Can my four year old be excluded from school?

(7 Posts)
meandthree Tue 11-Mar-14 21:45:53

My daughter attends a private school and stated Reception last September. Since she has started there have been issues with her behaviour that range from not concentrating, talking back to the teachers, snatching, hitting other children and on one occasion, tripping over the teacher on purpose. When she is good she is an angel and although she's not perfect at home, the behaviour at school has been more extreme.

The school started to keep a reward chart for her and she has been attending weekly classes with a Specialist Teacher. Over this period, I have been called in several times to discuss her behaviour. At the last meeting, it was stated that the special classes that she attends could not go on forever (the quote was 'we are not that type of school') and that too much of the staff's time was taken up disciplining the behaviour. They also said that they felt she was immature for her age and that other children younger than her did not display this behaviour. They said that as Year 1 was structured, they felt that my daughter would not be able to cope and insinuated that if the behaviour did not show signs of improvement for the rest of the term, that she would no longer have a place at the school. We have now been called for another meeting and are worried that they may ask us to look for another school next year.

Does anyone know what the protocol is for excluding children at this age and any suggestions on what we could do? We did think about suggesting a behaviour specialist to come into the school to observe but we are worried that they have already made up their mind.

Any advice is appreciated as we have been losing sleep over this.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 11-Mar-14 21:55:52

I am afraid that we had exactly the same scenario with our now 17 year old DS1.

DS1 was "referred" to a special school "for assessment" of his SN needs & ended up staying there from ages 5 to 11.

What I would do now (but did not know to do then), is transfer to a state primary school with a good reputation for handling SN. You have my sympathy though, this is so hard to go through - I remember how lost & confused I felt like it was just yesterday.

FWIW, DS1 was eventually diagnosed with aspergers & is now doing excellently at a good mainstream secondary school.

As it's a private school I think they can accept whomever they like on whatever criteria.

If they don't want her, do you really want her to stay at the school?!

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 11-Mar-14 22:00:54

And, in our experience, the school calling the Ed Psych in was just to rubber stamp the referral to the special school, although they dressed it up as "help".

I really hope your experience is different. I would hope that attitudes towards SNs have improved over the last 12 years.

ouryve Tue 11-Mar-14 22:07:06

Agreeing that your DD would be better off at an inclusive state primary (possibly not ones that are high up the league tables or OFSTED "outstanding", though the boys' highly inclusive mainstream primary gets good results, too). I wouldn't want her to be at a school where her every move would be scrutinised and criticised and help was offered grudgingly. She needs to be in an environment where she's happy and can be nurtured and her energy can be harnessed in a positive manner instead of being frowned upon.

DowntonTrout Tue 11-Mar-14 22:08:41

Just wanted to agree with Santa

A private school can and will ask you to leave. You should try and look at this as a positive though as if they are unable to provide your DD with the level of support she may need it is not the right school for her anyway.

Some private schools do have excellent support but in general, state schools may fare you much better. This is presuming that your DD does have some special educational needs. They may just have earmarked her as a difficult child and can ask you to leave if they feel she is not a good fit for the school.

RiversideMum Mon 31-Mar-14 21:22:18

As a private school they are quite able to ask you to remove your daughter. If you feel they are suggesting this, then please clarify with them. Then have a think about why she may be behaving like this at this particular school. Is it really that different from home and her nursery? It is true that state schools will have better back up and easier access to support services.

First, I'd say that immaturity and lack of concentration are not immediate behaviour issues. The 2 may go hand in hand, but good grief, she is 5! Do you think your DD had special needs? Have hearing and eyesight been checked? Has she had a speech and language assessment? What I would say is that some children find boundaries tricky to come to terms with. And children are quick to label someone "naughty" and that person can often get the blame. This will be particularly obvious in the small classes of a private school.

Our behaviour support teacher would always say that with a child with no SEN, bad behaviour is attention seeking of some sort. She has learnt that she gets attention from the bad behaviour when other (good) behaviour does not work. You may or may not believe this!

In terms of dealing with issues like you describe (common in my experience), we would list the undesirable behaviours. Then think about putting the most undesirable first. From your list, I'd say hurting other children is the first thing that needs to stop. That is the behaviour that needs to be dealt with first and all else needs to be ignored and the teachers need to clench their teeth. So our sticker chart would just be "I will keep my hands feet etc to myself" and we would give the child a sticker for each day-part that she manages to follow the desired behaviour. If she gets (say) 4 stickers, this would create a time-based reward - 10 mins doing something she has chosen to work towards. Maybe you could do something special at home if she gets all her stickers in one day - time based like making cakes etc. What I would say is that, at first, the rewards need to be easy enough so that she is getting one a day. They can be made more tricky once she starts succeeding.

That dealt with, you move onto the next behaviour ... Sharing and turn-taking for example. Although in my experience, if you deal with one thing, everything else falls into place. This kind of behaviour chart is an admin nightmare for schools, but honest to god, it works brilliantly. If it doesn't, then I'd look at eliminating SEN.

Good luck.

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