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To consider changing schools?

(18 Posts)
caitlinohara Fri 11-Dec-15 11:09:48

Ds2 (Y2) is very unhappy at school. He struggles with his friendships and often comes home angry or upset. When he started reception he was a happy, sunny little boy and over the years has become steadily more unhappy and prone to angry outbursts of temper.

I help out at the school when I can to get a sense of what it's like for him and I have to say it is a genuinely difficult class. I know all classes have a few 'characters' in them, but there are at least 7 or 8 challenging children in the class, one of whom is statemented, and with the exception of a few girls who sensibly keep themselves to themselves, the remainder don't seem to get on very well with each other so there is a constant atmosphere of conflict which must be incredibly stressful. It is a class of 30 so pretty big, and as a quiet boy of average ability he is basically often overlooked.

My dilemma really is that Ds1 has had a totally different experience of the same school: he began as a very introverted child who refused to join in with things or try new things, and is now confident and happy and will be leaving next year. To complicate matters, Ds3 is due to start in September! I still believe that the school itself is the best around (we are semi rural) but that ds2 has been unlucky in his year group. Is that a good reason to consider moving schools or should I be helping him to be more resilient (but I don't know how)?

mummytime Fri 11-Dec-15 11:19:14

My middle child still doesn't forgive me for not moving her from her primary school - and she was very good at hiding how awful she was finding it. If I'd known, and had a clue how much she was being left to "drift" I definitely would have moved her. Hers was also a "highly thought of" school.
Schools change, its amazing how much difference the loss of a few teachers can make. And then some year groups are "harder work" than others.

AlbertHerbertHawkins Fri 11-Dec-15 11:22:59

Surely if your first child is leaving soon and your youngest is yet to start now (or Sept) would be a good time to change.

notenoughbottle Fri 11-Dec-15 11:36:03

I'd change. I had two children at one school this time last year. DS1 has some additional needs, Dyslexia etc and was thoroughly miserable at his school. DS2 on the other hand loved school and wasn't really very happy, especially when he found out it was mainly due to needing extra help for DS1. There's no point in him being miserable and you're better off doing it sooner rather than later.

lexlees Fri 11-Dec-15 11:38:29

No you are not being unreasonable if indeed the reason is the other kids in the class.

If my child was really unhappy and the reason is the other kids in the class and it is so toxic for him - you would be unreasonable to keep him there.

If the problem is the teacher - then there is wiggle room as it is only for one academic year. But I assume these kids will still be in his class next year.

The question is, are you able to change schools.

Also, is there anything going on at home that would make him prone to outbursts? Tense environment? Difficult sibling relationships? Or is it just school?

Our Ds (yr 6) is generally very happy but there is one particular challenging boy who was made to sit next to ds as of last week as ds is supposed to be a 'calming' influence. Well, it hasn't worked and ds would come back home angry and upset and later on explain that it was this challenging boy that drove him nuts, distracting him. This boy is shunted around the class as noone wants to sit next to him. We decided to give it a few more days and if it is not improving, I am going to the teacher to demand she moves him from this seat.

caitlinohara Fri 11-Dec-15 12:02:38

Thanks everyone. To be honest I expected more responses along the lines of "he needs to learn to get along with people"! I suppose I am worried that it will be out of the frying pan and into the fire as other schools in the area are not so well thought of and I do have a high opinion of ours despite ds2's experience. Annoyingly, the only other viable option is a church school, which I am not crazy about either.

Re home life, it's not been easy either recently as we had a house move fall through and obviously he will have picked up on that. He does also have a tendency to be gloomy and negative but it's hard to say whether that has been caused by school or whether he was always going to turn out that way, but I still think that his class environment doesn't help.

Home schooling isn't really an option for us financially but even if it was I am not sure it would be best for him since surely spending less time with other children isn't going to help him socially.

notenoughbottle Fri 11-Dec-15 12:13:21

My boys original school was 'very well thought of'. I moved into a new house in the area to get him into that school. It was awful. Although there are bits and pieces with new school generally they have been great. New school is at the bottom of a predominantly HA/council area - I don't think better thought of school necessarily are that. The parents etc at this new school are much nicer. Gone are the competitive mum days. We're all happier as a result.

RubbleBubble00 Fri 11-Dec-15 13:51:38

I would try and have a classmate he likes round to play and try to encourage friendship or try some out of school activities where he can make new friends

MiaowTheCat Fri 11-Dec-15 15:12:23

I've had to teach the sort of classes you describe with characters and just generally even the other kids getting on each other's wicks constantly- I'd move a kid of mine from the kind of atmosphere you were always battling through with my class in a heartbeat

caitlinohara Fri 11-Dec-15 19:55:39

Well, I spoke to ds2's class teacher after school today and she was pretty dismissive. sad The LSA/playground supervisor was there too and she was more reassuring but both of them expressed surprise and said that ds2 was always 'right in there' at playtime as they put it and not in any way isolated or upset. I said I believe you, he won't show that he is troubled, that's why he comes home so angry, because he has bottled it up all day. I asked whether it would be possible to sit down together with ds2 and me and the teacher/LSA and talk through what he was worried about and the teacher said she didn't think that would help! hmm She said he needs to come forward and tell someone when it is actually happening so that it can be dealt with there and then. I said that I would rather he was able to deal with it himself but that I was struggling to know how to advise him and said can you give him some strategies for handling it. She really didn't want to know. I think partly I timed it wrong because she wanted to pass it off as an end of term fatigue thing.

She suggested that when I brought him in on Monday that she reiterated to him that he needs to speak up if he is bothered by something and the LSA said she would keep an eye on him at playtime.

I'm not sure what I expected really. I just hoped that she would be willing to spend a bit of time talking it through with him but I felt like she was implying that I was overreacting based on her observations. To complicate matters, her son is also in the same class, so perhaps she thought I was implicating him (I wasn't - he seems a lovely kid).

Kpo58 Fri 11-Dec-15 20:33:32

I'd definitely move him. One thing I learned at school was that the teachers didn't care about you if you weren't someone who was disruptive in class.

Also the constant disruptions will stop him from being able to learn properly.

caitlinohara Fri 11-Dec-15 20:33:53

Rubblebubble I have sort of tried getting people round for tea but I probably should do it more, you're right. He did start Beavers a while back but has stopped going now, partly because he says it's a bit rowdy (it is) and is mostly boys from his class, and partly because he says it's a bit weird (he's right).

caitlinohara Fri 11-Dec-15 20:39:20

Kpo58 yes I think that's often true: you have to be either super bright or confident in some way, or else disruptive to get noticed. I think that's probably the same everywhere though unless you have a school with very small classes.

PoorFannyRobin Sat 12-Dec-15 02:31:26

Classes and schools do have personalities. Move him if you feel it's best for him. And don't feel guilty. Good luck to both of you.

GreenSand Sat 12-Dec-15 03:50:26

Go and look at the other, less highly rated schools locally. See what you think. Schools can change, and Ofsted can rate a class with amazing teachers and great for kids, but with less than perfect paperwork lower than a school with teachers who do their job but nothing more, and can keep all the paperwork in order.

wallywobbles Sat 12-Dec-15 04:24:09

I moved mine and it was fine. In fact they both flourished. We are all happy we did it. Sometimes it's good to start again.
Next year they'll be moving again so that all 4 (blended family) can go to the same school.
Don't feel guilty about it.

HicDraconis Sat 12-Dec-15 08:22:24

I'd move him. We had the same with DS1 - good school, great ratings, lovely area - but a nasty knot of boys in his year group. DS2 had a great time in his year there.

We moved them both to a new school because ds1 needed the move and I wasn't going to leave ds2 there even though he was happy & settled because they dealt with ds1's problems so poorly. Ds2 settled just as well into the new school, ds1 now has a great group of friends and is flying 😄

MadauntofA Sat 12-Dec-15 08:59:12

I had the same issue with my y2 youngest, y5 was happy but awful y2 combination of children, and school (outstanding) weren't bothered about helping. Moved them both and have not regretted it - they are both v happy, working better. Even though my eldest seemed ok, she loves her new school and has made friends. I would make an appointment at the new school and get the feel of it.

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