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Concerned that dd (9) is starting to feel disaffected at school

(5 Posts)
wearingpurple Tue 06-Nov-12 09:50:43

So - it's the first day back after half term and dd1 has been grumpy (kicked her sister, which is VERY rare - she's always been a v gentle girl) and then clingy at the school gate. She spent much of yesterday dreading the return and wishing school had never been invented etc. She's always been mildly anti-school, just because she prefers to be at home, but this seems to have gone up a level.

I don't think it's bullying/friendship anxiety. Although she's quiet, she's always been popular and has been with the same group since Reception (now in Y4). She does have one 'wendy' friend who constantly compares their abilities to the detriment of dd1, but she's not the only target of this girl and doesn't seem to take it especially seriously.

Her class was recently setted for Maths and she was put in the top set - while she has the ability, she is not at all confident about it and often complains that it's 'too hard'. (She says this about the homework too but, once she's given it two minutes thought/had it explained clearly to her, she completes it without problems.)

What I'm wondering - and I'd really value any thoughts on this - is whether it's anything to do with something that happened last year.

Dd1 loves to write stories, and she's good at it. At her Y3 parents' eve, just over a year ago, her teacher mentioned that she was going to be offered accelerated Literacy classes once a week with some of the older children. She was in the room when this was mentioned and was very excited about it. Not surprisingly, it made her feel special. She wrote a ton of stories and ran out of notebooks about once a week (she writes on the PC as well - notebooks for the bedroom).

I'm not sure why, but the extra lessons never happened. G&T co-ordinator had decided to limit it to Y4+ only, I was told.

This year, dd1 begged me to mention it to her new teachers (job share) at the September parents' evening - so I did. Her teachers said that she wasn't on the register and it was far too early in the term to talk about it (well, indeed, I wasn't sure what the point of such an early parents' eve was myself).

So dd1 has gone from special to not special, basically. And I imagine this is part of the problem. She doesn't write anywhere near as much as she used to either.

Would it be unreasonable to bring it up with the school? I don't want to seem like a pushy loon who can't accept that my pfb isn't a literary genius - I'd have been more than happy for this g&t thing to have never been mentioned and to carry on encouraging her creative writing interests at home - but I do think they have short-changed her and her self-esteem has taken a knock. (Also looking very likely that dd2 is going on the g&t register for maths, which won't help...)

I'm going to have a chat with dd1 tonight before I say anything to the school - she might well have moved on from this disappointment and be fretting about something else - but I'm interested to know what you think.

(Sorry about the essay.)

DeWe Tue 06-Nov-12 10:12:19

I think I'd mention to, perhaps the literacy coordinator, that it was perhaps unwise/unkind to mention the literacy classes in front of your dd and then not have them.
Although it depends on exactly what they said. If it was "we're considering..." "There may be opportunities..." It's a different thing from "She will be invited..."

I think it's worth saying that she remembered enough about it to want you to ask in September, just so they know that it wasn't you who was remembering and pushing.

I think at the junior school here, G&T lists are deleted every end of year, and the new teachers have to make up their own minds. So it could be that she will be on the list, just her current teacher hadn't made the lists out yet-I think they're made around half term for ours.

mummytime Tue 06-Nov-12 10:34:29

I think you might want to talk to her about what makes her special and that it is not just academic achievement.

I would also say that my DCs headmaster once admitted to me that year 5 can be a horrible year for girls, and it can start in year 4. Actually my eldest DD went from being very popular in Infants to having a miserable time in primary school due to cliques, she's now having a much better time at senior school.
But I would talk to the teacher to ask her to keep an eye, and report back to you if she can see any problems occurring.

wearingpurple Tue 06-Nov-12 10:39:27

Thanks very much for replying.

DeWe - I can't remember myself exactly how it was phrased & may well have been 'there's a possibility' rather than 'it will happen' - but Bat Ears dd1 (who was on the other side of the room playing marble run with her sister) pricked up her ears straight away and waltzed over to hear more. She obviously took as done & dusted, though it might not have been. (I'm not sure teacher intended for her to hear either.)

mummytime - I do work a lot on self-esteem with both my girls, as mine was low, and try to show/tell them how special they are in every way as much as I can. While I think she's been lucky with her peer group, there have been, let's say, rumblings amongst some of the girls and I think it's definitely something I'll keep an eye on.

DeWe Tue 06-Nov-12 11:13:56

If the teacher said it while she was in the room, then she should have been aware that your dd heard and let her know (gently) that it was only a possibility. If the teacher didn't want her to hear she should have dispatched her on an errand or told you at a later date.

I had an issue with dd2's teacher last year who said to me various times that something would happen for dd2, and then not following it through. Actually it irritated me much more than it should, simply because she was not at all pushed on to say these things, it came entirely from her. My opinion is either you say them and carry them through, or you don't say them. None of the time dd2 was present, or I'd told her. I think if either had been the case I would have gone in and spoken about it.

I think I agree with mummy and wonder about friendships. Dd2, (in year 4)we always said we wouldn't need to worry about friendships, as she always seemed to be in the centre of social group. This year she was really miserable for most of the the first half term. Couldn't give me a reason, but this cleared when she made a new friend and started talking about her.

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