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Bullying in reception, teacher in denial

(20 Posts)
mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 19:14:37

Hello mumsnetters,

I feel completely deflated today. So the background is that we have recently moved our little one to a different primary school, a hard process to say the least and very emotional. He was settled in his previous school (a tiny village school) but being the one of 2 boys we felt that he needed more friends and male company and the ability to grow socially as well as academically.

One local school that we liked and thought work work for him, with a good reputation happened to have place and his best friend goes there so we thought that we would take the opportunity to move him now and make sure he settled whilst still in reception.

2 weeks before the move, my friend (mom of his best friend) tells me that there has been an actual fight between 4 of the boys in reception that was 'quite serious' in her words. And the minute he started we felt that the vibe was very different to what we expected, a couple of kids started picking on my son straight away. He is end of July and quite young for his age, so he gets quite a lot of pushing and 'stupid little buy' stuff like that. Not from all children but there are 3-4 boys that consistently are unkind (and much older). He started saying that some days he has a tummy ache and doesn't want to go.

SO today we tried to speak to the teacher who basically denied that anything at all is happening and that my kid is making this up. Now I have after school witnessed some of these kids pushing, punching other kids (not mine as I was keeping a keen eye) , throwing them off monkey bars etc. The only thing I got from her was, if there is a little bit of play fight and these children know each other from when they were born, so they know the boundaries!

I checked the web site and they apparently have a 'no tolerance approach to bullying' and they are a 'telling school'.

My son is a fairly resilient boy but I worry that this is going to affect his confidence.

What shall I do? After a lot of insistence we managed to get her to agree that she will keep a closer eye. I don't expect anything to happen. She was very uncomfortable and never looked me in the eyes during the whole conversation.

What shall I do, I feel absolutely stressed and now thinking we have moved him to the wrong school.

Please help ...

BellaGoth Tue 23-May-17 19:16:43

I'd be seriously looking to move back to the original school tbh.

teacher54321 Tue 23-May-17 19:19:28

That's absolutely dreadful. My Ds is in reception and His class is nothing Like that. There can be some boisterous behaviour and there have been a few instances of 'no I'm your best friend' type things but nothing at all like what you describe. I'd move him back tbh.

mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 19:37:17

I can't move him back, place has been taken unfortunately

mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 19:40:52

my only option is to move him to the catholic school that seems a lot kinder in hindsight (they have a place) or go in the waiting list to go back to where we came from. I thought about speaking to the head and see what can be done.

chocolateisnecessary Tue 23-May-17 20:01:36

Go see the head definitely.
My son's in reception and this got stamped out sharpish.
If you're not happy, go higher up.

Couchpotato3 Tue 23-May-17 20:07:17

I had a similar situation with DS in Reception. He was clearly very unhappy, but the school kept implying that the behavioural issues he was having were due to problems at home. We moved schools, and he was like a different child - never looked back. Nearly a year later, he told me about the bullying that had been going on at his old school.

Definitely speak to the Head and see if you can get it sorted, but if you don't get a satisfactory response, get him out of there.

bojorojo Tue 23-May-17 20:26:19

It sounds like you have an inexperienced teacher. You can now escalate the matter to the Head. In my view this is poor behaviour that is being tolerated by the school. Bullying is a systematic and repeated targeting of a child. I tend to think that these children are not pleasant but they are being allowed to "fight" and no one is saying this is not acceptable. It does not matter if they know each other if the behaviour is not acceptable and spills over affecting other children.

When you see the Head, explain the feelings expressed by your DS. Say that fighting, pushing and shoving as well as unkind words are making him fear school. Ask what she/he is going to do about upholding the school's high standards of behaviour as written in the behaviour policy. Do they have golden rules or similar? Only mention bullying if you do not get anywhere. Some young children do not have any concept of what this is and if their poor behaviour is tackled the attitudes towards your DS should cease.

As for changing schools - try the Catholic one if the Head doesn't take the situation seriously. They should!

cantkeepawayforever Tue 23-May-17 20:27:54

Been there, ended up with a selective mute.

Speak to the head.

I would also see if you can get an agreement from his teacher that he is allowed to shout 'No, don't do that' or 'Please stop', or similar, whenever an incident occurs. We got this for DS, because the free flow nature of the class meant that the teacher could mean that she did not spot all instances. Having a constant, loud verbal indication really focused her mind on the issue!

Point out that if it really isn't happening, she will never hear your child shout. If he does shout, she can deal with it. i suspect her reluctance to look you in the eye means that she is aware of it but doesn't want to deal with it, however.....

What is the arrangement for Y1? Do they all move up to a new class? Perhaps worth finding out the reputation of the Y1 teacher in dealing with behavioural issues? in some cases, the more structured approach of Y1 lends itself to more structured behaviour management as well.

cantkeepawayforever Tue 23-May-17 20:29:35

(I would agree with bojo that i think this is more about unchecked / unchallenged poor behaviour rather than targeted bullying, so I would focus on the behaviour and how it is scaring your DS / making him unhappy, rather than making it a specific bullying issue)

fluffywuffydoda Tue 23-May-17 20:42:00

Doesn't sound too good op, she really should be taking your concerns more seriously.
There is absolutely no way my ds school would tolerate such behaviour, it should have been nipped in the bud straight away. I feel so sorry for your little boy, reception is hard enough without being picked on by other children.

I would move him, this teacher doesn't sound like she'll ever support your concerns and in the meantime your son will continue to be a target whilst she does nothing about it. Have you visited the catholic school? If not I would go and have a look.

mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 20:50:55

thank you ladies, this is very helpful.

cantkeepawayforever, the problem with shouting out is that all of this pushing doesn't happen in the classroom, it happens outside in the playground and I am not sure how tightly supervised that is.

mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 20:55:08

Thank you, luffywuffydoda I have visited the catholic school and it's lovely and seems caring. My preoccupation of us not being catholic seems very small now in comparison with poor behaviour being tolerated. Obviously I now need to be very careful about moving him again and must absolutely make sure that is the right thing as he has just moved and it is so unsettling, so I might try to sort things out with the current one first. I don't know what Y1 teacher is like but will investigate. thank you

nat73 Tue 23-May-17 20:55:39

It sounds like the teacher is'turning a blind eye'. I would go directly to the head and explain your child is frightened at school and you have yourself witnessed behaviour that is unacceptable. (They may be able to fob you off that your child is exaggerating but not if you have seen it yourself..). Our school has become very strict on play fighting etc. There were a couple of boys in reception who were punching each other(!) and that has been eradicated. The children need to understand the boundaries and clearly this is not currently happening.
Encouraging him to make alot of noise ('Arrgg I am being hit') should also help his case. We are lucky at our school (although behaviour is pretty good anyway) that our children know older children who basically keep an eye on them too. Could you organise playdates for him with some of the better behaved children?
I would go directly to the head and make alot of noise until this gets sorted. You could also write to the chair of governors to express your concern.
Good luck.

cantkeepawayforever Tue 23-May-17 21:15:53

Do you mean that it happens at playtime, in the main playground with all other years present?

Or is there free flow between the classroom and a reception playground area?

If it is the former, then you need a wider approach than just the class teacher. This is a weaker point in many schools' behaviour management. You may in fact be able to get the teacher more onside in this case - 'I know it's not happening when you are in charge, but out in the playground. Could you tell me about arrangements for supervision at playtime?' If not, speak to the head.

You want to know:
- Who supervises playtimes
- What routines there are by which poor behaviour, or behaviour which makes your child uncomfortable, is reported
- How a particular eye can be kept on your child (possible options include e.g. lunchtime supervisors being briefed, his photograph being added to the lanyard they probably already have with pictures of children with e.g,. allergies, maybe wearing a distinctive marker to make him more visible, permission to shout as outlined above).
- Wheteh there is a system of 'buddies' or 'play leaders' amongst the older children who can help to look after him.

If it is a specific reception play area, then you need to know how it is supervised, and by whom, and how a child can report behaviour they are uncomfortable about even if the supervisor is not the class teacher.

mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 21:44:29

It's outside but only reception children playing together not the whole school. She point blank said it was 'impossible' she would know about it. With 30 kids that seems improbable. After school we are allowed to use a playground for about 40 minutes and I witnessed some of that very quickly.

cantkeepawayforever Tue 23-May-17 22:02:02

Just to clarify -

a) does she supervise the outdoor play area too?
b) is she saying that it is impossible that it happens, as she is observing all the time, or impossible for her to know whether it happens or not?

If the latter - ie impossible that she would know it was happening - then the shouting loud enough for whoever is supervising them to hear should work well.

If she is saying that it is impossible that it happens, then your position is more difficult, but it would be useful to know exactly who is supervising them at the time, and ask them directly whether they have seen anything, and also to ask whether any other children might be able to provide information as witnesses?

mia1972 Tue 23-May-17 22:17:27

She says it's impossible 'it's not happening'. She said she would know about it, but did not specify if she supervises the break times too. When we mentioned that this issue was raised by other children independently she continued saying that children make things up all the time. My son's friend knows well one of the unpleasant boys and has explained to his mom that he won't play with him at school because he pushes and kicks all the time.

bojorojo Tue 23-May-17 23:57:52

The school is not supervising play adequately. Speak to the Head. Ask who supervises play. Ask what measures they take to ensure all children play appropriately. The teacher is possibly relying on lunch supervisors to tell her what is happening and they are possibly not trained or chatting or both. She needs to get out there for a bit and see what really happens. Or the Head does. The words in any policy mean nothing if the policy is not put into action. Familiarise yourself with the behaviour policy and ask what they do to ensure it works!

underneaththeash Wed 24-May-17 15:37:00

If you've noticed this after school - just video it discretely on your phone. She can hardly turn round and say its not happening if you have video evidence.

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