Bullying at school/home schooling

rustybin

Distinguished Member
Have you been in touch with Ofsted? They are the ones that can put the school into special measures, and maybe then get this sh*t show sorted.

One of our neighbours used to be a specialist teacher that got ‘parachuted’ into NorthEast schools that were underperforming to help turn them round. Her speciality was maths, and she has since left that occupation, but there are other specialists, not just teachers, that can be sent to schools to take over and sort them out - but Ofsted can only help if they know of the problem.

If NDA is in denial, and trying to hide the problems rather than sort them out, then Ofsted need to know. I’d encourage all of the parents with kids being bullied to get in touch with Ofsted, the odd case here and there might not gain much traction, but if it can be shown to be endemic, they’ll be obliged to get involved.

Best of luck.
It would certainly cause someone to take notice and might get the LA involved to ask some questions.

Ofsted are used to 'co-ordinated' attacks from parents though, so unless there is a significant safeguarding angle, I would suggest it would be the LA who would get involved in the first instance.

Worth complaining to them too.

For what it's worth, I've had to deal with a number of enquiries from the LA regarding disgruntled parents, but never one directly from Ofsted.
 

The Markster

Active Member
I'm waiting for my sons head of year to call today, and I do have a zoom meeting with the local authority next week. I was very diplomatic with them with regards to my daughter as I didn't want anything to affect my son but I'll be raising the roof when I speak with them today. It took from tea time yesterday until about 2am to stabilise his bg levels because of this. We have another comprehensive school down the road from us but their reputation is equally bad, and their ofsted report even worse - they are inadequate whereas my sons school is at the requires improvement level having been inadequate for some time.

I would love to give him the opportunity like my daughter for.homeschooling but he needs the structure of a classroom.
 

rustybin

Distinguished Member
For anyone wanting to complain about a school, the initial complaint should always reference the school's policies and should go to the Head teacher. And be really clear, 'I wish to make a formal complaint about....', and, 'as per your complaints policy I expect to hear back from you by....' - without that, it'll be treated as a whinge rather than a complaint!

eg. Do they have a policy for 'x', and then have the followed the policy for 'x'.

If the answer to both of those is yes, then your only real chance of getting a complaint upheld is to argue whether the policy is legal / statutory or whatever. Or that the initial complaint to the Head teacher didn't follow the complaint policy.

In the first instance (unless there is a significant safeguarding angle), a second complaint would have to go to the governors. It's unlikely the LA / Ofsted would be interested until you've had a decision from them.

I've handled lots and lots of complaints over the years and although the vast majority are malicious (or as a result of parents not understanding the policies / being fed misinformation from their children etc), a good handful have resulted in school admitting 'mistakes were made' and changing policies or reprimanding staff.
 
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NeverEden

Distinguished Member
My heart goes out to you, one my biggest fears for my kids and something I endured for 6 years of high school. This one here:
1635928908295.png


I suffered mental and physical bullying nearly every day for my entire time there often by my own peers, my own "friends", and even more humiliating their younger siblings as there was no option of retaliation only to be met with more violence. Its affected me even up until now where I have nightmares, anxious and vivid memories of my time there and counselling over several years.

Silver lining has been that the trauma made me be more cautious of my productivity, aiming to please people, work to perfection and in turn helped me to progress in life but everyone's experience is different.

I personally think you've made the right decision of taking her out the environment, the place sounds like a rut. I wouldn't bother trying get the school to change their ways, as in how much can they really do ?
 

strangely tim

Well-known Member
Sorry OP for your daughters woes but I don't believe home schooling is the answer, you're not a trained teacher, its difficult to implement and maintain structured teaching and social isolation is not healthy and is no solution to the bullying. Look for a new school if you've explored all the options of the school used now.
 

The Markster

Active Member
Sorry OP for your daughters woes but I don't believe home schooling is the answer, you're not a trained teacher, its difficult to implement and maintain structured teaching and social isolation is not healthy and is no solution to the bullying. Look for a new school if you've explored all the options of the school used now.
Whilst I agree that I am not a qualified teacher, I am knowledgeable. I did well at school and did well at both college and university so I do have a lot to give her with regards to an education and also I am not teaching a class of 30.

She always kept herself to herself at school and was frightened to leave the house before where now she is happy to come out and about again now, whilst at the same time is now looking to her future with some confidence. I am working closely with the local authority who have been excellent. My daughter now wants to join a local gym as well as looking at what local computer clubs are out there. When she turns 14, a local college is offering a scheme to home educated children like my daughter where she can go in a few sessions a week for her English maths and science tutoring which my daughter is happy to explore now.

I appreciate not everyone agrees she should have been taken out and home educated, but when someone is so fragile because of the actions of others and is afraid of her own shadow, simply moving her to another school wasn't an option at this time, particularly when our next nearest school has an even poorer reputation. In the time our daughter has been learning at home, our daughter has changed from a one who wanted to end her life, who was so angry 24/7, didn't listen to reason and would even lash out at her 4 year old daughter who is autistic and doesn't know what's going on, to a daughter who is happy, willing to learn, has become loving again and sees a future, moreso now she has a bit more control too. She was even kicking off and refusing a covid vaccine because of the narrative being pushed previously at school amongst her peers, but now has looked at the facts for herself and came to the decision herself it is for the best and she is in later today for one. I don't for one moment regret our decision.

On a side note, my son who attends the same school my daughter did but in a different year group has also fallen victim to the bullying because of his type 1 diabetes and had some time off. The school was made aware of this and yet still used it against him with regards to is attendance and sent a letter out warning us. I contacted the school to ask what they are playing at, as all time he has been absent had been related to complications with his diabetes, and they are still yet to respond.
 

The Markster

Active Member
My heart goes out to you, one my biggest fears for my kids and something I endured for 6 years of high school. This one here:
View attachment 1596640

I suffered mental and physical bullying nearly every day for my entire time there often by my own peers, my own "friends", and even more humiliating their younger siblings as there was no option of retaliation only to be met with more violence. Its affected me even up until now where I have nightmares, anxious and vivid memories of my time there and counselling over several years.

Silver lining has been that the trauma made me be more cautious of my productivity, aiming to please people, work to perfection and in turn helped me to progress in life but everyone's experience is different.

I personally think you've made the right decision of taking her out the environment, the place sounds like a rut. I wouldn't bother trying get the school to change their ways, as in how much can they really do ?
Sorry to hear that. Absolutely shocking. It's good that you have progressed in life well and that these experiences have served to make you a stronger person. It should never have to be this way though. The victims of bullying shouldn't be forced to change, the bullies should be sorted out.
 

rustybin

Distinguished Member
On a side note, my son who attends the same school my daughter did but in a different year group has also fallen victim to the bullying because of his type 1 diabetes and had some time off. The school was made aware of this and yet still used it against him with regards to is attendance and sent a letter out warning us. I contacted the school to ask what they are playing at, as all time he has been absent had been related to complications with his diabetes, and they are still yet to respond.

If a child has any significant time off for any medical issue, provided it is backed up with evidence (Dr note / hospital notes) then it can't be used as a stick to beat parents with re: attendance. However if there are other attendance issues too, it could be a mitigating factor.

I know some schools have automated systems from SIMS which send out letters automatically, that could be why you've received a letter?
 

Storvay

Well-known Member
Whilst I agree that I am not a qualified teacher, I am knowledgeable. I did well at school and did well at both college and university so I do have a lot to give her with regards to an education and also I am not teaching a class of 30.

She always kept herself to herself at school and was frightened to leave the house before where now she is happy to come out and about again now, whilst at the same time is now looking to her future with some confidence. I am working closely with the local authority who have been excellent. My daughter now wants to join a local gym as well as looking at what local computer clubs are out there. When she turns 14, a local college is offering a scheme to home educated children like my daughter where she can go in a few sessions a week for her English maths and science tutoring which my daughter is happy to explore now.

I appreciate not everyone agrees she should have been taken out and home educated, but when someone is so fragile because of the actions of others and is afraid of her own shadow, simply moving her to another school wasn't an option at this time, particularly when our next nearest school has an even poorer reputation. In the time our daughter has been learning at home, our daughter has changed from a one who wanted to end her life, who was so angry 24/7, didn't listen to reason and would even lash out at her 4 year old daughter who is autistic and doesn't know what's going on, to a daughter who is happy, willing to learn, has become loving again and sees a future, moreso now she has a bit more control too. She was even kicking off and refusing a covid vaccine because of the narrative being pushed previously at school amongst her peers, but now has looked at the facts for herself and came to the decision herself it is for the best and she is in later today for one. I don't for one moment regret our decision.

On a side note, my son who attends the same school my daughter did but in a different year group has also fallen victim to the bullying because of his type 1 diabetes and had some time off. The school was made aware of this and yet still used it against him with regards to is attendance and sent a letter out warning us. I contacted the school to ask what they are playing at, as all time he has been absent had been related to complications with his diabetes, and they are still yet to respond.
I’m so sorry to read of your kids’ issues. I was bullied pretty relentlessly when I was in secondary school (racial) but we didn’t have the scourge of social media to make things worse. It got better, mainly through me standing up for myself and developing physically but I’d be lying if I said the inner lack of social confidence and desire to melt into the background (almost impossible) isn’t still with me at nearly 50. Nevertheless, it did shape me in other, more positive, ways and I hope and pray for your kids that they come out of it more balanced. You’re certainly doing everything for them so that’s a huge start. Well done OP.

Regarding your son. You probably know this but Type 1 diabetes is recognised as a disability under the Equality Act. It may be irrelevant but it’s something to consider when you’re formalising your arguments and discussions with various authorities.

Edit to add: Re homeschooling, it isn’t straightforward, I’d be looking for any and all options first but I’m simply not qualified to comment further and I’m sure you’ll do what’s right for your daughter.
 
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strangely tim

Well-known Member
Home schooling is not a great option for any child IMO (its illegal in Spain). I'm retired now but I'm a graduate, my wife went up to Masters but neither of us would have considered home schooling our children; we would have relocated school or even moved home if needed to ensure the child(ren) remained in the social environment of school which is vital to character development...you simply cannot give that at home. Do you have a science lab? D&T setup? Are you prepared to challenge your child? Criticise your child?

Sorry if my view is not popular but its honest and I'm concerned for the childs development. Home schooling should be an absolute last resort when all else has failed and at best looked on as a temporary measure.

Good luck with the future.
 

Xenomorph

Member
Home schooling is not a great option for any child IMO (its illegal in Spain). I'm retired now but I'm a graduate, my wife went up to Masters but neither of us would have considered home schooling our children; we would have relocated school or even moved home if needed to ensure the child(ren) remained in the social environment of school which is vital to character development...you simply cannot give that at home. Do you have a science lab? D&T setup? Are you prepared to challenge your child? Criticise your child?

Sorry if my view is not popular but its honest and I'm concerned for the childs development. Home schooling should be an absolute last resort when all else has failed and at best looked on as a temporary measure.

Good luck with the future.

You clearly have no experience, and no idea what resources are available for home schooling.
 

strangely tim

Well-known Member
You clearly have no experience, and no idea what resources are available for home schooling.
Xenomorph, I really don't want a dialogue with you, you argue pretty much with anything I post. No, I'm not fully aware of support and resources, but I've experience of working with home schooled people, one in the army and one was a student nurse on my ward and both struggled. My wife is a senior mental health health worker with four decades of experience and she's helped home schooled people during her career.

You clearly don't understand that there is more to schooling than learning facts and figures. Have a nice day.
 

Xenomorph

Member
Xenomorph, I really don't want a dialogue with you, you argue pretty much with anything I post. No, I'm not fully aware of support and resources, but I've experience of working with home schooled people, one in the army and one was a student nurse on my ward and both struggled. My wife is a senior mental health health worker with four decades of experience and she's helped home schooled people during her career.

You clearly don't understand that there is more to schooling than learning facts and figures. Have a nice day.

You can't just brush aside something as not fit for purpose if you have no experience of doing it.
Ultimately it depends on the individual child's situation. Everyone is different and it's pointless making blanket conclusions like this. For most kids, mainstream school is ideal. However for ours it wasn't working.
All I can say is that our daughters are doing much better since we took them out of school, are learning more, happier, and their prospects are good. Can't really say better than that.
 

Donald duck

Distinguished Member
Home schooling is not a great option for any child IMO (its illegal in Spain). I'm retired now but I'm a graduate, my wife went up to Masters but neither of us would have considered home schooling our children; we would have relocated school or even moved home if needed to ensure the child(ren) remained in the social environment of school which is vital to character development...you simply cannot give that at home. Do you have a science lab? D&T setup? Are you prepared to challenge your child? Criticise your child?

Sorry if my view is not popular but its honest and I'm concerned for the childs development. Home schooling should be an absolute last resort when all else has failed and at best looked on as a temporary measure.

Good luck with the future.
For these posters, the 'Environment is toxic, their experience is not character building, it's clearly destroying the transition from childhood to adulthood. No one wants their child to suffer in an institution that is meant to be a wholesome learning experience.
 

Xenomorph

Member
For these posters, the 'Environment is toxic, their experience is not character building, it's clearly destroying the transition from childhood to adulthood. No one wants their child to suffer in an institution that is meant to be a wholesome learning experience.

Exactly! It can be severely damaging, particularly to those kids already with some mental health issues. Fortunately I made it through those school years and came out the other side on the right path. No thanks to my secondary school though, it was down to a crucial decision I made about my future education.

With just about everyone we talk to about home ed, their very first comment is 'well how do you meet people?'. Ok so you're assuming that everyone is gregarious and craves the company of others. Some people actually prefer their own company, and feel socially anxious. And no amount of exposure to being around other people is going to change that. I'm 54, and still like to be on my own. It's not affected my success in life, I'm doing fine.
And let's not forget that we're in the age of the Internet, where talking to people online is possible. That all helps to develop your communication skills.
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
@The Markster

Some really good advice on here. There are lots of personal opinions around Home Schooling. I won't get in to my own as I don't think that's what you were after to be honest.

@rustybin has provided basically the same advice that I would give.

The school legally has to have a complaints procedure and this has to be published on their website/available on request. This should set out stages and an escalation process. It's important that you document everything and follow the steps laid out in that policy. The ideas that the school have proposed, if accurately described here, are a farce and not even attempting to resolve the problem.

I'm not sure who you have spoken to at the school so far, I know you mention Head of Year, but check that this follows the complaints procedure. If you are considering removing your children from the school, you should really be at a point where you've met the Head, or escalated beyond that to Governors (having already spoken to the Head). Unless, their complaints procedure is different to this.

At my own school, our procedure is class teacher > Head Teacher > Chair of Governors > Governors Appeal Committee. If all those avenues have been exhausted then the next step is to contact the Local Authority or make a complaint to Ofsted. To be clear, bullying comes under 'Peer on Peer' abuse and is very clearly detailed in the latest 'Keeping Children Safe in Education'. Depending on the details, it can be a Safeguarding matter, as well as a behavioral one.

In my personal experience, if you go to Ofsted, they will bounce it back to the Local Authority. An LA representative will then contact the school and one of the first questions will be whether the school complaints policy has been followed. If it hasn't been then they will bounce it back to the Head Teacher.

If you want any further information, feel free to drop me a pm.
 
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ashenfie

Well-known Member
Will a parent including myself always want to protect their children from the nasty part of life, this need balancing with the purpose of schools which to prepare children for life.
 

Donald duck

Distinguished Member
Will a parent including myself always want to protect their children from the nasty part of life, this need balancing with the purpose of schools which to prepare children for life.
I think pushing a child to suicidal thoughts is a little more serious than 'Life'.
 

Xenomorph

Member
Will a parent including myself always want to protect their children from the nasty part of life, this need balancing with the purpose of schools which to prepare children for life.

So as the OP's daughter has said she wants to kill herself, would you say the school has succeeded in its mission?
 

Donald duck

Distinguished Member
Exactly! It can be severely damaging, particularly to those kids already with some mental health issues. Fortunately I made it through those school years and came out the other side on the right path. No thanks to my secondary school though, it was down to a crucial decision I made about my future education.

With just about everyone we talk to about home ed, their very first comment is 'well how do you meet people?'. Ok so you're assuming that everyone is gregarious and craves the company of others. Some people actually prefer their own company, and feel socially anxious. And no amount of exposure to being around other people is going to change that. I'm 54, and still like to be on my own. It's not affected my success in life, I'm doing fine.
And let's not forget that we're in the age of the Internet, where talking to people online is possible. That all helps to develop your communication skills.
I had the need to participate more, too quiet.

My mum was talking about it last week when we were discussing my eldest's leap into secondary school.
I had a mixed bag at school in the main down to the school insisting I stand outside every assembly every day. Made an example of, other religious denominations were allowed to sit in the library.
The bullying was really intense, physical and emotional, even though I fought back, fighting is emotionally draining. Certainly not an appropriate way to deal with problems as an adult.
I was very depressed later, isolated myself in my room during the mid-teens.

As a young adult, life changed, captain of the football team, players rep, djing at raves, large social circle. The drive to be accepted made me take some foolish decisions. People just need to let people be who they are, instead of enforcing this need to be extroverted, gregarious, people are sociable in their own manner.
Now I'm quite content with a tiny circle of friends and my family.

I have two daughters one loud, bold, non-academic the other quiet and academic. Luckily no problems at junior school. I'll be keeping a close eye when the oldest starts senior school. The corridors of school can be an intimidating place for those not accepted by their peers.
 

NeverEden

Distinguished Member
Exactly! It can be severely damaging, particularly to those kids already with some mental health issues. Fortunately I made it through those school years and came out the other side on the right path. No thanks to my secondary school though, it was down to a crucial decision I made about my future education.

With just about everyone we talk to about home ed, their very first comment is 'well how do you meet people?'. Ok so you're assuming that everyone is gregarious and craves the company of others. Some people actually prefer their own company, and feel socially anxious. And no amount of exposure to being around other people is going to change that. I'm 54, and still like to be on my own. It's not affected my success in life, I'm doing fine.
And let's not forget that we're in the age of the Internet, where talking to people online is possible. That all helps to develop your communication skills.
I agree, nothing wrong with being introverted and I'd rather they learn to develop social skills later in life than be traumatised by daily trauma.

There are plenty of after school clubs etc outside of school. Unless you've been on this side of the fence no one will ever understand.
 

strangely tim

Well-known Member
You can't just brush aside something as not fit for purpose if you have no experience of doing it.
Ultimately it depends on the individual child's situation. Everyone is different and it's pointless making blanket conclusions like this. For most kids, mainstream school is ideal. However for ours it wasn't working.
All I can say is that our daughters are doing much better since we took them out of school, are learning more, happier, and their prospects are good. Can't really say better than that.

I can't fly a plane but I have a good idea how it works. Anyway, I've given my view, like it or hate it, I don't care but I wish the OP all the best and good luck for the future.
 

Xenomorph

Member
I can't fly a plane but I have a good idea how it works. Anyway, I've given my view, like it or hate it, I don't care but I wish the OP all the best and good luck for the future.

Not sure why you're getting aggressive. All I'm doing is giving my informed view, having seen education from both sides of the fence. I can testify that home ed is working really well for us.
Hopefully this wider discussion is useful to the OP.
 

The Markster

Active Member
Not sure why you're getting aggressive. All I'm doing is giving my informed view, having seen education from both sides of the fence. I can testify that home ed is working really well for us.
Hopefully this wider discussion is useful to the OP.
It is useful. Obviously I know its not for everyone and there are those that disagree with it, particularly those who are in the profession but so far it's worked well for us and hopefully will continue to do so. Like I said further up, a local college will be offering 14 year old home educated students the opportunity to study English maths and science at their college in the new year so we will be pursuing this once she hits 14.
 

Xenomorph

Member
It is useful. Obviously I know its not for everyone and there are those that disagree with it, particularly those who are in the profession but so far it's worked well for us and hopefully will continue to do so. Like I said further up, a local college will be offering 14 year old home educated students the opportunity to study English maths and science at their college in the new year so we will be pursuing this once she hits 14.

That is our plan too. Local college to us offers home ed students places to do GCSE courses, so our youngest will be doing that.
In the meantime, we're building a solid knowledge foundation, going over core subjects like Maths, English and Science.
 

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