Stormed out of school with my Year 4 daughter....(10 Posts)
My 8-year-old daughter is unhappy at school and I don't feel the school are offering the necessary support. After a short meeting with the 'parent liaison officer (PLO)', I said I would take her home as I wasn't happy with how the school were dealing with the situation. I am going in to meet her teacher later and I would like some advice/insight about what I should say/request/expect. I don't like being a difficult parent but I feel I have to do something to help my daughter as she is so unhappy.
Backstory - my daughter has had issues all the way through school and I would describe her as complicated. I have generally gone for the tough love option and pushed her in to school crying/screaming/sobbing on occasion. Last year she had a very unsettled year with 4 supply teachers over the year. Towards the end of the year, we arranged a meeting with the school to discuss how unhappy she was. The school was receptive, and the PLO talked to our daughter twice and moved a boy who was 'annoying' her. She seemed happier and enjoyed her meetings with the PLO. The PLO then stopped the meetings after about 2 weeks, as she thought the situation was resolved and said my daughter should just go knock on her door if she wanted to talk to her again - which I know she will not do, and I told her so. At the start of this term, she has a new teacher, an NQT who seems very nice and my daughter likes her. She was seated next to the boy who annoys her again, which I raised with the PLO, and he has swapped with another boy - who used to call her names (she didn't tell me this last year) and he elbows her to make her work a mess. Now I realise the problem is possibly/probably with my daughter, and she does need to tell her teacher - but how do I get her the support that she needs? What if she won't tell the teacher? What should I expect from the school? What do other schools do? The PLO simply says she has to tell the teacher, but she won't. if she would, I'm sure we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place. I think she is very quiet at school and doesn't like to 'tell' on other people. At home she is not at all quiet, she is often moody and unhappy. She argues constantly with her younger sister who has a completely opposite character. She has friends on our street who she loves to play with and gets on well with them. I admit to finding her difficult to deal with myself, but she can be really lovely, especially when I spend time with her on her own. Any advice would be hugely appreciated.
Very hard to advise as its hard to tell what the issue is. is it a confidence issue, is it a self esteem issue, is it academic and being transferred.
Its year 4 so alongside the teacher there should be at least one other adult in the class. There is the possibility they can actively keep an eye/check in on her surreptitiously to make sure she's OK.
Uncertain who this PLO is - a teacher, TA or admin role. Once agreed what the issue is need an ongoing plan that does not rely on her to be proactive. Perhaps there needs to be some kind of low key monitoring/observation to see what's triggering it.
Would she use a non-verbal method of raising an issue? I have had children in the past who struggled to come and tell me something was wrong, but were willing to use a non-verbal method - such as a card, red on one side, green on the other which she uses as a bookmark in her exercise book and leaves sticking out a little way - green side up, all is good. Red side up and the teacher knows there is an issue. However, she would still need to be willing to explain to the teacher what the issue is.
Bear in mind that the new teacher may not have been told about the back story by anyone if they thought it was sorted, so as far as she is aware you have taken your child out of school for a minor issue.
You do also need to reiterate to your daughter that she needs to find an adult she is willing to talk to about any problems she is having with other children in class - it is not telling tales, but nobody can help her unless they know there is an issue. I used to tell my class that:
If somebody is doing something dangerous, then I need to know.
If somebody is doing something that is affecting your learning, I need to know.
If somebody is doing something that is making somebody upset or damaging property, I need to know.
Otherwise, I don't need to know - it is telling tales.
Very simplistic and doesn't always cover every eventuality, but it did help children to work through the whole 'Miss, X is letting Y borrow her colouring pencils and she's NOT ALLOWED!'.
Why are you meeting with the PLO? Can you not just talk to the teacher directly? I have not heard of a PLO before.
I would arrange a meeting with you and the teacher (no daughter) and try to get to the bottom of things. I could be that your daughter behaves very differently at school.
I would investigate this fully with the teacher before getting grumpy / storming out ;-)
I have used the red/green card as described above for children like your daughter, and with one pupil she kept a 'diary' of what was going on (playground related) in an exercise book specifically for that purpose and handed it in with all the other books at the end of the day so I could deal with incidents the following day. This then later moved to the red/green card when confidence in my dealing with the issues was increased.
I would try and continue to work with the school - suggest things too - you know your daughter best. Hopefully then you can come up with a workable solution to build her confidence. Good luck.
I am going in to meet her teacher later and I would like some advice/insight about what I should say/request/expect.
Try putting it all in writing to hand over at end of meeting - having stuff in writing can make a huge difference to how seriously it get taken - though having taken child out of school would you hope do that anyway.
Try and calm and polite and keep the focus on your child - the other child might be the problem but you don't want to get dismissed as not liking that child and they may have issue they won't/can't discuss with other parents - so keep being it back to your child her problems and the impact on her.
Calmly state the problem - and ask for suggestions on how you can all work together to solve it - the card system might be an option, help for you DD to speak up or moving away or strategists to help her manage distractions.
Is it possible that your DD is talking to the teacher? We had this happen our child was doing as we asked and speaking up to the teacher only to get dismissed. We haven't had many issues over the years - in that case went higher up and it was sorted.
I seen your thread in AIBU - it sounds more like bullying.
That was what was behind the teacher not listening in our case - low level stuff - they deputy spoke to all the children and the lunch time people it was better monitored then next year as it was two stream year they separated the children which made a huge difference.
I think listing all the events would be the way to go and asking them how they are going to manage teh situation in teh future so your DD feel safe. Then see how this teacher manages it - some are better than other IME.
In case anyone is interested, this is the extra information that I posted in my other post:
Thank you for all your advice. Hopefully I didn't exactly storm out - at the end of the meeting I said I would take her home rather than leave her as I wasn't happy with how the situation was being dealt with. The alternative would have been to peel her off me and leave her sobbing. It's quite out of character for me to make a statement like that so it felt like storming out! The class teacher has just called me and then put me on to the headteacher, so hopefully we will make some progress. I feel like they want to help, but they don't have solutions other than 'tell a teacher'. She gets called 'spesh kid' because of her meetings with the PLO by the two boys who she has been seated next to, and I think one of them wrote 'POO' in permanent marker pen in massive letters on the back of her school cardigan, although not 100% sure who did it. I didn't report that at the time. Urgh. I hate having to deal with this. I know schools have limited resources and I don't want to be 'that' parent, but I think I am going to have to be! She is very sensitive, shy and insecure - characteristics which I share to a lesser extent, but I was never so unhappy at school. I am going to try to take her in for the afternoon session, and have a meeting with the class teacher after school. I will take some suggestions from this thread with me, I really appreciate your advice and also just hearing from people who understand. Thanks again.
First of all, thank you so much to the many people who have offered support and advice, and also the people who have illustrated the other side. By reading all the comments I have been able to see things more clearly and realised what I have to do. I have been too concerned about making a fuss for too long. I had a meeting with the new teacher and the PLO after school today. I did bring up bullying for the following reasons: 1. Boy X (I think) wrote POO on the back of her cardigan in permanent marker pen and splashed her work with water. Boy Y calls her 'Spesh Kid' and elbows her to make her work messy. She has sat with these two boys for years because they are the same ability. She doesn't want anything to be done about Boy Y because 'he is the boss' and he will get angry.
The teacher said that of all the people in the class, those two boys would be the ones most likely to make life difficult for someone. She will move my daughter and she will discreetly talk to her every day on her own. She will ask her to collect books in at the end so that she ends up staying a little late and won't make it obvious to all the class that she is having 'special treatment'.
The PLO was quite defensive and dismissive of bullying because we don't have proof, but I was assertive in reading the list of all the things that have happened and requesting a plan of action. I didn't blame the boys and demand that anything happen to them at this stage, but I did request that the school pro-actively help resolve the issue rather than say my daughter needs to tell a teacher every time something happens. I don't think she wants anyone to know that she gets called Spesh Kid, not even her parents.
I accept she is shy, sensitive and anxious, and the school have supplied me with two books to read/work through, and also said we can see the school nurse, which I will do. I feel much more positive after speaking to the teacher. Fingers crossed things will improve, or we get the help we need.
One more thing, I was asked if they could put her absence down as due to sickness, and intimidated by the alternative and the consequences with social services if I don't. Is there an alternative? She wasn't sick, she felt sick at the thought of going to school, which is different and I think would like that recorded.
I hope it works out for you and your daughter. IME it really depends on the experience of the teacher in question and how much they actually care. Many are not experienced enough and do not have proper support from the senior management. They're exhausted and just want an easy life. It is easy to make the child the problem, which is disgusting when you think of it. You have to be firm and professional. Document everything and keep a diary. They will be looking out for themselves and for their ofsted. Ask them why they want to change the absence. Is it to protect you or to protect them? I was in a very similar situation last year. Children should be excited and happy to go to school, especially at primary. I moved my DS 1 and it was like I had a different child. It most definitely was the school and the environment they created. He has had zero issues at new school and is thriving.
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