school trips that are not suitable for children with SN

(130 Posts)
happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 21:39:04

I just wondered if this was normal or even allowed.

Every year the dc schools go on a three day trip in term time during school days . Its quite a big deal, they do work building up to it and afterwards, they have photos taken and these are displayed.

I've never taken much notice but last year one of boys who can walk within school and did sports day fine at his own pace but has a wheelchair for longer distance didn't go, he's a confident popular boy so I was a bit suprised but just presumed he didn't fancy it.

However we have got the leaflet home for one of dc turn and it says that any special needs much be discussed and approved before the child is accepted which is fair enough but it then goes on to say that despite this it must be accepted that the centre is not geared up to cater for SN and physical disabilities.

While I think that's the centres choice I have seen centres that do cater for SN and surely the school should look into these rather than exclude a child.

My own dc1 is sen but it not severe and will likely be allowed to go but im now worrying about it.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 08-Jan-13 22:07:51

Is it really unlawful for the school to do this, even if its not essential to the curriculum and they still allow the child to go to school and provide suitable work while the trip is on?

I only ask because when DS was in Y6, they did cycling proficiency. DS has Aspergers and is completely uncoordinated, and despite best efforts from four family members, was not capable of riding a bike. It wasn't until I made a fuss at the school that they looked into getting him a professional instructor, which thankfully worked and he was able to get his CP at the same time as the others. I wouldn't have expected the course not to run because my child couldn't access it because of his disability, but if I hadn't complained about it the school would have allowed him to stay in lessons and would have effectively excluded him.

CailinDana Tue 08-Jan-13 22:09:23

Good lord CaptChaos, that is really awful. Is his current school better?

I am dreading cycling proficiency for the same reason, that is interesting that you got him included. I was expecting dd to sit out.

Lilka Tue 08-Jan-13 22:09:56

YANBU they need to find a centre that can cater for all children, and include the SN children in every activity they can physically manage. There are enough of those centres that the school should be able to find one, it's not like they're taking them to some remote arctic island somewhere

Vagaceratops Tue 08-Jan-13 22:10:27

CaptChaos - our school is exactly the same.

FeltOverlooked Tue 08-Jan-13 22:10:56

CaptChaos, your story is terrible.

I did go to school with a disabled girl who had severe toileting/food issues (not apparent at school, all happened at night - tube feeding, etc) so would never have gone on any residential trip.

I do think it is possible in the centre's brochure that it is trying to say it needs to assess first. For example, I know the centre my children's school use has certain additional procedures it follows for children with managed diabetes. If it were unmanaged diabetes they might say they couldn't personally manage, and then it would be for the school / parents to find a different solution, new centre, or whatever would fit the needs in that situation.

CailinDana Tue 08-Jan-13 22:13:13

It's a grey area Clouds. Theoretically a school is required to allow a child to access all areas of the curriculum but there is some guff (can't remember the wording) about reasonable accommodation or some such bollocks. So the school could have argued that your child wasn't physically capable of accessing the curriculum and that they couldn't reasonably accommodate his abilities. Of course, once a school is pushed they almost always find a way to accommodate any child, but as with so many things relating to SN the parents have to push and push, it's never offered, and schools would rather not bother than to go the extra mile to try to think of a solution.

tethersend Tue 08-Jan-13 22:13:23

"I imagine the only special need that could be discriminated against for school trips are children with with severe behavioural difficulites."

No, children with recognised behavioural difficulties/conditions are also covered by the DDA/Equalities act.

They cannot discriminate against any recognised disability. Some info here

CaptChaos Tue 08-Jan-13 22:14:02

Eglantyne this was about 8 years ago and we have moved away from the area, but I still have friends there and the school is pretty much the same.

SW London/Surrey

Alarielle Tue 08-Jan-13 22:14:28

but the trip is for 3 days? so it is more like a holiday and i imagine that would be difficult to manage for quite a few children with sn who dont have a main carer with them or the right equipment.

Lilka Tue 08-Jan-13 22:16:04

CaptChaos - how horrid, sounds exactly like the first primary my DD2 attended with me. They were an 'outstanding' school in a posh suburb full of pushy parents, and they refused to work with me over her (emotional and behavioural) SN, in fact they were absolutely horrible. Refused to even try to understand, let alone treat her as anything other than a completely NT child. Also stayed only long enough for her to get a statement and access to a good EBD school.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 08-Jan-13 22:16:17

Toughasoldboots ds's teacher was actually really good about it when I pointed out how out of order it would be to exclude him, even tough I had discussed it with his previous teacher the year before. She contacted the LA who provided two instructors to teach him (and having an unrelated professional was all that was needed for him to learn) so it didn't even have to come out of the schools budget.

She did say that they were lucky they got the instructors as she thought it was only because they did it in February rather than the summer that they were available, so it might be with you kicking up a fuss and getting in there quick so that they can move the dates of it if they have to.

CaptChaos Tue 08-Jan-13 22:16:50

DS2 now goes to a specialist boarding school which is amazing!

I HS'd for about a year as well, he had been being taught in a corridor on his own, by an untrained member of staff, so he was about a year behind.

All's well that ends well, he's now doing brilliantly academically. (plus the whole class always wanted to be in my group on trips, because we had loads of fun!)

CailinDana Tue 08-Jan-13 22:17:27

Alarielle - in that case the trip isn't suitable for the class and an alternative should be arranged, or a parent should be asked to come along. Imagine if they did an activity that was "only for boys" or not suitable for children below a certain height - there would be uproar. Yet they are ok with a child being excluded for SN. It's totally not on.

Thanks clouds I will look in to that.

FeltOverlooked Tue 08-Jan-13 22:19:46

That is interesting, Clouds. Our kid's school now do all their trip at unpopular times of year - Year Sixes are away now, and Year Five went away on something like September 5th. Apparently it gives them much more freedom to pick and choose centres (and is cheaper for parents).

I do think school attitude is everything. The headteacher had meetings at either school or home with every family that hadn't signed their children up to try and work through the issues. Last year he got 100% going but I know even with all that focus he didn't get everyone this year.

CailinDana Tue 08-Jan-13 22:20:01

That's great CaptChaos, glad it worked out. Your DS is very lucky to have you fighting his corner.

happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 22:20:06

Got the leaflet now.
It says

"We are keen for as many children as possible to benefit from the adventure and team work offered but we have to acknowledge we are not specialists in the provision of activities for children with special needs or physical disabilities.

Should a group include a child with special needs this must be discussed to gauge our ability to provide a worthwhile course.

threesocksmorgan Tue 08-Jan-13 22:22:23

wow this shows how inclusion is exclusion

CailinDana Tue 08-Jan-13 22:22:37

Hmmm. It's quite ambiguous isn't it. It could be that they're just covering their arses.

FeltOverlooked Tue 08-Jan-13 22:23:00

Right, so it sounds to me like the school / parents / centre could have worked together to see if it was the right place for the boy in question.

So it is possible that:
(1) the school didn't even try
(2) the centre said no (in which case, if the parents and boy were keen the school should have tried somewhere else)
(3) the parents or the boy were reluctant for him to go anyway

I think there is no harm in your gently querying.

happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 22:26:11

Personally I would rather dc1 didnt go, she gets overwhelmed at school disco, has no sense of danger, no spacial awareness, bladder issues and bullying issues and will do anything other kids tell her.

But I can't wrap her in bubblewrap forever.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 08-Jan-13 22:28:00

I agree the schools attitude makes a huge difference. This school also tends to do trips at odd times of the year. The y6s went on their residential in October, and it was to a centre that caters for SN. It was to a place that did a lot of outdoor adventure activities, and they were great with ds. They phoned me before the trip took place to ask about him, and they managed to get him to do every activity. All it took was the right support and a little extra effort.

Happynewmind It may be that your school does have a good attitude, but they are just trying to cover themselves and acknowledge that even with the best will in the world, they may not be able to cover everything.

I expect that when there are personal care needs it can be quite difficult for them to provide appropriate care for an especially vulnerable child.

FeltOverlooked Tue 08-Jan-13 22:30:49

Awwww, you are just the kind of family that our Head would have visited and worked out what he could put in place to reassure you and also dc1 that it was worth a go. I am a little bit in love with our Head, can you tell?

I was very nervous about my son going - dyspraxic, eyesight issues, etc. They really reassured me and he had a great time, even if he never washed or changed his clothes!

I think partly we were reassured as the SENCO and deputy both went and stayed for the whole trip. They even had a phone-call text thing for the most nervous parents where they got a text after each meal to reassure them all was well!

Blu Tue 08-Jan-13 22:31:32

"While I think that's the centres choice"
But it isn't. They must comply with the DDA.

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