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Help! Year 10 nightmare! Can anyone advise?

(16 Posts)
KatieBw Tue 15-Nov-16 18:10:28

My DS is 15 and has been in the same school since he was 4 (on different sites, the senior school is nearly 20 miles away). With the increase in work in year 10 and the long journey to and from, and the increasingly rigid discipline/punishment system in the school, nothing's working. He has been getting into trouble for smallish things and is now facing possible expulsion if he continues. The school are interested in punishment rather than reform, and I get the distinct impression they have washed their hands of him. It's sad, but I feel that maybe a side step early in his GCSEs might help, also a school that's closer to us (we are in Bayswater). I've looked at crammers and a nice arty school in Hampstead, but while he's not St. Paul's/latymer level, he is taking fairly academic subjects and I worry I'll be doing him a disservice putting him in such non-selective schools. I can't get a decent state place and I struggle to pay the £6k a term I'm currently committed to. Does anyone have any ideas?! I'd like to move him in January. They have written him off where he is and I feel if I keep him there he could end up with nothing at all if he even manages to keep to their v strict rules.

TheCakes Tue 15-Nov-16 18:20:06

There will be rules wherever he goes. He'd do better learning to toe the line.
I have a y10 boy too. They're pushing the boundaries, but they need to know life doesn't run by their rules all the time.
Probably not the advice you're after, but I think it's an important life lesson.

KatieBw Tue 15-Nov-16 18:35:06

All well and good but that's what I've thought while he's been miserable and under achieving for three years. The school is run in a cultist way and is known for its rigid punishment system. It was the last school to reluctantly give up corporal punishment for example. He is travelling for hours everyday to face a system that only works on very compliant children. 10 is very different from 15 btw, I've already put two kids through school. Sometimes I think knowing when to give up and move on is s useful life lesson too!

Halloweensnake Tue 15-Nov-16 18:38:38

I've a yr 11 boy....I find treating him with respect and asking him how he wants to do things,generally goes better than forcing things...have you discussed the issue with your does he envise solving the problem.what does he think is best

TheCakes Tue 15-Nov-16 18:47:14

My son is in year 10. He's 14 coming up 15 and I moved him from one high school to another in year 9 due to problems in the first. He actually lives with my mum during the week to enable him to go to a school better suited to his needs. I do know what I'm talking about.
If it's not working, move him. I'm interested to know what rules are too much though, and if he'd do better with less rules, as going off my own experience, better discipline tends to lead to better achievement.
What aspect of school life is making him unhappy?

KatieBw Tue 15-Nov-16 19:48:05

I think rules are essential too but they operate a yellow card/red card system so smaller things like forgetting a book for class or handing in HW late can accumulate and get him to the same place (i.e. several suspensions and imminent expulsion) as something like truancy or smoking pot would. They are inflexible, and a lot of his yellow cards are down to not understanding the work or poor organisation. I don't feel that a teacher who endlessly dishes out punishments is in control of his class. My DS is on an endless downward spiral and his academic progress is rarely discussed. He wants to leave, he is very unhappy.

Halloweensnake Tue 15-Nov-16 20:13:40

There is your answer.he wants to what choices have you got school wise near you

TheCakes Tue 15-Nov-16 20:37:10

I understand that. My son is dyspraxic and wasn't supported in his old school. He went on such a downward spiral that it is taking a lot of intensive work and intervention to pull him out of it.
If he moves school, do you think he could make a fresh start and learn to get organised? Things like missed homework or forgotten equipment will continue to be a problem, so he'll need strategies to make sure he's not clocking up low-level behaviour sanctions.

KatieBw Tue 15-Nov-16 22:12:29

I'm hoping he can reinvent himself a bit and have a fresh start. His current school are very down on him: their letters to me feel like disciplinary legal-protocol rather than dealing with his actual problems & working together to help him. My problem is there are so few other options, in terms of alternate schools. Id love to get him into Marylebone for sixth form, but I need to get him through his GCSEs first.

TheCakes Wed 16-Nov-16 12:57:00

What's your concern with non-selective schools?
I don't know about specific schools as I'm not in your area, but my experience is that moving my son has hugely improved his chances.
I think what you say about the right subjects is important.
It's unlikely my son will do sixth form but he's doing a Btec in construction as one of his options and they will help him find an apprenticeship when he leaves. For a boy who really struggles with academic work but is very good at hands on work, that hugely improves his prospects.
We're definitely not through the other side yet, but I do feel that there is hope and everyone is doing as much as they can to bring out the best in him.
That's worth a lot.

KatieBw Wed 16-Nov-16 23:43:47

I think you are totally right and it sounds like you are navigating carefully for your son. My DS has had a lot of emotional upheaval through his life. We live in west London, it's very extreme in terms of wealth in this area. I feel that the schools I can get him into easily, have lots of super rich kids, it's all expensive clothes & paparazzi outside. Not what I'm interested in, I don't want to do him a disservice academically but equally I can't keep him somewhere where they don't believe in him. Tough!

noblegiraffe Wed 16-Nov-16 23:52:59

Moving a student partway through GCSEs has the potential to be a complete disaster, especially if he is not the self-motivated type. A new school may be doing different exam boards/set texts/have done coursework for igcse and by January he will have a hell of a lot of catching up to do.

TheCakes Thu 17-Nov-16 07:59:08

That does sound tough. I don't think I'd want my son in that setting really. It just isn't my value set.
I think all you can do is look at a few with him, see if they are compatible with his strengths and learning style and do your best to get him in.
I know it's often controversial, but do you have any particular faith? I'm very fortunate in that I'm Catholic and there are a few excellent Catholic schools in my area which I can access for my children on faith grounds.

KatieBw Thu 17-Nov-16 08:45:48

I don't have the religious school option sadly! There is a great catholic school nearby but no space and I have to be honest, we aren't remotely religious, he isn't even christened.

I understand the point re changing him mid GCSE but TBH I have very little choice. He has had a third & final suspension, a series of small misdemeanours will mean guaranteed expulsion. His current school seem to have completely given up on him, for example his last expulsion followed half term and right before revision/exam week so he missed a critical time. Because they do a 3 year GCSE he is actually miles ahead of most year 10s and most schools we have approached have said he can take classics and Latin early. I have to be realistic about his chances of being expelled, the head even told me in our meeting he didn't feel he was in the right school, v helpful after 11 years.

TheCakes Thu 17-Nov-16 09:48:14

God, that's awful. And they aren't doing anything about it?
One of the things my son's school have done is to send him on a program outside school, one day a week, for pupils at risk of exclusion. It's to raise aspiration and engagement, and improve classroom relationships. They had an open day at the end and I was really impressed.
It was a small group with kids from different schools with varying difficulties, eg SEN, bereavement, caring commitments etc, so not just the 'bad kids'.
Did I read it right that you pay for this school too? I think once the wheels were in motion for a move I'd be complaining to the governors. That's outrageous.

KatieBw Fri 18-Nov-16 11:31:43

Yes I pay for the school. He goes back after the final suspension and is given a red card straight away for not knowing what he's doing in biology. No warning, he's kicked out of the class. So 4 red cards away from expulsion. Not the first time he's been punished for needing help. I'm at an utter loss.

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