Reduced school timetable ... anyone else had to deal with this?

(64 Posts)
NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 21:27:05

DS1 has been having behaviour problems at school. He started school in Sept aged 4.1 and since then things have been getting steadily worse. He's rude, disruptive, aggressive and violent to his teacher and the headmaster, although he has been doing well academically.

The school have now brought in a range of professionals to help, both at home and at school. Of course, we have been fully co-operative with all of this, as we are keen to see DS do well and get on at school.

Last week we called a meeting with the headmaster as we had not actually spoken with him about DS at all. This was scheduled for Friday. On Weds we were approached by the class teacher and asked to come in to "discuss what we were going to talk about" on Friday.

We did this, and they told us that since DS's behaviour had gotten so much worse since he has been doing full days, they were considering a reduced timetable for him. The headmaster said "I think probably afternoons". We readily agreed to this.

On Friday, they had drawn up some papers with the reduced timetable on, along with three objectives that DS must meet before he is allowed to proceed to the next milestone, and more time at school.

However, far from being afternoons, the first two weeks consist of Monday, Weds and Fri 9am to 10.45. If he meets his objectives, this will increase by 15 mins, and so on. If DS meets his objectives on target, he won't return to full time school until July.

We were assured by the headmaster that this strategy had worked with other kids, so we agreed to it. They said they would send him some work to do at home that would tie in with what the class are doing, but all that came back with him in his bag were two extra reading books.

The reduced timetable started on Monday, and DS had a bad day, mainly because I made a mistake and told him we could go to the local park, take photos and put them in a scrapbook. I thought it would be a good way to get him looking at nature and writing about things and drawing pics of the things we saw.

The SENCO lady at school told me I should not have done this as it made him uncooperative at school and just want to go home. Lesson learned, I thought I will not tell him of anything we will do during his home time.

However, tonight we were visited by the home school liaison officer, who is helping us to learn new ways of managing his behaviour at home. She informed us that it is in actual fact illegal for DS to leave the house during school hours while he is on the reduced timetable!

I was amazed. No one had told us this during either meeting at the school, and it essentially means that me, DS1 and his little brother, who is 18mths, are under house arrest for all but 5 1/4 hours a week! I can't go shopping, I can't take DS2 to playgroup, I can't visit my sister, I can't even take him out for a walk when he needs some exercise.

If I had known this I would have been much more reluctant to sign off on the reduced timetable. We live in quite a small flat and having two kids alone all day, particularly one with challenging behaviour, is going to be extremely tough. I am feeling daunted and a bit depressed.

Has anyone else had this? I feel like I need a little support from someone in a similar position.

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 08:53:50

Thank you, will PM you with my location.

I have to go out today to get some food shopping and I am bloody well going to take DS with me. No way can I wait until after school hours, it's just not practical and the walk will do him good.

mummytime Thu 07-Mar-13 09:02:55

If you are stopped by a "truant officer" what the heck does he think will happen?
"Excuse me Ma'am why isn't your son in school?"
"Because the school have reduced his hours to part-time because of his behaviour."
"Which school Ma'am, I'll just check."

Then we know who will get into trouble, not you the school. They can't deny they have done this, but it will also prove to outside bodies that they are not taking the correct steps to help your son. By taking your son out you are educating him, going to the shops is very educational.

The whole reason that part-time schooling like this is not a good idea is because for lots of children, especially those who are "struggling" at school, being at home is obviously much more pleasant. It is quieter, more 1 to 1 attention, more self led in their activities. You can also get all the learning done in a much shorter amount of time (just look at the HE boards for that).

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 09:07:41

(Reposted from your other thread)

"I have just spoken to the headmaster, who said he didn't know whether or not it was illegal to take him out of the house during school hours, but that I should just trust the HS liaison worker."

Don't trust the HS liaison officer, I'm surprised she can find her arse in the dark with both hands.

I am an advisory teacher, and I am telling you that you can go where you like. I hope you do bump into a truanting officer- they will be very interested to know that your son is not in school due to an illegal exclusion ( which is exactly what the part time timetable seems to be).

Please don't follow their advice and make home boring in order to make school seem good; it's appalling. If they want him to enjoy school, perhaps they should offer him some enjoyable activities. They control what happens at school (and they're not doing that very well), YOU control what happens at home. Explain to them that if they refuse to educate your child, you will take him wherever you wish, particularly as he is below school age.

I would contact the LEA exclusions officer now, under the guise of asking what alternative education will be put in place when your son is not allowed to come to school. I think you will then find things move very, very quickly.

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 09:09:06

Dolly, he is not even school aged yet. Don't worry. If you are stopped by a truant officer (ha!) just tell them his age and they'll leave you alone. HT is hiding behind psychologist lady. If they want you to make his life as boring as possible - to the extent of not even going to the park for pete's sake!- so that he finds school fun then that doesn't say much about the school frankly. Is there another school you can consider for him?

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 09:49:13

"Don't trust the HS liaison officer, I'm surprised she can find her arse in the dark with both hands."

^^ this and I couldn't have put it better myself grin.

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 09:50:12

Oh and I have a big tall 10 year old ds, who I HE as he cannot manage in school and I have never been stopped once by a truant officer do they exist? and we are out and about all day every day.

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 10:56:29

Getting nowhere with Parent Partnership, seems that there is no one there. Is there any suggestions as to who else I could call?

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 11:00:43

Honestly? I'd be phoning the HT and the incompetent EWO to request that everything they are advising be put in writing.

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 11:02:01

Have PMed you some numbers, Dolly.

DeWe Thu 07-Mar-13 11:27:31

In all honesty I think that approach would have helped my ds settle better at school in reception. But that's because he has hearing problems, so was sturggling with the noise, and by lunch time was totally exhausted and that's when the problems usually started. So I don't think it's dreadful for the school to suggest that. My ds would have been fine on mornings only.

However suggesting that he can't go outside is ridiculous. When children started part time that wasn't the case at all, and this is no different.
Ignore her.

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 11:35:16

Part time timetables are not illegal in the case you describe, DeWe; quite the opposite, they can be very a helpful tool in the (re)integration of children with medical or social needs. However, this is not how the timetable is being used here, as the child is having to 'earn back' his full time education, which is an absolute disgrace.

Glenshee Fri 08-Mar-13 22:42:14

Breaking NEWS: Truant officer meets a 4 year old boy on the street grin grin grin

Glenshee Fri 08-Mar-13 22:44:25

You can really see how it would make it to all the papers, don't you? With a follow-up next week about irresponsible mother who failed to make her child sufficiently bored at home grin grin grin

mumeeee Fri 08-Mar-13 23:57:23

OP that home school liasing officer really does not know what she is talking about. It is not illegal to take a 4 year old out when he is not at school during school hours,he is not of compulsary school age. It is also not illegal for him not to be under a dentist or optition that is completly up to you and nothing to do with anyone else. He is also not to young to be diagnosed with Apergers, My friend has a 11 year old daughterwwho has Aspergers and she was under going tests for Aspergers at 3 years old. I also agre with other posters get in touch with parent partenership/ The headmaster also does not seem to know what h is talking about. A truant officer wouldn't stop a parent with a 4 year old child.

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