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Reporting of incidents to parents-obligation of school

(34 Posts)
PurpleMadness Sun 21-May-17 22:21:06

I have an on-going issue with my son being injured at school. He is four and in Reception. He has been dismissed with injuries such as large scratches, huge bruises and he has been attacked with sharp implements and is also on the receiving end of personal verbal abuse and manipulative behaviour.

What I have not been able to establish, despite lots of research online, is what the obligations are of the school to report these incidents to me. I was always informed of much lesser incidents when he was in nursery, and he attended a couple, so they seemed pretty consistent in communicating to both parties. What should they be volunteering to me? Or should I be piecing the story together based on his account and his injuries?

Would be grateful for advice on this! Have looked at Ofsted and Gov guideline docs and they seem to concentrate on preventing abuse at home.

SasBel Mon 22-May-17 07:49:07

That is awful! I would not send him to school. We get letters for head injuries, that is all. But I would expect to be told if the kids were assaulted.

PurpleMadness Mon 22-May-17 08:29:40

Thanks Sas. Is good to get a reply. There seems to be little guidance/obligation for schools. The school claim they are managing the situation, but they cannot be as he was attacked again on Thursday. We discovered a large bruise on him on Friday and it's taken some time to work out what happened. Basically, he was run over by one of the kids on a wheeled vehicle.

WhenAppleGoesBad Mon 22-May-17 09:20:26

Is it the same children doing this to your son? If so, it's a bullying issue rather than a reporting of minor incidents. Bullying needs addressing pronto.

Though having said that, my DS was always bashing himself in reception. They always filled out an incident form for bumps and bruises. He is now hear 2 and sustained a massive bruise to the knee last week but we received no form about it. I do remember thinking if he was in reception we would've had a form about that.

soapboxqueen Mon 22-May-17 10:03:31

Legally speaking in not sure how much needs to be reported to parents if anything. Best practice is a different matter.

I agree with pp that this issue is more about bullying so I would get a copy of their bullying policy and complaints policy. Keep a record of incidents.

bojorojo Mon 22-May-17 11:18:16

The Department for Education has a brief guide on health and safety in schools and says that teachers and school staff must take the same care of a child as a parent would take. Your school should also have a health and safety policy for children so you should look at that. However, it is also stated by the D for E that only certain incidents have to be reported to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and this is where the law is clear.

I think you could say that the school has not taken care of your child as a parent would. I would also say that good pratice is to talk to you when your child is "in the wars' at school. They should be doing everything they can to stop this happenening and separating out wheeled ride-on toys from other forms of play is a start. If he is not on a ride-on toy he should not be near the ride-on toys and the children who are should be supervised. Verbal abuse is not acceptable either.

What you describe is mis-management of a class. It may well be there are children with behavioural problems and special needs so they do not understand "nice" play and can be rough. Your DS will have to learn to keep away from them. He will. At 4 this is an unknown concept but by 5 he will work it out. The school staff should be supervising though and working with the children who are not playing nicely.

PurpleMadness Mon 22-May-17 11:22:52

apple This is not about him bashing himself. He has plenty of other bruises. I am ignoring the general bumps and scrapes which are clearly from falls or collisions.

It is pretty scary when you realise there is little obligation on schools to report things.

Found someone useful to speak to at the council who summarised the situation neatly as 'my son is unsafe at school and is being targeted by one child'. Will be following the official complaints procedure at the school.

SasBel Mon 22-May-17 11:24:45

Good luck. Hope you get it sorted.

bojorojo Mon 22-May-17 11:29:06

I would speak to the Head first. Many schools do not escalate complaints if you have not raised it with the Head or Early Years teachers inthefirst place. Again, look at their on line policy regarding complaints. I would do this first. If there is no improvement or they do not acknowledge the problem, then use the Complaints Procedure available at the school. However, the Governors whoinvestigate the complaint will find it difficult to investigate if the Head knows nothing about it.

PurpleMadness Mon 22-May-17 11:29:20

Thanks Bojorojo. I cross posted with you. Some really helpful ideas there. I had seen the bits on DFE website that you refer to but hadn' t really digested that as being particularly salient.

I am glad that children eventually learn to keep away from trouble makers. I have seen some of the other boys doing what their mum's tell them and been frustrated that my son doesn't follow my advice to steer well clear! Hopefully Year 1 will be better. No sign of special needs with the other boy, but probably some social issues.

It's absolutely gut-wrenching thinking about some of the things that have been happening.

bojorojo Mon 22-May-17 11:51:15

Social issues can be a special need. He is not behaving in a "normal" way and that is a "need" in educational terms. He cannot socialise with other children which is problematic. Most people assume a special need is an obvious physical need or a low IQ, but it is frequently poor behaviour resulting from emotional needs. I do hope the school recognise that he is presenting challenges and do something about it.

I believe very firmly that children do learn to keep away! (At least mine did!!!). Good luck.

WhenAppleGoesBad Mon 22-May-17 12:07:30

Don't wait for him to learn to stay away from the bully, he needs adult protection at this age. Follow the bullying policy and write to the school, requesting they document their findings and proposed strategies to safeguard your son.

CrazedZombie Mon 22-May-17 12:17:59

Teachers don't go to the playground so if a playground supervisor/lunchtime supervisor didn't explicitly tell her what happened then the teacher wouldn't know. In my experience, the teacher rarely gets told about out of class incidents.

I have only received notes about nosebleeds and head bumps.

If the injury happened during class then I would expect the TA or teacher to tell me. (I'm assuming that the child told an adult)

DarthMaiden Mon 22-May-17 12:27:34

I'm sorry to hear you are facing this.

I had similar with DS at primary.

There was another boy - same age - who seemed to target other children. He would pick a victim for a few months then move on to someone else.

I knew about it as he'd been targeted friends of DS and their mothers had spoken about it.

The situation was complicated as the boy in question had quite a difficult home life and learning difficulties. The school was trying their best to support him whilst also trying to balance the safety of other children.

DS started to come home with injuries, far in excess of the usual rough and tumble in the playground and admitted this boy had been attacking him.

We wrote and spoke to the school. They did their best to keep them apart - the boy was watched at playtime for example. However, the incidents still continued, albeit less frequently.

DS came home one day with a huge lump on his head and very upset. He'd been pushed by his head into a wall.

Now I'm not recommending this as a course of action, but frankly DH and I had, had enough. We took DS to school the next day and sought out the boys father. We forcefully (but calmly) made clear that these attacks had to stop and that he needed to make that clear to his son.

It wasn't well received, but we held our ground and remained very calm. We explained this was assault and said if it happened again we would go to the police and we wanted to give him the opportunity as a parent to prevent that.

Thankfully it seemed to work - in so far the boy never laid a hand on DS again. What he did do was simply move on to his next target sad.

I can only think that there is a real conflict were the bully has very real issues and needs support vs the safety of the children around them.

bojorojo Mon 22-May-17 22:28:27

These children are aged 4/5. It is not helpful to label this child a bully. This behaviour by a very young child is not really covered by an anti bullying policy because he is too young to understand the policy. Good behaviour is something that requires gradual learning. The child is not behaving well but you do not know the background or his needs. Quoting a bullying policy is heavy handed for a Reception child.

It is the school's responsibility to keep children safe and educate those with needs. I strongly disagree with parents threatening others. If a child has special needs this is very difficult for the parent to control/amend and very unkind to threaten them. Two wrongs don't make a right! I am amazed the school put up with this!

WhenAppleGoesBad Tue 23-May-17 05:32:28

That's bollocks. If there was no bullying in primary school, there'd be no bullying policy needed, yet every primary school up and down the country has a bullying policy.

For a good reason: to refer to when needed!

bojorojo Tue 23-May-17 20:15:58

I did not say primary! I said Early Years. There is a big difference! I am well aware of the requirement for anti bullying policies. Reading a definition of bullying is always helpful too.

A behaviour policy is vital and teachers work to this policy but anti bullying policies are often too sophisticated for Reception children. Some of them are not even statutory school age. All schools have to take into consideration the age of the child, what their level of understanding is, the behaviour work that has been done with the child so far, what special needs the child may have and also ensure a policy of reinforcing good behaviour has been followed. Jumping on a 4 year old for bullying is not appropriate but behaviour modification by guidance and firm expectations with rewards and sanctions has to be tried first.

I know of plenty of schools where a Head teacher, never mind a class teacher, would supervise play. This is done to check that strategies and policies are working especially where there are concerns about behaviour and the safety of other children.

mrz Wed 24-May-17 05:51:36

Is it one child targeting your son repeatedly?

PurpleMadness Wed 24-May-17 11:31:44

It does seem to be just one child. It is of a physical and mental nature. My son is having nightmares about him. It's horrendous.

Creamdonuts Mon 29-May-17 00:16:00

Are the other kids parents aware

PurpleMadness Wed 31-May-17 09:12:46

I'm not sure how much the other parents know. Will refer to him as X from now on.

X is expert at stealth attacks, plus is making threats and intimidating my son and others. Things like 'I'm going to cut you up into little bits' or 'I'm going to come to your home and get you'. The verbal threats or physical attacks sometimes come about when other kids won't play with X.

Teacher loves X. X behaves impeccably when being watched and in formal school sessions such as mat time.

Is going to be a real battle to get it sorted.

irvineoneohone Wed 31-May-17 09:55:13

bojorojo, bullying do happen even in preschool/nursery.

My ds had similar in nursery, and he did suffer quite badly. Teachers were totally unaware because the child was clever enough not to do it in front of them. Ds was so scared of this boy, he hid behind me as soon as he saw him coming. We did talk to the teacher, and after teacher kept an eye, he was caught and told off, but it made things even worse.
Luckily, he was year above and went to different primary. But ds still has a bit of reaction when he sees this boy in town, after more than 4/5 years.

Hope it get sorted soon.

jamdonut Wed 31-May-17 14:32:21

Those remarks definitely need reporting. That would be put in our class 'cause for concern ' book. (These books are looked at weekly by the nurture team, and would definitely have some sort of follow up.) Saying you are going to cut someone up into little pieces or come to your home and get you, is not normal behaviour for a 4 year old.

Giddyaunt18 Wed 31-May-17 14:38:42

Have you spoken to the class teacher about any of this? That's the first step. If things continue then write an email or phone the head to arrange a meeting. Be wary of 4 year olds impression of things as they do use language like 'He punched me' and on further investigation it was an accidental thing whilst playing football for example.Not saying this is the case but I work in year 1 and boys in particular play quite rough and are then outraged when they get hurt.

bojorojo Wed 31-May-17 15:55:03

jamdonut - so is the "causing concern book" one in which you believe the children should be labelled bullies, as others are asserting, or do you consider them to be children where further investigation of their home life is paramount and that they need to be nurtured in a way appropriate for a 4 year old? In my working life we would go down the nurture route because their behaviour may be the result of all sorts of things in their home life and may even be a safeguarding issue. Just saying a child is a bully may well trivialise their situation which could be very unstable. Professionals should deal with the concerns and of course the teacher or Head should be approached.

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