Aggressive and violent child at school. What can I do if school are brushing it under the carpet?(126 Posts)
I would really like some advice from anyone who has had a similar experience, or works in school/LEA/is a school governor or similar.
My son (reception age) attends a very highly regarded primary school. It is rated as one of the top UK primaries.
There is a violent and aggressive boy in his class, who has sought out my child for the entire school year and subjected him to being hit/pushed/shoved on a regular basis. Sometimes it happens almost every day, and sometimes it scales off then a very aggressive and serious incident will occur a week later.
Examples of serious incidents are head injuries, head stamped on, attempted strangulation, blows to the eye, hits in the face with hard objects.
I have spoken to the class teacher about 10 times over the year. Each time he insists my son is sometimes provoking (we had NO behavioural issues before at nursery - not a single incident). He then deflects from what I am saying by bringing up issues with my son, for example, my son's phonics work (or similar). These 'issues' with my son are only brought up after I have called a meeting to discuss my son's safety.
While I know this will sound unreasonable to some, my experience so far says the school are trying to give me the message that if I kick up a fuss about this, they will deflect by attacking my son.
My son's report came home 2 weeks ago. It says he is 'outstanding' in all 3 areas of the EYFS.
I am worried about next year when this boy will be bigger and stronger. I worry something serious might happen one day. The incidents happen at playtime, and the school are clearly not watching them closely enough.
When I bring up my concerns, they seem to nod their heads and not do anything to address the behaviour. If they are doing anything, it is not working.
What would you do next?
Talk to head teacher.
Escalate to board of governors.
Keep a note of every incident.
Your poor son.
Tbh I would have escalated to head teacher after a couple of incidents, especially if teacher is replying by attacking your son/saying there is an area in which he is weak.
They are two entirely separate matters! Is the teacher very young or inexperienced? You need to stand up for your son. Sounds like school won't.
Should have added this -
The school policy is to raise issues with class teacher, then head, then governors, then LEA.
Other parents (who are aware of this child's behaviour) are pushing for a group of parents to approach social services. I do not feel at all comfortable about this.
Some parents know the family of the boy. General opinion is that he needs support, perhaps has a volatile homelife, has violent siblings, and the parents are against him being 'labelled' and therefore against him having additional help at school. If nothing else, he does need extra supervision to stop him attacking other children, and therefore another member of staff.
Could school be seemingly unwilling to deal with this issue because of funding issues, or perhaps because of being scared of putting more stress onto an already possibly volatile homelife?
I know that the school suffered some serious repercussions a couple of years ago when a pupil was being severely abused and they failed to pick up on it.
The correct order is (as you said) class teacher, then head, then governors, then LEA.
Speak to the Head immediately about this. Email him/her if you can and copy in the Chair of govs.
First of all if you have had to go in 10 times about this then you need to escalate it up to the head etc until you get someone who listens to you. The teacher telling you that your child is provoking this is victim blaming and unacceptable, deflecting about schoolwork is also unacceptable. You needpto get hold of the schools anti bullying policy and ask for a meeting with the headteacher to find out how they are going to enforce the schools policy.
You need to get tough on this, and also not worry about what will happen over the other boy. He sounds like he needs help in one form or another, and you cannotlet your son suffer because the school are wary around his parents.
Absolutely escalate to the head and if the head does nothing escalate again. If when you've exhausted all options you may have to look into moving him.
I am a school governor and all I can say is that in my school these issues are carefully dealt with as appropriate. Every one of them. However, it is done with complete confidentiality for both child and parent/s so it may be the case that things are going on but you will have no idea.
If your child is consistently receiving this level of injury absolutely push this to the head teacher and governors of need be.
Thank you for the replies. Please keep them coming.
Vatican, the class teacher has intimated the boys' family are receiving help from the school. However my only concern is that the aggression and violence have not stopped. My son is still being hurt. So while they may be doing everything in their power to deal with this, it's not working. I am not prepared to wait until the measures they are taking are effective. I am scared my son will be seriously, very seriously hurt in the meantime.
Our Head, is a very intimidating person who tends to patronise parents. Not very popular with many parents. But does have respect of many because the school does so well academically and in the league tables.
The Head is veery difficult to get a meeting with. You are batted off and sent to another 'more relevant' member of staff if you ask the meet with the Head.
That's why you need to speak to the head and pronto.
Frankly I would move schools, whatever the rating.
League tables don't matter, 'very highly regarded primary school' doesn't matter either, and don't be batted off to speak to anyone else if you've asked to speak to the head.
If you are batted off then write to the chair of governors.
I'm chair at my local primary school and if I received an e-mail from a parent telling me something this serious was not dealt with by the head, I'd bloody ring him myself and ask him why.
To put this into more context, I have been told this is normal behaviour for boys by the class teacher, and it has been consistently brushed under the carpet.
I feel as though they do not want to upset the other child/his family. Why would they fail to act? Why do they appear to be accepting the violence from the other child? Is this a political decision/ a funding issue? I suppose I would like to understand why a school would behave like this when something is so clearly wrong.
I totally agree with the Head Teacher, governor, LEA route. Please do it. My DC2 was hit by a cone, in anger, by a child with similar behaviour traits to the individual you are describing. He is now scarred. The pupil went to one secondary school and was then supposed to come to the one where I teach. However, because his ever increasingly poor behaviour was flagged up, he is being given the support that he needs in alternative provision.
The teacher/head should have dealt with this a long time ago my daughter had an issue with a girl making racist comments to her the first time I spoke to the teacher they dealt with it by speaking to class as a whole about 'the way we speak to people etc,' when that failed to work and I had to speak to the teacher again she straight away informed the head who spoke to the girl and had her parents in to speak to them the same day. So that they've brushed this under the carpet x 10 is a disgrace, whatever there reasons as to not upset the other boys homelife they can't put your sons safety at risk instead! I would make your sons new teacher fully aware when they go back and speak to the head yourself if you feel your concerns are being disregarded.
No-one here can answer those questions I'm afraid.
It might just be that the teacher is unable to cope and the SMT don't realise it.
We could sit here all week guessing and never get to the bottom of it.
Fully aware I may be flamed here, but haven't you tried to get him into a different school?
I wouldn't be sending my child to school to be routinely abused, sometimes daily.
Obviously the physical aggression is more serious than our scenario and if the school have identified problems with his homelife - they should be doing more to support this boy and appropriate interventions rather than just ignoring it?
I would write a letter/email to the head and say that you have spoken with the teacher on at least 10 occasions about your child being bullied by one particular child and that the bullying has continued and the school are failing in their duty to safeguard your school.
How many classes are there in the year? Can you request that they are not put in the same class together? Or if they are in the same class, can you ask for them to be sat apart, and say that if any further incidents of bullying occur you hold them responsible for the injuries that your son receives as you are telling them - again - of the fact that this child seems to particularly pick on your child. I'd also be tempted to add that from talking to other parents you are aware that the child picks on a lot of children but that your child does seem to come off particularly badly. And if they do move a child if they are together - then (assuming your child is with the friends/teacher he wants to be with in his class!) say that you do not want your child to be punished for being bullied - you expect them to move the other child into a different form.
I'd also be up front and say that you understand if the head is unable to deal with this matter and get the bullying under control, as the teacher has already failed to do so, that the next steps according to their policies is to escalate it to the governors. Unfortunately as it's the end of term, I'm guessing that your ds might be moving into a new class and with a new teacher, so you might need to go through that teacher before the head will deal with it.
If you're in a meeting with a teacher about this then don't let them deflect you with anything else - say that you'll come back and talk to them about that tomorrow or you can deal with that after you've dealt with the matter you're dealing with, they're not related - and be a broken record repeating it when they try it on with you.
Also - make sure you put them on the spot and ask them for specifics of what they are going to do to safeguard your child at the key times the bully tends to attack - eg at break time, at lunch time, in queues, or whenever it is.
Ask for their email so that after you've talked to them, you can email them with a summary of what you've discussed and agreed. if they won't give you one, then send it to the main school email address with an explanation and ask for it to be added to your child's file, so you're leaving a paper trail in case things don't get any better.
Have you looked on their website about what they say they'll do about bullying separately from the complaints procedure when a child is being bullied? Try to incorporate it into your requests for how they deal with your child - if you can say that you can see from their anti bullying policy they do xyz, then get them to specify how xyz works precisely for your ds.
If your ds gets bullied again and has any injuries to show for it - make sure you get photos of them and send them into school, again to go on file to help build your case.
Good luck - don't let them keep fobbing you off this year, if it happens more than once then escalate it and don't be scared to put the HT on the spot by saying that if they aren't capable of dealing with it, you will escalate it appropriately in the hope that the next person in the hierarchy will be able to deal with it. If the ht thinks he can get away with dealing with problems by putting parents down, then he should be able to take getting the same treatment back!
Zipzap thank you so much for your post. Many things here I did not know, i.e.: requesting things to be attached to my child's file.
Can I also see my child's file? I believe some schools are not forthcoming, or release a copy of the file that is incomplete.
Don't fear the head teacher. Polite but firm and everything backed up in writing. It is not acceptable for your child to be hurt on this level so frequently. And don't be fobbed off with other members of staff.
Not that I'm being negative towards the other child. There are interventions that can limit these incidents from happening if put in place. I've seen it in action in my school.
We had this problem as DC's previous school.
When we escalated to the HT, we:
* provided a timeline of the previous occasions we had raised issues with the class teacher including dates and a summary of the issue
* made it clear we did not want the class teacher to be present at the meeting as they had been ineffective in their earlier responses
* made it clear we didn't want to discuss the other
bully's DC's extenuating circumstances as (1) it was not our business (2) we were not demonising the other child (3) we were only interested in the school's duty of care to our DC and how they were going to fulfil their responsibilities to him
* asked for them to be kept separate in class
* asked for them to be supervised at breaks with teacher-led activities if appropriate
*asked the HT to have a meeting with the other DC's parents to make them aware of the issues so they could work together on an appropriate strategy/support plan
The HT agreed with all of our points. We then sent an email after the meeting confirming the steps she had committed to put in place.
(We gave them two weeks to start to implement the changes and when they failed to do so, we decided to move him. We had reached the point where the incidents were escalating and we had no faith that the school were exercising their duty of care. It was only good luck that DS was not injured beyond cuts and scrapes).
What interventions for example Vatican?
The only way I can see is if the other child is literally monitored throughout playtime and lunchtime. An adult with him continuously.
The other child does not really respond to much. I have seen him repeat the same hit/push seconds after being told not to do so - the moment the adult's back is turned.
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