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School report aibu to punish him? WWYD

(221 Posts)
Meloncholymum Tue 18-Jun-13 13:19:48


My son has just received an appalling report for his end of year. Basically he hasn't reached his target grades in nearly all subjects and his class work and prep is 'unsatisfactory'. DH is furious and I am disappointed - he is exceptionally bright but clearly not doing the right things to achieve.

He is a full time boarder and comes home some Weekends and holidays - which we thought was the right thing - but I am beginning to question the decision.He is in year 7

DH is threatening to take his beloved xbox and birthday present away and to make him work all the summer break.

WWYD - is it unreasonable to punish him or is this report just a reflection of him adapting to big school?

Gubbins Tue 18-Jun-13 13:33:53

I'd have thought it more effective to sit down with him and try to get to the bottom of why he's not achieving as much as you think he should; not punishing him with no investigation of underlying reasons . And speak to the school about why you were not made aware that he was struggling earlier.

It's not clear whether you are questioning your decision to board him or questioning your decision to allow him home at weekends. If you think that having him under school supervision for more of the time would help then think again. My parents thought that my boarding, with supervised prep with my peers, might encourage me to work a bit harder but got it completely wrong. I ended up doing bugger all. As long as the prep room was quiet, no-one cared if I was writing my essay or reading Just 17 under the desk. I had had much more effective supervision at the kitchen table under Mum's beady eye.

JakeBullet Tue 18-Jun-13 13:34:36

If I was 11 and had the threat of work g all summer I would be rebelling big time. Good luck OP, he might become a very difficult teenager and this could all backfire.

BeauNidle Tue 18-Jun-13 13:34:52

IWipearses I doubt it. Very sad, but not unblievable.

Too many parents think that because they are paying their child will excel in every subject, which his horrific.

Poor boy.
My boys are happy, that is why we pay for their particular school. Not A* children, but comfortable with what they are doing, and the levels they are getting.

DontWannaBeObamasElf Tue 18-Jun-13 13:35:41

It's not fair to send him away from home and then punish him for it affecting his work.

When I was 14 I had a bad report/parents evening and my dad really laid in to me. It was horrible and made me feel stupid and worthless.

Don't punish him, support him.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 18-Jun-13 13:37:56

Perhaps you need to look at changing his schooling as boarding at this one is having a detrimental effect on his education.

Fakebook Tue 18-Jun-13 13:37:59

Poor boy.

How about asking him why he's not doing well instead of punishing him?

Ducking out of parental responsibilities and then being disappointed and furious at the end result. Good one.

secretscwirrels Tue 18-Jun-13 13:38:43

Poor child. Sent away from home and then punished all summer.

You are presumably paying a lot of money for this. The content of an end of year report should never be a surprise. School are not doing their job properly if they haven't mentioned this before.

Oh wait, this is a wind up surely??

squeakytoy Tue 18-Jun-13 13:39:32

first post from an op who doesnt come back...


AnonYonimousBird Tue 18-Jun-13 13:40:20

If the end of the year is the first you have known about this, you need to be asking the school why the hell this has not been brought to your attention sooner!!!!

Porka Tue 18-Jun-13 13:40:29

Sorry but I think the school is shit if this is the first you have heard of it. Is there no contact with the school during the year? Is prep not supervised?

Either you son has undiagnosed special needs or there is something going on at school that prevents him studying. Either way the school should have spotted it. Frankly I would be straight on the phone to the school to find out wtf is going on and considering moving him to another school.

BeauNidle Tue 18-Jun-13 13:40:42

Of course, the other angle is, that he may be very happy at school, and settling in with all the messing about with mates in the dorms sort of thing and not getting alot of work done. In which case, he may achieve more next year. Removing him from school may not be the right option.

He has undergone huge changes in the last year, so a bit of leniency would be a good thing IMO

Meloncholymum Tue 18-Jun-13 13:40:47

Sorry went to hang the washing out:

1. He wanted to go to boarding school - he had a choice (day and boarding) and choose this school over several others
2. He boards because we work erratically and didn't think it was fair that he would be doing homework when we might not be around (we have a good nanny but it is not her job TBH)
3. School think he is a daydreamer, lacks focus, lacks concentration, is the class clown etc.
4. The school have done lots in some subjects (where he is doing well) and not done anything in the subjects he isn't. He does have a very weak tutor
5. He gets significant guidance and support from us and our other family who live nearby- he comes home 1 weekend in every 3 and holidays. The staying at school over the weekend- he stays when his friends are there and comes home when they are not (excluding exeats)
6. The work is not too hard for him and he is working at level 7 in most of his subjects (but then again was before he left primary) it seems to be an attitude problem rather than capability
7. He is happy - we offered a day school to him (even during the May half term holiday) so it is not that (we think - nor do they)
8. He has had some very minor social problems to start with (one child in the boarding house) but it effected everyone and that seems to be all done and over now
9.We have had other reports - which have been variable, but this one is dire

Hope that answers the questions - btw DH is not a bully in any sense, he is worried about his son and how children are ever going to get a break in this world - and yes - like everyone else he/we both work hard to try and give them the best we can - if the state schools in our area were any good - he would have gone there

BalloonSlayer Tue 18-Jun-13 13:41:58

So you send him away to school all year, only have him home "some" weekends and holidays, and now when he comes home after the end of a year like that, you're considering taking away his x-box AND his birthday present and making him work all holiday?

I am sitting here open-mouthed with actual shock.

May I suggest a nice friendly local comp, where you get to look at his books every night when he brings them home, you supervise his homework and see where he is struggling, and where you can call the HOY or email teachers if you are worried. Oh and you save a bit of money.

Meloncholymum Tue 18-Jun-13 13:42:59

BTW they do have 1.5 hours of supervised prep a night - so I am thinking time is not the issue.

He has a lazy tendency also - which is reflected in his effort grades

We wondered if it may be that the primary was so supportive to the individual that now there are more kids to focus on, his is being left to get on with things.

WilsonFrickett Tue 18-Jun-13 13:44:03

How can his report be 'appalling' if he's doing very well in some subjects?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 18-Jun-13 13:44:18

Could it be he needs stretching more? If he's bored and dreaming in class?

Don't feel bad about the boarding as many parents who are in the army and move around a lot etc choose this option for the stability and continuity and I think it's an incredibly brave thing to do cos you must miss him terribly.

I would focus on asking the school what their plans are to engage him

marchart Tue 18-Jun-13 13:44:52

I would ask to meet with the head of year, and ask what the plans are for helping your son move forward.

Is he disappointed with his report? Does he think it's fair?

WilsonFrickett Tue 18-Jun-13 13:45:43

We wondered if it may be that the primary was so supportive to the individual that now there are more kids to focus on, his is being left to get on with things

That is kind of the very definition of big school though. And many children dip when they move on to more subjects, self-led homework, etc. Sounds like that 'lovely prep' focused on getting them through the entrance exams rather than teaching independent study skills eh? Who'da thunk it....

WillSantaComeAgain Tue 18-Jun-13 13:46:01

"poor boy"??? FFS, none of you have the first clue about boarding schools. Boarding is not "being sent away" - some people, amazingly enough, love it and thrive on it. I speak from experience.

While its possible that the boy is miserable, it could very well be the exact opposite - the boy could be having the time of his life, having far too much fun with his new friends etc etc to bother getting down to the boring task of work.

Just because its boarding, it does not mean he's miserable.

But, OP (if you are genuine) - talk to him first. If he's miserable, you need to do something. I'd also be v disappointed in the school's pastoral care if he's miserable and you haven't heard about it from them. If he's loving it and it really is a case of not having worked hard enough, use this as a chance to set the ground rules for him. Year 7 doesn't matter, so far better that he gets this out of his system now. But the year before GSCE courses start (or whatever they will be) he really needs to be taking it seriously so he's in the right sets to achieve his potential in GCSE years.

If he leaves it till then, he could be too far behind, so next year he needs to start working.

Meloncholymum Tue 18-Jun-13 13:46:19

Thanks caffeine - I dont feel bad about the boarding - but clearly some other people do.

I will be speaking to the school about it as well - it seems that in some subjects there is some jostling to get them settled in - which means they are seated in friendship groups.....clearly very bad for my DS - but where he is in a set he performs better (Science, Maths, English)

ShadeofViolet Tue 18-Jun-13 13:46:57


Punishing him is beyond unreasonable, especially when you dont see him that much as it is. Why not try and get to the root of the problem rather than lashing out?

Do you want him to hate you?

squeakytoy Tue 18-Jun-13 13:47:11

Never seen the point in having kids if you just shunt them off to boarding school out of the way... sad

Children need their parents, and family life.

edam Tue 18-Jun-13 13:47:14

It's only been 20 minutes since the OP posted, give her a chance!

Melancholy, clearly you are upset but there's some good advice here and some very pertinent questions. You need to speak to the school to find out why this has come as such a surprise - why have they not spoken to you about ds struggling with his work before now? And you need to sit down with ds and find out what is going on.

Perhaps transition to big school, bullying, homesickness, perhaps the targets being set too high for him (even though you think he's super-bright, it can be a shock moving up from prep to a very academic senior school, where there are lots of very bright people which it sounds like this one is).

Does dh always over-react btw? Seems like an extreme response.

cazboldy Tue 18-Jun-13 13:48:20

i think punishment would be wrong about setting acheivable targets instead and then rewarding him?

Meloncholymum Tue 18-Jun-13 13:48:27

He will only just have seen the report - so I dont know what to expect from him!

He is definitely living it up and having lots of fun - so maybe he just needs to knuckle down.

Not genuine! Seriously.......

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