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In thinking this headteacher could do with attending a charm school asap?

(24 Posts)
GratefulHead Sun 18-Jan-15 10:22:11

I am seething still from a meeting I had with DS's school on Friday.

DS is in Y7 at a local mainstream school, he is autistic with ADHD and academically is in all the bottom sets. Learning always was and is a struggle for him due to his difficulties.

Two weeks ago I spoke to the head of year as I was startingto feel that DS wasn't happy and I was beginning to wonder if Mainstream was the right choice. I posted here about that and had great advice from other people.

Anyhow last week there was an issue where DS displayed some "odd behaviour" in a class. The class teacher who I thought no meant well, approached DS and pointed the odd behaviour out and then ...Demi started the same behaviour! So the table of children that DS was sat with laughed about it. DS was mortified and distressed, it was the last lesson of the day and it was extremely difficult to get him back into school the following day.
I spoke to the head of year again and he was brilliant, said he would find out who the teacher was etc. I was clear that I thought the teacher meant well (I generally believe the best of people) and had just been misguided at that point etc. The head of year also commented that DSL seemed well liked among his peers which gave me a huge boost of confidence about how DS was coping.

Two days later I received a letter from the head teacher asking me to make an appointment ASAP. I arranged it for the following day (last Thursday) and thought it would be about the incident in the classroom as he had witnessed DS crying.

I went in on Thursday to be told that DS was displaying very odd behaviours...disturbing behaviours. He was talking about guns and killing people nothing new here, but DS has a vivid and cartoon like imagination, in his mind a gun would kill someone but they would get up and walk and be alive afterwards. It's an inappropriate way of expressing his anger when he is very distressed ...and is usually as a result of teasing. I generally remind him that it's a horrible thing to say and that when people die they don't come back...he usually says "okay well I won't shoot them then but will shout at them and rage".
DS is apparently crying a lot when things upset him...situations etc.
He is talking to inanimate objects and answering them.

The HT said he didn't really know how to deal with this and was going to get advice from the local authority. I was absolutely fine with this as my one priority is my DS feeling safe enough in school not to do any of those things.

I came away absolutely shell shocked and rang the Local Authority myself. I said to them that DS was clearly feeling overwhelmed within a mainstream setting. I chose the school because it only has 750 pupils as opposed to 2000 in the other local secondary schools. Therefore I felt that if DS wasn't coping in the smallest mainstream he wouldn't cope in anything bigger.

I told the LEA that I would pull DS out and home educate in the short term but that I felt he needed a special school. My criticism at this point was the mainstream system and NOT the school itself.

I then spoke with DS's junior school SENCO who was brilliant. She expressed surprise that the secondary school had not contacted them for advice as they are the feeder school. She also said that the behaviours DS was showing were the result of him not being managed. They were an issue in junior school until the right support was in place, after this they largely stopped and in Y6 were not an issue at all.

The LEA must have had a panic as they called a meeting at the school for the very next day. I went along taking my Mum (to listen) and the junior school SENCO as she knew DS so well and I bought she could help with making a plan.

The meeting went wrong from the start. The HT arrived and was evidently fuming to see the junior school SENCO, and said straight away "we don't need you and you're not coming in"! I was honestly gobsmacked by his defensive manner and initially I didn't know what to say or do. My Mum however, is made of sterner stuff and simply said "she is coming in as she knows my grandson very well". He then backed down and we all trooped into a meeting room. He was hostile and defensive rift from the start and wouldn't let me get a word in edgeways. When I did manage to speak he drummed his fingers and huffed, seemingly annoyed that I was speaking g at all. He was patronising, condescending and arrogant, he was defensive and several times said that he didn't want any inference that the school were not meeting DS's needs. I pointed out that I had never made that inference, just that the mainstream system as a whole wasn't ideal for autistic children.

He said the school could meet DS's needs (backtracking a bit from the previous day), and that DS had "wraparound care" (yeah that's why he has twice missed lunch in your school you arrogant wanker because he got caught up in homework at lunchtime and didn't know how to tell the adults involved that he was already doing other stuff so would have no time for lunch).

After 30 mins the meeting was over and he couldn't wait to get rid of we got to the Reception where there was a parent waiting his demeanor changed totally and he said "so I'm at the end of the phone if you need me Mum".

I am still in a state of shock tbh, part of me doesn't want to send DS back in there tomorrow but I will as I have no other option at that point. All that came from the meeting really is that these behaviours are new (since the beginning of this term), that his teachers are worried and that it seems only since DS went intone bottom sets. He says he will look at how that was managed, beyond that I have no other idea what the schools plans are.

I will speak to the SEN department tomorrow and ask them to log any oddities and to notify me when they occur.

I am also looking at other schools. I will contact the LEA to tell them that the HT is an arrogant pig and to make sure they know where he backtracked.

I am honestly not "one of those parents", I have never had any issues with DS in school before...he went right through junior school with no need for me to get involved or to worry.

If you've read this then thank you, writing it down has helped.

GratefulHead Sun 18-Jan-15 10:41:55

Sorry about in iPad and have fat fingers

GettingFiggyWithIt Sun 18-Jan-15 10:42:14

He sounds like a twunt. What did junior senco make of it all?

ChippingInLatteLover Sun 18-Jan-15 10:46:54

He sounds awful. I'm sorry DS is having a rough time of it.

What did the senco suggest?

GratefulHead Sun 18-Jan-15 10:47:33

She waited until we were outside and then said "my Gid, what an absolute arrogant pig".

She thinks I need to go in on Monday and ask how they will be managing DS and what their plans are.

She was brilliant actually, she came to the meeting on her afternoon off.

holeinmyheart Sun 18-Jan-15 10:51:04

I Absolutely agree with you about the HT being an arrogant pig. However, now that he realises that your DS is protected by a strong DM, it will have made him think. So before you prepare to jump ship, wait and see what happens for a bit.

You see there are hundreds of children in a school with a myriad of different abilities and needs, so sometimes things are let slide or overlooked. So it is your job to keep pointing out your child's needs. It shouldn't be, but we don't live in an ideal world.

I feel sure that things will improve now you have said your piece. If you change schools it may well happen again until things settle down and everyone gets used to your son.

So keep calm and smile and be nice and reasonable in your dealings with the school. Keep your teeth and claws sharpened though, and just remind the Head that they are there now and again, and that you are determined to protect your son. That's your job, after all.
Xx best of luck ... Don't let the B***** get you down.

G4nna Sun 18-Jan-15 10:51:04

I'm glad writing it has helped ... it often does.

May I suggest you take this post, adjust it slightly (perhaps remove the 'arrogant wanker'!) and send a copy to the Education Department. Copy in your Mum (God bless her ... it's much easier for Grandparents to get stroppy, we don't feel judged about our grandchildrens' behaviour like parents do!) and the Senco for both primary and secondary schools. Make sure the HT sees it too, I would like to think he doesn't realise how defensive he's being wink and will apologise. Don't leave out the final public charm offensive!

Just fyi - I have 3 adopted daughters with ld, a grandson with Aspergers' and all sorts of other goings on ... so I feel your pain. Try not to take him out of school, but get him 1-1 support until movement is possible. Remember, YOU are in the middle of this and need support - do YOU need an advocate? Take care of yourself, you are the most important person in your son's life.

God bless.

evelynj Sun 18-Jan-15 10:57:55

What a tosser. Hope it gets better. I agree to writing. Log it that you don't think the meeting went well & to clarify you weren't inferring the school wasn't meeting ds needs as HT seemed to have mistake bing picked that up & make a list of what you need from the. & when to next meet & review.

Good luck

GratefulHead Sun 18-Jan-15 10:57:58

You are all brilliant, crying reading some of these responses Thank you flowers

longjane Sun 18-Jan-15 10:58:08

In mainstream senior school you talking to SENCO all time not head of year or headmaster. As that is route for normal kids.
If your child needs to told to go to lunch mainstream school might not be the place for him.

noblegiraffe Sun 18-Jan-15 10:58:12

So the HT had heard that your DS was displaying possibly violent tendencies, jumped in with a 'this is serious and needs to be addressed' meeing, didn't realise it was a known issue due to SEN and instead of being the hero of the hour for flagging it up has now shown up his school to the LA as not dealing well with your DS's needs? Thus is on the defensive.

I can see why is is feeling a bit of a prat and taking it out on you. Hopefully, now the 'danger risk' has been explained, he'll slink back to his office and the teachers who usually deal with the kids can get on with doing their job properly.

I wouldn't expect to speak with him again, so I wouldn't rush to take your DS out of school just yet - if he coped badly with the change to the sets then a change of school would be potentially very difficult. See what the school comes up with and fingers crossed you should see an improvement. Set a date for a review maybe at half term and then consider your options.

holeinmyheart Sun 18-Jan-15 11:01:09

Personally I am not sure I would be be writing to anyone at this stage. I think you should be concentrating on supporting your son and making sure frequently, that the school recognises his needs.
Yes the Head has behaved arrogantly but you need him to be on your side and co-operate.

You need to weigh up what would be the result if you write letters of complaint in all directions. It may help your son or it may not.

I think you should certainly write down what happened and keep a log. So that if it happens again, you can point it out.

Senco's in Secondary Schools have a large work load, so you need to keep a close eye on what is going on.

youarekiddingme Sun 18-Jan-15 11:15:12

He is a twat and I've also had experience of HTs being twats when faces with evidence of their schools failing pupils. (I have a DS in year 6 - suspected AS).

Firstly, send an email confirming all that was discussed. The fact you have no idea what the school are doing gives you room to ask them to confirm how they are going to help on each point.

I've found this gets me everywhere because they don't want a paper trail that shows their downfalls.


dear twunt HT,

Thankyou for the meeting on x at y time, attended by .....
I understand you didn't want <name> junior school SENCo at the meeting by your comment "your not coming in" but hope her/his attendance was helpful in informing you on what helps DS.

The purpose of this emai is to confirm what was discussed and the outcomes agreed.

1. We discussed th unusual behaviours ds has been exhibiting. We talked about reports from X teachers of Y behaviours. (List these). Please confirm what the school will be doing to support DS with this as I have no notes recorded from the meeting.

Keep going until you've included everything. IME HT are arses until they realise you do know yiur rights and the system well. They are much nicer people when they are interactive father than defensive.

brew and cake to keep your strength up.

Quitethewoodsman Sun 18-Jan-15 11:18:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ilovesooty Sun 18-Jan-15 11:50:48

Did you advise the head that the junior school senco would be coming to the meeting?
I agree he hasn't handled this well but I did wonder.

Icimoi Sun 18-Jan-15 11:51:41

Does DS have a statement? Are they providing all the support set out in the statement?

GratefulHead Sun 18-Jan-15 11:56:35

Thank you all, yes am calmer now it's all written down here.
My plan now tomorrow is to take DS in and then once he is safely through the door I will arrange to speak to someone from the SEN dept (SENCO off sick hence the HT is doing her job as well as his).
What I plan to ask is that they note any odd behaviours from DS, what they are, when they occurred (ie which class) and to let me know

I will also write that letter to the HT as you suggest youare.

I'll create a paper trail.

I plan to phone the local special school tomorrow too and arrange a visit to see if DSL might do better there, if I think he will then I will start the process of sorting this out with the LEA.

Thank you all x

longjane Mon 19-Jan-15 06:47:37

SENCO of sick = you are stuffed

Been there got the tee shirt .

You won't get anywhere now with the school .

ScathingContempt Mon 19-Jan-15 08:05:11

Where was the high school senco in all of this? They should have been the person dealing with you over this, or at least in on the meeting.

Don't write off all mainstream schools because of this one. I worked at a secondary with an intake of 1500 and we had a lot of autistic pupils, severe enough to require 1:1 support at all times. We had 2 sencos, 50 teaching assistants and room for the pupils to have quiet lunches, time out etc. All the teaching staff were aware of how to work with the pupils with autism.

As well as looking at the nearby special schools, I would suggest you visit some other mainstream ones locally, as one of them may be able to offer your son full support.

Even if you pull your son out of this school, speak to their sen dept and tell them why, they need to know what has gone wrong from your perspective, not just from the moronic headteacher's.

ScathingContempt Mon 19-Jan-15 08:09:12

Sorry, missed the bit about the senco being off sick.

The head sounds like completely the wrong person to be covering for her.

As well as speaking to the LA, you could raise a complaint with the school governors.

DisappointedOne Mon 19-Jan-15 08:24:20

How old is this headteacher/new to the job is he?

benfoldsfive Mon 19-Jan-15 08:35:44

I wonder what the senco will make of this when they get in today......

lambsie Mon 19-Jan-15 09:40:20

I would also be looking at independent specialist schools as well as LA special schools. And keep records of everything.

Dawndonnaagain Mon 19-Jan-15 09:51:10

As others have said, keep records. Buy a small dictaphone and take it to meetings, (you can get them for around a tenner). Write to the governors, not as a complaint, but to 'register your dismay' that the school are 'having a little difficulty coping without a senco.
Been there, done that.

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