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To be extremely pissed off with the school counsellor?

20 replies

MrsSchadenfreude · 27/04/2013 09:35

DD1 had three days off this week to attend a very sad family funeral. The school gave her leave of absence, and offered help with any counselling needed. It was her first day back on Thursday.

She was called into the school counsellor's office and told that she would have to repeat the year in maths - this is not necessarily a huge deal, she is in the advanced class and they are working a year ahead of what is expected. Nevertheless, it was a huge deal to DD1, who was feeling a bit fragile anyway. The counsellor apparently told her that she was the only one who was not going to be able to move up a level, and she got very upset. The counsellor said that she had informed DD1's new school of the decision to repeat the year, and that they would do this. DD1 is having extra maths tuition, and has come on leaps and bounds in the past few weeks, and she really felt that she was making progress. Her standardised tests put her in the top 12% of maths students who take the test (in US and international schools who follow the same system).

As if this wasn't bad enough, the counsellor then informed DD1 that she didn't think that she would be able to cope with boarding at her new school, and that she had also told them this. She apparently said that the new school were unsure about having her, due to her maths ability, and the fact that she panics sometimes when she is not sure what she is doing in maths (other subjects all fine, she is a straight A student in everything else). DD1 managed to tell the counsellor that she had been offered a place anyway, whereupon the counsellor said "I will need to speak to your mother about this."

Counsellor emailed me last night, voicing her thoughts that DD1 won't be able to cope with 5 day boarding, concerns about her maths ability, and the fact that DD1 "doesn't seem to know how she can overcome this." I have agreed to see her after the spring break, but AIBU to think she should have a) raised her concerns with me, before speaking to DD1 and b) chosen her timing a bit better, given DD1's recent bereavement?

OP posts:

Finola1step · 27/04/2013 09:49

You are absolutely right. Any big concerns the counsellor has should be raised with you first. It is your choice where you send your child for schooling. It sounds like to me that the counsellor is over stepping her role and responsibilities here.

How old is your daughter? Do you think she will thrive boarding five days a week? Does your daughter want to go?


MrsSchadenfreude · 27/04/2013 10:04

She is very, very keen to go to this school, and thinks that 5 day boarding will be good for her, in that there is a set period for homework, with teachers on hand to help. She recognises that she needs this sort of structure to get things done. She's 14, and quite mature for her age. I think if her maths ability - and it is more about her reluctance to ask for help, rather than her ability - is the only problem she has, she's not doing badly. Quite bizarrely, she does really well in Physics!

OP posts:

greenteawithlemon · 27/04/2013 10:08

I don't understand- if your daughter is in the top group for maths, then how can she be so behind that she needs to repeat a year?

School counsellor sounds very rude and I would be very cross- of course she should speak to you first.


MrsSchadenfreude · 27/04/2013 10:11

She would repeat this year's course, so be in the "average" class, rather than advanced.

OP posts:

greenteawithlemon · 27/04/2013 10:17

Oh I see.

I can't understand why she would contact the new school with negative information about your dd- and then tell dd that the school doesn't want her!

It seems quite vindictive to me- can you think of any other reason why she might want to do this?


Gossipmonster · 27/04/2013 10:22

Why is the counsellor delivering this info Confused

Is she a real counsellor?


MrsSchadenfreude · 27/04/2013 10:26

Apparently, yes. I would rather the maths teacher delivered the info.

OP posts:

cocolepew · 27/04/2013 10:31

IMO the counsellor shouldn't have spoken to the other school, never mind telling your DD what she thought Hmm. She sounds very negative.


greenfolder · 27/04/2013 10:38

what qualifications does she have in counselling

good opportunity for you to have a chat with your dd about not being influenced by others views of you.

i would confirm place and complain to current school


Finola1step · 27/04/2013 11:07

Agree with greenfolder


cory · 27/04/2013 11:15

I can't see how it's the counsellor's job to deal with your dd's maths: surely that should be left to the maths teacher or the head of year who might actually know what s/he is talking about. In dd's school, the duties are quite strictly delineated: the counsellor deals with the emotional stuff and the teachers with the academic; the counsellor will act as an intermediate with teachers if dd needs someone to be her voice, but she knows her limitations.


Loa · 27/04/2013 12:17

Is the councilor actually allowed to try and stop your DC moving schools?
I assume the answer is no - but that seems to be what she's tried to do.

I'd talk to the new school and confirm the place and try and manage this councilor in the mean time. I not sure how she can have concerns about maths ability if she preforming if she's above average - all seems very odd.


Verytiredofwaiting · 27/04/2013 12:24

The counsellor should be adhering to the BACP ethical framework and doesn't seem to be doing so. If no joy with the school, you can make a complaint to BACP.


BlueberryHill · 27/04/2013 12:26

Does counsellor have some other meaning that I don't know about? If I had had 3 days off work with a funeral and was feeling fragile, my managers would have been more sympathetic and not raised any issues with my performance around that time. Shocking treatment and lacking in any empathy with a 14 yo.


olivertheoctopus · 27/04/2013 12:27

Counsellor sounds bloody rude, surely it's not down to her to raise those concerns with your DD before whoever appropriate at the school discusses with you?


LIZS · 27/04/2013 12:28

Sounds like she needs reminding of the boundaries of her role as she has clearly overstepped them here. The setting of maths is an academic issue not for a counselling session. Does the staff member concerned perhaps have more than one role in the school ?


WadsCollop · 27/04/2013 12:32

Is a US school counsellor not more like an academic adviser?


Tee2072 · 27/04/2013 12:52

If you're in the US a school counsellor is different than in the UK. I am not sure if you are or not.

Either way, she certainly should have spoken to you first, based on your daughter's age.


greenformica · 27/04/2013 13:06

I think you should email the head and copy in the councellor about the timing. It's so insensitive!! Also, much of what you say should have been discussed with you first and not your DD.


Loa · 27/04/2013 13:34

Her standardised tests put her in the top 12% of maths students who take the test (in US and international schools who follow the same system).

I assumed it was the US system of school counselor cause of that ^ - if it was the UK I'd be fuming and know it was highly inappropriate.

I still think it odd - as it's a parental decision where to school even in US so I think it's odd she hasn't talk to OP before contacting the other school but I don't know US system surrounding passing personal data around.

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