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Not in full-time education - help

(28 Posts)
broachingsea Sat 20-Apr-13 14:07:46

I have name-changed.

DS is school refusing. He will go in for a short period with me. He will not go into the classroom. He would go into class for a short period with me last term but now will not.

He says he doesn't want to be with his peers and doesn't want to be in the class. He says he hates school and feels different.

He is 10 and has AS.

School will try anything to make this better. They are recruiting a new TA. My feeling is that we have turned a corner with his attitude to school and, even with alot of effort we will not get him back to class. The best we can hope for is him happily sitting outside (and far away) from class with a TA doing some parts of the curriculum. I feel he is currently not being included or accessing the curriculum.

He is able and doing well academically and this is not the first time it has happened. But we were at a less supportive school last time.

How much more of this are we expected to put up with? If school can't recruit a TA, we are left supporting him ourselves. Even if they can, it is a big ask to suggest that this will suddenly cure his difficulties with his peer group and being in a class.

Any thoughts?

PolterGoose Mon 22-Apr-13 16:05:22

Is your ds able to articulate what he wants? Does he do any activities or socialise with any other children? Does he have any friends at school?

What do you think he needs? Ideal world, what would work for him right now? Why would an independent school be different?

What do you want him to gain from an education by the time he reaches 18? Is it about achieving his academic potential or being able to learn in a classroom? Think about the skills and resources he actually needs for adult life.

Education can come later, not everyone needs to follow the school-work or school-university route, there are other paths. If right now his well being is most important then address that, he can catch up academically later on (I was an adult returner to education as I had lots of problems at school), you do have lots of choices. But clearly the situation as it is just isn't tenable, no one is gaining anything as it is right now.

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 15:29:24

So the bottom line is, do you think he can be taught to cope with being educated in class?

If you do, and that is what you want for him, how would you do that?
That's what you need to fight for. Use the "access to curriculum" and "failed with teacher TA" to achieve that, but they are only tools to get what he needs to achieve your desired end.

Be aware that it may be the case that his attainment is significantly less if he is taught in class. That's not to say "don't", just there will be a balance.

It is incredibly hard. I went through much the same decision making process last year, and barely slept for 6 months. Whichever way you jump there will major negatives. Hang in there, honk honk.

broachingsea Mon 22-Apr-13 14:31:32

I agree Star.

Zzzz, I also agree that things can be taught outside the classroom but although this is manageable at a supportive primary school, it is not at a mainstream secondary or secondary with an ASD unit.

It's not just about wanting a classroom experience but about looking at what options there are in the future. He won't get taught individually outside class at secondary school so he will be in or out of school.

It is so hard!

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 11:07:09

Of course the is more to education than the academic curriculum, but to say he can't access music, art and PE outside the classroom is not correct. All these things can be taught individually. I think what you are saying is you want the classroom experience for him?

"You would need a qualified teacher with experience of SEN"
You've proved this because the teacher TA failed. So realistically it's another school (ind SS?) or HE.

'I mentioned independent SS and she said it would have I fail here for that to happen. I said it was and she didn't say anything.'

He HAS failed there. Maybe not academically, but his areas of difficulty are getting progressively worse i.e. learning in a group, taking group instruction, social skills, tolerating and interacting with peers. That's failure isnt it?

broachingsea Mon 22-Apr-13 09:26:40

Zzzz I think the distinction is that there is more to an education than the academic curriculum. He can't access PE, art, music or anything that needs to be done with the class. Presumably at an Independent SS, he would be able to.

He has had a teacher working with him as his TA until recently and she had absolutely no idea how to manage a child with SN. So you would need a qualified teacher with experience of SEN.

And the added problem is that while that might be sustainable at primary level where teachers teach everything, what happens at secondary school?

Icedcakeandflower Mon 22-Apr-13 08:56:51

I am following this closely as ds is so similar. Having spent nearly a term in a nurture room with a TA, they put him in an empty classroom because of SATS practice last week.

He refused to go to school the next day and is refusing today sad angry

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 08:51:49

Does he get work one outside the classroom when you aren't there?

If he can, and you don't want to HE him yourself then surely the argument is about the qualification of the individual teaching him? The only difference is that he is being tutored in school not at home. He can still access th curriculum like this. It's not ideal, but doesn't have to be a total wipe out.

They will need to provide a better room, and QUALIFIED teacher not TA if its full time, but otherwise that's workable.......of course specialist SS or full time private tutor would be considerably cheaper. wink

broachingsea Mon 22-Apr-13 07:32:57

LA EP also considered alternative placements but there are no suitable ones for primary in LA funded. I mentioned independent SS and she said it would have I fail here for that to happen. I said it was and she didn't say anything.

broachingsea Mon 22-Apr-13 07:31:40

Yes. It was LA EP. She knows he won't be in school if I don't come in and said there was probably no chance in getting him back in class before end if Y5.

She started thinking of places he could work as school don't have a space and even suggested outside!

There is no one to TA him at the moment and even if someone is recruited they will be told not t take him back in class. If no one suitable can be found, I don't know what happens then.

If they stop me going in fine, he won't be able to go in at all! But even if he is in, if the guidance is it is ok for him to be outside class and no mix with the children, what form of inclusion is that? He can't possibly be accessing the curriculum.

I will consider HE as a last resort too but will look at all options.

AgnesDiPesto Mon 22-Apr-13 07:25:48

If EP is supportive then that (should) change things. Have you raised poss of indep placement with EP? Are you talking about LA EP? A period of time documenting he is only there 1 hour with you would also help - you need to evidence period of failure. If LA want to block placement there will be dirty tactics anyway e.g. they will tell school not to let you in / let you TA him.

broachingsea Mon 22-Apr-13 07:18:21

Yes I have heard JM too but he did go to an independent specialist placement for A levels and says he wouldn't have coped with university or got there otherwise.

The problem I have is that, although he is only doing an hour with me, at least I am seen to be working with school and school know there is a huge problem and are in agreement as is the EP.

If I refuse to take him in because I can't keep doing that, won't the LA just accuse me of keeping him off school and say it is an EWO matter? I have heard of those dirty tactics before.

Even if he is in with me, or someone else, the EP has said that being in the classroom has to be taken off the agenda. So what's the point of being in school if you are sat in reception with a TA? Even if you cope with that all day.

AgnesDiPesto Mon 22-Apr-13 00:23:24

I suspect your ds will not have been deemed to have failed sufficiently by LA to merit indep SS. I suspect to win that you will have to put him in the sausage factory, stand back from what you are currently doing to make it better for him, and let it go horribly wrong. Sorry you probably don't want to hear that.

I looked into HE recently for one of my NT boys and we could have done an activity / group every day of week. It sounded wonderful, but I only wanted to flexi school a day a week and govt issued stupid guidance which meant Head unlikely to agree so I have shelved it for time being.

I agree with the IT thing. Oddly I was talking to relative today who says many children in India learning online and future models of education will be completely different. Lots of colleges offering vocational courses from 14 now school leaving age increased to 18. Not saying thats the route for your DS but it is changing. Important to think about what your ds can do functionally, just because he is very bright and can do academics does not mean he would get or hold down a job in that field. There are a lot of SN children here who have been to university but now struggle to even get a voluntary position. I think try and keep employability in your mind as well. Its easy to get sucked into the academic path but equally important to work on social skills etc necessary to get a job at the end of it. Confidence and self-esteem really important too. Have you ever come across Joshua Muggleton. he is Aspie, have heard him talk, he refused school, did internet schooling, then went to university. Now psychologist!

If logistically/financially you can do HE then it isn't as complicated/scary as you might think. It can depend on where you live but often in strong HE areas parents get together and book a group science lab or a specialist tutor or a private museum trip with guide or even travel to 'camps'. You will find too, that a good number of children who are HE have profiles similar to your ds, dx or not.

Go and hang out on the HE boards and ask lots of questions. Ask how they get the specialist knowledge and tuition. Ask how they ensure that their children learn. Even ask their reasons for choosing HE.

With the use of IT, and increasingly, knowledge and even education isn't exclusively delivered in the classroom. Also, the last time I looked you can do the OU from age 16 and for free, and some of their courses are even free for over 18s.

Honestly, there are other ways to get an education than putting your child through a sausage factory.

broachingsea Sun 21-Apr-13 14:23:59

Thanks. It is becoming so much more complicated as he gets older as how do I pick up the pieces in secondary education!

That is what scares me about HE. He is so able but I can't teach him everything - science etc and I have a feeling we just haven't exhausted all schooling options.

But independent SS for AS seem to be a bit of a dumping ground for EBSD and on top of that there is the battle to get to such a school which will cost us thousands as the schools fees are in excess of 100K.

Part time MS school? Part time HE/SS?

I'm really sorry. Provision is completely shit for children with your ds' profile. I don't know what the answer is? Perhaps a small HE network or small free school? Come and live near me and we can set one up.

Broachingsea Sun 21-Apr-13 07:15:24

Thanks zzz. I will certainly keep that as an option. It does restore some control to your life too.

I'm wondering whether to consider independent specialist placements first.

zzzzz Sun 21-Apr-13 00:15:12

I understand your reluctance broach and if there is a choice and school working out is the best option for you, I can see why you would hold out for that.

If it really isn't a working option, whether you can "handle" HE is neither here nor there because you will have to face up to it. HE comes in lots forms, it doesn't have to be you teaching him. You could try on-line schools, correspondence, home tutors, teaming up with other families for small group classes, granny's or aunts...

I think you saying "I can't teach him 1to1 at home" is no less an important part of the problem than him saying "I can't learn in school". You just are going to have to do some pretty artistic thinking to accommodate everyone.

Honk honk.

Broachingsea Sat 20-Apr-13 23:33:09

That is very interesting icedcake. He does focus on what used to happen in school and he has profound lack of trust following his relationship with his TA. We would say he was not to be forced into class but she would ignore everyone. I knew he would end up out of class. He tried to say how bad it was when he was asked to give his views at IEP reviews etc but it shows how easy it is for people to dismiss children's views.

Zzzzz. I completely understand what you are saying but the only option would be HE and I don't know that I could handle that for secondary school.

zzzzz Sat 20-Apr-13 18:21:37

What if the problem that needs sorting is him? What if he just honestly isn't suited to institutional education? What if being in a classroom is like torture because he can't do it and no amount of therapy is going to give him those skills/abilities?

He's ten, you've been through this before and squeezed out a few more years of attendance, but perhaps it's time to find ways he can succeed without school?

What do you think you could set up if school was just not an option any more?

Icedcakeandflower Sat 20-Apr-13 17:52:49

Exactly the same with my ds. He has not been in his classroom for around a term, and looked after by a TA in the nurture room. He only attends half-days as that's all he can cope with.

Everytime there's any mention of returning to the classroom, he refuses to go to school.

With ds, I believe he has complex PTSD. He has listed similar issues to your ds, but significantly for some time now he's said the worst thing about school is the memories. He's receiving CBT for general anxiety, but I have an appointment with the clinical psychologist to explore PTSD.

Ds' school has done everything that a ms school can offer, and it has made no difference. Hence I am appealing for ind ss, and looking at CBT to "treat" complex PTSD.

I'm not saying this is the case with your ds, but it sounds like you've tried everything so it may be worth exploring.

PolterGoose Sat 20-Apr-13 16:48:24

What does he want to do?

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 20-Apr-13 16:37:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Does your DS have a statement in place?.

PolterGoose Sat 20-Apr-13 16:07:57

Can he articulate why he doesn't want to be in class or with his peers? Does he have friends at school? Is he ok in a classroom 1-1? Where is he working with the TA when he actually has a TA? Does he like his teacher? Where does he eat lunch? What does he do at playtimes?

I'm just trying to think of different ways to slowly reintegrate him I suppose. For example, if he is working with TA in a spare classroom could TA set up a task that ds would really enjoy, but she conveniently forgot until the last minute that it needs 3 people, would he choose another child for a specific task? Or could the class teacher come and do some 1-1 with him for short sessions? Or at playtimes he spends time in the class's classroom? Could he arrange something for the other children in his year group? Eg a writing competition he and TA judge and make certificates for, or make a display for the classroom...

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