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Swimming does my daughter have to do it?

(115 Posts)
formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 20:13:41

My daughter is in year 9 and the high school she is at has a pool. She has recently got soft contact lenses and much more aware of her appearance. She refuses to wear her glasses and it takes her a while to put them back in. She only has 15 minutes to change after the lesson. She also has shoulder length curly hair which she styles into ringlets with gel. After she comes out of swimming when it dries it goes into a frizzy ball and looks dreadful (like she has been electrocuted!). I have written to school to say that we don't want her to do swimming. We are happy for her to do any other sport. The teacher has said that she feels she should do it. I know swimming is not compulsory after keystage 2. Does anyone know where we stand with this. Can I refuse and ask for another option. There are no medical grounds. But there are self esteem issues and name calling.

WouldYouCouldYouWithAGoat Wed 01-Oct-08 20:15:42

2 things
prescription googles
swim cap

Blandmum Wed 01-Oct-08 20:16:09

she doesn't want to do a lesson because of her hair


rather precious IMHO

Cammelia Wed 01-Oct-08 20:17:03

When you say "have to do it" do you mean can the school force her?

Obviously not. But imo I don't think it really works to interfere in school activities unless the child is temporarily too unwell for swimming etc

wheresthehamster Wed 01-Oct-08 20:21:31


Is this going to be as good as pencil tin or pizza-gate?

No, this is WAY too ridiculous

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 20:22:06

If it was my dd who was letting her thoughts of her appearance dictate what school activities she would get involved in, I'd take action quickly. The next thing you know she'll refuse to do chemistry because she thinks she doesn't look pretty bending over a bunsen burner. Frankly, this is a dreadful attitude to take into life.

If there is bullying in the school, then it's the bullying that should be dealt with. But she needs to be dressed in a practical style for everyday life; that's your job as her parents to ensure. Tell her so stop styling her hair- easy.

Mind you, I am getting just a tiny bit suspicious now. We seem to have an awful lot of parents on MN tonight who want to dictate every aspect of their dc's schoolday. Is there a full moon? Flooding under the bridge?

AMumInScotland Wed 01-Oct-08 20:22:44

I don't think that your daughter being treated differently from the others, for franky trivial reasons, will help with either self esteem or name calling. It will give both her and the others reason to think that she "can't cope" with normal activities. I think you need to find other ways to improve things for her at school.

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 20:23:00

I see wheresthehamster is thinking along the same lines as myself; we seem to be having a bit of a cluster hmm

Blandmum Wed 01-Oct-08 20:23:48

FWIW I've had girls refuse to do chemistry practicals because they will not tie their (long) hair back, because it would put a kink in it!

So they miss out on a learning oppertunity because they care more about their looks.

I wouldn't be happy if it were my dd

Blandmum Wed 01-Oct-08 20:24:35

The name calling is a different issue that needs to be addressed

formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 20:41:55

WOW I wasn't expecting such a backlash. I am not talking about a minor hair issue here she looks scary and gets major teasing. I don't think she is being precious either she is not that type of child. Does no one remember what its like to be 13. She is quite happy to do any other sport and I think thats reasonable. Its obviously a major issue as out of 20 girls approx half sit out each lesson. I think the school should re think it. If it was last lesson wouldn't be so bad but its 1st. How would you like to walk around work all day looking like someone escaped from a halloween party with no opportunity to deal with it. Anyway what I would really appreciate is anyone who can tell me my rights in this situation.

Habbibu Wed 01-Oct-08 20:46:46

Not many other sports can save your life like swimming can - it's a damn sight more important than hair.

Spockster Wed 01-Oct-08 20:46:59

Your child has a right to get exercise and learn to swim and it is very important to fit in and be like the other girls to a certain extent; at least, it was when I was at school. Also pissing off the teachers is not a good long term school "career" move.

Zazette Wed 01-Oct-08 20:50:32

You haven't responded to the eminently reasonable suggestions of a swimming cap and prescription goggles. What objection could you possibly have to those?

Why are you keener to assert your 'rights' than to find a practical solution?

formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 20:58:01

It seems like I am wasting my time. I am guessing some of you are teachers. I am so sorry we have not advanced since I was at school. I repeat 9 out of 20 girls sit out each lesson. There seems to be no empathy. If she was at a school with no pool she couldn't do it.

formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 21:06:11

Zazette thank-you for your suggestion. I would not wear a swim cap now let alone at 13. And she would have the same problem hair matted under the cap as its so curly. I do appreciate that you did ay least offer some help.

Habbibu Wed 01-Oct-08 21:08:37

Do you not think that being able to swim is an extremely important life skill?

formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 21:10:19

She loves P.E. apart from swimming and is very slim fit and healthy and if she wants to fit in with the other girls she had better stay on the bench as thats where most of them are. I also hope that the teachers are not vindictive as you suggest. Her hair is only shoulder length any shorter and she would look like a boy as the curls spring up

formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 21:11:24

Habbibu she is already a good swimmer.

Imawurzel Wed 01-Oct-08 21:12:45

Hope someone comes on with some good suggestions for you, FL.
seems like everyone tonight wants to shoot people down.
nice huh.

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 21:13:11

Why not tell her to have a hair cut? I can't believe that you would want your dd to learn that styling her hair is so important that the school needs to replan their PE programme accordingly.

I also have a dd at secondary. The moment she comes home and tells me that keeping her current hairstyle intact is so important that the teacher needs to have empathy...well, my dd knows what's good for her. She won't.

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 21:13:12

Why not tell her to have a hair cut? I can't believe that you would want your dd to learn that styling her hair is so important that the school needs to replan their PE programme accordingly.

I also have a dd at secondary. The moment she comes home and tells me that keeping her current hairstyle intact is so important that the teacher needs to have empathy...well, my dd knows what's good for her. She won't.

MaryAnnSingleton Wed 01-Oct-08 21:13:54

she is so lucky to have a pool at school it would be a very sad thing not to use it - as WouldYouCouldYou suggested she could wear a swimming hat and prescription goggles or just tie her hair up -

cascade Wed 01-Oct-08 21:14:21

A swim cap is worn not to keep hair dry but for 2 major reasons 1. to keep hair out of face. 2. hair clogs the filter system in pools, if the filters become clogged, the pool has to be shut to fix and puts the pool out of action, plus it costs a lot of money to fix. I would expect the teacher could not force your daughter to take part in swimming, but i bet there will be a detention letter sent home. Get your dd to tie her hair back into a pony tail or plats, this is what most of my afro carabean/african girls do, to stop afro becoming wild. Not one of them has ever complained about hair, to the extent that they will not get in the pool.

formidablelady Wed 01-Oct-08 21:16:44

Imawurzel Thank-you. I really don't want to be awkward with the school but would like a compromise. I suspect I am not the only one with these issues but some are probably too scared to voice them.I still have nightmares of being forced to wear brown knickers for P.E. and I had hoped society had moved on. Sadly not all of it clearly.

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