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DD has not settled into secondary school

(111 Posts)
winterstail Sun 12-Nov-17 10:53:36

I feel the happy, outgoing and loving little girl from just last summer has vanished.

DD has always been fantastic. Keen, polite and affectionate. She was so excited to go up to secondary but it has all gone wrong.

For one thing, DD has struggled with homework and recording it. The teachers mostly give out worksheets and DD lost a couple and got an after school detention for one hour. I've no issue with the detention but the problem is the after school detention seems to serve all 'crimes' - homework and fighting and smoking and swearing and refusing to hand a phone overeviews. So DD was in after school detention with older kids who intimidated her and frightened her. This made her cry in the detention and the teacher told her that it should be a lesson to her. The other kids then followed her home chanting abuse. I complained about this to the school which made them make concerned noises but they were very keen to talk about what led DD to get a detention, not an eleven year old being frightened by 14/15 year olds.

Anyway, as she has now had 3 after school detentions she had to spend a day in isolation which really upset her and also means she can't go on the pantomime trip.

DD feels the teachers think she is a 'naughty' student, she is often singled out in assembly which humiliated her.

She has been self harming, and tried to throw herself down the stairs last night to break her leg so she wouldn't have to go in Monday.

What can I Do? I can't send her back can I?

uglyflowers Sun 12-Nov-17 10:57:15

Don't send her in. Her mental health is your priority. Take her to the doctor. Btw, is home ed an option for your family, at least for a while?

LockedOutOfMN Sun 12-Nov-17 10:58:15

I would speak to the school again and keep contacting them until they provide the support your daughter needs. It is quite usual in Year 7 for students to be forgetful and punished for that but also helped to be less forgetful, with their tutor or head of year checking in with them each day or giving them a checklist for their locker / homework diary.

At home, can you help her with organisation? Maybe you can give her a file that puts all of her worksheets in when she receives them and another one to put them in when they're complete and ready to hand in? Does the school set homework online?

winterstail Sun 12-Nov-17 11:00:58

Unfortunately home education is not an option, but maybe I could look into keeping her off this week while we work out our next movements.

BarbarianMum Sun 12-Nov-17 11:04:20

Apart from not being organised with homework, has she been in trouble for anything else? What is she being singled out in assembly for? Was the day in isolation for forgotten homework too?

Lucyccfc Sun 12-Nov-17 11:09:52

Had a similar issue with DS.

We solved the homework issue by:

Buying him a folder to put his work sheets in.
Keeping a diary on the fridge, which I reminded him to log his homework on.
Checked on the schools online system every week for deadlines.
Spoke to his head of year and got support and not punishment.

Took about 6 months to really crack the home work and get him organised.

TeenTimesTwo Sun 12-Nov-17 11:09:53

First, don't send her in. If her mental state is that bad then it serves no purpose.

Second, move schools to a place with better pastoral care and a more flexible approach to discipline. Results matter less at this time than her wellbeing.

Third, for the new school: teach her that all homework must be written into her planner, even if she just writes History h/w. Then you check the planner each night. My eldest had undiagnosed dyspraxia and we had to put all sorts of scaffolding in place to cover schoolwork and organisation. But she never missed a homework because something was always written down. We also used a firm clear plastic A4 wallet and all loose sheets went in to that so they couldn't get lost/scrunched. (My DDs school will write homework into the planners for certain pupils to ensure they have it down clearly.)

noblegiraffe Sun 12-Nov-17 11:12:25

This sounds really odd. Nice, keen hardworking Y7s shouldn’t find themselves in isolation and singled out in assembly for a cumulation of after school detentions for homework, it just shouldn’t happen.
Either her behaviour is really poor, or the school is doing a disastrously bad job of supporting her transition to secondary school.

You need to arrange an urgent meeting with the school tomorrow to find out what is actually going on and put support strategies in place. And possibly start looking for another school to move her to,

winterstail Sun 12-Nov-17 11:13:03

Thank you. Yes, we have done that with the homework. She has forgotten one piece of French homework, lost her maths book and got a detention for that and also got a detention as she left her school shoes at school by mistake as she had been playing netball and walked home in trainers. She was caught the next day going in to put her shoes on and given a detention.

Three detentions in a term is a day in isolation and no school trips. It also means she can't perform in the Christmas play which she was excited about.

I don't think anywhere else has places - at a loss what to do really.

winterstail Sun 12-Nov-17 11:14:26

Her behaviour isn't poor at all. Detentions were for lost homework, forgotten homework and school shoes.

The assembly incident happened when the HOY read out the names of everybody not going to the pantomime and there weren't many. DD was really embarrassed,

grafittiartist Sun 12-Nov-17 11:16:59

Do go in and speak to school. It's a bit early for a rash decision like moving. Chat to the pastoral lead and they will help. It's a big change moving to high school.

noblegiraffe Sun 12-Nov-17 11:17:08

Well if nowhere else has places, I’d go in strong and complain about isolation, no pantomime and no Christmas play as a punishment for a Y7 who is simply struggling with the move to secondary and organisation. I’d escalate the complaint if no joy and talk about duty of care, sense of proportion, and a total disaster in pastoral responsibility. Look at the school website for the complaints procedure.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 12-Nov-17 11:17:19

The school sounds dreadful sad

The shoes thing? Really? Over kill of she was just going to change them over give the pot girl a minute to change ffs. They sound very trigger happy with detentions and she should not be left so terrified after the detentions either.

Keep hee off tomorrow just to hage a day to relax amd talk thongs over with you and perhaps how she could kwep herself organised. Then I'd be ringing round every school you could feesibly get to and seeing how the land lies 're spaces.

Your poor dd flowers

youarenotkiddingme Sun 12-Nov-17 11:18:12

My ds didn't settle into year 7 either.

If you are not organised and finding something overwhelming then punishment won't help. It'll lower self esteem further and that feeling overwhelms you making it harder to sort out organisation. It's a vicious negative and downwards spiral.

Self harm is showing she's now hit the bottom. Chances are she feels singles out because she feels theirs a target on her back. Lots of students get told "sit down and be quiet". For some it's water off a ducks back and for some it mortifying and feels like a major deal.

I would email HOY.

Dear X,

I have discussed with your before (or with X before) about DD not settling into year 7.

I discussed how she's finding organisation difficult and has received several detentions for this.
I also reported how after her detention members of senior years intimidated her and verbally abused her on the way home from school.

DD has recently started self harming due to these incidents - and Saturday night attempted to throw herself down the stairs to break a leg and acquire time off school.

Obviously we all want the best for DD and to work together to find a solution. Therefore I will be keeping DD home from school this week and taking her to the GP and it gives you time to discuss what school will out in place for her to support her and for us to have a meeting about moving forward.

Regards xxxx

School can't avoid this as they have a duty of care. You have said you'll do your bit as a parent and will give them time to do theirs as a school. This type of email also doesn't give them the opportunity to say "DD is fine" because it highlights what the issues are, the consequences of these and the effect on her MH.


AlexanderHamilton Sun 12-Nov-17 11:18:30

My Ds has left his school shoes in the changing room numerous times since September. It's never been a problem, he's just gone in & retrieved them the school sounds awful at supporting pupils.

Ds has organisational issues due to an asd which was undiagnosed for years. Is there any possibility your Dd has any undiagnosed issues?

Can you request a meeting with the senco about her issues & how she can be supported?

winterstail Sun 12-Nov-17 11:19:25

The detentions are ridiculous. I think some teachers are trying to frighten new y7s with them, as further up the school they are used for more serious crimes if you like.

Candlelight234 Sun 12-Nov-17 11:20:21

These are all pretty minor infringements and sound typical of a mistake a young Y7 trying to grow up/ fit into a new environment will make. My DS school is zero tolerance on missed homework and tbh he had to grow up pretty fast and get his act together quickly.
However if she's self harming it's surpassed that stage and I would be looking for another school for her, they bullying in the way home sounds awful too flowers

LavenderDoll Sun 12-Nov-17 11:22:43

The school sounds awful
Alienating a year seven pupil to the point she is self harming in an attempt to avoid school is a disgrace
I would be going in to see the head
It must be awful for you and your daughter

youarenotkiddingme Sun 12-Nov-17 11:23:51

The shoes one is just utterly ridiculous!

Don't they have any teachers that walk or cycle to school and change to other shoes or into a skirt / suit shirt and tie on arrival?

Forgotten homeworks ime start off with warning and then lunchtime detention. Half hour after school max.

Plus the detention is punishment. Isolation is punishment for punishment and missing play and pantomime the same.
She probably feels like it doesn't matter what she does - a few simple mistakes or misunderstandings are going to cause all this heartache. That's a lot of pressure for an 11yo trying to adjust to the independence of secondary school.

What type of school is it?

believebelievebelieve Sun 12-Nov-17 11:24:04

Is there any chance you could move schools? This thread has broken my heart. The school sounds incredibly harsh and unsupportive. Transition to year 7 is huge for a lot of dc's, and many at my ds's school have had detentions for forgetting homework etc., but they would be 15 min at lunchtime/break time which is enough to teach them a lesson surely. I think a fresh start would be the best bet and I don't say that lightly. You poor dd's experience so far is really awful.

winterstail Sun 12-Nov-17 11:29:11

Thanks, for your support. I was wondering if I was overreacting. I've just told her she won't be going in tomorrow and she burst into tears of relief. Taking her for some lunch now.

OldWitch00 Sun 12-Nov-17 11:30:20

The schools heavy handed policy sounds horrid!
Self harm and trying to break her leg! Poor little soul.
I’d start by keeping her home, meeting the HT and making a huge deal of this.
I’d aim for a new school by a certain date.

BarbarianMum Sun 12-Nov-17 11:31:50

Incredibly harsh and unsupportive indeed. sad We (purposefully) chose a very strict and really quite old fashioned secondary school for ds1 but the behaviour you are describing would result in a couple of lunchtime detentions at most. Is there nowhere you could move her to?

Ktown Sun 12-Nov-17 11:34:09

It sounds like she needs more handholding from the school and also from you.
She is still young and organising homework is a headache.

Keep her off for a day or two but I’d hazard a guess there is something else going on that you are not yet aware of.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sun 12-Nov-17 11:34:50

Your poor dd, the school sounds incredibly heavy handed and the exact opposite of what anxious Year 7's need.

The school sounds absolutely awful and for your dd to be self harming, she is desperate. You would be doing the right thing, giving her some time away from it and looking in to your options regarding alternative schools.

I am shocked at the response to dd forgetting her shoes, both my dses did similar in year 7 and just went and asked to collect them.

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