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I think my son (3 years-old) is being bullied in Maternelle

(12 Posts)
LadyFi Tue 13-Sep-11 19:37:17

My son started school at a maternelle in Etterbeek on 1 September and within days he had 2 nasty scratches on his face that the teachers could not explain. Today he has come home with more scratches on his face and our au pair said she saw a child really beating up another kid in the playground and the teachers were just ignoring it. The age range is from 3-5 in this maternelle and they are classed accordingly but mix in the playground. My son says he runs and hides in the toilets to get away from the boy. I was told that the Belgian schooling system is very good and decided to put him in the local system so he could be closer to the culture, learn French fluently and I really cannot afford the independent schools as I am a single parent.

I need to know if this is "normal" behaviour here. In the UK, there would be phone calls, reports written, complaints made. Here, the teachers barely seem to care. The school is supposed to be a mix of lots of EU offspring as well as local offspring, which is why I put him there as he doesn't speak any French yet and I thought there would be a balance.

Unfortunately, I speak only limited French myself so it is very difficult for me to communicate with the teachers. Perhaps I am over-reacting but I am really uncomfortable about the whole thing and feel as though I am abandoning him every day. I am now seriously contemplating pulling him from school, trying to get him into an international school or a creche.

Any advice please? This is really upsetting us both.

RuthChan Tue 13-Sep-11 20:24:56

That does not sound normal at all.
My own children are in international schools, not local ones, but lots of my friends have their in French speaking schools and I have never heard of bullying like that.
There is no way that the teachers should be turning a blind eye to the extent that any child feels they need to hide in the toilets at play time.
Are there any other local schools near by that you could move him to if you decide it necessary?

LadyFi Tue 13-Sep-11 21:42:12

I am going to ring round some other schools tomorrow from work, hopefully with the help of someone who can speak French a bit more proficiently. The problem is that all the schools get filled up so quickly.

Our au pair said she was waiting by the gate today and she saw the bigger boy really laying into another one and then he ran off and bull-dozed another little boy off his tricycle. Two of the teachers were just standing chatting in the middle of the playground. Apparently, there was a little girl in the toilet who was struggling to pull her jeans and knickers up and was sobbing but they jsut ignored her. The more I see and hear of that school, less than 2 weeks in, makes me very upset and anxious, so I hate to think how my son feels. In my opinion, this children are mostly just babies - some, like my son, are barely 3 years-old. It's crushing me every day as it is leaving my son there when he has no idea how to communicate with anyone, let alone tell someone that there is a miniature thug in the playground.

Would you mind asking your friends where there kids go and perhaps letting me know? I would be extremely grateful!!!


Longtime Wed 14-Sep-11 19:57:52

LadyFi, that sounds awful. I've sent you a message. Perhaps we can sort something out. Please contact me.

belgo Wed 14-Sep-11 20:03:50

Sorry to hear this. Have you been to the teachers and spoken to them? Do you have an appointment with the head teacher?

My ds was just 2.5 when he started school with the 'protection' of his older sister aged five. Unfortunately one of his sister's friends was very rough with him, picking him up and running with him and even hitting him. I kept ds home for a few days and spoke to the teachers - the teachers from ds's class, and the teacher from the older girl's class. The teachers were very good, very strict with the older girl, and very protective of ds, taking him straight into the classroom in the mornings and holding his hand at lunchtime.

I recommend you go to the school with someone who is fluent.

RuthChan Wed 14-Sep-11 20:20:47

It really doesn't sound good, but Belgo and Longtime will be able to give you good advice.
I certainly think you need to start by talking to the teachers.

belgo Wed 14-Sep-11 20:25:13

Unfortunately I don't know much about the french school system, and I don't speak french , but speak to Longtime, she knows the system best.

Portofino Wed 14-Sep-11 20:38:25

This doesn't sound normal to me at all! My dd has been in the French system since she was 2.5 and if anything the staff were TOO strict on bad behaviour (at least compared to the UK). Not in a BAD way i hasten to add, but this kind of behaviour was NOT acceptable. In fact - I never saw the like of it ever. I will try to raise Longtime, or Natation via FB - as their French is better than mine, but failing that I am willing.....

Portofino Wed 14-Sep-11 20:41:13

Sorry - I see Longtime already posted blush

natation Wed 14-Sep-11 22:09:27

I would say this situation is rare but does happen. I can picture right now 2 little boys in our school who are quite aggressive and unfortunately their teacher just ignored it last year and the mums complained about them too later into the year for it to make a difference.

It's hard for schools to supervise large numbers of children, I'd imagine your son is in a class of 25 children. BUT the teachers and playground supervisors are there to keep the peace and.... well SUPERVISE.

Normallly minor complaints about schools go through class reps. However, as it's more serious, I'd go directly to the head.

I am working the next 2 days, sorry can't help, can only help out on Monday next week.

belgo Thu 15-Sep-11 06:59:18

Not all schools have a ratio of 1:25 at this age - in my ds's school they have two teachers for his class (20 children) and a care assistant who helps as well a couple of days a week.

Longtime Mon 10-Oct-11 08:47:55

LadyFi, how are things going?

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