My child is unhappy at school.
I have blogged about how my daughter says she feels unsafe at school, about our meetings with teaching staff and about how the Head has emailed me asking me to clarify any allegations against the school. I replied and have had his reply.
Today, I am sharing some of the things received from the Head that give me cause for concern in view of their language and tone.
“I am aware that you recently met with teacher X to discuss some of the difficulties that A has experienced in settling in to her new school situation. I also understand that X clarified that, although A had experienced some difficulties with other children, she has also caused significant upset to other pupils in her class by making inappropriate comments …and that she had been rude to teacher X herself remarkably calling X “stupid” Please see my previous post where my daughter admits the nasty comment but denies ever saying the teacher was stupid. I believe her.
I don’t think it is surprising that having moved a long distance away from her friends, my daughter might struggle to fit in to a new school when she has a different accent and is not used to the school systems. I would expect a good school to have tools in place to offer should there be settling in problems or behavioural issues. My daughter’s behaviour was not raised with us until we started saying how unhappy she was at school. Her report does say she has had settling in issues. Why were these not raised with us earlier?
“I am sorry to hear that A is unhappy at school. I think that we all know that some of the responsibility for this lies with A herself (please be under no illusion that the ‘nasty’ comment was not the only way in which A has alienated herself from her peers – I had to speak to her on her very first day when she was found ‘sulking’ simply because she was ‘out’ in a game … This attitude was, understandably, not admired by her new classmates).
My daughter did tell me about the incident on the first day. She felt the rules were unfair and it was a new game to her. I explained she would have to follow the rules. Again, this happened 3 months ago but was never raised with us by the school.
With regards to the girls in A’s class being ‘nice’ and ‘trustworthy’, it is difficult for me to disagree with this appraisal, having known most of them for the past three years. However, this does not mean that children are never unkind to each other – that is all part of the growing-up and maturation process, and it is therefore important that A reports any concerns that she has so that they can be investigated and resolved. I would, though, like to reinforce a comment made to you by Teacher X – we have had four other children join this class during Year 5 who have settled very well socially and made friendships with other children very quickly.
I think the way that the other girls are constantly described as nice and trustworthy to my daughter contrasts with how she is viewed. It seems if they physically or emotionally abuse her, this is just part of growing up whereas when she does it, it is defined as inappropriate and nasty.
I find the mention of other new girls to be a red herring. I am concerned about my daughter and how the school meets her individual needs and ensures her mental wellbeing is intact.
With regard to the incident concerning the use of the word ‘stupid’, A’s version of events does not match that which was passed to me by both Teacher X herself as well as the children in the class. A is right, however, to tell you that she said absolutely nothing when asked for her version of events – this was unhelpful to say the least and did, indeed, waste everyone’s time. However, I can assure you that I did not ‘shout ‘ at Willow. I do have a naturally loud voice and she was spoken to firmly as her refusal to provide her own version of events was unacceptable.
I think my daughter was scared when the Head spoke to her. I admire her for sticking to her guns and refusing to confess for some considerable time. I still believe she never said what was alleged.
As stated above, it is important for A to report any concerns she has – if she does not do this then we are powerless to intervene and rectify matters.
I feel my daughter is scared and unlikely to voice her concerns as she feels she will not be believed because the other girls are so “trustworthy” according to the school. I think the fact that a child is scared should not mean that the distress should not be looked into and/or rectified.
A was not ‘forced’ to make a confession – that is simply not possible, nor appropriate to suggest. For a significant amount of time she simply refused to provide any information at all. As already stated, this was unhelpful to say the least. I must emphasise, therefore, that when A does speak to adults with any concerns, she is more helpful in providing an account of events so that we can appropriately investigate matters and reach a swift resolution.
See my last point about my daughter’s fear. Also I think it is very possible for a child to be forced into action by teachers. Recent cases in the media about child abuse have shown how adults can use power to make children submit have not proved that very point,
As ever, I may have my thinking all wrong on this one but I feel that my daughter is disliked by some students and staff at the school. I think staff should be putting such feelings aside in order to act professionally to help my daughter settle into the school and to build up her confidence (in them) where this is lacking.
Throughout this period, my daughter has admitted when she has done things wrong which is one of the reasons, among others, that I believe she never said the teacher was stupid. She repeats over and over that she told the truth and was not believed. This has left her with little if any faith in the school.
I do not think this school is right for my child. I admire her so much that through this distressing period, she has maintained her learning levels.
I welcome any comments or advice.