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ds being bullied at nursery - where do i stand??

(18 Posts)
zebramummy Thu 25-Jun-09 19:56:42

hi, i really need to vent some frustration re ds' nursery (state-run, london, around 45 kids). i live close to the nursery and have always said that if i am needed i am effectively 'on call' in the case of an emergency. today, when i went to collect him at hometime, there was an eerie silence and i was taken aside by one of the teachers.
apparently, ds was pushed backwards onto a concrete step at full force by another boy. ds had done nothing at all, he had just been standing there (ds never does anyway he is quite shy and gentle and has only started coming out of his shell given previous speech issues. they also admitted that it was a "really big push...really hard ...he fell straight down on his back" and that he was really really upset and that the only reason they were telling me was because he might be miserable when he got home.
i think they preempted this given that 'something' had clearly been upsetting him the previous day but he could not articulate quite what (so just talked about " people pushing" and "bit of a bump") and i had specifically asked if they knew anything. i now think it may have been part of the same problem.
i asked them who did it but they said that they would not tell me the name of the boy - i find this really frustrating as it is almost tantamount to 'punishing' the parent - they know that ds does not yet do the "today x did y' kind of ramble so i cannot otherwise know. i would have liked to talk to the boy's parent to try and understand more but of course in such a large class, it is honestly a stab in the dark as to who did it.

i guess i was wondering whether they are allowed to withhold this info given that they dont appear to have such a confidentiality policy set in stone

apparently, this boy has hurt other kids at the nursery before (though not so seriously apparently). i just feel that he could have cracked someone's head open and whether that is what it would take to suspend him (he is nearly 5 so older than ds. from their tone they sounded defensive of their policies and protective of the bully more so than sympathetic towards my ds. besides i know they like to sort things out themselves but they are completely aware from previous exchanges that i would have wanted to know sooner than that.
i just feel completely disillusioned and demoralised by their attitude and i am reluctant to leave ds in their care again even though there appears to be no way out given that he has already been allocated a place at their school for next year (to the exclusion of all other schools).

elvislives Thu 25-Jun-09 20:57:29

Sorry to hear that your DS has been hurt. Nurseries never tell you which child has done it. Would it really help to approach the parents? From the other perspective my DD was a biter. It was bad enough being told every day "she's bitten again" but if I'd been approached by the other mother, or felt I'd got to scurry in to avoid her it wouldn't have helped anybody.

You should have been called when it happened, so I do think that's bad. And if something had happened the previous day you should have been told. Our nursery gets us to sign an accident book for any bump or scrape.

Perhaps you should make an appointment to speak to the person in charge and discuss your concerns with them because it sounds like there are other problems here. Good luck.

PortAndLemon Thu 25-Jun-09 21:26:51

It is a completely standard universal policy for a nursery not to tell you which child has hurt yours.

Read you own post back -- you say that you'd want to talk to the other parents "to try to understand more" but you've already decided that the other child is a bully (you use the word twice) and that he ought to be suspended. Do you really think that any conversation you'd have with the other parents would be calm and constructive?

If the nursery is any good it will be working with the other child's parents to try to manage their child's behaviour and will be putting strategies in place. But exactly what those strategies are is between them and the other parents. It would be improper to discuss with you just as it would be improper to discuss strategies they have in place to help your son with other parents.

However, if your son hit his head you should have been called right away, and if another incident happened yesterday that should have been written up in the accident book. And today's incident should have been written up in the accident book, not just your being told "because he might be miserable when he got home". So on that point I think you have a perfectly valid cause for complaint.

zebramummy Fri 26-Jun-09 08:51:41

thanks - do you know anything about a parents right to see what has been written in the accident book? it is just that my ds has finally told me the name of the boy and the nursery are wrong in saying that he has never targetted ds before - during the settling in period he tried to hurt ds at least twice while i was there (and i mean hurt rather than just the odd push)

tattycoram Fri 26-Jun-09 09:04:50

The accident book shouldn't be confidential - at both the nursery and cm I have used you sign it to say you have understood what happened

PortAndLemon Fri 26-Jun-09 09:47:43

You ought to be shown the accident book entry relevant to your child and counter-sign it to confirm you've seen it. But it won't/shouldn't include the name of the other child; the incident will be described in the form "littlecoram was standing at the bottom of some concrete steps when another child pushed him over and he fell down hard onto his back". Records relating to who did the pushing will be elsewhere.

If they haven't shown you the accident book entry already then I would suspect that they haven't actually filled it in, and that would concern me.

PortAndLemon Fri 26-Jun-09 09:49:30

(sorry -- that should read "littlezebra", not "littlecoram")

patpat Fri 26-Jun-09 12:49:57

For good information on bullying for both
parents and schools go to
There is a good FAQ page and also a help line. My dd is going to
attend one of their courses before she starts
secondary. She has struggled since nursery!!

Greatfun Fri 26-Jun-09 13:50:38

Zebra mummy - My DD was hurt by another child a nursery so I know how you feel. In fact in happened 2 years ago and she still has the scar. But thats by the by. The fact is many children of this age group carry out this sort of behaviour (my DD has been known to push, etc). Unless this is targeted and repeated bahaviour I don't think it can be described a sbullying but I do appreciate how you feel right now. If I were you I would speak to the nursery and voice your concerns. They should definately have shown you the accident book which needs to be tackled. If they have a child in the nursery who is hitting,etc they shoudl be doing something about it and perhaps you could ask general questions about what they do in these situations. The nursery that DD went to from 9 months to 3 yrs did tell us who had carried out the bite/smack or what ever. Having been on both sides I didn't feel it was the right thing to do. When DD was hurt I was told who the child was and therefore the parents and found it very difficult not to say something if not worse blush. Then the boot was on the other foot and I was told DD had bitten someone (A one off I may add). I felt very embarrassed when I next met the mum as I knew she would know. It didn't help anyone.

mummyrex Fri 26-Jun-09 14:01:26

never, never never talk to the 'other child's' parents. It is always a bad idea and will always go badly even if you are all normally lovely reasonable people.

I can't see that the school would be trying to 'punish' you. I too would be very upset BUT your only course of action is to calmly talk to the school about how they are going to manage the situation. What is being done to saction the child if necessary and what is being done to protect your child if this is an issue. IF you are not happy with their response then move things up the complaints channel (ask at the school office for the procedure).

zebramummy Fri 26-Jun-09 19:55:02

thanks for the advice - ds did infact manage to tell me who did it - i kept him off today and i can see why it might be better not to know who did it - at the same time, i find it pretty pointless withholding such info in this type of nursery (few hrs/day mainly sahms because most parents know each other by sight at least and word would get around quite easily). the nursery have hinted at possible adhd so they are aware of the other boy's problems - he has also targetted ds a few times in the past while he was being settled in (prob a lot more than that even - i am not there during the session at all). i am still fuming, thinking about selling up actually as i can see a long-term problem developing that could blight his childhood. i was bullied at primary school for a couple of years which makes it doubly painful

Heated Fri 26-Jun-09 20:09:40

Ds & dd had a few accidents/incidents at nursery, including ds' friend biting him (nursery never tell you who which imo is very wise - but past a certain age obviously dcs can tell you anyway!)

After the 3rd such incident dh had a word with the nursery manager and the other child was very closely supervised. They were always very good about telling us and they always had the incident/accident form to sign - if yours haven't, then say 'is there one you'd like me to sign?' We also gave ds the tools for dealing with it, "No XX,don't bite, it's naughty" VERY loudly.

I wouldn't class it as bullying, since children that age are learning how to rub along together but whether they are the instigator or the recipient it's always horrible for the parents.

sweetfall Fri 26-Jun-09 20:12:08

sorry but bullying is not the right term to use about nursery aged children

sweetfall Fri 26-Jun-09 20:14:53

not to say you shouldn't be upset about it of course but it really isn't bullying.

I would ask to see the accident book and I would also ask what procedures they are putting in place to safeguard (use that word) your child as you are concerned

mrz Fri 26-Jun-09 20:52:03

The nursery would be breaching confidentiality if they revealed the child's name to you (breaking the law) and while you are entitled to read the accident book they should not have written the "pusher's" name in it as it is not relevant. It should read that your child was pushed and fell hurting himself time date location action taken nothing more.

zebramummy Fri 26-Jun-09 20:57:00

sweetfall - so at what age do you feel it can be classified as 'bullying'? my ds is a lot younger than the other boy - infact for all i know the other boy may already have turned 5 and could already have been at school in a different LEA. would it make any difference if i did this in writing rather than dealing with it verbally??

sweetfall Fri 26-Jun-09 21:08:13

around 7 or 8 they start to develop an awareness of themselves and their place in the world so around that time the jostling for position can turn into bullying if not addressed by school and parents. Bullying should not be part of vocabulary under this age.

THe things I think you would do well to know are that 1) No school tells you who the other child was that is standard policy 2) No good can come out of talking directly to the parents of the other child, it should all go through the school 3) Your focus should be on how the school is going to safeguard your child so I would advise asking them

zebramummy Mon 29-Jun-09 20:22:44

just to update - i sent ds to school today. they have/will not enter details into accident book because he did not have a cut or bruise apparently - i tried explaining that head injuries can be ermm.. more serious to which they replied that he never hurt his head anyway (umm...whitewash??) and the other boy had never harmed anyone before (another major discrepancy). all in all, i reckon they freaked out & so no harm in rewriting history. i asked them to call me next time in case of serious injury and guess what? an hour later, i rec a call to say 'ds has wet his socks please come and get him...' - needless it is to say, ds was not best pleased about being dragged out mid session (they never brough him out though expected me to walk in and 'remove him' myself). i am bracing myself for a few of these calls in the next few weeks - all of a sudden it has become 'don't touch him, don't shoulder the blame' - roll on the hols!!

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