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To move DS to a different secondary school against his wishes?

(41 Posts)
SlugBotherer Mon 15-Jul-13 15:57:11

My sons go to one of the best secondary schools in the city. My eldest is doing very well there whilst my youngest is just being a pain in the arse. He has made no progress in most of his subjects, has actually gone down two grades in maths and all of his effort grades are between c (moderate effort) and d (making very little effort).

His behaviour is terrible and he has been on and off 'report' since he started year 7 last September. He has a list of 'offences' against him including shop lifting from the tesco opposite the school, numerous incidents of fighting, cheeking teachers, low level damage to the new school building, throwing his planner over the balcony and is constantly disrupting lessons and getting chucked out. Last week it all came to a head when he was caught on CCTV being involved in the bullying of another boy. Upon further questioning it emerged that DS has been involved in bullying this kid (volatile lad who erupts if pushed - much to ammusement of the other lads) for over 5 months. So he was put in isolation - he even played up in isolation. I was called into the school and we spoke to head of year and head of lower school - as a result he was allowed back to normal lessons but put on a red report (final report before isolation). His report came back on Friday saying he was silly in lessons and terribly behaved in two subjects.

I've just had a phone call now to say he'd been really naughty in maths lesson, got into a black pen marker fight with another kid (so they're now both covered in marker pen) and when the other kid bent down to pick up the pen off the floor, DS went to kick him in the head. Then denied it despite being seen by the teacher.

Now - we recently moved house so no longer even live near this school. It is a 45 minute bus ride away (when he decides to actually turn up on time). Due to the move, we are now much closer to another secondary school (it's literally around the corner) and whilst it suffers with a terrible past reputation it has recently been rebuilt and restaffed and is improving rapidly.

I have threatened ds that if he can't behave at his current school, he'll be moved to this one. He's adamant that he doesnt want to change schools.

Would it be wrong of me to make this decision anyway and send him to the local school?

DumSpiroSpero Mon 15-Jul-13 16:02:30

If you've only just mentioned the idea, I think you should probably give him a chance to buck his ideas up first.

Has he said why he is playing up so badly? Could he be under stimulated/bored/mixed up with some dubious characters or jealous/in competition with older bro and feels he can't live up to him so is trying to get attention this way?

Was his behaviour at primary school OK?

Trifle Mon 15-Jul-13 16:03:54

I would move him, for the sake of the teachers and other pupils who have had to deal with his constant abuse and disruption. I think the school would cheer loudly if you did.

JackieOHHH Mon 15-Jul-13 16:04:05

Several things are going on here....has he ever been diagnosed with ADHD or dyslexia? As if children CAN'T learn for whatever reason they play up. Is he exceptionally bright so getting bored? Or is he finding it too difficult, and again, so getting bored? Even something like his eyesight...not being able to see the board,. What's his diet like, sleep pattern, who does he hang round with etc. look at all of these. My son is 11 and has just started his transition into year 7 and I'm listening to him every day, learning what he's been doing and who with...I know my son and if he comes home with an attitude I look at who he's spent time with.
I've always believed that if a child wants to learn they can do so in any school, and if they don't want to learn, well, the best school in the world won't help that.
I honestly think there's something underlying here...has he always been like this?
Consider changing school by all means, but you need to address his problems/issues or they'll just go with him. At the new school he will simply seek out trouble makers to hanground with, until he learns that's not the way to be.

BalloonSlayer Mon 15-Jul-13 16:09:59

I have threatened ds that if he can't behave at his current school, he'll be moved to this one. He's adamant that he doesnt want to change schools.

Well, you've made your threat . . . now you need to stick to it. You need to sit him down and explain clearly why you will wish him to move schools if he doesn't behave (ie make it look like a parenting decision rather than just a threat so he will do what you want) then leave the rest up to him.

JuliaScurr Mon 15-Jul-13 16:11:05

is something upsetting him that he hasn't mentioned?
it seems out of character

SlugBotherer Mon 15-Jul-13 16:11:30

He's always been like this. He was in and out of trouble all the way through his first primary school. In year 5 it got worse so I moved him to a different school and it just carried on the same, always in trouble. As soon as he started secondary school - it started up again.
I've had school psychologists onto it, they say nothing is wrong with him, he just likes attention. He's been on school action plus but was taken off because his academic ability is ok and therefore he has no "special needs".

Take him out for the day on his own and he is like a golden child.

Put him with friends, brother or anyone else who will compete for the attention and he turns into Damien.

I just feel that it's pointless him travelling all the way to this school when a) he's only in year 7 so has a good few years of this left b) he isn't doing any better for going to a 'good school', c) this other school is probably more efficient in dealing with 'disruptive' kids and d) it's around the corner from our house - less chance of him getting into bother on his way to and from school.

anklebitersmum Mon 15-Jul-13 16:13:22

If he was fine in primary school and is suddenly behaving in what sounds like a dreadful manner then I think I would be looking left and right to see what else has changed for him.

Perhaps a new school with a 'new start' would be beneficial as it would change his friends and any 'it's him again-ness'.

You know your son the best, but personally I would be telling him what's going to be happening, not asking if he fancied it based on his current behaviour (and assuming there's no outside reason).

anklebitersmum Mon 15-Jul-13 16:16:17

x post blush

Could he be high functioning but on the autism spectrum? From what you've said I think I might be asking for second opinions in that regard.

SlugBotherer Mon 15-Jul-13 16:25:38

He does have some autistic traits. He cant wear socks on carpet, is extremely sensitive to his other clothes (meaning he walks about in old scruffy clothes rather than the new nice clothes because they feel better), he has a very limited tolerance to foods meaning his just tends to eat eggs constantly and has a ridiculous temper. You say the wrong thing to him at the wrong time he'll explode. Say the same thing at a better time and he'll laugh along with you. At school he can have a teacher screaming in his face about some wrong doing and he'll shrug and walk away - coming back into school later as if nothing happened.

He's also a bit ocd with stuff, volume on tv has to be on an even number, he strips off to his boxer shorts as soon as he gets in the house. He's always been a bit odd but nobody will take it any further. If I mention the stuff he does at home I get told he's just an attention seeker. and maybe he is - but I'd prefer him to be seeking attention around the corner from the house as opposed to 6 miles away. Plus - he could make local friends instead of having to travel across the city during the holidays to play with his mates.

Nanny0gg Mon 15-Jul-13 16:32:31

I would definitely look more into his 'issues' - there is something not right here.

And I wouldn't assume that the school around the corner will take him - especially after a conversation with his current head.

I think you need a long conversation with his current school and then, if you do want to move him, with his new one. Because he cannot carry on this way ( and they won't let him; he'll be excluded).

He needs help.

DumSpiroSpero Mon 15-Jul-13 16:36:26

I think you need to look at getting both the school and your GP onto this again.

There definitely seems to be more to it than meets the eye.

I can totally understand your reasons for wanting to move him if it can't be resolved though.

JackieOHHH Mon 15-Jul-13 16:37:53

From what you say perhaps moving him would be an idea? Limit the time he's got to misbehave. But I feel there's something underlying...he's not 'just' an attention seeker...I would push for more intervention....have you ever been offered a referral to cahms? ( child and adolescent mental health service)... When my son had a bad time in year 4 we went there, they wouldn't diagnose him as aspergers as he was on the autism scale but very low down and the dr said once you're labelled you've got it for life...but they helped me see things with my son I couldn't see before ( wood for the trees syndrome!) and they helped me deal with him better.

My son possibly has what's called ' pathological avoidance' which is on the autism scale but low. He had anger issues as well as this was around the time my dd got seriously ill, he couldn't cope with all the attention she was getting....

tiredaftertwo Mon 15-Jul-13 16:50:18

This sounds very hard on you all. Given you have already moved his school because of his behaviour I would not use it as a threat (I would wothdraw that)

However if you think the other school would be better because it is closer, he is only in year 7 and it may be better at dealing with stuff, then do it. I can see that if his behaviour is this bad a journey will be more not less worrying for you as he gets older.

I agree there is more going on here. When you say is is a golden boy on days out, is he on his own then? Some of the traits sound like a highly sensitive child and I wonder if he is finding being in a group hard because of that and then lashing out? I wonder whether there is anything that could be done to end the school year on a bit more of a positive note?

I'd be tempted to post in Special Needs and just ask people what they think of your DS's behaviour because it doesn't immediately strike me as attention seeking. They would have some ideas on how you might get an appropriate assessment of his behaviour to work out if there is a bit more to it.

If there is an underlying issue then moving schools might just move the problem without providing a solution.

FrauMoose Mon 15-Jul-13 17:07:47

My stepson was at one of the 'best' secondary schools in our city. It wasn't the right one for him. He is clever and his mother felt that the academic structure would help him to achieve. Her concern was that at a less highly-achieving school he would just drift and hang out with the less motivated students.

However the pastoral care was not good and I think the place was just too rigid for him. (We are now pretty sure he has Aspergers.) I am honestly not sure what the right place would have been for my stepson. A school that was more caring and managed to combine structure with flexibility, probably. If such a place existed.

If your son is - by any chance - on the autistic spectrum I imagine he is quite distressed by the impending move.

I hope the right way forward emerges for you and your son.

Sparklysilversequins Mon 15-Jul-13 17:29:24

I think it's terrifyingly easy for kids with ASD high on the spectrum to fall through the cracks. Chances are if he HAS got ASD he may well have poor impulse control as one of his symptoms, which could explain A LOT of the issues he and you are having. My ds has HFA and looks totally NT, interacts pretty well too, however he had very severe issues at school resulting in him being "restrained" by a disbelieving teacher that ended up with ds covered in abrasions and bruises.

Don't expect the school to automatically pick it up either, many teachers have little or no experience of it. They have a lot of experience of plain bad behaviour though so that's what they put it down to.

Lancelottie Mon 15-Jul-13 17:31:50

I have to say, as the possessor of one wind-up merchant and one autistic child, your post is not exactly screaming autism at me. Sorry.

What motivates him? From your post, I'd say the offer of one-to-one time might be a carrot to dangle -- for short spells of decent behaviour

RedHelenB Mon 15-Jul-13 17:38:32

He's a bully, he fights, he shop lifts and he is still only year 7 so something needs to be done or he will end up being expelled!

I would be honest with the local school, explain what he is like & see what they say re. his behaviour, otherwise you will have the exact same problems. You could see it to him by being able to have more 1 -1 time with you as it is closer to home. Plus, he won't be known as ds1's brother soi a complete fresh start.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 15-Jul-13 18:43:05

I would give him one last chance and then move him. Take him for a tour of the other school so that he knows you are serious.

Even if he does have HFA, he will still need to learn to cope with the things he struggles with. It is not acceptable for him to be so continually disruptive in lessons, ASD or not. My child has AS, but it is nowhere near bad enough to be used as an excuse for persistent bad behaviour, bullying, or shoplifting.

Even if you get a diagnosis, you will still have to find ways of dealing with his issues.

ImperialBlether Mon 15-Jul-13 18:54:31

Personally, I think local friends are the last thing he needs. It sounds as though he'd gravitate towards other trouble makers and before you know what's hit you, they'll be skiving school.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Mon 15-Jul-13 18:55:41

I am not a professional but work full time with special needs and I don't think he is attention seeking in the sence of the word ,
I would repost this in special needs, the clothing issues are a big indicator.
Best of luck and I'm sure you will look behind the aggression and see whats happening.

dontgowadingin Mon 15-Jul-13 19:01:52

why do people all was assume there is a SN cause why children cant wont learn at school? confused

My DD1started playing up in year 8 in her secondary school. she said she cant help herself mess about and join in when her mates where mucking about hmm then there was an incident when she was staying at her friends and I had a weird urge to phone her and discovered after hearing her very suspicious voice her and her friends were sampling a bottle of cider!

Started proceedings to move her school the following Monday morning and never looked back.

It was the best thing we both ever did, knuckeled down and found herself some new friends, college wasn't for her but she walked in to a fantastic job.

Its not about the schooling its about the sensory issues around clothing etc that I think is making people wonder.

dayshiftdoris Mon 15-Jul-13 19:07:39

On one hand everyone is saying 'ooh he might have HFA' and then saying 'Move his school' shock

Transitions are often the flash point for poor behaviours for children / YP on the spectrum - whether it's from a task to another task in a class or from class to class or from school to school - transitions are significantly anxiety producing which in turns causes the poor behaviour.

Personally (& been here) I think a knee jerk reaction move would be a bad idea... You need a meeting with school and referral to CAMHS ASAP, he needs a risk assessment and behaviour management plan... If school don't support THEN think about moving him but look at a managed move do you can some control at managing the transition and the new school knowing what they are getting.

I have a 9yr old version tho diagnosed HFA - moved from 1st school knee jerk and from 2nd for specialist provision in current school and after exhausting every avenue.

If school won't refer to CAMHS then go to GP... Sorry but I am bit shock that he has gone to kick someone in the head and he's not been excluded nor has anyone thought to refer on - he's a significant risk to others and the behaviour is clearly escalating... It may be end of term (I know that one too well) or just the onslaught that secondary education brings but whatever it is you need to start working with school ASAP.

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