So worried about DD, what can I do to help her? And AIBU to think school is wrong?(98 Posts)
She's 16 and in Year 11. She has never been in the "popular" group at school, but she's always coped perfectly fine. She was very alone at the start of Year 7 as we had moved house just at the beginning away from all her of her friends, but by the time she was halfway through Year 7 her and a few of the other "oddballs" (hate calling them that but the group used to describe themselves as such things with pride!) had formed a group. There were about 7 of them and they were really solid. Beginning of Year 10 she even got a BF who was part of their group. Things were great for a few months, she was always out with friends and had a great social life etc. But halfway through Year 10 a friend in the group decided she liked DD's boyfriend and made the rest of the year hell for DD. This girl was a lot more gobby than DD and did all sorts to try and split them up, telling BF she'd seen DD with another boy and the like. Thankfully her BF was an absolutely lovely lad and told this girl where to go. This however resulted in the couple being ostracised from the rest of the group as the other girl managed to get them all on side.
It was a shame but DD didn't seem too phased. Her and her BF stuck together. I tried to encourage her to make other friends so that she wasn't relying on BF too much, saying that she needed other people to spend time with if BF finished with her. She kicked off at me for suggesting that, being 15 she was of the opinion that her and her BF were unbreakable. At the end of Year 10 the BF's mum decided to move in with her long term partner who lived on the other side of our city (very big city, so it was still 35 miles away). DD was understandably devastated, as was her BF at the time. They agreed still to be in a relationship and spend weekends with each other. Planning more days in the week once Year 11 was out of the way. So off he went. DD didn't see anybody except him over the Summer hols. Started Year 11 absolutley miserable with no friends and was starting to get very depressed.
Then in January she confided in me that BF had been getting distant. She told me she'd say she had missed him and he'd only respond "Aw ". Also he had somehow managed to get into the popular group at his new school and suddenly had a very active social life and less time for her. There were plenty of girls he was hanging around with. 1 week after we spoke about it he text her saying "I don't think this relationship is sustainable anymore. The distance is too awkward." DD begged him to stay with her but he unfollowed her on everything. The next day she saw he'd changed his relationship status to say he was now with a girl he'd be hanging around with. DD was in absolute bits, and ended up taking an overdose.
She spent 2 weeks in hospital and then a further 6 weeks out of school on mental health grounds as she had been threatening to hang herself among other things. Her ex BF is aware of this and has made no effort to get in contact. She has only very recently gone back and has been the talk of the school. Rumours going around that she is pregnant, a drug addict etc. Jealous ex friend has been having a field day with it all and has been giving DD hell day to day. Today has been the last straw. She's come home bloody distraught because she had spent lunchtime in the toilet to avoid people and some girl made up a rumour that she was in there for the hour performing an abortion on herself ffs. We were asked to go into the school at 6pm later on today for a meeting expecting it to be about this. Nope, they brought us in to tell us they would not be letting DD sit her GCSE'S as she has missed too much and they think she should be focusing on her mental health.
DD been in bits all evening. She keeps seeing pictures of her BF and his new GF on social media (told her to stop stalking him but she does it anyway), she's being harassed and threatened by peers, she just in the past couple of days found out her absolute arse of a father who doesn't bother with her has had a new baby with someone she knows nothing about (not getting in to that, a whole other thread!), and now she's been told she can't do her GCSE'S which means she won't be able to get onto the college course she's been so looking forward to. The thought of going to college and meeting new people had been saving her. I tried to tell school that I believe taking her GCSE's will benefit her and DD tried to tell them as well, but they wouldn't have it.
I am dreading the rest of Year 11. I don't know if I should send her back to school or not. What's the point? If the bastards aren't going to let her take her exams then why should she go? If she had friends who she wanted to go in and see then it would be different but she doesn't. And now I'm also left not knowing what to do with her once Year 11 finishes. She really does need to go to college. She wants to go. Is it possible for her to start in September as would everybody else her age despite having no GCSE's? Or does she have to get them first? I don't want her to have to start college a year late and I certainly can't afford for her to be doing GCSE'S privately!
And exams aside, it's also meant to be a really exciting time over the next few months for people her age. She should be excited about getting GCSE results with friends...the end of Year 11 prom...the endless fun and exciting plans that Year 11 like to make for the holidays once they've finished school...looking forward to college...considering part time jobs...all the other Year 11's I know are going to music festivals with friends in the Summer to celebrate GCSE's ending...all of this has been ripped away from DD and we are left facing months of isolation, loneliness, worry about her future, uncertainty, and she has to watch everybody else have fun while she's dealing with it. It's breaking my heart. I have £1500 tucked away in inheritance I got after a relative died which I planned to give DD when she turned 18. However I'm considering booking us a mother/daughter trip to New York for a week with the money. I'll probably plan it around the time prom would be. She's always wanted to go to New York and I just want to give her something to look forward to. Should I, or is it impulsive?
Oh god the post is so long. I'm sorry once I get worked up I just type and type
I dont have any brilliant advice really except to say that many of us miss out on all the 'fun' of yr11, proms etc, get bullied at school, never popular, shit/no gcse's, and life quickly moves on and we're not blighted by it. She can definitely leave this all behind and move on.
I assume she has to move up, they cant keep them behind at school a year, can they? A close aquaintance's job is to teach GCSE to those that missed them at an FE college, so the option for her to go to college and leave this shitehawks at school behind must be there?
I think getting her out of the toxic school environment is key, and close at hand!
This is awful and I didn’t want to read and run even though I don’t have much advice. As a former teacher though, I thought that the school she’s enrolled in had to make provisions for her to sit at least soke GCSEs. You need to lookn into whether or not they’re achallh slowed to just not enter her if she’s still on roll. As for the boyfriend and friends stuff- all my friends changed when I was in year 11, meeting bew people at college.... and hose are my friendships that have lasted 20+yes. Good luck to both you and your daughter
Assuming it's a state school, I would contact the local authority and see if it's possible for her to continue to study at a 'host' school (they won't transfer in Yr 11, but this is certainly something they do in our LEA).
I'm really surprised that the school have the power to just say that she can't take any GCSEs. Have you spoken to GP or MH team (assuming one is involved with your DD) about her mental health? Surely they can produce a note saying she is fit to take them?
If you can put those things in place, maybe speak to the college she wants to attend and see if they will make allowances so if necessary she could focus on the most vital GCSEs now and maybe do an additional one or two at college?
...and I'd definitely book that trip to NYC!
I hope you get it sorted and your DD is in a more positive place in all ways very soon .
It's a state school but is also independently run, think they call it an academy? I questioned whether they were allowed to say no to DD doing her GCSE's and they claimed they were. I just took their word for it.
Sounds terrible for your dd. It’s probably right though that the ex bf doesn’t contact her as this could leave her feeling even worse.
I’m not sure a trip to NY js the answer to your problems. Is there anyone from CAMHS you can liaise with?
I'm disgusted they won't allow her to sit them. Do please check as mentioned above, whether they're allowed to stop her taking them. Sounds like they're just worried she won't do well and will bring their results down! I'm so sorry you have both been through all of this. I'm glad she survived her overdose. She will in time be stronger. Hopefully a host school can be arranged, she wasn't off too much imho
Oh the poor girl, give her big hug fro me please and for you. Mh problems are awful to live with, and for those who care about those living with mh issues.
I was robbed of all that Y11 stuff too. But it's actually not all that. Actually very few kids have the ideal experience, popular, great grades. Most people don't. Her ex-friends might not get the grades they wanted, break up with someone, also get cast out of this friend group or argue with a friend, end up hating their prom dress, be wasted by 9pm at prom and throw up everywhere humiliating themselves. The dream is just that.
I am astounded that they have said she can’t sit GCSEs and highly doubt they are allowed. You should def seek advice and take this further. She should be in education or training until she’s 18, how can she do that if they won’t let her sit the exams she wants and needs for college? At VERY least she should be doing maths and english. Appeal to the governors?
NYC sounds like a great idea 👍
Poor kid. I'd suggest getting in touch with the education department at the council to see if they are allowed to just stop her taking her GCSEs. Also, complain to the governors as the school appears to be doing fuck all about the bullying (OK it's not the school's responsibility to deal with students dating/dumping one another, but the bullying of your DD by her peers is something they should be addressing.)
As PPs have said take further advise on this from elsewhere. Sounds dodgy to me that they'd not allow her to sit her exams in this situation.
Sounds awful. If you're in Bedfordshire (long shot) there's a home ed pilot project that will let her attend core subject classes and sit GCSEs with them. It's technically hosted by a school in Biddenham, but she won't need to worry about that except for actually writing the papers. I know a few teens with MH issues that have done well through it. GCSEs are expensive, but might be a better use of that £1500 if the school won't let her. Even just the core ones she needs for her college entry.
Quite a few local colleges offer GCSEs. If your local college is one of them, maybe they would agree to let her join the second year of the GCSEs course? Ok, it would put her back a year but least it would get her into a new environment and give her a new start. Or maybe they will accept her on her preferred course and also let her do some of the GCSEs on the side? They routinely let people retake Maths and English while doing a BTEC or whatever, so they may agree to that. Worth an ask. Perhaps the college will be more flexible than the school.
The school have failed your daughter. Not only have they not stopped the bullying she's experiencing, but they're adding to it by denying her something that could help her to focus on her future, denying her something that all other children her age will be doing. How on earth do they think it will help her mental health to prevent her taking her GCSEs? It all sounds very dodgy. Please do speak to the education department and speak to your GP, MP whoever can help. Don't let the school get away with making this very important decision unilaterally with no input from you or your daughter.
That's fucking crap. Can you email your MP? They can't just expel her for being off sick ffs?? Cunts.
But I'd agree with pp that if there is any way you can get her out of that toxic school environment so she does the GCSEs somewhere else it would probably be good. I was horribly bullied in secondary school and I've have jumped at the chance to go somewhere else to do my GCSEs. As soon as I left that school environment everything changed, for the better.
OP, I mean this as a set of very serious and non-judgemental questions... but how much work has your daughter been able to put in at school for the past couple of years? How is her revision going? Does she enjoy any subjects, particularly? What are her strengths/areas where she needs support?
Don't send her back to school; even if they were to change their minds about the exams they have repeatedly failed to protect her from the bullying, so screw them and their faux concern for her mental health. You need to talk to the college now about what options they can offer her in September, and use the intervening time to catch up on the work she's missed as well as making sure she exercises / meditates / helps you around the house / volunteers / practices her hobbies / whatever helps her build resilience.
I probably wouldn't book NY right now; in my experience a first-time visit can be a bit overwhelming if you're dealing with MH issues, though obviously you know your daughter best.
Wow op I'm shocked at the school to be honest.
I also have a year 11 16yr old ( boy ) and I know exactly what you mean by your dd missing all of the end of school events etc.
However, right now that is not important. Her GCSE's are likely starting in less than 8 weeks so you need to be on the phone to the education department at your local council to see what options are available to her ( and there will be some ) and also ask to have another meeting with the school and tell them you want to see their policies on bullying/mental health and exclusion from examinations. They cannot do this so close to the exams, it is highly unfair on your daughter and I'm assuming she will have submitted coursework counting towards her final grades, depending on subjects chosen.
I ask this kindly, is your dd ready and able for these exams? I ask because it could be a slight blessing in disguise to take them further down the line if she is not prepared for them. If she is then give them merry hell.
Secondary school is all about ending with GCSE's and she will have been studying for her subjects for 2 years minimum ( ds's school does the 3 year ones ) and as a parent I would be gutted if all hard work was for nothing.
Are CAMHS involved? I would also speak to them and ask for support.
School would have to formally withdraw her from exams so ask if that has been done.
If you are not satisfied with the school then go to the governors. They will not like any kind of adverse situations and you could easily go to OFSTED with your complaint.
Good luck to you both. It's a stressful time as it is without having any extra worries like this. Ds has aspergers and anxiety and is a total wreck at the minute. Thankfully his school are extremely supportive and this is another reason I'm so angry on your behalf. They should be doing everything possible to make dd's last few months at school easier, instead they are failing her miserably.
The school have let your daughter down re bullying and you need to get Another meeting and tell them what's gone on. ask them what they will do about it.
GCSE wise, you shouldn't want her to sit them if she's not going to pass. If she has missed too much and doesn't know the course work, she could end up with a string of fails. That's not what she deserves.
Why not look at going to college next year to re start the GCSEs?
I would be more worried about her mental health than her GCE'S is she getting help for it? Two weeks in hospital sounds like it was a serious attempt
If you feel she’s covered most of the course at school could you not put her forward for the exams via a local independent school? You’ll have to pay for the actual exams but could you home school her to that point? If you have an independent school with a good bursary scheme perhaps you could talk to them about her attending for the last few weeks without paying (thought you’d still have to pay for the actual exams I think) Have you contacted the college she wants to attend to get advice?
GCSEs can be done at a later date ...her mental health is important now!!! Take the time you both need x
I’m sorry you’ve gone through all this sounds such a dreadful time for you both. School is wrong, esp as your daughter thinks so too - I used to work in mental health - working and studying - having a positive focus in life - is good for mental health. Your daughter needs to take some exams. They are prob worried about results. I would fight this. Local Authority. Dept for Edicatipn. Read Centre for Mental Health evidence. Contact Young Minds for advice. Home schooling - whatever you need to do - enable her to go to college. Good luck.
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