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Reception age DS soiling at school... Advice needed please [Long, sorry!]

(42 Posts)
NutcrackerFairy Sun 29-Sep-13 00:01:15

DS has just started reception this month. He is 4.5 yrs old.

DS has found it quite difficult to adjust to reception, has been very clingy and tearful when it is time for me to leave, although this seems to be slowly getting better.

However he has also been soiling himself. I think this is possibly due to a few different factors 1] unfamiliar environment and being unsure of the procedure for toileting, ie when he is allowed to go and when not, 2] getting engrossed in something and forgetting to go until it is too late and 3] hoping that Mummy will be contacted to come clean him up [which I have had to do on these occasions]. DS does not soil himself at home and has been toilet trained since about 3 years old.

However on Friday I was at work [I work 2 days a week] and was contacted by the school receptionist at 1.30pm to say that DS had soiled himself and could I bring in clean clothes. I said that he had spare clothes in his school bag... receptionist went to classroom to check and came back to say that yes he was in these spare jogging bottoms and hence it seemed he had already been changed and he seemed okay. I said I would come to the school if necessary but at this point it didn't seem to be so.

At around 2.45pm I finished a meeting with clients to see there was a missed call from the school [at 2.30pm] asking me to call them, no other details. I called school back and had to leave a message on their voicemail. I figured something was up and called DH at work to warn him that DS might need to be collected [DH works closer to school but is still approx an hours travel away - central London to Zone 3].

At nearly 3pm I had a very snippy member of school staff [who I suspect may have been deputy head] call me back saying that DS needed to be collected as he had soiled again. I said I would contact DH to collect but that he would be an hour away. Member of staff unimpressed that it would take an hour to collect DS...

Anyway, DH arrived to collect DS just before 4pm and was immediately whisked into a meeting with Deputy Head [with still pooey DS]. DH said he felt ambushed as Deputy Head [and DS class teacher] basically read him the riot act, that it was unacceptable that I apparently had been informed that DS needed to be collected at 1.30pm [I wasn't] and I was then not contactable. Apparently school also tried to contact DH but they had his contact number wrong.

This is one issue but the other was that both Deputy Head and Class Teacher also made out that it was unacceptable that DS was soiling himself, according to Class Teacher he is the only child to do so and really should be toilet trained [all this said in front of DS angry].

I am so angry about all of this and am planning to request a meeting with Deputy Head and Class Teacher on Monday.

However I am wondering if any of you lovely ladies, parents or teachers can advise me on how to present my case on Monday?

I of course have to hear the school's side of it but from mine I would like to know more about the school's continence policy and whether it is always the parent's responsibility to come in and clean child up. When DH came to collect DS he said that DS was covered in poo sad.

I would also like to know what support they can offer us to help DS stop soiling at school, i.e is there a school nurse who can advise us or is there access to a behaviourial/educational psychologist who can give us advice on how to motivate and encourage DS to start using the toilets independently at school rather than soiling himself?

I actually feel the school have been quite unhelpful up to this point and have offered very little support or advice re DSs anxieties and issues.
I am feeling concerned and cross and wonder if this is the right school for him? Or is this normal for a state school?

BackforGood Sun 29-Sep-13 00:27:29

The Right to Go Page might help you - well, the school - sort out some of the issues. ERIC are very helpful and there are also knowledgeable and experienced parents on their forum page who will help you.

I would separate out the issues....

1) The wrong contact number for dh - is it that he's changed it or they've in-putted it into their system wrong?
2) The fact they spoke about ds, in front of ds - I would be furious about that - it may well have compounded the problem
3) The fact that he was completely trained before starting school, and the problem has only started occurring since being there - together you need to unpick what is worrying him, not have them shouting at him for something that he's clearly not choosing to do
4) The fact that there is now this issue, and you want to know how they are going to deal with it from now on - care plans etc., stating what can and can't happen if he has another accident, but also how are they going to work with ds to help encourage him to use the toilets during the time he is at school.

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 00:39:34

The law is slightly contradictory on this, but it is part of a school's duty of care to change your son.

Teachers (working under School Teachers' Pay and Conditions) cannot be compelled to change children, but support staff can.

The Equality Act may be useful, as it no longer talks about people with disabilities, but physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. it does not quantify 'substantial' or 'long term', but at this stage you have no way of knowing how long your son will experience this problem.

The school must change him, and cannot ask you to go in every time it happens. Would they do that to a child with a recognised medical condition?

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 00:41:56

"When DH came to collect DS he said that DS was covered in poo "

Allowing a child to sit in faeces is negligent and they have failed to act in loco parentis, as per their legal duty.

I would be furious and contacting the LEA if you get nowhere with the head.

NutcrackerFairy Sun 29-Sep-13 00:57:59

BackforGood the school had DHs number incorrectly inputted on their system. This has now been rectified.

I have looked at the Eric website and Right to Go information... and seeing all this helpful information makes me so cross that the school have gone on the attack with us but have not suggested any helpful plan or advice for tackling this issue with one of their new reception pupils.

Tethers I am also wondering if they expect us to go in to the school each and every time to change him? I have not seen their continence policy and will request this from them on Monday. But it does seem a bit unreasonable... I am happy to go in and change DS if required on my non working days. But on my work days I am at least an hour and a half away by public transport and it doesn't seem right to leave DS in this state whilst they wait for me to arrive!
Thank you for your advice re contacting LEA... I will do so if I don't get a satisfactory response on Monday.

MomentForLife Sun 29-Sep-13 01:10:36

Hi, can't help re. meeting, but seems you've had good advice.

With regards to the actual soiling, my DD did this as she was just 4 when she started and not v confident.

She was struggling with lunch times - taking a while to eat in the hall, not daring to ask the dinner ladies if she could go back in when out playing.

Also I found out they were telling children 'you've had all lunch time to go to the loo'.

It could be so many things, when you think they're suddenly there all day it must be hard to get used to knowing when they can go, especially if they have to sit on the carpet longer etc.

Good luck.

MrsFlorrick Sun 29-Sep-13 01:24:47

Oh nutcracker!!! I am from the other poo/wee/reception thread.

Covered in poo!!!! I know it's late and w/e and I have had wine but wtf!!??!

How could they. Your poor DS and poor you.

Agree with others about schools duty as In Loco Parentis. And big no no about discussing in front of DS and other children.

I would take the advice of others about taking it further. This is not acceptable at all.

On other thread I mentioned about my DD soiling in pre school and now a few wees in reception. Her school changes her immediately and respectfully and tell me at the end of the day.

They take it up with me NOT DD. and I work in it. DD soiled at pre school a few times because of change of routine ( days and times she attended etc). The school were fine about it and reassured me she would settle in her new routine.

Nutcracker. I really feel bad for you and your DS.

I am offering handholding for you sad

NutcrackerFairy Sun 29-Sep-13 07:06:34

Thank you Mrs Florrick.

It is interesting to hear that your DDs school changes her if she soils as DSs has most definitely let me know it is NOT their job to do so and are therefore outraged when it takes me or DH time to travel from work to attend school to do so.

DH said they were even quizzing him about the availability of family to come and do this... he had to tell them that we have no family available to help but really wtf!

I am just feeling crosser and crosser about this whole situation as I feel school has been accusatory and unhelpful. There has been no discussion of their continence policy, no offer of support regarding school nurse or whomever it is whose responsibility is to assist in this scenario. It has been purely letting us know there is an issue in a very 'what are YOU going to do about it?'

It really is not good enough for them to treat a reception age child in this way. It is making me seriously doubt the whole of the care of him in their setting.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 29-Sep-13 07:22:00

Sounds like the school is being completely out of order, Nutcracker. So sorry to hear this. Hope the meeting goes well. There is another thread here with useful links to continence policies etc. Good luck.

PrinceRogersNelson Sun 29-Sep-13 07:36:23

I am having a similar problem OP. although DD is only wetting herself. She did soil herself once last week but they gave her a shower and cleaned her up.

The disappointed look at school pick up is getting a bit wearing though [hmmm]. Would anyone be able to link to the other thread mentioned?

Op I am really sorry for your situation. It's awful that they won't change him. What is frustrating is when they are looking to you for the solution but you're not there when it happens, they are. School need to be accepting that the issue is in their environment and therefore the solution lies with them not you.

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 08:01:18

"DSs has most definitely let me know it is NOT their job to do so and are therefore outraged when it takes me or DH time to travel from work to attend school to do so."

It IS their job to do so. It is not a teacher's job, as there is specific legislation covering this which prevents teachers from having to change children- but it is the school's job to do so.

Regardless of what their policy says.

NutcrackerFairy Sun 29-Sep-13 08:12:12

Thanks tethers.

I have not even seen the school's continence policy [it is not on the school website only the behaviour and anti-bullying ones] but I will be requesting this on Monday.

Cat98 Sun 29-Sep-13 08:13:39

My ds was still soiling and wetting in school until the 3rd term of reception. I had tried everything - in the end we saw a paediatrician.
Re the school changing him - ds's school would always change him (if they noticed - sometimes they didnt notice and ds would never say!) but my nephews school apparently won't and call the parents. So it seems to vary from setting to setting.
I would be livid at the schools attitude in your situation. I think it's awful. I hope you manage to get it sorted out - maybe the gp can refer you to someone if it continues?

acsec Sun 29-Sep-13 08:14:33

Poor little DS, the way he (and you and your DH) have been treated is unacceptable!

I'm a Reception teacher and often have children who wet/ soil themselves when they first start school. It's not mine or my TA's favourite job but we ALWAYS clean the children up (have a male TA, so I help the girls, as you can never be too careful with parents - no offence!) And never make a big deal out of it, we certainly don't talk about the child in front of them.

You need to make an appointment to see the staff with DH and without DS and raise all your issues. They should not be treating you this way!

And don't worry, children wetting/ soiling themselves doesn't last for ever.

FlorenceMattell Sun 29-Sep-13 10:27:01

So schools are taking children younger and younger. No longer staggered intakes term before they are five. Some children are just four when they start Reception.
Yet there seems to be no universal policy for children and toileting. From these mumsnet threads different schools take different approaches.
Bearing in mind children's physical development in regards to toilet training can vary by years they do not seem to taking this into account.
I feel very sorry for you OP. How appalling your DS was waiting for your husband covered in poo.
I would ask to see schools policy, meeting with husband with head. And plan drawn up. Also could you find out if what your County Council policy is for schools.

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 10:52:39

NUT guidelines here

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 10:56:50

ATL advice may be more useful

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 13:09:01

helpful link from another thread

pyrrah Sun 29-Sep-13 13:33:02

In the last 3 weeks, my DD has come back in different clothes 6/15 days. She's been at a primary school nursery for the whole last year and only had this issue in the first term there as well.

The school just put a bag of wet clothes in her book bag. DD seems to be finding it difficult remembering in time when she's so busy doing all the new things so I hope it will settle down.

The first school-newsletter home, contained a request for parents of children in Y1 or Y2 to send in any old uniforms/underwear/tights that their children had grown out of so that they could be used for changing the little ones.

No-one has even asked to have a word with me about it and certainly wouldn't expect me to come into school and change her. Would take me well over an hour to get there anyway, ditto for DH and we have no relatives or anyone in the local area.

I would get hold of the policy and if necessary contact the LEA.

Totally unacceptable to talk about it in front of your DS - likely to make things worse not better.

talkingnonsense Sun 29-Sep-13 13:41:03

The school should have a TA whose contract includes changing children. However if a child won't let you do it it is very very difficult. Are you sure your ds isn't refusing to let them help him? Ime most schools are very aware that they have a duty of care (although a teacher does not have to change children, they may if they are happy too! Ime teachers with chdn are much happier about poo!). If they are genuinely refusing, you need to get on their case with all the info linked.

MrsFlorrick Sun 29-Sep-13 13:51:43

Nutcracker. Am around for handholding. Tethers links are v useful.

Both DD and my DS are July babies and will consequently be starting school just after turning 4 (DD already started obv). DD has been very good with toilet training and was dry and clean both day and night quickly.

However if her routine changes ie like changing hours of pre school or starting reception, she is out of sorts for a while and has accidents. She thrives on routine.

I have other friednds whose DC have started school and had similar issues to you and your DS.

I would encourage you to talk to the school.

I find it amazing that so many school deal so badly with this.

DDs teacher doesn't change her but one of the TAs or staff in the pre school dept will. And they tell me at the end of the day what happened and why they think she had an accident ie she just didn't make it in time or they were busy with painting (DDs favourite activity) etc.

I pack spare clothes in DDs bag and mostly they come home unused but handy when needed.

It helps me to know why she had am accident and it reassures that the school are very matter of fact that these things happen with 4 and 5 year olds.

Hope other can come with more advice on how to handle school.

NutcrackerFairy Sun 29-Sep-13 17:24:36

Thank you everyone for your very helpful advice and support.

I have written down all the pertinent information from the links that have been kindly shared here, I think the ERIC information was particularly useful to have and I will quiz the school about their continence policy and arranging a continence care plan.

I am very happy to work with the school on this and accept that DS can be very stubborn, saying he doesn't need the toilet when he does, etc....

But he is only 4 and still in his first month of reception class. I just feel that the school could have been a lot more helpful and proactive in meeting with me and letting me know they had the situation in hand, meanwhile perhaps giving me some tips on how to best manage the situation, i.e in making sure I send DS into school with spare clothes and wet wipes.

Anyway, I will see what school has to say this week when I meet with them [and will report outcome back here!].

Thanks again everyone, you've all been so kind and helpful.


tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 20:45:27

Good luck- let us know how you get on smile

NutcrackerFairy Tue 01-Oct-13 12:59:20

Well, I went into the school yesterday afternoon and spoke to both the Deputy Head and Class Teacher [they attended the same meeting].

Basically the gist was that the school does not have a continence policy nor access to a school nurse... but they do have someone who I think may be termed a pupil liaison worker or some such and they can offer extra support for those students who require it... So the Deputy Head was going to set up a meeting with her for me and DS and we can then devise a plan of action between us [maybe referral to school nurse if required?].

Otherwise what was agreed was that the class teacher would be extra vigilant around DS and toilet breaks, particularly after lunch when these accidents seem to occur.

I agreed to provide a few sets of spare clothes and wet wipes for cleaning him up if accidents occurred.

I was able to confirm with school that DS was toilet trained... but after talking with a very helpful lady at ERIC it was suggested that I take him to GP to check if he might be constipated and require movical... and if this was the case the GP could also write to the school to confirm this and set in motion a specific care plan around his needs...

Otherwise I have just been gently encouraging DS to let his teachers know when he needs to poo and that he can do this at school as it is uncomfortable for him to poo in his pants and doing it in the toilet is much better...

We shall see how it goes... No poo accidents yesterday at school but he did a big one in the morning at home [sorry if tmi!] and today he didn't... so I hope the poor little thing does it when he needs to in the toilet there and doesn't try and hold on until he can't anymore sad

MrsFlorrick Tue 01-Oct-13 13:33:23

Nutcracker. Excellent. That's very positive. I am pleased the school was helpful in the end.

It can take time to settle in. Also remember bowel habits can vary if you DS has had a cold or cough. It can go either way. With my DD she usually gets constipated after a virus but my DS gets very loose movements.

Hugs to you.

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