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Ive been worried about dd at school for a year and finally it sounds like school are too.

(138 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Nov-13 17:50:38

The head of year has rung and left a message saying she's worried about dd concerning how happy dd is and regarding problems dd is having with other kids.

I'm surprised she's rung to be honest as these problems have been going on for a year and I spoke to the HOY (same teacher) last year who seemed quite dismissive and made me feel I was been all PFB about it.

Dd seems to have a couple of friends who she gets on ok with but apart from that there seems to be quite a few girls who take pleasure in been nasty towards her. Dd was unhappy in Yr 7 a lot of the time, saying she spent quite a bit of time alone, etc. not just that but people were been low key nasty towards her every day, name calling, saying she's a geek, that she's weird, etc.

The constant name calling is getting her down and I worry about how its affecting her confidence. She was crying last week - not even over a specific incident and said she didn't feel safe but couldn't tell me why. I obv talk things over with her, give her little pep talks. I've bought her all the books about girls and friendships, etc.

She came home from school on Monday saying boys had been talking and laughing about her on the bus. Then Tuesday someone shoved a desk into her stomach on purpose and someone else threw a chair at her. This is in lessons, dd says the teacher is oblivious! Then more name calling in the next lesson.

When I speak to the HOY about it what should I be expecting her to say/do to try and sort the situation? Could I ask about counselling for dd as I am quite worried about how down she is. Would this be a CAHMs referral or could they do something in school.

Honestly I read in the news about girls who have committed suicide due to low level bullying like this over years and it frightens me.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 12-Nov-13 15:51:02

Glad she had a good day but I am sure you need to keep pressure on the school to be proactive, these crowds lurch from one attention seeking crisis to the next and the rest of the year never know when they are going to be the target.

I think part of the problem is that often the bullies do have problems themselves, the schools too often lose sight of how it affects their targets, especially the more sensitive pupils, when trying to support them.

Alexandrite Tue 12-Nov-13 12:37:12

Awful that they were so slow to react

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Tue 12-Nov-13 11:04:19

Alexandrite, they actually got rid of her.

Goldmandra Mon 11-Nov-13 22:23:25

Oh she must have felt that was a bit below the belt! Well done her for getting into school today. I don't suppose that was at all easy. To overcome that level of anxiety is a massive achievement.

I hope the HOY doesn't think she's discharged her duties by simply doling out a the isolation. There is work to do to strengthen the anti-bullying message generally and to help your DD to feel safe and listened to. If she thinks just having a quick chat today will solve everything she's sadly mistaken.

Hopefully your letter and a follow-up meeting will give them reason to think this through more and make more effort to address the culture in the school and your DD's perception of their ability to care for her.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 11-Nov-13 19:30:52

Dd has had an ok day at school......apart from HPV jab!

She says she kept away from these girls. The HOY had a chat with her and told her to come to her anytime. Sounds like the isolation and calling parents in was the punishment. HOY said something to dd about how it will have taught the girls a lesson.

Lets hope so.

Dunno what hoy and head will make of my letter tomorrow!

Shootingatpigeons Mon 11-Nov-13 12:33:15

Little Siouxie Sue that is exactly what I told myself, that it was normal teen behaviour, BUT it destroyed my DDs confidence and made her miserable, she didn't seek out the bullies and make herself the target, they picked on her, now she has moved to another school we realise it is not normal at all. Any school where this behaviour is being tolerated is letting it's pupils down, however expensive (and if it was Wycombe Abbey it is known for it) . The bullies at DDs old school are still at it, they have colonised an area of the sixth form, play loud music, and if anyone dares to sit down in their seats or ask them to turn it down they hiss snake at them. Schools cannot allow the dysfunctional pupils to take over the norms and make bullying "normal" and parents should not tolerate it.

Alexandrite Mon 11-Nov-13 12:01:28

What do OFSTED base their judgement of how safe children feel on?

Our local high school did their own 5 min questionnaire too and asked parents to fill them out at parents evening. Only 12% of parents did it and it came out that 99% either agreed or strongly agreed that their child felt safe. 1% didn't. Even 1% is too much though really, as no one should feel unsafe at school.

LittleSiouxieSue Mon 11-Nov-13 00:54:59

Ofsted reports on how safe children feel is a snapshot of one day. It really is not a good method to see if a school is the right one for a child . By the way all the bullying you mention was rife in my DDs very expensive boarding school, except the furniture throwing. Anyone a bit different can be picked on in any school. My DD was called the names you mention. Girls, at this age, seem to have problems with so called friends and can make the wrong call about who is a suitable friend. Often they choose the ultra popular ones instead of ones they may have something in common with. Also they do seem to realise who is a trustworthy friend by about year 9/10 and it takes a while for them to sort this out and realise there are other girls a bit like them. Some children will always be a bit different but the other girls will mature and be more accommodating. My DDs had to slightly moderate their ways too in order to fit in. This does not mean not being true to yourself, but it does mean maybe joining in with a makeup session for example. I think I would try and stay in the school but work with them to sort out the problems. You are not guaranteed to solve them by going elsewhere where kids will tease out why she has moved. If she is a grammar school child, try and stay at the school with the best academic reputation. Good luck to her and stay positive.

YouAreMyRain Mon 11-Nov-13 00:03:54

Even if it is regarded by the school as normal teen behaviour, the fact is, your dd is not coping with it, it is happening at school and they have a duty of care.

You have exactly the right attitude Viva, your dd is lucky to have you fighting her corner. Hope you get some joy out of them

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 23:40:39

Could you ask her to text you when she arrives at school just to let you know she's there or, perhaps, ring the school to check that she's arrived and is OK? I don't think it would do any harm for them to be reminded that she's there and needs someone looking out for her anyway.

Puking is a strong anxiety reaction and it wouldn't be that unreasonable if she tried to go to school but couldn't go through with it.

I'd love the give the HT a piece of my mind angry

I hope your course goes well and your DD finds that she can go in and things are better than she expected tomorrow.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 23:38:43

I did wonder if the staff might think I'm over reacting to what they may see as normal teen behaviour. But then I thought I don't give a shit if they do. I don't really give a shit if I am overreacting. I guess its better to over react than under react.

YouAreMyRain Sun 10-Nov-13 23:32:15

I would use the word "safeguarding" or the phrase that "this is a safeguarding issue" next time you communicate with the school.

It should make them sit up as it's a real educational buzz word.

Don't worry about putting the HOY's back up, sounds like they need it.

As I teacher, I know that the parents that make the most fuss are definitely listened to and that their children are looked out for etc (even if you cause raised eyebrows in the staff room, who cares! Your daughter is more important than that!)

Also consider getting a Camhs referral from the GP as it can take ages to be seen/assessed etc, at least six months in some areas.

Mentioning local press might put a rocket up the school too.

Good luck

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 23:01:33

Sadly I'm going away early tomorrow morning for a course which work have paid for and cost a fortune so can't not go.

Ive got to leave before dd needs to go, as does dh. I'm planning on getting her up and dressed and breakfast before I go. She's a good kid though and I don't think she'd just not catch the bus.

I've posted two copies of my letter to school. One to HOY and one to the head. I won't be home till Tuesday evening.

Obv I can ring home Monday evening and see how she is.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 22:55:57

Oh Viva that's made me fill up! It's awful that school can do this to a child.

Be prepared or her to dig her heels in tomorrow. If that happens do everything you would normally do in terms of behaviour management, e.g. removal of basic privileges, and if that doesn't work let it go. Don't get angry or push it to extremes. If she's too anxious to go in no amount of threatening and punishing will work and you'll just end up with a miserable child at home with 101 punishments hanging over her head. Make a note of what you've done and that those strategies usually work with her and also put it in writing to the school.

If she stays at home make it a school work day. Get her to do something related to school-work of her choice, even if it's going on BBC Bitesize, and make sure everyone knows that she hasn't been allowed to lounge around in front of the TV. That's important evidence that she isn't playing you.

If you need to agree to pick her up early in order for her to go in then do it. The school won't be happy but getting her to cross the threshold is the main goal. Do whatever it takes to make her able to do that for at least a part of every day. Don't allow the staff to persuade you to break any promises. She really needs to be able to trust you right now.

I she can't attend you won't win any battles with the school. It's a shame because they will get away with it again but you have to put your DD's needs first.

I hope you manage to get a taster day sorted for her.

I hope you've got some wine or cake there. What's happening is bound to be taking its toll on you so make sure you look after yourself too.

Alexandrite Sun 10-Nov-13 21:39:44

Good plan Viva. I think the taster day is a very good idea.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 20:58:58

She's puking again and saying she doesn't want to go to school tomorrow.

I've told her she's going tomorrow whether she's puking or not. Will see how tomorrow goes and if still not good will try and ring the other school up to see if there are spaces. See if she could go for a taster day on weds.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 20:38:12

How is she doing this evening, Viva?

Is the anxiety ramping up or do you think the break was enough and she'll be able to go in tomorrow? I've done enough Sunday nights watching the stress climbing up to feel for you if that's what's happening.

I wonder if a trial day at the other state secondary might help her to see that having strict teachers isn't the same as having shouty, ineffective teachers.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 10-Nov-13 17:29:20

Fingers crossed for a good week next week, Viva.

Alexandrite Sun 10-Nov-13 15:30:48

What did the school do in the end when the class was down to 12 pupils MILLYMOLLY?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Nov-13 15:13:46

God I wish I had a crystal ball so could see into the future to help me make the right decision.

I moved dd against her wishes in primary due to shit teaching and while she was hysterical the first day she settled down and did really well. I have reminded her of this.

She wants to see how it goes now they've been spoken to, put in isolation, etc.

She's happy to take the scholarship test for the private school for year 9 entry but won't consider the other state secondary as she's heard the teachers are strict.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 14:01:58

* The school finally did something when the class went down to 12 pupils.*

Let's hope that the OP's actions spur this school into taking that sort of action a lot sooner.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Sun 10-Nov-13 10:40:54

Dd was bullied by another girl. Girl was from a large family whose parents worked round the clock so there was never anyone around to check what was in her school bag. This child had a facination in death and knives and threatened dd that she was going to bring in a knife and kill her and watch her die. The school just said they were an inclusive school and they could not get rid of her. Called her parents in and explained this was not school policy to bully someone. Dd said she didn't want to move schools she just wanted to get on with everyone and it all not to have happened. Dd had a good circle of friends but they couldn't really protect her. I took the decision against my dd's wishes to move her. She has never looked back. Dd was quickly joined in her new school by another boy who this girl had turned her attention to after dd left. 1 year later the class of 30 was down to 18. The school finally did something when the class went down to 12 pupils.
Whilst your dd is at that school she is the bullies target. If she isn't there then they will move onto someone else, then someone else till the school finally wake up to the fact there are no pupils left. These girls are not going to have a personality transplant they will always be bullies.
Just to add the 3 girls who made my senior school life hell I came across years later and just let's say. There is a God. Karma does exist.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 09-Nov-13 14:32:53

Yes my DD had a lot of time off with undoubtedly anxiety related ailments. This year she hasn't had a single day off. Agree *goldmander's advice is good. We involved the doctor as well because my friend's son had become a school refuser after stomach problems persisted for months because of the anxiety associated with going back. In his case it took a child psychologist to break the vicious cycle and we didn't want it to get to that stage. (He by the way also settled in the end, did well and is now the social sec for his university sports club, as well as pin up in one of those dodgy university sports club calendars with strategically placed sports equipment hmm )

I feel so sorry for your DD, it is a horrible thing to be facing and I just hope the school get behind her with the support she should be getting.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sat 09-Nov-13 12:15:19

sad Poor dd.

Goldmandra has given excellent advice.

Sending best wishes for next week.

TallulahMcFey Sat 09-Nov-13 12:13:46

Have got nothing more to add really as you clearly have loads of support on here by people who have experience of it. I have two girls and have no experience of real bullying but lots of experience of how nasty girls can be, and that was bad enough. I personally wouldn't hesitate to pull kids out of school if they were being bullied and know I couldn't send kids off to school desperately miserable and think I would just say to the school that she is not coming back till it's sorted. The only thing I do know, from people who have done just that, is that the education dept are so keen to get children back into school that spaces suddenly appeared in otherwise full schools. Not my personal experience so i don't know how true it is. Anyway, I have been following this and thinking about you and your daughter a lot. I just wanted to add to the support cos I know what a horrible and worrying time you will be having.

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