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Do same-sex prep schools deal better with 'boys being boys' than state?

(65 Posts)
1MillionSelfiesTakenByMyKids Wed 06-Dec-17 21:01:47

So my just 6 year old has been having some issues at his (very academic) state primary. He's very bright and creative and loving but he fidgets, is impulsive (sometimes violently), doesn't always focus, has trouble with being distracted. I'm inclined to believe it's mostly normal small, high-energy boy but am teetering on the edge of 'is this something more...diagnosable'. The school is treating him like he's a massive issue and I get it, I do. If he's disruptive or hurting other children then that is an issue and we are doing our best to work with them, but I am beginning to wonder if he's just a square peg etc...

Anyway, DH and I considering our options (me being a parent help for additional supervision, taking him out of school to home ed (oh help!) etc) and something I am wondering about is whether an all boy's prep would be better able to 'manage' his behaviour because they're not only dealing with smaller classes, but are used to and set up for teaching small, energetic boys.

Basically I want to know if I'm assuming correctly - would a normal, bright (but highly energetic, impulsive and slightly distracted) boy be better off in a prep school or would he be squished even more tightly into a wrong-shaped box?

I would have posted this in AIBU but I am feeling little fragile about this so be gentle. He's my wee boy and he cried himself to sleep because they've taken his part in the Christmas play away from him :-(

VeryPunny Wed 06-Dec-17 21:06:18

Your poor DS, taking his part in the play away from him is horrific! It’s not a state vs private school, it’s a shit school vs good school issue. It may be that a very academic/traditional environment is not for him; sounds like the school wants quiet little worker bees who won’t cock up their stats. In my (admittedly very limited experience), single sex primaries for boys have played up to the boys will be boys stereotypes.

If you don’t think the school are interested in finding a serious solution, then I would explore alternate state options sooner rather than later. Private around here would simply refuse to deal with the issues you describe.

1MillionSelfiesTakenByMyKids Wed 06-Dec-17 21:15:50

Thanks for the reply. DH and I were saying very much the same thing about worker bee/drone types. DH is v v bright (PhD in Physics. Slightly Big Bang Theory type nerd bright) and is a kinetic learner who is a great problem solver because he thinks at things sideways - we don't want our seemingly-similar creative thinker son squashed and broken just because it suits their stats. I take on board what you say about the private option. Maybe I need to look into some other State primaries round here, but this is the only one we can walk to <sigh>

Enidblyton1 Wed 06-Dec-17 21:16:11

Possibly. But another state school might be better too. We have a local primary that is known to be very academic. From what you describe, I imagine it's similar and I wouldn't send a highly spirited boy there. But have a look at your other local state schools - they might be better equipped to deal with him.

littleducks Wed 06-Dec-17 21:17:35

Private schools seem to do more sport which (imo) helps with burning off excess energy.

But I would look at other state options, they sound mean

littlemisscomper Wed 06-Dec-17 21:22:17

What did he do to lose out on his part in the play? is there a way he can earn it back? Getting x number of stars for good behaviour maybe? I don't know about changing schools, but if you do make sure you're really upfront with them before he joins, find out if they really fee positive about taking him on because if they don't it's just all going to end up the same way.

underneaththeash Wed 06-Dec-17 21:23:16

Yes they do, but it depends on the school.

My DS's prep does lots of sport, short classes and keeps it really gentle in pre-prep (infant) school. Then ramps it up in later years (but they still do lots of extra-curricular).

VeryPunny Wed 06-Dec-17 21:25:39

In the meantime you need to get into school and start making noise. Go through their behaviour policy with a fine toothed comb - it should clearly lay out what happens for misbehaviour. I would be asking for a meeting for them to explain why exactly they have taken your DSs part away from him and what they hope to achieve by it; whether he was warned that losing his part was going to be a consequence for behaviour the school found unacceptable. Yes, a school needs to have appropriate sanctions in place, but I can’t think that removing a part is one of them. Read their complaint policy and start following it.

You need to get a bit angry with them (in a constructive way). They need to stop treating him like an issue; they are a school and it’s their job to educate your son to the best of their ability. He’s either a perfectly normal boy, in which the teachers should be using their experience as professionals to manage his behaviour, or if they suspect additional needs they should be signposting this and helping meet those needs. You sound like you are happy to work with the school so they should be helping you help your son.

In my experience, primary schools with reputations as being academic are not good at helping children who don’t fit their stereotype, and can make life unpleasant for them. If that’s the case, trying to get them to suit your child will be a hard uphill battle.

Wolfiefan Wed 06-Dec-17 21:28:23

What did he do to lose the part?
Please don't dismiss violence and lack of focus as "boy" behaviour.
What do you think they could do to help? He's only young but he needs to learn strategies to manage his behaviour.

Codlet Wed 06-Dec-17 21:33:42

From the wording of the OP, I would assume that the OP’s DS hit (or otherwise hurt) another child in order to lose the part in the play. So remember that child may also be crying himself to sleep sad

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Wed 06-Dec-17 21:38:22

First, I’m not sure what you mean by “boys will be boys” - is it that you’re saying that it’s somehow only boys who are impulsive, fidgety, easily distracted and occasionally violent? Whereas little girls are sugar and spice and all things nice?

That aside, I don’t think it’s a private vs state issue at all -it’s simply a question of finding the school that suits your son if the one he’s at isn’t right.

VeryPunny Wed 06-Dec-17 21:39:04

Yes, the OPs son may have hit another child, but the school should already have procedures and punishments/consequences/sanctions in place to deal with such behaviour. Taking away a part in a play smacks of making up punishments on the spot, and in no way helps the child to reflect on their behaviour, or help them to avoid doing it again. It’s in no way a consistent punishment.

Wolfiefan Wed 06-Dec-17 21:58:28

Depends. If he's playing the part of Joseph and beat up the child playing Mary then it's an entirely sensible consequence.

1MillionSelfiesTakenByMyKids Wed 06-Dec-17 22:02:50

It's usually rough play that gets out of hand - we are constantly working on 'no means no' and 'stop when not everyone is having fun'; but he struggles with that.

And I said 'boys will be boys' (in quotes, because it's a phrase I dislike) because when I've spoken to friends and people I respect I either get 'Oh yes he sounds ADHD' or 'He sounds like a normal boy' (as opposed to a normal 6 year old child) which is often said in a 'boys will be boys' tone or context. <shrug> I'm doing my best to explain, but it's hard to condense this stuff down.

And to Codlet - thank you so very much for that. Yes I was completely oblivious to the fact my child has hurt other children. Naturally I don't give a flying shit about them. FFS. I am mortified that my child is hurting others. It's a horrible feeling and situation. We are doing our fucking best to resolve it. He's not bullying. He's not malicious. He's just lacking in self control and, apparently, adequate supervision as the only time he hurts his siblings at home is when they are not being adequately supervised.

Thank you for those of you who had helpful suggestions and thoughts. We appreciate the support the school is offering, but at the same time are very disturbed by the fact that our child is starting to question whether he actually has the capacity to 'be a good boy' - not sure how that is helping anyone. Or by the fact they've taken him out of the school play and stopped him playing outside at break times* without informing us of either sanction so we can play our part at home.

*Also - wtf? surely getting him to run off steam can only be a good thing rather than keeping a highly energetic child cooped up, but hey, what do I know?

Sorry for the swears. I've been up since 3am and am rather tired and grouchy. Bedtime.

Wolfiefan Wed 06-Dec-17 22:05:03

Stop the rough play. No contact only.
He can blow off steam without putting hands on other people.

1MillionSelfiesTakenByMyKids Wed 06-Dec-17 22:05:21

Oh - and he's not entirely sure why exactly they took away the part. So that was excellent as a consequence, since he doesn't actually know what it was a consequence of. Nor did they tell me so I can't go over it with him.

1MillionSelfiesTakenByMyKids Wed 06-Dec-17 22:06:58

I wish school would, Wolfiefan.

Wolfiefan Wed 06-Dec-17 22:07:43

Not school. You. They can't police every child at playtime.

fidgettt Wed 06-Dec-17 22:08:09

My DC has ADHD and the Prep school has been a godsend. Many State primaries seem to spend most of the day on maths & literacy whereas the Prep does a massive range of activities including Forest school and does tons of kinetic learning eg. In Year 1/2 going in to the woods to count things to do tally charts, going outdoors for art, English, learning French vocabulary walking around the school looking for things. Also a fair bit of music & drama. Plus TONS of sport. Sport every day for at least an hour with matches for a full afternoon per week. The long days with after school clubs (clubs finishing 4:30 in pre-prep and 5:45pm in Prep) really help to tire DS out grin and generally stimulate his brain. Break time climbing (low!) trees is also encouraged. I think having clear rules and boundaries has also really helped.

I think your school sounds as though they're dealing with this very badly. I think they're over reacting and the punishments seem unfair. I think there are plenty of state schools who would deal with this better, so no need to look for a Prep purely for that reason.

1MillionSelfiesTakenByMyKids Wed 06-Dec-17 22:13:50

and I can police him remotely?

Thank fidgett. Useful info.

Really am going now.

Wolfiefan Wed 06-Dec-17 22:18:34

No but you can put a stop to it when you are with him. He's clearly unable to tell when rough play (a horrible term. Play shouldn't hurt!) and violence.
So no rough play. Keep hands to yourself.

Shiggle Wed 06-Dec-17 22:25:12

What a good prep would offer is an evaluation of him and if they are willing to take him on lots more supervision and a plan tailored to him by the learning support team. A big academic state school just doesn't have the resource or the ratios. Taking away his playtime is only going to make him more amped up. You and the school need a no touching rule but that assumes they can adequately supervise.

Codlet Wed 06-Dec-17 22:27:03

Sorry if I offended you OP. It’s just that my DS has been on the other side of the fence in this situation, and I can tell you that’s pretty awful too sad

AgainReally Wed 06-Dec-17 22:38:29

It’s an interesting thing that some small preps end up with children who have been removed from state for this sort of reason. The children then have a delay receiving the help they need because the parents are expecting that the new school won’t see the same issues.

State schools can and do cope with energetic small children, as do preps. They also see enough 6 year olds to know whether the behaviour is reasonable or not. Children behave differently en masse than they do at home.

Have you had any conversations with the SENCO? I would hope that if you went in and were open to an honest dialogue that positives would come out of it. If he is not picking up on appropriate levels of play at school and at home he needs help with that.

The “typical boy” line does tend to be trotted out by the parents of boys who tear around and rough up other children tbh. It wears thin pretty quickly. I speak as the parent of an autistic child who has a temper and is easily frustrated, it’s not easy but hands to yourself is a fundamental rule. Not perfect at age 6, but being consistent does pay off.

AgainReally Wed 06-Dec-17 22:45:28

The removal of break time sounds like his behaviour needs a lot of supervision which the school can’t resource. So perhaps to keep other children safe it’s the solution they have available to them.

If you can afford it, perhaps a private Ed Psych consult would be helpful and quicker than waiting for the slow process through to that that can grind down children’s confidence.

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