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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:04 pm 
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DS in yr 8 has been complaining since beginning of year 8 about minority of disruptive kids in his ability group.It is now affecting his enjoyment of certain subjects one of which,PE, he is considering as a career in some form.Unfortunately the poor behaviour of a few means quite often the whole group misses out.I honestly believe he is becoming more and more disillusioned with the whole thing and I would love if he could move groups but as the groups are ability set I do not know how easy this would be.
Sorry to go on, I am after some advice.We have spoken to the head of year and been to see them and also kept in contact via email.However, despite assurances and attempts to ease the disruption the situation has not improved.We are now not sure what to do next.I get the feeling the school are tiring of our complaints but surely as they have been unable to sort the problem we are entitled to maintain contact until resolved?
Shall we push for DS to be moved sets?He believes he is at the top of his set or thereabouts.How long reasonably should we put up with this disruption.Any advice gratefully received.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:59 pm 
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Sorry, Pollyanna, this isn't really my area of expertise (yet) as my elder DC is only in Year 6 but my neighbours and good friends went through something very similar last year with their DS. The attitude of the Head of Year wasn't great - he implied that they were trying to 'work the system' in order to get their son bumped up into the top set. What they did, which I thought was smart, was ask for proposals, in writing, of what the school intended to do to ensure their DS wasn't being disadvantaged in his current group, how long the school was going to give these proposals to be put into practice, and what would happen next if the problem persisted. Secondary schools are such big places that it helps to get absolutely everything in writing, because individual parents' queries are unlikely to be remembered the way they are in a Primary School with only a couple of hundred children.

Anyway - the upshot was that their DS was put up 'on probation' - pending end of term assessments - I got dragged in as resident University graduate to supervise some quick cramming on English (his weak area) and he's now sailing through year 9 in the top set - where behaviour is miles better in every subject.

Warning - all of the arguing before that move took nearly a term - but it looks like it was worth it.

Have you thought about getting this thread moved to "Beyond 11 plus"? - The guys there are very wise and helpful.
Good Luck.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Thanks for that push pull mum,its very useful to have those ideas.I suspect thats what our school thinks, that we are trying to get into the top set but that is really not the case.
We first contacted them back in October and January and they have imposed sanctions on the disruptive kids but unfortunately the effect is always shortlived.I can't see us getting a favourable outcome long term if ds stays in this group,I feel like asking the head of year 'are we expecting too much?Is this how senior school is?'When of course I know that is not the case,especially in the top sets!I feel really politically incorrect tho commenting on the behaviour being poorer in the less able sets!
Its very frustrating having to listen your child upset because their learning is being disrupted and the school appearing to think its not a big deal.

I will move threads too thanks!!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:51 am 
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Location: South Bucks
I was going to say something similar to push pull. You really need to 'project manage' the situation. You must prepare for every meeting with notes about what you would like to cover and before you leave any meeting you must make sure that you have agreed:

1) Action points - who is going to do what
2) Time scale
3) Date and time for the next meeting - this is ESSENTIAL so they know that you are not going to let this go.

Take notes in your meetings and try and have both parents there or a friend to help take notes and to discuss things with afterwards.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:52 pm 
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It always seems to be the case that the lower down the sets you go, the worse the behaviour gets (not all of them of course but it only seems to need a few to upset the balance of the class). In our increasingly infuriating experience of things like this you might as well save your blood pressure as the school will NEVER EVER properly punish the miscreants. I think the schools usually know exactly who the troublemakers are but can never bring themselves to crack down on poor behaviour, preferring to find endless excuses for it instead.
Good luck anyway!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:10 pm 
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I posted something in this section briefly about my dd and the problem she had with disruptive behaviour back in year 7. My dd is dyslexic and was in the bottom set to top it all her year were particularly badly behaved. I fought for nearly two terms to get her moved to another class, first contact SENCO exceptionally good one I have to say, then head of year, deputy head and finally head. Made a complete pest of myself and would not accept anything less than her being moved. In her situation it was a little more complex as the assistants were in place in that class and not in others. Consequently they had to set up a new class and move the well behaved into the new class with assistants and mix the disruptive ones up into other classes. She was in a new class in year 8 and it got better and better. She is now year 11 getting ready to leave. You have to really keep on top of it, sanctions, detentions don't work with these kids but don't let it ruin your ds education he deserves much better. We weren't in the position of being able to change schools thats why I was constantly on their case. In my experience if you make it clear that you are not happy and exactly what is going on and give details, days, times, classes, names in a calm, articulate way then the school does seem to want to help to avoid any unnecessary problems with governors or local authority as I would've taken it further than the head if it had not been sorted out.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:37 pm 
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Hi! I am a parent; I also work in schools with special needs kids, including those with behavioural issues and I know that this is all too common. There are two sets of practical/political problems in such a case:

1. Usually, the bad behaviour is not going to change, certainly not in a hurry. The school cannot wave a magic wand and fix it immediately even if all staff were brilliant at all times. The underlying problems in these kids' home lives, in their neighbourhoods, in society etc are too great. Any progress at all is necessarily slow and the well behaved kids suffer.

2. Most schools' governors and heads are under tremendous pressure - from everybody from the Prime Minister down to the local councillor and borough officer - to keep a lid on things, keep kids off the streets and somehow claim that standards are rising according to GCSE and A level statistics. Dare I say it: that any member of staff who challenges this will be ignored, stamped on or end up in severe career trouble? And the full resources needed are rarely availalbe in any case. Class teachers and teaching assistants are often in an impossible position and are desperate to be supported by their seniors . Exclusion is not nice, the process takes for ever and it counts aginst the governors and head. ( There is also conscience. I know one head, an admirable man, who is adamant that as an educationalist and a man of conscience, he will never exclude anyone again.)

So, do follow the suggestions already posted. Also, write to the Chair of Governors and remind all about the law of 'inclusion'; i.e. that all kids' interests should be looked after. And what does the school's policy manual say? What is it committed to providing to each child, perhaps as part of its contract with pupils and parents? The school web site should help or you can ask for all the policy manuals. Same
for the Borough's policies.

You may also want to mention, at some stage, that you are reluctant to write to the Borough Chief Executive or the Council Leader or to take legal action. You will also benefit from acting in a group if this is possible - chances are that many other families are similarly frustrated. Yes this will not make you popular and they are relying on you giving up sooner or later. This is a political problem and you will only win by exerting both subtle and crude political pressure on all these individuals. Remember, you are the customer and the citizen and the parent and the taxpayer. They all work for you. (What do your own Councillor and MP have to say, by the way?)

This is really a horrible position to be in. But, with persistence and following the suggestions so far, you will eventually get somewhere and probably earn the sneaking regard of the school. Good luck!

Finally, there are many issues we could all get worked up about here, and rightly so. But I hope that, at least on this thread, we stick to helping this one pupil and others in a similar position.

WH


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Just read your opening post and seen that your son considers he is at the top of the set. This sounds likely, as if he is a hardworker (despite the trouble) he is likely to do so much better than the other timewasters.

Have a two-pronged approach which includes focussing on improving your child's performance to give him a sporting chance on getting in to the bottom of the next set up. After all this is what will solve the problem for you.

Do you know the school's policy on setting? Do you know what the criteria are for being in each set? Do you know how your son's performance measures up against this? Do you know how to plug the gaps at home or get him tutored so that he will pass the remaining assessments this year with flying colours and be a candidate for being moved up? There may be an obnoxious child in the top set that he can be swapped for.

Whatever you do, make sure that your son keeps the faith and continues to work hard, because if he doesn't the chances of him ever moving up will diminish rapidly.

I would say that behaviour that disrupts other children's learning is unacceptable and should not be taking place in the classroom. A school with an effective discipline policy will have said child / children removed from lessons and placed somewhere else under supervision, or in another class etc.

Have you looked at the school's discipline policy? They might not be able to stop these children behaving badly when bunched together in these lessons, but they don't all have to be together in your son's lessons. At worst, they can be dispersed across the school as often as required, but there are other solutions. The school is being weak. The solutions should not be your problem. It should be the education of the miscreants that suffers, not that of your son.

Keep records to demonstrate how often and in what way the lesson cannot be properly continued because of the misbehaviour.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:18 pm 
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Thank you so much for all your useful comments and advice.We have a meeting next week again at school and will be using the advice posted here in our discussions.We have had another eventful week in DS group so keen more than ever for a resolution.


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