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ds 8 not happy at school

(5 Posts)
whojamaflip Thu 29-Sep-11 23:20:47

Hi my ds (8) has just gone into yr4 and has undergone a complete personality change - used to be a happy, helpful caring little boy who loved school and by all accounts was a credit to the class.

Since he started back however he has become moody, unco-operative and very tearful about the slightest little thing. Major rows doing homework and can't seem to settle to concentrate for any length of time. If he was an adult I would seriously be thinking he was depressed.....

Nothing has really changed apart from hes gone up a year and his little brother has started in reception - has sn but is getting all the support he needs.

Spoke to ds tonight to try and get to the bottom of it and he say he is struggling with his maths and english - he says he doesn't know how to make his stories more "exciting and powerful" and that his spelling "doesn't work". He also says he wishes he was as clever as the rest of the class.

Friends seem to be fine - no complaints about fallings out or people being mean to him but hes getting more and more reluctant to go to school (not said as much but hes dragging his feet in the morning - nearly missed the bus this morning and seems to be daydreaming and not completing tasks i.e. found him playing with a ball today rather than get dressed)

Haven't spoken to his class teacher yet - parents evening next week so will mention then. I have had a nagging feeling for the last couple of years that he may be dyslexic but the senco tested him lastyear and says he was fine. I do know he has been put on a wobble cushion in class to try and stop him fidgiting all the time.

Anyone any ideas on how to tackle this?

tutorsurrey Fri 30-Sep-11 00:52:30

I was really sad to read your son is unhappy. I was especially curious to hear you say that he doesn't know how to make his stories more exciting. There seems to be a premium in KS2 on this. Sure, it's great to write an exciting story, but only 0.001% of us are going to go on and become paperback writers. When I used to teach KS2, I occasionally became annoyed with the over emphasis on dramatic writing. And its a huge shame if it is making your son upset. It could of course be just what was on his mind on the day you asked, however.

I know it's a predictable answer, but the best person to talk to is, you guessed it, the class teacher. It is early in the term, however, and you mustn't forget children can feel low for periods, just like adults. Only you can be the judge of when he has been down for too long, and talk further with the school.

In the meantime, why don't you speak to his class teacher before parent's evening? That might put your mind at rest a bit and give her a chance to keep an eye on him before you chat again.

As for dyslexia, this again can be tricky. I suppose many parents worry about this, but only a small percentage of their children will be a learning difficulty. That doesn't mean in any particular case that the parents are worrying too much. I used to tutor a KS2 girl in reading until I became convinced, that, despite her having passed some sort of test, her reading issues were significantly serious for me to suggest to her mum that she might enquire about testing outside school.


whojamaflip Fri 30-Sep-11 22:57:45

Thanks Robin - I will speak to the teacher on Mon when I do drop off - at the very least it will warn her that I may have a few more concerns than can be dealt with in the regulatory 10 mins at parents evening.

He's come home from school happy that maths was dealing in 10s, 100s and 1000s so he was able to do the work and that he managed to get 25 out of 50 in his tables test. But he didn't manage to finish his english work in class and so he missed break time so was pretty down about that.

I understand what you are saying about dyslexia - I know he struggles with camera word recognition despite spending hours going over and over them. He also still doesn't get blending and will sound out unfamiliar words, try to blend them and then make a stabbing guess at the word which bears no resemblance to the letter sounds. Maybe I will just have to go back to basics and start again with him - I'll run it by his teacher and see what she says.

Thanks again

PastSellByDate Mon 03-Oct-11 13:22:14

Hi whojamaflip!

I agree that you should raise this with the school - maybe at your parent/ teacher meeting? I see that your DS is sn - so perhaps you need to discuss additional support for English & Maths work. Stress that he is aware he isn't working at the level of his class mates and it is starting to affect his attitude toward school. You'd like some ideas on how you can support/ reinforce school work at home.

I don't know your situation and how severe the sn may be. However, I think that if you can persuade the school that what your DS needs is opportunity at more practice at home and convince them to support you in this, it could help make the day to day of 'keeping up' less of a struggle, which clearly is getting him down.

Finally - I think that you need to discuss his needs in terms of breaks. Your son's sn's may mean it takes him longer to do work - so the school keeping him in at breaks to finish unfinished work means that he isn't getting a fair opportunity at some rest and fresh air, which would most likely do him a world of good. Put it to the teacher in terms of their needing a bit of a break - would they like it if they had to keep working through their breaks, whilst everyone else had a cup of tea and a sit down. I suggest that you approach his teacher(s) about finishing up any unfinished work at home, with you supporting it, or by coming in early or staying a bit later. This has two benefits - it means that he doesn't feel he isn't being allowed a break and a play with his friends and it also means that he doesn't feel he's being punished for finding it a struggle.

whojamaflip Mon 03-Oct-11 14:19:11

Thankyou! I have found out a bit more of what is going on from a friend of mine who has a son in ds's class - apparently there is a Yr6 who is calling him names and not letting him join it with the football game at lunch etc. By all accounts this Yr6 has emerged as the leader of a gang who are taking great delight in picking on smaller kids and ds seems to be bearing the brunt of it. There was a problem 2 years ago with this particular child who was picking ds up by his feet and swinging him round. School dropped on him from a great height and the bullying towards ds stopped. Not sure why its all kicked off again - all I can think is that this child is now one of the biggest in the school and he thinks he can get away with it.

PastSellByDate - just realised how poorly written my op was - its ds's little brother in reception who has sn not ds - SORRY! blush. However I am going to keep a copy of your post for future with regard to ds2. Also I liked the bit you wrote about breaktimes - will definately be dicussing that with the teacher - applies to all kids imo.

Seeing teacher tomorrow so will update later.

Cheers smile

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