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Please HELP!!! 5year old son rejected...

(16 Posts)
debbiewonders Fri 12-Oct-12 15:42:43

Hi, I joined mumsnet today and would be grateful for your advice and input.
I apologise in advance for the extremely LONG post.

My sons (5years & 2years) and I moved to Hertfordshire a few months ago, away from their violent & aggressive father.

Prior to moving, my older son (then 4years old) started having problems in school. He came home everyday with a report that he had hit or pushed someone or been naughty etc. On one occasion he went off and hid under a table when told off. And then told his teacher that his dad had been hitting me. I was well embarrassed when the teacher mentioned this to me.

Based on the surrounding circumstances, I assumed my son's behaviour was as a result of the home environment he was in and possibly the move to a state school (with bigger classes). He had been to a private nursery previously and he was a little star there. I believed if I took him out of the home situation and also put him back into an independent school all would be well.
Of course, I knew he was going to miss his dad and I wasn't expecting an overnight transformation.

We did move eventually and I found a small pre-prep school for the 2 boys as I now had to work my hardest to earn all the money I could for our upkeep, accommodation and school fees!
I had been upfront with this new school and they kindly offered me 15% bursary on the fees. I didn't have a penny but I was determined to get the money and I had faith.
And you can imagine how excited I was when my son began to flourish in his new school. He was even given a merit award at assembly and I was invited to watch. Not once was I informed that he was bad in school.

Then during the second term, the headteacher started hounding me to pay more. She said she couldn't give me the bursary forever. To this, I replied that I couldn't pay more immediately but I was doing my best to increase my income in the long term.
Then she brought out the joker - she said my son had said some unkind things to some girls whose parents were now threatening to leave her school. And there was no way she could lose full fee paying parents for our sake!
Anyway, we left it at that.

No further mention was made about my son's behaviour in school and he continued to bring the good reports home - mainly on his academic performance.

Then the final blow came when one day I took my son to school as normal and I was asked to take him home with me. They could no longer have him. According to the headteacher, they simply did not have the resources for him!

I was going to try another prep school but then after contacting previous school for references they concluded that they were not the right school for my son.
I cannot bear to watch my child rejected again. He's such a bright boy but I feel his confidence has been slightly knocked.

I so want him to have a full life.
I have considered home-educating but I'm terrified that I would be depriving him of a normal life.
I have taken him to our GP to be referred for an assessment but he clearly said that could take a while if at all they do take his case up.

I am now looking for a private Education Psychologist, hopefully I will get an unbiased assessment of his behaviour / personality and next steps...

Where do I go from here?

Thanks in advance for your recommendations & suggestions.

Chundle Fri 12-Oct-12 16:15:56

Hi there, personally I would look to put him in a good state school check out their ofsted reports online. If indeed there are problems with his behaviour and learning then school will get an ed pysch in for free to do the assessments and refer as necessary to the right people. Good luck

To be honest it sounds as though your son has some problems, possibly due to his previous home life, that aren't going to magically disappear just by being in a nice private school, and an awful lot of independent schools are very unhelpful with behaviour problems.

I'd go looking at the local state schools, see which have decent Ofsteds and also have experience staff with behavioural needs and take it from there. They will get the Ed Psych in if there is a problem that is significant.

A private assessment might be useful..but he still needs a good school!

zzzzz Fri 12-Oct-12 17:02:25

This all sounds very muddled.

Was your son expelled, and if so over what incedent?

Did you fail to meet the full fees, if you ever agreed to do so?

Was the bursary just for the first term?

Is he at a school at the moment?

What about your other son?

Has there been any suggestion of sn? Does he display unusual behaviour at home?

An Ed Psych would normally observe in school and advise on how to adapt school for different issues. It would seem wiser to have him seen at school.

Sorry for so many questions, but you will get more focused advice if people understand your set up.

cansu Fri 12-Oct-12 17:07:05

Agree that you would be better looking at a state school. I would be upfront with them about your ex abusive behaviour so that any comments made by your ds are understood and this also may help staff to help your ds with any behavioural problems. Private schools are notorious for being poor at helping children with difficulties. Put simply it doesn't make financial sense for them to have any special needs or behavioural issues that might put off or upset ther fee paying parents.

debbiewonders Fri 12-Oct-12 17:22:53

Thank you so much everyone.

Re your questions zzzzz...

Was your son expelled, and if so over what incedent? - Yes you can say son was expelled as I was told to remove him from the school. No specific incident cited. No official letter followed either.

Did you fail to meet the full fees, if you ever agreed to do so? - I did meet the fees as agreed.

Was the bursary just for the first term? - It was not stated. And there were verbal promises initially to grant additional support at a later stage.

Is he at a school at the moment? - No he is not at school as we are looking for a new school.

What about your other son? - Decided to remove him as well, already found another nursery for him.

Has there been any suggestion of sn? Does he display unusual behaviour at home? - He is a normal boy at home. Sulks when told off like most little boys I know. Nothing unusual.

SallyBear Fri 12-Oct-12 17:29:44

Debbiewonders I would definitely look for a good mainstream primary, preferably one that has an excellent record of pastoral care.
What a horrid time you have been having. I hope that ds2 is enjoying his new nursery at least. What are your local schools like?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 12-Oct-12 17:35:15

I agree with a state school. Fee paying schools aren't magically better and as you've unfortunately found out they often don't want to know if you're child has difficulties.

Its hard to tell if your son is particularly difficult, has sen (doesn't really sound like it so far) or if he just needs a bit of extra support while he settles.

It sounds as though the prep school have treated you appalling! Can you complain to ofsted or are schools like that out of their control so to speak?

debbiewonders Fri 12-Oct-12 17:39:12

All the "good" mainstream schools are full :-)

Already printed off the in year application form.
Shall I make any mention of the behavioural issues on there?

Son has not been statemented officially.

debbiewonders Fri 12-Oct-12 17:41:13

Also forgot to mention he is a summer baby - so one of the youngest in his class.

lisad123 Fri 12-Oct-12 18:15:00

Can I ask which area you are in? Feel free to pm me if you would rather not say. I'm in Herts and its not a great place to be at all. A lot of the state schools are very large and the good schools are hard to get places in and the failing schools are on the increase.
My dd1 is at a private school with a bursary, and we have been very honest about her autism. So far she is doing very well.

zzzzz Fri 12-Oct-12 18:55:01

I think given no letter, no incedent, this is extraordinary behaviour. I would want my fees back plus any deposits, reg fees etc, and a letter of explanation. Do you have access to legal advice?

I am honestly flabbergasted!

I don't agree that private schools don't want to know. I think at primary level there are a larger proportion of "vulnerable" mild end children whose parents are looking for a more cosseted option. I think they tend not to know about each other though, so often think they have the only sn child in the class.

I'd want to know what exactly they are saying to schools you want to move on to!


bochead Fri 12-Oct-12 19:02:17

Ignore Ofstead - that which makes for an Ofstead outstanding school is not the same criteria that creates a really caring, nurturing learning environment for a little boy whose self-esteem has just taken a massive knock. A happy, content motivated child will always learn better than one who isn't.

Go look at schools yourself and trust your gut re "the vibe". Your eyes and gut will tell you far more than any Ofstead report. At this stage it sounds as if your son needs additional tlc rather than any really formal peadeatric assessments. (That may change at a later date once you and a good school see what his behavior is like when he's emotionally stable iykwim).

I'm gonna be a bit hard and tell you to spend the money you would have spent on next terms fees on a superb independent family therapist to help you to rebuild his confidence and emotional security.(cos state provision is just so variable in quality and waiting lists are crazy long - you don't need patronising or fobbing off, you want prompt help).

I'd also do a formal request for his files from his previous schools so that you can see for yourself exactly what complaints the prep school had about him as it all sounds rather vague.

debbiewonders Fri 12-Oct-12 19:08:37

Absolutely zzzzz!

I haven't got access to legal advice and I'm not sure I've got the mental / emotional energy to fight that battle just yet. Especially as I am still at a loss as to what to do with son.

I have indeed written a lengthy letter politely requesting an explanation re treatment as well as all records held on my son - in line with data protection... Also clearly stating that I am happy to cover costs if any. I am yet to receive a response to that.
I sent it via recorded delivery so I know it was received.

debbiewonders Fri 12-Oct-12 19:13:56

Thanks everyone!
I really appreciate your time and suggestions and am completely open minded.

Bochead, do you know of any such good family therapist?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 12-Oct-12 20:08:58

I agree with not just going by ofsted when it comes to deciding which are the good schools.

There is one near me which has a bad reputation and a satisfactory rating. It appears that actually the reputation is out of date and the school is fantastic, according to friends whose children go there. They are so pleased and the children very settled. They have said its a very supportive, caring school. I suspect that the opinion on the school is based on snobbery as its in the less posh side of town.

Often the more supportive schools are the ones who aren't putting everything into getting the best rating but instead actually focusing on the children.

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