Issues at school

Family Lives receives many calls from parents concerned about schools and schooling, with bullying being the most common issue we hear about. While many schools welcome parental involvement and make great efforts to listen to their pupils, we know that this is not always the case and that not every family is able to take advantage. Other school-related issues may include:

  • school non-attendance
  • truanting and exclusions
  • challenging behaviour such as aggression, physical and verbal abuse
  • schoolwork and homework

Children who are stressed, worried, or unhappy will struggle to engage with school work, whether the issues are school related or not. Sometimes the culture of the school can leave children feeling isolated or stigmatised because of their family background, ethnicity or race. While many schools recognise the need to deal with the whole child and take into account their family circumstances, some schools do not. This can mean that when children or families are struggling, they may feel the school offers little understanding or back up.

How to help your child at school

If you are concerned about your child's learning, you may be unsure about how best to support them. It's important to have a good line of communication between parent and teacher, with each of you seeing your roles as complementary and inclusive. You have a right to expect and ask for help. Sometimes things happen that make going to school difficult for your child. Common problems include falling out with friends, finding schoolwork too hard and being bullied, and tackling these early on makes all the difference. You may be able to help them by:

  • Letting them know that you care and want to help.
  • Asking if they can think of anything helpful that you could do.
  • Speaking to their teacher and ask what the school could do to help.
  • Encouraging them to join after-school clubs or activities.
  • Taking things slowly, one step at a time.

You could ask the school to introduce a home/school book which gives you the opportunity to communicate with your child’s teacher on a daily basis. They would write updates, successes or issues in the book for you to read and you can do the same about things at home. This ensures that you are both sharing information and being consistent.

Parents' evening is a great opportunity to speak to your child’s teacher about how they are getting on and what support you can provide at home.  It is also a platform where you can talk about your concerns or things your child is interested in. It is important to ensure you attend the meetings with the teachers so you are aware of what is going on at school for your child.

Special educational needs (SEN)

If your child has special educational needs, you might find it useful to contact your local Parent Partnership Service through the national network. Family Lives runs the Parent Partnership Service in Croydon providing independent information, advice and guidance for parents/carers of children and young people with special educational needs.


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