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Hendrixt
A question mainly for UK members but views welcome from all

14yrs old daughter is W/R, is in a good physical state and is in year 11 at high school (UK). We are considering allowing her to start PE (Physical Education) again after having been withdrawn from previous lessons during refeeding. 

My understanding has always been that PE at high school in the UK involves light exercise and the sessions don’t involve much in the way of teaching attitudes forwards health etc but I think I may be wrong. Last night whilst discussing it with D she told me a teacher had been encouraging exercise at home and for students to exercise throughout the holiday period between terms. In fact the message had been given very forcefully as, in response to students reacting in a flippant way to the advice, the teacher had screamed and shouted at the class saying they would get a heart attack if they didn’t follow the advice to exercise outside of school. 

My D is banned from exercise in the home as her ED involved a compulsion to exercise but we feel that a gradual reintroduction to PE will now be beneficial as long as it is monitored closely (she has never been the sport type)

I realise that in some countries schools give general education about exercise and diet, notably in the states but I wonder whether anybody knows if, in the UK, PE involves giving general advice about health benefits and risks associated with exercise. Has any UK parent had this problem. Maybe this particular teacher has gone off on a tangent - I’m just not sure. 

Obviously I will be taking it up with the school but any views/ advice would be welcome
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tina72
I think it is no question if that is part of the plan for PE or not in UK, the problem is that the PE teacher can make wrong comments and you can hardly avoid that.
I talked to my ds PE teacher before she went back and explained the situation and why this or that could cause a problem. I was lucky and she was very helpful and looked after her very carefully in the last year of school. If she would have reacted differently I think I would have continued to avoid PE totally in our case.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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scaredmom
I am not from the UK, but I will still chime in if that is OK? I am in Canada.

I find that the personal touch is really important when it comes to school activities and ED.
I actually make appointments with the "important people" and that is NOT the principal, it is the guidance counsellor and the teachers who may see my d most as well as the gym teacher and coaches as she is allowed some extracurricular sports. 
I actually did that yesterday as d started high school on Tuesday. I have been very firm in my expectations that I will be advised of the curriculum in gym and if I say no to the activity it is a hard, firm no. I was met with acceptance with that plan yesterday. I have been very clear that d will not do any health module and she is not allowed to do the nutrition courses come next year. My d heard that from her doctor over and over again. The doctor has told d that she (the doctor) is the expert in her nutrition and NOT the school. The three schools d has been in since diagnosis have always accommodated her fully and no academic repercussions have been seen

My d was telling me in the summer that all she does is lay around (YAY- for a kid who stood all the time!!!) and that one teacher said it is not good to just sit all day. I told the doctor that on Tuesday and she told d again that SHE was the expert and I was too and the teacher did not go to medical school and does not understand ED/nutrition in children. 
Explanations work for my d, coming from a higher authority ,like her doctor. Also when the doctor says that, it supports the messages at home. 
Oh well, back to the school issue: My suggestion is going in and sitting down with those that are with her ie the teacher and counsellors and explaining, even in writing what she can and cannot do as part of gym/health classes. My d did an alternative math and physical movement project instead of the healthy eating part.
I really believe in the face to face meeting. It shows respect both ways. You get to feel out how receptive they are. They get to know how serious you are. It opens lines of communication and education for them about EDs. They are people and parents too and really want the best for your kid.  Overall, I feel that is the best way.

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Hendrixt
scaredmom wrote:
I am not from the UK, but I will still chime in if that is OK? I am in Canada.

I find that the personal touch is really important when it comes to school activities and ED.
I actually make appointments with the "important people" and that is NOT the principal, it is the guidance counsellor and the teachers who may see my d most as well as the gym teacher and coaches as she is allowed some extracurricular sports. 
I actually did that yesterday as d started high school on Tuesday. I have been very firm in my expectations that I will be advised of the curriculum in gym and if I say no to the activity it is a hard, firm no. I was met with acceptance with that plan yesterday. I have been very clear that d will not do any health module and she is not allowed to do the nutrition courses come next year. My d heard that from her doctor over and over again. The doctor has told d that she (the doctor) is the expert in her nutrition and NOT the school. The three schools d has been in since diagnosis have always accommodated her fully and no academic repercussions have been seen

My d was telling me in the summer that all she does is lay around (YAY- for a kid who stood all the time!!!) and that one teacher said it is not good to just sit all day. I told the doctor that on Tuesday and she told d again that SHE was the expert and I was too and the teacher did not go to medical school and does not understand ED/nutrition in children. 
Explanations work for my d, coming from a higher authority ,like her doctor. Also when the doctor says that, it supports the messages at home. 
Oh well, back to the school issue: My suggestion is going in and sitting down with those that are with her ie the teacher and counsellors and explaining, even in writing what she can and cannot do as part of gym/health classes. My d did an alternative math and physical movement project instead of the healthy eating part.
I really believe in the face to face meeting. It shows respect both ways. You get to feel out how receptive they are. They get to know how serious you are. It opens lines of communication and education for them about EDs. They are people and parents too and really want the best for your kid.  Overall, I feel that is the best way.

Hi Scaredmom thanks for all the advice. I admire how committed you are for protecting your D against risks from people who have limited knowledge of ED and not afraid to fight her corner. She is lucky to have you. I too believe firmly in engaging direct with people face to face. I have had a number of meetings with staff at the school, sometimes with the senior staff and the Head but I always ask to speak directly with staff who are going to have contact with my D. I am a little paranoid that people might say something triggering to her. I think it's important also to speak the the Head teacher [principal] to ensure staff on the front line have the support of senior leadership in the school. Yesterday I spent an hour with the support teacher who is taking over supervised eating with my D. I will be going in to see the PE staff personally.


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Hendrixt
tina72 wrote:
I think it is no question if that is part of the plan for PE or not in UK, the problem is that the PE teacher can make wrong comments and you can hardly avoid that.
I talked to my ds PE teacher before she went back and explained the situation and why this or that could cause a problem. I was lucky and she was very helpful and looked after her very carefully in the last year of school. If she would have reacted differently I think I would have continued to avoid PE totally in our case.


Ah yes Tina - it's the wrong comments that worry me. My D told me a PE teacher was lecturing the class telling that over the school holidays they must not lounge around and eat 'junk' food - this is exactly what we want our D to do. Apparently one or two of the kids sniggered and were a bit cheeky so the teacher screamed at them that they will get a heart attack. I will get to the bottom of this and ensure nothing like this happens again. There are two PE periods per week. We're only letting her do one period until we're satisfied it is not causing any problems
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Hendrixt
Well my D did PE today. It doesn't sound too bad. Apparently in year 10 PE gets a bit more laid back. They get a choice each week to do badminton, football, basketball or table tennis. She has chosen table tennis so I don't think that will be too much of a problem. I will be going in to speak to the PE staff to find out what goes on and to give them my requirements as to how to deal with my D
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scaredmom
You have moved forward with this issue well informed and well armed. 
Good job!!
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Hendrixt
scaredmom wrote:
You have moved forward with this issue well informed and well armed. 
Good job!!


Thanks Scaredmom - again I have learned a lot from the kind people on this site x
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Mcmum
Morning!  Apologies as i'm rather late to this but i'm a UK teacher, though certainly not of PE!
I've found that at school and sports clubs, the desire to clumsily combat the British obesity issue has eclipsed everything else so the messages of 'healthy" eating and exercise have become rather blunt and distorted.  In my son's case, his well meaning karate teacher launched into an obsessive anti sugar diatribe every lesson, that certainly didn't help when he was slipping into An (unbeknown to us at this point ).
We've found that teachers don't really "get it" until some quite specific conversations have happened and even then, their memory of the vulnerability of children to fall into disorderly eating seems to fizzle out quite quickly without constant reminders. So many students in their teens are very sedentary and most teachers are very on message when it comes to tackling this but less effective at grasping the nuances of kid's individual needs. 
We're getting better informed though and there are more enlightened teachers around but it's largely down to parents prompting, reminding and educating. 
Glad PE seems to be going better and more gently for you and your daughter x
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Hendrixt
Mcmum wrote:
Morning!  Apologies as i'm rather late to this but i'm a UK teacher, though certainly not of PE!
I've found that at school and sports clubs, the desire to clumsily combat the British obesity issue has eclipsed everything else so the messages of 'healthy" eating and exercise have become rather blunt and distorted.  In my son's case, his well meaning karate teacher launched into an obsessive anti sugar diatribe every lesson, that certainly didn't help when he was slipping into An (unbeknown to us at this point ).
We've found that teachers don't really "get it" until some quite specific conversations have happened and even then, their memory of the vulnerability of children to fall into disorderly eating seems to fizzle out quite quickly without constant reminders. So many students in their teens are very sedentary and most teachers are very on message when it comes to tackling this but less effective at grasping the nuances of kid's individual needs. 
We're getting better informed though and there are more enlightened teachers around but it's largely down to parents prompting, reminding and educating. 
Glad PE seems to be going better and more gently for you and your daughter x



Hi Mcmum - did you really write this at 5am ÃƒÆ’°Å¸ËœÂ®.Great to benefit from the insight of a teacher. Just a general comment that my experience of working with the school is that teaching and support staff have been wonderful in doing their very best to provide support and accommodate my D's needs but they are hampered by work- load, a lack of coordination and lack of awareness. It was only when I involved the senior leadership team and had a formal healthcare plan drawn up that things seemed to start running more efficiently. 

Your description of  the '...desire to clumsily combat the British obesity issue....' and the problems with the karate teacher certainly chimes with the narrative I am hearing about. I wonder what training/ guidance is provided to teachers to 'get on message' in tackling sedentary behaviour and the benefits of exercise and also whether this extends to the type of 'healthy eating' messages you hear about in the USA and other countries. Is it nuanced enough to help teachers understand the damage this can do to pupils with individual needs and the risk of triggering eating disorders or even leading to comparing body shape and bullying. In our case, the constant push for students to engage in physical exercise outside of school is in direct conflict with one of the key elements of my D's treatment which is to deal with the compulsive exercise element of her illness. She is now challenging our ban on her doing exercise in her bedroom [solitary exercises till 12 midnight and then starting again at 6am] by quoting what she is being told by the PE staff. 

My D falls into that category of being naturally sedentary [prior to ED] , she takes after my wife [who is quite happy to admit this] so really, dealing with compulsive exercise should be easier in my D's case.

I agree with you that direct conversations are going to be the way forward. I have already spent a lot of time; going into the school to meet with individual members of staff and educating them. I have arranged a meeting with her PE teacher so I can ensure she understands the issues. Also I understand what you mean about the message 'fizzling out' as it turns out the teacher who warned of a heart attack is the head of pastoral care and our main point of contact for our D and I had already had this conversation with her, she probably has a better understanding of my daughter's ED than most, yet she has clearly forgotten herself when giving out this general advice about exercising at home - it's so easy to make a mistake with this illness! This is what made me think there must be some pressure on teachers to put this message out.

Our school now has 3 pupils who are diagnosed with AN, and from what my D tells us it appears that many of the girls are displaying various eating disorder behaviours. This, I know is probably the case in a lot of schools.  I understand Eva Musby has a sample policy for schools on her website - maybe I could have a look at that with a view to sharing it with the school as they have no specific policy about EDs, it's not even mentioned in their policy about healthcare needs of pupils during school hours.

Thanks so much for your comments - they have been very helpful.  I understand from your profile that your son has been in treatment for around a year  - is he w/r yet? - Hope things are going well

Good luck!!
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Mcmum
The Eva Musby school materials are excellent and definitely worth sharing.  Ultimately, I think it's one of those illnesses that most people don't "get" until it happens close to home - we certainly didn't!  Teachers are trying though and you're right, conflicting advice gets lost in the melee of stuff to do! 
Our son is a year on and SO much better.  Every day is a joy really yet I felt like we were in some twilight hell this time last year. 
My whole world is food - shopping, prepping and piling in calories and he seems to grow every day so I can never seem to get enough in!  Much improved though, thanks.  
The 5am posting is thanks to the wonderful menopause 😀
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Hendrixt
Mcmum wrote:
The Eva Musby school materials are excellent and definitely worth sharing.  Ultimately, I think it's one of those illnesses that most people don't "get" until it happens close to home - we certainly didn't!  Teachers are trying though and you're right, conflicting advice gets lost in the melee of stuff to do! 
Our son is a year on and SO much better.  Every day is a joy really yet I felt like we were in some twilight hell this time last year. 
My whole world is food - shopping, prepping and piling in calories and he seems to grow every day so I can never seem to get enough in!  Much improved though, thanks.  
The 5am posting is thanks to the wonderful menopause 😀


Hearing your views about Eva's policy gives me the confidence to propose to the school that they should consider taking it on board. Very pleased to hear about your son and it sounds like you may be at a similar stage to us. Our D's mood is much better and she is starting to enjoy her food and regain her hunger ques, albeit she is struggling to cope with the weight gains. The transition back to school is a bit worrying though. The people doing her supervised eating have changed and have no experience to I've had to spend a bit of time with them. Also she chose Business Studies as an option [just gone into year 10]. It appears the teacher has given pupils an overview of the lessons and encouraged them to think about whether they are suitable to continue and she has come away with a strong message that if pupils don't feel they would be comfortable with doing verbal presentations to the class on a regular basis, emphasising the communication skills and confidence needed to do this, then they should consider withdrawing from the subject. As you know kids with AN can have very fragile emotions and her confidence is low. She has now decided to withdraw from the course. Ã°Å¸ËœÅ¾ A discussion [just asked her to give it another week] with her last night nearly ended up with an ED type melt- down and as she brought up the subject around tea time we almost lost a meal through it. 

And yes, our house [and lives] is just like a food  machine, starts off with the sound of the deafening sound of the blender mixing the smoothie to start every day - a relentless monotony but the results are a joy to be seen, although there is is a lot of ED about. Sorry to hear about your early mornings - my wife is going through the same problems and it's really hard for her, now made worse as she has to sleep with a 5'10 teenager every night who can't seem to stop moving!!
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Mcmum
Oh boy! !
Shame about the Business studies.  Teachers often over egg that kind of thing at the start of gcse. Could have had a more sensitive approach.  Hope your daughter gets over it.
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