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Saturday, 13 March 2010

Home Education

I got a call yesterday; Alex was being suspended from school for fighting.

Apparently some kid called Alex a vampire due to the way he dresses and looks - Alex is 6ft, long dark hair, skinny, wears gothic clothes and a long black leather coat.

When I asked what would happen to the kid, I was told he would get a 'telling off' but that if Alex was going to dress 'wildly different' then he would have to put up with the comments. I stated that Alex wears school uniform like everyone else and is usually looking a lot neater than most of the other lads. The teacher also stated that Alex being "freakishly tall" didn't help!

I informed the teacher that they should be encouraging diversity not singling out those who are different. He then went off on this spiel about how they'd have to monitor everything that anyone says and that if Alex couldn't handle comments; he needed to grow a thicker skin.

I then said the school was two faced; it sends home any child who goes to school with 'unnatural' coloured hair and yet their are two teachers (that I am aware of) who have dyed their hair an 'unnatural' colour. I believe the deputy head mistress has purple in her hair...

While I understand and agree that Alex needs to be punished for physically attacking this lad, I don't understand why he's getting away with calling Alex a name (which he admitted to) but apparently that's ok!

Alex eventually turned up home after a couple of hours and seemed approachable (I've learned that you have to wait a while before you can get any sense out of him) so I enquired about his whereabouts for the previous few hours.

He said he'd been waiting for the school to return his St Christopher necklace.

It turns out he asked his PE teacher to keep it for safety during a PE lesson before half term. He forgot to get it back off her and has asked her for it several times since, everytime she has told him she’s “rather busy at the moment.”

They (the PE dept) have admitted they don’t know where it is. The head of the dept had been e-mailed.

I went absolutely bananas. The St Christopher was left to him by my dad who died on my birthday two and a half years ago, he gave it to the teacher to keep it safe

I phoned the school and was put through to the Headmaster's PA who immediately went to the PE dept to find out what was going on. Then I get a call from some pillock who knew absolutely nothing about it, informed me that Alex had been rude today and that he’d only been down twice for it - um, no, he’s asked for it every time he’s seen that teacher. Pillock says ‘well it was before half term’. I says ‘I don’t care if it was before Christmas!’

Then I asked why he was phoning me instead of Miss PA woman, or even the PE teacher in question. Turns out Pillock isn’t even the head of the department and is just sticking his nose in and Miss PE teacher had, conveniently, gone home. I said I would be at the school at 8am tomorrow morning. He said ‘You have to call and make an appointment like everyone else.’

I said ‘I am, see you tomorrow morning at 8am. Good day to you.’ and hung up. Then I called Reception and told them the same thing.

Miss PA then calls me back, unaware Pillock had called me, she’d been waiting for him to call her but Reception had contacted her after I had called them.

I apologised for being rude to Reception (but not Pillock) she said that going down before Reception was even open is pointless and it would be manic in the morning anyway. She is going to call me before 9am and if she doesn’t I am welcome to go down there all guns blazing. I said I definitely would and that I would take it further if it doesn’t turn up - Alex has already accused this PE teacher of theft so I’m sure they understand what I mean!

She was true to her word, she called me at 8.45am this morning - turns out the Head of the PE dept (the one who was e-mailed) had it all along. It was placed in an envelope and left at the Reception desk for me to collect.

Alex bought up the subject of home tutoring again yesterday - it is something we have thought about on occasion and after his first exclusion from the school (he verbally assaulted a girl, she physically attacked him along with about ten of her friends and he got excluded for 3 days because she's just had a baby!); I said that if there was anymore trouble, I would seriously consider pulling him from the school!

Well, after the teacher called me about the fight this week, he spouted off all the "We'll have to see about getting him some support in school" which is exactly what I requested when Alex started at that school. I had that head-meet-brickwall feeling.

Alex has decided he positively hates it there, he's had enough of the teachers and students and the way the school operates.

So, when I went in this morning to collect his St Christopher, I also left a letter for the headteacher asking for Alex to be removed from the register as he would now be home educated!

I must admit to being terrified about my decision. Alex and I are very close, we can have a right laugh, but I don't know the first thing about home education. I don't know what I should be teaching him and how I go about it. There are loads of websites out there, but they seem to contradict each other in some ways. I suppose it's easier as he's got all the basics down, I just need to find stuff to keep him occupied for the next couple of years!


  1. Aww hon, FWIW I think you have done the right thing homeschooling him - I have a few american friends who homeschool I think - although theirs are younger but can ask around for you if you want. Have you contacted your local council as they should be able to help you with what you need to be teaching him etc.

    Good luck honey :-)

  2. If you go on Mumsnet at all they have Home Ed sections and should be able to point you in the right direction for websites and support groups.

    I think there are local groups and things as well, so you can meet up with other Home Ed parents and their kids, and do the equivalent of school trips to educational places, things like that!

    Good luck with it. I have a toddler and I love the idea of home educating him, but know that neither husband nor I have the abilities or temperament for it. So congrats for doing that for your son, I think you'll have a great time!

  3. Personally, I'm a former teacher in the US and I can't BELIEVE what this school has gotten away with (re: bullying your child and the whole sex paper you posted about before). It sounds like your son will be much better off with you instead of with them. Good luck!