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Is your child in the wrong school? And what to do about it...



We've been dealing with a few issues and concerns over the past term about whether a pupil is in the right school. Most children are content with the school they're in - and logistically, many parents don't have much choice about moving them. But when a child is suffering from headaches and stomach ache or complains of weak teaching or a bullying mentality at school - the option to stay is no longer an option.

A school is an environment and it comes with a culture. Rarely can teachers change that culture - a head can, with much hiring and firing, but that's rare: parents haven't got a chance. The more proactive and bolshy parents can move the system a little to accommodate their child's needs, but for the most part - and for most parents - the school tends to listen, nod, smile, wait till you go away, and then do nothing. We hear this complaint often - at primary as well as senior school. Few teachers in a school have the courage to step aside from their own interests in having the pupil in the class or school (funding as well as professional reputation) and say, "You know, this school's not the best one for your son/daughter..." Of course, they may say that if the kid's been playing up and its just about to be expelled (we've worked with a few of those too!) So be prepared for the people in the system to protect the system!

As parents we get very emotionally involved in our child's education, especially when they're young and more helpless than our university aged children who know that they have the choice and responsibility to do well. Sometimes, it's good to hear an outside voice though - someone who can say, "No, you're not going mad...this is quite a common problem..."

We work with some people whose children are not happy in their current school - and we talk through, impartially, what they're going through and what the options are. It's amazing though, how many parents accept that their child's suffering at school is part of life or it helps toughen them up. No, I'm afraid not - the child loses trust in the parents' ability to love, nurture, and protect. They may turn to others in the peer group to help them defend themselves against what they see as an unhealthy environment. And that peer group's values may not be healthy.

When a plant suffers - we move it. When a child suffers - we say, "Stay put, kid! It'll make a man out of you..." or "It's all part of growing up, dear, learning how to get on with people we don't like."

What the heck?! Do we as adults spend any time with people we don't like so we can become better people? No way, we run a mile: those people can be dangerous or they'll undermine us/bully us/taunt us/kill our dreams. So why put our children through it? The first years on the planet are incredibly impressionable - yes, we want to build character, but it needs nurturing and supporting, not throwing aside in the hope that some strong man or woman may come out the other end. Oh, they do - on the surface; then if they don't turn to unhealthy pursuits, they go into therapy to try and find themselves. Let's let our children be who they are through our support and love - and putting them into the right environment. And if the school's not the right place, be courageous enough to accept the mistake, and move them quickly. Don't even talk to the school - just do it. (That's a tip from parents who have moved schools!)

Article by Dr Alexander Moseley
Added Sun, 5 Jul 2015 17:14

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