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Is this a normal thing to happen in Reception? (disruptive boy given extra attention) long-ish post

344 replies

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 21:49

I'm going to try to get this in a nutshell but it's quite complicated.

Dd's in Reception with a little boy, I'll call him 'Z' just to make things briefer. Z is a reasonably high achieving boy, he's in the 'top' group at the moment along with dd and 4 other girls, all at roughly the same level (I do parent reading with them once a week so I'm fairly confident about this). Z is an extremely disruptive boy despite being very bright, he's taken up to the Headmaster many times, sent into the 'buddy room', up and down the behaviour ladder. He does some pretty unpleasant things like telling the Muslim girl in the same group that all Muslims are going to go to Hell, telling a physically disabled boy that his built up shoes look 'stupid' and that because he's in a wheelchair he's going to die early. The list is as long as my arm. Dd's always coming home with new tales and Z's frequently the topic of upset for many of the mums whose kids have been physically hurt by him.

So he's a difficult character. The teacher has been giving him one-on-one time for 30 minutes after lunch to 'extend' his literacy and numeracy, a luxury that none of the other children get. Dd, for instance, has had one-on-one reading time with the teacher only once since starting in September when her parent reader was off sick. Z's mum says this is because his behaviour is so bad because he's not challenged enough and he 'plays tricks on people' when he's bored. She believes he's extremely gifted and the school isn't meeting the challenge of his intellect. She has frequent meetings with the teacher to discuss what they can do to give him more yet so far I don't see any change in his behaviour at all.

I, and a number of other mums, are beginning to feel a bit miffed that he gets so much attention when his behaviour is so appalling and that our own children get so little in comparison and I wondered if the teacher's decision to give him this extra tuition was a typical move with a disruptive but bright child. And if so, is it known to work?

I've been wondering whether to see the headmaster about the situation, especially given that dd's parent reader has been away for the last 2 weeks so dd hasn't read to anybody at all for 3 weeks now apart from the group guided reading sessions she does once a week. It seems unfair that the teacher can find 30 minutes once a day for one child and leave others with no time at all for weeks on end.

From what I can gather this is the teacher's first class as she's only just qualified as a teacher.

What would you do? Grin and bear it or go and speak to someone?

Z's mum is very 'pushy', she turns a blind eye to his behaviour problems and is genuinely convinced that it's the school's fault for not keeping him challenged. She said to me the other day that she 'doesn't rate' the teacher. I mentioned that she's getting quite a good deal, especially when there are some children who barely speak English (I listen to the lowest achieving group read and I really feel they could do with the teacher's direction rather than my completely unqualified one) who get no time with the teacher.

It seems to me to be a rather sad condition of our times that the worst behaved child gets the best and the quieter ones who are just getting on with school and doing their best are penalised.

Help me put this in perspective? I've made an appointment to see the teacher next Wednesday and I'd like to go in and say everything in a fair but clear way.

OP posts:
Bubble99 · 09/02/2008 23:24

IF. Win the lottery, give up work and home ed.

colditz · 09/02/2008 23:24

IF you definately need to talk to the teacher about your daughter, it does sound like she is being overlooked and her teacher needs to address that.

stuffitall · 09/02/2008 23:24

Do take this up. It does not sound fair. But you sound a bit irritated by the reaction here and I wouldn't take that with you into a meeting.

dippydeedoo · 09/02/2008 23:25

as a nursery nurse and a volunteer in school (2 years ago) we all know that sometimes in school its he who shouts loudest gets heard..there was a similar situation in this school with a very bright/mischievous boy he was sent up to the next class once a day for extra maths he wasnt individually tutored he was sat in class with older children woring in the same capacity-i helpred in school many hours and on different days so i did see his behaviour was inappropriate in fact he probably could be the child z in question apart from the 30 mins to himself ,he didnt have an iep school had noticed (well it hit them in the face really because he bit a taand this was their coping plan.)...what i didnt know and believe me its 100%true is that the year b4 they had tried rewarding his good behaviour ...with a trip to mcdonalds if he were good!!!! how bizarre...there is no point to me telling you this it happened of course parents objected there was endless gossip in the playground but this was a strategy school was trying -maybe this is what this school is doing? 30 mins is rather excessive it is usually a ta and several sen children who do an activity for about 30 mins but maybe this teacher is using this child for some kind of follow on course work? it does seem unfair believe me i know wholeheartedly but you will gain nothing from criticizing school only by supporting your daughter and her reading will they want to listen.

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:28

DTY it's very difficult. I don't like to speak to the teacher, as I said I never have other than general things to do with the reading assisting I do. And I'm nervous about how to approach her. I feel embarrassed to ask for more time for dd. But I feel that even though she might not be SEN or IEP or anything specific, she's being left to slip along and that she has a lot more potential. At home I've noticed a definite slide in her interest in reading, drawing and writing. She's become quite lethargic.

And I really really don't like the fact that I should feel bad for mentioning this, that I assume I have no right to speak to the teacher because dd isn't a Z. Yet I do.

OP posts:
2shoes · 09/02/2008 23:28

imaginaryfriend sounds like a very difficult situation
"telling a physically disabled boy that his built up shoes look 'stupid' and that because he's in a wheelchair he's going to die early"
if it is true he said that then the school should have dealt with that and excluded him.
I would most definitely talk to the teacher about you concerns about your dd.
good luck

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:29

Bubble, if only! Except I don't think I'm up to home ed. and dd's an only child who would all too happily stay home all day so getting her out and about is generally a good thing.

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imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:30

stuffitall I'm irritated by the way some posters have spoken to me, rather than by what they're saying. Insults just aren't appropriate and they bug me.

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TotalChaos · 09/02/2008 23:32

good point 2shoes - one would hope that as part of the work the teacher is doing with him, the school are adequately dealing with the unpleasant things that this child appears to be saying to other kids with special needs.

wannaBe · 09/02/2008 23:32

I certainly wouldn't take the word of a 5 year old either.

There is a small group of children in my ds' class who are very disruptive. For the past couple of weeks they have been going out to do extra work, I'm guessing it's assessments, in the morning. but what the other children are told is that these children are doing some special jobs, and of course some of them have gone home and mentioned this to their parents and .. you've guessed it, parents have been in to complain that other children are getting more attention than their own children. What I presume these parents don't know, is that the person these children have been going to do their "special jobs" with, is the senco.

A lot goes on in class that we don't always know about, even if we go in on a regular basis, so although it's hard I think it's vital that you not judge this particular child, and believe me I know how hard that can be.

but your concern needs to be how little attention your dd is getting, not how much attention z is getting.

And tbh I wouldn't engage in discussion with his mother, because this does seem to be fuelling your resentment.

cosima · 09/02/2008 23:33

IF - yes i know but that is what you need to focus on, your dd has not had a new reading book in 3 weeks. you originally came on here asking for some perspective, i do sympathise with you, but your feelings will have a negative effect on you and cloud your view if you let it, and you will end up seeming unreasonable and not getting what you want and feeling resentful.

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:35

2shoes the mum of the disabled boy told me he'd come home and said Z had said that to him. And worse. Dd also overheard him say something very unkind to the boy who's mum is terminally ill, something she didn't know the relevance of and was asking me what it meant so I believe her. But these are just minor examples of his behaviour which I've seen on and off now for over 3 years.

Do you think a child can be excluded for things like that then? I know he was in big trouble when he said 'all Muslims are stupid and are going to Hell'.

His mum is extremely religious, one of the heads of an Evangelical church nearby, so I can't believe he gets all this stuff from her.

OP posts:
DoodleToYou · 09/02/2008 23:36

Message withdrawn

stuffitall · 09/02/2008 23:37

Your daughter is losing motivation and that's bad so early, especially if she was excited about school.

What about asking if you can have a meeting to talk about "motivation" and then telling your teacher that you are concerned that she needs more. (ps take a notebook into the meeting even if you don't look at it or write in it!) Then don't be put off by comments like "But she's doing very well" "She's very happy in class" "She does lovely work", just keep saying yes but that's not the same as motivation. I think you won't even have to say -- I think it's you or because of this child. I think she will eventually, if you are persistent, realise that your dd needs the extra motivation that an extra well done, or some extra small attention, or a gold star in a book, can give her.

Good luck. If you don't stand up for your daughter who will.

stuffitall · 09/02/2008 23:38

Sorry my last comment sounds aggressive. I don't mean it that way. I mean don't watch her slide for fear of being too "squeaky".

wannaBe · 09/02/2008 23:38

I also think that comments made to muslems/other children with sn are very inappropriate and should have been dealt with. However, I also think that these comments are a huge reflection on the kind of home this child is growing up in. I don't know many 5 year olds that would even think to tell a muslem that they were going to hell, and where on earth does a 5 year old get the idea that a physically disabled child will die early?

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:39

WB I've known Z's mum for over 10 years, from way before either of us was pregnant. Short of blanking her I can't just not listen to her when she talks about Z.

I haven't really used the word 'resentment', that's been somewhat foisted upon me.

WB I am not taking the word of a 5-year-old. I am taking the word of a 42-year-old, Z's mother. She told me about the 'extension' to Z's learning and when I asked dd if she'd noticed Z having extra classes she said 'yes, because he's so clever.'

OP posts:
2shoes · 09/02/2008 23:39

imaginaryfriend no idea if he could be excluded. but if I was the parent of the disabled boy i would be fighting for it(yes my dd is disabled) I would also be looking at the parents in a different way and wondering where a 4yr old would pick up things like that.

2shoes · 09/02/2008 23:40

wannaBe xposted

LadyMuck · 09/02/2008 23:40

I think that one of the possible filters on this thread, is that it can be read from your posts IF that you don't actually like this boy. I suspect that if the teacher was spending the same time with a child who couldn't speak English then you would have phrased your concerns differently. One of the reasons that you might be getting a slightly harder time on this thread is that there will be many parents on here with more than one child at school and who will at some point have felt judged by other parents in the class for their child's issues, in whatever form they take.

I would also take what other parents tell you with a pinch of salt. For over 6 months there has been talk of the fact that my son and 2 others are getting extra lessons in literacy and numeracy on a daily basis. In fact I was out with the class mums for dinner last night and someone raised it again. Thankfully the headteacher was there and could confirm that this has never happened. Even more thankfully she didn't go into details of why the rumour started - ds1 and 2 others were being assessed by the SENCo, ds1 because he reacts very poorly to change, I have no idea about the others. I have been amazed as to how a 2 hour assessment one afternoon has managed to be trasnlated into extra daily lessons, but that is the world of playground gossip.

Ds2 is in reception with a number of difficult and lively boys. Again, no real secrets as to who is more difficult, and it is fairly clear that the teacher's time is being pushed into managing behaviour (ds2 has the same reception teacher as ds1 so I can see the similarities and differences). Ds2 still gets rewarded for his good behaviour though, coming home with a stream of stickers and certificates. He knows that certain other boys will get stickers for doing things such as staying on the same place at carpet time for 2 minutes, but I think that provided that his own efforts are acknowledged he is happy. And I can see that he is making progress in a number of areas. If you feel that your dd isn't making progress overall then have a word with the teacher about that. Your dd shouldn't be left discouraged about her reading. But it may be the case that actually the teacher is more than happy with her reading but is working on some other aspect.

misdee · 09/02/2008 23:40

wannabe, my dd's assiciate wheelchairs with sick people, and do ask if 'xx will die' especially dd2 who is 5. but they have been raised around hospitals.

nooka · 09/02/2008 23:42

My ds was in a similar boat to z in reception, but the school were he goes has a special educational unit and is pretty clued up on managing difficult behaviour. He is also a bright boy with some social and emotional problems. He doesn't though - as far as we know - say nasty things to other children. However in my experience schools are very poor at actually telling parents a lot of what goes on. We didn't find out about a lot of the things they were doing with ds (and also a lot of what he was doing) until we had a meeting with the SENCO and his teacher, possibly only in year 1 when we discoved that they thought he was autistic. I was mortified to find that he regularly had screaming tantrums for example - we thought he had grown out of them at nursery, because he certainly didn't have them at home. After a lot of assessment and well into year two he has been assessed as dyslexic, but still is only on a IEP. You don't have to have significant special needs to be time consuming or have special provisions to try and manage poor behaviour. We also thoguht of moving him to a private school with smaller classes (in fact his teacher suggested we should), but he has calmed down a lot, and has finally come off special charts and other measures (he still gets time out on a regular basis though). There were a number of other children very similar to ds in the class, and I imagine that other parents may not have been happy about that.

dd is probably more like the OP's daughter, and gets very upset by the children who are nasty/demanding, but I am afraid that they are a fact of life in most classes, and children need to learn to cope with them I think. However it is also important to let the teacher know if there is an impact. dd got very upset about one little boy who she had to sit next to who was undoubtedly very disruptive. I suspect that he was put next to her because she is very conscientious and it may have been thgouht that was helpful, but when we told the teacher that it upset her so he was quickly moved. So it is worth talking about these things!

wannaBe · 09/02/2008 23:46

there's a vast difference though between someone who knows about disability and is aware that sometimes certain disabilities mean potentially a shorter life, and a child that makes those comments maliciously. also given this child's "prejudice" does not seem to extend only to the disabled, I would imagine his knowledge is somewhat more sinister.

IF the children in class will have to have been told something about why z has been getting one-to-one, as for the parent, if he has always been considered bright, she's not going to turn around and admit that he potentially has sn, and if his apparent feelings towards the disabled have come from his parents, then she also isn't going to be likely to admit that her own child is disabled, esp if she herself is prejudiced towards the disabled.

LadyMuck · 09/02/2008 23:47

In terms of making illconsidered and rude comments about muslims or children in wheelchairs, I truly doubt whether any school could reasonably exclude a reception aged child. These comments are most likely to be as the result of ignorance or restating ill-thought out comments from home. If the teacher is aware then I expect that she will cover such issues in circle time/PHSE sessions. It is amazing how quickly what the teacher says on any issue, including religion and death, takes precedence over what they have been taught at home.

If the mum is in the evangelical church then it is likely that her son has been taught that only christians will go to heaven.

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:48

I can't answer questions about where Z gets his ideas from. His mum is very loud and outspoken, she tends to say whatever she's thinking so perhaps she lets odd things slip?

LM it's hard to like Z. I've tried really hard but he's so rude and so damned fearless (I've never once seen him cry since he was about 2) and he challenges anything and everything you say. It's a difficult. But he's been in a class with dd since playgroup when she was 3 and I've never complained to anyone about him, I've coached dd on methods to cope with him and got used to him. It's been this last event in Reception that's got to me because dd's being affected by him in a less direct (not biting or hitting) way but I feel in a more damaging way. And I feel I have no right somehow to bring this up. This thread has, in places, confirmed those fears.

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