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TA tearing up children’s work in class

(75 Posts)
Swimminguphill Mon 21-Oct-19 13:21:41

My DC is 8, in year 4. Their teacher is regularly absent from class as they are a subject specialist and teach other classes too. When they are absent the class is led by a TA. This TA is ‘very shouty’ and has recently torn up a child’s work in front of the class saying that ‘it is a disgrace’ etc. This was in art class.

I knew this TA had form for this and was nervous at the beginning of the year. Other parents have complained about the work being torn up/public humiliation before and nothing has happened.

The parent of the child in question has complained to the class teacher and bern told the TA doesn’t recall the incident. In my mind the teacher is fully aware of the issue but doesn’t want to rock the boat because this would make their life more difficult in teaching their favourite subject.

My question is - what should I do? I consider this to be public humiliation, physical intimidation (angrily/publicly tearing up their work) and emotional abuse. Although my child isn’t directly affected I think this kind of thing creates a climate of fear. In addition my child’s poor presentation was brought up by the teacher in parents evening and so I consider them to be at risk of this happening to them.

Would I be unreasonable to complain on these grounds? Am I overreacting? What would you do?

ysmaem Mon 21-Oct-19 13:25:39

The TA sounds horrific! I would absolutely complain. Get all the parents of all the kids in that class to complain. Better yet write a letter to the school and have signatures of all the parents on it so they have it down in black and white why you're complaining.

Haworthia Mon 21-Oct-19 13:27:13

That is horrific.

The TA “doesn’t recall” the incident? Well, the children will.

FionaOgre Mon 21-Oct-19 13:29:25

That's horrible! Definitely complain. It's not a lot but there certainly are some teachers/TAs out there who should be in different careers.

SomeonesSomeone Mon 21-Oct-19 13:34:53

I am not certain what to advise to be honest but I don't think that is acceptable behaviour. It is so humiliating, I am right with you on that. I think I would at least think of having a concerned word with the teacher though.

My feeling on this one is directly linked to my own experience as a child though as I always considered my teachers opinion as very important.
I am well old but I remember to this day something quite similar from when I was ten years old. I had written an illustrated poem that was supposed to be for a wall display. I was quite proud of it in my own little way. I had used the word flittering in reference to butterflies. The teacher read it aloud, said flittering was not a word and laughed at me. I was a good student and was so embarrassed. Teacher still put it on the wall and I felt like an idiot every time I looked at it.

Swimminguphill Mon 21-Oct-19 13:40:12

Would I be a dick for co-ordinating this kind of thing as it wasn’t my child? My DH is hunks we should keep our heads down and that our involvement would make life hard for our child.

Swimminguphill Mon 21-Oct-19 13:40:30


BoogleMcGroogle Mon 21-Oct-19 13:40:46

I completely agree that this is absolutely unacceptable and amounts to bullying, if not emotional abuse (especially if it happens repeatedly to some children). That person is using their power to intimidate and humiliate people with less power and less voice than themselves. It sounds to me that they do not have the skills to be teaching a class, and it is concerning that they are being left to do so. I visit schools in a professional, advisory capacity, and I cannot think of a single circumstance in which destroying a child's work is okay. You are not 'complaining', you are raising a genuine (I would say safeguarding and standards) concern with the senior leadership.

Kelsoooo Mon 21-Oct-19 13:44:15

Please do something.

I clearly remember a couple of incidents in school not dissimilar in the effects they had on me.

I'm still angry now with my mother for not sticking up for me/my class.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Mon 21-Oct-19 13:44:39

This TA's behaviour is appalling. Totally unacceptable. Perhaps speak to other parents and establish whether any of their DC remember this incident? Because if other parents have been told about it the TA will be revealed as not only abusive of the DC in her care but a liar too. She really shouldn't be working in a school.

Wolfiefan Mon 21-Oct-19 13:46:05

Not your child.
It’s all secondhand and rumours.
Lots of children’s work being torn up on MN at the moment. hmm

Lllot5 Mon 21-Oct-19 13:46:10

Yeah I’d say something completely unacceptable.
Tell your DH your child might be next.

MulticolourMophead Mon 21-Oct-19 13:48:40

My DH is hunks we should keep our heads down and that our involvement would make life hard for our child.

And when it's your child who gets targetted? What will your DH do then?

SantaIsReal Mon 21-Oct-19 13:49:03

If this happened to my child I would be THAT parent. Why don't you draft up a letter and have the other parents sign it? Have you spoken to the head? If they refuse to do anything about it, I would be going above their heads. This TA should not be working with children! She should be kept far away from them!

noblegiraffe Mon 21-Oct-19 13:50:17

The parents of the child in question have complained. What new are you bringing to the table?

You don’t mention that your child saw the work torn up, or that they’ve been shouted at.

If you’re going to complain, it has to be about your own child and how the TA is affecting them, not about someone else’s child which the teacher won’t be able to comment on.

noblegiraffe Mon 21-Oct-19 13:51:22

If the parent of the other child whose work was torn up is unhappy with the response, they can escalate their complaint to the head.

LucileDuplessis Mon 21-Oct-19 13:54:21

Personally I wouldn't coordinate other parents / draft a letter etc. But I would talk to the class teacher (and then the Head if you aren't satisfied) and say that my child witnessed this and was upset by it. That way you are taking a middle ground between standing by and doing nothing and risking making yourself a troublesome parent.

cantfindname Mon 21-Oct-19 13:54:25

Very old. I can remember my sewing teacher ripping up an apron I had made and throwing it across the room. I was older than your child, at 11, and it had a big impact on my education from there on. I felt useless and worthless for a long time.

So, yes, complain and get parents of the other pupils on board with you.

GettingABitDesperateNow Mon 21-Oct-19 13:55:15


I wouldn't complain directly as an individual because it's not your child, and you say numerous people have complained and nothing has happened.

Do you know the parents of the child that it happened to most recently? Is there a class whatsapp? I would probably contact the patents of the recent incident and say your child has written an account of what happened if they want to use it as evidence to take the complaint higher. Or something like that. If the school have fobbed off the parent of the affected child I cant see them engaging with you.

Or I'd talk about it on the whatsapp group or parents I'm friendly with and collate information on all the incidents and all sign it and send it to the head or governors, since individual complaints are basically being ignored

ReanimatedSGB Mon 21-Oct-19 14:01:37

If the head is taking no notice, the parents of the child subjected to this should make a formal complaint to the Chair of Governors. The governors are then legally obliged to investigate.

Toastedstrudel Mon 21-Oct-19 14:02:25

Was the work a disgrace though? Ripping pages out of a notebook for the child to begin again when the work is unacceptable (according to child’s ability) is common. Ripping it up in front of the class is horrible, I agree, but producing sloppy, half-assed work is also unacceptable especially by year 4.

Zoidbergonthehalfshell Mon 21-Oct-19 14:04:10

@SomeonesSomeone, I agree that the OP should complain - this kind of thing will stay with a child for life. The fact that you still remember what happened to you so clearly proves it.

One of my primary school teachers really didn't like me. No idea why - I wasn't a particularly difficult child.

Instead of reading us a story before we went home every day, she used to make one up. They were good stories, usually about the adventures of a dragon.

One day we were told to draw the dragon. I liked drawing, and I liked dragons, so I really put my little heart and soul into it. I made each part of him a different colour and ran them into each other where they met - I was very proud of it.

The teacher came along looking at our work, and I looked up and said, "Look, Mrs Teacher, I've made his colours mingle!" She peered down her nose at me and replied, "Oh yes? Do your colours mingle?" and walked off. I felt so crushed.

That was a good 50 years ago now, and I still remember it and the way it made me feel as clearly as the day it happened.

So yes, OP, complain.

Juliehooligan Mon 21-Oct-19 14:05:15

As you mentioned in your post that the teacher has already pointed out your child’s poor presentation, your child could be next. I would definitely speak to the head about what is going on. If you get nowhere doing that, then write a letter to the board of governess. .

Tableclothing Mon 21-Oct-19 14:06:10

I cannot think of a single circumstance in which destroying a child's work is okay.

I once tore up a 12 year old's work in front of him. Instead of whatever it was he was meant to have done, he'd drawn a large, anatomically correct representation of male genitalia in his exercise book.

Tableclothing Mon 21-Oct-19 14:06:51

(I know the children in the OP are younger, but yeah...)

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