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Schools just don't get it do they!

(22 Posts)
AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 18-Jun-20 15:38:22

Just had a call from DS's school.

He is due to go into y10 in September.

School sent a letter last week saying that they often mix the tutor groups around a little bit before the start of Y10 .This involves swapping two or three boys from each group. They stated that as they are aware that this can cause a lot of anxiety they like to let the boys concerned know well in advance to get them used to the idea. They said they would call the parents concerned.

So I've just had the call. I just can't believe they have chosen my son to be one of these boys.

Background is that it has taken us two and a half academic years to get him settled into this school. The school have previously arranged counselling for him as he was struggling so much with issues relating to his feelings as an adopted child and having been separated and eventually losing contact with his birth siblings. They know all this and yet they think separating him from the group of boys he has bonded with since Y7 is a good idea!

I'm so angry. We've worked so hard to get him on an even keel emotionally and they will destroy all of that just as he goes into his GCSE years. He's a really well behaved child and highly academic but this emotional baggage can really hold him back.

We've told the school in no uncertain terms that we are not happy and they have said they will think on it and call again in two weeks.

I'm so angry that they didn't just realise what a mistake it would be and back down immediately.

I've had so many battles with schools over their treatment of my adopted children over the years. They just don't get it and I'm exhausted by it all.

Had to just get that out - thanks for reading.

OP’s posts: |
ASandwichNamedKevin Thu 18-Jun-20 17:10:45

Oh that sounds frustrating to put it mildly!

Who did you speak to today? Can a teacher who knows DS help argue your case? Or the counsellor?

Did you manage to convey the above to the person you spoke to? I know it can be difficult if you're caught off guard.

Wewearpinkonwednesdays Thu 18-Jun-20 17:16:23

I would be seriously pissed of by that. Wait and see what they say in a couple of weeks, but there really is no reason they can't change that decision.

Theforest Thu 18-Jun-20 17:22:45

This doesnt sound thought through in the slightest.

What were the reasons why they had chosen him? Did they say?

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 18-Jun-20 17:57:27

I was caught on the hop a bit but I made it very clear that it was a very bad idea. I have never dealt with this particular teacher before as the KS4 department is separate to the rest of the school. I suspect they hadn't taken his status as a previously looked after child into account at all.

I asked the teacher if he was familiar with my son's issues with anxiety and he just asked me to tell him more about it. I asked if he knew my son was adopted and he immediately answered that he did. I told him that the issues surrounding his adoption cut very deep and that as a result he doesn't cope at all well with change. I said that moving him set him back at least a year.

When my husband got home he immediately called the teacher again to reiterate what I'd said and asked for them to call us sooner rather later with their decision as it was causing us a huge amount of worry.

I'm confident we will win this but it depresses me so much that we have to fight against this nonsense and complete lack of understanding of the emotional turmoil our kids go though.

If they don't come through with the right decision I will have to write to the head teacher and spell it out to him that separating a child from his classmates of three years is not great when they have spent their whole life dealing with the feelings of rejection due to losing not only their birth mother but their two older siblings too.

OP’s posts: |
ifchocolatewerecelery Thu 18-Jun-20 21:40:36

If you're in England it might be worth contacting your local virtual head and get them on side.

Italiangreyhound Thu 18-Jun-20 22:44:45

How awful, what are schools thinking!

thanks

Porcupineinwaiting Fri 19-Jun-20 12:53:27

Maybe it would be a good idea to ask them what they were thinking? When you know their reasoning you'll be able to see if there is any validity behind it, and if not challenge it point for point.

Niffler75 Fri 19-Jun-20 13:26:35

@AngelsWithSilverWings Oh I am so angry for you and you are totally right to challenge it. 😡 Does your son have an EHC or any diagnosis related to his anxiety? You could put something in writing and include guidance for schools on the needs of adopted children. Adoption UK has a really good publication.
Clearly state the high risk of the school placement breaking down. Did your son have any professional input for his anxiety. A statement from a professional may help.
You are totally right and sorry you have this additional stress!
Your local Post Adoption Team could offer support. Also PAC UK has an education helpline.

AngelsWithSilverWings Fri 19-Jun-20 21:31:55

Thanks for the responses.

I'm going to wait on the school's decision which I fully expect to be in our favour. I will still point how how disappointed I am they didn't consider the negative impact on him before calling us. They've actually been ok in the past with this kind of stuff ( which was a huge improvement on his primary school!) They are very big on promoting awareness of mental health issues in young men ( it's an all boys grammar) and have always been quick to offer help when we've needed any.

If I need to I will contact the head teacher and then post adoption support ( they've been great in dealing with school issues in the past)

He doesn't have a diagnosis or anything official but he has had various counselling and therapy provided by post adoption over the years.

OP’s posts: |
theopleiikld Sun 21-Jun-20 10:28:43

They caught you on the hop, and it might be worth phoning back to talk through with them their reasoning. It sounds as though the conversation was the teacher telling you, you saying it was a bad idea, you giving information about your son but not him talking through why he had been minded to make the decisions.

It needs to be a two way discussion with both of you understanding where the other is coming from. If you know his thinking you may then have suggestions about a way forward.

Not the point of the thread, but in my experience where siblings are separated, they do often reconnect though more likely to be in secret which brings about its own dangers. Is it possible for the losing of contact to be re-considered so that it happens with your support and input?

AngelsWithSilverWings Sun 21-Jun-20 14:05:29

@theopleiikld thanks for the reply. My husband called the teacher back and chatted further. We'll wait for a response before we do anything else. Plenty of time to sort before start of Sept.

The contact situation is very complicated. All the adults involved fully understand why the face to face contact couldn't continue even after going so well for 9 years but DS obviously takes it as a rejection. Letter box has continued but DS refuses to open the cards now sadly.

Forgive me for being deliberately vague but trust me that the reasons for not being able to continue the face to face contact are due to genuine problems that can't be overcome.

OP’s posts: |
theopleiikld Sun 21-Jun-20 17:37:52

That is fine, there was no need to say anything about the contact. Obviously this will be a terrible loss to your dc, not just to do with rejection but also to do with loss of the relationships, uncertainty, everything else, it is very difficult. If the adults are all aware of the reasons then presumably your dc is also aware of the reasons, and over time can understand that it was not to do with rejection or be helped to come to terms with the rejection if it was rejection.

In relation to the school they have the interests of many children to consider, and the needs of an adopted child may or may not have been seen to be the priority from their perspective, quite correctly, and although they won't share confidential information they may be able to give more information which will allow a solution which will meet all needs. It might also be that there are things going on at school that you are not aware of. I am not sure about you, but I have found things out during lockdown that I wasn't aware of, not issues as such just things I was not aware of!

I think also that although your dc has been through a lot and is suffering a lot, they can be helped to cope with changes at school,.

Anyway, good luck I hope it gets resolved.

Niffler75 Sun 21-Jun-20 18:06:33

@AngelsWithSilverWings The contact situation sounds really complicated. ((hugs)). It is complicated here too!

@theopleiikld No parent via adoption takes contact decisions lightly. Every situation is so complex and unique. It sounds like you have had a different experience with contact?

theopleiikld Sun 21-Jun-20 20:10:34

@Niffler75 I agree that every situation is different - I am sorry if you are having a tough time with it. As I said in a post upthread, I wouldn't expect the OP or anyone else to go into details here, and I wouldn't either.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sun 21-Jun-20 20:44:20

@niffler75 thanks x

Contact with my DD's birth siblings is so much easier. Her's are also adopted and with a lovely family who we have got to know over the years .She FaceTimes her big sister often and texts her brother occasionally. The mum is lovely and is someone I can pick up the phone to any time for a chat and we got on well when we meet up.

Of course all of this can make DS a bit thoughtful about his own contact situation but he copes with it well and gets on really well with DD's brother when we meet up.

I've really got two opposite extremes of the contact experience!

OP’s posts: |
Niffler75 Sun 21-Jun-20 21:05:18

@angelswithsilverwings Gosh that really sounds hard with the differing arrangements! Hope the school situation settles. We are currently transitioning my son to a new school after an extremely poor experience.

defaultusername Sun 21-Jun-20 23:06:14

Angels- I'd be fuming with school, too. It feels like an odd thing to do, routinely. Move the kids that are unhappy and unsettled, not that ones who are settled. I hope tomorrow brings a way forward.

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 24-Jun-20 14:45:38

An update!

School just called. They won't be moving him and offered lots of support if and when we decide it's needed.

They also confirmed that his two closest friends are staying put too so that's good news.

We expressed disappointment with the original call and he apologised and says he'd handled it badly.

A really positive call that gave us the chance to ask about other minor stuff that was worrying us and DS has no idea any of this had happened.

Thanks again for your replies and support - I appreciate it.

OP’s posts: |
theopleiikld Wed 24-Jun-20 16:34:11

You sound very pleased so that is good, OP. Would you mind me asking why they had wanted to move the children around, just out of interest? Or did he not say?

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 24-Jun-20 16:41:28

We asked and it was to balance out the classes - so to get a good balance of different levels and also to iron out some personality clashes. This school keeps most lessons in line with tutor groups apart from maths where they have sets so it's quite a big thing to move to a different tutor group, I think it because it's a grammar school so most boys have similar ability.

I'm my daughters school it's different and they set for all lessons so the tutor group becomes less important.

OP’s posts: |
theopleiikld Wed 24-Jun-20 21:08:38

Thanks. It is interesting how different schools can be about this, ours organises classes strictly by reference to age/surname and I think hell would freeze over before they would consider a change to do with personality clashes or anything else!

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