I've blogged before about Sophie's behaviour and how she's driving me nuts with the whole Teenage Angst. Before the Christmas holidays it all came to a bit of a head. I found out on Facebook that she hadn't been attending school in the last week. I know this isn't wholly unusual with teenage kids and the schools tend to turn a bit of a blind eye to it, but I'm a bit old school with it and think that if the finish date is set the kids should attend until that date. So finding out she hadn't been attending and telling me she was I was understandably angry. I decided to tackle her there and then about it.
I phoned her on the last day of school and told her I knew she hadn't been going an she better be there now. I phoned the school to make sure she was and told them I would be contacting her guidance teacher after the Christmas holiday to ask why for 5 days my child had been signing in at registration every day then not attending classes and why the school hadn't brought this to my attention? I think the school have to take some of the responsibility of that. I send my child to school every day believing her to be safely there, and since the school has a phone before 9.30am if your child is sick policy, why are they not alerting parents to the fact your child isn't there so parents can track them down. In this instance it turned out my 13 year old girl had jumped on a train to another town and was wandering around there with friends all day. It's not somewhere she would be allowed to go at the best of times, so I was obviously very angry.
When she came home on the last day, I sat down with her to have a long chat about why she has to be where I think she is at all times ,why she had done the wrong thing and her punishment. Nothing we had done previously had seemed to stop subsequent bad behaviours so I decided it was crunch time. Mobile Phone confiscated for the foreseeable future, no sky tv in her room, grounded, all social networking contact cut and her grandparents who fund a lot of her treats and fun in life informed of her recent bad behaviour and asked to state their disappointment. She was also informed that all contact with the friends she seems to get into the most trouble with is to be cut whether convenient or not. If she can't be trusted to behave with these people then she better reassess her friendships. This all may seem harsh but we have been through the mill the last few months with her behaviour, drinking, smoking and general bad behaviour and as far as I'm concerned it IS NOT ok and will not be accepting it in any way any more.
During the conversation she seemed to open up a bit, something she hasn't done when we have pussy footed around about punishment or behaviour as she seemed to realise I was serious this time and it turns out she is in big trouble work wise at school. She had failed all her assessment tests for the next terms class placements and would be being moved down from the top classes in all her subjects to some of the lowest classes. Her school holds one parents night a year in March and since her one last year where we were told how wonderful and how she was in the top ten of her year, she has slipped to marks of 25% and below. How were we not alerted to this????? The test results came in November and she hadn't obviously told us how bad the marks were so how were we to know? We helped her study and over saw plenty of homework and extra tuition so why weren't we informed that my daughter was in so much trouble? Whether it is lack of work or that she doesn't understand the work is irrelevant when they tell me but they SHOULD tell me. She says she hasn't been understanding the work for months and hasn't known how to tell us as she knew we would be upset. I explained I would never be upset but definitely would be concerned and completely pro active about it.
I have a phone appointment with her guidance teacher this Wednesday and shall be having a stern word or two about this matter. I shall be asking if the school can offer any help whether in school or contacts of private tutors. If not I shall be going down every private route to help my girl catch up to where she was. She has to pick her standard grade subjects for 3rd year in March and I'm disgusted that all the subjects she was so confident in and enjoying are now a terrible worry for her.
I know we have to get this sorted for her but really think in issues of attendance and work the school has to accept some of the responsibility and work with the parents.