My son has just turned 12 years of age. He started secondary school in September the same month as we moved house and he lost his beloved Grandad. That’s a lot of disruption, sadness and change all at once.
For the first time ever, my son is getting into trouble at school.
We spotted a reluctance to do homework and school sent a letter to say he had not handed in a piece of work. We asked to see the school and said both my husband and myself wanted to be at the meeting. The meeting was fixed for 9am but changed within 3 minutes to 8.15am which is impossible for me to do as I have two other children to take to school.
My husband went and took a dictaphone with him so that I would know what was said. He said the teachers he saw did not like that. My point of view is that it would not have been necessary had they agreed to a family-friendly time for the meeting.
One of the things we asked for was to be informed of homework set so that we can support our son with it. The teacher said this would be impossible in terms of their very busy workload. I am cross about this. The likelihood is that my son will struggle in the short-term and not every child in the school will be going through what he is so the quotes of all the pupils they have to look after is a red herring. How can I insist he does his homework if I don’t know whether he has any and what it is.
We also asked for email communication sometimes as it is difficult for my husband to take personal calls at work having just acquired a micro-managing stickler of a boss. Again, we were told the teacher preferred telephone contact as it “is more personal” and can be done at a time to suit him to fit in with his very heavy workload. Nothing to do with us establishing a paper trail of evidence should we need it of course!
We asked if there was any counselling available through school. They said there was but that was through the Youth Service and told us to think seriously before going down that route.
They went on about my son telling lies and being difficult with one pupil in particular including mild violence. Although I recognise this is not acceptable, I do feel it is pretty obvious that he is struggling emotionally and needs support rather than labelling as bad and being seen as such a problem for the school.
When will schools recognise that if you request a meeting to look at how you can work in partnership with the school to resolve difficulties, you are probably not that atrocious a parent?
However, I did believe as did my husband that the school were keen to work with us to resolve the issues. My husband sensibly asked for a review meeting to be scheduled for before the Christmas break.
I lost hope when one of my son’s teachers phoned a few days later to complain my son had not handed in his homework. I said how pleased I was to hear from her as once told the homework, I can ensure my son does it and support him with that. Imagine my surprise when she told me she had no idea of the issues surrounding my son or that my husband had gone into school and had a discussion about this. She said she was very happy to let me know what the homework is and to keep in contact. She said she would write it in his planner for him as she does for other pupils. Sanity at last!
I complained via my son’s planner and got a phone call from the school to say all my son’s teachers had been emailed about my husband’s meeting with the school and the support my son currently needs. Seems they can send emails internally then!
Last night, in the planner came a complaint that my son has not taken his PE kit into school for 4 weeks and a threat of a detention if it happens again. My son is terrified of the rugby due to previous bullying issues. So he is avoiding it and really I can’t blame him. I hated P.E at school and really do think it should be optional as it can cause such psychological trauma to children. Before folks start quoting the obesity crisis, my son is slender and as PE is compulsory, I have already proved it does not lead to a lack of obesity in the UK.
I send my son to school to be educated not to become a sports star.
It is sad that only one term in, I have no faith in the ability of the school to support my son.
If I thought I could do it and knew more about it, I would seriously consider home-education for him. It is heart-breaking to see a boy who is already sad having to set off to school every day even sadder at the thought of the day ahead.
For about 7 years, I have been convinced my son has dyspraxia and from a little research I know that people with dyspraxia can struggle on the move to secondary school. I have mentioned this to numerous teachers but they just brush it off. My son has a statement for his handwriting difficulties but when my husband asked about this, the secondary school said they knew nothing about it.
How is dyspraxia diagnosed? ask a speech therapist