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Advice required please on change of class in Year 7 of secondary school

(31 Posts)
nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:34:33

Hi there

I'm struggling here and help/experiences/advice welcome.

My daughter has just started Year 7 at local comp.

On her school friends choices form she put down 3 names of friends she would be happy to be with and 1 name of someone she would prefer not to be with (X). She's in a class now with this girl X who she has never got on with. (They had to be separated in year 5 at primary school due to bullying by X against my DD). Girl X is a good foot taller than my DD and is maturer in mind and body than most of her peers. I think DD is intimidated and a little frightened of X.However we knew all this and talked about it before starting in September and daughter said she was happy as she felt all unpleasantness with X was in previous years and she felt she could deal with it. She has other friends in the class. BIG MISTAKE!

There was an incident with X (whom she knew from primary school) out of school. Ever since this incident she has been on the receiving end of endless low level bullying from this girl. The kind of stuff I am talking about is name calling, talking outloud about her so she can hear, turning all her friends against her with lies, silly stuff like flicking water at her, squaring up to her, constantly bothering her and so on. All minor stuff but it got to a point last week where she couldn't take any more and burst out crying. She doesn't want to come to school in the mornings and is becoming anxious and slightly withdrawn.

I am reluctant to get involved in friends disputes normally and prefer to arm her with advice to get over these situations herself. However as I mentioned before it reached a level where I had to intervene and then eventually contact the school. I want to get her moved to a class where she has friends - the same friends she put on her choices forms.

School have been pretty good and spoke to both girls and stopped them from sitting next to each other. But they are still in class of 30 and this bullying is still happening. X is a very clever girl and knows she is being watched and has wound her neck in it somewhat. The mother of X is known to me and she is one to believe that her DD is an angel and couldn't possibly do anything like this. So no go there to try and reason with her.

Last conversation with the school resulted in the decision that DD wouldn't be moved and she must work through her problems.

So I guess the thing I want to know is considering X was someone she chose not to be with, it's only 7 weeks into 5 years of secondary, DD isn't happy, I'm not happy, worried about her concentration with school work, etc - do I have any right to demand her change of class?

I am meeting with the Headmaster next monday for a final decision.

help!!!

ByTheWay1 Tue 30-Oct-12 09:42:38

Nope, sorry, you don't have any rights at all in what class your child will be allocated. You can request a change, but they do not have to implement it, they do not have to move her at all.

All you can do is take a list of "evidence" of problems, state your case and ask that your views are taken into account.

I would not be suggesting the actual class you want her moved to - that sounds more like sour grapes over the initial allocation away from her friends, just suggest she is moved to any other class.

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:44:38

good point - I maybe have over-egged the class choice.

titchy Tue 30-Oct-12 09:49:31

tbh if the school are pro-active enough to ask that new yr 7s let them know who they do NOT want to be in a class with I'd be asking why on earth this is then ignored. And yes request that she be moved. Coudl be a very unpleasant five years otherwise.

LeeCoakley Tue 30-Oct-12 10:06:54

What bytheway said. And don't 'demand' anything! The school will dig it's heels in. Ask whether your dd's preference form was lost or misread and if not, ask if they will tell you why your dd was put with the child she specifically didn't want to be with. Would a letter from the primary school help? Failing a good outcome ask what measures are going to be put into place to help your dd's experience at school a happy one.
Hopefully if the school start setting subjects then maybe contact time will be less.

LeeCoakley Tue 30-Oct-12 10:07:59

it's = its. Aargh I hate making that error!

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 10:13:43

thanks LeeCoakley, I say 'demand' I haven't demanded - I've been very reasonable and professional so far! It's not been easy though but tbh the school have been very good and sympathetic.

PropositionJoe Tue 30-Oct-12 10:18:42

I don't think you can request a specific class, only that she be moved out of her current class. So only ask if any and all of the other classes would be better than the current one. Class allocation is up to the school, you can only say that you think your DD would be better off in a different one.

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 10:22:02

thanks PropositionJoe I think I will do this.

Ladymuck Tue 30-Oct-12 10:51:55

Will your request mean that they have to remove a child who is already settled in another class? If so, how would you expect that parents of that child to feel?

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 10:57:28

hi Ladymuck - no of course not. There are classes that are under subscibed and have places (i've checked). I wouldn't expect another child to be inconvenienced because of me.

LIZS Tue 30-Oct-12 11:03:16

Is it really going to stop it or just draw attention to the issue and take it into break and lunch periods? I'd be wary as the likelihood of her avodining X throughout future years is very small, what if they make simialr subject choices, clubs and are set for certain subjects. Have you really given the school a chance to manage it through their procedures? As others have suggested it may have a wider impact than your dd and X and you may be better waiting for an opportunity where the groups remix anyway.

outtolunchagain Tue 30-Oct-12 11:09:34

Your daughter is being bullied, it isn't up to her to " work through her problems" . I would ask to see their bullying policy , print it off from the website if you can and take it with you .

I would not demand but I would be very firm and make it clear that this needs to stop . Ask what strategies they are putting in place and ask for these to be confirmed in writing to you . Arrange a follow up meeting so that they know you are not going to be fobbed off and yes I would ask why they ask a child who they don't want to be with if they are just going to uh ore the outcome.

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 11:14:25

thanks LIZS - good point - I have considered this.

There are 7 sets of 30 (ish) kids at DD's secondary. We've talked about it and I have emphasised to DD that X will always be there. DD accepts this but she knows she will always be set with her for PE, DT and as I said they are in a form together - which means half an hour of 'academic mentor' time (time with their teacher) each day.

She is currently in Science, History, Geography, ICT,geography with X (although I accept this could change as she changes sets).

The bullying is occuring in all these lessons so I can see DD's point that she just can't get away from her.

I feel if she is encountering problems already I am negative about the next five years. I think she stands the best chance of being successful at school if she is away from X - or as much away as she can be.

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 11:15:52

Hi outtolunchagain

Yes my Mum has said this. DD shouldn't be bullied - end of.

She doesn't come to school to face this and shouldn't have to ever again.

LeeCoakley Tue 30-Oct-12 11:24:38

I would go into detail with the HT about one or two of the comments and ask what the school would suggest as a response i.e. helping her with 'working through her problem'. In a way it IS the response of your dd that enables the bully to keep coming back because they don't pick on people who don't let it be seen it is affecting them, but I don't have the answers. Have been in your shoes and it was only through maturity and having a strong friendship group that enabled my dd to confidently make the right responses and stop being picked on.

Clary Tue 30-Oct-12 11:32:05

We have a similar issue with DS1 who is now in yr 9 and has a lad in his class who bullied him at primary, they are in the same form and teaching group so apart from Maths and science they are always together.

We weren't asked for friend prefs (tbh I think that's nonsnese! but since your school asked it's bizarre to ignore them) but I am ongoingly annoyed that this happened.

It reared its head as an issue towards the end of yr 7 and when we floated the idea of moving the other boy (who is a nasty aggressive bully) we were told it was impossible because of language studied.

Anyway what I am saying is that you need to go and talk to the school about the bullying and ask what they are goin to do. If you feel after discussion that someone should be moved, it is worth asking IMO. IME with a school that big they won't actually come across each other very much if not in class together; DD barely sees her former best mate who is in a differen form and teaching group.

Good luck and to yr DD too.

nortonmumoftwo Tue 30-Oct-12 11:37:20

thanks so much Clary - its nice to hear of someone in my shoes!

hoping to get it sorted one way or the other - DD's happiness and education is my number 1 concern.

Yes the school is also a huge school and they wouldn't encounter each other very often - don't see each other out of school anyway.

tiggytape Tue 30-Oct-12 12:44:32

I think you do have a case to say that they have partially created this problem with their friendship-form that set the expectation that each child had the option to choose who to be with and who to avoid.
No matter how many caveats you add to a form like that - all a Year 6 child sees is that their new school is going to let them be with at least one friend and take heed of any ongoing bullying problems. For the secondary school to then totally ignore the forms that they invited parents to fill in in the first place means that children start secondary school more upset and more anxious than if they didn't have the friendship-form system in the first place. To an extent the school asking you all and then ignoring you all started this problem.

And whilst you cannot demand a change of class, you can demand that your DD is not subject to daily bullying. Whilst the low level things you describe aren't physical incidents, they are still bullying. One girl being constantly targeted by another and belittled and upset is bullying and is harmful and the school have a duty to protect your daughter from this. If you aren't already doing so, keep a log of incidents - what was said or done and by whom with times and dates and names of anyone who witnessed it (especially if staff witnessed it).

It is the kind of sneaky bullying that is very hard to address and the school may come to agree with you if this goes on (and if you continue to report all incidents to them) that the best thing is to split the girls. This may not mean your DD gets a new class - they may move the other girl instead. You cannot force the school to resolve it in the exact way you would like but you can force them to act on incidents and tackle them.

Arisbottle Tue 30-Oct-12 12:53:04

Were the preferences for teaching groups or tutor groups?

I would only move a child class for social reasons in an extreme case, because usually it involves moving another child as well.

noblegiraffe Tue 30-Oct-12 14:59:55

They asked you to flag up any potential concerns before deciding classes, you did, they ignored it and hey presto there are issues.

This problem is of the school's making because they sought your input and then ignored it. It should not be up to your daughter to cope with their error.

They are possibly not wanting you DD to change groups because that might open the floodgates, but to be honest, that's their problem. Tell them that they are not dealing with the bullying in a satisfactory way because it is still ongoing. Ask to see the bullying policy. Take it up with the governors. You and your DD shouldn't have up simply put up with it.

tadpole39 Tue 30-Oct-12 17:41:18

Hi, my dd had a very poor start to year 7 at her local comp, a sustained campaign of bullying that sounds very similar to your dd's experience. The girl involved washed with antiseptic every time my dd passed or touched her, and encouraged the class to join in until my daughter was completely ostracised, it culminated in an incident in a local park where names where called and stones thrown. I rang the school immediately and kept her home until they could assure me of her safety. The school were excellent, they have a zero tolerance of bullying, moved her the next day, ensured that she was sat next to friends in all her lessons and kept me updated with regular reports on her progress. She felt safe and able to report problems knowing that action would be taken. The other child also learnt that behaviour has repercussions.

If the the teachers havent picked up on this childs behaviour , I would regard that as a neglect of duty of care towards your daughter. Their response may be symptomatic of their attitude to bullying and safety of children and that is worrying. She has the right to go to school and feel safe and protected. My dd is in yr 8 now and very happy.

admission Tue 30-Oct-12 20:30:16

In your posts you talk about the bullying being in classes where your daughter is with X. Now forgive me for being a bit suspicious but bullying is usually at break times and after school. So my question is, is it really happening in lessons because if it is there is a major problem of discipline in the school across a wide range of teachers.
If that is the case when you see the head teacher a question has got to be, why is this bullying happening in the class room (poor discipline) and why are the teachers not picking up on it and doing something about it.

nortonmumoftwo Wed 31-Oct-12 08:34:11

Hi Admission - I have made a log of incidents so far - a lot of which I feel is a bit pedantic but necessary nevertheless. DD and X share all but 2 lessons together. The incidents are happening in class, at break, at lunch and in Academic Mentor time (half an hour a day). They are such things as X dropping a pencil by my daughters desk. The teacher commented and X said 'she dropped it'. Some days there are 5 or 6 incidents - other days just a single incident. Another example was when X got class member to flick water at DD. The worst thing I think for DD is the constant harrassment at breaks - coming up to her squaring up to her (X is a foot taller) and asking her 'are you my friend'. Its over in seconds and the teachers miss it. X knows this. I don't believe there is a problem with discipline at school it's just the minor stuff I don't believe anybody bar my DD can sort out. At least if she is moved the chances of seeing her are a lot less and she can get some peace. X isn't stupid and has turned the whole class against DD with total rubbish, silly lies - but this will only go on so long before she gets tripped up and people see her for what she is - ultimately a bitchy girl.

Like I said School have been good - they have separeted the girls in class (they were sat next to each other) - Headmaster, form teacher and year Head is aware - all have spoken to X.

I have dealt with Facebook and out of school contact - school situation I am now onto!

Not easy being a parent sometimes!

getwiththeprogramme Wed 31-Oct-12 08:40:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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