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In all honesty, what would prompt you to move primary schools?

(13 Posts)
dorasee Sat 10-Jan-15 08:40:05

Probably jumping to conclusions and DC3 doesn't allow me much sleep at night, so I do get touchy about things.
DC2 is in reception at DC1's former school (DC1 now in secondary). I have known this school and its environs for years and we really were delighted to get a place there for DC2 (since we now officially live outside the catchment area and parish). I know the head very well, the teachers, etc.

DC2's reception teacher is one I haven't known from the past and in a way, it's been nice to have a new experience and a new face within a well-known environment.
DC2 has been happy at school up until the month leading up to Christmas, which I had put down to fatigue. I have come to learn through talks with her and observations at a play date and a birthday party that she is very dominated by an overbearing little buddy. They're very young and learning social boundaries, so I have left this to resolve itself. I like the 'overbearing' friend's mother very much, but the child is incredibly indulged and rules the roost. She is actually a nice child but can turn on a dime and go into a white rage, shouting right up in my DC2's face.
DC2 has been crying a lot at school. It's all come to a head and the teacher called me in for a meeting, especially since every day this past week, I've had to say goodbye to a tearful, frightened child who is too afraid to see her friend and wants to change schools. It's escalated and I don't think it will right itself on its own at this point. I was happy that the teacher rang me for a meeting. I was thinking of making an appointment anyway.

Teacher claimed that she had observed my DC and her friend and that actually, she could see absolutely no reason why my DC was afraid. She went on to praise the friend to high heaven. If I were her mother, I'd have been chuffed. But I'm not her mother and there wasn't much 'support' of my child's loss of confidence and increased fear of this friend. :-/ I suddenly felt in the wrong. The teacher seemed concerned that my child's rejection of this friend would ruin the other little girl's confidence. But then, my DC is the one who is literally afraid of everything and needs every ounce of encouragement to go into the classroom. She goes to school crying and mumbling about her angst the entire walk to school, then comes out looking so deflated every afternoon whereas she used to come bounding out.

I heard what the teacher said and took it on board. But then became upset when my daughter cried and said she didn't want to go to a birthday party today because her 'friend' will be there and scare her and make angry faces and push her. Teacher said that DC2 needs to get used to the fact that kids make angry faces. She needs a backbone and to grow a pair basically.

I really don't know how to help my daughter and I don't know how to alleviate her fears. I don't feel comfortable talking with the teacher again. She's made her observations and she made it pretty clear that she feels my DC is exaggerating and seeking attention. But the tears roll fast and steadily. She becomes panicky at the thought of seeing this friend and wants to avoid her at all costs. It seems unlikely that this is just attention seeking behaviour. Has anyone been through a similar situation?

mrz Sat 10-Jan-15 09:05:36

An unhappy child who is failing to thrive.

werenotreallyhere Sat 10-Jan-15 09:10:08

Is it a one intake school? In all honesty I would talk to the head first before thinking about leaving

Purpleflamingos Sat 10-Jan-15 09:12:43

Move her. She's not happy and the school are not addressing the issue.
Alternatively put your concerns in writing to the teacher and the head and ask for a meeting about your daughters welfare with the threat to remove her if not adequately resolved.
We moved schools and it was the best decision I made for ds. He just didn't gel with the school or the students. He's massively popular and in the top 10% of his class now.

redskybynight Sat 10-Jan-15 09:22:06

In your case, I would give it rather longer - they've only had a week back after Christmas surely?

It's hard to know what is going on in your DD's case as on one hand she is clearly unhappy but on the other hand the teacher is telling you there is no reason for concern.

Some random things to consider

- what does other child's mother say (my DC have frequent fall outs with friends, once very nasty, and the other mum always had interesting perspective)

- does DD always play with this child, or does she often play with other friends?

- is there actually something else wrong and DD is using friend as a convenient excuse?

- is there another class she can move into, or is this 1 form entry?

- from my experience with my own children they've had regular appearances where they don't like school because of one child (generally an ex-friend). so to some degree they do kind of need to get over it and either make friends again or just avoid each other. So I can sort of see where the teacher is coming from if she doesn't believe it is bullying - your child will encounter children she doesn't get on with either long or short term throughout her school career and she does need to develop coping strategies to manage this. Obviously if it is bulling this is different, but I don't think this is necessarily the case here.

- did you speak to the teacher about ways to improve your child's confidence / self esteem just as a "good" thing to do in itself (not in relation to how she may or may not get on with other children in the class)

PastSellByDate Sat 10-Jan-15 09:50:19


I agree with RedSky - but will also add that sometimes the issue is that children can be frightened to be on their own - at lunch/ play times.

I think part of the problem as a parent with children this young is it is often very difficult to get a clear explanation of what is going on - often it comes out years later.

I would add that it might help your DD if she can see that she can do things on her own at play time - play on the climbing frame/ play hop scotch/ draw on the playground with chalks/ draw on a piece of paper/ read a book/ help a teacher..... therefore, she doesn't have to play with this 'difficult' friend or can ignore/ avoid a bully.

I also agree that it is important for your DD to develop a wide circle of friends - this insulates you against vagaries of someone being difficult/ absent/ away and you're being on your own or upset by their behaviour.

Personally I have moved DD2 to a new school - but the issue was unrelenting mediocrity/ slow pace of learning/ lack of ambition at the school & we moved into a different catchment so could approach the local school (which miraculously fairly swiftly had a place). There were huge social issues at the old school for DD2 (who had her fair share of angry face girls to cope with for 4 and a bit years) - but my view was this could happen at any school (and is more or less playing out at the new school - although fortunately DD2 is not involved in the problems - which are between boys this time rather than girls).

Finally - I wouldn't be offended by what the teacher said - in fact I suspect she'd say something entirely different to the mother of 'angry face' girl - she has to be supportive outwardly of all her pupils. In the same way you might support a difficult colleague when someone is complaining about poor service where you work. You're not likely to say X is awful and you really wish the boss would fire them now are you? Although you may well be thinking it.

Hang in there - try to help your DD make other friends and find solutions to avoiding conflict with 'angry face' girl. I sincerely hope that time is the solution - but certainly as it is only the end of the first term in Year R - my advice is give it time/ keep a close eye/ and now that you have raised this with the class teacher if you are seriously concernred (i.e. your DD is coming to harm) you are now justified to directly raise this with HT).


Sunflower123456 Sat 10-Jan-15 10:55:10

There is no guarantee the next school would not have bullies, even private ones. Kids will be kids, and your DC should learn how to cope with or avoid them. A play date with that particular child might help, and you can report any incident at the time to her mother.

dorasee Sat 10-Jan-15 15:55:59

Would it be unreasonable to enlist the help of the SENCO lead for an emotional/behavioural issue? I feel DD needs to be supported back into a confident place at school. Or is Senco strictly about kids who need more support academically?

elfonshelf Sun 11-Jan-15 16:43:11

Does the school have an Ed Psych on the staff? You might find them much better than a SENCO for these issues.

We've recently see the one at our school - not for issues like your daughters, but because I am very unwell and have been for a long time, things will get worse in the short to medium term and DD is blaming herself and despite it being nothing to do with her in anyway, she's been getting very upset. My DH spoke to the school and they called the psych ed in to work on the situation with DD's teachers and us. Has made a huge difference.

FWIW, we did move DD to a different school last year - got a waiting list place at our 1st choice that was more convenient.

Otherwise, my reasons for moving a child would be - in no particular order - a) too small a school and especially too small a group of other girls to allow for good size friendship pools (prefer 2 form entry so clashes can be mixed about each year); b) school being St Mediocre; c) severe bullying that couldn't be resolved or that wasn't taken seriously by the staff; d) opportunity to attend what I would consider a much better school for multiple reasons.

It might be worth having a look at other options in your area - if nothing else, it can make you feel that you are being proactive and make positive actions whatever you may ultimately decide to do.

MMmomKK Mon 12-Jan-15 00:02:22

A crying child not settling in a school is heart wrenching. Poor you.

I do, however, think that moving schools so quickly, and especially not having tried to resolve the issues, is not an answer. And the girls are still so young, that a lot can change quickly.

If I were in your place - I'd actually go back to the teacher, or to the theacher+Headmistress. My main goal for the meeting would be not figuring out who is to blame for my daughter dreading school, BUT rather - what they think WE need to do about it. And what the SCHOOL is going to do about it.

Let's assume for a moment, that the teacher is right and your daughter is having some other problems and using this "friend" issue to divert. Even if it were true - what are you, as a parent, supposed to do in this situation? The school should get involved and help you - after all, they are the experts in dealing with little children.

And if the teacher misread the situation - then getting the school involved in the solution, would surely get her to see the real picture.

But again, as I see it - the main issue here is how to turn the situation around and make sure your daughter is happier at school.

One thing I can think of just from reading your post - there is no mention of other friends at school. In addition to talking to school again, I'd be busy trying to have DD make new friends - playdates, playdates, playdates...

friendofsadgirl Mon 12-Jan-15 00:36:46

We had a similar problem in our DD's first year of primary school. It's so awful to see your DC upset but talking and really listening to them will help. Talk to the headteacher if class teacher not getting it. I did and I tried to acknowledge my DD's imperfections (shy, easily led, hates confrontation...) So they knew I wasn't blaming other child entirely for the situation. Very long story but in the end I encouraged DD to play with other children, enrolled her in activities out of school and invited friends from those to play.
DD eventually worked it out for herself that relationship between her and bully was not a real friendship. I think at first she had felt that she had to be this child's friend but after meeting/playing with others she no longer needed to. She now seems to tolerate the other child being in her company but will stand up for herself. In a way I'm glad it all happened as she may be better able to deal with bullies she will encounter in future. Anyway 2 years on and she has lots of playmates at school, a best friend from one of her clubs and she is doing really well. Hope your DD makes other friends and can distance herself from this child.

Clobbered Mon 12-Jan-15 01:29:37

I can only share my experience. Lovely school where older 2 children had been very happy and DS3 loved nursery. As soon as he moved to Reception, we had tears every day on drop-off and a really unhappy boy. School refused to acknowledge any problem and implied it must be an issue at home. It dragged on for months. Eventually I snapped and took him for a trial day at a new school. He came out smiling and chattering like his old self. He never went back to the old school, and he told me many months later about the bullying that had been going on there which had made him so unhappy. Broke my heart that he hadn't managed to tell me at the time, but moving him was absolutely the right decision and I'm so glad I did it.

FeedTheBirdsTuppenceABag Mon 12-Jan-15 10:07:26

I just wonder if you can speak to the head and ask for a second opionion, in our school different people do break times etc, can another teacher discreetly be asked to look out at what is happening.

The busy teacher may only have observed a few mins, and been obv about it, children are not silly...the other girl may have been on best behavior knowing being watched.

My DD has had ups and downs but not lasted very long. When I ask her who she plays with she seems down sometimes but when I see her in the play ground on odd occasion she is bouncy running round....and popular. Same at sports day and other things....she is not excluded.

I would go to head and say I am so worried, no smoke without fire, totally out of character, I am thinking of moving but feel before we go to such a drastic step as we love school....can head ask another monitor to over a few days - discreetly have a look at what is going on.

Its all very well saying - they need to get used to angry faces....confused but a face who is in yours screaming is bullying and schools should be on high alert for it and to stamp it out! not say - get used to it.

In answer to your question, I would try this angel - see what happens..see if I could have some friends over, encourage new friendships, is there an after school club she can go to etc...give it a few more months...see what new monitor says - then move.

I wouldnt keep child there for sake of it, no one should have to put up with bullies

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