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To move my ds to new school next term

(14 Posts)
Wooftweetwooftweet Fri 24-Jun-16 22:59:21

This might be long. My ds started in September.
He absolutely loved playgroup. He was happy and confident and popular with boys and girls.
His first year in primary school is vastly different.
First of all, we moved to a new town. Most of the children in his class knew each other from their playgroup. I didn't really think it a problem but it seems the mothers all knew each other well too and do lots of playmates with each other. It was difficult to break into that. And despite a couple of playmates that we hosted, only one was returned.
The teacher had concerns with ds. She called me in a couple of times for biting. He also bit his little brother at home. Nothing like that ever happened before this year. He doesn't have a reason why he bit and the teacher seems to have labelled him as odd and lacking empathy. She said he didn't cry when disciplined and didn't seem to care. This occurred a few times through out the year.
At school, I've watched him playing and the other children turn their back on him when he approaches them. I know he hasn't done himself any favours by his naughty behavior, but it's so sad to watch.
Academically, he's bright (the teachers words). He's not very artistic and hates colouring but he can read, write and add very well. He told dh this evening he's not as good as the other boys at colouring and its messier than theirs.
He seems to have lost a lot of confidence and self esteem. The teacher appears to have made up her mind about him and its obvious she has favourites.
The school itself over subscribed, but there's a bitchy air amongst the mums which isn't nice. It appears all the children do about 5 after school clubs each and children all seem to meet at those too. My ds does 2 which I thought would be plenty for a 5 year old. I don't want him to try keeping up with the football, rugby, etc too, just to fit in.
It feels this school is wrong for us and I'm also afraid the teacher will tell his teacher next year that ds is odd and attach that label to him. Which I really don't think he is. He's very sociable, fun, funny and polite. He's loves homework.
He's my first so I don't want to make any mistakes or feel I'm being flippant. I know moving schools is unsettling for children. Can I have some opinions, am I doing the right thing by considering moving? He may not get in anywhere, but I need to try. I've lost my sweet happy boy.

Tamesa Fri 24-Jun-16 23:07:36

I think you need to try.
It is very stressful moving a five year old because you think that the school is not right, but it was one of my better decisions and my son has flourished. That doesn't mean it's the right decision for you, but you need to be certain that whatever you decide is a positive decision on your behalf and that you do not regret "leaving be"

NanaNina Fri 24-Jun-16 23:26:23

I feel for you, our children's pain is our pain isn't it - well we'd prefer to have it ourselves. Bit confused as you said "he's my first" but mentioned a little brother at home. Maybe you mean first one at school. Biting as you know is very common in pre-schoolers but I think by 5 most children will have grown out of it, but I wonder if this is a way for your son to "get his own back" in some way because the other kids won't play with him, or because he is frustrated in some way. He's clearly not happy if he's biting his little brother, although you're obviously aware of that.

The worrying thing is that the other kids won't play with him and I can imagine how hurtful it is for you to watch your boy being rejected, and it's small wonder that he's losing his self esteem. Please don't take this the wrong way but there is usually a reason why children are rejected - it's cruel I know, but kids will "sniff out" anything that is different about a child and it only takes one to lead the rejection for the others to follow. It could be because he is cleverer than they are, and what the heck does it matter about colouring!

To be honest I think moving him is not the way to go. Apart from anything else dependent on where you live you're highly unlikely to get a place in a primary school when you're not in the catchment area, and possibly even if you are in the catchment area. If you move him, he will stand out because he is new (all the other kids will have been in reception together) assume he's moving into Year 1 and your son will have to cope with a whole new environment - very tough on a 5 year old.

Re the teacher - she could be an NQT or an inexperienced teacher an doesn't know how to handle these situations, so inept rather than anything else. Could you have a chat to her with the Head or Deputy, not on the basis of moving your son, but acknowledging it hasn't been a flying start for your son, but asking for their advice on how he might be helped to integrate more with his classmates (something along those lines)

Finally you're going to make mistakes - is there a parent that doesn't make mistakes - if there is I'm not sure I want to meet them! It's nearly the end of term and you have the holidays when the pressure will be off you both. And next academic year might be better, if not, then maybe think about a move. Oh and you've probably said, but are there any play schemes/clubs your son can go to in the summer holidays, anything to boost his confidence in himself.

Primaryteach87 Fri 24-Jun-16 23:33:01

I would move him. Age 5 a year feels like eternity. He is telling you every which way he knows how that he is unhappy. He needs a teacher who sees the best in him and tried to nurture him and it doesn't sound like that's the case.

SaltyMyDear Fri 24-Jun-16 23:38:00

I would move him. And have moved my DC.

There are 2 possibilities:

1. School / teacher / other pupils are the problem. And it will be resolved by moving him.

Or 2. He's 'the problem'. In which case you'll be confident that he is the problem not school and you'll be able to dedicate 100% of your energy to helping him without continually thinking 'maybe it's the school'

So either way you win.

Wooftweetwooftweet Sat 25-Jun-16 18:32:55

Thank you. And Salty that's it very simply. I'll regret it if I don't and school will be blamed when the issue might be closer to home. I think we will go ahead, if we can get him another place. We are in Ireland so school system slightly different, no catchment to speak of. So I am hopeful there might be somewhere. Im also thinking of starting him again. So he'd be doing his first year again and it would be a complete fresh start. I think immaturity might be part of it. He's 6 in December so he'd be 5 starting, which is normal here too. Maybe 4.9 was too young.

Wooftweetwooftweet Sat 25-Jun-16 18:46:36

NanaNina, appreciate the thoughtful post too. By first, I mean first born.
I've already been in twice about his behavior and had long discussions about how they will try more inclusive games. They did work but not when the children are left to their own devices. I feel like I'm running out of solutions with the school. Nurturing is exactly what I feel is missing.
His playgroup teacher was lovely and kind and listened. I don't think ds can even talk to this one. He bottles up in her presence.

mummytime Sat 25-Jun-16 19:03:47

If you move him make sure it's to the right school. Make sure the new school is good with SEN, be honest about the problems he has been having, ask advice and don't necessarily just go for the school everyone thinks is great. Sometimes the school in the "rougher" part of town can be far better.

NanaNina Sat 25-Jun-16 19:12:51

Are you in N.Ireland or the South. I have family (including GC of primary school age) in the South. I have been amazed at the difference in the education system in Ireland to what it is here. The children in Ireland are given "homework" from aged 5 (and I recall you saying he loves his homework) but my DGS hates his homework and it causes endless problems. My 6 yr old DGD had homework from aged 5. My GC in UK are past primary school age but the only homework they had was to learn spellings on a Thursday for a spelling test on Friday. They are all doing well at secondary. There is no evidence that all this early homework is advantageous to children.

Sorry I know that's not your problem. My Anglo-Irish GC are at a Catholic school as most of the schools are, with the exception of Gaelic and there is I think 1 non denominational school in their area, but hugely over subscribed.

I've also been struck by the strictness of the Irish schools - my DIL got a letter home when DGS was 5 because he "mixed the paints up" - didn't clean his brush sufficiently!!! It beggars belief doesn't it - and he hasn't been happy at school really, though his little sister copes ok but she's a more placid temperament.

Yes I agree it seems like the teacher is one of the main problems here but there's no way you're going to know about the attributes of his next teacher if you move him. However given there are no catchment issues it might be possible to find a more suitable school.

Wooftweetwooftweet Sat 25-Jun-16 19:13:49

I know, don't want to make a mistake on this. I went to the over subscribed school on purpose, thinking it was the best and maybe it is, for a certain type of child.
The new school I have in mind is probably a bit more diverse and maybe that's exactly what we need. Less stepford wives and less over socialised (is that a word?) children.
Will find out on Monday for sure.

RubbleBubble00 Sat 25-Jun-16 19:17:52

I'd echo and look for a school that has Sen accommodation, just in case there might be an underlying issue

Wooftweetwooftweet Sat 25-Jun-16 19:20:18

Yes, I found it strict too for such a young age. It's Catholic. No other options here only 3 Catholic schools in town. It's crazy alright and we are not Catholic but there you go. I could go on for hours about the ridiculous 4 times a day prayers and sacred corners and indoctrination books but that's for another day.
They are expected to concentrate and sit still for long periods and playtime is time to release that energy.
That's going to be the same in any school we change to unfortunately.
Not going to know the new teacher is a gamble but I don't want him to have a teacher who has already formed an opinion of him which isn't correct.

DramaAlpaca Sat 25-Jun-16 19:28:44

From what you've said I'd go with the fresh start option, move schools and start junior infants again (I'm in Ireland too). It's a big decision to move him, but it sounds like would be the right one.

I have some experience of this. I moved my DS when he was 9, from a large school where he was deeply unhappy & misbehaving, to a small village one. It was the right decision, he thrived there & I got my happy boy back.

SeaEagleFeather Sat 25-Jun-16 22:09:20

I spent 4 years worrying a great deal about if his school was the right one for our older boy. There was one dreadful year that was purely the school's responsibility, but they did not entirely realise what was going on with the supply teacher and when they did they did everything to put things right. No complaints; mistakes happen, the key is effectively improving matters.

Then a series of events happened this year which were not the school's responsibility but made it clear that the 'fit' was wrong for him. With a lot, a lot of trepidation we sent him to another school and he's a much much happier 8yo now. We had to accelerate the process actually. All the teachers involved, old and new, said let him complete the year, but his behaviour changed even further for the worse so they -all- recommended moving him immediately.

He's been there about 8 weeks now and he's slowly becoming a different boy. Still volatile, still has dreadful tantrums now and then but they are lessening in frequency and violence. He also seems fundamentally happier ... hence the improvement in behaviour I think.

Caught him today saying to two friends that he really loved the new school and that there are a lot less arguments among the children and he's happier (he didnt see me listening round the corner smile )

Having said all that, we needed to change our parenting which we started working on about 18 months ago and that too is paying off. But he is genuinely happier at this newer school. Says so consistently and right from the beginning too. Didn't even need time to adjust.

Should we have moved him earlier? I don't know. Probably, but we couldn't be sure until something clicked into place with that last series of events.

it sounds like you have deep reservations about the way this is going and your son is unhappy - really unhappy. I don't think you can lose much by moving and you might gain a lot.

I've come to believe the fit between child and school has to be good, and different children might need a different school environment.

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