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Update on "should my daughter change schools?"

(164 Posts)
StillWorkingOnACleverNN Sun 07-Jan-18 19:11:48

Summary of previous thread (I don't know how to link!). DD (year 4) is in a classroom with a difficult teacher and started pulling out her hair. We discovered the depth of the problem 4 weeks ago and have been trying to understand if it's just the classroom (it is) and if she has some other mental issues (she doesn't). On the previous thread, I was trying to decide whether to take her out of the school or not. There were many helpful suggestions about how to think about the issue.

DD's therapist met with DD several times and recommended that she NOT go back into the classroom, but rather change classrooms. The school was shocked and I think really didn’t expect this recommendation. (They have worked with the therapist around other children in the past and trust her)

The school is taking the problem seriously and is trying to keep DD in the school rather than moving. There is some huge self-imposed constraint about moving to the other class so that may not be possible. They haven't had a child change classrooms in the last 30 years. We are are exploring things they can put into place to keep her in the current class. They are willing to think outside of the box. Another teacher I trust will be in the class all the time this week so we are OK with sending DD to class while they look into these options or think about how to make it possible for her to switch classes.

It’s still possible they won’t be able to offer something we are OK with, not because they don’t want to but because the fallout from the solution would be worse than having her leave, and we may end up sending her to another school, but we’re all working collaboratively to try to avoid that.

They’ve asked for us to send as wide a list of options as we can for keeping her in the class for the rest of the year. I’ve come up with a few, but if you have other ideas please tell me! We’re sending them this list tomorrow morning so they have some time to think it through. Assume the teacher is toxic (without knowing it), open to change, but the change is going to happen slowly and the solution has to be through June.

My current ideas are:
Full time other adult in the class who has a relationship with the teacher where she intervenes on-the-spot when needed as well as giving continual feedback after class hours (I don’t want to say coach or co-teacher or whatever because it would be a unique role).

Send the teacher on sabbatical to do some special project for the rest of the year. Or offer early retirement.

Open another Year 4 class and ask for volunteer parents to move their children to the new class. This is not as crazy as it sounds. They have an empty classroom, the school is current expanding from 2 forms per year to 3 forms per year, and the expansion year is currently Year 2. There would be several parents who would volunteer.

Can you think of anything else?

StillWorkingOnACleverNN Sun 07-Jan-18 19:13:56

I think this will link to the previous thread. I did sound a bit hysterical but we were in the middle of figuring it out so forgive me . . I'm normally rational.

JoyceDivision Sun 07-Jan-18 19:18:00

How lovely the school are working with you on this, makes a pleasant change to read!

Is the class teacher known to have poor performance / bad reputation with pupils etc?

If you requested an extra adult how would this be funded?

Anasnake Sun 07-Jan-18 19:19:46

Your suggestions require funding - who pays for it ?

GreenTulips Sun 07-Jan-18 19:21:14

Sorry why are you involved in deciding this teachers working conditions!

They should just move her - what they are expecting is others wanting to move as well and they'll have to say no -

Anasnake Sun 07-Jan-18 19:22:32

Are you actually suggesting they get rid of the teacher ? Is it really your place to say that ?

Changednamejustincase Sun 07-Jan-18 19:27:01

Those all seem very drastic measures.

RavenWings Sun 07-Jan-18 19:27:56

Full time other adult in the class who has a relationship with the teacher where she intervenes on-the-spot when needed as well as giving continual feedback after class hours (I don’t want to say coach or co-teacher or whatever because it would be a unique role).

I am fascinated by the fact that, in a time when the education system is underfunded and many teachers are paying for resources from their own pockets, you seem to have found a school that can pay for a chaperone to sit in the room. Never mind the impact on the working conditions, I've never come across a school with the pockets to pay for useless bodies.

How do you expect some of these ideas to be funded? And as for pushing someone into early retirement...I don't see how it's your place to make that decision.

Amaried Sun 07-Jan-18 19:29:16

I'd be shocked if the school agreed to any of that to be honest especially on the back of what's essentially a personality clash.
I think I would be preparing to move schools.

grannytomine Sun 07-Jan-18 19:29:56

Why won't they let her change class? We were constantly told our Head wouldn't allow this when we had problems with a teacher but in the end he suggested it.

chocolateworshipper Sun 07-Jan-18 19:30:11

My ideas:

If the school are expanding anyway, they potentially could recruit a new teacher to take over the current class and the existing teacher becomes a "floating" teacher who just runs interventions (they have just people at the school I work in - especially for Y6 who have SATs coming up).

DD's teacher swaps classes with another Y4 teacher. School will say it isn't fair on the other children, but they've asked you for a wide range of ideas.

1:1 HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant - not as expensive as a teacher but qualified to follow lesson plans) to work with DD. This person takes DD out whenever she feels DD needs it and continues the lesson one a 1:1 basis.

DotForShort Sun 07-Jan-18 19:37:58

I can't imagine the teacher would agree to having another adult in the classroom intervening in her work. That could undermine her authority and confidence, and frankly it sounds like an unworkable solution. Early retirement or a sabbatical? Those options sound wildly OTT under the circumstances.

StillWorkingOnACleverNN Sun 07-Jan-18 19:38:59

It's a private school. I am not in charge of the teacher's working conditions, I'm offering solutions that I (and DD's therapist) would find acceptable and the school will decide if they can or will fund or do them. If they can, fine, and if they can't, then we will move.

I don't know why the school has such a problem with kids changing classes, probably because there would be a stampede from this teacher's class, but they haven't done it in 30 years. They haven't ruled it out but they are saying they need more time to think about whether it is possible.

titchy Sun 07-Jan-18 19:39:36

Errrr what? Are you employed by the school to manager their resourcing and staffing issues? If not what the hell are they doing asking you to come up with a solution to bog standard management problems.

Your letter tomorrow should say:
'As per counsellor's recommendations the only suitable solution is for Arabella to change classrooms. How you manage this is for you to determine. If this change has not been expedited by the end of the day I will have no option but to withdraw Arabella with effect from tomorrow.'

Neolara Sun 07-Jan-18 19:42:36

I'm sorry to say but I would be absolutely amazed if the school implemented any of your ideas.

NoSquirrels Sun 07-Jan-18 19:43:33

I think it’s worth noting for all posters is that this school is not UK based and OP works at the school too in a capacity (not teaching) so has insider knowledge of the school’s usual working practices.

StillWorkingOnACleverNN Sun 07-Jan-18 19:44:05

Regarding the teacher's thoughts, of course I don't know what her thoughts are, but she has had difficulty for a very long time (decades) and I can see from her work in the classroom that she is looking for ways to improve. My older daughter had her and she was struggling and searching then. She has done a lot of research on mindfulness with children, and is trying to bring that into the classroom (although her limitations make this yet another area where she criticizes children for doing it wrong).

The leadership in the school is new and I think that rather than defending her from angry parents while not helping her (which is what was done in the past), the leadership genuinely wants to address the problem. And I think that the teacher wants help and is open to it, but it will be hard to change so many years of habits.

chickenowner Sun 07-Jan-18 19:44:09

I'm glad that I don't work at a school where the parents decide my working conditions.

The way that this has been handled makes me wonder about this school and sends up huge red flags to me as a (very experienced) teacher.

Every teacher has at least one parent that doesn't like them at some point in their career. I had a parent try to get me fired many years ago, luckily the headteacher dealt with the situation professionally, unlike the headteacher in the OP's DD's school.

becotide Sun 07-Jan-18 19:44:10

No. this is unacceptable.

her therapist says she needs to be moved. So move her.

Stop farting about.

SumAndSubstance Sun 07-Jan-18 19:45:20

Wow. I hope she's a member of a union!

StillWorkingOnACleverNN Sun 07-Jan-18 19:45:34

If I stick to switching classes as the only option, and they can't do that, then the only option we have is for DD to leave. I want her to stay. Her siblings are there, the school is very good other than this issue, and changing schools is a huge change at a time when DD is already under stress. So, we would like to offer them options that we find OK. The school decides if they can do them or not.

Starlight2345 Sun 07-Jan-18 19:46:45

I have just read your initial thread on the other post . Based on that and what you have said I would say she either is moved classes or you pull her .

shakeyourcaboose Sun 07-Jan-18 19:48:12

Has a school which wont allow the small change of a classroom, really said that you will be able to basically orchestrate which is tantamount to managing out a teacher? Or have her under surveillance??

StillWorkingOnACleverNN Sun 07-Jan-18 19:48:22

chocolateworshipper Thanks for the suggestions. I know there are other unhappy children in the class, so a 1:1 for DD wouldn't solve that problem. I've left that part out because it's not relevant for this issue and I don't want to go polling other parents and creating a posse, but the school has acknowledged that there are many other children struggling with the teacher this year and in the past, and the solution has to go beyond DD.

Pud2 Sun 07-Jan-18 19:49:22

An extra, full time adult?! Are you aware how 'gold dust' this is? Children with severe SEN may have this funded if they're lucky, after months of assessment. An additional teacher is also a major investment and a change of teacher mid-year may not be the best thing for the whole class. Even if the school was made of money they would have to consider whether this is the best use of their funds. I would imagine that when the school asked you for ideas, they weren't thinking of such drastic ones! I think that, if your poor dd is so anxious about this teacher then the only way to solve the problem is to move her.

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