Am I wrong about this??

(26 Posts)
camel2 Wed 19-Dec-12 20:18:53

My friend has just found out that her 13 year old son has bunked off school on 4 occasions, because he didn't have the right pe kit and was afraid of the implications... As a result she has decided to remove her son from the school, and send him to a local comprehensive, so she can 'keep an eye on him'...
She totally believes the school is at fault for not informing her of his absence immediately,and I see her point completely, but there are methods that you can check if your child is in school, via website etc, but she is not interested in this, and holds the view that once he's out the door, he's totally in the care of the school..
I feel a bit annoyed about it all, as her son is my sons best friend and he's very upset about the situation, and since she keeps asking me if I think she's making the right decision, which I personally don't, but obviously I'm not going to tell her how to bring up her own children , but I can't help thinking she's making a mistake and basically just playing into his hands by moving him away from a situation he didn't like instead of making him deal with it.
I also truly believe that if he's gonna bunk from one place, he'll bunk from another..
Sorry it's a bit of a rant, but it's playing on my mind!!

creamteas Wed 19-Dec-12 20:39:07

Was it just PE he missed? Or a broader part of the day? What did the school say/do?

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Dec-12 20:42:50

How did she find that he bunked off? Was he not in school at all? If he was off for whole days then that would have raised fewer suspicions than if he had just been missing for his PE lessons. It's entirely possible that his tutor has asked him to provide notes for his absence, this message hasn't got home (because of course he wouldn't want to tell mum he'd been away) and now it's the end of term they are being chased up by the office.

It sounds like there's a lot more to it than just "deciding to bunk off school" - why did he not have the right PE kit? Can his mum not afford the uniform stuff? And what are the "implications"? PE teachers are not known for their caring and sensitive approach to children who bring the wrong kit. Perhaps he had reason to worry?

It sounds like their relationship with the school has not been going well, whatever the rights and wrongs of this specific situation. If he gets on better with the new school, there's no reason to think he'll bunk off, unless his reasons have nothing to do with PE kit.

senua Wed 19-Dec-12 20:59:32

she keeps asking me if I think she's making the right decision

Not knowing the schools, the DC, etc I have no idea if it's the right decision. However, it's a decision that can only be made once. You can't keep on chopping and changing schools; she needs to be 100%. If she keeps asking for opinions then it sounds as if she is not.

How do you square the comment "send him to a local comprehensive, so she can 'keep an eye on him'..." with the other statement that "once he's out the door, he's totally in the care of the school." Her logic seems a little confused.

BoundandRebound Wed 19-Dec-12 23:13:07

Once he's registered at school he's there responsibility

He shouldn't be able to leave without school knowing but it happens unfortunately. Once he's off site school contacts parent and does not have responsibility but a good school will follow up

I'd be cross at child he's 13 and knows the difference

I wouldn't move him but would speak to school about cincerns

camel2 Thu 20-Dec-12 09:54:35

Thanks for the responses...I understand it was whole days he bunked off, on the days when he had pe lessons.. He had no football boots and had asked his mum for them at the start of term but she'd forgotten to buy them and he didnt want to ask her again, because money had been a problem. Apparently the school rule is that if 4 or more kids dont have football boots, the whole group (90 kids) have to do cross coutry, and nobody likes it, so he was getting grief from other kids too...so he just decided not to go in.
Should the school not contact you if your child doesnt turn up?, or is it your own responsiblitiy to check regularly..?
Obviously my friend feels dreadful about this, like its her fault, but i cant see how changing his school resolves the problem..

camel2 Thu 20-Dec-12 09:58:22

Ive just re read through these, @senua you are right, her logic is confused, thats probably whats bothering me so much!

Poor boy. I think the "no football boots, so everyone does cross country" rule is fair enough. It's a great incentive for people to remember their boots.

I do think this is your friend's fault,TBH. I think it's the parents' job to make sure they have everything they need at the start of term, then it's up to the DC to remember it very day. Her son is being taken from school and his friends due to something she forgot. Not fair.

senua Thu 20-Dec-12 10:15:21

I thought that collective punishments were banned these days?

I'm afraid that your friend is sounding more and more unreasonable. The poor lad is bunkng off sport because SHE didn't buy football boots and is he scared of being bullied yet all the blame is laid at HIS door?
She needs to think about her parenting more: she can't forget to buy kit, not check the website and think that her DS is 'out of the door, so not her responsibility'. He needs more support, not a change of school.

camel2 Thu 20-Dec-12 10:23:01

Thats my opinion exactly, but i cant say that to her.. I feel gutted for her son and mine, both been best friends since primary school reception class, always together. He only lives down the road, so its not the end of the world i guess, they can still see each other after school and at weekends, but i feel like its the end of an era...sounds a little melodramatic i know.

senua Thu 20-Dec-12 10:36:29

Your friend doesn't sound the most organised. Has anyone checked to see if the local school actually has a free space for her DS? Otherwise, it's an empty threat.

Madmog Thu 20-Dec-12 14:22:13

It just seems a shame that this has occurred and in retrospect things should have been done differently on both sides. I appreciate money is tight for your friend, but if I couldn't afford clothes for my daughter at the start of term I'd be asking my friends if they had an old pair that would suffice. My daughter's old school used to invite parents to call in and view lost property and if not labelled or taken at that time, then any suitable items were kept at the school as spares. If they operate this policy, then they may well have been able to help. Maybe you could discuss these options with her and suggest she asks friends/school for help.

At my daughter's school they get detention if they do not have an item of pe kit. A detenion letter goes home via the child and is also posted and parents have to sign one copy and return, so basically it's yours and their responsibility to make sure they have the kit. My daughter's school also have the policy that if you haven't phoned in by 11am, they will contact you. If you are not available on the contact numbers given then they reserve the right to take appropriate action, which can be in the form of someone calling at your house if practical or contacting Social Services if they feel they should be invollved. From a safety point of view, I really would hope the school had time to contact me.

If the school she wishes to transfer him to is any good, there may well be a waiting list - apparently there are 7 on the waiting list for my daughter's year alone.

Katryn Thu 20-Dec-12 14:58:12

This is so awful, - particularly the part about the mother finding it hard to buy boots, and the son suffering as a consequence. Terrible that he feels too ashamed to go into school and too worried to ask his mother for boots (catch 22) - the situation feels quite sort of weirdly fictional in a Dickensian or Rohal Dahl kind of way) and is going to be something he won't forget as he grows older. What kind of school is she moving him from? You say they don't have much money, so is he moving him from a grammar? If so she'd be mad to move him, for so many reasons (not least because it sounds like she is doing it as a punishment, which just feels quite volatile and selfish - (he bunked off because he was afraid of being bullied) surely she could have asked a relative or friend to borrow money for football shoes. You can buy them for about £19 online or less from sport direct) - and if she's still asking your opinion, you must tell her how unfair and unjust she's being, in the nicest possible way of course! But seriously tell her to buy the boots and take it from there.

Katryn Thu 20-Dec-12 15:00:35

And I agree with SENUA - he needs more parental support.

mollymole Thu 20-Dec-12 15:11:27

So, will she buy him some football boots if he moves school, because he will still need them. She sounds very unpleasant, knows her son needs the boots, and her son feels he can't ask for them. There appears to be more going off here than a pair of football boots. If schools know about these things there are usually 2nd hand/left over pairs to give out.

JenaiMathis Thu 20-Dec-12 17:56:33

You can get football boots for £15 from Sports Direct.

I appreciate that at some schools wearing £15 football boots is social death (not the case at ds's school, thankfully - either that or he doesn't give a stuff) and that £15 isn't peanuts, but surely she could have begged or borrowed that £15 at some point since the start of bloody September?

Having said that, I the group punishment sucks. It's backfired horribly - which is what happens when punishments are unreasonable. I also think the mother's reaction is odd.

JenaiMathis Thu 20-Dec-12 17:58:28

Oh and we would be informed in the morning if our child hadn't turned up at school - I do think schools should do this.

happydad02 Thu 20-Dec-12 18:09:06

Seems to be blame on both sides here. I cant believe the school have allowed him to take 4 days off which would mean he is either ringing the school and inpersonating someone or he is writing letters on behalf of his mum. Hiis mum doesnt seem to be taking a lot of interest in her son so are there other children/new partner causing the distractions? I would move the child from the school as she does have a point about them being responsible about her child and the amount of absences suggests there is a lack of pastoral care at the school. As for the boots situation, Kids can be horrible when you dont have the best kit but being bullied because of it is again something that needs to be taken up with the school as they should be aware that such a policy could have the potential to start bullying.

Does he need football boots still?

DS has 6 pairs of size 7 boots that no longer fit, I was going to eBay or freecycle, I'd be happy to send them to you to pass on to your friends DS?

Our school sends a text of DCs are not registered by 10am. I think they are supposed to inform you if they are missing whole days.

JenaiMathis Thu 20-Dec-12 18:18:16

How on does your son have six pairs of football boots, Tantrums? Is he a spider (yes I know they have eight legs, but they'd need a couple to be left bootless for throw-ins)?

Hard ground, soft ground, astro, medium ground.

He buys them with his own money, bless him, because I don't get why you would need so many either.

JenaiMathis Thu 20-Dec-12 18:31:40

blush you can tell my son isn't particularly keen on football. grin

BooksandaCuppa Thu 20-Dec-12 18:33:49

Ds has £9 boots from sports direct or the Nike discount place. So do most of his peers. He's at an independent school. Thank goodness no one cares what they're wearing because I certainly wouldn't spend any more.

This is all a side issue, though, there's something very odd in your friend's attitude and decision. Does her ds want to stay at his current school?

bubbles1231 Thu 20-Dec-12 18:37:35

Maybe you friend was looking for a reason to move him

camel2 Thu 20-Dec-12 19:45:47

Thanks again all, the football boots issue has been resolved thankfully, but both myself and a few other mums did offer to help out with boots when we heard what had happened, as some of our kids do pe on different days, we suggested sharing boots between the kids...but he's got some now anyway..
The whole situation sucks really, the current school is a faith school a bus ride away, and the new school the local one just up the road,but both comprehensives...it's just all the kids from the primary school went on to that school together..
I don't know if there was an underlying reason other than the obvious, but my son has seen him today at school and said he seems happy to be moving schools, he'll still see his friends at the weekends anyway, and maybe for him and his mum it's a way of drawing a line under an unpleasant situation and starting afresh.
However, I am still a bit concerned that nobody bothered to contact her when he didn't turn up on 4 separate occasions, and it makes me feel the need to check the website daily to check if my sons registered, but that's a small price to pay for my peace of mind and his safety, but its certainly something ill be asking about at the next parents eve!
@tantrums..bless you thanks for the offer, how thoughtful x

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