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Bullying, changing schools and 'giving a terms' notice'

(20 Posts)
newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 14:04:05

DS (Year 4) started getting bullied before Xmas by one boy who had previously been a good friend. During the first week of the Spring Term it became physical and DS ended up in the medical centre twice - once for being pushed down some stairs and once for being kicked. DH and I decided at the end of that week that we would go into school on the Monday. Unfortunately over the course of the weekend the same boy attacked DS at a party and we ended up in A&E. School and the boys' Mum obviously became aware after that. School and the Mum were brilliant.
Unfortunately my previously happy go-luck DS hasn't recovered too well emotionally. There has continued to be some low level bullying at school from the same boy and another. DS's response to what might be called banter isn't measured. Things he would previously have been able to brush off are affecting him deeply and he's, on occasion, sobbed himself to sleep.
I don't think the situation is going to change. After a huge breakdown the other evening I emailed his teacher again. They have now given him a book to write in every break time and lunch time. He doesn't want to write in the book. They call him in all the time to discuss 'the situation' sometimes with these boys present. I think DS finds the whole thing excruciatingly embarrassing and is desperate for things to be back how they were in Y3, when he was blissfully happy at school.
I really don't want him to go into Y5 with this hanging over his head. So 6 months after it all began I think DH have decided we might be better off moving him and have arranged a trial day at another local prep school. They're pretty similar schools and DS has a really good friend there. A slight bonus is that the other school has two indoor pool whereas the current school only has an outdoor pool - DS' strongest sport is swimming. The two boys he's struggling with are budding rugger buggers, DS is not so keen on rugby. Swimming isn't valued at his current school coz of the lack of pool. So I think the other school might just improve his self-esteem with respect to sports too. The two boys have regularly been telling him he's 'rubbish' at sports. He isn't. He's in the A teams, not the best in them but still a worthy member (the two boys are probably the best).
Changing schools isn't ideal for us; we have three perfectly happy other children at the current school which is 5 minutes away. We also I think, will still have to pay next terms' fees because we haven't given notice - anyone know anything about this?? Do schools make an exception to this if bullying is the reason for leaving?
I'd also appreciate advice from annoying MNers whose kids have been bullied and then switched schools - did it 'work' for want of a better expression?!?! DS is bright, top sets but not top of them. I think he'd be OK academically with the change.
Apologies for the essay......

newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 14:06:14

*'any MNers' not 'annoying MNers'!!!!!

blush

ILookedintheWater Mon 15-May-17 14:10:45

All you can do is ask: as you have 3 other DCs at the school their tolerance/reasonableness is likely to be higher than if you only had one. Gently point out that behaving generously means that they keep 3 more children, rather than just losing one.
I'm in the midst of moving my youngest DD from comprehensive to girls only grammar at the moment for similar reasons. If your son likes the new school and is optimistic about moving then the battle is almost won already..

AntigoneJones Mon 15-May-17 14:11:06

well I am not really au fait with fee paying schools, but as the school are not dealing with it very well, in your position, I would just take my child out and not pay the terms notice fees.
Would they take it to small claims court though?

Starlight2345 Mon 15-May-17 14:11:57

I am not an expert here. however I would look at your contract.

Will you be moving all 3 or just the one?

Sounds exactly like the right thing for your DS..I do beleive happy children learn so much better

Judashascomeintosomemoney Mon 15-May-17 14:17:53

What's their anti bullying policy and have they adhered to it? If not you could argue you're not giving a terms notice as they have broken their contract with you by not adhering to their policies. However, as you've three other children that are presumably staying there, you need to keep good relations with the school I suppose, but as PP said they should want to keep good relations with you too on that basis! As for moving him and being happy, well he isn't going to be happy staying is he and frankly the 'mediation' measure they're suggesting rarely works, it just makes schools look like they're doing something. Makes them feel better but doesn't help the child being bullied very often.

newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 14:18:51

No, would just move DS. The three girls are all very happy. DS was too until this which is rather devastating.

If the trial day goes well and DS is positive about moving, I'll write to the school I think. It's not an oversubscribed school (2 hour train journey from London, 4 very similar prep schools in a 10 mile radius) so they'll be keen to keep the girls I should think.

So bloody upset / frustrated for DS. Ugh.

newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 14:20:10

frankly the 'mediation' measure they're suggesting rarely works, it just makes schools look like they're doing something. Makes them feel better but doesn't help the child being bullied very often

My thoughts exactly. I think the situation is sadly, hopeless.

Cantseethewoods Mon 15-May-17 14:24:47

Hang on, so the same child assaulted your child 3 times and he's still at the school? I'd be moving my son and if they want the fees they can see me in court and I'll make sure the local press showed up.

newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 14:28:37

School claimed they couldn't verify the first two incidents because a member of staff didn't see them happen (although kids confirmed it). The third incident was witnessed by a teacher who happened to be at the party but again I was told that couldn't go on the childs' record because it wasn't on school grounds.

To be honest I'm beyond caring about the bully or the schools' bullying policy. I just want to help my DS draw a line under it.

Cantseethewoods Mon 15-May-17 14:30:55

To be honest I'm a bit confused as to why you're leaving your daughters at a school with that attitude but hey. I wouldn't give them any notice at all and like I said, if they want it they can come and get it.

newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 14:36:42

The girls are happy and thriving. This boy isn't in their year group nor is bullying commonplace in the school. There hasn't been any further physical abuse since the third time when his parents and school got involved. His parents were everything we could have wished for; they by all accounts ripped him another arsehole, wrote to us and regularly check in with us still. School punished him too but were very careful not to put anything about it on paper. They had several discussions with me in person but I never got anything in writing. My take on that was that they might have had to report the incident to a higher body of some sort.

What is still happening is low level stuff, that DS could have previously coped with but his self esteem is in tatters. Part of it is my fault, it must have started with verbal stuff but I didn't know.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 15-May-17 14:37:35

Speak to the school - this happened to a friend's child and they were happy to waive the requirement for notice because of the bullying issues. However I think there was quite a bit more documented evidence in their case.

The fact that you have the other children should go in your favour as they are raking it in from you!

Cantseethewoods Mon 15-May-17 14:45:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SharleeIsMyFriend Mon 15-May-17 17:04:39

Don't know anything about fee paying or notice but please don't describe bullying as banter. Something that has made your son and many other children cry themselves to sleep at night (or worse) needs to be called out for the horrible thing it really is, not minimised and dismissed as your son having an unmeasured response
I'm not criticizing you btw I just don't think of bullying as low level that's all

bojorojo Mon 15-May-17 18:08:19

The school is deliberately keeping these incidents out of their records. There is no reason why an incident cannot be reported if only pupils are witnesses. If there is 'damage' to your child the incident must be recorded and the injury described
and how it occurred. They are trying to avoid recording the incidents and any injury at school because they know Ofsted or Isis would look into it and check that they have followed their policies. No record of the incidents means no follow up.

I think they cannot investigate what happens at a private party but I would argue strongly that they have not followed correct procedure regarding the school incidents. What punishments should be given is down to the behaviour policy of the school but I would have expected some punishment. Pupils should have been interviewed and statements taken. Often schools bring the children together after one incident to sort out what happened and find a way forward. At the very least the staff should have been aware of the behaviour that was unacceptable so they could keep the two boys in check.

I would argue that the school have not kept my child safe. As a result I would try and negotiate over the term's fee in lieu of notice. You will have a contract to pay it but do argue your case, without swearing if possible! Yes, I would get him into the other school. I would also write to any inspectors who turn up about it to. As an existing parent you can.

newfor2017 Mon 15-May-17 20:22:46

That's really helpful, thanks Bojorojo we've had an email saying they're expecting the ISI round this term.

Lymmmummy Wed 17-May-17 12:35:32

Personally I would just move your DS make a point of potentially pulling out all your DC if they don't refund his fees

Understand your point that it is 5 mins away but your son is clearly being badly affected by this and regardless of how many initiatives are put in place he will still have to face two boys everyday and sadly it is very possible that bullying will simply continue under the radar. This on going problem will probably be far more stressful to you than driving a bit further to take him to another school - that's my opinion anyway!

Lymmmummy Wed 17-May-17 12:39:16

Also none of it is your fault - this is how bullying takes hold - the bully makes others feel they are a victim and that it's their own fault

It's a school you pay for - your son was perfectly sociable and robust prior to these incidents and you can't know what you were not told

newfor2017 Wed 17-May-17 13:34:03

I went to visit the new school yesterday afternoon. Takes me 4 minutes to get to the existing school and another 5 to get to the new one. So 9 minutes....definitely not going to stop me moving him. He's doing a trial day there in a few weeks.

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