to think that if you can't spare the staff to clean up a soiled child you can't spare them to supervise one who is sent out of class?

(123 Posts)
Kyrptonite Tue 05-Nov-13 23:17:43

DS is 4, fairly bright, can be a handful (was referred to CAMHS for suspected ADHD, they wouldn't follow it up) and has toileting issues. He will soil his pants pretty much every day (doctor thinks he has encopresis, finally have a hospital appointment tomorrow).

Before he started school I went in and had a chat with his teacher and the head about the behavioural issues and the soiling. They assured me that there would only be a problem if he was having multiple accidents a day which is perfectly reasonable.

The first 4 weeks he came out of school 3 times absolutely caked in poo. He stunk. The next time it happened the TA came out with him at home time waving his bag of soiled clothing in front of her and said in front of DS that they could smell him this time so changed him. I emailed the school and asked if they could perhaps put his clothes in his PE bag so it was slightly less obvious and embarrassing. Cue meeting with arsey head who said they didn't have to change him and it was only because the TA was available that they could. I explained his medical condition, asked me to bring in some info on it (couldn't she have googled?!) and she said she hadn't heard of it and could I put DS in pull ups.

I refused the pull up idea as his accidents at school are very infrequent (he seems to save that for when he is at home) and I was worried that the other children might see him in pull ups when getting changed for PE and tease him. The head teacher said that they didn't have the staff available to change him and that 4/5 year old children wouldn't notice a child in a nappy!

DS's teacher took DP aside before half term and basically said that DS's behaviour stood out a mile from the rest of the class. DP explained again that the Dr had also had concerns and could the school involve the SENCO. We went to an open afternoon at the school and it seemed as though the headteacher kept looking at DS, waiting for him to do something and tell him off. I thought I was imagining this but DP saw it too and he isn't the most observant!

DS keeps saying he's been sent out of his classroom or excluded from activities. I ask him why and he can't tell me. He genuinely can't seem to understand what he has done wrong or he just can't remember. I'm slightly confused as to who is supervising him when he's been sent out. surely the school don't just leave a 4 year old outside a room on their own? Especially one who has been a PITA and could do anything left to their own devices.

I'm also baffled as to how, if DS isn't being left alone, they have the staff to supervise him but not change him when he's had an accident that is not through any fault of his own.

Also, surely sending a child out doesn't actually help unless they understand what they have done. Should they not be trying to support him to behave how they want him to?

I am well aware that he is no angel. I'm just confused as to whether this is normal for reception or if I need to speak to the teacher.

Kyrptonite Tue 05-Nov-13 23:41:59

Shameless bump. I think I may be over reacting so feel free to slap some sense into me!

NutcrackerFairy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:47:01

Oh my gosh, your poor son. This really is dreadful, not good at all that the school are completely failing in their duty of care and leaving your boy caked in poo sad

My DS is also 4, has just started reception and has also been having soiling incidents since he started [he has been potty trained reliably since he was just over 3].

DSs school also haven't been brilliant in dealing with it and have left me pretty much to flounder and muddle through by myself with the teachers and headteacher being disapproving on the sidelines.

What has helped was my GP referring me to a continence nurse service and the nurses coming to the school to discuss the soiling issues and enact a continence care plan with the teaching staff [that DS is given regular toilet breaks, that the teaching staff will assist DS to clean himself and to change into clean clothes, that I will provide spare clothes and wet wipes in his school bag].

Also ERIC the childhood continence charity were really supportive and had lots of helpful tips and suggestions for dealing with both the situation and the school. Their website is very good too.

Best of luck to you both flowers

SeaSickSal Tue 05-Nov-13 23:48:25

I think there are two issues here. The first is the way they are treating your son and reacting to his SN. It doesn't sound as if they are dealing with it well or being reactive to find out how to best deal with it. He doesn't sound like he's getting much support and he's simply being treated as a naughty boy and excluded. Keep pushing for the Senco.

But re the pull ups, YABU. 3 times in 4 weeks is fairly frequent and I don't think it's fair either on him or the staff. If he had pull ups his accidents could be dealt with much more discreetly. Perhaps he could get changed for PE separately so the other children wouldn't see and tease?

I think the teasing is a bit of a red herring because if he's having these accidents without pull ups on it will be immediately obvious to the other children and he'll get teased anyway.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 05-Nov-13 23:50:53

Your child has a medical problem his needs should be catered for.

Kyrptonite Tue 05-Nov-13 23:51:00

Sorry I should have added that since she suggested pull ups he has had one accident at school, attempted to change himself as he thought he would be told off and came home with skidmarks. Now he is holding onto his poo until he gets home which is making it more painful for him. If it was an accident every week then I do get their point!

MammaTJ Tue 05-Nov-13 23:55:25

My DS had one poo accident at school and I was asked to pick him up because he had diarrhoea. I did, because I had just done a night shift and was not strong enough to argue!

I explained the next day that he never does solid poos, so is not infectious (unless someone else in the family has it too) so could go to school.

The head asked how often he has these accidents and when I said once in a blue moon, he requested I put him in pull ups. I refused. This was in reception and he has only done in twice since, coming out of school so I dealt with it.

I think sending a child who even poos themselves once a week in pull ups is unreasonable.

I think the way they are dealing with him is more than unreasonable.

Kyrptonite Tue 05-Nov-13 23:56:19

Also it is a tiny school so there isn't really anywhere else for him to get changed for PE and if he has a pull up on he tends to get lazy and would possibly just wee in that instead of the toilet. I'm hoping that the Dr tomorrow will be able to give me some info to take into the school as DS is utterly miserable about going in at the moment.

TheBuskersDog Tue 05-Nov-13 23:56:43

Regarding being sent out of the class, do you actually think he is being sent into the corridor or is he sent into another classroom where there will be staff?

Kyrptonite Tue 05-Nov-13 23:58:40

They sent him home for an accident the day they got my email complaining about how they had handled it. They said he needed to be showered but when he got home there was no poo on him!

I think I'm bloody annoyed because we chose this school based on it being small and we thought DS would get more support. The head teacher makes me think of Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter and isn't exactly approachable!

Kyrptonite Wed 06-Nov-13 00:00:07

I'm not sure. There are only 2 other classes so I don't know if he would be sent to them or put in the corridor. DS doesn't seem to know either! I'm just worrying that he will be sent somewhere for being naughty, not get supervised and end up doing something else he shouldn't and get in more trouble.

Life was so much simpler when he was at nursery!

cece Wed 06-Nov-13 00:03:25

I too am having issues with my DS2 who is also in Reception and is also 4.

He has impaction problems and takes Movicol so has no real control over his soiling at the moment. Things reached a head just before the holidays when he soiled himself but it leaked onto the floor and made quite a mess. I don't think it was handled very well and he now will not tell them when he has soiled, hence he is coming home with pooey pants a few times a week.

I have found this interesting to read.

I am planning to go back to GP and then go in and tackle the school. So far he doesn't have a care plan in place although they have put him on the SEN register.

Kyrptonite Wed 06-Nov-13 00:11:21

DS's accidents happened when he was on movicol. I had even explained to his teacher the first morning he was on it that he was taking it so may be even less aware than usual that he needed to go.
I hope you get answers from the GP. We had to demand a referral for DS after 18 months of going back and forth trying to get a solution.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 06-Nov-13 00:23:22

Very sad for your ds being 'looked after' this way. It should not be happening. Outrageous IMO that they expect a child to be put back in nappies.

One of my dc had urinary continence issues, often wetting themselves at least once a day. The school was totally supportive, never expected me to put the dc back into nappies, assisted the dc changing (but at a slight distance, ie got the child to do the job themselves, while being available to help if needed), facilitated extra toilet-visits, never criticised the dc for accidents.

About 1/2 way through Y1 the class teacher alerted me to the fact that classmates were beginning to notice and comment on my dc's frequent accidents. So, to an extent it is true that children don't notice at first.

My dc is medicated for this condition, which has helped a lot. Every year I have a discussion with the new teacher to let them know how they can support my dc. The school take my dc's toileting needs as seriously as the needs of children with allergies/epilepsy/diabetes. Thanks to the medication and other things, my dc has not had an accident for a year, but the school still support them by allowing them freer access to toilet than they do other children (eg my dc does not get told "you should have gone at break").

This is the sort of standard of care you have the right to expect from your dc's school!

Jinsei Wed 06-Nov-13 00:35:43

Your poor little boy! sad

I know it can be disruptive for the other children if one child has behavioural issues, but I really hate the idea of a child being excluded at the age of 4 - they're still so very small!

As for the accidents, clearly he can't help this and he needs the right support. Do you have a sense that he has been embarrassed by the way it has been dealt with so far, or has he not been bothered? I do realise how incredibly busy teachers are, and I know there are lots of other pressures on them and the TAs, but it's so important that stuff like this is handled sensitively and discreetly. Children have the right not to be publicly humiliated.

I do hope that you can get the right support for him soon. Keep pushing for the involvement of the SENCO, and try not to let your disappointment with the school's response so far get in the way of working with them on putting the right help in place for your little boy.

Dayshiftdoris Wed 06-Nov-13 01:20:38

You need to see the SENCO but you know that but also try the school nurse.

All the ERIC links others have put on here are fab too.

One thing I did when my son was soiling through constipation was set up a school kit. It was a drawstring bag (like a PE bag) with a full change of uniform in inc about 4 pairs of undies and socks. I added baby wipes and nappy sacks.

My son was 7 at the time and very blush so I also did a set of pictures on a keyring attached inside the bag which took him through the steps to take to clean himself up if he had an accident plus he had a card in the bag to hand to an adult if he had an accident so they were aware and could offer help / send the bag home at the end of the day... My son has ASD so visuals are our thing and we practised at home too - he never needed it but it brought his anxiety about having an accident right down.

Your son might be a bit little to do it himself, especially if his soiling is large amounts (my son wouldn't have managed more than a bit) but not for a card to show his teacher if he needs help with toileting and if he knows he has spares at school that will help.

We were in a school that were not very good at the time and I could see the sniggers when I took that in but strangely enough a friend rang me about a month later to thank me as her son had come home in a pair of my sons undies (they were labelled) and when I checked other bits, like the nappy sacks were used so obviously it wasnt such a bloody stupid idea after all nor was it particularly unusual as I left the bag there long past my son needing it and I was handed undies in the playground by more than one mum during that time wink

You are not alone OP - there is always advice on here

CrohnicallyTired Wed 06-Nov-13 06:59:19

Dayshiftdoris- I like the idea of a card to hand to an adult. From a school perspective, it is very difficult when a child won't tell you if they've had an accident. Believe it or not, you don't always notice the smell in a busy classroom, it builds up gradually and gets kind of lost in the general sweaty/ play doh/ trumpy children smell. Usually the giveaway is when someone else comes into the classroom (or you go out and return) when the smell hits you clear as day. Bit like when you're on the toilet you don't notice the smell of your poo as bad as when your partner's been and you walk into it! But I can see that a card would allow a child to discreetly ask for help without having to actually utter the words, and I will be suggesting it at our school, as we have a few children with continence problems at school. Each child has their own kit, plus we keep spares, nappy sacks and wipes around in case any other child has an accident.

As an aside- there is a shop (think it's linked to ERIC) that does pants especially for children who soil, they have a hidden waterproof layer to contain mess, but look and feel exactly like regular pants so no problems with children using them as a nappy, or the other children teasing. Or if your child is small, there are toddler cloth training pants that look remarkably similar to regular pants, and have only a small amount of absorbent material.

sharpesttool Wed 06-Nov-13 07:13:47

In the school I worked in a ta cleaned children up (me) when they had an accident whether through sen or just plain being four and being engrossed in an activity.

It was very discreet and I am very sad how they are handling it, my cousins school used to send her home too,

CrohnicallyTired Wed 06-Nov-13 07:22:39

Oh, just remembered something else, we have a kind of home school agreement with the children with frequent continence difficulties. It outlines the help a child might need, details members of staff who parents have agreed can help their child, and parents and staff sign it. It helps to cover members of staff against safeguarding allegations- it is a very vulnerable place to be put in. Either you go with a child to the toilet and shut the door, which is a position we were taught never to leave yourself in in case of allegations. Or you change the child in a relatively public place (such as inside the toilets with the cubicle for open) which is then embarrassing for the child. An agreement helps to make sure that the child and parents are comfortable with the level of help and physical contact being given.

In the absence of an agreement, I have been known to phone parents when, for whatever reason, the child has indicated that they are not happy with physical contact, and are not capable or willing to clean themselves up.

WooWooOwl Wed 06-Nov-13 08:22:43

I think you are confusing issues here. Your ds being supervised when he's sent out of class and having someone available to change him are two different things, and they may well be happening at different times of the day.

Children who are sent out of class are usually still visible to the teacher or the TA, in my experience they only sit by the door so they are being supervised while the staff are working with other children. His behaviour must be extreme if they are needing to send him out so frequently this early into reception.

Also, surely sending a child out doesn't actually help unless they understand what they have done.

This depends on what you are trying to achieve. If your ds really is being very disruptive, then sending him out allows the teacher to teach the rest of the class. That might not help your ds, but nearly all children need a lot of support when they start in reception and the teacher simply cannot dedicate a huge amount of time to one child, or allow all of her teaching sessions to be disrupted without letting an entire class down. I agree that they should be making sure your ds knows why he is being sent out, but the fact that he won't tell you doesn't mean that he doesn't know or wasn't warned or told about it.

suziesmummy Wed 06-Nov-13 08:38:16

You need to speak to the doctor and see if there is a medical reason for his accidents. If there isn't then I don't think its fair for the TA or teacher to have to continuously clean it up

Kyrptonite Wed 06-Nov-13 08:41:46

Suzie there is a medical reason. The head teacher hadn't heard of it so wasn't that helpful.

I do understand he is disrupting the class. This is partly why we have requested SENCO involvement. I don't want DS to be that child. But he should be supported as the rest of the class should be. They can apply for 2 terms of support without a statement rather than just write him off now.

WooWooOwl Wed 06-Nov-13 08:48:02

It's very unlikely that they are writing him off, and the teacher probably is pushing for support. I know that in my schools the teachers would be in this situation, but that doesn't mean it will be forthcoming.

And of course your ds deserves the same support as the rest of the class, but if he's being particularly disruptive then he probably is having a disproportionate amount of attention and time being dedicated to him.

There is only so much a teacher and a TA can do while they are trying to meet the needs of an entire class of four year olds.

Four years old is so little for children to be starting school, and some children just aren't ready to cope with it.

ladyrainy Wed 06-Nov-13 08:51:28

oh my goodness - your poor little boy sad

Does your GP know that ds is now starting to hold onto his poo?

You could ask your GP to refer ds to a developmental paediatrician due to concerns about ADHD and his not settling in school.

Have you spoken to the school nurse - is she/he aware what's going on?

You could also speak to parent partnership as they may also be able to help.

ladyrainy Wed 06-Nov-13 08:57:07

OP - you might be more likely to get advice from posters who have had experience of this by asking MNHQ to move this to children's health or special needs.

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