Uncomfortably Numb…

There’s only so much shock or sadness or horror that anyone can feel at any one time. I happened to be in the office before school this morning when the phone rang, so I picked it up. The call was to let us know that one of our new Reception children wouldn’t be in this week as his dad died last night. Four years old and he has lost his father. There are simply no words.

As I left the office after taking this phone call I bumped into my Pupil and Family support worker, who was coming to tell me that our suicidal parent had attempted to kill himself over the weekend and had been found by the police. His child was at their grandparents so didn’t know anything about it.

All this in the space of five minutes on a Monday morning. What is hard is that there isn’t a lot we can do. We can offer support to the bereaved child and his family. We can harass and nag and beg adult mental health and social care to take us seriously about the suicidal parent. We can hold the children together in school as best we can. And they are amazing, resilient children.

Friday’s parent didn’t turn up as the issue she was concerned about was resolved by the children themselves. I had got myself into an anxious state for nothing. However, Friday turned out to be eventful for a different reason… Cheeky Grin is causing havoc.

At swimming on Friday, when he was asked to get out of the pool, he had grabbed a float, swum into the middle of the pool and refused to get out. When one of the lifeguards eventually managed to get him out he had to be escorted, kicking and biting, to the changing rooms. By the time I got there he was calm and looking triumphant.

When we got back to school I called mum and we agreed a three day internal exclusion in our Support Group provision. Cheeky Grin was triumphant again, yelling at everyone that he was a ‘bad boy’ and grinning all the way to the classroom. The support group staff managed him on Friday, but he flew off the handle again in the afternoon and ended up with payback to finish his learning.

Today he started off by wrecking the support group room. Everything had gone flying and displays had been ripped off the walls. I had brought him, with difficulty, to my office where one of my assistant heads and I tried to talk to him. His actions were not in a rage, or impulsive. He seemed to be very much in control of what he was doing. When I eventually had to hold him in a wrap to stop him attacking me or my AHT or throwing the entire contents of my office on the floor, he kicked us and managed to give my AHT a nasty bite. This went on for about an hour – we had asked for mum to come in and it took her quite a while to get to us. Ironically I had just been updating Cheeky Grin’s risk assessment following the swimming pool incident.

My deputy is wonderful. When he came in, after we had been struggling with this tasmanian devil of a whirlwind, he persuaded Cheeky Grin to start to tidy up my office with him. Once everything had been picked up I offered him a hug, to show that there was no bad feeling and that he hadn’t done any lasting damage to me. He squeezed me very tightly.

I am very worried about this child. His brother is at the BSED provision. He is one of five. He is bright. I think he is desperate but we are not sure why. We know his brother gives him a hard time. I want to keep him in the mainstream class. When he manages, he does so extremely well. He is in nurture group which he loves. However he might need a period of time in the support group as clearly he is not managing at the moment. I talked this through after school with the support group teacher and we have decided just to wait and see for a while. He might settle. After all, we are only two weeks in…

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3 Responses to Uncomfortably Numb…

  1. jools says:

    i hope you know how amazing and admired you are.

  2. Don’t worry – by the time she’s 16 Gove’s academically rigorous EBC will have sorted her out…

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