How do you phrase "my DC is bored and lonely at this school"(44 Posts)
In a constructive and effective way?
Parents evening coming up - and I don't want to be fobbed off with platitudes. (but it's obviously not going to help to come across as a nutter either!!)
What age is your DC, and how does your DC express it to you?
My standard approach is to politely explain the specific things that I am worried about and let the school comment - and usually they suggest a sensible solution which works for them and us.
What I tend to do when I have a problem with school is actually write to the head initially and the re-iterate to the teacher at parents evening. My reasons for doing this is when something is bothering me I can get quite tongue tied or I choke on the emotions. Writing a letter allows me to communicate without turning things into rant and it also ensures that there is something in writing (having had an experience with dd previous school where I told the teacher that I specifically told her teacher that I did not want something to happen and she did the complete opposite of what I had asked and then when challenged about it she lied). Hope this helps
Pretend Mumsnet is the teacher- what do you want us to know?
Definitely tell us more. How old is he and what problems is he having?
Lonely = finding it hard to make friends? Why is that do you think? Not on the same wavelength? Shy? Something else?
What they could do: mix up the tables, peer buddies in playground, encourage mixing with other class/year group, nurture group.
Bored = Not being stretched or it's too hard or he can't hear/see/concentrate properly so loses the thread or doesn't enjoy some things e.g. craft or maths
You need to think what the underlying thing is (in your opinion) and then not say bored but say 'feels he isn't stetched, e.g. ....' or whatever, and then discuss with the teacher how to overcome.
He is Y3. It's a very awkward situation where he got placed in a school miles and miles from home, and the council send a taxi for him - hence I rarely get a chance to see the teacher/other parents. Communications aren't great.
My specific social issues:
- He is very quiet and anxious as a personality. I think the school have put him onto some kind of intervention program (he talks about getting taken out of lessons once a week to draw pictures of his feelings) - but I don't know anything about specifically what and why is happening.
- He doesn't feel confident approaching teachers with problems. So things like getting hit at playtimes only come out at home, he says he doesn't know how to get an adult's support. Frankly, I don't know either, since DS doesn't pass on notes that I write, and emails to school also often get ignored.
- He finds it hard living far away from his classmates. I've several times tried to initiate playdates with his friends by sending notes into school. I find the notes weeks later crumpled in his pocket, because he lost his nerve to pass them on.
I know school are over-worked - but I really think they need to be sensitive that he needs social support - and somehow make home-school communications work better.
That sounds to me much more than you can usefully cover in a 10 minute parents evening slot.
In your place I would
- use the parents evening to get their view of how he is fitting in
- raise the fact you are very concerned about it, request a separate longer meeting. Suggest you write down what you posted above and pass a hard copy to the teacher directly at parents evening and make a date to discuss in more detail a few days to a week later.
Is he so unhappy he is disengaged from the actual education bit hence being 'bored'?
Are you on wait lists / appealing for a closer school?
Have you tried asking the teacher to phone you at home? ie Phone the school office, explain that notes aren't handed on, ask to arrange for teacher to phone you?
First two or three weeks of term he was coming home as angry as a devil - yelling, crying and door slamming - but he said that nothing was actually 'wrong'. But it's very hard to know from a distance.
When he talks about school - all his concerns are about social sides. (E.g. "how will I manage in the KS2 playground?" kept coming up few weeks before/after start of term. Then it became " XXX wants me to be her boyfriend and I don't really know what to say..." ).
Re: the stretching - it's me projecting. He just doesn't really talk about what he's learnt. His sister was swotting for 11+ over summer, DS joined in with doing a bit of work just for company - and the standard of what he produced for me is well ahead of what I see in his homework book. I don't see progress from last year - and it all seems extremely 'meh'.
He got L3 across the board in last years SATs - and I feel they are taking for granted that he's bright & motivated and not really any trouble.
I asked teacher for a daytime appointment, because I said that I felt we had a lot to talk about. She declined to see me in the day - but booked me a double slot for parents evening.
We failed in our appeal(s).
Have you tried moving him to a closer school? KS2 can accommodate more children per class than KS1 so it may be a good time to move particularly with the issues you have raised.
My appeal failed because (quote) 'you did say he had some friends at school - so despite the many difficulties of the situation - we do not feel the balance of prejudice is overcome'. I didn't bring enough tiny violins to the table.
The upshot is, basically, that the council say that the taxi means that it doesn't matter where he's schooled, since they get him there. But it's not as simple as that when it comes to delicate issues of relationships and communications.
It is another reason why I think I have to become more assertive on DSs behalf.
the intervention stuff might well be ELSA sessions, Emotional Literacy Support. In which case the school should have sent home some information to tell you what it is all about, our SENCO organises ours and my eldest has had sessions for anxiety, they also did sessions for a small group of anxious children about moving up to the other building and playground etc. They have told us at all points that they were doing this and why so it is very much including us in the process. I am actually thinking about asking for something for our youngest as she appears socially ok but is actually very lacking in confidence, she just puts on a good act.
That is good you have a double slot at parents evening but if it isn't all covered in that time make sure something else is booked before you leave.
It is quite likely if he is lacking in confidence that he really isn't showing the teacher what he can do and so they aren't aware of it. Do you have any examples of things he has been doing at home that you could take in and show the teacher, obviously work done at home is often better than that done at school but it would give an indication of what he is capable of and might prompt them to stretch him more.
social confidence wise - I am not sure, we aren't doing too well with DD2. Drama lessons have definitely helped, she is putting on an act but at least it means the other children can't see she is lacking in confidence. She is better than she was anyway, has more confidence in herself. She was bullied last year and has had comments about what she looks like so I have worked hard with making her proud of who she is and I think it is helping. Could you try cubs/scouts (I don't know the ages)? drama groups?
Ok - one of the triggers for me being especially upset this week - is that we decided to have a party for DS - to make an effort with his friends.
I specifically coached him to tell the teacher he had invites for the whole class. He talked to teacher, she said 'go and put the in the book bags' - he said he did one or two before the TA snapped at him that he shoudn't be out of his seat. So he went to sit back down & came home with 28/30 invites.
I emailed school last night to say that he really needs support with this. No reply yet. WIBU to turn up at school now and ask to chat to one of the teachers/TA to make sure he'll get some help?
I know it's OTT & it makes me one of those parents - but it's desperately sad to think his birthday will be poorly attended because he's shy and unsupported.
Is write an email outlining your specific concerns , to the head teacher.
I also would be very concerned I knew so little about what had been going on your son is only 7/8!
I would not worry about being one of those parents, from what I've observed those parents at least get things done for their DC.
Are you on the waiting list for closer schools?
I would be very tempted to put in writing your concerns that as he lives so far away he is having issues with making friends, and you are finding your communication with the schools is difficult. And then ask them to outline/discuss steps they are going to take to help.
I've 'previous' on long emails.... I was hoping to get more specific info from school before I escalated...
But it's not great, is it.
What is the consensus about turning up demanding reassurances re: DS party invites being issued. Will I be escorted out by police?
I think you have to be one of those parents sometimes. Your DS needs support and the existing communication channels aren't working for him or you.
Could you collect him one day and speak to the teacher? Or arrange an appointment prior to the parents' evening and during the day? If his teacher won't facilitate such an appointment then make it with a senior teacher. Make the point that the appointment isn't to discuss his work in more detail but is to discuss his emotional wellbeing and their duty of care. It's important that he feels he can approach them with problems and they will both listen and act accordingly. It's also essential that you are aware of why he is being removed from class so that you can support their aims.
Actually far from being one of 'those parents' who agitate all the time I think that you are in danger of the school forming the opinion that you are not interested , which is quite obviously not the case .
Can you not either drop off or pick up once a week at least just for a few weeks ?I would absolutely turn up at the school , I would also forward the unanswered emails to the Head and ask for a reply within 24 hours .I would also telephone.I suspect the school are failing to grasp how serious you believe the problem to be .
I was doing one pick up a week last year because I could lift swap with another mum. That DC has gone to senior school now - and the pricetag of collecting DS1 is £15 in childcare for his sibs - which is quite steep for 5 minutes brief nod at the school gate.
I think you need to take some time out and go to the school to sort this. Parents evening won't cut it. Can you do some drop offs / pick ups so you get to know the other parents and get their numbers for playdates? When DS is bringing in invites I give them to the teacher - I wouldn't rely on him to do it, same with a note about a playdate.
When you heard about the 'intervention' did you not try to go to the school and talk to his teacher about it?
I don't want to be harsh and I am sure you are under a lot of pressure but I think you need to take a more in person approach than just sending in notes or emails.
Just say it. Explain as you have here. There's nothing unreasonable.
I would also urge you to email the school again - and ask for a response outlining the steps they school will take/how you can work together.
Please, please document stuff - it sounds like, as you suggest, he is doing "OK" they are doing a bit but he is not enough trouble to warrant looking at his situation holistically.
If you email/write a letter you have a trail - and it cannot be ignored. If it is ignored - you can escalate to the Governors.
And tbh even if it does mean you are one of "those" parents, at least your son will be getting the support he needs.
I am a Governor, and I will admit, there was once the slightest hint in a discussion in a meeting about one parent being one of "those" parents (they were not named btw). But that unprofessionalism was fleeting - and the issue concerned was dealt with with the utmost professionalism - and most importantly, the schools concern for the child was paramount. The child was not dealt with "as one of those children" iyswim. They were dealt with fairly and compassionately. It is absolutely OK to fight the corner for your son. And if the school think that of you? Meh.
sigh I know. But the fact is that I don't have an alternative school - and hence the bottom line is like it or lump it.
I did ask last year for a direct email address - out was refused - and office only seem to pass on 50% of what they get.
I did pay the £15 for the purpose of asking the teacher for a longer school hours appointment - but really pick ups and drop offs aren't winners. Even I I do them, I have to rush.
I did all but kidnap some DC last year for a playdates (saw her with her granny and cajoled them into coming to ours now - and also doorstepped someone in his class with an insistent Halloween invite... But it's very limited. My car is smaller now - so I can't give lifts to his friends - and most of the parents don't drive. "I come to yours" is even harder to pull off than "you come to mine". Like I said - we are sticking our necks out with a party - but that's a high stakes strategy.
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