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Problems with classmates in y8

(22 Posts)
rollonthesummer Thu 01-Jan-15 21:16:48

DS is at a boys grammar and is pretty miserable about going back next week-has anyone got any words of wisdom for me?

The boys in his class all seem to be football mad-either playing (very well) or playing FIFA (well) on an xbox one-(we only have a 360). They are also-in general-from pretty well-off families who have iphone 5/6s and lots of cash (he 'only' has a 4s!). I do believe him with the £ issue as loads of them went to private primaries so their parents probably have a spare few quid floating around now they're not paying fees.

He does have 4/5 friends in his class but I get the impression he feels geeky and is friends with the odd people and lots of the cool kids don't want to have anything to do with him and have made comments about him being gay (I think gay as in rubbish/crap rather than liking other boys) and he doesn't know how to respond. He says he can't just keep his head down and get on with school as they seem to hunt him (and a couple of others) out to say things to. It isn't just one or two boys either, he says, it's just loads of them, separately saying horrid things.

He loved primary school-always had loads of mates-has never loved football but that wasn't an issue, there were other acceptable hobbies!?-but he seems so miserable now.

I don't know that it's bullying, just people don't like him sad He is with the same 30 boys for every lesson-no opportunity to see anyone else. Maybe in GCSEs years that'll be better but what can I suggest now??

goshhhhhh Thu 01-Jan-15 21:30:35

My dd has had a pretty tough yr 8. I think it is a bit of a nothing year & they have too much time on their hands. I can't really give you any advice except for keep talking and supporting. We have conversation s about the future & her plans however distant or far fetched they might seem just to get her to realise that school is finite & ameans to an end. I am also probably tterribly bad as we also talk about the 'populars' & how this is probably the pinnacle of their lives & it is downhill from here. Anything to give a bit of perspective & boost her self esteem.

rollonthesummer Thu 01-Jan-15 23:43:34

Thank you for your reply-I was sort of hoping other people felt like this sometimes and that he wasn't the only one sad

We can't keep up financially-he will have to accept that there will always be people at his school/in life that have lots and lots of money and you can't let it crucify you, but I don't want him to be so unhappy.

I just find it hard to believe that everyone is so football obsessed and that you are a complete loser if you're not rich or sporty. Or is that naive!?

FATEdestiny Thu 01-Jan-15 23:53:00

I also find that hard to believe. Not wishing to label or pigeon hole but clearly doing both, schools generally have petrol heads (into cars), skaters (into scooters, skateboards, BMX), Geeks (into computers, gaming), Nerds (into academia), Goths (into black things)... Plus loads of other groups including sports and football.

It may be that the 'cool' or most popular boys in the class are in to football and your son would like to be in with them. But there will be others who are into other things.

Have you spoke to his form tutor or year head?

scousadelic Thu 01-Jan-15 23:58:12

My son had this at around this age. I spoke to school at the time and described it as being more a general culture of unkindness than bullying as my DS was not the only one to suffer this.

As it happened we moved him to a different school at the end of Yr9 (different set of problems with teaching, etc) and he really blossomed from that point but several of his friends who stayed there seemed to just gradually come through it. The obsession with football and sports passes and they do eventually realise that money isn't everything (they also at some point realise that parents having money does not mean they always will)

Btw, DS and his friends are now 26 and he is doing far better in life than most of the richer, more popular kids. Hope things go ok for your DS

rollonthesummer Fri 02-Jan-15 00:01:21

Well, that's what I always thought. When I was at school, the boys were either into football, music (muso types always setting up cool bands), computers or scouty/hiking/outdoors types.

I suspect you're right that it's the cool kids he's seen, or there is just a higher concentration of footie types in his particular class and because he's only ever with that class, that's what he's noticed.

It's parents evening soon, so I would like to say something. He doesn't want me to though as he thinks the rest of the class will just be told to be nice to him, they won't give a crap and it'll make things a whole lot worse. What could I say to his form teacher that might help?

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Jan-15 07:37:41

It is unlikely the rat will be told to be nice to him. The Head of Year/Form Tutor may have a word with the whole class about language - that usage of gay is NOT acceptable and results in consequences when it comes to my attention. I would have a word with the form tutor. They may let the class's teachers know to be on the look out for this nastiness. It is best to keep us form tutors informed of things you know.
I've been a year 8 boys' form tutor several times in the past. It's often a silly year where they really start becoming teenagers.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Jan-15 08:02:34

*rest not rat! What was that about?

rollonthesummer Fri 02-Jan-15 11:30:14

Thank you for your reply-that's good to hear. I've been thinking and maybe parents evening isn't the best time to bring it up with his form teacher as DS will be there? How are you normally approached about things like this. I'm a teacher, but in primary and parents would just catch me before or after school if there was a problem-do I ring the office?

Do you have any tips I can give DS about how to deal with general low-level unkindness from classmates? What have you seen kids do/say that actually doesn't escalate the problem? In year 2, we tell the children to say, 'stop it, I don't like it' if people say/do something unkind but I can't see that working...!

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Jan-15 12:22:45

At secondary advice is usually to try and ignore it. Easier to say than do obviously. Phoning can work, however, this year most of my free time is on one day of the week. I'd email his form tutor in the first instance.

Travelledtheworld Fri 02-Jan-15 17:25:27

I think if he has 4/5 friends that is good. Just support those friendships. They may all change again next year.
There will always be some boys who do not run with the pack.

My son is also a bit of a loner at a boys grammar,is a bit of a nerd and has no interest in sports, skateboards etc. Has 2 or 3 friends in school but does not socialise with them out of school.
He doesn't even have a phone and doesn't care.

Don't worry too much.

Travelledtheworld Fri 02-Jan-15 17:27:42

Sorry just re-read your post definitely speak to form tutor to share your concerns and to keep an eye on

Feellikescrooge Fri 02-Jan-15 18:34:34

Any school will clamp down on the use of the word gay as a derogative term, they can drop a grade ofsted wise because of it! Talk to his tutor they might be able to steer him towards clubs where he can make friends out of the tutor group. For example we have scrabble/ chess/ manga/ book clubs at lunch which are all very popular across the years. Generally if you feel you have friends elsewhere these sorts of issues are easier to deal with.

oddsocksmostly Fri 02-Jan-15 19:18:25

I have no experience of single sex schools myself, but wonder if this issue is exacerbated because of it. I would think in a class of 30 boys, (or girls) it wouldn't be difficult to feel intimidated.

noblegiraffe Fri 02-Jan-15 19:28:52

Usually the geeky kids and the sporty kids just get on in their own separate groups, what concerns me is that you say in your OP that DS can't just keep his head down and they hunt him down to be unpleasant. This is definitely something that his teachers need to be aware of so that they can keep an eye out for it and stamp down on it if they see it occurring.

If you want to talk to the form tutor, at my school you would ring the school and ask for the form tutor to ring you back after school hours. Or you could try emailing, although a verbal conversation would be more useful here.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 02-Jan-15 19:34:06

I suggested email as I can be difficult to get hold of via phone in the first instance. Would follow up something like this with a phone call and meeting if the parent thought it was necessary.

rollonthesummer Sat 03-Jan-15 10:48:04

what concerns me is that you say in your OP that DS can't just keep his head down and they hunt him down to be unpleasant.

That's the bit that I'm bothered about tbh. I will contact the school office next week and get in touch with his form tutor.

I have talked a bit to him about it though and he can't see what the school could possibly do to make things better-he thinks it will make it worse.

Littleturkish Sat 03-Jan-15 10:59:44

Can you encourage the friendships he has got to make them stronger so he can feel more confident at school?

Sport is a really good way to make friends and increase confidence- how does he feel about rugby or cricket?

Takver Sat 03-Jan-15 11:27:06

I'd agree that if they 'hunt him down to be unpleasant' it has spilled over from 'not having much in common' to low level bullying - which can make life miserable for anyone, regardless of age. I'd definitely either speak to form tutor or strongly encourage him to do so.

DD has/had a similar problem in that the vast majority of her form is extremely sporty/rugby obsessed (both sexes), and again she's in lessons with the same group for most of the time. Fortunately she seems now to have got to a place where she can have her own friends that she hangs out with at lunchtime/breaks, and basically not have too much to do with other members of her form outside lessons.

Takver Sat 03-Jan-15 11:30:54

Worth saying to your ds that he may not be the only one in this position - I did end up going into school at one point last term with dd & we had a session with her form tutor. Tutor said she'd just had a very similar conversation with another parent from the form.

She had a session with the class which was a generic 'if you can't be pleasant, just leave alone - or there will be consequences' talk, which did seem to help.

sunshineandroses Sat 03-Jan-15 11:39:33

Sadly I think this is common in Year 8 - your son is not alone. It's the year after they've settled into secondary school and found their feet and you then get the friendship groups forming. This usually means the ringleaders emerge and they are sometimes unpleasant to make themselves seem more important.

The best advice is to either ignore it or perhaps your DS could speak to his form tutor and explain his feelings and what's been happening. It will take a lot of courage but most schools would take this seriously and address the problem. You could then follow this up with the form tutor in a few weeks.
It's tough when you're forced to spend all your time with the same class of kids. I'm sure he will feel happier in the GCSE years as most of these unpleasant boys will probably be separated from him. Good luck.

rollonthesummer Sat 03-Jan-15 21:14:11

This usually means the ringleaders emerge and they are sometimes unpleasant to make themselves seem more important.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. I just need a few strategies to stop them seemingly targeting him. sad

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