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Can a four year old be excluded from school due to behaviour issues

(15 Posts)
meandthree Tue 11-Mar-14 22:01:54

My daughter attends a private school and stated Reception last September. Since she has started there have been issues with her behaviour that range from not concentrating, talking back to the teachers, snatching, hitting other children and on one occasion, tripping over the teacher on purpose. When she is good she is an angel and although she's not perfect at home, the behaviour at school has been more extreme.

The school started to keep a reward chart for her and she has been attending weekly classes with a Specialist Teacher. Over this period, I have been called in several times to discuss her behaviour. At the last meeting, it was stated that the special classes that she attends could not go on forever (the quote was 'we are not that type of school') and that too much of the staff's time was taken up disciplining the behaviour. They also said that they felt she was immature for her age and that other children younger than her did not display this behaviour. They said that as Year 1 was structured, they felt that my daughter would not be able to cope and insinuated that if the behaviour did not show signs of improvement for the rest of the term, that she would no longer have a place at the school. We have now been called for another meeting and are worried that they may ask us to look for another school next year.

Does anyone know what the protocol is for excluding children at this age and any suggestions on what we could do? We did think about suggesting a behaviour specialist to come into the school to observe but we are worried that they have already made up their mind.

Any advice is appreciated as we have been losing sleep over this.

AcrylicPlexiglass Tue 11-Mar-14 22:06:34

So sorry to hear this and hope the school will rise to the occasion and support your daughter. I think private schools can do what they like though. Protocols Don't really apply as such. Are here other local schools you could consider?

cansu Tue 11-Mar-14 22:15:57

Yes they can especially in private school. Start looking for a decent state school that can help her.

StarlightMcKingsThree Wed 12-Mar-14 10:22:46

If the school can support you in getting a statement you can then pretty much choose any mainstream state school.

LIZS Wed 12-Mar-14 10:26:46

If it is a private school they can set their own policies (check website) so yes it is possible for them do this and "manage" her out . Have they/you considered having her assessed ? GP can refer you . You may find more support in the state system with or without a diagnosis.

bochead Wed 12-Mar-14 11:38:18

please do 3 things

1/ Take your daughter to the GP and ask for a referral to a developmental pead who can rule out any simple causes for her disruptive behavior such as needing glasses, or glue ear, receptive language difficulties etc. Keep a behavior diary of her conduct at home to take to this appointment.

2/ Start looking now for a state school for September with an experienced SENCO and kind, nurturing attitude to children with behavioral problems and/or disabilities. Ignore the OFSTED rating as often "outstanding" means we've got rid of any child who might need a little more time and attention than normal, just the same as the private sector. Go visit them, talk to them face to face - kindness is the KEY quality you are looking for.

this might seem scary but remember she can return later to the private sector at 7+ if you choose - nothing is forever at this stage.

3/ Buy the book "123 Magic" and start implementing the strategies it contains at home. In NT children with no extenuating physical issues this is almost guaranteed to sort general behavioral issues out quickly. It's the key reference book behind the behavioral management strategies recc'd for many parenting courses, and a technique every primary school teacher worth their salt is familiar with so incredibly easy to implement consistently in both the home and school environments.

She's only four and it's obvious that this isn't the right environment for her - however she can't carry on like this, as it'll store up problems for the future.

Doing the above will ensure that IF there is a real problem, then it can be identified and she can be helped early enough for her life chances to be the best they can be! (take a look at the thread on the ASD boy who got an A* for English the other day if you are feeling wobbly and need a confidence boost).

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 12-Mar-14 11:48:01

Of course a private school can exclude her.

Did you really not know that?

How do you think they get their good results? It's by excluding all the kids they don't want.

State schools however can only exclude you under certain, much more stringent, conditions.

lougle Wed 12-Mar-14 19:05:19

Was that helpful, TheRoadLessTravelled??

meandthree unfortunately private schools can set their own policies and procedures. Whilst they still need to comply with the law, such as the Equalities Act, they are able to decide that a child doesn't fit their 'profile' and refuse to continue their place.

Private schools do not have access to Local Authority services, so they can't provide some of the resources that a State school can. Generally, if extra support is needed, then parents must pay for it.

It is worth going to your GP to ask for referral to a developmental paediatrician. This will allow you to assess whether she just isn't suited to that particular school, or if there are difficulties which will need addressing at any school.

hanginginthere12345 Wed 12-Mar-14 20:40:54

Something similar happened to someone I know (asked to leave private school) - they did point 2 of what Bochead suggested and things have gone very well for the child, and the family are much happier

AgnesDiPesto Wed 12-Mar-14 21:16:40

Independent schools are subject to the Equality Act see here

Independent schools (other than Academies) do not have to follow the exclusions guidance from DfE, the Welsh Assembly government or Scottish Parliament and can set their own exclusion policies. However, they must comply with the Equality Act and must not discriminate against pupils by excluding them or subjecting them to any other detriment. Their exclusions policies must not be discriminatory.

However behaviour problems are not necessarily seen as having disability or sen (govt is actually encouraging schools not to label as sen) so Equality Act for sen would not necessarily apply. So unless you have some prof support there is a underlying cause I think you will be in difficulties. However you may find year 1 is actually better if it's lack of structure she struggles with.

An unsupportive school is not good for any of you though so looking around is not a bad idea. Writing a child off at 4 is not a good sign.

I can think of many children who were a handful / played up at school at 4 who didn't go on to have any sen etc. In a state school she would be one of several in the same boat.

Do you think there is more going on than immaturity?

When is she 5? Legally she doesn't have to be in school until the term after 5. Would part time be an option for now?

AgentProvocateur Wed 12-Mar-14 21:19:29

Private schools will get rid of a naughty or disruptive child at the drop of a hat so that the other parents don't complain and withdraw their own children.

meandthree Thu 13-Mar-14 00:08:00

Thank you for all the supportive comments and information. I have already been referred by my GP and am awaiting the appointment.

Starlightmckingsthree can you expand on the point you made about getting a statement.

How do I identify a school with a good SENCO? I am not that familiar with state schools as we only really considered private due to the smaller class sizes. Will I be able to place my daughter based on her needs or will she just be out in where they have places?

Bochead thanks for the tip on the book. I am open to anything that can help. It's so frustrating not knowing whether the issues are behavioural or caused by an underlying problem.

BackforGood Thu 13-Mar-14 00:16:52

As she will now be starting school well into the year (or at the start of Yr1 if you leave it until September) then she will only be able to access a school where there is a space available. How likely that is to mean you get any choice will depend entirely on the number of spaces available in your area, but obviously the schools that are perceived as being 'better schools' by parents are statistically more likely to be full than schools which don't have that reputation. So it's likely you will have restricted choice due to needing a place to be available.

That said, IME, some of the schools that parents don't perceive as being 'the best', often are FAR better at looking at a child's individual needs than those that parents fight to get their dc into.

radioison Thu 13-Mar-14 10:03:22

Hi - think about what schools you might want to send her to (which are local - it helps to have local friends) and make an appointment to meet the head and SENCO
Tell them the situation and see if they respond warmly and welcomingly.

If small class sizes are important to you, some state schools do have this and are not over-subscribed particularly if you go rurally (would you be prepared to move - even rent in a new area for a bit?)

I agree ofsted outstanding schools might not always be the most nurturing (they can be nurturing but sometimes have a focus on results too which mean they aren't) so don't rule out somewhere because it has a bad ofsted.

Instead you want somewhere that has a reputation for being kind and wanting to help DC. A good way is to go by word of mouth.

Statements are explained here
and in it you can name the school you would like for your child

You can apply for one yourself
and you could call ipsea for advice
You could send the letter off yourself just to get the ball rolling as the process takes ages and they can be hard to get

Without a statement I think you can still apply for space in the usual way - I think it is called a late application - and your council's website should have details on how to do this.
If there is not space initially you can go on the waiting list until something comes up

pestcontrol Thu 13-Mar-14 12:44:19

When DS was in Reception (he was 5 yrs) at a private school they issued a Record of Concern & told us that we would either need to pay for 1:1 care (we were told much later that this was to protect the other children) or he would need to leave the school as they felt that his emotional/behavioural issues were beyond their level of expertise.

We were very unhappy with the school's very unsupportive attitude & the poor level of pastoral care for kids who didn't fit their mould. We didn't want him to stay at a the school so took him out as soon as we got as soon as we secured a place in another school. I have been told that lots of children in my son's year were issued with Records of Concern, the feeling was that the school wanted to keep the children who were most likely to achieve better academically.

We took DS to see an Ed Psych who diagnosed Aspergers traits & possible dyslexia, but he was too young for her to make a confirmed diagnosis. We found a fantastic private school where all the teachers are trained in dyslexia, classes are extremely small & the level of pastoral care is amazing. A year down the line he is a very much happier child. We are still having issues, but changing schools was the best thing we could have done for him. If you're thinking of getting a professional to look at your daughter's behaviour, I would chose one that's independent of the school so there's no possibility of any bias.

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