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Telling DS2's headteacher to 'Get a grip'!!

41 replies

sarah573 · 19/06/2007 07:10

DS2 is 6 and in year 1.

Although no angel he is on the whole an easy child who does not cause too much grief.

School have been having some problems with him as he is refusing to come back into the class room after playtime.

They phoned me last week, the first time this happened, and I duly went to the school and walked DS from his the playground back to his class room and went home again! I was absolutely gob smacked that they were unable to resolve this without my help! When I asked the class teacher how they would be sanctioning DS for this, she looked at me blankly. When I suggested maybe he should miss a playtime the following day she agreed, however this didn't happen. What he did receive was a formal warning, which is a letter sent home. If he gets 3 formal warnings then he gets suspended.

The head called me again yesterday to say that DS was refusing to come in from the playground and could I come to the school. I explained to her that I felt someone from the school (nanely her) should have sufficient authority over my son to walk up to him in the playground anf tell him to come into class. If he refused to go then to take his arm and walk him back to the class. I told her that I was very cross they needed to call me over such a minor incident, and that I was uable to come to the school at the moment. When I arrived to collect DS at the end of the day he was back in the classroom and seemed fine. No doubt he will receive another formal warning for this. So if he refuses to come in from play again today he will be suspended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I being unreasonable to think the school should be able to deal with this - he's 6 years old FFS!!!!!!!!!

OP posts:
Desiderata · 19/06/2007 12:29

For me, it boils down to one thing. It absolutely beggars belief that a six year old can be suspended. I mean, of course he doesn't want to go back to class after playtime. It seems a perfectly natural reluctance in a child so young.

Blandmum · 19/06/2007 12:35

I reality someone will have to stand with the little boy until he moves. If this is an ongoing issue, the school may very well not have the 'spare' person.

I know that sounds grim, but if someone is with this little lad, they *can't be with someone else.

The teachers cannot move him, if he choses not to move one of them will have to stay with him.

I realise that going in is a major inconvenience. But the same is true for the school , if you don't go in, someone will have to stand with him.

OrmIrian · 19/06/2007 12:44

desiderata - it may be a natural reluctance but that doesn't mean he is right to be refusing. My children are naturally reluctant to go to school at all but they still go. I think the OP needs to get to the bottom of why her DS doesn't want to go in in case there is an underlying reason, and if not make it 100% clear that he has to do certain things whether he wants to or not. If he absolutely refuses to move, the school cannot make him. The OP can. I know it sounds absurd but there we are.

Beelliesebub · 19/06/2007 12:51

My DS4 was an absolute nightmare up until about 2 years ago but in his first year at school, we had terrible problems with him. At one point the headmaster had to try and get him out from under a table and he just wouldn't come, in fact I could write a list of the horrible things he's done at school. The school however did deal with it and I did offer my support and to all intense and purposes I actually became quite good friends with his teachers and headmaster.
I found that my ds4 knew exactly what was going on, knew all the right buttons to press and to a certain extent, I have to say, he was doing it, wilfully for effect.
Although, I very, very rarely give any of our boys a clout and my dh never, ever does, for some reason they respect the fact that if dad's got the arse then that means BIG trouble, so I made a point of giving all his teachers dh's mobile number while ds4 was in the meeting and told them that if he played up they were to ring that number straight away. They never rang that number, not once! in fact all they had to do was threaten to ring it and ds4 was like putty in their hands.
I have since found out though (ds4 is nearly 15 now) that he had a terrible personalty clash with his very first teacher in reception and she spent all her time picking on him (I always disliked her but didn't realise what was going on) and that basically set the stage for the whole of his primary school years ...

Hallgerda · 19/06/2007 13:51

Precisely, sparklesandwine - I'd observed the SAHMs got all the phone calls too. So I decided to try being a hermit for a while, until the school found they could deal with DS2's nose bleeds on their own without sending him home

ebenezer · 19/06/2007 14:47

Although it sounds on the surface ludicrous, I think this highlights the very real dilemnas faced daily by members of the teaching profession. If a child refuses to move, there isn't anything a member of staff can do without physically engaging with the child, which understandably many teachers aren't willing to do. As someone else pointed out, teachers have been suspended and investigated over physically restraining children who have been actually attacking them! So god knows what could happen in a case like this! You also need to factor in that while the teacher is dealing with your one child, it might mean that 29 others are momentarily left unsupervised..... and if anything happens with them , you can guess whose career is on the line....

Caz10 · 24/06/2007 16:46

Sorry, just came across this..

as someone quite rightly pointed out:

  • your son can't be left alone outside unsupervised
  • the rest of your son's class can't be left INSIDE unsupervised
  • your son cannot be physically forced/carried inside.

    I have had a child in my class who used to do this quite regularly, and it is a nightmare. As mentioned above, there is very often not a "spare" person around to help out, especially in small schools. You can be quite sure the school would have tried speaking sternly/cajouling/persuading/anything to get your son to come in. But if he refuses, physical force is not an option. Not saying that your son does this, but I have seen a HUGE difference between children's behaviour in and out of school - a lot of parents would be amazed at the difference I think.

    "A firm hand on his arm accompanied with 'Come on Ben in you come now' would without doubt have the desired effect."
  • firstly some parents would sue over the firm hand
  • secondly - do you really think so??!!!
ViciousSquirrelSpotter · 24/06/2007 17:08

So what if you were at work in the middle of a meeting? I'd love to hear Xenia's views on this. How on earth are mothers supposed to go out to work if schools can't take responsibility for controlling six year olds in their care and they could at any time be called a) to discipline their children and b) to take a week off school because their six year old has been suspended?

Surely there's more to this than meets the eye? What does OFSTED say about this unusual and remarkably ineffectual policy? What do the governors say about it?
(What would the local press say about it?) Are there any other factors involved sarah?

RosemaryWoodhouse · 24/06/2007 17:10

Next time the school call you, you should march him into the class, pull down his trousers and spank him on his bottom in front of his fellow pupils. Hopefully he won't do him again because he want the school to call you.

Caz10 · 24/06/2007 20:04

Meant to add that never at any point in these procedings did we call the child's parents - but just wanted to make the point that if a child refuses to do something, there is a limit to what the school can do to make them!
I would be more concerned about WHY your child has done this. It is not very common and surely indicates that there is something else going on, either with him or with his school experience. How the school handles it is less of a concern than finding out what the problem is.

Ladymuck · 24/06/2007 20:12

How long had your ds2 been in the playground for on these occasions? There simply must be something else going on here.

Elasticwoman · 24/06/2007 20:24

Is Ms Woodhouse the one who used to be on telly training dogs?

I think the OP might try to clarify the law on physical co-ercion of pupils. I have recently taught in a special school for ebd kids (emotional/behavioural disturbed) where it was ok for kids to be physically restrained where necessary, but needed to be done by specially trained staff. There was a classroom assistant who used to be a prison officer! I don't know whether it was legal just because it was a Special school, or because the staff were specially trained in safe methods of restraint.

It may be a moot point whether the mother should be called (although I personally find it very wet of the school) but there is no excuse for not punishing the child in school by loss of playtime or some other similar sanction.

Doesn't matter how "nice" the area is - children will still test the boundaries in any school.

MrsWho · 24/06/2007 20:41

I work in a SN school and we are allowed to restrain /move children BUT we have been trained and parents are always informed of the incident

cat64 · 24/06/2007 21:06

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

MrsWho · 24/06/2007 21:20

Ours has a clause about if it sets a precedent for disruptive behaviour (something like that has been a while since I looked at it ) may come under that (just about?)if it is constant?

Noellefielding · 24/06/2007 21:51

I agree that physical force is very difficult for schools to use - if a child of 6 refuses a reasonable request - there must be more going on here. Do you know how long the child was reasoned with? As a parent governor we have been told how extremely careful staff must be before they lay a finger on a child.

I would work with the school and get to the bottom of it. The quickest solutions in schools seem to be when school and home work together and respect each other.

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