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School denial that bullying occurs at all

(30 Posts)
Notenoughsleepmumof3 Thu 25-Feb-16 11:46:20

We removed our DC from primary school recently because he was beaten up badly at the school during playtime. No adults seemed to be around. It was not the first time. He had been repeatedly hurt his entire time at this school over the years by a number of pupils, but it often takes time to understand the extent of the problem if the child doesn't always talk about it. There is shame and embarrassment involved. What I can say, is that my child's attitude changed when he started at this school in reception. Drastically. They expelled the bully, who they had been wanting to get rid of for a long time, so that was that in their minds. However, this bully is just one of a larger group. After addressing my concerns over the years about general behaviour and pastoral care (I had and still have other children at this school), I felt like I was hitting a brick wall. My DC was not coping and could hardly go into the building so we made the radical decision to take him out and put him in another school in year 5. I wrote the governors, the head, had meetings with teachers, but nothing else was ever done to address the behaviour issues or the pastoral care for the victims of these issues. My partnership with the school felt broken, so I took him out. He is thriving now and happy for the first time. The change is remarkable and I feel guilty that I did not figure it out until he was pummelled and had his head bashed into the wall. There is another boy in his class who has also been target and the mother and I have spoken. It has been very hard for her and her son as well. She has written our local MP, had meetings with various heads and the school has been told her 'bullying doesn't exist at the school'. When she said she knows another parent (me) who removed their child because of it, the school told her that was a lie. This is an outstanding school.

Have others had this experience? It is so audacious for any school to say they don't have bullying because it exists at every school on some level, but given the circumstances I feel more compelled to speak out.

I have contacted parent view on ofsted, but other than that I have only been dealing with the school.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Thu 25-Feb-16 18:00:51

Happens with DD - HT admitted she was bullied and then denied this to Govenors - rang LA who said contact school they are all in it together

MMNC Sun 27-Mar-16 00:22:42

As a former school teacher I can confirm that headteacher's are untouchable and governors and LEA's work too closely with the school management.

Unfortunately due to the current system too many children and families are put under pressure with no recourse. This ultimately leads to a large number of children going through school disaffected.

It is also worth noting that the most affected are the groups of people already disadvantaged by society, class and status!

Friendlystories Sun 27-Mar-16 00:49:48

No school is entirely free from bullying and far too many deny it's happening or hide behind so called anti bullying policies while effectively doing nothing at all to tackle the issue. My advice would be to join forces with the other mum and support her with putting in an official complaint to OFSTED. The main focus of the complaint should be her child (because he is still attending the school) but your experiences will be valuable back up evidence. This school is failing to tackle bullying, has failed your DS and is continuing to fail at least one other child, not to mention the others who will no doubt suffer in the future and OFSTED need to know about it. Much can be hidden during an inspection but a school being categorised outstanding whilst failing in an area as important as bullying is misleading parents and the only body able to exert enough pressure to force the school to improve is OFSTED.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Mon 28-Mar-16 10:00:13

Whilst I agree - when DD2 changed schools there was no option to tick "bullying" as a reason for the move -

She wasn't bullied, but a boy in her class was and he was causing major disruption - they dealt with his reaction, but not the cause of his reaction -

This lead to group punishment which DD objected to.

I wrote to the MP - no action all was well apparently

Bullying isn't really understood by many school staff - the confidence decline the crying school refusal nightmares worry - the impact it has on a family - how helpless the parents feel as its out of their control

Anti bullying policies don't work unless it's backed up by a behaviour policy and adhered to. Parent involvement should be a priority.

Govenors - according to school policy - are informed every time a parent raises the issue - seeing as the governor is a friend of mine it's never happened.

DD1 took over 12 months to regain her confidence and believe others liked her and weren't going to hurt her -
There is a child in her class now being bullied by a group - she refuses to join in the petition to get her out - told her where they'd hidden her bag - is helping her not react to them - she is doing more to help than the school -

She doesn't particularly like this girl - but won't stand by and see her bullied - I am proud of her - she could easily be excluded herself - she walks away!!

Obs2016 Mon 28-Mar-16 10:38:09

I too believe that HeadTeachers, Governors, LEA, are too closely tied for anything to be able to be done about this.
I doubt Ofsted can either.
I honestly believe complaining is pointless.
My stage 4 complaint was fruitless. It changed nothing.

eyebrowse Mon 28-Mar-16 10:45:53

If a school denies there is bullying that is a problem. The best schools tend to take the line of 'we have effective measures for dealing with bullying in when it occurs'

MMNC Mon 28-Mar-16 23:43:33

It's very depressing! Just seen the report about shortage of teachers! This issue puts parents at a further disadvantage because schools/headteacher's are even less likely to take action against an affective teacher - If they're worried about not being able to replace them!

However, this is an issue that really must be addressed. A schools inaction is no less than neglect! For the time it is happening a child can become vulnerable and develop confidence issues. No child performs well under these conditions so long term it can leave a person having failed to reach their full potential. It's unforgivable!

I think that collective parents should put pressure on their local MP's to keep the debate on-going.

sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 29-Mar-16 00:33:02

It doesn't have to be a finger pointing approach

Retrain the teachers
Effective policies
Central log of issues
Written statements from teachers to playground staff parents - who ever to get a full picture
Any cry of bully to be reported to both sets of parents
Lessons in how not to be a bystander
How to recognise bullying
To not be afraid to use the word bullying - it's not a dirty word!
All complaints and resolutions to be checked on and followed up
Govenors have access to any files and interview children - follow up
Safe place for children to escape
Online reporting - anonymously if necessary
Teachers to listen and understand the impact of bullying - both bully and victim -
Police to have a presence in schools - talk about how X would affect Y in the real world

I could go on

sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 29-Mar-16 00:34:39

Any while I'm at it - CAMHS would see far less children as would doctors!

Children would be more productive members of society.

Legoladette Mon 04-Apr-16 20:29:45

I raised concerns at my child's school regarding unsupervised free time when bullying takes place unchecked in my opinion. To make it worse it's a SEN setting and many kids are very vulnerable. My son has been beaten and bruised. School thinks it's untouchable. Effectively blames the victim. I raised concerns with the head who basically told me "boys will be boys" and "if you don't like it leave" and " you have the right to contact the governors if you so chose, but I think you'll find they'll back my decision". One boy even tried to hang himself at the school (thankfully didn't succeed) and school played it off as a practical joke that went wrong!!! I would love to take my son away, but with the lack of SEN provision, I literally have no choice all the time the school is seen as fine by the local authority.

Dreamgirls234 Mon 04-Apr-16 20:36:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

redexpat Mon 04-Apr-16 20:43:08

As soon as the bullies have their 10th birthday you involve the police.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 05-Apr-16 08:35:33

Dream - that truly is awful -

I'm glad you DD recovered - so many people fail to see the true destruction bullies cause - and the cost to the family emotionally -

Your DD has a truly wonderful mother and I hope she goes on to be happy and fulfil her dreams X

Dreamgirls234 Tue 05-Apr-16 10:26:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 05-Apr-16 10:34:37

I hope she does -

I have experience of this as a parent - it's so frustrating and out of your control - and those you approach for help have no experience of how to help or resolve the issues - especially a refusal to involve other parents -

I would seriously consider the powers schools have - reinforce their responsibility - to listen - to train and consolidate the issues -

Good luck to her - she'd have my support

Notenoughsleepmumof3 Tue 05-Apr-16 16:54:52

I wish there was a way of complaining that was productive. Even a place where we could name and shame the schools where this has happened so that Ofsted looks into all the paperwork and interviews the families involved. At the moment, the schools are able to bury the complaints so that Ofsted never sees them. I made a formal complaint. The head of the our governors is our local councillor. He buried it. Ofsted and the LEA has and never will see it. They don't want to address it an avoid it at all costs because if it is on the books it does effect their ousted. Somehow that makes the checks and balances of Ofsted itself questionable.

What is very troubling from my experience and from those on this post and others is the damage it does to the children on both sides. The bullies aren't getting help so that they can eventually be productive citizens and the victims are often blamed or left to flounder without any pastoral help. A fundamental duty of care is lost and the school's heads, governors, and teachers are negligent.

And yes, the damage it does to the family of the victims is huge. I feel it will take a long time for my DS to recover and gain his confidence back. Also, his trust in teachers is damaged from this school.

I did not call the police, but now I wish I had, as the assault would have been recorded and responsibility would have been more accountable.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Tue 05-Apr-16 17:35:18

Unfortunately, if the school are unwilling to accept it is happening, then your only option is the police once the child is over 10 years old and criminally responsible.

If it was an adult being assaulted at work it wouldn't be tolerated.

sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 05-Apr-16 18:43:40

Also, his trust in teachers is damaged from this school.

I forgot this - but trust issue is huge - trust in their friends - trust in their judgement of others - trust in adults - unable or pointless asking for help - not being listened to or taken seriously - doubt their own actions and reactions - living in a state of anxiousness-

Awful the OFSTEAD chose parents and children to interview - there should be an open evening for all parents - or even questionnaire. Or even a direct route - but they aren't interested -

Maybe we should sue in the grounds of responsibility?

Let's face it - if you hit your child they'd have no problem logging a record of concern or contact SS - it should be a two way street -

And so I go on! Can you tell I'm still angry?

MMNC Tue 05-Apr-16 18:53:41

I hear and feel your pain.

Children don't become vulnerable by children that bully but by teachers that ignore the bullying and neglectful ego manic headteacher's

MMNC Tue 05-Apr-16 18:56:01

The worrying thing is that the governments academy agenda is going to give these headteacher's more autonomy and power

MMNC Tue 05-Apr-16 19:00:59

I think as parents that have experienced our children suffer at the hands of systemic failures should write to our local MPs, education directors at local education authorities and put pressure on anti bullying lobbies/charities to commission research into the failures and report their findings.

Notenoughsleepmumof3 Tue 05-Apr-16 19:46:08

Sally I feel your anger. I'm still dealing with the fallout and effect it has had on my DS and family.

I do worry that the new academy agenda will make the schools and headteachers untouchable.

Having written my local MP to support another parents claim of bullying after I had removed my DS, I heard nothing back. Having phoned my LEA when I wanted to move my DS initially, they said I needed to have the school begin the process. Having asked the school to begin the process, I was told it was being given to the various heads, who never acknowledged my email. All this time (2 months) my DS was trying to go to school. Sick, upset, unable to concentrate and completely traumatised. Nightmares, vomiting, etc. In the end he has gone to an independent school, but I'm lucky my mother was willing to help with this. Others don't have that option. I do know another parent who is now homeschooling. It is a travesty.

I think Anti-bullying lobbies/charities are the way to go. There should be a way of exposing the individual schools that are guilty of this so that it can be improved. In the end it is supposed to be about the children and that is getting lost.

You are right about them calling parents out on neglect. I feel my son was neglected and there was a breach in the schools duty of care.

When my DS started his new school he said, everyone is nice. It's ok to be smart here. The teachers are strict, but they are fair.

Notenoughsleepmumof3 Wed 06-Apr-16 13:09:38

MMNC- I'm all for forming a group to raise awareness and put pressure on the system.

amarmai Wed 06-Apr-16 15:12:20

Bullying can be anywhere-in our workplaces, friendships, families ,neighbours,etc so of course it's in schools. The effect of years of racial and physical bullying on my eldest son at primary school were life long. The teachers denied it happened or blamed it on him. The principal said some children are born victims. I was a teacher and foolishly beleived that the school wd respond appropriately. His self esteem was so badly damaged that it affected his health and he died at 42.Sometimes young people who cared enuf helped him ,like sally 's dd. The teachers did not care enuf to deal.It's lack of will not lack of ability that allows this to continue.

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