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Bullying in prep, what are my options?(16 Posts)
I moved my 6yo autistic son to a prep just over a year ago as he wasn't coping with 32 kids in his class etc etc.
He has thrived, and his confidence is increasing all the time. He is making friends and shining academically and physically.
Unfortunately a new child has joined, let's call him Damian, who on his VERY FIRST DAY started telling older children, children in entirely different years, that he was odd.
Followed by physically hurting him a week later.
And now, today, calling him stupid.
I Know that these are comparatively minor incidents, but we are sacrificing a lot to send our children here and I do expect them to be protected and problems to be monitored.
My son is v timid, and I am very annoyed with this child who is basically picking on him from the word go.
I spoke to the teachers last week but they were umming and aahing at me because Damian denied all.
1. Am I over reacting?
2. Can I ask for Damian to be moved to another class?
3. Do you think its reasonable to understand why a child with SN might not have the confidence to talk to a teacher instantly? At the moment they seem to take the attitude that without an instant report their hands are tied.
The school sounds shit
My son’s prep handle accusations of bullying promptly, forcefully and also diplomatically.
The children involved are very young but the response should be swift.
They won’t move the boy until they thinks it’s necessary. Not simply because you’ve asked for it
Not comparatively minor
Doubt you can ask for a child to be moved
Totally not unreasonable, and it’s shitty of them to say their hands are tied
My son is autistic so I understand how you feel (he’s not at school yet so I haven’t experienced bullying... yet).
I’d want to see their bullying policy. I’d want to know what they plan to do about emotional and physical bullying. I’d want them to keep a close eye on my child and the other child. They’re only six, and I’m guessing the class sizes are small enough for them to do that.
What @lovemenorca said! I complained about much less serious incidents to the form tutor as well as to the Head of her prep school and the Head dealt with it immediately. I sent an email at 8pm, got a response almost straight away and the next morning the Head spoke to the two offending girls and to my daughter first thing the next morning and then did a whole assembly on how to be kind. And you can most certainly ask for your son to be moved to a different class. Prep schools should deal with bullying straight away!
Do not let it carry on and continue complaining ti the school (preferably in writing) until this stops.
You cannot expect Damian to be moved to another class but you can ask for your child to be.
What you sacrifice to be there doesn’t give you extra rights and protection for your DS above other parents and DS. Therefore you need to work with the school but demanding another DS is moved isn’t great.
However, look at the bullying policy. It could be the new child doesn’t have the maturity to understand and accept another child he sees as different. At 6 this isn’t unusual. Of course this child needs challenging and educating regarding the feelings of others.. The school can do a lot, as described above, to facilitate this. Saying they didn’t hear anything isn’t good enough. They should be working towards all children being kind and accepting of each other.
I wouldn’t go in labelling a 6 year old a bully. I would expect the school to take you seriously and work through their behaviour policies.
@bubblesbuddy yes, my son is autistic and it has taken a year for him to be settled. There's no way I would tolerate him being moved as he is settled with his friends and it would be a very unkind thing to do.
The only reason I mentioned that it's a prep is that I don't know what guidelines or legislation they are subjext to. At least under Ofsted you have a clear and consistent policies.
I don't expect son to have rights above anybody else, but I do expect the pastoral support for him to extend to an understanding of why it might take me to flag up problems because the child has not the confidence to do that himself.
They should have a behaviour policy. You're going to have to keep bringing up every incident preferably in writing. There really isn't any equivalent to ofsted. While it's upsetting it's not the end of the world either. Your son is going to encounter a lot more of this even in the private sector. You're paying fees but so are Damien's parents. No one will give a stuff how much your sacrificing to do so.
Look up the bullying policy and take it from there.
Yes, it does feel like the end of the world given he didn't even speak two years ago. Considering how hard it has been to give him the most basic social skills. Any confidence he has has been very hard to nurture and I cant have somebody undoing all of that.
I won't tolerate him being picked on. If anybody hassles my other child, I basically tell him to get on with it. The same brusque approach won't work with an autistic child obviously..
I do get it. I have an autistic child too at a prep. We moved him for the same reasons. Some of the other kids can be really unkind and make fun of him especially during sports. It's hard but we are working on his response rathe than trying to control the other kids because frankly it's impossible to police every unkind word.
it Sounds like Damien has some kind of issue. It’s likely the case that they are trying to deal with it but cannot go into detail. I would suggest requesting a formal meeting saying that you are concerned that your son is not coping well with the way the other child is behaving and ask to come up with some strategies to help your son (as opposed to trying to discuss the other child).
I don't see why kids are just expected to take bullying and the teachers have to pussyfoot around the bully! It's not ok to verbally or physically hurt anyone and the school should have a zero tolerance policy especially when a chikd is particularly vulnerable
I went to the school today and the teacher was very subtly but repeatedly telling us that there have other parents at the school about him. So yes, there may be an underlying issue. And yes, I will admit to being quite glad that my child isn't being targeted as such. That did make me feel much better.
Sorry your son's going through that. How old is he? I roleplay alot with my children and find it helps build resilience...maybe you've tried that? It's helped us hugely in various situations with unpleasant rude or impatient kids. My son was so bad when he was in reception that I had to role play how to respond to friendly greetings, he would bark at kids to get them to play with him. We practised daily and bit by bit he became more adept.
Re. Sports, my son is naturally v sporty but my other son has always been very avoidant...bit by bit I have signed him up to various activities so that he can stand his ground in pe and such. Also I was worried about him becoming entrenched with the idea that he is terrible at sports. It's helped.