Sunday 20 February 2011

Who's fault is it?

My 16 year old son, Dan, was failing at school in the UK, his grades were low and his behaviour record was appalling. Is it all his fault?

So what’s the worse thing you can do to a child who’s not behaving themselves at school, take them out and home ed, additional lessons after school, change schools…we looked into all 3 options and ended up going into the school on a regular basis and ask what they were doing to address the problem. It became clear that the school weren’t interested in Dan and his future despite full support from us his parents…’why do you do this dan?’ ‘what do you intend to get out of it?’ ‘Do you want to end up on benefits, no job, no life?’

It fell on death ears, but doesn’t it always? Behaviour spilt over into home life and things were pretty awful for a while.

‘What do you want to do Dan?’ ‘Dunno’ with a shrug of the shoulders

Dan loves his sport and his incentive was to go to school for years 12 & 13 with Birmingham City Community department aged 16-18, play football and study for a level 3 qualification. All he had to do was work as hard as he was capable off, stay out of trouble and get 5 grades c’ to get a place.

To support this, I made many trips to school to ask them what they were planning to do to support Dan in school, address his behaviour, with us supporting the school. T school did very little, they labelled Dan a bully, a class clown…(see previous posts for other issues) and basically tried to ignore him as much as possible. In fact the school were so supportive that when we announced we were moving to South Africa the school report they sent said ‘we have concerns that Dan will not be able to adapt to a new environment at such a crucial time in his education’ (he was due to sit GCSE’s this May/June) How would they know he can’t adapt to change, he had the same form tutor and subject teachers for the 5 yrs he’s been in the school.

So we came to South Africa 5 months before his GCSE’s moved him away from his friends, his football and every thing he knows, moved him to the other side of the world, threw him into private school, 48 hrs after we arrived, made him wear short trousers and a tank top and left him to it….

Problems?…nah you’ve got to be joking, ok so there have been a few little issues for example the education system is much different here and advanced compared to the UK, he drew the line at wearing speedos for swimming (don’t blame him he’s 16) he immersed himself in school cricket team, plays football 3 times a week in Pretoria and is a model pupil in school…..

So how did all of this happen, why the change in Dan? Well I believe to change the behaviour, you need to change the environment…a bit extreme some of you may say, it could have all gone wrong, but preparation, preparation, preparation has made for a smooth transition, but the biggest help of all (see previous post) is being somewhere where people want to work, want to do well, where there are no state benefits if you don’t do well in school, in a country with positive role models not unashamed public wealth and so called celebs making a fortune from sleeping with footballers, singing on talent shows, excessive partying…don’t get me wrong it does go on here, it’s just for adults and those that can afford it by working hard, not a free for all society.