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Help please-3 year old to be excluded from Reception

(37 Posts)
twinkletoes20 Wed 14-May-14 05:13:52

Hi, I really need some advice please. My 3 yr old DD has attended the nursery of a private school since Sept 2013 for half days (mon to fri). She is late August born. she initially struggled with tiredness and her behaviour suffered moderately during the settling in period. There were 4 separate biting incidents since Sept 2013 (biting 4 different children on separate unrelated occasions) which was a bit of a shock to us as she had never bitten anybody before. Re. the biting, i was horrified and mortified and called the parent of the bitten child to apologise (and all graciously accepted and insisted it wasn't a big deal). We also dealt with it by getting dd to make a sorry card for the child she had bitten and by repeatedly firmly telling her that biting was totally unacceptable and wrong. She definitely understands right from wrong. In addition to the biting, there were other smaller occasional incidents reported by her teacher (eg. Pushing, crankiness - again usually at the end of the session), and the odd tantrum/unwillingness to cooperate or petty behaviour such as on one occasion innocently painting another DD's face during arts and crafts). The teacher handled each incident in a manner if ways ranging from timeouts in another classroom, sending her to the headmistress (which was totally lost on my 3 year old dd!) and on a school trip she kicked a stranger who was standing near her). There were long periods of very good behaviour interrupted by random incidents described above. DD is considered very bright, sociable etc. albeit feisty and knows her own mind. On the last biting occasion, the head recommended she go for counselling to address the sporadic misbehaviour. I consulted a child psychologist who insisted we had nothing to worry about - not totally abnormal / alarming 3 year old behaviour in his opinion as long as we keep reinforcing message that its totally inappropriate which we go to great lengths about). Yesterday , I was called in by the head and teacher to say that DD's reception place for Sept would be withdrawn as it was in the school's best interests in light of her behaviour - I must add that there has been, I feel, a great deal of drama/over-reaction (except for biting incidents which were truly justified) relating to every trivial incident - my dd who us very perspective for her age, has no doubt picked up on many of the labels she has been inadvertently attributed. I didnt know what to say or how to react to that news- and am extremely upset and shocked by it all. we have on all occasions cooperated unbelievably with all the staff to help our dd address the behaviours and in our last PT mtg, it was observed that huge process had been made. I gently explained to dd that she wouldn't be able to go to her school in Sept and she is absolutely heartbroken (cried all the way home and wouldn't stop talking about it) - she loves her friends and really is happy at the school. I'm of the opinion that we should move on since the school clearly doesn't want her but OH is furious and thinks we should pursue this and get a proper explanation. However, at such short notice in the school year and with no viable state school options (which is why we opted for an independent school in the first place,what are our options? We are considering a move to another area with better state schools but I'm not optimistic about being offered an 'in year' place after Sept. since we've missed the deadline for this year's admissions and had accepted the reception place at her current school. to complicate matters, we have another baby on the way in Sept. I didn't grow up here and am so confused. I did call a few independent schools last week in light of the move we were considering anyway but was told zero chance of dd getting a place in Sept 2014. Can anybody offer any words of wisdom? Can anybody comment on school's decision to exclude dd from reception next year? I feel like such a failure as a mother. DD is adored, she is generally such a happy soul and I know she can be very wilful - we consistently strive to give her boundaries but I know in my heart that the negative aspects to her behaviour are all surmountable. i feel like the school has just decided she doesn't fit into whatever mould is expected and have given up on her ( one comment by the head as I was quite rudely rushed out of the meeting room was that we needed to hurry to wrap up our discussion as dd was probably biting or hitting someone while we were chatting - ridiculous!) ive always been very calm and polite with them but feel angry now. There was no suggestion to work together to find a solution - they said they felt they had exhausted all avenues. Many thanks.
Apols for typos - iPhone at 5am...

MexicanSpringtime Wed 14-May-14 05:22:00

Sorry I cannot give you any guidance about school placements, but that sounds like an absolutely horrible school and your daughter is best out of it.

mumster79 Wed 14-May-14 05:29:08

She's three and they're being vile! It sounds like she and you will be far happier out of that school.

WaveorCheer Wed 14-May-14 05:46:10

Wtf? That is awful and a terrible way to treat such a young child (the school not you!). You are indeed best off as far away as possible, and not just because of the exclusion but their whole attitude stinks.

You'll need to do some serious work rebuilding your poor DD's self-esteem after that kind of treatment. Labels are so damaging and completely counter-productive. Up in front of the head at three? Ridiculous! And for 'sporadic misbehaviour'! It sounds like you've done your utmost to get to the bottom of her 'issues' only to be advised by professionals that she doesn't bloody have any, she's just three.

Sorry, I have no practical advice, just wanted agree say - this is outrageous behaviour on the part of the school and you would be wise to just walk away. What possible good could come of seeking an explanation?

deXavia Wed 14-May-14 05:52:30

Well firstly I'd say don't talk about it to or in front of your daughter. She may be perceptive and bright but she'd too young to understand this and has already got upset by 'labels'. Of course she is heart broken to be told she can't go to her school - did you give her a reason why? That must be very confusing for one so young. So get a plan in place and then talk with her

With regards what that resolution may be - I would do both
- speak again to the school with a clear set of questions and a known outcome (really do you want her back there??? or do you just want insight and if so for what end - to address her behavior or to understand their decision?).
- look for alternatives - you're right, the timing is awful and the current school should have known this (again what do you want? Would you want her to stay in that school until you find an alternative? Would they do that? She's young - can you Home School for a while?).
How feasible is it to move from a work/life perspective or are you tied to the area? If the independent schools near you say no to September what are the waiting lists (be aware they may ask for reports from the current school so that should be on your list of questions - how will they handle those requests?). What about the State schools - there must be some - why are they not viable? Visit some and see what you think - don't just go by hearsay.

Sorry that's lots of questions but I think at the moment you're understandably shocked and emotional. You need to work through things more clearly before you know what to do next.

You also need to think about the behavior - one parent's "feisty" is another parent's bad behavior. So whilst this seems over-reaction obviously their perception is different - and I have to say whilst pushing and cranky not great but understandable at that age, frankly kicking a stranger on a school trip - well not so much. Whether the school handled it well or not is not the issue now.

For what its worth my DS had an awful Reception - not this type of behavior - but basically the teacher and school sucked all the happiness out of him and he overheard many awful things said about him and I remember well the soul destroying discussions with the teacher about him. A new school and teacher and he changed overnight - sometimes kids and schools just don't match. Don't let this colour your - or her - experience of school. But you do need to be very clear headed about what your next steps are.

Tambajam Wed 14-May-14 05:56:22

How awful for you and your child. It does sound like the school just isn't willing to engage further and probably doesn't have the capability. I can't picture an 'explanation' achieving much and it sounds like they will not change their mind. It might be satisfying to write a strongly worded letter but that would be for you rather than with a practical aim.

If you move into the state system all is not lost. If you were to move near enough to a primary school (and it would probably need to be rental at this stage), you could jump to the top of the waiting list due to admission criteria being often on distance. There is still a lot of waiting list movement at this point with people accepting places and waiting for private allocation.

HarryisHairy Wed 14-May-14 05:57:08

OP - from your post: she pushes, she bites, she tantrums, she hits, she painted another child's face, she kicked a stranger on a school trip, you feel the school 'over dramatises' trivial things, the school has tried a whole range of methods to address her behaviours and now feels they have exhausted all avenues.

It sounds to me like you are slightly deluded about how bad your child's behaviour is. I also think that she will suffer the same 'heartbreak' of losing her friends if this behaviour continues, she may love them but do they love a friend who hurts them?

I think, particularly with a baby on the way, you need to be VERY firm with your dd about her behaviour not just 'striving' to achieve boundaries. She is still very young but not too young to know what is right and wrong in terms of physical behaviour.

I think, unfortunately for you, private schools can pick and choose their pupils and given your dd's current behaviour I can see why they would be reluctant for her to continue. My bet is that they have had multiple complaints from other fee paying parents and they are, put simply, a business which does not want to lose customers.

I hope you manage to find her a place in September, in the meantime LOTS of boundaries, consequences for bad behaviour and most importantly rewards and praise for good behaviour .

Jenny70 Wed 14-May-14 05:59:33

If you want her to stay there and go to reception next year, first look at the school's admissions policy. Ask for clarification under which rule they are withdrawing her offer.

But in reality if they don't want her there (I would assume they think it is all too hard, rather than any "legitimate" reason), do you want to continue with that school? I would worry she'd be starting reception with a black mark on her name and any minor incidents would be magnified as evidence of her "problems".

And what if she did have special needs (not saying she does), would they exclude her then??!!

nameuschangeus Wed 14-May-14 06:01:24

Sorry if I've misunderstood but how has she been in school since last September when she's only 3?

It sounds to me that it's not the right setting for her. Do they 'teach' the children or are they allowed to play. At 3 there is no way that she should be formally taught. It should all be child led play. If it isn't then perhaps her frustration at being stopped from doing what comes naturally is leading to this 'bad behaviour', which just sounds like a usual three year old being treated wrongly to me.

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 14-May-14 06:11:46

If it's the nursery of a private school, then I'm guessing that's the reason for the heavy- handedness. They want to encourage "nice" people whose children never misbehave.

Yes, your daughter's behaviour has been inappropriate. She's been a little bugger- you've totally taken that on board and are taking all the necessary steps to help her understand when, and why, it's wrong.

She is 3 yrs old. It's part of the job description to push boundaries, and at that age they are only just beginning to understand it's not all about them, the concepts of sharing, playing nicely etc.

The school is just washing its hands IMO and wanting rid of her so they can brag to their prospective clients how angelic all their children are and how they have zero tolerance to bad behaviour. Getting rid of your daughter will be seen as a selling point to them. sad

I would take the time this summer to look round and find a more relaxed environment for her, whilst continuing to work on her behaviour issues. (Which, as someone upthread said, are probably going to get worse with a new baby on the way, it's a big upheaval for a little one to get her head round)

flowers for you, because you are doing everything you should, and you shouldn't be beating yourself up about it.

KiaOraOAotearoa Wed 14-May-14 06:18:29

Would you consider nursery for another year for her? I believe you have the option these days, to keep her 'back' one year. This way she can make new friends and join them in the new reception year.

Your DD sounds rather spirited, but I wouldn't want my child to be in a school that excludes kiddies at the grand age of 3.

Uptheanty Wed 14-May-14 06:27:10

My dd was similar & I have to say, still is minus the biting grin.

Firstly, I think you are minimising your dd's behaviour, I did it for years, while like you doing all the "right" things, inwardly feeling defensive.

This is not the end of the world & you need to get a grip &Move forward with assertive planning.

The school is shit.

Take this as an escape and be grateful you found out eay before they did more damage.
Fuck them & forget them.

Move, do it qui k before the baby comes.
Your dd is only crying about missing school if you're modelling a behaviour she thinks she should emulate.
Get a hold of yourself.
She is not tainted unless you taint her.
This is a BLIP.

You & your dh's energy needs to be garnered in a solution not in fighting an injustice.

FWIW my bitey shock difficult blush 3 year old is now a highly intelligent, well liked & all round fabulous 11 yr old.

imip Wed 14-May-14 06:27:16

Bloody hell, what a terrible school!

In terms of schooling, do you have a Montessori school near you? They take children from 3-6. It sounds like a good holding pattern rather than panic about schools, you can take your time and wait for an in-year admission (take your time to move house, consider other options).

Fideline987654321 Wed 14-May-14 06:27:56

I should imagine the school are under pressure to act from parents' who don't like their DC being pushed, kicked, painted and bitten. It can't have come as a huge surprise to you.

Your OP is hard to read because of the lack of paragraphs, but I'm not really clear what help you asking for. I don't fancy your chances of getting a fee-paying school's admission decision over-ridden, for example.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 14-May-14 06:38:06

"Would you consider nursery for another year for her? I believe you have the option these days, to keep her 'back' one year. This way she can make new friends and join them in the new reception year. "

Kia, this isn't an "option",the LA must consider such requests but is still likely to turn them down unless supported by professional statements etc.

OP, your LA will have to find you a school if you apply. Apply, get on waiting lists, see what you get, you may be pleasantly surprised. I do think the school should have explained this was a possible outcome to you earlier so you would have been able to do a back up application earlier.

BalloonSlayer Wed 14-May-14 06:40:51

"i feel like the school has just decided she doesn't fit into whatever mould is expected"

I think that's exactly what's happened. They can take who they want and if they feel a child might need the teeniest bit more input than they feel they want to give, they can just say "computer says naaaa" at you and there's nothing you can do. sad

I don't think you should have said anything to your DD, you should have waited till something else had been arranged and sold that to her as an exciting alternative.

She doesn't have to be in school next September legally. She doesn't have to start until the term after she turns 5, which is Sept 2015. You actually have lots of time to sort something.

Agree with the others that you have had a lucky escape from this school.

saintlyjimjams Wed 14-May-14 06:52:12

It's unusual for private schools to exclude ime as they like the fees - I think there may have been a lot of complaints. You are definitely better moving her. None of the incidents (including biting or kicking) sound particularly bad to me given that she's 3.

Agree with others who said some children clash with some schools.

Have you looked at the state schools or just dismissed them without looking? (Not a criticism if you have). Go & have a look you might be pleasantly surprised. I have children in a mixture if state & private schools & I think state schools are usually much better at dealing with behavioural incidents. I actually only have one child left in private & I wish we'd sent him to state primary now (not for behavioural reasons). The reas

saintlyjimjams Wed 14-May-14 06:54:28

Reasons for choosing private we're valid at 4 but in the long run I think our local primary might have been a better choice.

Go & have a look at as many schools as you can. You might want to talk to them about behaviours - to judge their reaction - I think this is particular important if you look in the private sector - some are happy to take on challenging children, others not so much.

puddock Wed 14-May-14 07:15:43

Imagine if she'd been born just a few days later, and was not due to go to reception until Sep 2015. That extra year, whether spent in a nursery setting or at home with her family - a bit of informal HEing perhaps - might do her a power of good.

The good news is that she can have that extra year and go to reception in 2015, it has recently been made very clear:
In your position, this would be my plan. (My DS2 is actually that few days younger than your DD, born early Sept, and sounds a lot like her - no school until next year is definitely going to be best for him.)

Sorry you've had such a horrible experience, try to protect your daughter from it and I think with hindsight you'll see this as a turning point for her.

mummytime Wed 14-May-14 07:57:48

Apply to your LA for a state school place, they have to find you one. It may not be in the school you most want, and could involve some travel, but they have to find her a place.
Even if you don't like the school offered I would strongly suggest taking it, and then getting them to assess if her behaviour is "unusual" for someone her age. If it is get them to assess her.
A "rough" state school can sometimes be the best place to get such issues assessed if necessary and dealt with. Make her new start a happy one.

However it doesn't sound that unusual, and the school does sound heavy handed.

I can understand your DH's reaction, but just ask him "Is creating a fuss going to help DD?"
Concentrate on what is best for DD.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 14-May-14 08:05:30

Again, puddock, the OP cannot just choose that.

Bunbaker Wed 14-May-14 08:08:17

"I believe you have the option these days, to keep her 'back' one year. This way she can make new friends and join them in the new reception year."

Not really. Legally she doesn't have to go to school in September, but schools fill all their places in reception, and unless a child leaves there wouldn't be a place in year one. Going from nursery/preschool straight into year one isn't a great idea as reception is far less formal and structured than year one.

rumbleinthrjungle Wed 14-May-14 08:16:02

What a horrible situation to be in.

Ring the local authority and explain: as others have said, they will offer you a place for September where they have one, and state schools will likely be more experienced in, less anxious about and supportive of challenging behaviour. You may find much more help there and that dd is actually happier. Also discuss the news link with them that was posted- the plan is for parents of summer born children to have a choice in holding them back a year before starting reception and another year in a good nursery or preschool to mature her emotional skills may be just what your dd needs. An August born child is so, so young to handle the demands of reception.

You could try your local sure start centre who will have networks of a lot of local professionals to ask for help and will be supporting other parents looking for a late school place. My local ones also offer some good free support courses for parents on parenting challenging behaviour, and you can build up a support network of other parents handling the same issues.

Considering school have only now made the decision to tell you they've withdrawn her place, it wouldn't seem unreasonable to me to ask them to support finding another provision for her, and pointing out that had you known this was a potential decision you would have had the opportunity to make back up plans.

There are lots of reasons why a three year old has challenging behaviour, and it's great the psychologist didn't see anything underlying to be concerned about. But this school will be experienced in typical three year old behaviour and your DDs would seem to be significantly different to what they are as typical at this age. She is very very young in her year, are they pushing for too much structure too early? Is there any possibility in your heart of hearts that you may be in denial about her behaviour? The descriptions of feisty, knows her own mind, are lovely qualities but can also be excuses if you see what i means? When does the behaviour happen most? How are her social skills at waiting and taking turns and following adult agenda? Is it clashes with other children or at transitions or impulsive? Kicking a stranger for no apparent reason isn't typical preschool behaviour. This is going to be terribly emotive for you to think about because all mums tend to feel terribly guilty if their child has behaviour needs, but try to take a step back, not feel responsible or blamed, and see the behaviour objectively. That may help you start to see the best way forward.

Unfortunately many independent schools will not take children whose behaviour negatively impacts the other children's beyond a typical extent or who need more support than typical for the age group in the classroom as they are a business and can't afford to lose other paying customers through complaints. That just is the nature of many independent schools, however they have dropped this decision on you in a very unhelpful and stressful way if you had no warning this might happen.

rumbleinthrjungle Wed 14-May-14 08:19:02

Are seeing as typical. Sorry for typos, dratted phone!

puddock Wed 14-May-14 09:39:41

Snatch, I didn't say OP could "just choose that", I said it was a possibility. Parents have the legal right to request it, and as you say it is for the admission authority to decide.
I'm not so sure about your assertion that the LA is likely to say no; surely this will vary from place to place and it's worth the OP exploring by talking to her own LA. Two of my son's summer-born nursery peers are going down this road, without statements or other unusual circumstances (although in one case the admissions authority is an academy trust rather than LA).

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