Reduced timetable ... anyone else had this?

(29 Posts)
NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:01:52

Reposted from the Behaviour section after a suggestion ...

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.

aliasunknown Wed 06-Mar-13 22:13:36

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!

This is absolute rubbish! If a child is excluded they shouldn't be in a public place during school hours but even if you were permanently excluded it only applies for the first 5 days.
Part-time timetables can be seen to be illegal exclusion so I would be wary of agreeing to this. It happened to us for months and when we eventually insisted on full-time schooling they quickly permanently excluded angry. School also said they would provide work but never did.

Bramshott Wed 06-Mar-13 22:16:19

That doesn't sound right to me.

A friend's DD has recently been on reduced timetable for several weeks (secondary level) and I'm SURE she hasn't been at home all day, every day.

Should be even less of an issue in Reception surely where children quite often start part time for quite an extended period.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Mar-13 22:16:30

Total bollocks. He's not 5 yet so doesn't even legally have to be at school.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:17:07

Oh dear, this is pretty much the message I am getting from the other thread too. I need to sort this out I think. Who would I contact to speak to?

Not sure approaching the school is the right idea.

incywincyspideragain Wed 06-Mar-13 22:19:11

am I right in thinking your ds isn't yet 5? surely that makes a difference too as technically he doesn't have to be in full time education and therefore you can go out?

Aspiemum2 Wed 06-Mar-13 22:25:32

I've just seen your post in behaviour and followed you over here. This is really stressful for you, I have been where you are and know how tough it is.

Have I understood right that your ds has had problems for 6 months but the HT hasn't discussed this with you previously? I'm quite surprised by this, he should be being more proactive.

Wrt the reduced timetable, this can work. My ds was on one for a while but he had specific issues that meant this worked. The odd timings are similar to what he had, in his case it was due to having certain classes that he found easier to cope with than others so the timetable was planned around that. It was to ensure the time in school was positive.

If I were you I would ask them for their reasons for choosing these times. If its just random then I would insist that it's changed to regular timings - such as morning session till break every day and build from there.

I'm not sure about being out during school time - I've never heard that before. In fact with ds p.e was the last class to add back in so we were regularly out cycling or playing tennis. My school had no issue with it, I would double check if this is actually correct.

I presume your ds doesn't have a diagnosis - sorry if I missed it in your OP if he does. What does the school think the problem is? Is there a behavioural base at any nearby school?

Sorry, I'm heading off to bed so my reply is crap (and I'm on my phone). I'll find this thread tomorrow and reply properly when I'm less shattered. Really am sorry, I've completely lost my train of thought but I'll be back when I'm awake tomorrow

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:26:50

No, he is 4 until the very end of July. I mentioned this to the home-school lady as I know it is not compulsory until the age of 5, but she told me that as he had started school, he was under the purview of the law in this way.

Aspiemum2 Wed 06-Mar-13 22:29:53

Just quickly before I head off - what strategies did they try before the reduced timetable? What does their behaviour and discipline policy say?
It seems a bit fast to go from just starting school to reduced timetable in 6 months??

auntpetunia Wed 06-Mar-13 22:35:26

I'd also want to know what they are marking him on the register, is he absent or non compulsory school age?

Have you seen the behavior policy or signed a home school agreement? I think this is a but heavy handed for a 4 year old.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:41:13

Thanks Aspiemum2. It was the first time we had spoken to the head directly. We made the original appointment ourselves as DS told us about some incidents before half term that directly involved the head so we thought we needed to discuss them. The result seems to have been this.

I am very glad to hear that the timetable can help. I think because it was less than a week between my phonecall and the drastically reduced hours I have been quite shocked. Neither I nor DH were aware of just how bad DS's behaviour had been at school. His teacher has seemed quite frightened to discuss it, probably in case she offends us, though we are always completely cooperative.

The main problem is that he doesn't want to stay in class or in the playground, he wants to do what he wants to do and anyone who tries to stop him is verbally and physically abused by DS. He has no respect for adults and hates being one of the crowd.

I think I am going to phone the head tomorrow and ask for some clarification about not being able to leave the house. Hopefully he will tell me it is not the case and I can get on with it a bit better.

What I'd ideally like to do in this situation is use the time to pursue DS's interests in a more school-like way. He is, for example, fascinated with Big Ben at the moment, and so I was hoping we could do a mini project on that, or something along those lines.

I am not happy with doing as the home-school lady says and making him as bored as possible, that seems cruel.

He does not have a diagnosis as of yet, though I think the SENCO lady believes it to be Asperger's or something similar.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:42:42

On the reduced timetable it says they have tried numerous strategies with him that had no success, though the only one I am aware of is a sticker chart. It also says they have done regular ABC sheets if that means anything?

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:44:19

auntpetunia I am not sure how he is being marked on the register. We signed a couple of things, one was to say we were happy for the Educational Psychologist to spend time with him, and the other was the reduced timetable itself.

tethersend Wed 06-Mar-13 23:17:47

The school cannot have it both ways- either he is of compulsory school age and is entitled to a full time education which they have to provide, or he isn't and you can go out whenever you bloody like.

Part time timetables should only ever be used as a last resort and as part of a reintegration programme. I think you should speak to the exclusions officer at the LEA, as it sounds as if this could indeed be an illegal exclusion.

Is he on a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)?

Have the school completed an SA1 (statement request) form?

tethersend Wed 06-Mar-13 23:19:14

The home-school lady sounds like an idiot, BTW.

tethersend Wed 06-Mar-13 23:24:29

This has actually made me very angry.

If the school want to be in control of what your son does during the day, then they have to teach him. As they have chosen to opt out of their responsibility to do so, they have no say in what he does when not in school; it is breathtakingly arrogant of them to assume otherwise!

Legally, he is not yet of compulsory school age, which makes their assumption even more absurd.

Please PM me if you would like any detailed advice or help drafting emails/letters.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 23:55:21

Thanks tethersend. As far as I know, he has an IEP and that's it. No one mentioned a PSP or an SA1 to us at either meeting, but I know there are more people coming to see us soon.

At least I hope so. I have to say I am a bit worried that it has been almost a week since the reduced timetable began and no one has sent home any work for him or offered any guidelines as to what we should be doing at home. No one except the SC Liaison has contacted us either. In light of what some have been saying on here I am worried now that they are washing their hands of us.

DS has (another) sticker chart at school in which he needs to earn 3 stickers a day in order for them to say he has met this fortnight's milestone and can be allowed at school a bit longer.

Sticker charts have never worked for him, good and bad consequences mean very little once he is in meltdown mode.

Thank you so much for your kind offer to help with emails and letters. I may well take you up on it.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 23:55:57

Sorry, I meant the HS Liaison there.

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 00:00:44

Outrageous. An education is his right, not a reward for good behaviour!

Will post more tomorrow, as am off to bed. school will have to rethink their strategy- once he reaches statutory school age, their actions will be unlawful.

I suggest you take him for a lovely day out tomorrow smile

insanityscratching Thu 07-Mar-13 07:01:10

I would ask for a statutory assessment myself, you can find the template letters on IPSEA. I agree with Tethers it's outrageous behaviour on the part of the school. Have you seen your GP and asked for a referral to a developmental paed? It may be down to immaturity but there may be underlying reasons behind his behaviour that need investigating.The special needs board is good source of support and information on there are many parents who have been through similar and can advise,
One important thing is to get everything documented so keep a written copy of every incident and all conversations and phone calls. One way to do this is to email the person you speak to immediately afterwards with something like "further to our conversation today (date) I understand that I have been advised that leaving the house in school hours is illegal when x isn't in school etc" You will find that the people advising you either suddenly become far more honest and truthful or they become mute but if they don't dispute the email in 14 days then it becomes fact and you have proof you have been wrongly advised and that the school are behaving badly.

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 08:39:24

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.

He reiterated my mistake with DS on Monday, my telling him we would be going to do things in the park, and said it had been disruptive to other kids in the class. He said that I should be making things as boring as possible for DS at home so that he will want to come to school and that he will be giving me some school work on Friday that should help pass the time.

He told me that there were truant officers around in the town who would probably stop me if they saw me with a school age kid.

I told him I was intending to get DS a developmental check and he said that the school doctor will help with that.

Definitely getting the feeling I am being fobbed off now. If they suspect special needs then surely boring him at home won't change the problem? I feel as though I am being blamed now for my mistake and that this is being used as a scapegoat.

Going to give Parent Partnership a call at 9am.

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 08:56:12

"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."

shock

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.

auntpetunia Thu 07-Mar-13 09:42:52

He's not school age he's 4 so can quite legitimately not be in school! Tell any truancy watch bod who asks that school are refusing to let him attend.

Had your LEA got an inclusion team? I'd be on the phone to them getting advice and also on to your GP to get an independent referral, I wouldn't trust school Dr.

zipzap Thu 07-Mar-13 10:11:06

I don't know the legalities of the situation but I do have friend's that home educate their dc and they certainly don't stay indoors during school hours. They do all sorts of things - visit local museums, join up with other HE kids to do activities together (from PE to maths to topic based stuff and more) - that are out of the home. Even a trip to the supermarket is educational if done well - adding up, home economics, life skills, etc. Maybe a bit different if they are 15 and supposed to be knuckling down to shakespeare or calculus but in primary age kids - particulary right at the very start of their educational journey.

I can see what they mean about not making home good so your ds wants to go to school but it's completely unrealistic to expect to have no life in the mean time - and by the amount of work they are sending home, not educate him either. It really does sound like they are passing the buck and see this as an easy option to ticking their boxes without having to do very much themselves.

What would they do if you told them that as they have changed the conditions of doing this (ie staying in) and have not being providing the promised work, that you no longer agree to the reduced hours and that they need to have your ds back in school full time ?

Beehatch Thu 07-Mar-13 10:13:03

I can't quite believe the schools attitude, it must be a very worrying time for you and I hope you can get access to the support you deserve.

I'd just say though that it's highly unlikely the truant officers would pay you any attention. I have a September born son who won't start school until he it's almost 5. If they stopped everyone with preschoolers they'd get no work done!

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