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Is mine an awful school, or par for the course?

(37 Posts)
QZebra Tue 05-Jul-05 21:21:23

OPINIONS PLEASE.
Just emailed this to a friend.

Heard some horrible gossip about [DS1]'s school, today. [DS1]'s teacher has been off ill. A mum (W.) was helping out the other morning. W.'s son is J.. I saw W. in there, and saw a little boy (H.) playing by himself in a shielded off corner while all the other children were on the carpet for register. I guess that's what they normally have to do with H. when taking the register, he must be so disruptive. And he still only goes for 1/2 days. H. was assessed for ADHD, but was decided he doesn't have it. I wasn't there for this, but H. later started punching J. in the face so hard that J. had a nose bleed. On top of that W. observed a little girl (K.) being very disruptive all morning in the class. K. has had problems all year (not concentrating, eating blue tack, weird things). The other day I saw K. running out of her classroom & then the TA was chasing her and had to carry her back to the classroom. Apparently she does a runner a lot, and it usually takes 2 TAs to manhandle her (she punches and kicks).

Anyway, turns out that H. head-butted [DS1]'s teacher, who has been off with stress because of it all.
H. has now been excluded, I think because of punching J., not the head-butting.
W. reckons H. and K. are so disruptive that it is seriously hindering the other children from learning.
W. is going in to see the Head tomorrow to insist that neither H. nor K. should go into Year 1 with everyone else, they need to be statemented(?) and put in to the School's Onsite Learning Support Centre (for SN kids).

Seems so awful, such problems at mere reception age!! And this is before genuine learning (as opposed to behavioral) problems are likely to be picked up.

There are problems at the school with bullying, too (my neighbour's son was a victim). Although [DS1] plays with the alleged bully quite often with no problems -- I have alluded to this on MN.
And we are at the "good" school in town -- the middle school other side of town had the most dreadful Ofsted report.
.............................

QZebra Tue 05-Jul-05 21:32:59

ok, so it was a long message, but surely somebody has an opinion....?

RTKangaMummy Tue 05-Jul-05 21:38:17

I am quite confused as it is complicated

so is your DS in this class with these children

and you want them to not move up with DS to the next class

Also the other mum wants them Not to move up either

Is that it?

Angeliz Tue 05-Jul-05 21:41:14

I got lost at H!!!

No seriously it does sound a bit much for a reception class

mytwopenceworth Tue 05-Jul-05 21:41:36

sounds like the school are failing to manage the challenging behaviour. they should be ensuring that the level of support and supervision meets the needs of the children and incidents like this are guarded against as far as humanly possible. H should never have been in a position to hit, he should have been noticed and prevented, or at the very least, stopped very quickly before damage was done. so in my opinion, the school is failing there.

beatie Tue 05-Jul-05 21:44:51

I don't have any experience to know how normal this is but just wanted to say that I would be concerned too.

Twiglett Tue 05-Jul-05 21:50:12

I tghink I got it

I would say that W doesn't have the right to insist on other children not going into the next year with other children .. why does she feel she has that right??

However what I would say is that something needs to be addressed in terms of SN and support and maybe she should find out why there is no such support available for children who obviously need it

Blossomhill Tue 05-Jul-05 22:02:19

I am very offended by this. As a mum of a special needs child I really don't think it's your right to decide what happens to these children. Admittedly my dd does not behave in this way at all but still.

I do feel for you in the fact your child is suffering but still feel the whole shut them away attitude is very early 19 hundreds.

coppertop Tue 05-Jul-05 22:13:34

I agree that W should have no say in who goes where.

The lack of support for children with SN is something that really needs to be addressed so that that situations like this can't happen again. The teacher shouldn't be expected to work without proper support.

Sadly the way the statementing system works it would probably be at least 6 months before a statement would be put in place - and that's for a very straightforward case.

saadia Tue 05-Jul-05 22:30:56

What is the atmosphere in the class like?

I know it's not exactly the same but I visited a few school nurseries for my ds and at a couple of them I just thought there was no order or "discipline" - by that I mean no sense that the teachers were terribly interested in motivating or organising the children. In that kind of scenario I would imagine that some children might not conform to what is expected ie behave properly.

QZebra Wed 06-Jul-05 09:33:19

Sorry I could have written it better.

Yes my son is in the same class. The distractions of the 2 very disruptive children (K. and H.) are preventing all the other children from learning. The teacher has taken time off partly because of stress from these children (I like the teacher, but is she being a bit of a wimp?).

Even the children who 'merely' have learning problems rather than children with behavioral+learning difficulties will be disadvantaged by the 2 very disruptive children.
I don't think W.'s request that these 2 children be put in the LSC will get anywhere, but I can understand why she thinks they should be there (and getting the support they need). W.’s son may have a learning difficulty, btw.

I think the school could handle it better, but I don't know how much better, whether most schools would be as bad as this, how typical these kinds of problems are in reception, how schools "should" cope with them. H. was assessed to not have ADHD, no diagnosis for K., either (I think). If there’s no “diagnosis” does that mean that there can be no “statement”, and therefore no funding/”support” for these children? Will we just have to put up with their disruptive behaviour for years to come?

I don’t know about the general atmosphere, I think it’s generally “ok”. I have 2 preschool children and no childcare support so haven’t been able to spend any time in DS1’s classroom. My big ambition from this September is to go in one afternoon/week, to be a volunteer lunch supervisor and help out with DS1’s Year 1 class.

I don't want to start feeling like Robinw did when she said that she only sent her child to school for the social life....

beatie Wed 06-Jul-05 09:47:47

Was the hitting of J an isolated incident or do you know for sure that this disruptive behaviour is a regular occurrence in this classroom?

My mum works as a TA in a Reception class in a school in a semi-deprived area. I have never heard her speaking about any children being like this, so first off, I would say it is not normal.

Any children with Special needs have extra help. Persistently disruptive children must be dealt with in other ways if there is no underlying reason for the way they behave.

My guess is that either the teacher does not have enough support from the rest of the school to enable her to deal effectively with the two disruptive children or else the teacher is not experienced/competent enough to know how to deal with these two children.

The incident which took place - J ending up with a bleeding nose - sounds quite serious. If the school have excluded the pupil, they must be aware of the seriousness of this and will probably address what needs to be done next. If the children have no specific learning difficulty and have not been statemented then I don't think the other parent can request that they attend the Special Needs Unit. There would be no extra money for these children for extra staff and so the children who are deservedly in the Special needs unit would be the ones who lose out.

FIMAC1 Wed 06-Jul-05 09:55:01

I would have thought a class of 'normal' kids would be challenging enough and would be perfectly entitled to suffer from Stress

I feel stressed just thinking about what her average day, must be like, from what you have said

- she should not have to put up with this sort of behaviour from the pupils and needs some support to deal with all the different issues going on in the class (and don't think she's a wimp, no!)

batters Wed 06-Jul-05 10:10:18

Blimey it sounds like there is a lot to deal with in your son's reception year, qzebra. By the way are you an "oldie" Mumsnetter, your quote from Robinw had me wondering.......

W should have no more of a say than any other parent over which children are allowed to go onto year 1 and which aren't. But her opinion is as valid as anyone else's and perhaps more so than some as she has seen some of this stuff happening. I would be worried if I was either H's or K's parent or any other parent of a child in this Reception class. Clearly things are not being dealt with well, head butting teachers, punching other children, running off, the teacher being off with stress (is this a fact, or a rumour)........none of these are good signs.

I have been there in a way when my little girl went to an afterschool club and was bullied by a child with ADHD. I was accused of discriminating against this child when all I wanted was a safe environment for my little girl. The lack of facilities for the child with special needs was the real problem and I think it is the problem here at your ds's school as well.

I bet (and really hope!) that there is probably a lot of stuff behind the scenes already happening. H being excluded is a sign of this. I think that any parent in your son's Reception class has a right to ask the Head for a general assurance that matters are being dealt with without asking for specific information which is not their business.

Have you thought of cross-posting this on the special needs bit of Mumsnet?

QZebra Wed 06-Jul-05 10:30:35

I guess most of what I'm saying has an element of "rumour" about it, but it comes from W., who I believe is reliable, & probably insisted on hard info after seeing her son assaulted like that. Rest of us haven't been told anything about why DS1's teacher was off work.

I have the impression that H. was only excluded because (W.) the mother of J. happened to be there the day that H. gave J. the nosebleed.

I am fairly sure that H. has done violence to teachers/staff before. At J.'s birthday party there was a scuffle between all the boys, but H. was particularly throwing frenzied punches (DH was very impressed, esp. as H. is very tiny for his age).

I feel bad because H. seems a nice enough boy in other environments (DS1 has played happily with him at the beach). K.'s mother seems a decent parent & I know she's at her wit's end about K.'s behavior.

I hope you're right (Batters) that things are going to really happen behind the scenes.

Course I'm a relative MN oldie , used to post as simply "zebra"....

coppertop Wed 06-Jul-05 10:44:20

It's a long time since I've seen RobinW's name in an Education thread....

There are a couple of SN stages that can be used before necessarily needing a statement. My ds1 has an LSA who gives him 1:1 for a few hours each week. He has no statement but is on School Action Plus. I'm surprised that the school hasn't tried something similar for the 2 children in this particular case. It's not fair on anyone if there is this level of disruption going on. A statement is supposed to be given if the school are unable to meet the child's needs with the resources they have, but you only need to look at the SN board to see just how much of a battle the whole procedure is. Meanwhile the child who needs the help isn't getting the support they need, the rest of the class are disrupted, and the teacher is left to deal with it alone.

It's possible to get a statement without a diagnosis but still very difficult.

ScummyMummy Wed 06-Jul-05 10:49:20

Lol @ DH being very impressed at H's punches, Zeb!

Sounds like a hard one. How good do you feel the school is generally? I think the range of children's needs sounds par for the courseish. However, it doesn't sound (from what you've said here so far) like the staff are particularly great at handling the said range of needs. Therefore your mate W is (understandably) stepping into the breech to try and insist on safety for her son. Nonetheless, it is very likely (equally understandably) that she will be given short shrift from the head teacher by asking for specific children to be removed from the class. That is way beyond her remit. In a well-run school that was meeting all the children's needs it probably wouldn't have occured to her to approach the problem like this in the first place. What are the teachers higher up the school like? Do you think your son's Y1 teacher might be able to handle all this a bit better?

QZebra Wed 06-Jul-05 10:57:41

It could be that more is happening than I know about (maybe they have had 1:1 supervision on occasion, I just don't know, nor should I necessarily). But obviously it wasn't adequate supervision the other day.

Tecincally I don't know what W. is going to specifically ask for, I haven't spoken to W. directly, but I think she does want reassurances one way or the other. I will try to catch W. this pm, let you know what's happened....!

QZebra Wed 06-Jul-05 11:01:02

ScumMum: I don't really know all the teachers, of the 2 reception teacher's, DS1's is relatively young, very keen, and considered the more competent (other one is nice, but too soft on discipline). The old one has said (privately, to a friend who is the nan of a child in reception) that this Reception year intake has the worst behavioral problems that she has encountered in her 30 years career, and she was thinking of retiring early, back near the beginning of the school year, she was so perturbed by the bad behavior.

We live in a small town, rumour mill central!!

ScummyMummy Wed 06-Jul-05 11:07:18

Yep! Sounds like the rumour thing might be a part of the problem... Hmm. What is ds's view on all this? Is he enjoying school? I guess all you can really do is to keep a close eye on his well-being and learning and discuss any worries you have about him being affected by other children in the class with staff.

tamum Wed 06-Jul-05 11:17:50

It sounds more as though it's an unlucky combination of two children with serious behavioural problems and a rather inexperienced teacher rather than a bad school as such. I have to agree with others that the idea of W trying to lay down the law about where other children should go is pretty appalling, but I can completely see why you are worried. Maybe you will have a much more experienced teacher in year 1, do you think?

Weatherwax Wed 06-Jul-05 11:27:58

If I was in W's place I would be furious that my child had been assulted and I think the head would be fed up of me demanding that they made sure this couldn't happen again to anyones child. i'll just wander off now to the why do people privately educate their children threads where I obviously belong secure in the knowledge that I could pester my girls head about these things without being told its nothing to do with me!

I'm sorry twiglett, W might be going about it the wrong way but I think she has a right to demand that her child is protected from an unprovoked attack. Her views might help the school get some help for H and J .I hope as leaving H in another part of the room during register can not be a good way of helping H

puddle Wed 06-Jul-05 11:35:41

Zebra
I know that at my ds's school last year they had similar problems with a class that had two children in it who were very disruptive - one had a statement, the other did not. From my knowledge (as school governor) it's extremely difficult to assess children before they come into the school in terms of learning support if they do not have a statement - and many of the children without statements are those with behavioural problems, (eg possible ADD) and no funding attached to them for extra support in the classroom.

I think that, given W's son was attacked by this child, she does have a right to speak to the Head regarding action taken to address the issue of this child's behaviour and its effects on her son. NOT how the child's needs are catered for within the school.

I would be tempted if I were you to see the Head myself to reassure myself that he/she is aware of the rumours within the school re: the class and its dynamic so that this can be addressed with parents/ in plans for the class in year 1.

QZebra Wed 06-Jul-05 11:40:11

I may be mis-representing W's intentions, but am surprised so many of you think she's completely out of order. Why is it so bad to press the head not to let these kids into Year 1, or that something otherwise be done to otherwise prevent their behavior from continuing as it has been? I'm not saying that the head should just do what W. might ask for, but head should consider whether W.'s opinion is right about what's best for the 2 disruptive children & all the other children. Even if that just results in a hard push to get statements for K./H.

It just seems so clear to us "other" mums that these 2 children need specialist help and aren't suited to staying with the (so far, apparently) "NT" children.

Does sound like nothing can be done to change things unless a diagnosis is forthcoming, so basically, nothing will change if the Reception mums don't kick up a fuss...

puddle Wed 06-Jul-05 11:47:22

Zebra - as I said in my post I don't think W is completely out of order in talking to the Head re: the attack on her son and her concerns re: the effects that disruptive pupils have on the class. What I don't think is acceptable is to assume a level of knowledge about the issues that the child has to be able to make suggestions to the Head about what action should be taken. As other people have said, there is probably a lot of action being taken behind the scenes, particularly as the child has been excluded.

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