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to think school should have contacted me?

(21 Posts)
TwigTheWonderKid Tue 13-Mar-18 07:53:54

DS1 is in Year 8 and in November he called me on his way home from school to tell me he'd been set upon by a pupil in Year 10. The boy had got him in a headlock and luckily DS's friends had been there to support him and he wasn't hurt but understandably upset by this totally unprovoked attack.

This happened in the morning and school did not call me at all and I was unable to get hold of his Head of Year or anyone else useful after school. School finally contacted me the following morning. I was content with how they handled the matter from there on and with the "offender" but made it clear that I was very upset that communication from school had been so poor.

Yesterday I had a similar call from DS on his way home. He'd been attacked by 2 pupils in his year at lunchtime. He had gone to the office where the attendance officer spoke to him and took a statement but no teacher had seen him and he decided to go back to his afternoon lesson, rather than go to the medical room. (That was a mistake on his part.)

Once again I called school and no one was available. The Head of Year did call me back much later but was unaware of the situation having been teaching all afternoon.

I need some help with perspective here. DS went to a very small and nurturing primary school where nothing like this ever happened. His current school seems nice but obviously with over 800 boys there will always be problems. What I am most concerned about is the school's failure to communicate with me. Am I being unreasonable to expect someone to contact me in these situations to tell me my son has been attacked before I hear it from him? If the Head of Year is unavailable because of teaching then surely someone else should take responsibility for the situation?

GiantPandaAttacks Tue 13-Mar-18 08:01:26

I don’t know if most secondary’s would phone you for that - mine certainly wouldn’t even tho we’re fairly small (and none of my previous schools either) as there simply isn’t the time or the resources available to phone every parent every time something like that happens. Your DD told you and you contacted the school - that’s pretty much how I’ve seen it work in the 10+ years I’ve taught. Secondary schools are much bigger with less time.

GiantPandaAttacks Tue 13-Mar-18 08:01:52

DS, apologies!

CremeFresh Tue 13-Mar-18 08:03:48

I would think that teachers don't actually have the time to call parents immediately because they have lessons to attend.

TheMythicalChicken Tue 13-Mar-18 08:05:24

Your poor DS sad. Schools seem to shy away from bullying situations. We are going through the same thing at the moment.

TwigTheWonderKid Tue 13-Mar-18 08:10:32

I'm not expecting a member of teaching staff to call me but surely a call, even by the school secretary to tell me that there had been an incident and that school are aware and dealing with it is not unreasonable?

Also, my son was attacked. I think the boys responsible should have been interviewed and dealt with straightaway.

strawberrysparkle Tue 13-Mar-18 08:15:29

Your expecting a lot from the school. Incidents like this happen multiple times a day. If your son wasn't badly injured then they don't really have the time.

BarbarianMum Tue 13-Mar-18 08:25:59

Unless he's injured, I wouldn't expect the school to call. I also wouldn't expect instantaneous investigation except in cases of bullying or serious injury. But I would expect them to investigate over 24 hours or so and to answer your questions if you email them.

Oooeeeerrrrrindeed Tue 13-Mar-18 08:26:10

I'd consider a different school where the safety of students is on the agenda.

GnotherGnu Tue 13-Mar-18 08:29:31

Physical attacks on pupils happen so many times in schools that staff have no time to make a phone call to parents? I accept that may be true in some schools, but if that is the case there are serious issues around discipline and Ofsted needs to be informed. Both of these incidents should have resulted in a thorough investigation with a view to ensuring that the attackers were punished, and it would have taken all of 30 seconds to get a member of the office staff to telephone the parents. If schools claim to be too busy, I'd seriously question their priorities.

GnotherGnu Tue 13-Mar-18 08:31:28

Barbarian, investigation of incidents like this needs to be pretty instantaneous to stop evidence getting tainted when all the witnesses compare notes and/or are persuaded to change their evidence by the perpetrators and their friends. Good schools tend to make that the specific responsibility of one or more deputy or assistant heads to avoid having to take teachers out of the classroom.

BeyondThePage Tue 13-Mar-18 08:35:00

He was not hurt - if he was you'd probably have been called immediately to come and pick him up. They will investigate and deal with it - in consultation with your son - which is part of secondary school "growing up".

Parents do not get involved at such a low level unless there is a major problem which has been left unresolved.

GnotherGnu Tue 13-Mar-18 08:46:39

Beyond, he seems to have been hurt the second time as OP says he should have gone to the medical room.

roundaboutthetown Tue 13-Mar-18 08:50:04

TwigTheWonderKid - your ds went back to afternoon lessons, presumably because he did not think he was particularly hurt. Does he have any visible injuries from the attack? Was the attendance officer the right person for him to see? Does your school not have pastoral support officers for each year group (ie support staff specialising in pastoral issues)? A more sensible approach would have been to see the school's medical officer and someone in a more pastoral support role - or does the school's attendance officer have to deal with everything (in which case, no wonder there are issues at the school, as it's hard enough for attendance just to keep on top of children missing from lessons, without expecting them to round up and interview children)?! Tbh, it sounds like your ds's account of the incident did not make it sound that serious and the person he took it to didn't pass the information on to someone who could deal with it as quickly as they could have done, maybe because it was not their area of expertise (and if it is, because their job role is far too wide ranging!!).

TwigTheWonderKid Tue 13-Mar-18 09:15:08

roundaboutthetown I think you've summed it up well. DS didn't want to make a fuss and there was no one around to take charge of the situation which I think it's what's made me cross (and therefore potentially unreasonable).

The issue of injury is a tricky one. I could see he was in significant discomfort when i picked him up and as a matter of precaution I took him to A& E who were concerned enough to immobilise him in a neck brace and x-ray him. Luckily, he's just got very bad internal bruising. I appreciate that his unwillingness to go to the medical room really didn't help with this however, my point is that a 12 year old boy isn't necessarily in a position to make sensible decisions in situations like this.

I totally get that kids of this age should be working towards being grown up and taking responsibility for themselves, however, my son is only 12 years old and was the victim of an unprovoked attack. He does not want to be "consulted" BeyondThePage, he feels unsafe and does not want to have to go to a meeting the boys who hurt him.

MsGameandWatching Tue 13-Mar-18 10:27:02

I always marvel at the advice given here when children/teenagers are attacked/assaulted at school. There would be total outrage if an adult was set upon by two work colleagues even if they had no visible injuries.

You're not expecting too much OP, utterly ludicrous the responses you've had here. Your child was attacked and beaten by TWO individuals during school hours but teachers can't be expected to actually do anything because well they have another lesson to teach? No not good enough and I would take it further.

roundaboutthetown Tue 13-Mar-18 16:04:11

TwigTheWonderKid - you definitely need to make the school aware that, actually, your ds does have bad internal bruising and that you had to take him to A&E. Tell them that you are unhappy with their response. Also, find out who the pastoral support officers are - I can't believe the school doesn't have any?! Your ds needs to know the correct procedures to follow, so that this sort of misunderstanding does not happen again in future. Pastoral support also need to know he is vulnerable to this happening, as this is the 2nd time already. They could maybe then warn other staff to direct him to them in future, rather than assume it's just a boy complaining about other boys getting a bit over excited at break time and no harm done. Also, tell him he must see the school's medical officer if he is in pain, or they won't be able to help him.

Kitchenbound Tue 13-Mar-18 16:19:43

I can appreciate schools are busy etc. Kids having an argument is one thing but a physical attack is quite another and i would be beyond pissed not to be informed straight away. 3 minute phone call from office staff to say hi just letting you know your DC was in a fight today no obvious injuries etc. As a mother its your right to know and make a choice to get DC checked out straight away. Just because limbs aren't hanging off and blood is spouting from every orifice doesn't mean there are no injuries. As you said your poor dc walked away with internal bruising. Sorry guys but small step from internal bruising to internal bleeding.

OP YANBU. Talk to the school. At worst i told my children if anything ever happened and the staff didnt act they had my permission to turn their mobile phone on and call me. Which yes granted is not ideal to tell your kids to break school rules but hey. Needs must. Yes yes im prepared to be flamed

TwigTheWonderKid Tue 13-Mar-18 19:16:30

So, DS spent the day at home today because his neck was painful (and I suspect because he was nervous about going in to school and facing the other boys).

When I rang in to say he was ill I spoke to the attendance officer who had seen him yesterday. She is clearly a lovely, caring member of staff but admitted that school should have called me when it happened but it got overlooked. HoY called this afternoon to say the boys had been excluded for the rest of the week and she is seeing their parents tomorrow.

I am relieved that they are taking it seriously but frustrated that once again we "fell through the cracks" and events meant that procedures were not followed sad

RedSkyAtNight Tue 13-Mar-18 19:25:25

At DC's school this sort of thing would be dealt with by pastoral care, rather than teaching staff. I had a phone call once to say that DS (and his friend) had been threatened by a group of older boys and they didn't feel that they should walk home by themselves (tbh I was very non-plussed by this, as was DS as he thought school was overreacting and had told them not to call me!). But to show that schools do take violence and even threats of violence (rightly) very seriously.

GnotherGnu Tue 13-Mar-18 19:29:29

I'd suggest you ask the HoY also to set out what steps they are going to take to ensure that your child is safe in school. Two attacks within four months is two too many, particularly when one at least has resulted in serious injury and could potentially have been even worse. There are safeguarding issues here that they need to take very seriously.

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