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School are using DD2 first name rather than her given/preferred name.

(148 Posts)
ClutchingPearls Tue 02-Jul-13 09:14:50

We have recently started weekly stay and plays at school ready for her starting in September.

When we applied we used her full name online ( because that what they ask for) but have since filled out every form with her given name. Only using her first name when there is also a 'preferred' name box to put her given name in.

The teacher (new) greeted her on the first day using her first name, DD2 just stared at her. All info had her first name on.

I took the teacher aside and explained she doesn't identify with her first name and only knows it in context with her middle name and surname. She doesn't recognise it written down and really its a official forms name only and her given name is what she's known by and recognises.

She refused to use her name and said only when she knew and could write her first name would she even consider using a 'nickname'.

DD2 is a very young 4 and is needing alot of work to get her ready for school. She really struggles with numbers and letters and I feel any unnecessary changes at this point will impact her learning up to now and also how prepared we can get her for September. Plus its her name, why would we want to change it for a more complicated and different one now? It just seems very strict for a reception teacher.

It is a common nickname and also now a stand-alone name. I'm not asking for her to be called Miss fluffy bottom sweety pie.grin

Where do I stand can we force her to use it? go to the HT? or do I just quit the moaning and start getting DD2 used to it now. Its our third stay and play Friday and we're at stalemate. Do most schools accept given names?

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 09:55:44

The instructions that come with the form from the Lea, say for legal name you put birth certificate and under given name put the name they go by if different from legal name. So for my other sons who dont have a shortening is rudi (ds4) so we left 'given name' blank as he so known by that which is his legal name. This is what the forms tell you to do, its bee the same each time my four boys started primary and again for high school for ds1 and ds2.

soapboxqueen Wed 03-Jul-13 10:05:06

If that's the case madthings then the LEA have got it wrong and is probably creating confusion in some quarters.

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 10:13:04

Well that is what the ask you to do. Only okn ds1's form did we have to out different is Theo as he is Theodore. The others don't get their names shortened, they have random nicknames of course but just for our use, I don't expect ds2's teacher to call him fruitcake as we do grin Oscar will suffice at school!

they have the same box for surnames is legal surname and 'given surname' if they use a different one!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Jul-13 10:19:09

Your childs given name is the name you gave them at birth, which is on their birth certificate.
The only way a teacher would call them anything else would be if they asked what you preferred to be called.
For example, Thomas may prefer Tom, Tommy, or William could be Will, Bill, Billy etc.
I don't think you can expect them to call them other names.
The name on the register has to be their given names for health and safety reasons as well.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 03-Jul-13 10:29:06

Wow, how arrogant of a school to believe that they can change a child's identity! That's what a name is, and its the family and child who create this identity and their whole personality and self esteem is related to the name.

Some children for a myriad of reasons do not go by their official first name. Not as just a whim or a cutesy nick name, but a genuine 'known as' name. This should be respected and adhered to.

My child (3) doesn't even know his first (official) name and would get extremely upset if a stranger (and that's what a teacher is when they first start school) demanded he answer to a completely alien name! And he'd feel bullied and confused and disregarded if this was enforced by this person in authority.

Before anyone starts telling me I'm at fault balh blah etc, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation but I would expect a school to be reasonable and not have a blanket rule which benefits no one! I would also expect that they would be human enough to respect his name even without an explanation (although I'm perfectly happy to talk it through as part of a sensible conversation, it's the refusal to discuss it that's riling me!)

I would also imagine my ds would at least know his full name by the time he started school, but at the moment when I tell him at the moment he says 'no' and walks off. When I did push it and say 'yes sweetie that's your full name', he got very upset and started to cry, so I've not been back to that conversation until he can understand it better.

I am aware I sound very cross, but I am! I had no idea a school could potentially do this to my child and I would take this extremely seriously.

Btw the reason is that ds father is from another country and it was culturally essential that his child was named in a certain way, especially for his family who are still there. So the first name on his birth certificate is utterly unfamiliar in this country and unpronounceable. Its lovely in its meaning, but never intended as the actual name. We use his second name and that was always the name meant to be used everyday.

If some random teacher took it upon themselves to overrule my ds whole life, they'd pronounce it wrong anyway, so would be forcing a mangled horrible sounding wrong name upon my child!

maja00 Wed 03-Jul-13 11:03:10

morethan, I think you're wrong on all counts! A child's name is what they are called, it's part of their identity. In lots of cultures the name on the birth certificate is not the actual name used.
You might not have read the OP, but the school asked for "preferred name".
Of course you can expect a school/teacher to use a child's preferred name - most manage to.
Electronic registers can cope fine with official names and preferred names.

8wellyspider Wed 03-Jul-13 12:39:12

I would most definitely fight it - politely at first obviously. They have the option for 'known as' on the form, then their system can handle their known as name.

Forcing conforming to their own version of your own identity seems to be placing too much cognitive loading onto a 4 yo!

Sprink Wed 03-Jul-13 13:58:59

MidniteScribbler: "the one time I slip I guarantee that parent will be going on at me, not about the fact that their child misbehaved, but about the use of his legal name."

Well that's just annoying and should be ignored. Honestly, why can't people just be reasonable?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Jul-13 14:04:18


I was told that the name on the register had to be the official birth certificate name in case of fire and having to make sure all were present.
What if somebody was a cover and had no idea of preferred name, the child would need to respond to the name on the register.
I always had to use the given/ birth certificate name for official things but was allowed to call dc preferred name in class.

Sprink Wed 03-Jul-13 14:05:34

soapboxqueen--"shocked at the small number of people who have called into question the abilities of this particular teacher"

Good point, though I don't think it's so much questioning her abilities as it is questioning her flexibility. It screams "1950s British education" and that gets some people's backs up. (Not mine, but some people's.)

maja00 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:08:03

Most electronic registers can cope with both official and preferred names.

edam Wed 03-Jul-13 14:23:34

soapbox - people are questioning the teacher's abilities because this is such a weird way to behave. It is unkind and unreasonable to insist a child uses a name that isn't actually the name they use. It's hardly unknown for a Charlotte to be called Lottie, or a William to be called Bill, or a Theodore to be called Theo, or a Jonathan to be called Jonny - it's been going on for centuries, FGS. If the teacher is unnecessarily obstinate about this, what else is she going to be strange about? Her weirdness raises big questions about her attitude.

ReginaPhilangie Wed 03-Jul-13 14:24:19

We gave dd1 the shortened version of her name as her official name, (Katie, not Katherine) on her birth certificate. She's come across a few people now who have insisted on calling her Katherine. They just a get a blank look from her and a "that's not my name". Because it's not her name, her name is Katie.

I think the teacher is being ridiculous btw.

soapboxqueen Wed 03-Jul-13 18:32:39

edam - how do you know it isn't school policy, or LEA policy for that matter?

I personally call a child whatever they want, within reason, but there is no evidence that this particular teacher even agrees with doing it.

maja00 Wed 03-Jul-13 18:50:03

The school asked for preferred name which suggests it is their policy to use it. Unless they are just curious hmm

I doubt any LEA has a policy of only using a child's official name - it would be very culturally insensitive if not discriminatory to do so.

soapboxqueen Wed 03-Jul-13 18:58:40

You'd be surprised at the stuff LEA advisors come out with. Especially the ones that don't have experience of early years which is most of them.

I'm not saying that the school should dictate what a child is called at all. I just think that the rationale behind it should be discovered before blaming the individual teacher.

redcaryellowcar Wed 03-Jul-13 19:00:40

I have friend of a friend whose first name is passed from mother to daughter, and they use middle name as known name, I rather like the concept but had never heard of it before!

Thatssofunny Wed 03-Jul-13 20:04:19

I don't quite understand why it's such an issue for the school or this particular teacher. It's not up to her to decide what your child is called (and I'm having a whole range of weirdly named kids in my class - at least according to my own taste...their parents quite obviously like their names; they'd giggle at the names the kids at my previous school had). Is your daughter's "nickname" something really silly?
We have preferred names on the register in most cases. In a previous year, I had a child, who had the same first name as the McDonald's clown. He went by something completely different and not at all related. Everyone called him by his "nickname". It was also the one given in the register.

edam Wed 03-Jul-13 20:22:21

soapbox - then the teacher should have explained it is school or LEA policy. Not taken it upon herself to refuse to call the child by the name the child uses.

I doubt very much it is policy, tbh, I think you are stretching the point to try to justify the teacher. But even if it is it still needs to be challenged. Everyone in this country has an absolute legal right to use whatever name they like - you don't need anyone's formal permission, unless there is an intent to deceive (i.e. you are a con artist or an identity thief).

Although bank systems and processes to avoid identity theft do mean it's handy these days to have some kind of proof you aren't actually obliged to use a deed poll, for instance. Irritating as those same processes don't actually stop huge criminal activity by banks e.g. HBOS (IIRC) and money-laundering. Just hassle for ordinary people.

elfycat Wed 03-Jul-13 20:36:39

I'm in trouble as not only does DD1 have a full version of a first name that she is called a shortened version of, but her full version is a not-totally-but-very-nearly unique spelling which I am already correcting on the official paperwork

Thank you person at the Schools Admission office who corrected it from the form I sent in.

So say DD1 is called Becky We registered her, not as Rebecca but rather Rebekah. Which is a valid spelling but not the common one, and someone helpfully corrected me. Thanks.

DD1 does know her full name and I've explained that it'll be the name in use on forms and she needs to say it is her. Then let people know she's 'Becky' when they're talking to her.

soapboxqueen Wed 03-Jul-13 20:49:38

edam I'm not trying to justify anything. I've stated quite a few times that I think the child should be called whatever she wants.

However, you do not know why the teacher said what she said. You just don't. I don't like people making assumptions and then criticizing others based on these assumptions. She could be a power made loon or following school policy (or tradition) that had been in place so long, she didn't think to justify it.

LEA advisors come out with all sorts of bizzareness. Children don't really need a lunch break was one of my personal favouritesgrin

edam Wed 03-Jul-13 21:04:15

YY they do - am a school governor and have heard of some horrors! (Thankfully ours are v. helpful but there are plenty of stories about others...)

LemonMousse Wed 03-Jul-13 22:48:48

noble the staff at your DS's school sound like a sensible lot - well done to them for thinking that through grin

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