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Dd in disruptive class, don't know whether to try to move her (sorry v long)

(49 Posts)
shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 07:10:21

NC as situation is easily identifiable. Dd2 is at the end of yr3. She is in a boy-heavy class (roughly 1:2). She is finding it increasingly disruptive. Since yr1 all of the teachers have left the school either at the end of the year or mid year teaching the class. My other dd says that the class has a reputation for being disruptive. DD2 frequently says that teachers have told them that they are the naughtiest class. The teachers often seem to shout at the class and they often don't earn the class rewards etc. We have been in a few times to discuss it and the (new) HT acknowledged that things needed to be done. They had a change of teacher at half term, at first dd was moved from table A to table B, she seemed happier as the table was not as disruptive. Yesterday table A and table B were amalgameted.

It sounds a bit like an Easy Jet flight as they were told to sit next to the person who was going to be their talk partner for the rest of the term, another girl grabbed her friend first. The boy who then sat next to her (not one of the most disruptive boys) then tried completely unproked to kiss her in class. She told the teacher and he was told off, but she remains upset about the incident.

The tables seem to be roughly streamed by ability and I would say that she is probably around where she needs to be in terms of position in the class, so I can't see the tables or her peers changing much over the coming years. She says there is a lower ability table which is full of disruptive boys (at least her large table is mixed). She is studious and would like to work on the higher ability table. She would though I think struggle as although presenting as bright, articulate and engaged, she has struggled to learn to read (now making good progress), and although her maths conceptual understanding is good, she isn't as fast as some on her mental maths and she still makes simple errors such as numbers back to front etc. School not too bothered as she is 'where she needs to be for her age'.

She has got some sensory issues - we haven't felt the need to have a diagnosis but I could accept that she is more disturbed in the class than some others would be. She is reluctant to move but at the same time accepts that she can't continue like this. She raises the issue constantly at home from early in the morning until late at night. I think that the kissing is the last straw. She doesn't want to sit next to the boy for the next 6 weeks, which I can understand.

We have requested another meeting. Our options seem to be
1. continue as we are and do nothing, and hope that the class improves.
2. to ask/hope that they shuffle up the classes to make them more balanced, redistributing all the children and splitting up the disruptive ones. I imagine that this will not be popular with 'nice class' below.
3. request that as soon as a place is available that she moves to the other class - this is a girl heavy class with a rougly 2:1 ratio and by all reports is very calm. She knows a few of the girls, but would need to make friends. She could still see her two friends at lunchtime. I can imagine that the school will be reluctant to unbalance the classes further.
4. move her to a different school, where we think that there is space from talking to friends, or at least put her name down on waiting list.

This would be the most complicated option. There would be no chance of a place for dd1 - she is in year 5 going to yr 6. She is happy at school, she wouldn't want to move and the other school currently only extends to yr3. There might at some point be a place to move ds (reception), but he is currently fairly happy at school. The other school would be too far to walk (although possibly doable by yr 6 - it is about 1.5 miles on foot each way, but to then drop off at the current school it would be a further 0.8 miles - too far for ds).

It starts an hour earlier and finishes an hour earlier and some of the holidays are different. We would have to drive and this would involve everyone as dh would leave for work before we did. dd1 could walk to current school from home, but it would involve her being left every day for up to an hour (while we negotiated heavy traffic etc), and potentially she would have to lock up the house. Ds would have to come with me, we would have to either drive straight to old school or drive home and then walk depending on how the timing works out. This would last for 2-3 years until dd2 goes to secondary/ can walk alone. I work at home, so could do it but would lose out on work time with the extra ferrying of children in the afternoon and different holiday times. My work is flexible so as long as the job is done my employers are happy. I also hate the hassle of driving to school, parking is a nightmare at both schools.

Other than the logistical nightmares the other school sounds like a positive move - she knows three girls in the class. The class is girl-heavy, well behaved, there is a limit of 24 chldren in the year. It is a free school but follows NC for core subjects and all of the teachers are qualified. She would also be giving up a school with lovely grounds for one with very little outside space.

I know it sounds as if I am a bit negative towards the boys, they are not all disruptive, but at least ten are regularly (on a daily basis) exhibiting behaviour which I would not want my son to be doing when he is in yr 3, and I am concerned about the impact on dd2, who has to be my priority.

timeforabrewnow Sat 13-Jun-15 07:34:29

Why is there no chance for a place for DD1? I'm asking because it does sound like the best option for your DD2 to start at a new school.

We have 3 kids and had a problem with DS2 in year 4. We ended up moving all 3, even though the eldest was at the beginning of Year 6! It was the best thing we ever did for particularly DS2 and DD3, and I feel they had a much more positive experience overall of primary school. I don't regret it at all. My daughter is just about to start Year 6 and is very happy with her friends etc. There will always be 'lively' children in a class, whatever the school, but it is how they are handled and disciplined that is key, obviously I guess.

timeforabrewnow Sat 13-Jun-15 07:38:46

Oops sorry - just read that the new school only extends to year 3. That is awkward. Are there no other options at all?

soapboxqueen Sat 13-Jun-15 08:05:58

Just FYI classes with a majority of girls can be just as disruptive. It's a fallacy that more girls means more order and calmness.

Anyhoo , if this is affecting your dd to this extent I wouldn't be crossing my fingers and hoping for change. It isn't going to happen by itself.

You could ask about the classes being reshuffled but if they haven't done so in the past there may be a reason. It won't have escaped the notice of the staff if one class is considerably harder to teach than another. I'm not saying it will be a legitimate reason so no harm in suggesting it.

Otherwise I think your best option is to ask to be moved class. I think you need to really lay it on thick how difficult your dd is finding things. Make it easy for the head teacher to see this as a special case, as I suspect many other parents will want to move their dc too and she won't want to 'open the floodgates'. Make it easy for them to see your dd as the exception.

If moving schools isn't reasonably possible, logistically speaking, then don't bother with it for now. If requesting a move doesn't work then you can think about it again.

At the very very least you want to know exactly (and I mean exactly) what the head intends to do about the situation.

WifeBeater69 Sat 13-Jun-15 08:11:14

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fellowship33 Sat 13-Jun-15 08:14:54

If talk to the head about moving her class - laying it on thick about the sensory issues. If she won't, then I'd definitely move her school - though it will be hideous for you. Could she go afterschool club there so there's more flexibility around collecting her.

fellowship33 Sat 13-Jun-15 08:18:15

My dd is in the worst class in her school - two boys are continually violent and disruptive. Our head is diverting as many extra resources into the class as possible - extra TA, empathy projects, talking to the kids herself (my dd is in her office every other day to have a chat). What's your head doing?

tethersend Sat 13-Jun-15 08:18:24

If DD2 is at the end of Y3 and the other school only extends to Y3, how would that work? Apologies if I've misunderstood.

Is there another class she could move to, or is her current school one-form entry?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 08:40:29

I'm sure that girl classes can be awful too - although talking to parents in these specific classes they don't seem to be, obviously grass might be greener.

The reason that the other school would be the obvious choice is that the classes are much smaller (max 24), the school times are different - so logistically it is possible, although time consuming (other school starts at 8 and finishes at 2.30, compared to current school which follows normal school hours). The only other school nearby would be a school in special measures which also has a large number of disruptive boys. A school further away would start at the same time as current school which wouldn't work for ds who still needs to be dropped off at school and I would need some sort of care for them at both ends. With this school I can do both drop offs and pickups as long as I drive. At a push (e.g. car in garage) I could probably still manage both pickups / drop offs walking, but I don't think that ds would be happy walking about 2.5 miles everyday before school - he has hypermobility which isn't too severe, but enough to make it more challenging.

Apparently under previous head teacher a couple of children have moved to the other class in a different year group, so there is some precedent. I think that we will try to go for that option.

She has just been telling me that there is more history to the kissing than I appreciated. Apparently he has been trying to kiss her for some time. He seems to see her as a challenge, as other girls have let him kiss them, but she has always refused. She has had to hide in the toilets at breaktime because he and his friends have waited outside the girls toilets to try to catch her. I have told her that she is right to refuse and that she always has the right to say no, and she always needs to tell a teacher. I realise that if she moves to the other class he will still be there, but hopefully if she isn't always in the class he won't notice her so much. He hasn't tried to kiss the girls in the other class. It isn't just about this one child though, there are many other children who are disruptive.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 08:44:19

There is another class that she could move to in the same school. The other school has yr 3 as the top year, and dd2 is in yr3, so she would be in the top year, next year the top year will be yr4, it is a fairly new school so dd2's class will always be the top year, hence no space for dd1.

BlinkingHeck Sat 13-Jun-15 08:48:10

Will they not mix the classes for next year?
Complain, complain, complain to the HT and governing body.

mariejo Sat 13-Jun-15 08:55:26

I would raise concerns about the safeguarding of your DD. Given the history your DD has just told you, the boys behaviour is unacceptable. How are they goi9ng to make sure your DD and the other girls are safe?

Karoleann Sat 13-Jun-15 09:01:51

I'd move her - another 4 years in a class where she is obviously unhappy would be awful for her and you.

When we moved out from London, I swapped my walk to school (300 metres) to a 10 minute drive. It took a week or two to work out the best timings, but I got used to it very quickly. If there's the option of a breakfast club for your DD a few times a week, maybe that would make the parking and commute easier.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 13-Jun-15 09:13:35

I don't understand why they have a boy heavy and a girl heavy class when they could mix them up and create a more balanced combination? Especially if (and I agree girls can be disruptive too) all the disruptive element appears to have concentrated in one class.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 09:17:58

I think that if she wanted to move schools then we would do it in a heartbeat. She is not keen to move classes or schools (she isn't keen on change), but obviously we and the school need to keep her and the other girls safe.

The timings would be:- 7.30 leave, park, drop off at 8, then either drive home and drop the car and walk to current school or drive straight to school (schools are nearer to each other than to home so would have to wait from 8.15) to drop off for 8.45. DD1 would have to come with us at 7.30 or would have to be left alone for an hour (probably a whole other thread, not what we would ideally like but I guess something we could consider) and then walk to school on her own.
In the afternoon I would need to leave at 2 to park and pick up dd2 at 2.30 then drive down to current school to pick up at 3.15.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 09:21:55

I don't understand why they haven't mixed them before either. It does seem as if she has pulled out the short straw. She is worried about losing her friends, but friendships can be fickle anyway, and at least in a more girl heavy class there are more options to find new friends. We have now had two years of concerns about her (the first two years it is easy to dismiss as they might grow out of it) and I don't want another three.

Ohboys Sat 13-Jun-15 09:41:48

Sorry if I've missed it, but have you approached the class teacher or head about this at all? If so, what was their reaction?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 09:48:34

We only found out about the kissing last night (why is always on a Friday night?), the other disruption yes we spoke to the head about last term. The teacher is only in her second week with the class, I briefly spoke to her on Thursday, to say how much happier dd2 was that she had moved to table B and that she could concentrate more, then Friday morning tables A and B were amalgamated and she is back where she started next to the same disruptive (and now apparently amourous) children.

Ohboys Sat 13-Jun-15 10:10:22

I would go in again, have an honest chat, make the position really clear and give them a chance to come up with a plan of action to help your daughter. You sound very reasonable. Keep that approach but be very clear about the impact the situation is having. As a class teacher, I would want to know everything you've said here and support my pupil and their parents. Decide how to proceed further depending on the outcome and their response.

Ohboys Sat 13-Jun-15 10:12:23

By 'go in' I mean make an appointment so that it gets taken seriously.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 10:22:18

I have emailed the HT and class teacher, although obviously I don't expect to hear back from them until Monday, and I have asked for an appointment for next week. I don't think that she will be physically harmed if she isn't moved immediately, but clearly something needs to change. Fortunately dh has a day off too so we have asked to see them then. I have appreciated bouncing around my ideas though and it has helped to confirm that something needs to happen. The other school is on holiday next week so I don't think much would happen yet in that direction anyway.

Minispringroll Sat 13-Jun-15 10:23:12

I'm surprised...firstly because they haven't mixed them and secondly because their teachers told them that they are the "naughtiest class". hmm Who does that?
Speak to the head about mixing the classes and creating two more balanced groups. That's in the school's interest, because they won't want an underperforming class, when they could have created two stable ones with potentially better results.
We used to have a class, which were supposedly difficult (22 boys and 8 girls). They weren't difficult because of the gender imbalance. They were difficult because they've had to go through 8 teachers and 4 student teachers in two years. They've had one teacher all year now. No job shares, no disruptions, no students. They are absolutely fine as a class now. All they needed was some stability.
That said, I've got a boy-heavy class. I usually get boy-heavy classes. I quite like them. On average, the number of disruptive boys and disruptive girls I have taught over the years evens out.

tacal Sat 13-Jun-15 10:43:00

Hi op,

my ds has sensory issues and was in a disruptive class. He said he did not want to change schools. But when we went to visit another school he changed his mind.

He visited his new class, met his new teacher and joined in for ten minutes with some of the other kids who were playing with lego. He could see how much better the school was. He was supposed to move to the new school after the summer holidays but he liked it so much he asked if he could move straight away. He moved in the middle of May and I saw a difference in him straight away.

He is coming out of school much happier and more relaxed. The difference in him is amazing. We have to get up much earlier and have to drive to the new school but it is definitely worth it. It is only me and ds so doesnt affect any other family members, not sure what I would have done if I had other children.

My ds has a lot of input from o/t about sensory issues which did help but moving school has made the biggest difference.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 10:54:49

The teacher was a HTLA so maybe not had as much training, but the dc don't necessarily appreciate the difference so to them it is as if a teacher has said it. The teachers have (mostly) stayed to the end of the year before leaving. When I raised the issue with the HT she had only been in the school for two weeks but could already guess which class I had come about. I think it is just about knowing that something will be done. I agree that girls can be disruptive (dd1 has a few in her class), but in this case it is the sheer scale of the issue and a number of different groups of boys who are disruptive. Maybe you could come and take over for next year - there are apparently vacancies!

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 13-Jun-15 11:04:56

That is reassuring tacal on the whole she copes very well - she has issues around taste (e.g. toothpaste, bitter tastes), certain clothes (trousers, tights etc), she is photophobic and dislikes loud noise (although she can produce enough herself!) - she is much better than she was, she will now tollerate hand dryers etc, although wouldn't use them herself. I imagine though that in a noisy class she would find it harder to concentrate than an average child.

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