For the children in my school with attachment issues, and there are many of them, Mondays are difficult. For the children with really serious issues, they are really difficult. Mondays in our suport group can be especially hard and today was particularly difficult. It is the last Monday of term, a long separation looms and the children are finding it very hard to manage.
I was called to help this morning with a child that I blogged about in one of my really early blogs. He is due to start at another local school in September. His teacher and I have felt very ambiguous about the decision. He is a lovely child, with an amazing capacity to empathise with others, to see the positive in things, to think about other people. He also has an incredible temper that he can’t control. This morning he was hurt in the moment of another child’s tantrum. By accident. He couldn’t manage. He wanted revenge and was going to do everything he possibly could to get it. We removed the other child from the classroom. Chairs went flying, books went flying, things were ripped from the walls. When, eventually, we managed to get hold of him, he really struggled but we had to keep him safe. Somehow we managed to get him up the very long corridor into my office.
Once there we let him go. He tried to get out of the window but I had locked it, anticipating that particular escape route. I sensed that this outburst was about more than the incident that had happened in the classroom. He kicked over the table and chairs. He threw stuff on the floor. In the process of doing so he knocked off the Y6 leavers’ pens. He picked one up. I had intended to give him one on Friday, his last day, even though he is not Y6. I told him that. He calmed down. I had asked the office to call his dad, who rang just at that moment.
He was in a state. Both of this child’s siblings have behavioural difficulties and he was at another school. It all spilled out. Last week, on the anniversary of his own baby’s death, he had found his best friend dead. This boy was really good friends with the best friend’s daughter. I could hardly breathe. I had sensed something else but nothing quite like this. No wonder he wasn’t coping. He had brought a photo in to show me once, of himself, holding his dead baby sister. He was very little when she died.
I asked his dad to have a quick chat with him. He did. I told him that he had calmed right down and that no, I wasn’t going to exclude him.
By this time it was lunchtime and so we went to get the lunches for the rest of the support group and take them down. When I got there one of the other children, one who I have written about extensively before, was kicking off big time. He had not been allowed to sit next to his friend and was shouting and swearing and lashing out. Somehow I managed to get him up the corridor and into my office. I raised my voice, said ‘that’s enough’ and he calmed down. My Pupil and Family Support Worker has a good relationship with him so I asked her to come in and she sat and talked with him. His dad seems to avoid taking responsibility for him, and so he is unable to take any responsibility for the things that he does, it is very difficult to know where to go next. You can hear his voice coming out of his mouth. Complaining about the school, the teachers, the other children. Pointing outwards, away from themselves. It is a sad situation.
After about half an hour, the original boy appeared at my door with my lunch. It had been left with the rest of the support group lunches, in the end room, and he had brought it up. It was very poignant. He was looking after me. He asked to stay with us, so I let him. My PFSW left to see another child. The three of us chatted until lunch was over. As if nothing had happened.
The afternoon was spent with my Achievement For All Coach looking at data. I found it hard to concentrate I was still reeling from the mornings’ events. We got through the report so at least I felt I had achieved something.
At the end of the day the Looked After Child that we have been trying to reintegrate, was being extremely difficult, roaming the school and not cooperating with anyone. Her behaviour is deteriorating. At home and at school. We are having an emergency meeting midweek to sort out her placement. Some children are just too damaged. Had we got her earlier, we might have stood a chance. But for this child, at this time, we can’t help.
This evening was the Y6 production. I was anxious after Friday’s debacle, but I needn’t have worried. The children sang beautifully, acted with confidence and were, well, just brilliant. They made me really proud. And my Y6 staff had done a fantastic job. For all of us.