Q: If my child is excluded, can I still go to the school to discuss the situation with the head?
A: Yes. The head teacher will welcome the opportunity to discuss the issues involved. This could be a useful meeting both for you and the school.
Q: If my child is excluded, who can give me the details of how I can appeal against the exclusion?
A: You do have a right of appeal, and the school must provide you with all the details you need and explain the process to you. Alternatively, the local education authority can also provide you with all the information you will need.
For more information see the 'Discipline at School' section.
Q: My eight year old son is in the same class as a very disruptive girl who the school has difficulty coping with. She also uses her size and overpowering character to coerce other children into her gang. Those who don't comply are regularly bullied by her. We have taken the correct route and written to the governors. A meeting with someone from the education authority, the governors and her parents has already taken place. However, the child is getting worse, often verbally abusing the children outside of school as well as in school. The presence of adults only serves to worsen her abuse and behaviour. On the last day of term as the children were coming out of school she kicked my son in the ankle over and over again, continuing even though he became upset. Since then we have written to the education authority who says we first must speak to the headmaster. My husband and I both feel that the child needs specialist help in a specialised school, as the school she is in is obviously not coping with her needs. However, our interests are obviously with our son and his rights. We don't want to move him from the school but neither do we want him to have to cope with this girl's disruptive behaviour day in and day out. What are our rights? When we speak to the head on Monday can we demand that she be excluded? What are the rights of our son and the other children in the school?G. Thorp, Monmouth
A: Dear Mrs Thorp,It sounds as if you're dealing with the situation in the correct way by speaking to the governors and the head teacher. It is only right that you let the school know your concerns. However, parents do not have the right to demand that a child be excluded from school - that decision is down to the head teacher and governors. On the other hand, the school is required to have an anti-bullying strategy in place and your son has a right to attend school and not be bullied or harmed in any way. When speaking to the school, it would be best to focus on your son's rights rather than demanding that this girl is expelled. Good luck - we hope this helps.
Q: My son has been excluded from primary school for a day. He is a caring, loving and sensitive child, but the only problem is that he gets into trouble because he fought a child because the child refused to give him back his ball. My son is in year five, the school have now labelled him a disruptive child, a child who is hitting other children, and losing control and fighting. The only problem is that my child is not like this when he is at home or around other children. I feel something must be wrong in school but because my son did not report what is happening to anyone in school, he is now being labelled as the bad child with a bad record. I am very concerned about this matter because I know someone must have aggravated his anger. What can I do, because any more warning might lead to him been excluded permanently from school?Tope, London.
A: Dear Tope, It is vital to keep talking to your son's teacher. It would be a good idea to ask for a meeting with your son's class teacher and the school's head teacher so you can talk about your concerns and ask for their help in dealing with the situation. Tell them how unhappy you are that your son's been labelled a disruptive child and that this behaviour was out of character. Talking to your son would also help - try to find out if he's happy at school and if he has any worries or problems. It is very difficult to tell what the problem is from an email. There are countless reasons for bad behaviour - the reason could be as simple as your son just wanting some attention. For help in learning how to deal with bad behaviour and how to encourage good behaviour, click on Parenting for good behaviour. This deals with parenting for good behaviour and gives advice on setting boundaries and disciplining your child. Positive reinforcement - both at home and in school - can be a very effective way of turning around poor behaviour. There's an article about it on the School Gate site - click on Parenting for good behaviour. Positive reinforcement involves trying not to point out ANY bad things he does, and to highlight instead things (however trivial) which he's done well - easy to say, but hard for the adult to do. If it works (and it can be dramatically effective) it will simply become a way of life for you both. This is an approach often favoured by schools too. It may be worth chatting to the teacher - and to the head teacher - if you're going down the positive reinforcement route.