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Son miserable, underperforming, change of school?

(9 Posts)
boldredrosie Sun 14-Nov-10 18:04:03

My 12-yr-old is never going to split the atom but he's not thick. He's never cared for school (it interferes with his Lego & reading) but has sort of bumped along.
This year, yr 8, has been a nightmare. He caught the attention of his head of year because he fell asleep in her lesson and I've been told he has to have counselling, that he's an angry young man, he's not working hard enough. On and on.
He's miserable, I'm miserable and I don't feel like anybody in authority at the school is listening to me. When I tell them he finds a lot of school boring, they tell me it's because he's not paying attention. When he says he finds the other children's behaviour challenging they all but call him a middle-class mama's boy.
He's been offered a place at a small independent school and while it would stretch our finances and be quite a travel part of me thinks he'd be better in a small class, where people expect him to work well.
I was wondering if anybody else had pulled their kids out of the state system because they felt that their children were being unfairly pigeonholed by teachers? If so how did it turn out for you?

activate Sun 14-Nov-10 18:19:05

don't think this is state vs private but more this school isn't working for him

There is an argument that the school may be right on it but the only way you'll find out is by putting him in another school

my question would be could you not find another state school for him?

senua Sun 14-Nov-10 19:13:59

Year 8 is always poo.

Do they set in his current school? When do they start on GCSEs - Y10 or do they start some early in Y9?

risingstar Sun 14-Nov-10 23:18:36

major word of warning. i moved my dd to a small independent school- it was a disaster. i genuinely thought it would solve all my problems- it multiplied them,

she hated it - moved her back after 2 and a half terms. the deal i have with her is that she sits politely in school- i cover the work with her after school.

some kids just dont like school. maybe when he gets into ye 9 and gets some choice over what he studies, it might get better.

Kez100 Sun 14-Nov-10 23:38:11

Why did he fall asleep in class ? Is he angry because he is tired- I know I would be.

map997 Mon 15-Nov-10 17:15:27

IME disengaging in school is a commons sign of either bullying or undiagnosed SEN. Has he come under the SENCO's radar? It's quite common for specific learning difficulties to be overlooked in boys, as they aren't always expected to be interested in reading anyway. It would be worth seeing an educational psychologist to see what weaknesses he has in his learning profile.

It sounds like he may have issues with auditory processing if he finds noise particularly distracting and can't focus his attention.

mummyrex Tue 16-Nov-10 09:35:41

I would move him if I could.

My son (Y8)has just moved from a very large, popular but boisterous comprehensive school to a much smaller grammar school. He was very unhappy at the first school, mostly due to the behavior of other children. He is SO SO SO much happier now.

Also, have you thought of home educating? The comment you made that school "interferes with his Lego & reading" sounds just like many home educated children! (who do really well at home and in home ed groups)

ilovesooty Wed 17-Nov-10 01:48:54

As a qualified counsellor myself, I'm rather disturbed by the school telling you he "has to have counselling".

However, I'd be inclined to dig a bit deeper yourself as to the reasons behind his lack of engagement before you disrupt him by moving to another school.

Hope things improve for you and him soon.

boldredrosie Wed 17-Nov-10 15:44:52

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
So to answer some of your questions:
there is another state school that he could potentially go to but we're not in the catchment area, it's over subscribed, and I know quite a few parents whose kids go there and their indifferent at best about it.
He's in the top maths set but the school has a no setting policy, as I understand it.
Risingstar -- must have been a bad experience for all of you, moving and having to come back and that is something I do fear.
Kez100 -- he isn't angry as a rule, in fact, he's Mr Laidback. This is what makes the school's comments really concerning -- if he's angry in school then I've gotta think it's something going on there rather than elsewhere in his life.
Map997 there's no auditory problem, or sight or dyspraxia or any of the other HOST of things he's been checked for. I've gone along with every request from every school for every investigation and I feel now that the educators need to take on a little bit more responsibility for failing to engage him other than it being all about him and his behaviour / failings.
Mummyrex -- teaching is not my thing and I simply couldn't afford to stop work to school him. But I'm encouraged to hear that your son flourished with a change of school.
Ilovesooty -- I am trying to dig deeper. I have found him a person-centred humanistic counsellor with whom he's working (partly so the school can't say I've ignored the advice) and seems to enjoy his time with the counsellor. I'm hoping he'll be able to tell me eventually why he doesn't like school -- this really isn't a new thing although is now very acute and, of course, has the potential to really interfere in his future. I'm also going in to school to talk with the headmaster about the head of year's pop psychology statements about him and my son's real unhappiness.
Since I wrote the original post he's spent most of last week in detention, his head of year emailed me to say he'd missed a detention and I resisted the urge to write back and tell her to get in the q with the other teachers. But next week he spends a day at the small independent school to see what he thinks of it. Has to be his decision and if he doesn't like it I think we may have to follow Risingstar's example -- attend and be polite, and do the work at home

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