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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.

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LadyMuck · 09/02/2008 23:51

"LM it's hard to like Z."

In which case he needs all the help and support that he can get.

dippydeedoo · 09/02/2008 23:52

ohhhh u just reminded me ., mum who actually is quite nice if rather boastful was bragging to several mums that her dd was having special lessons bcos she was so bright when i knew for a fact as id written out the report as an observation for the senco that wee applying for band 2 funding for her .....needless to say i remained tightlipped and although she asked me was i woking with her daughter i could honestly say no....

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:52

WB, I mentioned to Z's mum that dd hadn't read in the class for 3 weeks and she suggested that I ask the teacher to get her some teaching 'extension' like Z. Either she's a really really good liar or he's not SEN. I really really don't think he's SEN.

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imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:54

LM he gets an awful lot of help and support, he is at the centre of many people's worlds. I was answering you honestly. It is hard. I've tried and tried but he has done so many unpleasant things to dd over the years and to others and you feel that all the friendliness you offer him is thrown back at you. I still try though and will continue to do so.

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wannaBe · 09/02/2008 23:55

tbh I would steer well clear of the woman because if z gets his ideas from her then she sounds a like a ghastly woman, and b like the ultimate competitive parent.

And if you ask for an extention "like z" and they say no she can just tell everyone how extra special z is because only he gets this special attention.

I honestly think she is in denial.

stuffitall · 09/02/2008 23:55

LadyMuck -- at the expense of other kids?

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:56

dippydeedoo, I've heard Z read though and he really is very good. Not in the racing ahead way colditz describes of her ds but very very competent and confident. I don't think the teacher could be assessing him for 30 mins every day in the classroom could she?

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stuffitall · 09/02/2008 23:57

IFriend you really don't sound like a mean playground gossip with a chip on your shoulder. You sound perfectly reasonable and nice. Go with your instinct please!

imaginaryfriend · 09/02/2008 23:59

WB I wouldn't mention Z's extra lessons to the teacher. Nor would I think dd would get the same, she's doing well but not in a way that she needs a lot beyond the class level. She just needs a bit more personal time and encouragement.

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nooka · 10/02/2008 00:01

It sounds as if he does have significant social and emotional problems - the comments show an issue with empathy, challenging behaviour and lack of pain are all things you might expect to see with children on the autistic specrum or with conduct problems. I have a friend with a little boy with these sorts of issues (except he is good at school and horrible at home) and he is very difficult to like at times as he can actually be quite dangerous. But although these issues were clear for quite a while I don't think he was formally diagnosed as having Oppositional Defiant Disorder until he was well into reception, maybe even year one. However as his problems mostly showed up at home his poor mother was well aware that there was something wrong.

imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:02

Thank you stuffitall. I knew this wouldn't be an easy thread to start because there are so many strong feelings about this kind of thing. I feel like I've seen dd through every single educational situation with Z there and I've never made a fuss. I've just hit a point where I feel I have to start sticking up for dd's needs.

Rather than SEN I often think that perhaps a lot of Z's problems are to do with his ego. His mother is so convinced of his 'genius' abilities that I think he has been pumped up beyond belief. And I wonder whether these 'special lessons' are in fact a good thing for him in that respect.

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nooka · 10/02/2008 00:04

It's also quite possible that the mum has some similar problems, as it doesn't sound as if her empathy levels are that high! My friend's husband only was diagnosed with Aspergers once his son was in the mental health system. Often these sort of disorders have a family trend (we certainly think ds's issues have an inherited element!)

imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:04

Nooka, ODD - I've never heard of that! Z's behaviour seems to be worst when he's away from his mum. She says he's very good at home. Thus she's disappointed with the teacher and with the way the class is managed as it's not challenging enough for him. She did mention at one point that she was trying to get him moved up a year. Perhaps that would help?

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wannaBe · 10/02/2008 00:06

but he's 5. do you really think that a 5 year old has an ego?

I think if anything, his mother constantly putting him on a pedistal and him then finding out in reception that there were things he maybe found hard would have caused his confidence to come crashing down.

You say he shows no emotion, if this wasn't a child you had known since birth would you honestly say that was normal?

imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:06

nooka, dp thinks Z's mum is the 'cause' of his problems, she's quite full on and extremely competitive.

All of this is by-the-by though, I really want to sort out the classroom situation for dd more than anything else.

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imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:07

WB, no I don't think he's 'normal', I've never met a child like him. But he doesn't fit into any SEN categories I can think of. I think some kind of personality disorder will appear at some point.

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imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:08

And yes, 5-year-olds do have egos.

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wannaBe · 10/02/2008 00:11

but unless you have extensive knowledge of sn it is impossible to say that a child doesn't have sn. eg autism is a massive spectrum, and a lot of people only recognize autism at the severe end of the scale, and children with HFA often struggle hugely in school/other social settings because they largely appear "normal" so when they have a meltdown it is just seen as naughty/defiant/difficult behavior by those who don't have that level of understanding.

wannaBe · 10/02/2008 00:13

and I'm only using autism as an example, although social emotional problems are often associated with the autistic spectrum.

imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:16

WB, autism is the one SN I know a lot about as my brother is severely autistic. Z doesn't strike me as on the spectrum in any shape or form. He is confident, well-spoken and extremely articulate, a leader type who attracts other boys like a magnet. He is utterly totally fearless, none of the school punishments (even going to Head's office) have any impact on him. the only person who seems to have a strong influence over him is his mother. His father is very nice but very passive.

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LadyMuck · 10/02/2008 00:23

Stuffitall - is it at the expense of the other children? I know that for example at our school the reception timetable has had to be juggled due to behaviour difficulties in one of the reception classes. I also know that much of what goes on at school isn't actually that transparent to other parents - I've already stated the example of ds1's "daily lessons", a fact given to me as gospel by someone that I know socially outside of school. They were so certain I even began to doubt ds1's denial!

IF has a legitimate concern over her dd's reading, but much of the rest is hearsay.

That said it sounds as if Z's mum has at least given an inroad into the discussion. Given the extent of IF's anxiety I would actually drop into the conversation with the teacher that Z's mum seemed to be of the impression that additional 30 minute lessons were available to advanced readers, if only to guage the teacher's reaction.

Thinking about it, whilst I know that ds2's reception teacher does spend more time with certain challenging individuals, I can't even imagine her spending an entire 30 minutes 1 to 1 with one child on anything. Reception doesnt exactly give itself to 30 minutes on one thing only. But I guess different schools have different levels of structure.

stuffitall · 10/02/2008 00:23

not all demanding children have special needs

some are just demanding


good luck if

imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:26

LM I wondered about dropping the Z extra lessons into my conversation with the teacher but I don't think I will in hindsight, I'll just focus on sorting out dd.

I'm off to bed now. Thanks for the replies everyone they've definitely helped me to decide what to do next and what to prioritise.

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stuffitall · 10/02/2008 00:26

LadyMuck x posted but you know, I just get from IF's posts that she's someone who's given this pretty serious thought and is not making snap judgements based on "hearsay".

Anyway. We all struggle. Agree to disagree

imaginaryfriend · 10/02/2008 00:27

thanks stuffitall. I do think Z is of the demanding rather than SN catagory. But you never know.

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