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To hate school.

(87 Posts)
Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 09:19:24

Just had to drag my 7 year old and 5 year old to school. Both of them in floods of tears. My 5 year old perked up once he got there, but my 7 year old had to be peeled off me (they are very used to doing this by now), and my last image was of her pale, crumpled, miserable, tear soaked face staring up at me. I don't know why we do this. This is her third year of school now, and it isn't getting any better. She has good days, but I would estimate that 30-40% of the time she is miserable going in, and about 5% she is verging on hysterical. This isn't doing anyone any good, surely? Seeing as our school system isn't a good fit for all children, should we be rethinking it?

FullOfJellyBeans Mon 25-Mar-19 09:21:44

Your poor DD and poor you it sounds horrendous. I do think you need to look into solutions either with her current school or a different school or home school. Do you have any idea why school is such a struggle? Are there anxiety issues? Social issues?

Persimmonn Mon 25-Mar-19 09:22:04

Just because your child isn’t happy, we should rethink the whole system? You are allowed to home school, maybe that would suit you?

LeekMunchingSheepShagger Mon 25-Mar-19 09:24:13

It's hard to comment without knowing what their specific issues are and what action school are taking. Can you move schools?

Orchidflower1 Mon 25-Mar-19 09:24:43

Sorry to hear your dc are unhappy.

Is it the school that doesn’t suit them?
Do they have a long day with after school clubs etc?
Have they made friends?
Do they know about your feelings towards school?
Are they happy once they are in school?

Just a few thoughts.

IceRebel Mon 25-Mar-19 09:27:01

Seeing as our school system isn't a good fit for all children, should we be rethinking it?

This seems like such a massive leap. Your children don't like school so lets change the system for everyone? confused Surely looking at why they don't like school makes more sense, it's very unusual for all children in a family to be so upset at the thought of school.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 09:27:08

FullOfJellyBeans She is very anxious - to be honest, we have suspected ASD since she was 4, but it's impossible to even get a referral around here. The school are really good, but things just don't seem to be improving. I would consider home schooling, but it's so hard to know whether that would be the best option. Some days she enjoys school - she does have a good circle of friends, and she loves learning.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 25-Mar-19 09:28:44

This isn't doing anyone any good, surely? Seeing as our school system isn't a good fit for all children, should we be rethinking it?

So because your 2 children are unhappy you think the issue is with the whole school system, that's bonkers. I would presume that the issue is closer to home given that both your children are finding it so difficult to go to school. Maybe they are picking up on your dislike of having to send them?

99% of children are not stressed to the point of crying about going into the classroom. After 3 years of this for one child and almost a year for your second child then surely you need to be looking at what is causing these issues. I presume the 5 year old is following their siblings lead. You need to work out why your eldest finds going to school so challenging.

Yes there are issues around our school system but this is a 100% a family problem not a school system problem.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 09:28:49

it's very unusual for all children in a family to be so upset at the thought of school.

Is it? Genuine question. I suppose because I read a lot of school refuser groups, maybe I have a distorted view. I do think there are a lot of children falling through the gaps, because our school system is a bit one size fits all.

SoyDora Mon 25-Mar-19 09:28:53

Seeing as our school system isn't a good fit for all children, should we be rethinking it?

No system is going to be a good fit for all children, unfortunately. It can’t be.

SoyDora Mon 25-Mar-19 09:30:49

Is it? Genuine question

I can only talk from my experience but I drop my 5 year old off every morning and it is very rare to see an upset child being dropped off. That doesn’t mean there aren’t children who are struggling though, but certainly no children being prised away from their parents.

AdvancedAvoider Mon 25-Mar-19 09:30:54

You can just deregister your child from school and find them a new one. I did just that, took him out of school until I could find one that was a better fit.

jamoncrumpets Mon 25-Mar-19 09:31:34

Its not impossible to get a referral for ASD anywhere. It's not easy, but it's not impossible either. I would take DD to the GP and press for referral.

IceRebel Mon 25-Mar-19 09:32:30

Is it? Genuine question.

It's not unusual for a child to be upset at the thought of school, it is in my experience unusual to have all the children in the house feeling that way.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 25-Mar-19 09:33:58

Is it? Genuine question. I suppose because I read a lot of school refuser groups, maybe I have a distorted view.

Think logically how often do you see other children doing what your children do? It might be the odd few in particular those with additional needs but I don't know any families where all the children cry about going into class. Surely you see this situation is abnormal? Your youngest possibly thinks this is how he should behave because that's what his sister does but for both children to be so upset about attending is certainly not something I've ever encountered.

sashh Mon 25-Mar-19 09:34:03

No system is going to be a good fit for all children, unfortunately. It can’t be.

Which is why there should be some flexibility, different types of schools for different types of children.

We do it for parents' religion so why not for other reasons.


I would be considering home schooling,

Barrenfieldoffucks Mon 25-Mar-19 09:34:20

We took our daughter out and home educated for a few years for the same reason. School doesn't fit everyone all of the time. After three years out she has just gone back of her own volition, and our son has just started in yr 2.

Not all kids are ready to be away from home at the same age.

SummersOnMars Mon 25-Mar-19 09:34:54

Sounds awful but there must be a root cause. I imagine your 5yo is picking up on the negativity from the 7yo.

I would recommend seeing if there is a local child therapist (if you can afford) might help identify any underlying issues and also many will run group sessions that can help with relationship building/anxiety/anger etc. Had success with our eldest in such a group.

killpop Mon 25-Mar-19 09:41:49

Have you discussed your ASD concerns with the school?
My youngest was/is very similar. Two years at nursery having to be peeled off me in hysterics, one year at primary school the same. Then when she reached p2, I said "you're a big girl now and get to go to school by yourself", much easier. She was eventually diagnosed with ASD at age 9. She's nearly 11 now and we still have periods of school refusal but things are much easier, though her anxiety is still a big part of her.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 09:41:49

@Barrenfieldoffucks That's really interesting - thank you for posting. Did your daughter have any trouble integrating back into school after a few years out? That's one of my worries. My daughter definitely has difficulties with socialising, and it's so hard to know whether it is better for her to have the practice, or to have time to build confidence away from school.

edwinbear Mon 25-Mar-19 09:44:50

Seeing as our school system isn't a good fit for all children, should we be rethinking it?

Both my DC (Y5 and Y2) love going to school, as do all of their friends so YABU that we should be rethinking it. YANBU to be rethinking how you educate your own DC though if it's not working for them.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 09:45:43

@killpop We have discussed our concerns, but she is always impeccably behaved at school, so doesn't come up on their radar. She masks beautifully. At home she would be incredibly explosive and violent (not any more, thank goodness), but school saw a calm, happy, perfectly behaved child. I think they are of the mindset that it's just the drop off that is hard for her.

Allfednonedead Mon 25-Mar-19 09:50:41

Just posting to remind me to pop back later with words of support. Of my 3 DC, two are like this. One has ASD, the other awaiting evaluation.

FullOfJellyBeans Mon 25-Mar-19 09:50:47

I was wondering whether it might be asd. Do you have the funds for a private assessment or occupational therapy. If you suspect asd I would look for resources for girls with asd just to see if it helps.

For what it's worth op you're right are school system is inflexible and there are children (particularly high functioning asd) for which our school system doesn't really work.

Barrenfieldoffucks Mon 25-Mar-19 09:51:46

No, it was entirely her choice and suggestion. She came out in yr 1 and re-entered year 4.

We had kept in touch with a few kids from her class which helped. She was never a confident child socially, would not like going to groups or activities. Took nearly 6 months to want to stay at Beavers when she was 6, for example. Wouldn't join in a tennis class even with me watching etc etc.

So she came out, and we spent a few years just hanging out, she started riding again and eventually started spending a few full days a week at the stables helping out. I think it was that that helped her realise that she could be away from me and the home without anything bad happening, and led to her asking about school again.

She was fine going back, had a wobble for about a week after a fortnight or so because she missed me at various points in the day but she got past that. She finds it hard at times sitting still as much as is required, but she is a model student by all accounts and has a great attitude to learning. Her reading is at age expectation, and she's excelling in maths. Apparently her spelling is a bit behind, which would be because she never really learned phonics per se but she's catching up there.

Our son 'missed' pre school, reception and year 1. He wanted to start school having seen his sister enjoying it, and is having a whale of a time. He too never wanted to be away from home, but after a hard few weeks he settled fine.

At the moment she will have all sorts of negative associations with school. How are they with her? We found that with our son, he wanted to go but had various points in the day where he missed me and so he would not want to go because he wanted to avoid those moments. Once he got past that he was ok

minisoksmakehardwork Mon 25-Mar-19 09:53:31

I have 4 dc, with 2 school refusing. However, once in they are generally happy. Both have additional needs and one is on Sen support for academic work. The other has issues with social skills in school.

The biggest help to getting them into school without tears, tantrums, clinginess and running away was school getting on the same page as us.

Ds1 goes in for sensory circuits every morning. It's been a great soft step to get him through the door without issues. I know the school entrance is still an issue for him as whenever circuits is cancelled we go back to school refusing. If they put an alternative in place then he is fine.

Dd2 didn't get on with circuits, she refused to participate. So her teacher and the senco decided to give her a morning job instead. It might be as simple as putting books on tables or sharpening the pencils, but she looks forward to going in to do her job and we no longer have to wrestle a crying, thrashing child in the door. She skips in quite happily after a kiss and a cuddle.

Ds1 has adhd and we suspect asd. Dd2 believed adhd.

Unfortunately when school see a good and compliant child it is much harder to get your experience across. Luckily when we moved schools, the senco picked up our concerns and agreed! (The old school felt it was an attachment/parenting issue).

All I can suggest is write everything down. Email the senco to create a paper trail and ask for an early help assessment to be done.

killpop Mon 25-Mar-19 09:54:04

Yep she sounds extremely like my youngest, and masking it at school meant 3 years of ongoing assessment before diagnosis.
You need to ask the school to look for particular symptoms of underlying anxìety, e.g. being jumpy, fidgeting, being a bit too quiet, unlikely to ask for help etc. It's amazing what they can see when they actually take the time to look! Maybe ask if they can get an Educational Psychologist or OT in to do school observations.

Namechange8471 Mon 25-Mar-19 09:54:34

My autistic dd loves school.

If the whole system was changed, she would struggle.

Butterflycookie Mon 25-Mar-19 09:56:11

Was the same when I was a child. Kicking and screaming that I didn’t want to go to school. Obsviously I was made to go . I’m sure after a while she’ll get used to it. I wouldn’t rule school out just because she kicks up a fuss every morning.

juneau Mon 25-Mar-19 09:57:01

Is it? Genuine question

Yes, very unusual. I have two kids, 11 and 7, and have never known one family in all the seven years that I've been doing the school run where both DC are in floods of tears going to school almost every day. I've know a couple who have struggled at certain key points - starting Reception, or moving up to Y3, but to have DC who are that distressed day after day - no I have never seen that and I walk to school so I am physically in the playground morning and afternoon every day, so I would see if it was happening.

So no, this is not about all DC and all schools, this is about your DC and possibly their school (although I'm not going to jump to that conclusion). If your DC are so distressed and anxious I suggest you keep pestering your GP until you get some help. Budgets for just about everything have been slashed recently, including local health budgets, and that is having a big effect on families trying to get their DC in for assessment by a paediatrician. As ever, it the parents who are most persistent (for that, read 'desperate'), who do eventually get an appointment. Time to make yourself a serious nuisance OP.

TheSerenDipitY Mon 25-Mar-19 09:57:26

does she say why she hates it? is it the school or the kids there? or the teaching style maybe?
we moved and our son had to move to the school in the closest town and pretty much from day one he hated it there,
the kids were, in his mind, naughty and in trouble a lot ( and he refuses to get in trouble)
and he hated the teaching style, sorta "im cool and ya mate" but he felt it was really fake and that they didnt really give a shit...
it got so he was laying in bed each night silently crying and just dreading going at all and he used to love school!
so we made him finish till the end of the year and said if he still feels that way we will move him back to his old school,
which gives me a 25 min drive each way twice a day rather than a 6 min drive each way twice a day,
as soon as we offered he jumped that it,
so i called his old school to see if we could return, they were only too happy to have him back
and on his first day back, the teachers came and hugged him, he has 4 in his class room ( one of the teachers said she loves having him there as he is calming with the other kids and she knows that he is never trouble, and even when shes having a tough day that hes always a pleasure... that kinda made our day too)
and kids that knew him 6 months previously all raced over yelling his name welcoming him back,
and for the most part hes been enjoying it and really joining in and trying everything, even the things he would normally be too shy to do
( we said he really had to try things and make the most of it since it is a lot of driving and expense )
we felt me driving approx 2 hours a day was worth it if he enjoyed going, was happy and loved it there, and respected his teachers so much that he wont ever misbehave and will try his very best, we want him to enjoy school as long as he can and enjoy learning as long as he can and if its something that can be solved by trying a different school, its worth it.

FudgeBrownie2019 Mon 25-Mar-19 09:57:48

Friends of ours have begun homeschooling several of their children after they'd had hideous experiences with anxiety and SEN simply being ignored and poorly handled in mainstream schools. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing and whilst for some children homeschooling is fabulous, it wouldn't suit others. I teach Reception and believe that the education system only suits those children who enjoy it; for the ones who hate it, they never really get out what the ones who love it do even as they get older and learn to just get on with it.

If it's something you could potentially do, do some research and find out what's nearby locally in terms of support. Facebook is often great for local homeschooling groups and the friends we know who've gone for homeschooling have healthy, happy, sociable children whose anxieties are massively reduced because of the choices they've made.

I wouldn't do it lightly but if it was needed I'd go for it.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 09:59:03

@FullOfJellyBeans Thank you. I have considered private assessment, and would be prepared to pay for it, but two things put me off. Firstly, I have heard that a private diagnosis can sometimes not be taken as seriously, and secondly, I'm not completely sure that it would help. Even if the school accept her diagnosis, everything seems fundamentally structured to make things uncomfortable for her. Just little things, like no consistency in the mornings. At the beginning of the year, they had set groups and tables. This is implemented occasionally, but not consistently. I don't understand why they don't just do it all the time? It wouldn't upset the kids that don't need structure, but would be helpful for those that do.

Penguinpandarabbit Mon 25-Mar-19 10:02:38

In theory it should be possible to get an ASD assessment though we are having issues in new area - doctors are refusing all referrals. School have sent one in and CAHMS have refused it as they didn't tick the child consents box. Taken 6 months to get to this point. There's deliberate kicking kids of waiting lists going on here. Also have to do a long parenting course for NT kids before they will see you.

Last area could get assessment but 2 year wait. It's very wrong but if you have money you can get assessment privately though LA can refuse to accept. Very unusual for a 7 year old and fairly unusual for 5 year old to be crying about school - the 5 year old could be influenced by 7 year old. If she is fine once there could be ASD - my son will ask to go somewhere, then refuse and become very upset, then once he goes he loves it. I think sometimes its important he goes otherwise he would never leave house though odd day I do let him stay home as can see he just can't cope that day.

I think the school system works well for NT kids but its failing a lot of SN kids but to provide a better environment for them would cost lots of money.

bordellosboheme Mon 25-Mar-19 10:04:10

Op you are getting a hard time on here but you are not being unreasonable. The system is a victorian hangover. Regimented and out of date with the modern world. I would perhaps look into home schooling communities?

juneau Mon 25-Mar-19 10:06:05

There is loads of info on this website OP if you suspect autism A diagnosis on its own won't help - you're right - but it does give you leverage with the school and LEA to demand extra support. There are plenty of things you can do without having that diagnosis though. If you look under the 'About Autism' link there's info about education and family life.

waterrat Mon 25-Mar-19 10:07:43

Lots of kids don't like school - they learn to hide it because they know there is no escape! School is a modern invention - I am baffled by adults who just assume it's best for kids - it's what we do in this country and have done for about 100 years - that doesn't make it the 'right' way for children to live, learn and develop - it's just our societys' current way of doing things. THere are many many other ways our children could be living.

My kids both go to school and sometimes yes they cry, they say they feel ill - but unfortunately I don't want to home ed and couldn't give up work anyway -

And our school is a lovely one -it's just full on for a 5/ 6 /7 year old! all day every day sitting and learning from adults instead of climbing trees, having adventures, learning from friends and the world around them as nature intended.

I am afraid I have no respect for anyone who blindly accepts school as completely the right thing and would never question it - it's not intelligent to accept things without questioning them! Look at the world and wonder how it might be different - that's what we should be teaching our kids anyway.

Barrenfieldoffucks Mon 25-Mar-19 10:09:03

I think the OP's point is more that the system doesn't suit all so there should be more flexibility within it. For example Flexi schooling used to be allowed until the attendance codes were changed and the schools couldn't do it without their attendance figures being negatively affected.

I know a lot of kids who don't like school. They may not kick off about it but they are disengaged from the whole set up and unhappy. That's not great, even if it isn't as visible as the OP's problem.

How is she during the day OP? Does she settle after the drop off?

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 10:10:59

Thank you for all your posts - I am reading them all, and there's some really useful advice there. I think I will push for the private diagnosis - the centre that offers the assessment also does therapy, so that could also be something to look into.

As for my 5 year old picking things up from his sister...maybe. However, he is also prone to meltdowns, has food issues, is incredibly inflexible in his thinking, hates noise, often prefers playing on his own, so we may have to think about getting him assessed too. One step at a time, though. I do feel a bit better though. Always feel better with a plan!

Harryy Mon 25-Mar-19 10:12:05

Sounds like my 5 year old son every morning is a battle. He doesn't cry but does get very violet (kicking and hitting me) try's running off and scream he hates school. He's just been diagnosed with ASD, ODD and anxiety. He's currently in mainstream but he's going to be moved to a SEN school as he just isn't coping.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 10:12:10

@waterrat That's exactly how I feel! You summed it up perfectly!

donthavetobestupidtoworkhere Mon 25-Mar-19 10:13:28

I absolutely hated school my entire childhood. I'm pretty sure I don't have ASD.

It was the pits tbh.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 10:14:55

YANBU. Lots of people don’t like our very rigid and demanding school system, it’s not unreasonable it’s just unusual to speak about it because, you get told there’s something wrong with you. You’re very brave to post here.

I have a lot of experience with trying to get a diagnosis for a girl, and ended up private assessment which are largely accepted if by a psychiatrist. Please feel free to PM me.
With rising rates of anxiety and depression, esp in girls, I don’t think you’re being at all ridiculous to question how our society educates them.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 10:14:56

@Barrenfieldoffucks Yes, she does settle. She would say that she likes school! If she said that she hated it, I would pull her out. The funny thing is that she was upset the other day, so I picked her up from after school club really early. She was really upset about that - actually cried - because I hadn't told her I was going to get her early, and she hadn't been expecting me! She does enjoy aspects of school, but finds it a real struggle.

Penguinpandarabbit Mon 25-Mar-19 10:16:33

ASD can run in families so if he's displaying those behaviours its very possible he has it too - one family by us with 4 kids, all ASD. I have DD who is NT and DS who is ASD but she's older. The SN board on here is good for advice.

We got through primary just with no diagnosis - schools can put same adjustments in place without it. Though we have opposite of fine at home and issues at school so easier to get school to help though occassionally get encouraged to leave too.

LightTripper Mon 25-Mar-19 10:17:17

My daughter is autistic and hated drop off but seems to love school (she always wants to go in even when she is ill). She is still pretty anxious around drop-off though. We have a little set of rituals we do that make it OK (special set of hugs, silly wave, often a "hug button")! Does your DD also say she doesn't want to go at all, or is it just immediately around the drop-off she gets upset?

If you suspect ASC there may be things you can do already while you wait for an assessment? E.g. if there are quiet places she can go some break times when she needs a break, or if they can use paper towels instead of hand dryers in the toilets... it would be worth talking to school to see if they have experience with other kids with sensory issues that they may be able to put in place with your DD to see if they help?

Could it be that your 5 year old is picking up on your DD's distress, rather than being anxious/upset himself?

roundturnandtwohalfhitches Mon 25-Mar-19 10:19:14

Dealing with just the drop off- I suspect there's a bit of mass hysteria going on with your 2 kids. One sets the other one off and so the problem ends up as a catch 22. Have you tried a different drop off system? Can you manage to try and get them into school separately. Eg one going with friends and one with you? Breaking the cycle is a less drastic start than homeschooling especially if they seem happy enough when they are there.The drop off has just become a 'thing'. That's not to say she has other issues but a new routine might help- have you tried that?

chocatoo Mon 25-Mar-19 10:20:58

As she is OK while she is there I would leave her there. I think that some children find school hard because they are used to being the entire focus of Mummy and Daddy's attention while they are at home and of course it's not like that at school. All children move at a different pace but I don't think you would be doing any favours to take her out of school at this stage.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 25-Mar-19 10:24:00

I don’t think home schooling is the answer for your DC.

I would get them both assessed privately.

There’s no harm in asking their classroom teachers if they can do xyz because you think it will help them go to school more willingly. If having a specific desk/table that’s theirs & a set group to sit with would help, it’s worth asking if that would be possible. No need to re mention your concerns at this stage, just say it will help them go in without such an upset.

Areyoufree Mon 25-Mar-19 10:26:31

@LightTripper That's exactly how my daughter is! She hates being off school when she is ill (unlike my son, who still speaks fondly of his chicken pox days). She can be bouncing along happily, right until we get to the classroom. Then she falls apart. My son is the other way round - can be crying all the way there, but usually is happy once he is in.

Voulezvous Mon 25-Mar-19 10:29:08

My DD has hated school since she was 4. She was diagnosed with ASD aged 8 and school related anxiety at 9. We have always sent her in despite her protests.

She started secondary school in September and has now developed serious mental health problems and is missing lots of school. I do believe (the wrong) school is actively damaging to some children.

KittyWindbag Mon 25-Mar-19 10:29:55

Is there any chance she being bullied? I really hope not, but I was bullied badly at aged 7 and it took a while for me to pluck up the courage and admit it to my mum, but it did make
Me absolutely hate school.

drspouse Mon 25-Mar-19 10:31:38

We got a private assessment for ADHD for my DS through lengthy waiting lists rather than lack of a referral, and nobody has suggested it might not be "accepted" (school were pushing for it as he is not coping in school either).
If a child is struggling in two settings that will be helpful to a referral and they need not be home and school. How does your DD cope with clubs? or does she not go to any because she doesn't cope?

AnemoneAnenome Mon 25-Mar-19 10:34:34

The morning transition should be a solvable problem. A diagnosis, if she's autistic, might help your case but in practical terms doesn't make much difference. Ask for a meeting with the class teacher and maybe senco to talk about how you can put more structure to support her coming into school. Take a list of stuff she finds difficult. It's reasonable to request, eg, a visual timetable and the teacher explicitly explaining any changes each day, consistent placing for DD and maybe those on her table, a smaller table for her. Re the actual transition itself, my son was a morning "helper" for 2 full years before he could tolerate doing what the rest of the class did at the start of the day. No one pushed him or tried to fix it, they just let him come in early until he decided he was ready. Other children have bean bags, or they come into school slightly late to avoid the crowds, or they start the day with a particular worksheet or spending 5 mins playing with sand timers.

I agree with roundturn about the mass hysteria too. It sounds to me that there are lots of positives about school for your daughter, and you need to sit down with the teacher and hammer out some adjustments to get her anxiety down.

MrsTeaspoon Mon 25-Mar-19 10:35:18

It truly isn’t impossible to get referrals IF needed, however the fact that she can behave appropriately at school does make it harder. If school is not referring through Ed Pysch then go to your GP. Eg, there may be dyspraxia - this can be diagnosed at GPs and then taken into consideration by Ed Dept. Don’t give up, keep pressing for help if you think it is needed.
However, I would agree with PP who have raised the fact that all children of a family to be hating school daily is in my experience unusual. I’ve had six children over quarter of a century so have seen a lot of school-children-in-mornings. Are you happy with your particular school? There are many different atmospheres within schools/headteacher dynamics and it may be you haven’t got the right fit but that doesn’t generalise to schooling-is-one-size-fits-all. My younger children have been in city/heavily old-fashioned/traditional schools as well as village ones with own school farm/farm responsibilities for each child (the donkey is a lot of help with anxious children).
A friend of mine took her children out for a couple of years due to eldest’s difficulties in one particular school, years later when they returned to mainstream education it was the youngest who struggled for a while with dealing with other people, soon settled back in happily though. I suppose I’m saying keep your options open and keep pushing. (It took 8 years for CAMHS to diagnose one of my girls formally, I do understand frustrations. My son took only 6months, through a different route...obvs a different diagnosis but still.

ReanimatedSGB Mon 25-Mar-19 10:38:42

The school system isn't fit for purpose at the moment, which is one of the main reasons why British children have such high rates of mental ill-health. For all the lovely teachers and well-intentioned governors trying to build a warm, enriching environment for kids to learn in, schools are being continually kneecapped by the government: huge funding cuts combined with the tests-and-exams fixation and the culture of constant surveillance and snooping make a lot of schools pretty miserable places for kids. The government's clear preference for profit-seeking, authoritarian academy chains makes it even worse.

BlingLoving Mon 25-Mar-19 10:44:47

isi she like this no matter who drops her off? A woman at our school brings her DD to the road closest to the school, where she is then picked up by a friend for the last 100m or so as for whatever reason, when her mum drops her she's hysterical, but if anyone else does it, she's fine.

I think YABU to say the entire system needs re-evaluating because of your DC. But YANBU to want to find a solution. I'd try other people dropping off as well as thinking carefully about whether you are unconsciously sending signals to your DC. Also push for referrals or seek private help if you can't. And consider a new school - get your DC involved int he decision making and visiting of new schools so they feel it's partly their choice etc. Or homeschool.

bettybyebye Mon 25-Mar-19 10:48:36

My DS struggles with school and when he was in reception drop offs were horrendous. He would cling to me and cry/scream etc. So after a few weeks of this, we agreed that I would take him in 5minutes before the morning bell to the main reception (rather than the classrooom door). A TA or sometimes the teacher would come and get him and take him down to the classroom and he would go in fine that way. They would usually give him a little job to do or something. Could something like that work for your DD?

talktoo Mon 25-Mar-19 10:57:12

I don't think the OP is suggesting that on the basis of her two dc the system should be changed. It is far more than her two children. The current school system has evolved from a system that was designed to suit most dc, most of the time but that leaves all dc with a system that doesn't suit them all of the time and some dc for whom it suits them none of the time. Dc for whom the current system fails are anxious children, dyslexic children, adhd children, add children, dyspraxia children dc with other special needs. The system has evolved over time into a broad brush approach that neither stretches the strongest nor lift up the weakest. It is a poor system not fit for today. We need more systems and styles of education with built in flexibility, breaks if needed and focused learning in areas that are required for today. Not two centuries ago.

Yabbers Mon 25-Mar-19 11:02:24

which is one of the main reasons why British children have such high rates of mental ill-health

Of course, you have proof of that?

Sirzy Mon 25-Mar-19 11:07:08

The key thing is finding what’s triggering it. Ds is a school refuser so we worked with school to come up with a plan.

He can’t cope with normal drop off times so I take him in via the office whenever we get there. He is met by trusted staff and spends anything from 10 minutes to a couple of hours in his safe space before going to class.

thedisorganisedmum Mon 25-Mar-19 11:09:09

I would consider changing school before anything else.

SnowyAlpsandPeaks Mon 25-Mar-19 11:10:02

My two were always happy going to school, and honestly I don’t recall ever seeing children crying and being praised off parents. So no I don’t think the system should change.

But you DO have an option- home school, that’s what it is there for.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 11:17:35

Of course, you have proof of that?

Yes, you must not ever read any news at all to have missed the rising rates of mental illness in children. Google is your friend.

Ribbonsonabox Mon 25-Mar-19 11:21:50

I'd consider home schooling... some children just cannot bear the crowds and noise. Not always children with sen, sometimes just particularly sensitive or anxious natured NT children can struggle.
IMO it's better to just take them out rather than risk them having negative associations with education for the rest of their lives.

DontCallMeCharlotte Mon 25-Mar-19 11:23:06

Is she/are they like it if anyone else takes them to school?

LadyMonicaBaddingham Mon 25-Mar-19 11:33:34

Does the school have a breakfast club? I run one at my school and have found it helpful sometimes for school refusers as it seems to be more of a 'soft' TRANSITION to the school day... Might be worth a try, especially if any of her/their friends go to the B. C.

Ellenborough Mon 25-Mar-19 11:37:22

I would consider home schooling, but it's so hard to know whether that would be the best option.

Does you DD know this? If she knows HE exists and has heard you discuss it as a possibility then she will keep crying and whining and begging not to go in.

Yabbers Mon 25-Mar-19 11:38:01

rising rates of mental illness in children.

Rising number of children treated. No evidence the numbers are higher than before, just statistics that it is recognised and treated more than it ever was. We didn’t used to think children could have mental health issues, they were just bullied them and called weird and stupid.

No evidence this is a particularly British problem. No evidence it is correlated to the British schooling system.

Google is your friend.
Yeah, that’s not how it works. If someone is going to make a claim like that, it’s up to them to support it. Can you imagine if someone approached Cochrane with a supposition that there are studies which state the schooling system is damaging children’s mental health and their response was to google it.

StripeyChina Mon 25-Mar-19 11:39:50

OP my eldest was like this.
We asked about an ASD assessment and were told 'a home problem'.
We went private. It cost a fortune, said NHS ASD assess needed.
We asked again about assessment and were referred to SS CP team.
Eventually, after moving , he got his NHS ASD dx at 13.

My younger child has just been referred. She 'masks' too. At home she writes notes about 'hating school' (and says why) but school 'see nothing'. But her GP referred her and we will wait and see. She is 11.5.

Good luck. The system doesn't fit all kids well. It can't.

DippyAvocado Mon 25-Mar-19 11:40:58

From the pov of a teacher who has had children who are upset at coming into school but happy once they're there, the problem has often stemmed from anxiety about being separated from their parent rather than a dislike of school as such. It's really hard to leave your child when they're upset, but if she genuinely seems happy and settled once there then I don't think you need to remove her. Do they have a specific person come out to greet her and take her in? That sometimes helps.

As for the lack of consistent seating, flexible grouping is quite widely used now but you could ask if your DD could stay in a specific seat for all lessons. That's what I do for the child with ASD in my class.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 11:43:15

Can you imagine if someone approached Cochrane with a supposition that there are studies which state the schooling system is damaging children’s mental health and their response was to google it.

It’s mumsnet! Seriously, this is very much discussed, lots of experts in the media etc if you haven’t honestly seen or head of this yet, I’m very surprised. Believe it, don’t believe it, nobody here is obliged to prove a well known fact to you.

Langrish Mon 25-Mar-19 11:43:15

“Google is your friend”

Many experts suggest that for teens in particular, Google is quite the opposite and the internet a much more likely explanation for the perceived increase in mental health issues than the school system, which works pretty well for the majority.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 11:44:08

Many experts suggest that for teens in particular, Google is quite the opposite

We’re all adults here, what experts actually say is social media can be a contributing factor in anxiety, not ‘google’.

Sockmonster23 Mon 25-Mar-19 11:47:34

The whole state school system needs remodelling in the UK. Totally agree but HE is fantastic and working for many people now. Your child's mental health is very important. School system here needs a shake up.

Langrish Mon 25-Mar-19 11:51:31

Yes, quite right, I put that badly, rebuke accepted grin: point is though that the social media AND the internet (with such easy access to porn etc.) is without doubt at least partially responsible for the huge increase and is certainly not just a force for good.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 11:51:55

For those unable or unwilling to use google and are derailing the point of the OP, here’s something to start you off:

There are a number possible issues identified as contributing factors, nobody suggests it is just our education system but it is part of the puzzle and exam stress is cited. Considering children spend most of their time at school, it shouldn’t be controversial to discuss its impact. Teachers themselves raise it as a factor.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 11:53:43

without doubt at least partially responsible for the huge increase and is certainly not just a force for good.

Absolutely agreed. But telling an adult to google for info, articles and studies, regarding a topic that’s been widely discussed, doesn’t really have anything to do with children and social media, and internet porn dangers.

Langrish Mon 25-Mar-19 12:01:04

Jessica: Our youngest son is in IGCSE term now. Yes, of course there’s a degree of stress, as there is throughout life, but a good school helps it’s students to manage that and the majority do. There will always be some who can’t cope with it so well, who may go on not to cope with the stresses of life generally, and perhaps more specialised, targeted help for them is a better approach than changing the entire system?

Because I’m not sure what the alternative to exams at the end of their years of studying would be? There has to be some way of assessing their attainment at various stages during their education and I can’t see what else would do this as efficiently as exams?

FuckertyBoo Mon 25-Mar-19 12:06:58

Ah this sounds really tough op.

Like you, if my dd hated school I wouldn’t hesitate to pull her out, but it’s so difficult when they seem to like it when they get there, but just hate the drop off. I have no idea what to suggest, but I really do sympathise.

I’d do HE in a heartbeat if I thought it was the best thing for our family. There’s a lot a don’t like about the education system and a few friends and relatives are / were teachers. They can be very critical of our education system and one of them said if she had her children now (she’s 70) she would home educate.

JessicaWakefieldSVH Mon 25-Mar-19 12:07:35


I doubt anybody would suggest to do away with exams entirely. I’m certainly not. As for ‘changing the entire system’, well systems are altered and changed with time in response to our changing world. A good system should at least. If most schools were doing an effective job, and had the support and funds needed to do that, we would not have this problem- did you read the links inc the one with concerns from teachers? It’s teacher’s that are leading this conversation. It isn’t just ‘some’ struggling, it’s significant. Rather than have students struggling through life, I think we owe it to them to provide a system that adapts to their needs and changes if significant damage is witnessed. I can’t really understand why anyone would argue change is needed in light of what teachers and experts in mental health are saying.

M3lon Mon 25-Mar-19 12:08:03

I teach the students emerging from the school system at university level and we are seeing an apocalyptic increase in mental health problems, exam melt downs and a massive decrease in any sign that students want to learn for the sake of learning anymore.

I wouldn't want my child exposed to such a toxic environment, especially for girls, who can expect to be harassed and subjected to misogynistic language day in day out. Which is why we home educate.

M3lon Mon 25-Mar-19 12:11:42

I also agree with jessica that you have to change and update a system that is shown to be causing harm.

Its worth bearing in mind that the school system people are defending is so bad at meeting the requirements of individual children that the average outcome actually depends on what month your child was born in.

That's not a mostly okay system that happens to not cope well with a tiny minority of outliers, that's a system that can't cope with the astonishing information that just turn 5 yos aren't as developed on average as nearly 6 yos. Rocket science it ain't!

Babygrey7 Mon 25-Mar-19 12:23:00

I feel for you OP

My oldest just could not get on with school, age 5-10, he struggled academically and socially, was on 3 different IEPs and tesed for dyslexia.

Youngest had to be peeled off me and some days I would hear him cry long after I dropped him off(hovering by the school gates, feeling like a crap mumsad)

With the youngest, I was lucky that in y1 the teacher took charge and said this can't continue. We agreed a very structured/managed drop off every day, and that sorted it.

My oldest just was not ready for school until he was about 10, then he suddenly clicked and caught up (academically and socially) with the rest of his year group Just like that.

Both are bog standard teens now at the local comp grin

Can you ask the teachers for serious help with a managed drop-off?

Langrish Mon 25-Mar-19 12:23:17

Jessica: No I haven’t read them yet, but I will, thanks.
I suppose it’s entirely subjective and personal. we’ve been lucky, ours have done pretty well in the system as it stands so my views are obviously coloured by that. The only issues we’ve ever had (over 23 years in the system) have been around so called “reforms”, the latest being our son as a guinea pig in the new IGCSE marking scheme, which half of the school staff still don’t seem to quite understand! So I suppose I’m wary of “reforms” based on that.
Our daughter, adult now, struggled with anxiety and was helped with CBT but none of us believe that was anything to do with School. Maybe because she was academically able, it actually seemed to gave her a positive focus and structure.
Anyway, I do appreciate that everyone’s circumstance is different and some others really struggle and I don’t know what the answer is for the OP in Her distressing situation. But people suggesting homeschooling seems too drastic to me.

LightTripper Mon 25-Mar-19 14:32:39

Funny they do sound alike!

Other things to try: any kind of ritual or other thing she can focus on/do to get her through the transition. Maybe you can talk about it together and come up with something? We use a "hug button" but my DD is younger so your DD may not fancy that. I know some autistic kids go into the class room and help the teacher set up first thing, so they aren't just milling about/in the mellee of other kids screeching and racing around. Or she might like some of the grounding techniques if she finds panic rising at that time of day (e.g.

It does sound like assessments could be a good idea, but there is lots you can do before then - especially if the school are supportive (e.g. to thinking more about the sensory environment: sounds, lights - e.g. does DD sit looking into glare - predictability, having a quiet space to "get away" if needed, social supports - e.g. lunchtime clubs that are less overwhelming like a coding club, puzzle club, writing club, something like that) but even if they're not hopefully there are things you can work on with your DD as a team to make the transition easier.

Allfednonedead Mon 25-Mar-19 15:13:50

Two out of three of my DC have gone through long phases of this. As I said previously, one has been diagnosed and we've asked for a referral for the other for ASD (not because of the school drop-off issue).

Various things have helped at different times.

A TA who made it her job every day to welcome DS and have a job for him to do at the start of the day.

A transitional object for DS to get interested in when he was upset (in his case, a pair of binoculars)

Getting up earlier and giving more warning about when we were going to leave for school.

A visual schedule of the morning, from getting up to starting class.

Talking through what happens at school each morning and discovering that DS had difficulty with the first lesson. I then talked to the teacher and we arranged an accommodation for him.

Being firm and consistent that this is happening - not sticking around longer than necessary.

At one point I had to give up volunteering in an adjacent classroom because it unsettled DS.

Introducing melatonin in the evenings to support sleep has had the additional benefit of reducing anxiety and stress, making the transition easier.

As you may deduce, no single solution has been a final answer, because with ASD, transitions are always tricky, so every time there is a new source of stress, old problems re-emerge.

We've been very lucky with a brilliantly supportive school and SENCO, who have never needed a diagnosis to put in place the support our DC need, but it is very worthwhile getting that diagnosis.

Until then, trust your instincts. There's no harm in parenting them as though they do have ASD - it just means being a bit more careful to make sure their anxieties are acknowledged, which is good parenting anyway.

Feel free to PM me if you want - I come from a whole family of schoolphobes, so I'm very sympathetic to this whole side of SEN issues.

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