3 years ago and has now been made an academy) and has spaces. That, that area is the social housing area and we were unlikely to get anywhere near the current school. Seeing as the school is split infant and junior dd wont get into the junior if we are out of catchment.
The head went on to say "that school would be more equipped to deal with families like yours". angry
That dd could do with nurture group that they don't have at current school. That the teacher has said the day before that dd would make new friends in the new school and she would be fine (the teacher had previously said that dd was "very concerned about her friends").
They said it would be better to move everything at the same time and that not getting housed faster (because no one wants that area) would be doing dd a disservice angry (I have done everything with dd in mind). The head said they would be willing to do a transition package for dd so the move would be as easy as possible and that she would be fine once we were settled which could be in a month or 2. They finished up by both saying that what is in the best interest off dd would be to move to this area and get her into the school there. angry

This really upset me! I do everything I can for dd. I read to her every day between 1-3 books. We practice letters and sounding out writing words to the point where last week she tried to write 'buster' but wrote 'bustur'. Dd went to school knowing single phonic sounds and reading 1+ Oxford tree reading books.
families like yours what families where the parent reinforces work at home, spends time with the child and teaches them. A parent who the senco said was doing everything in their power to do what is best for dd.

They just don't want her there.

sad

DisAstrophe Wed 27-Feb-13 10:36:33

OMFG I am so angry on your behalf. How horrible to be pushed out.

Why can't they set up a social group for your dd at her current school?

I would write an email or a letter to them putting everything they said to you on record. Then I'd talk to the local parent partnership or local councillor.

Also come and post on SN children as there is a lot of people who can support you there.

hugs

learnandsay Wed 27-Feb-13 10:44:14

It's not the school's job to offer you advice on housing. If I was in your situation I would ask them to refrain from offering such advice. Do you want your daughter to remain where she is?

You sound like a good, loving and caring mum. I'm so sorry that you're having such a difficult time. I'm sure things will get better. I just hope it's soon.

Pagwatch Wed 27-Feb-13 10:47:48

Yes - repost in the SN section. They have people very experienced in deling with schools.

But you do need to bear in mind whether you actually feel your DDs needs will be best supported in an environment where they are focused upon persuading you to leave.

adeucalione Wed 27-Feb-13 10:48:33

Is it possible that when you mentioned that houses were available in an out-of-catchment area they assumed that you would be moving there, and were trying to reassure you that your DD would be fine at the school in that area?

adeucalione Wed 27-Feb-13 10:50:04

Or that, since you say you are applying for social housing, they know for sure that you won't be rehoused within the catchment area for their junior school and are trying to reassure you?

learnandsay Wed 27-Feb-13 10:54:19

The school should concentrate on educating the child not brainwashing the mother. The OP doesn't sound like she's in a good position to escalate a complaint about the head's behaviour at the moment. But if this was happening to my child I think every cabinet minister in England would have heard about it by now.

silverfrog Wed 27-Feb-13 11:01:52

oh, I am sorry Dinky. It is gutwrenchingly horrible when this happens. Do repost in SN - there are (sadly and horrifyingly) lots of us who have been through similar.

dd1 was rejected from a school when she was about to enter their nursery year - I went to a meeting which was supposed to be about integrating her to find out that actually it was about them saying they didn't want her there.

It is awful, but it might be a blessing in disguise to find out early on - I came around very quickly to realising that anywhere that didn't positively want dd1 as part of their school was absolutely not good enough to be graced with her (delightful grin) presence. they are the losers here - they are willing to lose a committed and hardworking parent, and a child who is willing to put their all into everything.

ignore the fuckers.

titchy Wed 27-Feb-13 11:12:07

Maybe after a year of being homeless they are just trying to be realistic, maybe there is no chance of you being offered housing near the school, maybe the school feels your dd is hugely unsettled by being in (presumably) temporary accommodation, and that maybe they think you're holding out for something that doesn't exist - i.e. social housing close enough to get you into the junior school. Maybe they think that her EBD issues are at the moment far more important to resolve than keeping her in her current school.

Just putting the other side across.... A supportive parent will have a child that does well, irrespective of the school they go to, and you seem to be supportive, so maybe stability is the thing that's missing, and maybe the school is trying to tell you that, albeit in a cak-handed way.

bunjies Wed 27-Feb-13 11:15:24

Do you think it might be worth emailing the head & asking her to make the same points in writing to you. It may give her pause for thought if she has to formally record her views.

pinkdelight Wed 27-Feb-13 12:59:08

I can only imagine how much this must have hurt after all your hard work, but I do think there may be something in what titchy says. Obviously the 'families like yours' comment ignites such powerful feelings that everything else gets lost, but the bigger point about your DD being unsettled, needing stability and being very unlikely to achieve that in the current school as she won't get into the juniors, seems like a valid concern. They could be coming from the right place, even if they worded it clumsily. They may not have been saying we don't want your daughter in our school so much as offering what seemed to them a much better solution.

Is the other school really so bad that you would reject stable accommodation to avoid it? People on here are always saying how special measures signifies a big turnaround and academy status is no bad thing. You know your DD of course, and I totally appreciate how passionate you must feel, but if you truly believe that the school is rejecting your DD, it can't be all that outstanding and a more inclusive caring environment, albeit in the 'wrong' end of town, may be better.

I hope you don't think I'm sounding like the head now. Just trying to be open. But if you just want to fume for now, I understand. As others have said, the SN forum is very supportive.

fatfloosie Wed 27-Feb-13 13:29:57

Hi OP have you actually been to the school you're trying to avoid or are you just going on OFSTED etc? I tried really hard (staying put in an expensive rental when we really should have moved, going to appeal etc) to get DD into the local school with OFSTED Good with Outstanding features and SATs in the 90s where she went to nursery, instead of our catchment school on the nearby council estate which is Good with Satisfactory features (with most of those satisfactory features being important things like achievement!) with SATs in the low 70s. One of DP's friends who was also in catchment said her children would go there 'over my dead body' and drives them miles away instead.

I think I thought getting DD into the 'best' school would perhaps compensate for not giving her the best start in other areas. I couldn't have been more wrong. We are all much happier at the catchment school. We fit in perfectly, don't have to worry about having playdates in our hovel of a house, or not throwing expensive birthday parties. The school is wonderful, happy and nurturing. DD and I made more friends in the first half term than we did in a whole year at DD's nursery.

It does sound a bit like your current school is trying to 'manage you out' but I also agree with titchy that they may just be concerned that you've lost sight of the bigger picture. It really isn't worth continuing homelessness for the sake of a slightly better school. And who knows, as it did for us, it may turn out that whilst not better on paper it is the better school for you and your DD.

learnandsay Wed 27-Feb-13 13:59:12

Personally I think the homelessness and the choice of which school are two separate issues. Parents do quite rightly get very strong views on which school they want their children to go to. The OP's daughter is already in the school. Unless the child is breaking the school's rules (which doesn't appear to be the case) the school has no business trying to get rid of her. It's also none of the head's business where the child's mother lives.

pinkdelight Wed 27-Feb-13 14:04:52

Sure, you're right learnandsay, but just going off the fact that they were helpful when the homelessness initially happened and this was seen as a good thing, then the door was open for them to continue to 'help'. So of course the OP can say it's none of their business now, but till she says that, it sounds to have been a shared issue that they've been talking about alongside the educational issues.

christinarossetti Wed 27-Feb-13 14:22:20

So your dd is in reception? In that case, whether you move school or not is up to you as she had her place.

I do completely understand why you're so upset and the 'families like yours' comment is completely out of order, but it does sound like in some clumsy sort of way that they're trying to help.

It sounds like your dd's school is in a fairly desirable area and it is a reality that it will be harder if not impossible to obtain housing in this type of area. The issue of being out of catchment for juniors is also a significant one for any child, but particularly one who has additional needs (and the years go quickly - you'll be applying for juniors in about 18 months).

Although I agree that the school and housing are two separate issues. The primary issue at the moment seems to be that your dd's current school isn't meeting her needs particularly well and there's a professional suggestion that another one might. However wonderful the school looked on paper, it doesn't sound like it's been a great experience for your dd.

I agree that you should go and look at the other school (and indeed keep your options open as many as possible) and speak with senior staff particularly about provision for children with the difficulties you describe your dd as having. You certainly do sound like your dd's needs are at the forefront of every decision you make, and in your shoes I would be looking round for a school which felt confident that it could meet my particular child's needs and that was reasonably near where I was expecting to be housed.

Dinkysmummy Wed 27-Feb-13 16:56:39

Thank you for all of your messages.

I agree with a lot of what people have said.

Yes they were extremely heavy handed and made me feel like the rag amoungst the riches. I guess there is a lot of other stuff that made me feel worse SN related (I forgot to write it in here but dd has been referred to child development centre to see a peadiatrician) It's all happening so quickly I've barely had time to turn my head.

I have been to see the academy school and took a look at the area where the house is and stood outside. It isn't in the worst part of the area and the school seems ok. I just wanted better for my dd as I grew up on a rough london council estate.

I think my dd would be happier somewhere where they actually wanted her there. At first I thought they were being helpful and realistic but reality is while some of what they say has merit it is also full on contradiction.
On the one hand dinky is concerned about her friends and seems very attached, then in the meeting yesterday she will make new friends and forget these ones within a month.
They say that she will be fine,all her issues are housing related and she will thrive, yet say that this school has a nurture group and a full time dedicated and TAs who can meet her needs.
They say she needs stability and continuity but suggest taking her out of school at the same time as moving house.

They did go about it all the wrong way and I do feel like they are pushing her out. It was all helpful, up until her behaviour got really bad in January. Then their attitude changed.

Will post on SN board too...

Thanks again for all your support.

prh47bridge Thu 28-Feb-13 00:05:18

The school cannot push you out. Your daughter has a place there. The only way they can take it away would be to permanently exclude her.

Of course it is better for your daughter to be at a school where you feel she is wanted. But if it were me I would also be thinking about making a complaint to the governors of your daughter's current school. They may not do anything based on your report alone but if they get several reports of similar behaviour by the head it may prompt them to take action.

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