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Having a bit of a wobble about schools

(14 Posts)
MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 18:10:21

Sorry this is long.

DS (4) has got into our local state primary, the one his nursery is attached to. Nursery is lovely and the school is small and friendly, has a great atmosphere and a strong community going. Also had an outstanding Ofsted just a few months ago, so all good.

However, DS has had various problems with his behaviour since...well, since forever , really. Used to write it off as just being a 2 yr old, just being a 3 yr old' etc, but it became apparent that his behaviour wasn't really 'normal' (hate to say it, but for want of a better word...) and that it was causing problems for him at nursery. Nursery extremely supportive. He is very dominant, prone to being aggressive, controlling with other children, doesn't take instruction, authority well and is generally quite hyper. He has been seen by the SENCo and school Inclusion Manager, and is having one-to-ones with a Learning Mentor (supposed to be weekly, but it never happens that often, as the LM is only P/T and has a huge caseload). They keep in touch with us and vice versa. I'm fairly happy with the way they are handling the situation so far, or at least, their general attitude, which is constructive and caring.

Nursery teacher suggested we get a GP referral to an Ed Psych, which we did. Took months to come through but finally got an appt - went this afternoon, in fact. And now I am feeling partly reassured (she said she didn't think he had any SN diagnosis - ADHD, ASD etc ), but partly confused and really a bit worried. She is referring him to CAMHS for further assessment because she thinks he seems 'anxious'. She also assessed his reading age and mathematical ability at 'well above average' and I saw she wrote down 'reading age 10 yrs' on her form although she didn;t say this to me. She said I needed to talk to the school about how they are going to deal with that when he goes into reception with children who can't read.

I'm not into this whole 'my child is gifted' bollocks and I am not boasting. I just worry so much that he doesn't fit in now and that he is going to struggle massively at school. I worry on so many levels. He finds it hard to keep friends for more than five mins as he is so bossy and controlling. He also refuses to join in with a lot of nursery group activities as he finds them boring and 'babyish'. I just worry he will be this loner child in the corner in his own little world. Or that he will abandon his love of geekery (grin and play it down to fit in.

Am I just being PFB-ish? Does anyone relate, or have advice?

MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 18:11:40

Sorry, what I should have said was - Ed Psych said 'You will need to have a good think about what sort of school is best for him'...which threw me totally. Was she hinting that the school isn't the best place for him? or that we should go private?

mimsum Fri 05-Jun-09 18:22:45

I worried horribly about dd going into reception - her behaviour in class is exemplary, but she struggled in social situations in nursery and playgroup. She was bossy and controlling and got upset if other kids didn't do exactly as she said. She is also very bright and her language skills were so much more advanced and complex than the other children's that there was very little common ground. I was anxious that she would be bored in reception as she could already do much of the academic work.

However, she really matured during the year and reception is about much more than being able to read - there were some children who could read very well and some who didn't recognise a single letter and the staff managed to cope.

She's in y1 now and is finding the whole social thing much easier. She's still very bossy and playdates are a bit of a trial but she's definitely getting better. She's flying academically and enjoys the more academic focus of year 1, so your ds may well find it easier as he goes up the school. And don't assume that private necessarily means better - many private schools, esp at primary level, won't accept children if they have even a smidgeon of special needs and they also tend to have much less expertise in the area of behaviour management too

MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 18:37:32

Thanks so much mimsum.

Private isn't really an option right now, anyway, and has never been on my radar. I guess I need to have faith in the school, as they have been terrific thus far.

I am a bit of an angsty person about my DS, as I had PND after he was born, which has left me with a whole guilt thing and always wondering if I am doing the best for him.

Above all else, I really want him to develop socially, as with the academic thing I kind of trust that he will be OK, as he naturally loves reading, puzzles, maths games etc, He is a little geek, bless him.

I just need to relax and monitor the situation, I know. It helps enormously to have others input, though, so thank you.

flamingobingo Fri 05-Jun-09 18:38:44

Is home education something you could read up about to decide if that might be an option for you?

SolidGoldBrass Fri 05-Jun-09 18:39:30

Am just lurking on here for reassurance as I also have a geeky, clever and rather assertive little boy who is about to start school and I have been worrying about how he will cope...

MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 18:43:23

Hi Solid! Join in the 'fun' grin

flamingo - in an ideal world, yes, I think my DS would benefit enormously from HE. In reality, no. Nobody to commit to it. DH is self employed and keeping the roof over our heads as the main breadwinner. I have just gone back to work after 3 years off and am loving it -so good for my mental health. It's hard to admit. I really do believe that my DS would be the perfect HE kid. But for me? I think I would go mad.

flamingobingo Fri 05-Jun-09 18:44:35

sad how frustrating for you!

ahundredtimes Fri 05-Jun-09 19:01:55

Erm. Right. I'm going to try and think reassuring. He sounds JUST LIKE my ds1 at that age, who is now 11 and coming out the other side of primary school.

I think what I'd have liked someone to tell me is:

the work looks after itself to most degrees (though should say we did put him in a private school at 7, though can't say how much of a difference that has made. Possibly some re the work). Bright kids seem happy to seek out what interests them, the older they get - and the more skills they have - reading, computers, thinking strategies, whatever - the easier it is, and the happier they become in their skins. Ish. Yes they are happier when they're busy and it can take a lot to soak up that restless energy, but

For us, it's all been about the social side. That's been the struggle. DS1 is wired - a bit like yours I think - and often seemed to behave like he was a bit 'at risk' - sudden temper, v. defensive etc. Then I realized, he sort of thought he was at risk, he took in too much information, was jumpy, a bit anxious, life was never a walk in the park, friendships were not easy - they still aren't - he didn't seem to have the skills, fought at the wrong times, took issue when none was meant etc.

So I'd go all guns on the social stuff. Pick his friends wisely. Have lots of play dates. Explain how it works, explain the benefit of other people, explain, explain, explain. The peer group is a great, great thing.

He will need REASSURANCE more than extension work. Don't mistake advanced thinking abilities for emotional maturity - I think I might have tbh. The gap between the two is huge and there is a fall out, in some children I think, there was with ds1. I think that might be the thing I'd most like to have been told when he was 4.

FWIW he's lovely! Very wry, rather solemn, still a little diffident, v. much his own person. I wished I'd looked more at reassuring him that he was safe, all was well etc, rather than getting cross. Much more relaxed in himself.

Hope that helps?

MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 19:47:24

Helps hugely @ ahundredtimes.

The Ed Psych (who was lovely, btw) did say 'Remember - intellectually he is leaps and bounds ahead...emotionally he is 4'. And he is. He is such a baby in many ways.

Your boy sounds so much like mine. 'Wired' is such a good description of him, and that descrip you gave - the 'at risk' thing, 'taking in too much info etc' just describes him to a tee.

What made you choose private, if you don't mind me asking? DH and I both went to state schools and did very well out of them - good degrees, good careers etc - but my mum (bless her, she is more angsty even than me!) keeps hinting that she thinks we should send him to a private school where his 'intellectual ability would be nurtured' and his 'competetitiveness appreciated'...

So bloody confusing!

ahundredtimes Fri 05-Jun-09 20:19:17

Hmm. Okay, first disclaimer: I went to private school, a rubbish alternative one actually (so I really don't think private = better in some generalized way) - and don't have any particular issue with them, it wasn't a hurdle for me. DH totally state comp educated - but not a hurdle for him either. Second: we could afford it.

I think I thought that he needed an academic environment and that would make him happier. I chose quite an academic school. On the upside - it's quite a structured environment and he likes that - he used to say how much he 'trusted' the teachers - which I thought quite revealing, he isn't picked out for being clever, he isn't the cleverest, there's great teaching for bright kids - lots of open ended work, he likes going to school, is motivated (but probably would be anyway).

On the downside - he's still himself, wherever you put them. Ha! So the lessons he needed to learn - about life, other people - are the same wherever you are. This is something I have learnt.

Tbh I've learnt not to think of it as being behaviour that comes from being clever. Even if it is, it's not an 'excuse' if that makes sense, the cleverness is the least interesting aspect in all this. I made a decision - because I could, for which I'm grateful - based on the 'clever'. I honestly can't say whether that was right and perhaps the life lessons might have been easier and more quickly learnt in a more inclusive and happy state classroom.

Impossible to tell. Parenting huh? grin

MrsMattie Fri 05-Jun-09 20:31:49

Huh indeed!

Thanks for you honesty@ahundredtimes.

To be brutally honest, we can afford private. We are just both die-hard lefties who have always assumed a good state was good enough.

I come from a line of people (on my mum's side of the family) who have got into Oxford from state schools.
DH went to a grammar (from a very poor, immigrant background) and went on to get the best degree in his year and has been the archetypal alpha male, achievement- wise, ever since grin .

I don't really know anything about the private sector.

I guess I just want to do the best I can for my DS so that he is fully rounded (sorry for wanky terminology!). I want him to have a shot at a decent social life, some fun hobbies and a good academic life, too. I don't want him to feel overly pressurised, but neither do i want his potential squandered.

Oh, I dunno! I am possibly overthinking, but so hard not to.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 05-Jun-09 20:51:18

I am worrying a little (and please excuse how wanky this sounds) over the choice of primary I made. We looked at three schools and in the end I put as our first choice the one with the most variety of extra-curricular stuff, music, etc: however, I remain a bit unsure as to whether I shouldn't have picked the one with the worst Ofsted and the most children with English as a second language etc, because at that school the woman who showed us round greeted DS with such enthusiasm when he started performing and chattering, whereas at the 'better' school the woman doing the showing round described him as 'forward'. Mind you, maybe she thought I was a bit of a wanker or a bit PFB-ish because I said that DS was bright and could almost read and could count etc, and what were they like with DC of varying abilities.

Sidge Fri 05-Jun-09 21:01:54

I think when they start school with 'issues' (sorry for clumsy word, can't think of a better one) you often need to grit your teeth and see how it goes.

It may be that the school is fantastic for him, give him the support he needs, the extra stimulation he may require, and it may be that school coincides with his maturation.

Or it could exacerbate his behaviour and become a problem that the school find hard to manage.

I'm a school nurse (we cover a HUGE area) and have discovered that there aren't really good or really bad schools, there are just schools that are really good or really bad for that particular child. Often you need to give it a term or two and see how things go (unless of course there are huge problems with the school in terms of safety or management of your child's needs).

It sounds like the school are pretty clued up and are working well with you, so maybe see how his first term goes? You should have an idea by then as to how he is getting on.

I'm not sure what the EP meant with her comments, it's rather cryptic but maybe she thinks if he is exceptionally bright he might not have his needs met in state school. Having said that private does not necessarily=better (and I say that as a mum with a bright child at private prep and a child with complex SN at a fantastic mainstream state school).

Hope he enjoys school smile

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