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Should I send my son to private school?

(88 Posts)
GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 13:39:21

My ds is 6. He's lovely. He is funny. He is clever. He is the tallest and the most accademically developed child in his class (although not the oldest by a long way) which leads to assumptions of maturity. He is also very articulate. He is generally well behaved in class.

However... he has not got a clue how to get on with other children and is emotionally quite young. He does not pick up on the subtle social cues that other children seem to and as a result has problems sustaining relationships. He is also very loud and I strongly have the impression that other parents would prefer that their children play with someone else. He seldom gets invited to parties or round to people's houses. His "best friend" has now said that he would like to be able to play with other people besides ds and the school and parents have become involved with this and told ds to leave this child alone. ds is unhappy - he used to be the most vibrant person I knew and now he seems sort of squashed.

I have been as objective here as I can be with my assessment of my son as I really do not know how to help him. We have been aware of his social issues for sometime and have tried hard to address them. I have told the school repeatedly of my concerns - but all they can see is that he performs well in the classroom (and I am not really saying it is their job to sort out social issues). I have invited endless children around to play but he is aware that he seldom gets return invites. I try hard to befriend the mothers.

Do you think sending him to a private school with smaller classes might help (it would be a financial struggle as I have 2 children and I would feel that I would have to offer dd the same)? If not, do any of you have any other suggestions? I have spent the last few days in tears over this and don't really know what to do next.

Indith Mon 15-Jun-09 13:45:54

this isn't a private vs state thing, it is a school you and your ds feel comfortable thing. Smaller classes can be great but they can also be terrible for a child that doesn't quite fit in as it becomes one big group and if you don't fit in you are out. It entirely depends on the schools and the way they deal with problems, the only way to decide is to visit and chat to the teachers, describe your current problems and ask how they deal with similar situations.

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 13:47:35

You're right - perhaps I should have picked a different title.

I think state education is great and the school he is in is lovely. I just don't know what to do to help him any more and I need to do something.

Doodle2u Mon 15-Jun-09 13:48:04

In a year or two, he'll start to grow into his own skin/personality...IME. The socail stuff is, I think, part of school's job but so much of it comes with age and just experience.

I don't think private school is the answer to the socail skills issue. I think getting him into Beavers/ Cubs, a sports club etc might help though - let him experience as many social situations as possible and also, dilute the school situation.

annoyedmum Mon 15-Jun-09 13:48:55

Is there a type of child he gets on better with ~maybe a boy a year or two older?

They will generally make more allowances for younger children and they may have more similarities/interests.Obviously choose a well behaved mature boy with good social skills ~ maybe a friends son?This boy could set a good example to your son.

Otherwise,interests rather than purely social meetings,like karate?

Doodle2u Mon 15-Jun-09 13:49:08

BTW, I DO know how to spell 'social' blush

mumblechum Mon 15-Jun-09 13:49:21

Agree that smaller class size may exacerbate the problem.

Has the school suggested that he perhaps should be assessed for borderline Aspergers?

3littlefrogs Mon 15-Jun-09 13:52:13

Perhaps it is too soon to consider moving schools - he is only 6 (and I speak as someone who did move ds1 from state to private when he was 9).

I would see if you can get an assessment with Ed Psychologist, so that you can discuss the things you are worried about. It may be nothing - he may just need more time to improve his social skills.

Would he perhaps benefit from other social activities or groups - for example, a gym club, or something like beavers? Another group of potential friends and more relaxed atmosphere might help his social skills.

3littlefrogs Mon 15-Jun-09 13:52:42

X posts!

squeaver Mon 15-Jun-09 13:55:07

Agree with Indith. Have you thought about going to our GP? I'm not suggesting there's anything "wrong" with your son but maybe you could get some advice??

Having said dd is at a private school - in the nursery, starts reception in September - and there is a boy in her class who sounds very similar to your ds (right down to being the tallest!).

They have a class size of 17 and the school has been very helpful with this boy and there's been a real change in him since September. He's a delight.

But this is a very child-focused school. More concerened with the welfare of the children than academic progress (which might be the case in some private schools).

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 13:55:13

Doodle - I was going to send him to Beavers but the child who wants "some space" from ds is going to start and I don't want to endanger what little relationship they have left by starting ds too.

He does do outside school things and gets on OK with other children at a superficial level. As I said, he just cannot sustain relationships - he becomes overwhelming on closer acquaintance.

My other thought was to address some of the other mothers directly and ask if they are reluctant to have ds come around and if so why? I don't want to be confrontational, I genuinely want to know how they see my son so I can try and help him. Would you run a mile if another mother did this to you?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 15-Jun-09 13:59:32

This sounds like my ds. He's 10 and has all of the same problems. He's a lovely child 1:1 or in a small group but is loud and doesn't relate well with others unless they have similar interests or are silly. He's seen as the 'naughty' child as he's led astray very easily. We don't swear at home so he doesn't know what such words mean, he hears then at school, repeats them then gets into trouble. Once they are labled as a swearer/naughty they can't change this no matter what they do. He's been in both state and private, I am ashamed to say that he's been moved about in an attempt to find him somewhere that can help him. He benefits more from undrstanding and supportive teachers. I really do think my son has Aspergers, his social skills are not where they should be, his speach is very strange (almost as if he's from a Sherlock Holmes novel), he has very little empathy skills and is unable to read social interactions. I do think this is also something you need to look into in the hope that your son can also have the understanding and support that he needs. smile

It's horrible being in this situation as a parent, I also find myself in tears. Once ds has the 'naughty' label there's nothing he can do. He gets bullied by children that think he's odd, the teachers don't take his side, he gets shouted at which really unsettles him. You are more then free to look at some of my old posts about him, I used to be called avananap. If you do a search they will all come up. ds is in a state school at the moment but I'm looking to put him back into the private sector because of the level of support and to cater for his academic side as he's a very bright boy. I am seeking an educational psychologist assessment, I trained as a paeds nurse so have some knowledge of aspergers and he ticks the right boxes. You are not alone in this.

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 13:59:53

School haven't suggested Aspergers but I have wondered. If it is relevant though, it is mild and dh is absolutely adamant that he does not want to go down the road of having ds him labelled with something if there is no extra support forthcoming (and as he is extremely able in the classroom and can work with the other children, not sure that there would be).

I hadn't thought of small classes potentially being more of an issue but I can see your point. I have rang up one local school and explained the issues fully and of course they said that that is just the sort of thing that they are equipped to deal with, but then they would wouldn't they!

Thanks you all for talking to me - its such a relief as there is no one in RL who I could have this discussion with!

sleepyeyes Mon 15-Jun-09 14:03:41

Actually I think smaller class sizes would be better as you often find all the boys play together although the girls do sometimes pair/group up. There are also more likely to have class parties because classes can be as small as 12-15 in a class.

It does sound like Aspergers, my DH who is aspergers say he preferred to be in smaller school/classes to larger classes.

Independent schools generally work at a year ahead of state schools so it may be better in terms of not sticking out as the brain box of the class. Although by the end of primary other kids may well have cached up, but that mean waiting it out a few more years.

I would advice that you look at Independent schools in you r area and make a direct comparison with his current school and see if it really is better?
Or maybe look at other state schools in the area.

If he is very bright he may have the chance at scholarship or bursery in a few years time when your DD starts therefore less financial pressure BUT the fees will go up each year, can you just afford this years fees or will you be able to handle the yearly increase?

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 14:05:22

Fluffy - that all sounds familiar. I don't want to move my son unless I really think that it will help him, but am now at my wits end what to do. There is nothing that I would not do for him.

He was labelled as "naughty" in reception as the reception teacher just could not deal with him. However, we worked with the school and his current teacher (who is great) and whilst there is the odd behavioural issue, generally I don't think that the school perceive him as a bad child. However, I think that some parents became used to seeing his name on the "amber traffic light" in reception and now perceive him as a child to be avoided.

annoyedmum Mon 15-Jun-09 14:06:19

He may just be a bit ahead of them,interests wise,or he may be a bit intense or overwhelming,he may not function that well in a group or he may not be very confident yet so latch onto people a bit too much ~ I don't think that is at all unusual at 6 and will settle in time.

We all want our dc to fit in and "be normal"but sometimes they need a bit longer or a bit of help.
He may need a school which is more social skill or child centred ~ are there any schools like that in your area?

I think you are jumping the gun re asking other mums why he is not invited over ~ he is only 6 and a lot of mums wait until they are a little older,when friendships are more developed.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 15-Jun-09 14:07:25

Every school I've been in contact with has said this Goosey! Ds has moved three times in the past 12 months. I've had one head suggest I send him off to boarding school hmm, one head say he'll assess ds within 2 weeks of him starting (never heppened) and that they can support him (this didn't happen either, they went OTT with the discipline, poor ds even got told off for sneezing at the carol concert!), the current head doesn't believe any child can use the words ds does (grapple hook!), think's he looks down on everyone else because of his english skills, bring's bullying on himself etc. I had a call from a new head today and explained things to him, apparantly they have boys with aspergers there, a senco team, access to educational psychologists so who know's. I'll have to wait and see.

Where abouts in the country are you?

LeninGrad Mon 15-Jun-09 14:09:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crokky Mon 15-Jun-09 14:10:49


It could possibly be mild aspergers - my DS is going to be assessed for this as well - he doesn't have really strong signs, but just some. Anyway, my DS is at a school nursery and he's 3. If it is aspergers or similar, IMO it is the school's responsibility to help.

It's not really a question of private vs state, it is a question of an actual comparason between the 2 schools - some state ones are great, some private ones are great others aren't - you have to look specifically at the schools, speak to the teachers to see who is willing to offer your DS proper help.

sleepyeyes Mon 15-Jun-09 14:11:07

Goosey for the most part my DH isn't officially recognized as Aspergers although PIL took him to be privately diagnosed.
It is perfectly able to lead a complete and utter normal life without outsiders being aware although I'm sure people do think he is a bit odd when he doesn't make eye contact.
DH owns his own business, has a degree, owns a house and is married, complete and utterly normal. Well other than the collection of new £20 notes he hides away and won't spend because they are new and crisp. grin

But if he was diagnosed and in a state school he will be entitled to a lot more support.

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 14:13:14

I live in a village, the mums I would ask are the ones I know regularly have squads of kids over (but never ds) and whose children I have had around to my house. I am however aware of the potential for sounding like uptight mother from hell (hence trying the idea out here) but I am desperate.

When the teacher told me that his best friend's mother (who I know well) had been in to school basically asking them if they could keep ds away from her son, I cannot describe how that felt. I wanted to scream and shout at the other mother and child and to blame them and the school but I know it is not their fault. I have to do something to make it better.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 15-Jun-09 14:15:45

sad Oh Goosey, that's terrible. Is there not an understanding mum at the school?

I really do know how you feel. I moved ds for exactly this problem but it seems to follow him. It can get better with some support though. The school should be doing more for him.

annoyedmum Mon 15-Jun-09 14:17:10

Goosey ~that sounds awful,poor you and ds.
Is he very rough,is that the problem ?
Otherwise it seems she was being a bit ott?

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Jun-09 14:18:41

Crokky and Fluffy - what do you think you need to look for in schools (I am aware that they will all say they can help)?

His current teacher has said that the school will help but I am at a loss as to what practical help they can offer in the playground as the damage has already been done. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them as the school are open to a dialogue.

annoyedmum Mon 15-Jun-09 14:19:31

As I said before,is there a child a couple of years older you could have round who could take ds under his wing a bit?

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