Move schools now (reception) or wait it out?(12 Posts)
A friend of mine's ds is in reception in a small one form entry (but highly desirable) school. He has been there since nursery and an on-going friendship issue seems to be getting progressively worse. The boy is not blameless, he is a bit of a live wire himself (she willingly admits this) but it seems all games have become about setting him (mostly unachievable) targets or him being on the other 'side' to everyone else. My friend has tried to discuss with the school but they are something of a 'we are a highly desirable school we do it this way' up themselves type and say there's no such thing as bullying at this age and their strategy is to not allow this group of boys to play together at lunchtime etc. He is desperate for their acceptance so he tends to seek them out or apparently they 'follow him' anyway.
ANYWAY, do you think if you had the opportunity you would move them to a different school?
My gut reaction is to leave it up to the school and allow them to separate the boys. It could happen again somewhere else. Certainly see it out until the end of the school year. He is very young and needs time to mature.
Your OP is not that clear. What do you mean by "all games have become about setting him (mostly unachievable) targets or him being on the other 'side' to everyone else"?
I would have a good look around the other available school options. A highly desirable small school can be hugely appealing but not always the best match for a "live wire". That said, what is it your friend wants the school to do? If the dynamics are such that her DS and another child do not play well together and has been the case since before starting school, keeping them apart at lunchtime seems sensible to me.
I just wonder if there isn't a more positive strategy they could use? (though I admit I don't know what)
And the games apparently often involve the others all scoring points and then my friend's son being set a challenge but never being allowed to earn the points etc. He seems to be always be being put in the position of outsider...
Are the games at lunchtime/playtime or during lesson time? Have the school confirmed that these games are as described with your friend's DS - that he is the only one with a target?
If he really is the only one subject to unachievable targets then yes, I'd be looking to move.
I had a very similar situation with my DS who is in reception recently. The school were very proactive in dealing with it ( and picked up on it themselves as this kind of exclusion can be quite subtle). They had various chats to the children as a group, and then did gently encourage my son to play with other children instead. They did this though mainly by encouraging and developing his other friendships ( which luckily he has) so that he had someone to go to, if he felt excluded by the group. They also worked with him on keeping his confidence up whilst he was being excluded.
Things are now a lot better and my son is much happier again. Interestingly the main boy who 'leads' the group has now started trying to include my son again.
So it's difficult to know without knowing exactly what the school has said, but I would expect the school to be being more proactive from my experience.
I agree with Greydiddi that I’d be expecting a better response from the school: my DD had a recurring friendship issue in Reception and the teacher was supportive and proactive. Things are much improved now in Y1 but again, the teacher was supportive when DD had one issue.
You say your friend has tried to discuss with the school, but was this just the class teacher? Obviously they’d be the first port of call, but has the friend escalated the issue? I’d want to give the school every chance to deal with the situation before ‘jumping ship’.
I would talk to the school - but if they aren't listening then move him (and no point in waiting until next academic year).
Ideally I'd move him to a bigger school with maybe a less restricted in take of pupils.
my son experienced this last term and he is in Y1. The other boys were always the goodies and he was the only baddie. school sorted it quiet quickly by using carpet time. and helping my son be more assertive. While also telling the boys you can't just have one baddie, need to have two teams. and everyone has a turn on both teams.
We had a similar thing going on in reception. In the beginning of the school year a group of boys (the football players) formed, whereas the other boys each remained quite isolated initially. I think it was a bit of a status thing, the group that had bonded together was perceived by the others (certainly by my DS) to be desirable, he desperately wanted to belong. But some kids in the group, one in particular, used the ability to repeatedly reject/isolate/belittle my DS as a means to secure their own position in the group.
It was heartbreaking to watch and had devastating effects on my DS' social confidence. There were times when we did consider removing DS from the school. And if it hadn't improved pretty soon, we would have.
We did talk to the teacher who did keep more of an eye for a while, did some carpet time talks, and directed DS towards different kids for a while; but it all petered out again pretty soon. Teacher stated she thought the situation to be resolved when it was far from that.
We also did lots of work at home, mainly instructing DS to keep away from said boy, and practising ways to respond to certain situations. He eventually formed a new group and made some excellent friends.
That other boy still seeks out opportunities to reject and belittle my DS (and others), however my DS sees through it now, is confident with his own group of friends and it barely affects him anymore (in Y2 now).
In your friend's child's situation, it sounds to me as if the child needs to stop seeking acceptance and find/form a separate group of friends. If they are otherwise happy with the school, I'd say give it a go, talk to the teachers again, and work with the child at home.
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