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Am I over-reacting? Day 2 and Teacher wants to keep him in at break.

(63 Posts)
goneboho Wed 07-Sep-11 15:11:42

My son has just started at a new school in Year 1. He has been very anxious about starting at the new school, as we took him out of Reception at another school back in January because he was having difficulty settling in and we felt that he wasn't ready to be in the school environment. We have been home-schooling him since January.

He is a bright boy, but can be stubborn, wilful, quiet and very shy.
Because of my anxiety about him going back to school, I had long discussions with the school Inclusion Manager about how to make this a successful transition for him, and explained some of the problems he had at his first school last year.

The new school have been very supportive, and agreed to him starting on a part-time basis in order for him to settle in more easily. However, I arrived at midday today to collect him and was told by the teaching assistant that as he had refused to do his Maths work today, he would be kept in at break tomorrow morning.

As Rubin and I walked away, I asked him about this. He said he wasn't sure if they do maths differently at the new school (as opposed to the way we have taught him at home, I guess) - I take this to mean he was a little unsure/nervous about what he was doing. But that is to be expected - he has just been plonked in a new environment with new systems and new ways of doing things, and what I would expect at this stage is that they would spend a bit of time trying to learn how best to encourage him and communicate with him, not go straight to placing him on sanctions.

I was a secondary teacher myself, before my son was born, and this kind of sanction would have been reserved for much further down the line - once other methods of communication and encouragement had been tried.

My fear is that they have already labelled him as a naughty child, based on what I told them about his behaviour at his first school, instead of giving him a fair and fresh start.

I also think it's unreasonable to keep 5 year olds in at break time, especially on their 3rd day in a new school. Am I over-reacting?

My partner is going to call the school and complain, and demand that the sanction be withdrawn. I am frightened that we are going to bungle this new relationship with the new school before we're even out of the blocks, but I want to stand up for my child, and I think the school have over-reacted in this instance.

Advice and thoughts would be hugely welcome right now.
Thanks.

IndigoBell Wed 07-Sep-11 15:14:22

Teachers and schools often like to be very strict in the first couple of weeks, so that they have less behaviour problems later.

Do you think it could be something like this?

BelleEnd Wed 07-Sep-11 15:16:37

I agree with Indigo. I think the teacher is just showing him what's expected of him and that doing his work is not something he can opt out of.

I do feel for you, though, it must be an anxious time. Good luck!

Bramshott Wed 07-Sep-11 15:16:38

Is he being kept in as a "punishment" or just kept in to do the maths in a more relaxed 1 to 1 setting? Rather than going in all guns blazing, it might be worth seeing how it goes, and explaining to him that Mrs X has asked him to stay in and do his Maths at break tomorrow so he can have more time to learn the way they do Maths at this school?

Runoutofideas Wed 07-Sep-11 15:19:51

Is he actually being kept in as a sanction - or is it that the teacher wants some 1 on 1 time with him to see what he has learned so far and if methods etc differ? If it is the latter, then I don't think that's so bad, but they could maybe have found a better time for it that doesn't involve missing break. Surely socialising and running around letting off steam is hugely important, especially when starting at a new school.

Runoutofideas Wed 07-Sep-11 15:20:31

sorry x-post Bramshott

cansu Wed 07-Sep-11 15:34:51

I think you are over reacting and also I think you are right that making a big issue rather than being supportive will sour your relationship with the school. I am a parent of an SN child who has a number of difficulties at school and a teacher so have seen both sides of the debate. Whilst I can understand that its hard to step back you need to allow the staff to do their job and to get to know your ds. You weren't in the classroom so can't expect to be in charge of what goes on. I would personally be supportive and just monitor what happens in the next few weeks. If you are unhappy with how he is getting on and how they are managing him in a fortnight ask for a meeting and discuss it.

DeWe Wed 07-Sep-11 15:49:49

Maybe you need to think what you think would be an appropriate resonse to a child refusing to do their maths. Bearing in mind that there's (probably) 29 other children so they can't drop everything to concentrate on him and if they don't get him doing maths 1. other children may then refuse too, 2. you might be moaning in a couple of weeks that he's not done any maths.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 07-Sep-11 15:58:03

You don't know whether they tried to encourage him in class before they sanctioned him.

And you don't know what they're going to do with him tomorrow in lunchtime.

I'd let it happen, this is them settling him in and they are not going to do it as well as you and you're going to have to come to terms with that a bit smile

SenoritaViva Wed 07-Sep-11 16:02:43

I think you have probably been burnt by your first experience with your son and are now very wary.

I'd probably go with what the others are saying and see how it works out.

MrsGravy Wed 07-Sep-11 17:37:09

I think you need to find out more about what happened. They could quite possibly have been trying communication and encouragement all morning and it wasn't working. Perhaps as another poster said, they want to keep him in so they can get him to work in a quiet environment and find out what the problem is. I certainly think you WILL bungle your relationship with the school if you ring up to complain and demand the removal of the sanction - you need to have a quiet word with the teacher face to face and find out exactly what happened first.

EustaciaVye Wed 07-Sep-11 17:37:40

Often children are kept in at break to finish a piece of work if it is important. They get extra time with the TA or teacher to do so.

You sound a bit paranoid about the issue to me. understandable if he had a hard time at the other school.

I imagine the transition from home schooling to normal school will be quite hard but try and show your son lots of optimism and he'll take his cues from you.

I think it would be a mistake to call the school and ask for the sanction to be removed as you only have your sons side of the story. It would make more sense to ask for a quick chat for the teacher to try and understand the background more fully. If you then disagree with the consequence you can say so.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 07-Sep-11 17:58:42

'My partner is going to call the school and complain, and demand that the sanction be withdrawn.'

Was it the whole break, or a portion of it?
Was he told it was a sanction, or an opportunity to finish his work in a quiet environment?
Perhaps you should consider home-schooling for another year, until you are all more ready for the demands of a classroom.

clam Wed 07-Sep-11 18:14:31

"demand that the sanction be withdrawn."

Really not a good idea. For a start, it sends a dreadful message to your DS. Second, it will get in the way of you developing a working relationship with the school, which is vital if your son is to make this transition successfully.

Talk to them. Find out what's going on and how you can help your son understand the differences in approach etc..

MrsRobertDuvall Wed 07-Sep-11 18:19:20

You've said yourself he can be wilful and stubborn.....I think you need to let the school carry out the sanction.

Becaroooo Wed 07-Sep-11 18:21:48

Demanding will get you nowhere - you need to go in and speak to the teacher, apologise that your ds didnt do the work and you realise he needs to complete the work he is set, but explain that he wasnt being "naughty" but did not understand the way the subject was being taught and therefore became anxious about it.

Kid gloves at this stage, I think and always give the school the benefit of the doubt the first time

I can sympathise with your worries, I home schooled my ds1 for most of last year and he has been at his new school since last Nov....its very hard when you have seen our children suffer in an educational setting to believe it can be the best thing for them and to build up trust with the HT and teachers....ringing up and "demanding" anything is NOT the way to do it.

QuickLookBusy Wed 07-Sep-11 18:25:51

Agree with Clam, just go in a little earlier tomorrow and speak to the teacher-not the assistant.

Find out exactly what is happening and why.

I would then explain that your DS has said he didn't know what he was doing as you did it differently at home.
I imagine when the teacher hears this from you she will change her mind about the playtime.

I would also encourage DS to tell the teacher when he can't do something or this type of misunderstanding will happen again.

Cheria Wed 07-Sep-11 18:29:24

WTF is a "school inclusion manager"? Is it a teacher with that as an extra task, like head of year? Or is it an actual full time job? Do all schools have one? Sorry, I've lived abroad for ages and times apparently have changed.

OP I would try and trust the school to handle your son as they best see fit, and see how it goes after a few weeks.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Wed 07-Sep-11 18:31:57

You said it yourself your son REFUSED to do the math, he has to bear the consequence. The teachers can't back down either they have to maintain their class. I don't think it is a real "punishment" either he will probably have to do his math in class instead of playing.
Your DH should certainly not go (do you really want to embarrass or ostracise him?)
You have decided to put in back in school after HE, let go a bit, and give the school a chance.

TheFlyingOnion Wed 07-Sep-11 18:32:38

if he had sat in my class and "refused to do his maths" he would be kept in at break, on his own, to finish it.

In fact, I did just that this morning....

cjbartlett Wed 07-Sep-11 18:36:04

You do sound like you're giving your son the message that what you & him think overrides what the school & teachers think

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 07-Sep-11 18:41:54

'WTF is a "school inclusion manager"? Is it a teacher with that as an extra task, like head of year? Or is it an actual full time job? Do all schools have one? Sorry, I've lived abroad for ages and times apparently have changed.'

It's what used to be the Special Educational Needs co-ordinator. It is a significant post and has an enormous additional workload attached. It is taken on board by a qualified teacher, who then has to take another huge package of qualifications to fulfil the role. Usually that person has a class as well.

SauvignonBlanche Wed 07-Sep-11 18:42:10

I don't think you should be making demads at this stage. Why not hear the teacher's version of events first?

Cheria Wed 07-Sep-11 18:43:40

Thanks ProGoblin it was a genuine question I wasn't being flippant. Why did they change the name?

firstgreatholswiththree Wed 07-Sep-11 18:44:43

I would really approach this cautiously and agree with previous posts. I had strong feelings about something that happened to DD and I asked for an explanation and it certainly didn't help my DD even though I knew I was right. Sometimes it's better to suck something up for the long term benefit. With my DS something again happened and I know it was totally out of order (basically he's actually good most of the time and the head used him as an example and he was only in year r). I was pretty mad. It was unlikely that it would have helped even if I had have said something (would only have made me feel better). I'm not sure if this makes any sense but just my experience and I've learnt the hard way (needing to move schools)......

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