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A little bit of advice please

(19 Posts)
Tanfastic Thu 04-Feb-16 22:37:04

Evening all smile. I'm not a regular in here but I think I need your expertise if I may.

Ds who is 7, year 3 primary has been having some problems at school since starting juniors. He is on the special needs register under "SEN support", has one to one for literacy and maths and two hours twice a week he gets taken out of the classroom in a small group of children for extra support. He is slightly behind in most subjects but I'm not generally too concerned as he's a bright enough lad and I refuse to stress out over this!

He's not got any formal diagnosis but he has a stammer and is emotionally immature/has difficulty controlling his emotions. So far his teachers have been able to manage this. His main problems appear to be stroppy behaviour when things don't go his way, then crying and wailing uncontrollably and refusing to complete the work. This isn't every day. He is fine a lot of the time.

Things have escalated in year 3 where before they could manage it but now his new teacher can't. I've had a meeting with her today and she explained that he will have a strop over something minor, then he starts crying and wailing and nobody can talk him down, so he wails and wails whilst she's trying to teach 25 other children. She then calls several different members of staff in to ask him to leave the classroom (to calm down) but he refuses to leave to every one.

Teacher says she has tried everything but mentioned today about "positive handling" where they are escorted from the classroom by a trained member of staff using force I assume. Says she needs my permission for this. Now my first thought was that he will kick off, end up hitting a teacher and getting excluded or something. I think it will exacerbate the situation. However I am at a loss as to what else to suggest.

I have had a look at the school's positive handling policy and it says they will only use this when (and I quote)

• The health and safety of the child in question.
• Against injury of other children and adults.
• Against serious damage to property.

Well from what I can gather he doesn't fall under any of these categories. It's just wailing and crying that goes in forever. The odd time he does this at home I just send him to his room, where he wails until he's got it out of his system and then comes down when he feels better. She says she can't just ignore him because she has other children to teach but she can't (obviously) ask the other kids to leave the classroom.

I've asked her today if she can ask the SENCO person to observe his behaviour in the classroom, I've also asked her to let me know if there is anybody in the school that can help him manage his emotions (coping mechanisms etc). She has suggested we maybe take him to the GP for a chat just to see whether anything else is going on but we were going to do this anyway.

I've asked after school club what his behaviour is like (absolutely fine) and his behaviour at home is mostly fine ( normal gobby 7 year old aside). We don't have any major problems. So it's just in the classroom.

Anybody any thoughts, wise words? Think if anything else I can suggest to the school?

My dh is dead against the agreeing to the positive handling and I'm inclined to agree. I think it will just make the situation worse. I did wonder whether to suggest that if they have a problem in future with him refusing to leave the classroom that they ring me and I come and fetch him out or dh as we'd be able to get there within fifteen minutes or so but not sure the school would go for this.

Tanfastic Thu 04-Feb-16 22:37:36

Shit sorry for the essay. Not one to drip feed me grin

GruntledOne Sat 06-Feb-16 00:19:20

Has the school called in specialist advice from an educational psychologist or behavioural specialist? Should he be referred to CAMHS or a paediatrician?

lisap45 Sat 06-Feb-16 10:00:15

Hi. I had a similar situation to you. My son is 8 and in year 4, until last January 2015 he was only in school for 1 hour per day! It was such a difficult time but having the right people involved helps. He was put on an hour a day because his behaviour was uncontrollable in class. He did get to the point unfortunately where he lashed out at his teacher.He was also statemented. I seen psychologists and paediatricians etc but they could find nothing like adhd or autism etc. In the end I made the decision to change his school and I'm so glad I did. Since starting in January last year, he has now been in school full time 9-3 and is very happy with NO behaviour issues whatsoever. I'm not saying this is in your case but just sharing my story. Hope it resolves for you soon, just try different strategies and in my experience having the right adult at school makes a huge difference.

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 11:08:30

Gruntled, no, no and no. I've asked the teacher what senco think and she didn't say much so I've asked if she can ask her to observe him in the classroom. I got the feeling though that teacher didn't seem
Keen on this as she said senco isn't a doctor etc.

I assume (but please correct me if I'm wrong) that it's senco who refer to educational psychologist and that I can't approach an educational
Psychologist direct

We are seeing the GP to see if we Can be referred and I think yes he's benefit from some therapy at CAHMS.

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 11:12:19

Thanks Lisa for your post. School have intimated that parents in the past have threatened to take their kids elsewhere but reassured me that my child wouldn't get the support he gets anywhere else I my area. Teacher reckons he's getting over and above what he should be getting and as much as any kid who has a statement.

However it's obviously not working is it?!

Last year his teacher managed it. She was a very good experienced teacher though and was very good at jollying him along if that makes sense.

PhilPhilConnors Sat 06-Feb-16 11:25:10

I would ask for school to bring in an educational psychologist.
A SENCO isn't an expert, so they wouldn't be qualified to make any sort of assessment based on observations, when an EP would.
I would insist on the SENCO referring this to an ed psych, to get the right support you need to know what the problems are and which strategies will best help him.

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 11:35:37

So do you think an appointment with SENCO rather than the teacher is the next step?

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 11:37:04

What are everybody's thoughts on positive handling?

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 11:37:50

If there is no violence/risk involved. It's just basically wailing and refusing to move.

PhilPhilConnors Sat 06-Feb-16 11:47:19

I don't know much about positive handling, my son masks in school, but my feelings here (and I may be talking bollocks) are disbelief that he has got to the point where they are considering it without him actually being observed or assessed by someone who could identify what is going on.

If a child gets to the point where positive handling is needed, school should be looking at what went wrong to get to that point in the first place, and working on preventing that from happening, and it doesn't sound like they're doing that.
It's brilliant that's they're offering support, but it sounds like they're managing present behaviour rather than actually supporting him when he needs it.

Yes, I would see the SENCO.

lisap45 Sat 06-Feb-16 12:00:38

Yes, speak to the senco. Luckily for me at my sons previous school his year 1 teacher was the senco also, so she already knew him. Yes it does need to be the school who do the referrals and if you don't get anywhere with teachers then go through the headteacher. I personally liased with the headteacher for most things. When I took my son to the gp they were very good and it was the gp who done the referral to the paediatrician. So a step now you can do yourself is see the doctor and get that referral, it's very helpful as the paediatrician will be able to help with the school situ too. I didn't agree with the positive handling when we were going through it all but it made things difficult. I had a phone call one day saying my son was going crazy and to get to the school asap. When I arrived he was in the classroom with 2 teachers and he was just smashing things up and throwing chairs (they removed all the other children). Not a good situ, it should have been my son removed from class and taken somewhere to calm down. Instead I was shocked to see that he was just being watched and allowed to carry on, no intervention from anyone! Because he had been allowed to go so far this resulted in a 3 day exclusion! If he had been removed that wouldn't have happened. So yes I think in the right circumstances it's best to be used, especially for the child's sake.

lisap45 Sat 06-Feb-16 12:02:46

If positive handling had been used in my sons case then it wouldn't have spiralled out of control like it did. He just seen 2 teachers sat there allowing him to behave that way, in his eyes he was the one with the control.

lisap45 Sat 06-Feb-16 12:04:49

Because my son had 2 teachers sat there watching him trash his classroom he felt he was the one in control and it did make me very sad that they didn't in any way try to help or stop him.

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 12:09:28

Thanks both. My son doesn't smash things up or go ballistic, he's just stood there wailing apparently when the teacher is trying to do a spelling game with the other kids for example. So understandably she wants to remove him from the classroom. The problem is he won't leave and can't be calmed down. If he does this at home (rarely) I ignore and let him get on with it until he's calmed down and got it out of his system as I find any interaction/ intervention just makes him worse when he's in that frame of mind. I get they can't do that at school though. She also says it ends the wrong message to the other kids when he's refusing to do something and getting away with it. So we are stuck with this situation.

I am going to refuse the positive handling. I cannot believe that they will have to resort to physical removal. I am going to suggest if it happens again they ring me and I will come down and calm him down/remove him myself or DH.

In fact the more I write the more I'm thinking the teacher doesn't really have a clue what to do. She said she's never seen a child like it which I find it hard to believe!

I will see what the GP says and speak to the school again.

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 12:15:19

Just another thought, she did say when things tend to go wrong is when they have a supply teacher in. There does seem to be a lot of that lately.

lisap45 Sat 06-Feb-16 12:38:10

My situation was definitely more extreme than yours. If he's not being violent etc then maybe just a strategy needs to be put in place for when this happens. When a child's stressed it's not helpful when you have a class full of children who are staring at you. If there was a way of getting him out of the classroom to somewhere quiet to calm down then that may help? I'm sure the senco would have had this in the past and would have some ideas to try. If it's just the whaling etc then there may be no need to involve professionals. Having different teachers could certainly play a part in this as children like continuity, even now although my sons behaviour is sorted and he's now enjoying school, he will try his luck if there's a supply teacher lol

Tanfastic Sat 06-Feb-16 12:45:41

Thanks, really appreciate your input smile.

Seeing this from other people's perspectives is helping me at least make a list of questions to put to the school. I think Phil above saying "why has it got to the point that they are considering positive handling without him being observed or assessed by someone who can identify what's going on" is a very good point. I have written that down and will be asking that question. I think a meeting with the head might be a good idea as well.

Unfortunately with some kids it's like trying to put a square peg in a round hole isn't it, some teachers need to understand that.

lisap45 Sat 06-Feb-16 13:40:00

Absolutely! and also that all children are different and have different needs. If a teacher had a whole class of children who sat there quietly and listened all day long then that would be a super lucky teacher! Good luck

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