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I need some perspective please - v confused and low!

(10 Posts)
Climbingrose3970 Fri 15-Jul-11 13:54:21

Please help me get some perspective on a problem we have been having with DD for some time but which has now reached near crisis point. She's been getting distressed about apparent playground issues - repeated exclusion and meanness - on and off since Y2 (now end Y4). The last period of this has lasted approx since Xmas, with her being extremely distressed repeatedly at home, and generally difficult to manage, depressed and resistant to doing anything much - especially, but not only, going to school. She has also this year become v dependent on her class teacher - who has been generally caring and supportive - and unable to cope with a supply teacher (eg can't go to school or spends day in office crying). Meanwhile despite our repeated discussions with class teachers and head this year and previous, nothing was ever done about what was happening or even simply to investigate what we/DD were saying her playground experience was (lunchtimes being supervised at DD's school by casual staff not teachers). About 5 weeks ago we were so desperate we finally went to the governors (the Head was keen to tell me how very 'hurt' he was by this). As a result the lunchtime supervisors have had more training and are a little more observant and for a while we have had a home-school notebook, though this has now been stopped. Nonetheless, the head told us in his view it was DD's problem/in her head, as this is a nice school with nice kids where things like bullying don't happen.

Meanwhile, DD was also telling us she was getting more and more stressed in the classroom and more and more confused about her work. We have always wondered if she had a mild dyslexia issue, though until now she seemed able to compensate ok, so we did commission an independent ed psych assessment at half term - it did indeed diagnose dyslexia, albeit mild. This, combined with DD's own description of increasing stress in classroom/with learning as well as in playground, plus the fact that her NC levels at end Y4 are 3as when she was 3cs at end of Y2, led us to ask for meeting with next year's teacher and next term's acting head (current head about to leave). We had that meeting yesterday, and acting head had pre-concluded, from fact that we had commissioned a report and were bothered about progression of only 2 sublevels in 2years (he said it was fine), that we were pushy parents and that this was the cause of DD's stress!! He also interpreted report to indicate a child who simply dislikes reading and has some minor phonic and comprehension problems, and interpreted this in turn as being because I must have forced DD to tryvto learn to read pre-school (which I certainly never did!). I am v upset - I don't think we are pushy parents at all. We never do academic stuff at home, bar supporting school reading and homework, and when we do have rare time to be with the kids properly, try to do creative and fun outdoor stuff. Our concern isn't about her performance in itself, but her happiness and wellbeing - and she is very stressed and unhappy, socially and in class. We wanted to work with the school to workout why and help her, but instead we get told it must because we are pushy anxious parents! But this girl was well above average and happy 2 years ago. Now she is average or so and very stressed and miserable. Am I right that the school ought to be asking with us why that us? But they are not listening. We are so close from moving her - but are we overreacting? I am a bit too stressed right now to see this clearly, so any perspective most welcome! Thank you so much!

Rose

wheresthepimms Fri 15-Jul-11 14:42:26

If she is upset and the school are not willing to help her then I would seriously consider moving her. My DS was assessed at the start of this year as a 1c in all subjects (he is yr 2) he was unhappy at school and we moved him. We just got his end of year report and his supportive, (emotionally and academically) caring loving new school has worked wonders he is now level 3 in all subjects in his tests and teacher assessment puts him at a level 4 in Maths. The other school kept saying it was him and us as pushy parents, the new school said he was so saddened by the other school that the first 8 weeks were a waste of time when he got there as they were just building up his trust in teachers again. We have had no more playground bullying and no please can we have a word about DS incidents since moving him and it was the best thing we could ever of done for him. You know your DD better than any teacher and her happiness is essential to her learning. Good luck and keep smile

homeboys Fri 15-Jul-11 14:44:30

Yes it is difficult to find perpective when you are in the middle of a situation, but I would bet if someone had asked you 2 years ago, you would have told them that you would never allow your dd to suffer like this.

From the outside I would say you ahve tried and she has suffered for 2 years.
The new head is not accepting that there is a sacial or educational issue, therefore you are not going to get any further.

I would try to arrange ASAP a few school visits if at all possible before the end of term.

If you can i would home school between end fo this term and the october half term to give your daughter some room to recover and you some space to choose the best school for her instead of lurching into another problem situation.

If you decide to home school for a bit then you do not need to tell anyone about this untilt he start of next term so you have at least 6 weeks to chill and think about where you want to go from here.

I know the future is unknown, you could be out fo the frying pan into the fire etc etc and you may feel scared of bucking the norm, but your dds schooling is affecting who she is and you will feel a huge sense of relief if you give yourself permission not to send her back there.

xx

homeboys Fri 15-Jul-11 14:46:46

sacial = social!!
sorry for typos

Bronte Fri 15-Jul-11 14:48:32

Really sorry to hear about your unresolved problems. Was your DD ok pre year2 regards friends? Can you pinpoint a trigger which caused the problem?
Did particular names keep cropping up as the ones being mean?
We had similar but probably more mild problems with my DD whom we know is sensitive and less confident than a lot of her peers. The school always did the best they could to help but equally we talked to DD about strategies she had to adopt to help herself. Some schools will set up a friendship group for vulnerable children so they know they have a recognisable support group from their peers. Did the teacher try this?
My DD especially struggled as she moved schools part way through year 4 due to our house move. At her previous school she still found it hard to establish solid friendships and yearned to have one good friend. she 's now in year 7 and has made good new friends with children from other primary feeder schools. She is the most settled she has ever been regarding friendships and is far less anxious about not being part of the in crowd!
This was a bit of a ramble and may not be of much use but i do identify with the hurt you feel on behalf of your DD and a sense of being helpless.

Climbingrose3970 Mon 18-Jul-11 13:11:27

Thanks very much for replies - really appreciated. Wheresthepimms, I am so pleased you found a solution for your DS, and Bronte I'm glad your DD is so much happier now. Homeboys, that's much appreciated but sadly homeschooling not an option as we both work f-t.

Bronte, good question - yes, she's sensitive and less confident than most of her peers as you describe for your own DD, though we have always tried to encourage her/get her out etc., and her sibling is not at all like that. There have alwyas been particular names cropping up, yes - so I think it's partly about some other individuals (and school refusing to investigate/do anything) but partly also probably about DD's own anxiety - and of course it becomes a vicious circle. But pre-yr 2 (in a different school), she was OK and a different child to the one she has become now - a nervous wreck, to be honest. And the school hasn't done a lot in terms of friendship groups or other strategies, no - occasionally for a week they have done something like that, then they will drop it/not bother to keep it up.

I would also love to hear views on the 2 sub-levels in 2 years issue from any teachers or others out there - should we be concerned about this or not? This is something that we wouldn't even have known about had the school themselves not said it to us at a parents' evening about 6 months ago - i.e. that 3 sub-levels in 2 years was the minimum to look for by end Y4 - and now she hasn't made that they are saying it doesn't matter and telling us we are pushy for raising it!!

sarahfreck Mon 18-Jul-11 16:06:00

Well in my experience as a tutor, mild dyslexic type problems are magnified greatly if a child is upset or distressed, so this might account for the slower rate of progress.

Have you considered going to your GP and seeing if you can access a psychological service that might be able to help your DD with her anxieties. Her learning my then improve naturally as she becomes less anxious.

Climbingrose3970 Mon 18-Jul-11 17:55:09

Yes I'm sure you're right about that, and DD is already starting to see a clinical psychologist she's been referred to by the GP. Whether dyslexia or anxiety or social or any other issues are the real cause though, doesn't seem to matter one way or the other to the school though - they seem relatively unconcerned, not really listening (including to the point we keep making that DD is quite a different person in school holidays - i.e. surely school has at least something to do with all this!). And they seem unconcerned about the slow progress this year and last. Is that normal/acceptable?

hillyhilly Mon 18-Jul-11 17:59:20

I think if it is at all possible, you have to move schools, it will give you both a fresh start. I feel so sad for your DD hearing this and she does sound as though the school could do a lot more - however, you have spent 2 years trying to get them to do more and eventually not succeeding - it is time to go.

aries12 Mon 18-Jul-11 18:27:08

I would seriously consider looking around other schools. It sounds as though the present situation in your Dd's school is beyond repair. Two years is a long time to suffer and it's time to do something. A fresh start may be just what she needs. Some schools are particularly good at welcoming new pupils and really loook after them.
School can be a horrible place for the child who does not "fit in!" Perhaps if you do get the opportunity to move you should explain your reasons to the new Head teacher and see if a little group of children could be organised to play/help with your Dd. No child should have to feel excluded and be upset every morning.
If visitng schools, have a good long look around, read the Ofsted reports online..and see what the atmosphere of the school is like.....you can tell a lot by walking around and going into classrooms when the classes are in...of course time is running out for that..
Make sure your Dd has a good break for the Summer and I'm sure her levels will improve when she is a happy and caring environment.

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