Ive been worried about dd at school for a year and finally it sounds like school are too.

(138 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 17:50:38

The head of year has rung and left a message saying she's worried about dd concerning how happy dd is and regarding problems dd is having with other kids.

I'm surprised she's rung to be honest as these problems have been going on for a year and I spoke to the HOY (same teacher) last year who seemed quite dismissive and made me feel I was been all PFB about it.

Dd seems to have a couple of friends who she gets on ok with but apart from that there seems to be quite a few girls who take pleasure in been nasty towards her. Dd was unhappy in Yr 7 a lot of the time, saying she spent quite a bit of time alone, etc. not just that but people were been low key nasty towards her every day, name calling, saying she's a geek, that she's weird, etc.

The constant name calling is getting her down and I worry about how its affecting her confidence. She was crying last week - not even over a specific incident and said she didn't feel safe but couldn't tell me why. I obv talk things over with her, give her little pep talks. I've bought her all the books about girls and friendships, etc.

She came home from school on Monday saying boys had been talking and laughing about her on the bus. Then Tuesday someone shoved a desk into her stomach on purpose and someone else threw a chair at her. This is in lessons, dd says the teacher is oblivious! Then more name calling in the next lesson.

When I speak to the HOY about it what should I be expecting her to say/do to try and sort the situation? Could I ask about counselling for dd as I am quite worried about how down she is. Would this be a CAHMs referral or could they do something in school.

Honestly I read in the news about girls who have committed suicide due to low level bullying like this over years and it frightens me.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 17:53:44

And I have asked myself why its dd that's getting picked on.

She is a bit alternative......she's into different music and manga and drumming. She's also bright and a bit of a geek. But she's a nice polite kid who cares about others.

I've made sure that she has trendy shoes and a trendy bag so she doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. She's into fashion so does wear trendy clothes on non uniform days but she doesn't wear make up like a lot of other year 8s seem to.

I don't care if these other kids don't want to be best mates with her, I just want them to leave her alone.

Bonsoir Wed 06-Nov-13 17:55:25

Crikey. What kind of school is this where your DD is being violently bullied by others and this is not being dealt with?

Bonsoir Wed 06-Nov-13 17:55:59

This is not "low level" bullying by the way.

catchingzeds Wed 06-Nov-13 17:57:28

I wouldn't call this low level bullying, seems much more serious to me. I'm wondering why this has been allowed to continue for a year with such little support for your DD.
I would consider speaking to your GP too.
I feel so sad for your DD and if she was mine I'd be seriously considering removing her from that school and if could I'd home school.

Madlizzy Wed 06-Nov-13 17:59:04

I would be STEAMING with anger on this at the physical abuse that she's received. The HOY needs to investigate these incidents and the perpetrators given consequences to their actions. School also need to tell you how they intend to keep your daughter safe whilst she is in their care. Ask your daughter to write down all the incidences she can recall, especially the physical ones and take that list with you. I'd also ask for a copy of the school's bullying policy.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:00:20

The violence with the desk and chair is the first time anything physical has happened for ages. That was only on Tuesday and dd hasn't been at school today as she's not well.

Last year there were three incidents that's were physical. Someone threw something at her on the bus and that girl was suspended. Someone else punched her once and was also suspended. Someone else rugby tackled/charged at her but dd didnt know her name/recognise her so nothing was done.

I actually think the name calling is upsetting her more. Been called a bitch and weird and a freak all the time.

Just a normal comp.

One of my friends has just removed her son from the school as the same was happening to him. Nothing was done until he flipped and punched a bully and he, not the bully, was suspended.

Bonsoir Wed 06-Nov-13 18:05:00

Do you have an alternative school? I wouldn't be doing anything other than looking to change my DC from a school where such things went on.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:07:37

I can't home school. The other school has terrible gcse results. I know exams aren't everything but I think dd would hate going to a school with. 30% 5 gcse pass rate.

I've got six names from dd of the girls who she feels are the main ones. The others are just kind of sniggering in the background. So I'll give these names to the HOY and insist she does something.

Dd is currently writing down a list of who's done what when.

Sparklingbrook Wed 06-Nov-13 18:09:46

What Bonsoir said. I moved my DS. It can be done.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 06-Nov-13 18:11:03

DD had problems similar to this at Middle school, one boy rammed a chair into her stomach then DD got told off as he said she had bumped into him. It was horrible and you both have my full sympathy. She stuck out Middle school, then went to an out of catchment Upper where the results aren't great but they got outstanding on Ofsted for the section about how safe the pupils feel.

Seeing her flourish in a different environment makes me regret not moving her for the last year of Middle School. In your position I would definitely have a look at other schools now.

cocolepew Wed 06-Nov-13 18:19:16

That's awful your poor DD.
My DD1 sounds similar to your DD, bit geeky, bright, likes more alternative music than her peers, she goes to a pretty rough high school. The difference us if anything happened to her in terms of name calling bullying etc the took her side and came down hard on the other person. Thankfully it has only been a handful of times, on the whole she plods along nicely.

I would go and speak to the HT, It's outright bullying. Ask to see theyre policy on bullying. I hope you can get something sortedand quickly.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:22:58

I've asked dd what she wants to do and she says she wants to move school. Which surprised me.

I asked her won't she miss her two friends and she started crying. She thinks they don't like her anymore. That they were blanking her this week. Dd thinks the other girls have talked her two friends out of liking her.

I have tried telling her that its probably not the case, its not like they've had a falling out. And that when she goes back they'll probably be fine with her but she's not having it. sad

ggirl Wed 06-Nov-13 18:25:04

aww your poor dd, any other options school wise ?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 06-Nov-13 18:27:33

Is the other one you mentioned totally the only other option ?

Sparklingbrook Wed 06-Nov-13 18:29:18

What are the other options school-wise Viva? DS is at a school 12 miles away because there is only one High School in this town.

Bonsoir Wed 06-Nov-13 18:30:30

Friends-that-aren't are not a good reason for not changing school. The situation sounds really terrible.

Badvoc Wed 06-Nov-13 18:30:44

I think you and your dd need to check out some other schools.
Really sorry to hear what's been going on.

AvonCallingBarksdale Wed 06-Nov-13 18:30:46

VivaLeBeaver, have pm'd you.

mumblechum1 Wed 06-Nov-13 18:31:56

I'd take her out and put her in the rubbish school tbh. Just because the results over all are atrocious doesn't mean that your dd won't do well as an individual.

DH went to a similarly dire comp and did v well, got a good degree, post grad degree etc. If you are there supporting her and if necessary paying for extra tutoring it may well keep her educational standards up and would be a fresh start.

Badvoc Wed 06-Nov-13 18:34:56

I took my son from and outstanding rated school where he had been bullied by the same child for years.
I sent him to a school rated satisfactory.
People thought I was mad.
Result...my ds was much much happier.
And the first school is now on special measures and his new school is now rated good!!
Please dint pay any intention to ofsted ratings...go and view, ask to be shown round with a pupil if they do that...go with your gut instinct.
I did and it worked out really well for us.
X

Badvoc Wed 06-Nov-13 18:35:53

...and I went to a sink comp and got 12 GCSE, and 2 a levels.
smile

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:35:58

Dd passed her 11plus for the grammar in the next town but just missed out on distance. She's still on the waiting list but is seventh on the list and has no chance of getting a place.

There's a good comp the other side of town. But no bus. I work shifts so can't take her. There is a private mini bus that goes from the village but not sure if there's space either on the bus or at the school. School is normally oversubscribed. But I can ask. Dd doesn't want to go to that school as she's heard they're strict....I've tried pointing out that's a good thing.

Other option is the really shit school.

I just worry that we could move her from an academically ok school to a shit school and end up with the same problems with bullying,etc there.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:36:39

We looked round the shit comp and I was very unimpressed with the staff, etc.

PhilippaOfHainault Wed 06-Nov-13 18:39:37

How bad is the other school? Forget about its GCSE results (ds1's friend went to a school with similar results and got 9 A* and 2 A at GCSE this summer). What does OFSTED say about how safe the children feel? Your dd shouldn't have to put up with daily bullying - she will not do well in her GCSEs in such a school anyway.

mumblechum1 Wed 06-Nov-13 18:40:36

Well in that case I think you're going to have to go all TigerMummy on getting her into the good comp on the other side of town.

It may be a ballache at first to get her there but once she starts making friends it may be possible to organise a carpool or something.
I'd make an appointment with the head of the good comp and basically throw myself at their feet.

Badvoc Wed 06-Nov-13 18:50:15

Yes, but how do the children feel at the shit school?
Do they feel safe?
Are they happy?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 06-Nov-13 18:50:33

I agree with Mumblechum. I'd go with the approach you have been concerned for some time. List incidents and say the school are now concerned however it has got to the stage where your DD feels too unsafe, it's affecting her health, self esteem and school work and you don't think the situation is redeemable.

Worry about the logistics further down the line. Tell your DD they are strict at my DD's school , after school detention straight away if HW not in. But the behaviour in lessons much less disruptive than her Middle school and DD feels a lot safer there.

how shit is really shit?

Less than 40% a-c GCSE? If there is banding, she'll be in with the achievers?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:54:46

I can't physically get her to the good comp myself. I often start work at7:15am, or I finish work at10pm. Dh commutes 90mins to work so leaves at 6:30am. If there isn't space on the mini bus there's no chance of her going there.

Ill ask about the mini bus and if there's space I'll ring the school.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 18:56:54

Shit school got 42% last year. Mprevious years have been between 30 and 36%.

Current school is 62%

Dd seems more upset tonight about the fact she thinks her two friends aren't talking to her than about the bullying. She thinks another not so nice girl has talked them into not liking her.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 19:03:41

Dd has just said she doesn't really want to leave her current school but she just wants some friends. sad

GRW Wed 06-Nov-13 19:10:02

Do you think you might have grounds for appeal to the grammar school in view of everything she has had to put up with? She sounds like the sort of girl who would thrive in an environment where it's ok to be clever and a bit geeky. My DD attends an all girl grammar school in Bucks, and they have made extra places available after year 7 where there are girls who need a place there. All the classes now have more than 30 in them. I think the bullying she has gone through will be taken into account on appeal.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 19:22:52

We appealed to the grammar once but obv this was before the bullying. They fight any appeal tooth and nail, we went as far as we could. They'd just say that seeing as there's space at the shit school then she could go there to get away from the bullies.

well, you have to fight for her.

DOn't worry about being seen as PFB mum, or pushy.

Go in there and ask (demand) to know all about the bullying policy, ask what they are going to do. Get it in writing. Then follow up with meetings about progress.

Be a pain. Throw your British reserve overboard. It is the only thing to do.

GRW Wed 06-Nov-13 19:35:22

Ok, I know some areas that have grammar schools are more likely to admit pupils after appeals than others. I hope that when you speak to the HOY she will come up with something that might help her to make friends.

cocolepew Wed 06-Nov-13 20:37:51

DDs school results are shittier than a shitty stick but they are trying their best with her. She's getting extra tution so she can do the high teir gcse's. The school usually does only foundation stage. She passed her 11+ but I didn't want her at the graammar school, they are very driven and she suffers with anxiety.
She's happy and content here.

Would it be possible to send DD to the other school in a taxi until there was space on the mini bus?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 20:45:09

Yes taxis an idea. Thanks.

Dd wants me to talk to the HOY first and try and sort things out at the school first.

cocolepew Wed 06-Nov-13 20:50:06

I hope you are able to sort something out, good luck smile

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 20:52:41

Viva, we've talked about schools before. I'm in your area and know which school you're talking about.

First of all, year 8 girls can be horrible. It's usually the worst year for bullying. But there's absolutely no excuse for the school not to absolutely sort it out.

If you really do end up moving her, here's what I know. The 'rubbish' school you're talking about has had several of my friends' children through it, one of whom has a first from a RG Uni and whose younger brother is on track for all As at GCSE. Other friends' children are there and are not academic but are very happy.

Another friend has removed her ds from your dd's school for being bullied for his AS.

The 'strict' school you're talking about would probably be a good match for dd but I think the waiting list is probably huge. No harm in asking though.

We talked before about a different grammar (east of the city). Almost definitely places in yr 8 - you would just have to get her to the bus (I know some kids come from near the hospital if that helps?)

And we talked about my ds's school (the independent). Would it be at all doable with a scholarship/fees reduction?

I know someone has just got a place in yr 7 with 50% off even after the start of the year (did first half term at the grammar but wanted better music provision). There may be ways and means for a bright girl such as your dd. Ds is still really happy there and doesn't get picked on at all for his immense geekdom (not that I know how the girls in his year behave).

Hope you can work something out. flowers You've had lots of other little niggles about this school, haven't you (sorry, not exactly been stalking you, but can remember a few threads!)

Goldmandra Wed 06-Nov-13 20:59:22

I agree with your DD. You need to try to get the school to sort this out. Moving her might just be handing her over to a new set of bullies.

I am not saying in any way that the bullying is your DD's fault because it absolutely isn't but have you considered why your DD is seen as so different? Your description of your DD, including your comment about her caring about others, could possibly fit a girl with Asperger's syndrome.

This page explains how girls can hide quite significant difficulties in order to try to blend in socially.

Before anyone goes off on one, I am not diagnosing or labelling anyone. I am pointing a parent in the direction of some information which might be useful to them.

If your DD ends up having severe difficulties coping in her current school and you have good evidence of this, you can appeal to the LA to fund a taxi to take her to a different school. Children taken in taxis usually have statements of SEN but there some who don't.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 21:03:01

OxfordComma, thanks for the messages.

I wish we'd taken a gamble on the mini bus for the strict school now as we'd have got in as not all the six spaces for our primary were allocated. The one who took the gamble got on the bus.

Interesting what you say about the "shit" school. I've sent a message to the mum I know who's removed her son from dd's school to that school to see how he's finding it/what she thinks of it so far.

Grammar to the east is out as I can't have dd hanging around from 7am waiting for the bus. Or hanging about until 10pm waiting for me to finish work.

Private school could be doable with a fee reduction. Do I just ring them up and ask if I can have some money off? grin

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 21:07:13

Goldmandra, thanks for the link. Not something I'd considered before but some of that rings true. She isn't very good at social chit chat or knowing what to say to someone sometimes.

I'll ask her HOY if she thinks its a possibility?? Not sure what they'll do if anything but ill do some more reading myself.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 21:18:54

Well I really wouldn't want to raise your hopes either about fees reduction or how lovely the school is (we think it is really lovely - and because the year groups are small the boys and girls still mix which also heps to socialise the less 'alpha' children, if you see what I mean),

but here's what I'd do: don't mention it to dd if it would upset her too much before you knew what was and wasn't an option.

Make sure you are clear in what you know about dd's abilities/levels. As with all independent schools, there's always one eye on the results so if dd could add positively to those, that's good. Ring and speak to the registrar and be honest: my dd is of this level of ability, she's unhappy and being bullied at her current school, we want her to be happy and achieve (we've heard excellent reports of the school) and we can't necessarily afford full fees. Is there any conversation to be had? Is it worth us coming to look around?

Many dc move to this school in yr 8 and 9 because of being failed by other schools for either dyslexia, dyspraxia or pastoral support.

Just a thought and maybe a very leftfield one.

Scholarship testing for year 9 is coming up soon (and is officially 25% but unoffically can be higher). Absolutely no harm is asking what options there are now.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 21:35:36

Thanks, if I don't get on ok tomorrow ill ring them.

Dd has been in touch with one of her two friends today who says that she does like dd. which I thought would be the case. So dd is happier about that side of things now.

I think because her self confidence is so low she worries everyone will go off her.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 21:42:32

It's tricky, though, isn't it when children say they like you and are your friend but you don't seem to feel backed up or safe still when the others all gang up.

I guess it's a good sign that the HOY rang you and not the other way round - at least they've been more proactive than last year and at least they won't be being all defensive since they've brought it up (you can only hope).

Good luck for tomorrow.

Btw, am I mistaken in thinking that any children from your village go to either of the two schools very south of the city (you know the ones exactly opposite each other)? Or is there transport to get there?

Goldmandra Wed 06-Nov-13 21:50:42

I'll ask her HOY if she thinks its a possibility?? Not sure what they'll do if anything but ill do some more reading myself.

Unless they've had a reason to have considerable experience of AS the HOY is very unlikely to have the first idea about it. Your own reading will be a much better guide.

The biggest benefits for my DD (16) of getting a diagnosis were better support in school and better understanding of herself and why she felt so different.

Google Tony Attwood. His publications are very well respected but also easy for us non-psychologists to understand.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 21:59:43

No, they don't go to those two opposite each other. No transport.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 22:01:09

There might be the odd one or two if their parents take them. But hard to get into. I do know one who goes but had to do a dance audition to get in.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 22:04:27

OP - just been doing a bit of research - and there isn't genuinely a massive difference in terms of results between dd's school and the other one (the 'rubbish' one). If you look at the Ofsted dashboard, dd's school has slightly better English results and the other school has better maths and science results (for its cohort - which is slighter weaker to start with).

Also - you need to be looking at the results for high attainers (your dd). Her school gets 92% 5A-Cs for high attainers, the other school gets 85%. But the other school gets an average grade of grade B per high attainer - dd's school gets a B-. Honestly I don't think there's a lot in it academically. Except for the specialisms, which still characterise these schools I believe, where dd's school's specialism is more 'academic'.

Not that I'm at all writing off your feeling about the other school at all. Tbh, one of the contributory reasons ds isn't at his catchment school (not one mentioned!) was the 'feeling' and quality of staff on show, not Ofsted or results.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 22:05:56

Sorry - I meant to say: not that she would necessarily be happier there, but I genuinely don't think there's a lot in it academically.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 22:24:10

That's interesting, I hadn't looked into it in that much detail. Hadn't thought of looking at the high achievers independently. I suppose if they get more lower grade students to start with they'll get worse exam results. Thanks.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 22:28:47

No worries. Just more food for thought.

It's best to see what school can suggest to sort it out (if that's what dd wants to do); but good to know exactly what other options you have if necessary.

We have y8 parents eve this week so I'll know more about just how happy we are by the end of the week grin

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 22:37:36

Hmmm, have just spoken to the mum of the boy who has left dd's school for the other one.

He left for exactly the same problems. Constant, daily nastiness and name calling. Mum says the HOY basically did bugger all. Said she couldn't do anything unless the boy told her at the time of an incident. Is that realistic when it happens in every lesson?

She said the same to me last year that dd had to tell her stuff. But dd says when she did tell her that she felt brushed off.

Do you think its reasonable that dd keeps a record/log of it all rather than go and tell her every single time? Even dd would feel silly going and saying well X said whatever. On its own its no big deal, but its the bigger picture of that repeated over and over, every day.

Goldmandra Wed 06-Nov-13 22:43:38

Do you think its reasonable that dd keeps a record/log of it all rather than go and tell her every single time?

I think that's perfect. You can request a meeting with HOY, Head of Pastoral Care if that's someone different and class tutor, then take the log in and make it very clear that the incidents are unacceptable.

Don't accept anything less than a very clear plan that you feel with address the problem swiftly and effectively.

Also ask for a copy of the school's equal opportunities/equality, behaviour management and bullying policies and call your local Parent Partnership service for advice.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 22:45:06

Yes, definitely, get her to keep a log. Looks more accurate and helps to get a clear picture in all of your minds just how bad it is. Might also persuade dd that her friends aren't really being very friendly, either (if that is the case).

Honestly, it just wouldn't be tolerated at our school. Those girls would be in constant isolation. Except they wouldn't, because they wouldn't be able to get away with a lot of it in the first place. If the classes are well behaved and working, there's only a little of the very snidey behaviour they'd be able to fit in.

Poor dd. She shouldn't have to put up with it.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 06-Nov-13 22:46:32

Sorry - that was meant as the school I work in, not ds's school.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 22:48:35

Thanks everyone. Will update tomorrow after speaking to the school.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 08:34:49

Right, have spoken to the HOY and don't think it went well. Honestly I'm so shit at this stuff.

Some other girls had told the HOY about the chair throwing incident, she says its the first time she realised there was a problem. I told her that dd hadn't told her about it as dd didnt feel the HOY would be interested. The HOY says she finds that hurtful and is shocked and wants to assure me that she's taking it very seriously. She can't think why dd would feel that way, I told her its due to her been uninterested last year.....she can't remember dd coming to her last year.

I emphasised its the ongoing name calling and excluding which is upsetting dd more. I asked if there was counselling available and said that dd says she feels unsafe at school and has talked about killing herself. She never actually answered the counselling question.

She is ringing me back later though. She's going to start an investigation today and will be getting parents in. Not sure what other sanctions yet, i guess she needs to do the investigation first.

I asked for a copy of the bullying policy and she says its on the website so will look for that later.

HOY says she will get this stopped and is taking it very seriously. But I know that's what she told the mum of the boy who left due to been bullied and then never followed it through.

HOY gets one chance and then I'm going to the headmaster.

HSMMaCM Thu 07-Nov-13 08:40:26

I took my DD out of a school where she was bullied and I'm sure she learned more in the less good school, simply because she was happy there. Find out all the options and see if you can move her anywhere. (DD's current school is very strict and therefore bullying is not tolerated on any level)

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 08:49:53

Ok, have found the policy on the web, it doesn't say much.

. A definition of Bullying

Bullying can take many forms. It may be physical, verbal, psychological or increasingly electronic i.e. via mobile phones or the internet (cyber). Whatever its manifestation it can be described as the illegitimate use of power by an individual or group over another. Bullying is the systematic, targeted, deliberate and on-going abuse/humiliation of others. By its very nature it produces a climate of unhappiness, fear and secrecy. In the worst case scenarios students have taken their own lives.

We recognise that from time to time students, often friends, will disagree with each other and may ‘fall-out’. We accept that this may not be pleasant and we will work with students to help them resolve these issues. However, we will not treat these fall outs as bullying issues unless they are ‘systematic, targeted, deliberate and on-going situations’

Prevention.

There are a number of strategies that can be employed to help to prevent bullying. These include:

• Actively promoting the policy via displays and via the Student Planner.
• Raise awareness of the issue in the whole school community
• Give guidelines for student behaviour
• Give a strategy that will be employed to tackle the problem
• Ensure that where ever possible students are actively supervised by staff especially in areas that can be ‘hidden’ e.g. on the school field & corridors.
• Conduct regular staff & student reviews to ensure that the policy is understood and is actively tackling any problem.



Intervention.

The aim of prevention is to set out guidelines. The expectation is that whilst all cases will be different there are certain steps that will be taken in each case. In dealing with bullying issues the support of parents is paramount. When intervening in bullying situations aggressive action towards the bully does not solve the problem. Assertive and fair action does.

Guidelines for Parents, Staff and Students are provided as schedules to this policy document. Parent Guidelines will be published and highlighted via the school newsletter on a regular basis. Staff Guidelines will be included in the Staff Handbook. Student Guidelines will be displayed in Tutor Rooms and are included in all Student Planners. The School PSHE Programme will at regular intervals raise awareness of this policy and all associated aspects of bullying.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 08:51:27

Ah, have found an attachment which says a bit more

Responsibility of Head of Year/PLA/LG

• Interview the student(s) concerned
• Determine the extent of the problem
• Contact the parent(s) of the student concerned to ascertain if they have spotted any change in behaviour etc
• Make a written record of the incident
• Ensure support for the student who is being bullied; this should include help with strategies to deal with bullying situations; assurance of access to staff support
• Take the necessary action to deal with the ‘bully’ in accordance with the school discipline policy.

(In instances where the Form Tutor or LG member are dealing with the issue, the Head of Year must be informed).


Responsibilities of Leadership Group

• To act as other staff in the prevention of bullying
• Respond to necessary measure which may prevent the incidence of bullying in school
• Give support to Pastoral Teams in dealing with issues which have not improved despite intervention
• Issue should be placed on Pastoral Board Agenda at least annually in order to monitor progress of policy and its effectiveness.

I took my dd out of school in year 8 and went to an out of borough school with far worse GCSE results. I think it was 42% 5 A-c

But the school took a great deal of interest in students well being. In ensuring they were safe and happy and dealing with issues as soon as they arose.

Dd took 3 GCSEs a year early, last year. She got 3 As. And she is predicted another 11 A*-As this year.

Sometimes you have to look beyond the results. Not all schools are a good fit for every child. They can have an outstanding ofsted rating, fantastic GCSE results and look fantastic on paper. But if your child is unhappy, all that doesn't matter because they won't get the best out of the school, they won't reach their full potential

I would honestly look into the other school a bit more. Forget the results, look at the school itself, it's pastoral care,it's bullying policy. My DDs school looks shit on paper but it isn't.

Phineyj Thu 07-Nov-13 09:15:11

In your place I would appeal for the grammar again (as well as pursuing the other things you are doing). I teach in a grammar and we have a great many girls like your DD. We come down on any bullying like a ton of bricks. There are also a lot of clubs girls can do at lunch if they don't have people to hang around with. Obviously I don't know if the grammar near you is similar, but there is likely to be a better group of potential friends for her there. Your poor DD. I hope you can get her some counselling before/if she changes schools so she can make a fresh start.

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 07-Nov-13 09:33:48

Some other thoughts:

Just looking a bit more at the 'other' school's website - they do set for many subjects in KS3 such as English (lots of schools don't set for English) so that's good potentially for dd.

They had 2 students get 13 A/A*s last year and some others mentioned who got 9/10.

They do do two languages. But they don't (currently) offer triple science at GCSE, only single and applied.

Their sixth form is small. Options more limited than at other schools mentioned so far? But dd could move for sixth form.

Does dd have any friends still in the village at 'your' grammar? If so, that could well help her to settle and be the best solution - if you could get another appeal.

Or a fresh start where she knows nobody could also work.

Was thinking of suggesting a taxi to the bus stop for the 'other' grammar (with places) for the days when you are working late/early which wouldn't cost as much as independent fees (!) but it would make a very long day for her. Probably not the best option.

Asked ds last night if the girls in his year seem to get on well and are a friendly bunch - his very limited observations (thanks to his Asperger's) were not helpful 'yes, they all seem nice in my class!' but I will keep ears and eyes to the ground over the next few days. They are set for every subject at ds's school except technology. And have very small form groups (12/13) which could be a good thing - could be bad (no nastiness that the tutor doesn't instantly spot - but a smaller pool of potential friends?)

Good luck with more investigations/thoughts today.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 10:38:20

Write a summary of what was discussed in the meeting and what action the HOY has agreed to take. Email the summary to her with reminders about anything on the bullying policy you feel should be done but hasn't been mentioned, e.g. exactly how and when your DD can approach staff for support. Make it fairly detailed because, if unchallenged, this becomes formal evidence if this escalates.

Ask about counselling again.

At the end of the email give her a timescale in which you'd like her to get back to you with the results of her investigation and details of what action will be taken.

Don't accept being treated like the other parent. Make it clear at all times that they have a responsibility to your DD and you expect them to live up to it.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 07-Nov-13 11:08:21

Excellent advice from Goldmandra. Follow up everything to with an email outlining your conversation and what was agreed. I failed to do that and when I was applying for DS to go to the other Middle school I realised the Head had made sure it was all over the phone so no written record.

We had the whole thing with the Head about DD and friends not aporoaching him when incidents happened. I said they didn't as felt he wouldn't do anything and he lost his cool and kind of shouted 'well they don't know me then'. He would only deal with major things and a lot if low level bullying went on.

One boy was blocking DD's way somewhere. We told the Head. He said he had spoken to him and he was 'absolutely mortified she could think that. He's a lovely boy, very upset, expecting parents to ring in actually'. The lovely boy then got cocky and rammed DD with a chair and as her friends saw Head had to act. There were clearly big problems with the school and to my huge delight he resigned just as I was applying for DS and a lovely new one has come. He has his work cut out though and once a culture of low level bullying gets established it takes time to improve.

If I were you now I would keep at the school and I would now ask for a meeting with HOY and Head, taking a friend to take notes. Your DD is scared for her safety and has talked of killing herself. This needs to be taken very seriously by the school. Use words like safeguarding issue, Duty of care.

As well as that I'd try to get her a space somewhere else to give maximum options. DD first talked about her current school a few years ago and I screeched that she wasn't going there. But I listened around and found people whose children had gone through, had done well and were really happy there. They are way behind our catchment upper in results they set and there are a couple of children there who tried the Grammar and hated it plus I have serveral friends who have children who look set to come out with high grades. DD's grades have hugely improved now she is happy.

When she first started she was really happy as her new friends wait for her after class and that had never happened before. I nearly cried when she said that.

Have another go at getting her into the Grammar and see what your chances are at the better comp. I know this is all very hard to deal with when you are in the middle of it but hang in there, you are going a good job in difficult circumstances.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 11:14:49

Thanks for all the advice. Dd is now adamant she doesn't want to change schools. She's feeling more positive this morning. I'll ask the HOY for a meeting when she rings back.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 13:19:31

Just realised your conversation was over the phone, not face to face. This conversation is the first thing you need to confirm by email. Then do the same with future conversations and meetings.

It feels awkward and confrontational but it's actually helpful to everyone because it helps you to clarify any misunderstandings and reminds people to do the things they have agreed to do.

Alexandrite Thu 07-Nov-13 14:21:09

Your poor dd. Does she not want to move because she doesn't believe things could be better elsewhere? Or because she is scared of the unknown? I remember someone posting once to say that a CAMHs psychologist had said off the record that where a child is experiencing sustained bullying by lots of the children, the only thing that really works is to move them. Did you watch Child of Our Time? There was a boy on it who was being bullied like this and the mother moved him and he was so much happier once he moved. I hope things improve for your daughter. She sounds like my daughter and I worry for her when she goes to high school. I plan to move her if this happens, although i know it is easy to say that but harder to do.

miss600 Thu 07-Nov-13 15:44:18

Did you know that you can go to the police? intentional harassment, causing alarm or distress to someone is an offense under section 5 of the public order act. You have the right to insist on a caution being issued which would remain on their record for 100 years. Even if they are 13yrs and it happened in school. Maybe you can let the school and relevant parents know this too.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 17:34:33

I think she doesn't want to move school as she doesn't want to leave her two friends behind.

I've realised this afternoon the lessons she's getting bullied in are the lessons like music, dt, the ones where they're in their form group rather than streamed. So I asked dd if she wants me to push for a form group change and she's said no even to that because she likes her form tutor. Her two friends are in a different form group and I said I'd do what I could to get her in that form group but she still doesn't want to.

Saying that dd is still off school and currently sniffing about not liking school and not wanting to go back.

The HOY rang me this afternoon to say she's put the girls in isolation and has got one girls parents coming in. I emphasised again the ongoing nastiness and she wants dd to write it all down.

Dd says she doesn't want to talk to any form of counsellor, she'd rather just talk to me. I told her a counsellor might have better advice but she's still not up for it.

Dd has had a phone call from one of the girls who went and told the HOY what was happening. Turns out the girls who stuck up for dd also got put in isolation as they swore when they were telling the story to the HOY, they thought she was taking it very seriously and got a bit excited. So they won't be in a hurry to help again. hmm

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 17:39:54

That sounds like poor judgement on the HOY's behalf.

Have High Schools lost the ability to issue advice and warnings to pupils these days? They all seem to have this idea that the smallest indiscretion warrants coming down on them like a ton of brick whatever the context.

Give someone a little bit of power......

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 18:05:48

I know. It doesn't exactly give me much faith in her.

I'm also pissed off about her comment to me this morning. When I to,d her that dd didnt think she'd be interested in what was happening she said that she was really hurt by that. Like she was telling me off for saying it and hurting her feelings.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 18:07:53

Miss600, that's a good point that I could get the police involved even for non physical stuff. If its sustained. If someone was repeatedly been nasty to me, calling me a bitch, etc I'd go to the police.

Would they do anything or would they just think I'm insane for getting the police involved? My sisters a copper actually, will speak to her.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 18:14:46

When I to,d her that dd didnt think she'd be interested in what was happening she said that she was really hurt by that. Like she was telling me off for saying it and hurting her feelings.

Well yes, when I read that in your other post I though how unprofessional her comment was. She should use that information to reflect on how she could improve her practice, not moan about hurt feelings.

She's not inspiring me with much confidence in her ability to sort this out. You need to do what I said earlier and record all of this to email to her.

Putting the girls in isolation is only a small part of dealing with this. She needs to put things in place to make sure they understand what how severely this will be dealt with in the future and also detail strategies for supporting your DD and supporting her positive peer relationships.

So far she's given them the same sanction she gave other girls for swearing which totally negates the seriousness of their actions.

Have you looked on any of the bullying websites. They may well have sections for parents with advice on how this should be dealt with in schools. I haven't had to deal with bullying for several years but maybe someone else will come along with some good links for you.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 18:17:36

Mmm, will look for some bullying websites. Thanks.

Just had another message from the mum of the boy who left due to bullying. After he left they wrote to the head saying they thought there was a major bullying problem at the school and that they felt the HOY was totally ineffective.

They got a letter back basically politely telling them to fuck off and go away.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 18:21:17

I hope they have sent a copy of the letters to Ofsted.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 18:27:16

I dont think they have. Shame.

I feel like writing to Ofsted myself.

JohnnyUtah Thu 07-Nov-13 18:30:47

I thought that was really unprofessional too. Nothing much else to add. My kids are yr8 and yr10. I don't like the sound if the culture at the school you describe. Mine are geeky too. They don't get bullied.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 18:47:15

I feel like writing to Ofsted myself.

That might be a very good idea after you've given them some more rope to hang themselves with.

Just keep making sure they know you mean business and won't just quietly go away like the other parent.

The culture of the school doesn't sound good but there are requirements on them to show that they tackle bullying effectively so hopefully, once they realise this is all going to be part of a formally process and recorded at every step, they should pull their socks up and do something more effective.

Coveredinweetabix Thu 07-Nov-13 18:55:08

Viva I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. I'm only posting as, 20 years ago, I was in a similar position to your DD's friends. One girl in our tutor group was subject to low level bullying for a couple of months for no reason other than the fact that some of the bitchy popular girls wanted to see how powerful they actually were. During the low level bullying, me and a couple of other girls tried to keep a foot in both camps, to give the girl being bullied some support, sat with her in class, hung out with her at lunchtime etc and would ring of an evening. However, we were also aware that this put us in a vulnerable position as we weren't fully doing what the popular girls wanted. As the bullying ramped up, I am ashamed to say that, whilst we never joined in the bullying, we did abandon our friends as we were just concerned about watching our own backs. I feel so bad now for that. For our friend, she missed the last couple of weeks of term (it was the summer term in y7) and came back in Sept in not just a different form but a different half of the school and, after that, all seemed fine.

Alexandrite Thu 07-Nov-13 19:11:26

How odd that the head of year tried to make it about her feelings being hurt rather than about what your daughter is going through.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 19:17:59

Ok, I've composed a letter which I'm planning to send to the HOY and Cc the headmaster in. Don't have email addresses so will have to be actual letters. What do you think?

Dear Mrs X

Following our telephone conversations today regarding Dd I wanted to thank you for starting an investigation into the incident in Dds music lesson so promptly.

Dd is still more upset by the general attitude from some of the girls in Year 8 towards her. A sustained period of daily name calling, being talked about, laughed at, called a freak, ugly, etc is certainly taking its toll on her confidence. Before the incident with the chair I had asked her to talk to you but she had said she didn't feel able to. The week of the incident she had said that she'd talk to her form tutor but I think this then occurred before she had done so.

I've emphasised to her how important it is that she tells someone what is happening as you cant help her if you don't know about it. I think she worries about troubling staff with relatively minor incidents such as name calling, sarcastic comments. On their own each incident is minor but when added together is a much greater problem. I found it very upsetting and worrying to hear Dd talking about wanting to kill herself and how she wished she was dead. I hadn't realised myself how serious things were. I have asked Dd to keep a log of any future incidents.

I hope that the school will be able to fulfil their duty of care towards Dd and ensure that this behaviour towards her stops as its completely unacceptable.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 19:26:38

That's a good email but you need to include an, "as I explained during our conversation...." if that is appropriate so it's clear that you are reiterating your concerns about the repetitive nature of this bullying. You don't want it treated as a one-off.

I'd also ask her to inform you of exactly how she would like your DD to raise future concerns and with whom and what else she is doing to make sure the behaviour stops.

Don't worry about being pushy. You need to do it to make sure they step up to the mark.

Also say that you would like a meeting in a week or two, whatever you think is a good time, to review the situation and would she send you some possible dates and time please?

Hi Viva,
sounds horrible what is happening.

Your letter sounds good!
At the end I would write "that this behaviour towards her stops immediately"

But tbh, I would take her out and move her.
It doesn't sound as if these are isolated incidents from a few pupils, but systematic bullying.

If completely honest, I would not even send her back. I know this is impossible for you.

Alexandrite Thu 07-Nov-13 19:28:56

I think that's a very good letter

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 19:29:45

Great, will add those bits in. Thanks.

Tuhlulah Thu 07-Nov-13 19:48:00

I think you should add in why your DD thought she couldn't raise it with her form teacher/HOY. I think you might also say something like: "Indeed, I can understand her concerns; when I raised this with her Head of Year, during a conversation on??, (Name of HOY) response appeared to be about her own hurt feelings rather than my daughter's wellbeing, "add in what HOY actually said.'.

I think given the amount of abuse your DS has suffered for so long that you would be justified in making your letter a little stronger in tone. You might mention when this issue began, and any other occasion on which you or your DD raised it with the school. ie, when you thank them for dealing with it 'so promptly' you might add 'especially given that this has been going on since (date)'.

You and other posters may think I am being too aggressive but you are in effect criticising them and they won't lie down and just take it. So be prepared. Also, tell them that if this isn't resolved immediately you will raise it with Ofsted as the school's inability to resolve the issue and to protect your daughter's physical and emotional safety is jeopardising her academic attainment, and moreover she is so distressed she has threatened to harm herself as a consequence.

Also, you might mention that while you have told your daughter that if she has an issue she needs to tell the school, as they cannot resolve it unless she tells them, the school should now consider itself as being put on notice of your daugher being bullied, and that given their duty of care towards your child they have a duty to be proactive in protecting her whilst she is at school in their care.

Be firm but reasonable, never excitable in tone but make it clear you expect some action to be taken immediately.

I am not criticising your letter -I think given your experience you are justified in making the tone a little less tolerant, and a bit more demanding, so you can afford to make it sound a but firmer.

timidviper Thu 07-Nov-13 20:01:30

Viva My son had a lot of this type of thing when he went to senior school, his junior school friends got very into the rugby team and the staff just picked the "star" children for everything so he never got chosen, even for things he was good at, because the rugby boys had such a high profile. He never wanted to complain as he felt the nastiness was just the general culture and it was the same for other kids too but I could see it was grinding him down.

We moved him at the start of year 10 and the difference was astounding. We went from the answer to "How was school today?" being "Shit" to "OK I suppose" (that's good for a teenage boy!) On the third day he came out of school smiling and I almost cried with relief smile as I hadn't seen that for so long. He never looked back; he was never one of the cool kids, although he really hit his stride in 6th form and was popular, he made nice friends, did excellently in GCSEs and A levels and is now a confident and successful young man.

The one thing I would say is that, if you move your DD, don't let her move as a victim, try to make sure she moves with a positive attitude as it will make things much easier. My DS says he left his first school feeling that everybody thought he was a loser, he began his new school with the idea that this was a new start and the chance to be the person he wanted to become.

Good luck to you and your DD

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 20:13:17

Ok, have added some more. Though I'm letting HOYs comments about hurt feelings slide for now as I don't want to antagonise her.

Dear Mrs X

Following our telephone conversations today regarding Dd I wanted to thank you for starting an investigation into the incident in Dds music lesson so promptly.

As we discussed Dd is more upset by the general attitude from some of the girls in Year 7 towards her. A sustained period of daily name calling, being talked about, laughed at, called a freak, ugly, etc is certainly taking its toll on her confidence. Before the incident with the chair I had asked her to talk to you but she had said she didn't feel able to. The week of the incident she had said that she'd talk to her form tutor but I think this then occurred before she had done so.

I've emphasised to her how important it is that she tells someone what is happening as you cant help her if you don't know about it. I think she worries about troubling staff with relatively minor incidents such as name calling, sarcastic comments. On their own each incident is minor but when added together is a much greater problem. I found it very upsetting and worrying to hear Dd talking about wanting to kill herself and how she wished she was dead. I hadn't realised myself how serious things were. I have asked Dd to keep a log of any future incidents. However I do also expect the school to be proactive in protecting Dd from such behaviour.

I would like contact between Dd and the girls who I named today to be monitored. I think it would be a good idea if where possible when they're in the same lessons they do not sit near Dd. Perhaps it might be an idea to split this group of girls up in lessons if they encourage each other in such behaviour? Dd said that this week isn't the first time she's been hit with a chair in a music lesson, that it happens most weeks.

I hope that the school will be able to fulfil their duty of care towards Dd and ensure that this behaviour towards her stops immediately as its completely unacceptable. If the situation isn't resolved I will have to raise the matter to the governors and to Ofsted as any failure to protect Dd's physical and emotional safety will affect her academic attainment as well as causing her distress. If Dd is assaulted in school again I will next time consider involving the police.

I would like this letter to be put in Dds school file along with a note of any action taken.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Thu 07-Nov-13 20:14:34

Just a thought, but in my borough if you apply and get into a school that is more than, I think, don't quote me, about 5 miles away you can apply for a taxi that is paid for by the council.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 20:16:06

They only do that here if there wasn't a nearer school where there was a space. So because there's a space at two nearer schools they wouldn't pay a taxi.

Dd doesn't want to move school now anyway, doesn't even want to move form.

timidviper Thu 07-Nov-13 20:20:56

Just thinking again, it might be worth ringing the other school that would be most practical and telling them about the bullying and your DDs distress. It might make a difference if they are sympathetic and they might be more likely to make a place for her.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 20:22:14

I don't think it will do any harm to tell them what will happen if they don't sort it. I would certainly have done that at the next stage if not now.

Just add that you would like a meeting to review the situation because this will give them a deadline to work to.

This will rattle a few cages but you're not just going to help your own DD, Viva. If this changes their approach to bullying lots of children will be better off in that school.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 20:23:06

The "shit" school has spaces so that isn't a problem. Dd doesn't want to move though so am currently concentrating on kicking the schools arse. smile

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 20:24:07

Ok, will add in a bit about a meeting. I'm off work at end of Nov for a week so will ask to meet that week.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 20:29:17

I hope this does the trick and they sort their attitude in response to their kicked arse grin

ChippingInBatshitArse Thu 07-Nov-13 20:42:01

I am sorry she is still having problems - it's horrible sad

I just want to swoop her up and run - you must be in bits over it.

On one hand it's a shame she doesn't want to move schools, on the other hand it's a good thing.

I hope the HOY pulls her finger out and gets this sorted out - there is very clearly a serious problem at the school. If you haven't already sent the letter, I would consider putting something in about how she has punished the girls trying to help her and how upset DD is about that stupid cow

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 20:46:18

Problem is I don't know what the girls actually said, will try and find out. They are both a bit hot headed and knowing them I wouldn't be surprised if they told the HOY to fuck off. grin

Neither suffer fools gladly.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 21:07:00

Neither suffer fools gladly.

That says it all really grin

Alexandrite Thu 07-Nov-13 21:17:46

If they did tell her to fuck off i could kind of see why she couldn't ignore it! shock grin

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 21:20:53

Yeah me too.

They live in the village so hopefully ill see them over the weekend. If they said something like "those stupid bitches threw a chair" I'd have thought the HOY could maybe have reprimanded them but overlooked it? But if they called the HOY a bitch and told her to fuck off I can see why she didnt.

I'd say its 50/50 as to which scenario it was!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 07-Nov-13 21:22:50

These two aren't the two girls who are dd's friends btw! grin

They do come round here quite a bit as they live close by and I'm a soft touch with pizza and DVDs. They get on ok with dd but don't really have much in common with her so I think they all hang out when they're bored and it suits them.

Alexandrite Thu 07-Nov-13 22:21:18

It was nice of them to stick up for your dd.

miss600 Fri 08-Nov-13 02:32:30

OP, the Police are obligated to respond to these crimes. I was given this information by a serving police officer who works with schools. There is nothing stopping you reporting them to the police. Most people don't realise this because there is an expectation that children should tolerate crimes that adults would not. why? angry

Shootingatpigeons Fri 08-Nov-13 12:48:17

Viva. We had exactly the same problems with my DD, even down to the same name calling, ugly, weird, the Virgin Mary etc. School were sympathetic and recognised the problem, it was recognised as a very difficult year. However they did not act on my DDs individual bullies because they felt that would make the problem worse, the main perpetrator was very clever and never let anyone see what she was doing. Instead they acted on any blatant bad behaviour and organised counselling for DD which she hated. When her sports kit was stolen by one of the bullies along with the watch in her pocket and another girl informed on them the school came down heavily and suspended one girl with the result my DD was ostracised and subjected to even more nastiness. She was very unhappy but didn't want to move school either. Her confidence suffered. The only compensation was that she did have a good friendship group but they were too scared of the bullies to do much but be supportive privately, and a couple of them left because of the atmosphere of bullying.

She finally started at a new sixth form after GCSE and she is completely transformed, lots of friends, invited to parties and included in activities. Academically she has flown (though it is a school with a less stellar academic record)and her confidence increases daily. I don't know if things would have been different if the school had acted differently short of excluding the bullies. From the response to the theft I would say they may have been right and it would have made things worse. These characters pick on someone vulnerable to build themselves up. Sometimes I felt that having bought my daughter up to have empathy and respect for others were what made her a target and there was something to be said for the old fashioned "give them boxing lessons so they can thump them" approach. I really wished we had moved her earlier.

I hope you find a way through this. Your letter sounds very good. What I can say for my DDs miserable 5 years is that she says she is now well equipped to handle the bullies she will sadly encounter in real life sad

Goldmandra Fri 08-Nov-13 13:22:08

However they did not act on my DDs individual bullies because they felt that would make the problem worse

More like they didn't want to have to deal with the bullies' parents rushing to their DCs defence.

I found out to my cost some years ago that there is no nastier creature than a parent who has been told that their child is a bully.

The school took the easy way out and let your DD down big time, Shooting. They created a culture where bullying wasn't challenged and the bullies took full advantage of that. Your poor DD. I'm so glad she'd out of that situation now smile

Shootingatpigeons Fri 08-Nov-13 15:49:59

Goldmandra I do think the school let my DD down and that the fact that the main perpetrator of my DDs bullying was clever and wasn't actually one of the badly behaved girls but used the bullying of my DD to earn brownie points with them whilst giving the staff every appearance of being charming (she is almost certainly a sociopath) meant that they preferred to keep her onside at my DDs expense. However to be fair to the school the parents of the main gang were called into school on a regular basis, not least because those girls had some horrendous home stories, it was all attention seeking by some pretty disturbed characters. I just think the school just couldn't cope with the degree of dysfunction in the year and allowed the madams to manipulate the norms. When we gave them notice the Head of Year asked why we were leaving and when I replied that it was the year group, he said "I don't blame you" shock

It sounds as though this school have also lost control.

Goldmandra Fri 08-Nov-13 16:44:41

I know how that feels, shooting. My DD took two years of very carefully calculated bullying from a beautiful, golden hair little girl who was absolutely angelic the moment an adult was around. Luckily, when they moved onto the next school together and the bullying continued the new HT say through the angelic act and deal with her swiftly and effectively.

I think the OP's DD's school are choosing not to take control and hopefully a parent who means business will remind them of their responsibilities and they'll take some more effective action.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 08-Nov-13 19:01:33

Did dd go to school today, Viva?

I hope you've had some satisfactory communication from the school.

What would concern me most, I think, even if they do claim they're going to sort it out, is the number of badly controlled classes you've mentioned already at this school. How on earth can they manage bullying in that environment? And how can dd and the other interested students learn anything?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Nov-13 10:10:05

No. Didnt go to school. Was saying her tummy still hurts and she was feeling sick. Didnt hear from the school on Friday.

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 10:19:13

Those are class anxiety symptoms. Your poor DD.

If she's the same on Monday take her to the GP to get her symptoms checked and logged.

Also contact the school nurse and ask them to attend the meeting you have asked for because your DD's emotional well-being is of paramount importance.

The education welfare officer may be interested too as their job is just as much about preventing school refusal as monitoring attendance.

Email the HOY and HT on Monday explaining this escalation in your DD's anxiety and ask them to bring the meeting forward to make sure measures are in place to allow her to feel safe when she returns to school.

Work really hard to get her back in for at least some part of every day next week. The longer she stays at home, the harder it will be for her to return. However, do it in a way that's right for her and tell them where to put their attendance figures if they start to complain.

TallulahMcFey Sat 09-Nov-13 12:13:46

Have got nothing more to add really as you clearly have loads of support on here by people who have experience of it. I have two girls and have no experience of real bullying but lots of experience of how nasty girls can be, and that was bad enough. I personally wouldn't hesitate to pull kids out of school if they were being bullied and know I couldn't send kids off to school desperately miserable and think I would just say to the school that she is not coming back till it's sorted. The only thing I do know, from people who have done just that, is that the education dept are so keen to get children back into school that spaces suddenly appeared in otherwise full schools. Not my personal experience so i don't know how true it is. Anyway, I have been following this and thinking about you and your daughter a lot. I just wanted to add to the support cos I know what a horrible and worrying time you will be having.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sat 09-Nov-13 12:15:19

sad Poor dd.

Goldmandra has given excellent advice.

Sending best wishes for next week.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 09-Nov-13 14:32:53

Yes my DD had a lot of time off with undoubtedly anxiety related ailments. This year she hasn't had a single day off. Agree *goldmander's advice is good. We involved the doctor as well because my friend's son had become a school refuser after stomach problems persisted for months because of the anxiety associated with going back. In his case it took a child psychologist to break the vicious cycle and we didn't want it to get to that stage. (He by the way also settled in the end, did well and is now the social sec for his university sports club, as well as pin up in one of those dodgy university sports club calendars with strategically placed sports equipment hmm )

I feel so sorry for your DD, it is a horrible thing to be facing and I just hope the school get behind her with the support she should be getting.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Sun 10-Nov-13 10:40:54

Dd was bullied by another girl. Girl was from a large family whose parents worked round the clock so there was never anyone around to check what was in her school bag. This child had a facination in death and knives and threatened dd that she was going to bring in a knife and kill her and watch her die. The school just said they were an inclusive school and they could not get rid of her. Called her parents in and explained this was not school policy to bully someone. Dd said she didn't want to move schools she just wanted to get on with everyone and it all not to have happened. Dd had a good circle of friends but they couldn't really protect her. I took the decision against my dd's wishes to move her. She has never looked back. Dd was quickly joined in her new school by another boy who this girl had turned her attention to after dd left. 1 year later the class of 30 was down to 18. The school finally did something when the class went down to 12 pupils.
Whilst your dd is at that school she is the bullies target. If she isn't there then they will move onto someone else, then someone else till the school finally wake up to the fact there are no pupils left. These girls are not going to have a personality transplant they will always be bullies.
Just to add the 3 girls who made my senior school life hell I came across years later and just let's say. There is a God. Karma does exist.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 14:01:58

* The school finally did something when the class went down to 12 pupils.*

Let's hope that the OP's actions spur this school into taking that sort of action a lot sooner.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 15:13:46

God I wish I had a crystal ball so could see into the future to help me make the right decision.

I moved dd against her wishes in primary due to shit teaching and while she was hysterical the first day she settled down and did really well. I have reminded her of this.

She wants to see how it goes now they've been spoken to, put in isolation, etc.

She's happy to take the scholarship test for the private school for year 9 entry but won't consider the other state secondary as she's heard the teachers are strict.

Alexandrite Sun 10-Nov-13 15:30:48

What did the school do in the end when the class was down to 12 pupils MILLYMOLLY?

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 10-Nov-13 17:29:20

Fingers crossed for a good week next week, Viva.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 20:38:12

How is she doing this evening, Viva?

Is the anxiety ramping up or do you think the break was enough and she'll be able to go in tomorrow? I've done enough Sunday nights watching the stress climbing up to feel for you if that's what's happening.

I wonder if a trial day at the other state secondary might help her to see that having strict teachers isn't the same as having shouty, ineffective teachers.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 20:58:58

She's puking again and saying she doesn't want to go to school tomorrow.

I've told her she's going tomorrow whether she's puking or not. Will see how tomorrow goes and if still not good will try and ring the other school up to see if there are spaces. See if she could go for a taster day on weds.

Alexandrite Sun 10-Nov-13 21:39:44

Good plan Viva. I think the taster day is a very good idea.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 22:55:57

Oh Viva that's made me fill up! It's awful that school can do this to a child.

Be prepared or her to dig her heels in tomorrow. If that happens do everything you would normally do in terms of behaviour management, e.g. removal of basic privileges, and if that doesn't work let it go. Don't get angry or push it to extremes. If she's too anxious to go in no amount of threatening and punishing will work and you'll just end up with a miserable child at home with 101 punishments hanging over her head. Make a note of what you've done and that those strategies usually work with her and also put it in writing to the school.

If she stays at home make it a school work day. Get her to do something related to school-work of her choice, even if it's going on BBC Bitesize, and make sure everyone knows that she hasn't been allowed to lounge around in front of the TV. That's important evidence that she isn't playing you.

If you need to agree to pick her up early in order for her to go in then do it. The school won't be happy but getting her to cross the threshold is the main goal. Do whatever it takes to make her able to do that for at least a part of every day. Don't allow the staff to persuade you to break any promises. She really needs to be able to trust you right now.

I she can't attend you won't win any battles with the school. It's a shame because they will get away with it again but you have to put your DD's needs first.

I hope you manage to get a taster day sorted for her.

I hope you've got some wine or cake there. What's happening is bound to be taking its toll on you so make sure you look after yourself too.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 23:01:33

Sadly I'm going away early tomorrow morning for a course which work have paid for and cost a fortune so can't not go.

Ive got to leave before dd needs to go, as does dh. I'm planning on getting her up and dressed and breakfast before I go. She's a good kid though and I don't think she'd just not catch the bus.

I've posted two copies of my letter to school. One to HOY and one to the head. I won't be home till Tuesday evening.

Obv I can ring home Monday evening and see how she is.

YouAreMyRain Sun 10-Nov-13 23:32:15

I would use the word "safeguarding" or the phrase that "this is a safeguarding issue" next time you communicate with the school.

It should make them sit up as it's a real educational buzz word.

Don't worry about putting the HOY's back up, sounds like they need it.

As I teacher, I know that the parents that make the most fuss are definitely listened to and that their children are looked out for etc (even if you cause raised eyebrows in the staff room, who cares! Your daughter is more important than that!)

Also consider getting a Camhs referral from the GP as it can take ages to be seen/assessed etc, at least six months in some areas.

Mentioning local press might put a rocket up the school too.

Good luck

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 23:38:43

I did wonder if the staff might think I'm over reacting to what they may see as normal teen behaviour. But then I thought I don't give a shit if they do. I don't really give a shit if I am overreacting. I guess its better to over react than under react.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 23:40:39

Could you ask her to text you when she arrives at school just to let you know she's there or, perhaps, ring the school to check that she's arrived and is OK? I don't think it would do any harm for them to be reminded that she's there and needs someone looking out for her anyway.

Puking is a strong anxiety reaction and it wouldn't be that unreasonable if she tried to go to school but couldn't go through with it.

I'd love the give the HT a piece of my mind angry

I hope your course goes well and your DD finds that she can go in and things are better than she expected tomorrow.

YouAreMyRain Mon 11-Nov-13 00:03:54

Even if it is regarded by the school as normal teen behaviour, the fact is, your dd is not coping with it, it is happening at school and they have a duty of care.

You have exactly the right attitude Viva, your dd is lucky to have you fighting her corner. Hope you get some joy out of them

LittleSiouxieSue Mon 11-Nov-13 00:54:59

Ofsted reports on how safe children feel is a snapshot of one day. It really is not a good method to see if a school is the right one for a child . By the way all the bullying you mention was rife in my DDs very expensive boarding school, except the furniture throwing. Anyone a bit different can be picked on in any school. My DD was called the names you mention. Girls, at this age, seem to have problems with so called friends and can make the wrong call about who is a suitable friend. Often they choose the ultra popular ones instead of ones they may have something in common with. Also they do seem to realise who is a trustworthy friend by about year 9/10 and it takes a while for them to sort this out and realise there are other girls a bit like them. Some children will always be a bit different but the other girls will mature and be more accommodating. My DDs had to slightly moderate their ways too in order to fit in. This does not mean not being true to yourself, but it does mean maybe joining in with a makeup session for example. I think I would try and stay in the school but work with them to sort out the problems. You are not guaranteed to solve them by going elsewhere where kids will tease out why she has moved. If she is a grammar school child, try and stay at the school with the best academic reputation. Good luck to her and stay positive.

Alexandrite Mon 11-Nov-13 12:01:28

What do OFSTED base their judgement of how safe children feel on?

Our local high school did their own 5 min questionnaire too and asked parents to fill them out at parents evening. Only 12% of parents did it and it came out that 99% either agreed or strongly agreed that their child felt safe. 1% didn't. Even 1% is too much though really, as no one should feel unsafe at school.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 11-Nov-13 12:33:15

Little Siouxie Sue that is exactly what I told myself, that it was normal teen behaviour, BUT it destroyed my DDs confidence and made her miserable, she didn't seek out the bullies and make herself the target, they picked on her, now she has moved to another school we realise it is not normal at all. Any school where this behaviour is being tolerated is letting it's pupils down, however expensive (and if it was Wycombe Abbey it is known for it) . The bullies at DDs old school are still at it, they have colonised an area of the sixth form, play loud music, and if anyone dares to sit down in their seats or ask them to turn it down they hiss snake at them. Schools cannot allow the dysfunctional pupils to take over the norms and make bullying "normal" and parents should not tolerate it.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 11-Nov-13 19:30:52

Dd has had an ok day at school......apart from HPV jab!

She says she kept away from these girls. The HOY had a chat with her and told her to come to her anytime. Sounds like the isolation and calling parents in was the punishment. HOY said something to dd about how it will have taught the girls a lesson.

Lets hope so.

Dunno what hoy and head will make of my letter tomorrow!

Goldmandra Mon 11-Nov-13 22:23:25

Oh she must have felt that was a bit below the belt! Well done her for getting into school today. I don't suppose that was at all easy. To overcome that level of anxiety is a massive achievement.

I hope the HOY doesn't think she's discharged her duties by simply doling out a the isolation. There is work to do to strengthen the anti-bullying message generally and to help your DD to feel safe and listened to. If she thinks just having a quick chat today will solve everything she's sadly mistaken.

Hopefully your letter and a follow-up meeting will give them reason to think this through more and make more effort to address the culture in the school and your DD's perception of their ability to care for her.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Tue 12-Nov-13 11:04:19

Alexandrite, they actually got rid of her.

Alexandrite Tue 12-Nov-13 12:37:12

Awful that they were so slow to react

Shootingatpigeons Tue 12-Nov-13 15:51:02

Glad she had a good day but I am sure you need to keep pressure on the school to be proactive, these crowds lurch from one attention seeking crisis to the next and the rest of the year never know when they are going to be the target.

I think part of the problem is that often the bullies do have problems themselves, the schools too often lose sight of how it affects their targets, especially the more sensitive pupils, when trying to support them.

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