To think that every eleven year old who gets less than a level 3 in their SATs should have a statement and see an ed pych to see how thier needs are best met.

(52 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 19-Sep-13 12:51:21

My son has a friend who was disapplied from SATs. The boy was given the key stage 1 paper and got a level 2 on teacher's assessment.

The child is not statemented inspite of being on the SEN register for his entire primary career. I feel this child has been badly let down by his primary. Thankfully the secondary school is organising high quailty SEN support and the child's mum says that he is making excellent progress in the 3 weeks that he has been at secondary.

I feel that a child with such low achievement should have been statemented long ago. I feel low achieving children should be referred to the ed pych by law and the schools should be fined if they don't make the referrals.

noblegiraffe Thu 19-Sep-13 14:12:04

Something needs to happen to make primary schools get their arses in gear. At the moment it seems to be the loudest parents who get the statements for their kids, rather than the kids most in need of support.

I taught a boy in secondary who needed to count his fingers to tell you how many he had. Scored single figures in his SATs. God knows what the primary did with him, but they'd never bothered to apply for a statement, and the first year of secondary was wasted trying to sort it out.

I think some primaries think that they can deal with the kids themselves, with TAs in class etc. But then that child gets to secondary, and if there's no statement, there's no funding and they are left to flounder.

Sirzy Thu 19-Sep-13 14:13:48

Yanbu but something needs to be done much earlier than 11 before the damage is going to be harder to reverse.

Schools should have much more money and manpower available to help support pupils who are struggling.

Spinkle Thu 19-Sep-13 14:34:31

Statements of Special Educational Need are for children who have had the full gamut of interventions available in school and through outside agencies. The Statement ensures systematic monitoring of progress of the child particularly with transitions to other schools or phases.
It outlines a programme for the child's support.
They do not provide the school with extra money.

If every child who did not meet level 4 in year 6 required such a thing then frankly I would need an army of assistants to apply for them and trust me, the LEA would knock them back.

Not all children will achieve the average despite having bazillions of pounds thrown at them in support and interventions. That is a fact of life.

Schools really are trying to help all children.

OP, why?

What do you think at statement will do?

'But then that child gets to secondary, and if there's no statement, there's no funding and they are left to flounder.'

Firstly, statements don't come with funding.

Secondly, if the child needs a statement at secondary, why don't you apply for one?

ReallyTired Thu 19-Sep-13 14:41:06

Spinkle
I am referring a child who is working at level 2 not the dizzy hieghts of a level 3.

"Not all children will achieve the average despite having bazillions of pounds thrown at them in support and interventions. That is a fact of life. "

That is not a reason not to try or an excuse for the primary doing nothing. Arranging for a child who as made zero progress to see an ed pych is hardly spending "bazillions of pounds". Its making sure that an intervention or money is focussed and more likely to be sucessful.

Working at level 2 of the national curriculum at the age of eleven is not just below average, but a lack of achievement that is on a different plane to most children.

gordyslovesheep Thu 19-Sep-13 14:42:04

yes 1. what would a statement do? 2. even if you shout loudest you still only get a statement if your child needs one 3. ask for one

You don't need a statement to have access to an EP.

What do you think a statement will achieve?

cranberryorange Thu 19-Sep-13 14:45:49

YANBU. We are currently fighting the school for support for Ds in year 1.

He scored the lowest possible score on his Early years assessment because he didnt reach the expected level in any of the 17 categories but the school have shrugged their shoulders and said dont worry about it.

He's on school action plus, has loads of reports stating what his needs are but still the school refuse any additional support because he is well behaved.

They are about to get a rocket shot up their arse as they are so bloody arrogant they havent worked out we are now evidence gathering to apply for statutory assessment. Its a good thing they keep insisting they are implementing the recommendations even though we are well aware they arnt because it shows they have tried everything and he is still very behind!

Anyone would think its in the schools interest to not identify a childs needs now that they have to foot the first 6000.00 every year for additional support but i'm sure no school would put money before a childs educationhmm

cranberryorange Thu 19-Sep-13 14:48:51

Should add that Ds has been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, SLI, SPD and GDD.

OctopusPete8 Thu 19-Sep-13 14:50:37

Poor little kid, he'll have spent a long time feeling behind already sad

glad to hear he's getting help now though.

mrsjay Thu 19-Sep-13 14:53:35

not statements as far as I know in scotland no STATS either my dd got all the help she needed at school and even more in secondary I dont see or probably understand what a statement would do,

noblegiraffe Thu 19-Sep-13 14:54:44

Firstly, statements don't come with funding.

How come the kid with a statement gets 1-1 support and the kid without gets nothing if there's no money attached? confused

Secondly, if the child needs a statement at secondary, why don't you apply for one?

The school did, it took a whole year to get the evidence because the primary school had done bugger all. This was a student who was so severely behind that the need for a statement was obvious.

ReallyTired Thu 19-Sep-13 14:55:00

"He's on school action plus, has loads of reports stating what his needs are but still the school refuse any additional support because he is well behaved."

cranberryorange your son sounds like a younger version of my son's friend. The problem is that the gap just widens as the child get older between the child with learning difficulties and the rest of the class.

A year 1 child may well be obvilous to being behind, but a year 6 child will have their self esteem absolutely shattered.

"What do you think a statement will achieve?"

A statement would give the child the legal right to the inteventions that he so desperately needs. (Whatever the ed pych thinks is best, maybe one to one lessons with a qualified teacher, or a TA or even special school for example) Schools hate statements as part of the money comes out their budget.

The secondary school this boy attends is organising a statement, but I feel it should have been done years ago.

'How come the kid with a statement gets 1-1 support and the kid without gets nothing if there's no money attached? confused'

What kid?

A child with a statement will have their needs, and the provision required to meet their needs written down in law and the school obligated to deliver it. Finance does not come into it. Schools are given money in their budget to cover SEN in a broad sense and if they can't cover a child's provision as they are duty bound by law to do, they need to see an accountant or tell the LA that they are failing the child and ask for help.

The difference between child A with a statement, and child B without is that child A has an entitlement by law to school resources.

Child B doesn't get 1:1 because the school chooses to spend their remaining SEN budget on a vegetable garden to attract the MCs. Child A does because the LA can be taken to Judicial Review if the provision in his statement isn't delivered.

daftdame Thu 19-Sep-13 15:01:07

You can throw all the money in the world at a school but it is how effectively it is used that counts...

Some SENs do not require expensive interventions, just understanding teachers and support staff. Some interventions are more expensive.

Although cost is the only true quantifiable aspect of an Additional Need genuine compassion and sensitivity is free and IMO would help a great deal in a lot of cases.

Like the example of a child with hyper-mobility problems whose teacher had a problem with them sitting on a chair in assembly.

Spinkle Thu 19-Sep-13 15:01:56

The statements makes the school provide 1:1 for the child, as a legal requirement. No money is attached to the statement.

Level 2 is not not an unusual as you would think in year 6.

Of course we have high aspirations for children and provide as much support as we can but there will always be pupils would cannot make the grade.

No matter what that hit Gove thinks.

Spinkle Thu 19-Sep-13 15:02:12

*git

kim147 Thu 19-Sep-13 15:05:13

spinkle

Are you sure you didn't miss an "S"

daftdame Thu 19-Sep-13 15:05:23

Often the 1 to 1 is not used to support the child they are assigned to. Often the children end up been (in)effectively being taught by TAs.

There has been a piece of research used to justify the removal of TAs which show that like for like children with TAs perform worse than those without.

So technically the boy mentioned in the OP could have achieved LESS with a TA than he did.

But statements are not for TAs. A child can have a TA without a statement if it is a priority for the school. Statements are for resources or interventions not ordinarily available to the school and some of these might even be free or simply a matter of training.

Spinkle Thu 19-Sep-13 16:00:57

1:1 TA is not the 'gold standard' people can assume. It is not a cure-all. It can build an over reliance.
It can be very difficult for the adult to work with the same child all day also.

daftdame Thu 19-Sep-13 16:17:12

I agree the 'gold standard' is not 1 to 1 TA.

However Statements often specify 1 to 1 TA 'support', which, in practice means the child works in groups with a TA. However this means also that the TA supports those other children and unless this is made clear in subsequent paperwork this can distort a child's actual additional need. They are not accessing 1 to 1 support but 1 to 6 or 1 to 8 , which is much cheaper. Thus the funding that has been designated for them is not being used solely for them.

This distortion of need is wrong. However it does go on because schools want the extra resource. That child's designated funds should be spent on provision for them. If in practice it is not with a 1 to 1 TA the funding should be spent on something else. In some LAs some Statements still do attract additional funding.

Owllady Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:31

I presume you mean in key subjects? because my son attends a middle school and the levels are a lot lower for emergenging subjects, such as French, History etc

sashh Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:36

There has been a piece of research used to justify the removal of TAs which show that like for like children with TAs perform worse than those without.

Are those children with the same educational needs with and without a TA?

I feel that a child with such low achievement should have been statemented long ago.

Surely that depends on the reason for the low achievement. Missing 4 years of school but above average intelligence is different to 100% attendance with a learning disability.

Owllady Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:50

sorry
emerging
I had a child pulling at me blush

Owllady Thu 19-Sep-13 16:27:08

and of course children with SEN should have the correct input to reach their full potential, i can't really believe people argue otherwise confused

'Are those children with the same educational needs with and without a TA?'

Yes. Those children were like for like.

There is something wrong with the conclusion imo i.e. children with SEN should not have TAs, but the research itself was sound.

MrsDeVere Thu 19-Sep-13 16:28:44

My son was in a mainstream school until year 2.

He could neither read nor write. He could not tell you the days of the week and his maths skills were limited to counting.

I was told by the school that they 'probably wouldn't put him in for his SATS'

It would have been pointless as he would not have understood what was required of him.

Yet they refused to apply for statement and kept him on SA+

I set the application in motion and he is now in a special needs school.

He has multiple diagnoses.

The school didn't want a statement because I believe they did not want to have to divert funds from their SEN budget to him.

This is an outstanding school hmm

They certainly know how to present themselves well.

No child is entitled to fulfil their potential. They are only entitled to receive and 'adequate' education. And 'adequate' in the field of SEN is rapidly diminishing and expectations are being lowered in line with cuts.

What was 'adequate' just 5 years ago is not the same as now.

MrsDeVere Thu 19-Sep-13 16:31:52

I was handed a photocopy of an article from the TES at a SEN meeting.
It was about children doing poorly if they had 1:1 support.

Proper support in MS schools is not about a child being shadowed all day by TAs. It is about targeted support and actual, effective integration and inclusion.

I was not confident that the MS system could do that for my son.

The issue of course is not that the child doesn't need a TA, but that an untrained TA is not a replacement for a teacher which is what was happening.

The child needs both properly differentiated work supplied from the teacher who works with the child and also delivers clear instruction to a well-trained and competent TA who has learned the essential skill of first teaching and then 'allowing' independence.

Not many TAs can do that however hard they work. Not necessarily through lack of competency but from lack of training and understanding of both them AND the teachers and schools.

Owllady Thu 19-Sep-13 16:34:37

I think it's negligent to not give a child who needed to be educated in a special school, a statement of special educational needs in a mainstream. Wtf are some of the LA's on?

(I have a 14 yr old on P levels btw, but since she was small she has gone to special school as we were advised to do so, though we did briefly try mainstream at a lower level)

That is why my ds is in a special school too MrsDeVere. He is too capable to be supported adequately in a mainstream and all of his 'support' would be absorbed, pretended it happened when it didn't or given to other children.

His SS costs 3 times what mainstream support would have cost. Ridiculous!

JakeBullet Thu 19-Sep-13 16:39:31

Many Ed Psychs will not see a child just on the request of a school. I know this is the case locally. Only those children who the LEA have deemed in need of a statutory assessment get an Ed Psych appointment. They won't see any other children as their workload is just too great.

PolterGoose Thu 19-Sep-13 16:41:45

Really if the parents had concerns and school were failing the child why didn't they apply for statutory assessment themselves? confused

ouryve Thu 19-Sep-13 16:46:12

How did the parents feel about this child's progress, ReallyTired? Did they not have any concerns about the child in the previous 11 years of his life to the point that level 2 in SATs was a total surprise to them? If they did, have they actually pushed for an assessment, of any sort, themselves?

Dobbiesmum Thu 19-Sep-13 16:54:37

My DS scored a damn sight less than a level 3 on his SATS despite achieving top grades all the way through school. He's now achieving consistently good grades in year 8. His teachers at primary were as baffled at his low grades as we were in all honesty, we can only assume that he got into a panic. he has no SN and no need to see an education psychologist thank you.
Don't generalise.

MrsDeVere Thu 19-Sep-13 16:56:14

Not everyone knows you can apply for a statement polter. I didn't.
I also spent a long while trusting the school to do what was best for DS. Its surprising how quickly the school year can go by without much being done but a lot being promised.
IEPs can keep you hanging on for long time.

I eventually had enough. I felt so let down by that point that I could't have left him in that school even if he didn't need SNS. I just didn't feel I could trust them.

Its all changing very soon anyway. I know they have been talking about it for ages but the end of the Statement is nigh.

ReallyTired Fri 20-Sep-13 09:22:33

"Really if the parents had concerns and school were failing the child why didn't they apply for statutory assessment themselves?"

Many parents don't know that they can apply for a statutory assessment. In some cases parents have learning difficulites themselves so are utterly overwellemed by the process.

Surely its up to the school to organise statementing. If a child is working at level 2 in core subjects then either the primary school is crap or the child has substantial special needs. Either way the child needs substantial help to give them the skills they need for adult life.

Dobbiesmum it doesn't hurt a child to see an ed pych. Prehaps your son could have done with some help with anxiety which an ed pych. might know how to organise. Surely its important to make sure that he does not bomb out in his GCSEs due to severe anxiety.

YouTheCat Fri 20-Sep-13 09:44:39

I know a lovely young lad in year 6. No way on this earth is he going to get a level 2.

He should be in a special school where education would be geared towards him fulfilling his potential. I believe he may have foetal alcohol syndrome (numpty amateur disclaimer). He does have extra support but he is in the wrong place. His parents really couldn't give a shit, so there's no way they'd be applying for a statement independently. I worry for his future.

I worked with another young man in year 3. He was working at P levels then, much the same ability as the other lad. He got a statement and a place in a special school. He's 17 now and I see him around. The special school was the right place for him. He's now in college, working towards a vocational qualification. His parents weren't that bothered either tbh.

Statements are a whole lot harder to get now. And I believe those 7 years have made a lot of difference.

I don't think there is much point in saying someone working at level 2 in year 6 should have a statement. Intervention needs to be much earlier.

daftdame Fri 20-Sep-13 10:02:31

ReallyTired I think some schools actually are guilty of creating some additional 'needs'.

In a case of anxiety over SATs it is not surprising that this happens when some misguided schools put so much pressure on children, with late revision classes etc. Not saying this happened in Dobbie's ds's case but it might have.

When is the need the child's and when is it the teacher's? The answer to this is not always so easy to determine since teaching and learning involves a relationship between teacher and pupil. All have responsibility regarding the outcome.

fluffyraggies Fri 20-Sep-13 10:13:12

starlight you're spot on.

I have 8 years experience as a TA and a SEN TA each day. My day was split between children and classes.

Very oversimplified; my schools expectation was that a TA is there to support the teacher. A SEN LSA however was supposed to be in that classroom for one child only.

However - due to larger classes and less TAs my job as a SEN TA was undermined constantly by the demands of some teachers (not all) wanting me to help run the class or take large groups (usually the less able pupils) out of class to do an activity elsewhere with my poor SEN child 'tagging along' sad

This last point, i'd like to add, may go some way to explain how the misuse of TAs can lead to a decline in educational standards, as mentioned above.

I underwent training regularly for the first 5 years of my job. Then funding was never available to send me. I was told if i wanted more training i would have to pay myself. The last course i couldn't do would have cost me £500. All the while my contract stated that i should handle no more than 7 children in one group and should not be expected to replace the teacher for main lessons. Yet time and time again i was sent off out of class with 8/9/10 of the least able/rowdy children, to any room i could find, and be expected to teach them the basics of the lesson going on in the classroom.

Over and over again TAs leave and are not replaced due to funding. More and more pressure on the staff remaining.

Many times i would raise the point with the head that i was being put in a position as a SEN TA which undermined my ability to carry out the target work for SEN child. The answers would always be budget related with the heavy implication that i knew where the door was if i couldn't cope.

With lack of training there is no investment in the TAs anymore and therefore little value attached to them. There were always hordes of parents waiting to jump into any role that became vacant.

It's not right. But it was the sad reality of TA/SEN work for me.

Thank you for that fluffy. I often feel I have hugely let ds down by putting him into a special school. He does many extra-curriculum activities with mainstream children after all and some settings say they haven't noticed his SEN.

But I just know that the teachers/school would make an executive decision that the support outlined in his statement should be used differently to help the teacher/school manage their workload and any failure in his progress would be blamed on his disability rather than lack of properly utilised support.

I'm the 'parent' often discussed with disgust who fought for her child to go to a huge bucks independent special school with small class sizes when there are 'other children' more needy who haven't got half of what he has.

This is true. But it isn't my ds' fault that teachers in mainstream would reallocated his support to 'more needy' kids instead of fight for support for them in their own right.

daftdame Fri 20-Sep-13 10:36:29

Fluff and Starlight I agree but also think there are situations where a child would cope well without their designated 1 to 1 TA, in fact they are coping, but this is not officially declared. This is because the school wants to keep the additional resource.

Another way in which need is distorted, as well as poor performance being blamed on a child's disability when it is in fact due support not being properly utilised.

YouTheCat Fri 20-Sep-13 10:42:51

I hear you. My ds was in a unit attached to a mainstream primary for his first 2 years in education. There was allocated support and funding just for him for 1:1 and what happened? His TA was spread about the school and my ds was dumped in nursery. hmm

I was not best pleased and ds was moved to a special school that was fantastic.

Fluffy, our school has stopped funding any extra training (bar first aid and one day courses which are rubbish tbh). I'd also have to find more than £500 for further training which I don't have on my part time wage and there are no fulltime jobs out there because of budget cuts.

I've got 11 years paid experience and a further 5 years unpaid, and my skills are not utilised or maximised at all.

Dobbiesmum Fri 20-Sep-13 10:44:41

My post was very snappy, apologies for that, you're right reallytired it may be worth looking at when he gets closer to doing his GCSE's.
Sorry blush

fluffyraggies Fri 20-Sep-13 11:01:36

Daft - i would agree with you. It's all part and parcel of the same thing.

SEN TAs are, on the whole, only allowed to stay with a designated child for 2 years max. Then the child will be allocated a new SEN TA. This is to prevent over attachment on both sides. The consequence of this, over the course of a few years, is that there is a air bit of swapping around of TAs/children within the same school. I have first hand experience of TAs being given a charge who, in their last year of primary, with their original SEN needs long gone, need no 1-1 at all.

I would go so far as to say that often when the child plus that dedicated TA have been put in class L6, for eg. it's purely because L6 has no TA that year. Which is all very well logistically, but when you can see a child in another class struggling who would so benefit from 1-1 and there's no one/no funding to give it, because you've been put in L6 and are effectively working simply as a TA for that year it's heart breaking.

daftdame Fri 20-Sep-13 11:07:49

Fluff Yep schools 'playing the system', doesn't mend the system. It is tactical rather than strategic but the schools do not have to be concerned about a child's welfare long term, like parents are.

'Playing the system' distorts need and means resources are not (officially) allocated to those who need them. Honesty and transparency is the only way.

PeppiNephrine Fri 20-Sep-13 11:13:33

More testing, more paperwork, more frameworks and standards and levels and key stages.....you don't need more of this. Your system has been getting more and more convoluted and leaden and non-workable for YEARS and your standards are falling, not rising. Whatever you are doing, its not working.
Why advocate for even more of the same?

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