To be HORRIFIED by this school's actions to become an Academy

(41 Posts)
diaimchlo Mon 04-Apr-16 14:33:51

Came across this: www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/probe-launched-after-30-pupils-11128470

If this is the lengths that schools will go to to achieve Academy status I fear for children's education in general and the discrimination of those who have been diagnosed with disabling conditions especially with all the cuts that this Government have put in place.

LurkingHusband Mon 04-Apr-16 14:39:34

Maybe Nonsuch should have researched where their name comes from ... perhaps it's headed the same way.

MrsDeVere Mon 04-Apr-16 15:49:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSolitaryWanderer Mon 04-Apr-16 16:00:03

One of the main problems is that the Academy may get a lot of support for the exclusions from parents of children without disabilities or behavioural issues.
'I'd be glad to see the back of him' was the feeling among several parents at my son's primary school.

raininginspringtime Mon 04-Apr-16 16:00:18

It's about disruptive behaviour however and I recognise this can be caused by SEN but isn't always down to SEN - nor are all children with SEN disruptive.

corythatwas Mon 04-Apr-16 16:02:47

That's what would have happened to my dd if the academy system had been around at that time. Not that she ever talked back or disrupted a class, but the head and admin staff never missed an opportunity to tell us how inconvenient it was to have a wheelchair user in the school and how "you can't expect us to be happy" about her frequent medical absences. By the end of his time at the school the HT was hinting very strongly that maybe dd should be in a different setting as they had no experience of disability (total lie; they had behaved equally shoddily to a friend's disabled dd a few years earlier).

corythatwas Mon 04-Apr-16 16:04:01

Should add that she would have had no chance of getting into the only wheelchair-adapted secondary within travelling distance if it hadn't been for the LA appeals process.

uglyflowers Mon 04-Apr-16 16:05:21

I am an ex teacher and have many friends who are teaching in academies. They all agree that funding for kids with SENs will suffer. My son has epilepsy and dyspraxic. I home educate him and his little brother, having worked in my local schools and seen how kids on the spectrum were treated.

raininginspringtime Mon 04-Apr-16 16:05:34

How awful, cory

uglyflowers Mon 04-Apr-16 16:07:36

I imagine home ed numbers will go up massively in the future when parents feel they have no other choice.

TheSolitaryWanderer Mon 04-Apr-16 16:10:09

How will that work in the SE in particular, where most households need both parents working just to survive?

ilovesooty Mon 04-Apr-16 16:11:47

The difficulty is that many parents either don't have the expertise to HE or can't afford to.

I think while questions should be asked about the school's failure to make reasonable adjustments the mum would be better focusing on that aspect rather than his gender. That "boys will be boys" comment just reinforces prejudice and stereotyping.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 04-Apr-16 16:19:52

I am not surprised either MrsD, last year in 2015, this happened to my friends ds who is no 8. The school in question was not an adademy, but Ofstead, needs improvement. My friend suspected that her ds was on the ASD spectrum, he was starting to get help in the little feeder school, and was on school action plus, he was doing very well, and coping before he moved to the middle school, as the old school only went up to year 2. The changes meant that his coping mechanisms went out of the window, constant changes at his new school, meant that his behaviour declined, he was violent, school refusing, and aggressive towards his parents, staff and pupils.

My friend was told by the school SENCO that he was manipulative and controlling, and the headteacher described him in control of his actions. After the 3 temporary exclusion, some help was put in place, which was not enough, and eventally he was permenanantly exluded. Not once did they want to get to the bottom of it, and try and find out what was wrong, or start an EHCP. They could have held their hands up and done a managed move, into the PRU. instead of permenantly excluding him. This was a first resort not a last, I felt they wanted him out, and the problem to go away, and so did my friend. Later it transpired, that they could have had dual access with the school and PRU, but the school did not bother to find out.

His PRU have been excellent, they have helped get him an EHCP and access to other professionals, they have told my friend that her ds is quite possibly on the ASD spectrum, and he is seeing the community Paed and going down the diagnostic route. They have been so positive, and her ds is thriving there. They now have a place for him at a very inclusive and fantastic mainstream school, with a special ASD specialist there, he will start in September.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 04-Apr-16 16:23:46

DD who is the same age as my friends ds, has ASD, learning difficulties, used to go to the same infant school as friends ds. It was fantastic, the headteacher there, also had a child with ASD so was so positive. She told me that my dd behaviour was not her fault, that it was the result of being distressed. She contacted different agencies for help and support with dd, and got her the statement. In the end the school could not cope with dd after some violent incidences, but instead of excluding her. The headteacher sat us down, and explained to us that the school was not the right place and to look at different settings. We did and dd is in a fantastic ASD specialist school. Everything was done for the benefit of dd.

How different from my friends experience.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 16:31:14

Without fail everytime a school have turned into an academy around here the exclusions rocket and most of the excluded children are those with disabilities or additional educational needs

MrsDeVere Mon 04-Apr-16 16:33:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sleeponeday Mon 04-Apr-16 16:36:34

I have a disabled child, and we moved him from an Outstanding Academy after a series of genuinely horrific events left my five year old planning a (terrifyingly effective) means of suicide. This in the same year they reported a mother whose DD has high-functioning autism for Munchausens (she was completely cleared, with the social worker saying, "you don't need me - you need help.") Since moving him to a genuinely inclusive maintained school, where he's doing really well, I've been contacted by several other parents having a catastrophic time. The school is obsessed by retaining its Outstanding status - the children's welfare and wellbeing comes a very long way down. The head recently announced she will be retiring next year and I had several messages entitled "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead" but upsettingly, I had three from people whose identical thought was that their younger children, "are now safe!" I'm not so sure, given she and the agency the school use to help them stage to OFSTED are recruiting for the new one.

The horror stories about disabled kids there are legion. In our case, my son is charming, polite and hyper-compliant at school as a way of dealing with it - the stress all comes out at home. As he's also extremely academic, their attitude to my raising his being autistic was to think I was crazy and "trying to label my child." His autism was so obvious to anyone who knows their arse from their elbow that the class teacher at his new school approached us and asked if we'd heard of Aspergers within 15 minutes of his walking through the door. As I have lived with autism my entire life, with an older sibling on the spectrum, I also recognised it - the appalling thing was that a school is missing it in all but the very overt cases, and then only if the child's behaviour is causing the other kids/teachers problems. Those kids are regarded as a nuisance and treated, as are their parents, with hostility. In my case my son was seen as an asset and utter bewilderment voiced at the idea that this lonely, bullied, confused child could be struggling, when his reading age was so many years ahead of expectations.

Disability understanding and support is terrifyingly poor. Almost all parents of disabled children have horror stories. This is unusual in that all these kids seem to have been disruptive, but frankly that speaks volumes about how atrociously their disabilities were supported and managed, because a well-managed and well-supported child is far less likely to behave disruptively. Some will, absolutely, but 30, to the point exclusion was necessary? I doubt that very much.

The other thing people don't seem to realise: OFSTED don't deal with complaints about disability provision; LAs do. OFSTED don't even know about the issues at DS's old school, and we have no way, as a group of appalled parents, of telling them. Nor, in an Academy school, is there any way to complain if you remove your child. There is no oversight by the LA, and the governors don't have to handle complaints from former parents. So a parent removing their child for their own good has no way of whistle-blowing, and a parent with a child at a school needs to be exceedingly careful, if it is a school that reacts with aggressive anger to any criticism at all (his old school made legal threats against some parents who said anything they disliked, and when we involved the local MP, his lead caseworker described the head as, "incredibly angry and incredibly defensive" when refusing the requested meeting - she refused point blank to talk to any of the dissatisfied parents about the very clear issues at the school, at any stage from their removal on.)

I'm deeply disturbed by the forced creation of Academies, because while it removes power from LAs and places it into the hands of central government - schools are a lot less likely to agitate against government steps when they have to argue for funding with the DoE directly - it also removes local oversight almost entirely. I don't see how creating mini fiefdoms in schools can be in the interests of pupils - where is the accountability for things such as this?

Alfieisnoisy Mon 04-Apr-16 16:36:54

More and more I am glad that I fought to get my DS with autism OUT of mainstream. The system is falling apart and no way was my child going to go down with it. He is now in a special school where his needs are properly met and there is time for him.

Seeing stories like this shows me how bloody right I was to act sooner rather than later. My child isn't disruptive but he struggled through every single day without achieving in mainstream.

The HT told me that DS didn't look autistic and was just a day dreamer. No you stupid man he is overwhelmed by the environment and zoning out.

raininginspringtime Mon 04-Apr-16 16:38:11

The 'boys will be boys' boy didn't have any diagnosed special needs I believe, although they said they were investigating the possibility of Tourette's.

JinRamen Mon 04-Apr-16 16:39:26

The numbers of children with SEN being home educated is already rising.

IdaJones Mon 04-Apr-16 16:43:05

I thought that ofsted penalised schools for lots of exclusions? Is that no longer the case?

tiggytape Mon 04-Apr-16 16:47:52

Should add that she would have had no chance of getting into the only wheelchair-adapted secondary within travelling distance if it hadn't been for the LA appeals process.
The appeals process isn't just the preserve of LA schools. It exists for academies too. All appeals are heard by a panel totally independent of the school (it makes no difference whether the school is a community or an academy one) and makes its decision on the merits of each case. Plenty of people win appeals for academies every year and academies have no way of influencing this anymore than the community schools can stop people winning appeals for them.

Exclusion and appeals over exclusion also follow set rules in all schools but the high rate of exclusions for pupils with additional needs is a very old one. It isn't a new "evil-academy" problem. There is nothing special about a community school that means it has unlimited resources and tolerance and won't exclude - a lot of them do.
Exclusion for persistent breaches of a school's behavioural policy is a last resort but that doesn't mean it can never be justified after other options and short term exclusions have been tried. And balancing this with the needs of children who have conditions that make breaching behavioural policies more likely is a difficult task in all schools because schools have a duty to make things work as best they can for pupils with additional needs but not to jeopardise the wellbeing or education of other pupils at the school.
It certainly isn't just academy parents who vocally object to a school turning a blind eye (as they see it) or failing to meet a child's needs (as other's may see it) if it means classes are disrupted and behaviour is poor.
Long before "academisation" was on the cards, UKAP say that 39% of children with ADHD have had fixed term exclusions from school and 11% of excluded children with ADHD have been excluded permanently.

BackforGood Mon 04-Apr-16 16:48:57

Not sure why that story is back in the Mail again, as it's a re-run of what they published 2 or 3 months ago. I also read ANY story in a paper about a child being excluded with a great big handful of salt, as you are very much only ever getting one side of the story.
HOWEVER, the sheer numbers of exclusions in recent times in one school is worrying. Ridiculous comment from Cllr Lines likening it to the Trojan Horse situation though. It has nothing to do with that.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 16:49:15

The other worrying trend I have noticed is "chill out rooms" I remember these they used to be nice calm zones where a child could use sensory equipment or be with a TA and take take to refocus, these days they are small rooms most people would describe as a cupboard with nothing in where a child gets locked in often alone as a punishment

ghostyslovesheep Mon 04-Apr-16 16:50:29

*I work with schools and I work in SEND.
I am not one tiny bit surprised*

this 1000 x's - this government do not want children with SEND in mainstream schools - they want a return to segregation - they don't care about kids with support needs - they care about grades and the fucking idiotic Ebac

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