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Y6 residential - how should I deal with this or not bother?

(20 Posts)
MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 09:12:56

I always find it hard to know if I'm treating ds1 as a special snowflake/ PFB or when I need to address things. I am not even sure if I need to bother with this, but hopefully a chance to 'vent' anyway. For info, the residential was from Monday-Friday.

Ds1 moved to this school at beginning of Y5. He has really struggled to make friends, and we've had a lot of issues with bullying (mostly being left out, laughed at etc). He has finally made a few friends and was really, really hoping he would be put in a room with them on his residential. Lo and behold he was! And very excited about it too. There were 7 of them in the room, 2 good friends, a couple of others 'friends' and a couple he didn't really know from another class.

When I went to wave him off on the coach he was sat on his own, which was a little bit heartbreaking, but I thought: well he has the friends in his room at least. He got back yesterday and said there was a problem with the room so they got split into 2 groups and put in smaller rooms. He was put with the 2 he doesn't know, who are also best friends. I was really gutted for him. He also sat on his own on the coach on the way back as well (3 hour trip each way).

He just seems to accept these things as 'his lot', but it does hurt him too. It makes me so sad and I don't know what to do, or how to help. His teacher and the deputy head both know about the friendship issue, so it surprised me that they split him up from his friends and also allowed him to be sat on his own on the coach in both directions.

Should I say something? They have just kept 45 kids safe for a week on the one hand. Also, they are just so focussed on Y6 SATs at the moment - do they have any time for this? And he did have a good time apart from this issue, I think, though he hasn't said a lot.

What should I do? Let it lie and feel sad. How can I help him? What can I do?

FrayedHem Sat 25-Mar-17 10:05:30

Tricky as it's been and gone and he had an o.k. time from the sound of it. I think you have to consider, if you did go and speak to them, what outcome would you hope for? I wouldn't worry about the SATs stuff though, if you want to raise it, then do so.

I get the sense this is more about losing trust, as the original arrangements took care of the friendship issues but the change saw him split from the friends he does have. It is possible that there are other issues between the two best friends and the other children and this was the least bad solution.

Maybe broach it from the angle that you were surprised that your DS was placed in a room without his friends, had there been a problem with DS and his friends you weren't aware of?

Witchend Sat 25-Mar-17 10:19:51

DD1 has a similar situation in that they promised the children they would be put in a room with at least one child they wanted to be with. She was with none, and not only that, they weren't friends at all and told her that. She arrived back home with a suitcase full of rubbish because they were told they had to clear the room totally and the others just packed their bags and told her to make sure it was tidy.

I approached it from the angle that they sent home a photo of each dorm sitting in their dorm. Every child was smiling on their bunk, except in her room. She was not there-the only way I knew that she'd arrived was I recognised her duvet cover.
I pointed out that not only could this have been very concerning for me if she hadn't had a distinctive cover, but also surely alarm bells should have rung that out of 120 children one was missing.

They had improved things when dd2 went and any child who they couldn't put in with their initial choice was talked to and given other options.

The sitting on the coach on their own is something that I think teachers should be more aware of too. It can be a sign that a child is in a "3-friendship" which is fine, but it can be a case that they're generally excluded. Dd1 was always alone because her best friend was in another form-that was also the reason she wasn't in a dorm with them, they refused to consider mixed form dorms.
One of the things I pointed out was they'd stated when I'd expressed concern that they'd separated them (for no reason) that it really didn't make any difference, and this sort of thing shows that it does.

MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 10:44:36

Of course it makes a difference. I suppose the outcome would be to make them aware again and to keep an eye. I know after SATs there is a lot 'fun stuff' and I don't want him to be excluded. Also, to make sure this doesn't happen to other kids.

He's been in a really weird place today. He could be very tired, but also he could be sad/ stressed/ upset. It is very hard to tell with him, as I have to put things together myself as he won't talk about/ doesn't realise how upset he is about things.

MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 10:45:46

PS. Witchend, so sorry about that experience for your dd. How is she now in secondary?

FrayedHem Sat 25-Mar-17 10:48:28

If you have on-going concerns you should definitely raise it. I wasn't suggesting that it wouldn't make a difference, I just know some schools can be very defensive and can perceive things as a criticism. I've had to resort to taking my eldest out of school and not returning him until changes were made, so please don't think I am dismissing what's happened and I really understand how hard it can be to deal with.

MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 10:53:17

FrayedHem, the difference thing wasn't to you, but Witchend's school said it doesn't make a difference who they are in a room with - for a week.

MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 10:54:34

So sorry about your eldest. How old is he/ she? I am so sad thinking of what fun he'd have had if he'd gone with his old school and been with his best friend.

FrayedHem Sat 25-Mar-17 11:03:01

Oh sorry, I thought my post sounded a bit cold when I read it back blush

DS1 is 11, he's in Yr6. He has ASD statement etc but this year has been awful. It reached crisis point (self-harm) but we are coming to the other side. It only took involving the Head, the LA and his secondary school to get to there(!) I'd moved him from another school in Yr3, because of issues there and I've felt so responsible that I've landed him in this. But there was no other choice, and the school shouldn't have been doing what they were doing and have admitted as much.

It's just awful watching your DC struggle, especially when the school could/should be doing more. Sometimes there is no choice than to be "that parent" when you are dealing with "that school". How are you feeling about secondary?

FrayedHem Sat 25-Mar-17 11:06:51

I would try and start discussions as emotion-free as possible to begin with (this is hard). So asking them to clarify how the room splits were decided, given the known to school friendship issues. What will be in place for the post-SATs trips etc.

JustSpeakSense Sat 25-Mar-17 11:18:58

Yes, I would have a chat to the school. They probably take his 'quietly getting on with it' to mean he is happy. He is not. I think y6 teacher needs another reminder that he's struggling (albeit silently).

Don't worry about the SATs timing etc (it's all unnecessary pressure put on them anyway!)

I have some advice on high school though...

I wouldn't leave it in the hands of primary school to fully inform the high school about your DS difficulties with friendships.

You should definitely approach the high school (head if year 7) and give them as much detail as possible, so that they can place him in the correct form. They want every Y7 to have the best chance at settling well, if teachers are aware he has struggled he will have a smoother start.

He will have so many more opportunities to make new friends in a high school environment. Try to help him understand it's not him (just an unfortunate mix of personalities in his y6 class) and that he has good friendships ready to be made in high school.

Good luck x

MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 11:27:57

Thank you both. Good advice on secondary and speaking to head of Y7. This year's head may be different to next year's. How would I do that? I try to be optimistic about secondary. I was optimistic about the trip, but it doesn't seem to work!

He is going to a secondary with only 2 other boys from his school, and I think a couple of girls, which is a good thing to be honest. The school has a very wide catchment, so a lot coming in knowing very few people - it'll be a new start. He also knows a few kids in older years at the school, and has a good friend in the year above (who we know from outside school).

I just worry (and also feel a lot of guilt) that the last 2 years of primary have affected his self confidence so much that it will be harder for him to make friends. He had a very hard time in YR-Y2, but finally made a really good friend and started settling down in Y3 and Y4, but then we moved him.

The difficulty is that his younger brother (Y3) is Mr Popular & Talented and ds1 really feels this. He makes friends very easily, everyone in his class looks up to him and wants to sit with him/ be his friend, he's great academically etc. etc. etc. I feel like it would be hard to have a brother like ds2 even without the issues he has aside from this. I have spoken to dh about maybe some counselling as ds1/ ds2 interactions are so fraught and frequent. And it was very noticeable when he was away how different the atmosphere in the house was. Oh well, a different thread for that I guess.

Minstrelsareyum Sat 25-Mar-17 11:31:06

My advice, op, would be to definitely speak to the year 6 team /HT otherwise it will grate on you forever. It is particularly unkind that he was not in the bunk photos and the adults should have insisted that he be included. I feel very sorry for you and your DC as the samething happened to my DS on the yr 6 trip away where he hated every second of it. We requested that he be kept apart from his best friend as they had fallen out and instead he was put with a group of boys that were horrible to him so it was a case of frying pan into the fire (I actually wished I had said nothing) and he also initially sat alone on the coach (although we did mention it before the coaches left and someone was moved to be with him).

You are definitely not being PFB because as a mother you will want naturally to protect your DC and save them from hurt and nastiness but do remember that you cannot do this one hundred percent of the time and it's not your fault.

MerryMarigold Sat 25-Mar-17 11:41:23

Minstrel, the bunk photos was another poster, Witchend. I don't know whether it was good/ bad but we didn't have any bunk photos. (However he did have to go on the bottom bunk as the other 2 wanted the top bunk).

Witchend Sat 25-Mar-17 11:46:40

The main reason why I raised it was I felt that if they told the children they would be with at least one of their named friends, they should be. it wasn't even a "we will try" they said "we will make sure they are".

With dd1's case it was clear that they hadn't been prepared to put different forms in together, but they hadn't told them so dd1 had no chance at all of being with her named people, so they should have given her a change to name some others if they weren't prepared to mix forms. They didn't do things as forms at any point, so there was absolutely no reason to do that.

I wanted them to fix it for other children. I know it was too late for her, but if everyone takes that attitude, then the teacher probably don't realise it's a problem.

I also felt they were negligent in no chasing up why she had left early from the dormitory when no one else had. They should have gone to find her preferably before taking the photo-you can imagine how I felt when I realised out of 120 children she was the only one missing from the dorm pictures-but at any rate afterwards.

They also kept in their dorm groups all through the day (but in mixed forms, and no she wasn't with them for that either) for their activities etc. so it wasn't just sleep at night.

I'm pleased to report that when dd2 went that they had sorted it much better.

bojorojo Sat 25-Mar-17 15:04:46

I think I would try and speak to the Head particularly as other events are coming up. Thank him/her for organising the trip and say how much you value it. Ask if it would be possible for your DS to be with his friends in future as it makes such a difference to him. I don't think there is much you can do about the past.

For what it's worth, children come back from residential very tired and "odd". Try and talk to him about what he enjoyed and what he might like to try again if it was an activity trip. Maybe arrange an activity and take his friends with you. Hopefully there may have been singing in the coach and sometimes children have a teacher sit next to them for part of the journey if they are on their own. He may not have been lonely for all three hours.

lacebell10 Sat 25-Mar-17 17:47:15

I'd also speak to the secondary school senco team and open the conversation now before they start planning forms etc.

alphabetti91 Sat 25-Mar-17 18:03:42

I'd be far less calm than PP.
I'd be going mad, that's heartbreaking.
My son has ASD and I watch him every morning stand alone while other play around him and ignore him if he approaches them (he won't stand with me, I'm not cool enough) and I was in your sons shoes at school, I had one friend who was the only other girl in our year group and we went away in year 5 with the year 6 class and they split us up, she had friends in year 6 and I was with people I'd never spoken to and it still makes me a bit sad thinking about it now.
They knew he only had those one or two friends, they should've kept him with them.
"Exclusion is the worst form of bullying" and they enabled it.

squiggletea Sat 25-Mar-17 18:33:11

Just to say we had a similar story to you OP although events were in a slightly different order.

One 'cause ' for DS not staying with his group was because he was going to a different secondary school.

Anyway, fast forward to year 7 and DS is having the best time ever. Hope that helps with the optimism and your DS finds his feet smile

Allthebestnamesareused Sun 26-Mar-17 19:43:36

The problem is (for staff) is even though OP's son may have mamed his friends they may not have named him but each other so it may be that split room 1 had people who named each other and filled that room leaving poor OP's son in a different room with 2 kids who named each other and maybe someone entirely different in yet another room.

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