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Help please! My son is unhappy in his new secondary school

(21 Posts)
marilia Mon 21-Nov-16 18:23:50

My son who is two months in year 7 has just come to me in tears saying that he would like to leave his school as there is a lot of bullying and feels very uninspired. He says that the staff keep leaving and they have lots o supply teachers instead of their form teachers. He feels depressed and had just two outbursts of tonsillitis.
Does anybody know what is the process of changing schools in the middle of the year? Any thoughts would be so much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

MaureenMLove Mon 21-Nov-16 18:29:16

Rather than immediately changing schools, is it not worth a conversation with the school and your son together, to see what's going on?

MaureenMLove Mon 21-Nov-16 18:31:40

Sorry, that sounded really rude, it wasn't meant to! Just a thought really. Many yr 7s struggle with much of the first year, because it's so big and different.

troutsprout Mon 21-Nov-16 18:37:24

Yes.. definitely have a meeting with the school.. it can take some time for year 7s to settle in.
Is he being bullied? ... perhaps him saying " there is a lot of bullying" is him trying to broach the subject.

jaguar67 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:56:37

+1 to troutsprout's comment. Definitely have a gentle conversation about his experiences ...he might be trying to tell you something.

On other hand if it is nothing specific to him - both my DC found Yr 7 difficult & frankly overwhelming at times, including the social/ friendship side of things. Was even thinking of moving younger at one point things seemed so fraught...and then things suddenly picked up and although the inevitable hiccups along the way, she never looked back. Definitely a transition issue for her.

I'd raise with form tutor after you've had another chat with your DS, he needs to know the school is looking out for him and that there's a plan to help him settle in (of if things are as bad as he's saying, gives you a proper starting point to do something about it).

Good luck, horrible to see them that upset, I remember it well flowers flowers

WingedSloath Mon 21-Nov-16 19:56:07

The head of year 7 should oversee transition so my first port of call would be him/her.

Also their form tutor. I would request a meeting.

Forming friendships can take a term or two as children get a sense of one another. Did he go up with any of his friends from primary?

But I wouldn't go changing schools just yet until you find out what is worrying your son.

marilia Mon 21-Nov-16 20:00:53

Thnak you so much. We have discussed with his form tutor but nobody has drawn a plan that my son feels like they care. There are fights every day when nobody is looking and kids pick my son's personal items like water bottle and then another boy has to go and demand them back on his behalf. My son has really given it a go but it does bring him down a lot and his health is suffering.

Herbypotatoe Mon 21-Nov-16 20:59:06

You need to tell your sons school everything, speak to the head of year. Children who are bullied, tend to be bullied wherever they go, children can be very nasty.
The school will be able to pinpoint the exact problem, e.g a ring leader, particular place, consider change of tutor group so that there are more like minded students to your son.
I would not change schools yet.

samlovesdilys Mon 21-Nov-16 21:15:24

If his school isn't supporting then I suggest you begin to look elsewhere. Although it is definitely trying to get to the bottom of what he is struggling with - last thing you would want to do is take the problems with you. To find out about schools - You can go through local education authority but if you have another school in mind I would call them directly, ask if they have their full PAN or if they have spaces. Then ask for a tour/interview. If it goes well you need to submit a form - the school will help. Students do move mid-year for many reasons, just keep talking to your son so he knows he can tell you anything he wants.

yohoohoo Mon 21-Nov-16 23:55:59

Same here OP. My DS also had a melt down tonight. In fact it's his 3rd since starting. Im lying in bed crying because he is so unhappy. He is usually very outgoing, independent but he says he has no friends at this school, feels the odd one out, us different from everyone else, is worrief about making a fool if himself if he starts a conversation. He says he hates school and didnt think secondary would be like this. He said as he's an only child as well he feels like he doesnt have a brother or sister who has experienced school before him as most of others have. It breaks my heart. Over the past few weeks we've talked about taking everyday as it comes small steps. Ive said Im here to support him and perhaps I can check with school to see if there is someone who can help. He went to 2 psrties this weekend I pointed put but he says everyone at break is in their groups and he doesnt fit in. His tutor is lovely but off till Jan due to an op. So hard isnt OP just hoping the advice others are giving saying 1st yr is hard is true and it changes

yohoohoo Tue 22-Nov-16 00:07:39

Sorry for awful spellings...

WingedSloath Tue 22-Nov-16 14:14:40

I am sorry he is experiencing this.

You need a plan of action which starts with school policy. It is usually published on their school website and you need to put everything in writing. That way it is documented and you can show school that they are failing and what they are failing in.

Ds1 goes to an outstanding school with very strict discipline. The reason we chose it (and moved house a few years ago to get in catchment) was the strict discipline.

There have been incidents including being pinned to a wall by his neck but the school came down on the perpetrator like a tonne of bricks. So my son feels safe now. ie year 7s tested the system and found themselves in a lot of trouble including detention and isolation. They now know not to mess around.

My son had things taken from his pencil case in class and the children who are stealing have been moved away from my son. The system works because repeated behaviour is dealt with as soon as we raise it. That is how a good school works.

The only reason these issues are dealt with is because we report them. Not the one offs but the repeated incidents. Your son needs to report the fights, and if he feels he can't, then you need to. At the end of the day that is someone's child being attacked.

Secondary is a learning curve. The children that kick off have only lost 2 minutes of their break time in primary, they need to learn that in secondary the punishments are harsher for unacceptable behaviour.

tiggytape Tue 22-Nov-16 16:27:49

I agree with the advice so far - if there is any way to rectify things at his current school, it would be best to persue all f those avenues first. You may have to make it formal (putting things in writing and documenting incidents) to get the school to take it seriously.

If however you exhaust all options at school and there really is no way he can stay there then you would need to make an application to other schools. If those schools are full, you will be added to their waiting lists. As your DS is in Year 7, all of the waiting lists from right back in March are still in operation until Christmas at least (which may mean some of them are quite full). After Christmas some schools may need you to say whether you want to stay on their lists or not.

Your position on each list will be determined by how well you meet the school's admissions criteria eg how close you live to the school. I

If you find a school though that isn't full in Year 7 and has no waiting list, you could pretty much move him there straight away.

OpalTree Tue 22-Nov-16 16:49:04

Your son might have a point based on what he has described. It might be worth starting to look around other options so you know what's out there. He might look round a school and find the atmosphere much better and calmer. By all means try and sort things out at the current school, although there might not be much he can do about high turnover of staff/supply form tutors/fights/stealing/bullying etc. It doesn't sound much fun.

bojorojo Tue 22-Nov-16 17:33:03

I think that when parents look around a school, it is virtually impossible to spot bullying, staff turnover and general mucking about and stealing. This rarely goes on in front of visitors. It is children who are underhand and scheming and it is often out of the sight of staff. Therefore do your homework thoroughly on any new school you perceive to be better. It might not be. The fact that a child is retrieving his water bottle is a good sign of decent children. The other significant issue will be friendships. Friends stand up for each other and shield each other so that the worst offences have less impact. It is utterly tiring though and I agree with everyone above about communicating with the school but a constant stream of supply teachers will not be ideal and does not build up class rapport. Settled teaching would be a goal I would want to see realised.

OpalTree Tue 22-Nov-16 17:51:35

I didn't say he would be able to spot those things when looking around a school.

Witchend Tue 22-Nov-16 18:51:06

I think with bullying the best (but not infallible) way of gauging an idea of the school is to ask senior management how they deal with bullying.
Run from any school that has more than 3 pupils that claims they don't have any-that means they refuse to deal with it, the head in sand position.

If they give you what seems a reasonable break down of how they deal with it, (ie who you go to-who you escalate it to, how they deal with it, what a bully would expect to happen, how a victim would be handled) then a good idea to ask round people you know who have children there and how it works in practice. If you find that they don't know of any bullying situation it may well mean that the school is handling it very well.

DoItTooJulia Tue 22-Nov-16 18:56:52

Your poor son. It must be heartbreaking. You've had great advice that I cant add to, but you would need to find out your Local authority's bumf about in-year applications to move schools I imagine. Is your son on a waiting list for any school or was this your first choice? Because I think waiting lists run until Christmas, so you may not be able to apply for an in-year transition until that period is over.

Either way there will be someone at the council you can talk to about the moving school thing, so I'd try them for information at this stage.


Mrssjo Thu 24-Nov-16 15:41:46

I have just been through this with my youngest DS, he started a new high school last week after going through 9 weeks of hell at his original school. We had to go to an appeal hearing where we talked about the effect the bullying was having on his mental health, it was such a relief to find out we had been offered a place. I would call your next choice of school and ask what their admission procedure is and get the ball rolling ASAP. Meanwhile, make an appointment to go in and see someone at your sons current school, ask for a plan of action in regard to the bullying. If you do go to an appeal for a new school then it's good to show that you have done everything possible in order to get the bullying to stop and it's still continuing, hence the need to move. My son is like a different child now he has moved, his confidence has returned and he looks forward to going to school.

Threeschools Fri 25-Nov-16 08:50:49

I have not read the whole thread but I would try to change school ASAP.

DanFmDorking Sat 26-Nov-16 02:16:59

Do the following:-
1. Keep a diary of the incidents and record everything that happens, date and time and what was said.
2. Contact the school Monday morning and tell the class tutor what has been going on.
3. Write to the school/teacher about the problems. It needn’t be long and rambling just short and to the point. "Dear Headmaster..." “I am very disappointed to find that … My son is very unhappy at school because …”
4. At the end of next week, check with the school to see what has been done. Ask them what progress has been made regarding these problems.
5. If you are not happy that the problems are being addressed then take it up with the Headteacher. Ask what progress has been made regarding the problems.
6. You may choose to approach one of the Governors about the problems ‘I’m concerned about … I want to make sure that I’m going about this in the right way’. The Governors should just check that the correct procedures are been followed.
7. How the school addresses parental concerns is a measure of how good the school is.

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