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Bossy Teaching assistant daughter in year 6 forced into social group

(122 Posts)
Brighteyes27 Fri 27-Nov-15 23:08:10

My DD is in year 6 she is bright, creative and lovely natured but she does have dyslexia and struggles a little with literacy. She works hard and attends a large primary school. Her school stream the children for literacy and maths. Anyway she is at the top of the middle set for maths and at the top of the bottom set for literacy. Tonight she came home upset as a bossy teaching assistant (who is there to supposedly support a boy with Aspergers in her class). Told her off for helping a boy with numeracy and she had been asked to do this by the numeracy teacher. She actually said 'I don't think so you shouldn't be helping anyone with anything'. This same teaching assistant took her to one side and told her she had to attend a social group with this other child who has behavioural issues to help this child make friends. This girl is trouble and basically doesn't want to be in school and my daughter doesn't like her. But to make matters worse some of these sessions take place during literacy and numeracy. And she has also been told she has to play with this child most break times and neither her or her best friend are happy about this. Can this be right? Would you be happy about this? Help advice wanted please.

Aeroflotgirl Fri 27-Nov-15 23:11:59

This is not acceptable, I would be having a meeting with dd teacher about this on Monday morning. It is the schools job to help this child, not your dd, especially during literacy and numeracy sessions. Noway!

anyquestions1 Fri 27-Nov-15 23:14:18

There seem to be several issues going on here OP. I think it would be best to try to arrange to speak with your DD's class teacher if you can, so that you can explain your concerns and hear what she has to say.

theycallmemellojello Fri 27-Nov-15 23:14:47

Well the telling her off for helping in class is a bit if a non-issue, so I wouldn't worry about that. Possibly your dd was explaining it wrong or something.

The social group- this seems strange. Can it be correct that she is being removed from literacy and numeracy? This seems so unlikely that I think your dd has probably misunderstood. I think you should call and check what the deal is. Obviously if they are proposing to remove her from these classes then you need to put your foot down.

But as far as asking kids to befriend and support their peers goes, no I don't think that's inherently unreasonable. Ywbu to object, I think.

catfordbetty Fri 27-Nov-15 23:19:10

Is your understanding of these events based entirely on the account of a 10 year old?

Permanentlyexhausted Fri 27-Nov-15 23:23:11

I would ask to speak to her class teacher on Monday and say that you have some concerns about what your DD has told you and can she clarify things for you.

I'm not sure there is anything too wrong with her helping another child in numeracy. It may be a way of boosting your DD's confidence in whatever topic it was. As long as it isn't a regular thing, I don't think it is anything to worry about. If the teacher did ask her to help though, she (the teacher) needs to comunicate that clearly to the TA.

Again, it isn't entirely unreasonable to ask a child/children to include another child who is struggling to make friends. But I don't think it is fair if it is more than one or two breaktimes each week. I would check whether your DD's interpretation of what she has been asked is the same as the teacher's.

MrsCrimshaw Fri 27-Nov-15 23:25:00

More able pupils teaching less able is a common teaching technique, so the teacher asking your DD to do that is a compliment and will also help her to reinforce her own learning. Sounds like maybe the TA didn't know that, and would be worth following up with the teacher.

With regards to the social skills work, it sounds again like a compliment to your dd that she has been asked to be a positive role model for someone with poor social skills. Those who struggle cannot be taught in a vacuum, and being a buddy could help your dd to develop her own communication, empathy and leadership qualities.

Definitely talk things through with the teacher though, communication is only way to get to the bottom of things.

AuntieStella Fri 27-Nov-15 23:46:40

Agree you need to talk to the teacher to clarify what is going on.

I do not think it is a good move for your dyslexic DD to miss literacy lessons, and my priority would be to get that changed. Setting up support for the other girl's needs is the right thing for a school to be doing, but the way they do it should not impinge on key subjects for those who have additional needs in those areas.

YouTheCat Fri 27-Nov-15 23:52:23

It is not the TA's job to tell your dd who to be friends with. Speak to the teacher.

Onykahonie Sat 28-Nov-15 00:00:31

Are you sure dd is 'being made' and has not been chosen for her good nature, or indeed volunteered herself? Could she also have been chosen to boost her self esteem?

She might have been asked not to help the other child in class, as the TA was trying to get that child to work independently.

I would definitely make an appointment to see the class teacher and TA to discuss the situation.

Brighteyes27 Sat 28-Nov-15 00:01:28

Thanks all my daughter and her friend said the same she is very grounded and sensible.

I don't mind my daughter helping another child with something especially if the teacher has asked this. The child she was helping in maths is a very bright capable boy in everything else so admittedly the TA may have been shocked as I was. But she should check with the teacher first and she shouldn't have said what she said.

This same TA embarrassed my daughter and chastised her in front of the class last year for bringing a Barrington Stoke book into class as her reading book. Saying it was a baby book, too small and too easy for her. For those that don't know these books are specially for dyslexics they are the right level and the right reading age and this was agreed with her class teacher. My daughter was upset and mortified.

I will speak to the teacher Monday hopefully she will have got it wrong about missing lessons. But the parents of the child with behavioural issues said in reception we gave up trying telling X what to do along time before she started school she doesn't like discipline or being told what to do. So consequently she hits other children, lies, says inappropriate things at school and often has monumental strops in the classroom etc. So whilst I feel sorry for this child of feckless parents I don't see why my daughter should lose out. Why not ask one of the children from the top set to befriend her and attend the social group or appeal to all the girls to befriend her?

NeedsAsockamnesty Sat 28-Nov-15 00:29:18

Out of interest why is it ok for your child to help the bright capable boy with the thing he struggles with but not the child with a disibility?

Brighteyes27 Sat 28-Nov-15 00:41:22

Hang on needs a sock. In the first instance neither child is loosing out hopefully both will gain. Whereas in the second instance my daughter feels she is being punished, treated unfairly, feels she is loosing out and will be cut off from her other friends especially this time of year with the dark nights when they only really get to see each other play and chat very much is break times which my daughter lives for especially as concentrating so hard in literacy really takes its toll on her. Come on year 6 is hard enough without her being saddled with this.

SawdustInMyHair Sat 28-Nov-15 00:45:23

NeedsAsockamnesty there's a difference between being asked to do peer support in a lesson and being told who to be friends with.

I wouldn't dream if doing the latter in my class, and I think it would be toxic and futile. If someone was friendless I might have them work in lessons with someone I thought they might click with, or have a general talk with the class about friendship and being pleasant even if you're not friends. I would never tell a child to be friends with someone, or force them into social groups. I just find it kack-handed and kinda gross.

MoriartyIsMyAngel Sat 28-Nov-15 01:25:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Bigpants4 Sat 28-Nov-15 04:02:07

The teacher/TA will be working together.

The helping a child is a non issue. Your child should have told the TA that she had been instructed to do so. Maybe you could work on this with role play.

I'd explain it's too much to expect DD to miss literacy/maths for a social group with x AND as instructed to play in the playground with x. It's not working for your daughter as she really dislikes being with x and is missing essential lessons whilst being dyslexic. It's making your DD very unhappy that she's being forced with this child during all her school hours

Senpai Sat 28-Nov-15 05:16:57

Forcing a child to be friends with a PITA child is only reinforcing that the child can continue acting horrid without consequence. If she has SN's then the teachers need to actually work with her, not shove her off on other children who only understand that "Be a good friend/nice = let child walk all over you".

Have words with the teacher. Play time is for her to relax, not work. If she's having to teach another child social skills then they're making her work. You can't just force friendships, it doesn't work like that.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 28-Nov-15 06:30:00

Twowrongsdontmakearight Sat 28-Nov-15 06:58:26

I really wish schools didn't do this social engineering. It caused so much upset for my DS.

You definitely need to go to school and check if it is just your DD being asked to play with child X or is it a group of them. Expecting her to do this 1:1 would be very U. It might be a group which is a bit better. If her best friend isn't in the group then request that she is included too so that she can keep that friendship going too.

LarrytheCucumber Sat 28-Nov-15 07:12:16

We used to use social groups to help children with behaviour problems, in fact they tried it with my son at his school. However the parents should always be asked of they are happy for their child to take part. I think a quiet word with the teacher would help, but don't go in all guns blazing! Children selected as role models are just that, well behaved sociable individuals so it is a compliment to your daughter that she has been asked, but if you, or she, are unhappy, she shouldn't be made to take part.

ArmchairTraveller Sat 28-Nov-15 07:18:55

Following on from what Larry said, social groupwork is a useful tool, but all the participants need to be actively willing to participate.
You don't draft children.
Time to write a detailed, ploite email asking for clarification on each of the points and putting your daughter's case. Sometimes children need an advocate becayuse they get manipulated and pressurised by those with good intentions, and they are too young, or polite or conformist to say 'No, I really don't think that's fair'
Find out what's going on, and then decide what you both want to happen.

SSargassoSea Sat 28-Nov-15 07:33:43

I would have said face to face is better, with teacher, short chat. List of queries. Discuss. Second meeting to clarify what you raised in first meeting and what can be expected of your DD.

Mistigri Sat 28-Nov-15 07:37:02

bigpants the OP's daughter did tell the TA but was disbelieved (it helps to read rather than skim).

OP I agree that an urgent appointment with the teacher is required. You certainly need to clarify whether your DD risks missing literacy lessons. Regardless of how reliable your DD and her friend are, it is unlikely that they have the whole picture.

TBH, this TA seems like a bit of a loose cannon ... I wonder if she intimidates the teachers too? Is the teacher young/ new and the TA older/ more experienced, for example? From what you say, this TA seems to routinely contradict, ignore or even criticise decisions taken by the teacher (asking your DD to help another child in maths, the incident with the Barrington Stokes book). If you believe this to be the case, and if you suspect that the teacher lacks the authority or the confidence to reign her in, then I'd consider putting it in writing ...

Enjolrass Sat 28-Nov-15 07:41:21

OP try not to get too worked up.

Make an appointment with the teacher to discuss and clarify.

It's not ok for the TA to force any child to attend a socialisation group, if they don't want to. It's not going to help if she doesn't want to be there.

OneInEight Sat 28-Nov-15 07:52:20

A public, albeit anonymous, thank you to all the parents who let / encourage their children go to social skills to help others who are less fortunate in the social skills department then themselves. School set up one for ds2 who not only has AS (undiagnosed at the time) but was also having a very difficult time at home because I was ill . It was the highlight of his week. It is also worth noting that because there is only a small number of children attending with good adult supervision then behavioural incidents are much less likely to happen than in the busy playground or classroom. It was also fun for all the children - they often had to turn volunteers away - mind you that might have been that they preferred to be in a nice warm room playing games than in a cold, damp playground on Winter days. In ds2's case it was a once a week lunchtime session so not removing anyone from work. I would ask for clarity for what the session involves and its frequency before deciding whether or not to let your dd attend.

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