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Would exclusion be better than this, or am I overthinking?

(21 Posts)
spongebobandpatrick Thu 09-May-13 17:53:57

DD has possible PDA. I am waiting for an appointment with CAMHS (GP referral) and paediatrician (school nurse referral).
School are well aware of DD's issues, which include sudden mood changes, headbanging, chanting, embellishing events and quite often making things up. DD seems to have difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.
She has been observed by EP, and the EP's findings were that DD is a very complex little girl, who has very high levels of anxiety and uses headbanging to calm herself down.
DD now has a cushion in her class where she goes to headbang safely.
The main issue at school atm is DD's aggression and violence towards other DC and the staff. This includes biting, scratching, kicking, punching etc and as far as school are concerned, nothing sets DD off, nothing at all.
I have asked for DD to be statemented, but apparently, there's not enough evidence to apply for funding yet.
School have recently explained that for the safety of the other DC and staff, if the aggression continues, DD will be sent home for the afternoon. Now they don't want to send DD home, since they think DD will see this as a good thing, and it may make her behaviour worse if she knows she can come home if she is aggressive.
So far, they have only asked me to pick DD up once, but by the time I arrived at school, it was already home time. DD went as normal the following day.

Today, I discovered that in the last couple of weeks, the school have decided to sit DD outside the headteachers office when she has scratched or bitten another child.
DD is sat outside the head's office, but largely ignored, although she is given colouring to do, or something DD will find boring.
Obviously, someone is keeping an eye on DD during this time, but AFAIK, no one is actively interacting with DD during this time.

Apparently this is supposed to teach her the consequences of her behaviour. confused

The school agree that DD has no understanding of cause and effect, and tbh, I feel very uneasy about this. While I appreciate the other children and staff need protecting from DD's outbursts, I'm not comfortable with their solution, although I have no idea what else to suggest, apart from send her home instead.

Today, DD was sent to sit outside the headteachers office just after lunchtime, and remained there all afternoon until hometime. sad

So I suppose this is a bit of an AIBU, and do you have any suggestions as to what else the school could or should be doing instead? Or anything I could/should be doing?

Ineedmorepatience Thu 09-May-13 18:06:18

Awful and should not be happening. Schools have funding for supporting children with special needs and dont let them tell you they dont.

Apply for a statement your self. You dont need the school to do it. Go on the IPSEA website it tells you how to do it and phone your local parent partnership and get advise from them.

Also keep coming on here, it really is the best place to get advise.

MareeyaDolores Thu 09-May-13 18:09:54

Surely if the internal exclusion is for health and safety, it would be much more sensible to send her out briefly before anyone has been injured.

MareeyaDolores Thu 09-May-13 18:12:11

Stressed out child + warning signs ignored = violence
Mismanaged violence + nice quiet sit down = more episodes

Warning signs heeded + chill out time = normal service resumed

PolterGoose Thu 09-May-13 18:16:47

That's very similar to what happened with ds, school just didn't get that ds preferred to spend playtimes and certain lessons in a quiet corridor. Definitely apply for statutory assessment yourself. Ds is supported at school action plus and has 15 hours LSA including playtime and lunchtime, I applied and was refused SA but it really got school doing stuff.

There's a boy in ds1s class who can be quite violent. The teachers have pinpointed particular subjects that set him off and bring an SNA into the room for those parts of the day to distract him if he starts to get disruptive/aggressive. He's also brought down to the resource teacher if he's playing up and dealt with 1on1 there.

It certainly seems to have helped, ds1 was the target of a lot of his aggression and he hasn't mentioned anything major since they've tried these tactics.

Could your dds school arrange something similar?

Clearly your DDs needs are nowhere near being met currently and they seem to have no idea what to do with her. They may well be ultimately gearing themselves up to exclude her.

What did EP say to you if anything re a statement post observations?.

Would apply for the statement yourself from the LEA; you do not need anyone's permission to do this.

Use IPSEA's website www.ipsea.org.uk, there are model letters on there you can use.

nennypops Thu 09-May-13 20:56:21

I agree, start the process of applying for statutory assessment tomorrow, don't wait for the school, and definitely don't believe them if they say there's not enough evidence. The simple fact that they can't cope with her in class is evidence enough.

And you're right, if they feel they have to take her out of class, they should arrange for her to be taught somewhere else, not have her sitting doing nothing. Otherwise it's disability discrimination: they are punishing her because of her disability. If you mention that to them with an implied threat that you might have to take it to the tribunal, they might just think again.

Also, this idea of sending her home in the afternoons sounds very like unlawful exclusions. I would suggest that if they ask you to pick her up, tell them that you won't unless they are formally excluding her. That means they have to send you a formal letter every time and put it on their records. Eventually it will reach a point when the governors have to review it. If that doesn't persuade them to support you in applying for a statement, nothing will.

AgnesDiPesto Thu 09-May-13 21:31:03

Read up on exclusions on IPSEA. Was also recent Childrens Commissioner report on unlawful exclusions, which is what sending her home is. I agree do not collect her without a letter.

Challenging behaviour is enough info for statutory assessment.

I would actually ring the SEN officer direct given the situation and say you are applying for SA but urgent intervention / support is needed and you want advice on what school should be putting in place from own resources and what the school can access now without statement. Probably there is ASD or behaviour outreach support service who can come in and assess situation, set up a behaviour plan etc. School should be providing 1:1 - SEN officer should be able to tell you to what level school should fund eg 15 hours. In emergency situations LA can always fund more eg if needed for safety.

I would also contact parent partnership . They are not always that good or independent of LA but are usually ok at situations where mainstream schools are not doing what they should / providing all resources and should go to meetings with you. The SEN officer may even be prepared to get involved eg in a meeting with school as they will want to avoid a statement / exclusion situation and may lean on school to put in support. SEN officer will probably direct you to PP but its good to have evidence you told the LA direct about the problems so ring them and then in your letter requesting SA you can refer to that call and what was said so you are starting a paper trail showing any future tribunal or panel that you told the LA now the situation was urgent.

You need to find out who in LA specialises in challenging behaviour / preparing behaviour plans is it EP? Clin Psych? Behaviour team? What you need is everyone working consistently to a plan which is based on positive rewards for when behaving well, also regular breaks etc so not getting to point where has outburst

The LA has a legal duty to keep its staff safe and the children safe - yours and others, so it cannot just ignore you. They also have to provide her with an appropriate education.

Research on LA website what services LA has and if you find eg a behaviour team find out how the referral works and if its via schools why your school has not done a referral. To get a statement school will need to show it has exhausted all the resources available to it without a statement.

But def apply for statement now, that process has a statutory timescale and you need the back-up of legal deadlines to focus minds and make sure things do not drift.

spongebobandpatrick Thu 09-May-13 21:31:46

Thank you for all of the replys.

I wasn't aware I could apply for a statement myself, so am about to look at the link, and since the school aren't doing it, I shall have to do it myself.
Having said that, the school are very supportive towards me over DD's issues, but that doesn't make it ok that DD is sitting outside the headteachers office all afternoon.

I don't want to piss the school off by going over their heads, iyswim, but I want the right support for DD.

They haven't excluded her for any time yet, although they occasionally remind me that it is a very real possibility if the behaviour continues.

I'm not sure what they are hoping to achieve by making her sit on her own instead of just sending her home. I think I'd rather she was at home. At least she would be benefiting from interaction with me, rather than no interaction at all apart from what is absolutely needed.

I do not discover she has spent hours sat outside the headteachers office until I pick her up from school.
I'm just so sad for DD that she is spending so much time sat on her own, as a punishment when if she had a 1 to 1, she would fare better in the classroom.
The idea that this is going to teach a child who has no understanding of cause and effect anything is frustrating to say the least.
I don't even want to send DD to school tomorrow if there is a possibility she is going to spend another afternoon sitting on her own in a corridor. sad

Ineedmorepatience Thu 09-May-13 21:55:56

I would put it in writing tomorrow before she goes in that if she is to be excluded from the classroom you want to be contacted immediately so that you can discuss why she has been sent out and who is going to teach her while she is out of the room.

Then photocopy the letter and give the Head teacher a copy, write copy for school in large letters across the top so that they know you are creating a paper trail. Sometimes that is all it takes to help them to remember to follow the correct procedures.

Start a file with all paper work sent between you and the school and make sure that you never send anything in without copying it first.

Sorry if that seems drastic but you need to show that you have tried to ensure that your childs needs are being met.

Good lucksmile

AgnesDiPesto Thu 09-May-13 21:59:33

But the school has a budget for 1:1 and can call in specialists. If it has not done these things then it should not even be thinking about exclusion. It must do absolutely everything it can, exhaust all resources and use exclusion only as a last resort when everything else including fulltime 1:1 has failed. Anything less is failing your child and you have nothing to feel guilty about because the school know this and they are clearly making a decision not to use any of the money they have been allocated for SEN on your child.

Her behaviour at school is not something within your power to control so there is no point issuing threats to you. What are they doing to change the behaviour? What are they doing to keep everyone safe while they work on the behaviour? That is what they will have to show to a disability discrimination tribunal if they exclude her without trying everything first.

Govt guidance on exclusions is here Its clear the school must consider if there are unmet SEN needs, and have a multi team assessment if there are persistent behaviour problems and should take these steps before getting to the point where they exclude.

Guidance refers to Equality Act which is also worth a look.

spongebobandpatrick Thu 09-May-13 22:17:39

The school have been in touch with specialist teachers, who have agreed to come into school and observe DD.
The specialist teachers agreed they would need to observe DD before the easter holidays. So far, no one has actually been in yet. I'm not sure how long these things take, but I am getting frustrated at how slow it is all taking.
The school have been having problems with DD since septemer, but it is getting steadily worse, and still all I seem to get is platitudes. sad

To change DD's behaviour, AFAIK, they provide an area where DD can headbang calm down, and they remove her from where the other children are doing things when DD becomes aggressive. They are removing DD from the class to keep the other children safe, and are hoping that DD will realise that the consequence of being removed isn't fun or nice, so she will learn to modify her behaviour in the class.
They said they make a huge fuss of the child/children who have been hurt in front of DD, to make DD realise that she is missing out on attention by ignoring DD and giving hurt child attention, so DD will learn, but in the next breath, they agree that DD has no understanding of cause and effect.
I'm not convinced DD relates the child being given attention as anything to do with DD having just bitten that particular child.

Other children in the class are now blaming DD for things which she hasn't done too, which I understand, but that doesn't make it ok, but what to do about it, I honestly don't know. sad

Inclusionist Thu 09-May-13 22:18:40

A child with no statement does not pull in budget for 1:1, and money for this does not sit in a pot in school waiting to be called upon. This is a misconception.

spongebobandpatrick Thu 09-May-13 22:19:35

Sorry, I should have said the specialist teachers agreed on the phone that they needed to observe DD, and this phone call took place before the easter holidays. That's not to say that DD would be observed before the easter holidays, just that it was spoken about with specialist teachers before the easter holidays iyswim.

scotcheggy Thu 09-May-13 22:31:30

Definitely keep a paper trail - it may be very useful further down the line. I agree with Agnes that there is no point them issuing threats however I have had similar. Soon they will probably say that she's very upset or anxious and it 'would be best' if she went home hmm.

Agnes you've said that school must do everything it can and exhaust all resources but can't they just say that they did what was 'reasonable' to justify excluding?

AgnesDiPesto Fri 10-May-13 00:23:50

The exclusion guidance says that before excluding a child with SEN the school must consider a multi agency meeting, so no I don't think they could justify what they have done as reasonable as they have not called a multi agency meeting.

They have asked for advice but it hasn't arrived, they should be chasing it up.

They have tried strategies but they have not worked. Even sitting outside HT office is not working as its not changing the behaviour. They need the specialist advice of what else to try.

As of 1 April 2013 the school is also required to put in the first £6000 of support from its delegated SEN budget, so they should put in up to £6000 worth of 1:1 support without a statement

If their SEN pot is used up they can ask for exceptional funding, but would first have to demonstrate to the LA why their current SEN pot is not sufficient. I'm not saying the money is sitting there unused, but it is the case the school may be expected to switch a TA eg from general class support to an individual child if a need emerges during the year.

The point is that all mainstream schools do get a pot of money for sen and some of this is for individual children with high needs. Many schools have got used to using sen money as part of its general budget as it has not been ring fenced and use it for TAs in school for low level SEN / general classroom support, so seem to forget that the money is also supposed to be used for high needs individual children when the need arises. If a child needs more than £6000 support the LA will pay the extra.

If you google your council+SEN school funding changes you will find recent council docs on this as all LAs have had to consult with schools forums on the funding formula, you may even be able to see the budget given to your school.

Each school will have a notional sen budget which is to be used for low need high incident SEN but also for low incident high needs sen.

So while its true a child with no statement does not have a budget attached to them individually, the school does have a sen budget allocated by the LA on a funding formula and some of this is for individual children. Some schools may have no children who need 1:1 support and will have more sen money than they need. Other schools may several TAs supporting individual children and they will most likely be paying out more 1:1 costs than they receive funding for.

Its also the case since April that the first £6000 of support for every child with a statement is funded by the school, so in effect even children with statements don't 'pull in' the first £6k any more, the school is expected to pay the £6k even if they have lots of children with statements. Which is a reason some schools may be reluctant for children to get statements, as once they have a statement the school is legally obliged to pay the first £6000, whereas for a child without a statement they can pretend a child does not need 1:1 and just push the child out instead, as may be the case here. If sponges DD is evidenced as needing 1:1 the school will have to find the first £6000 even if they have to move money or staff from elsewhere.

I suspect this school has spent / allocated the sen budget this year and does not want to fund any 1:1 until Sept.

Sponge I would be using words like self harm or self injurious behaviour, not 'calm down' or 'headbang' you need to be clear thats what it is, it's not just about her injuring others she is injuring herself

My DS would have been similar to sponges DD if he did not have support.He has been fully statemented with fulltime ABA support since 3 and has a behaviour plan prepared and reviewed by ASD experts. His behaviour at school is pretty good but that did not happen by accident, it took lots of work and providing him with highly trained 1:1 staff. His package costs much more than the figures we are talking about here.

Exclusion is not inevitable. You have a legal right to mainstream and LAs must take necessary steps for your child to be there. If they exclude a child they are not solving the behaviour / problem they are just moving it on.

If you think a SS place will cost £15-20k+ then LA / School have to have put in at least that amount before a tribunal will say that keeping a child in mainstream is an inefficient use of resources.

spongebobandpatrick Fri 10-May-13 09:32:51

Thank you, that makes a lot of sense.

There are various TA's already in DD's class. 2 part time TA's who share the care of a statemented child, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
There is also another TA who floats between 2 classes because her role is to be there for the Foundation Stage children, of which DD is one.
DD has formed a strong attachment to the foundation stage TA, but she is there for all of the children, as a foundation stage TA and DD needs 1 to 1. Even the school and all of the staff who work with DD agree that DD needs statementing so she can access 1 to 1 support, but so far it's just not happening.

DD is refusing to go to school today now, because she says everyone shouts and the teachers tell her off all of the time. sad

OneInEight Fri 10-May-13 10:20:05

Challenging behaviour is sufficient for statutory assessment - my sons are currently being assessed on these grounds. We were told by both school and EP that we would not get it so applied on our own when things deteriorated and got it without appeal so don't be put off.

You need to make sure that the challenging behaviour is being documented. This could be by school log or home-school behaviour book or both.

You need to make sure she is on school action plus and the school has recorded IEPs. You can then state that the strategies used in these have failed and therefore SA is necessary. You are meant to have two terms at school action plus before they will agree to do an SA.

The only advantage of exclusion is indisputable documentary evidence that your daughter is not coping with school and vice versa.

The downside is that if she would prefer to be at home (as did my sons) then exclusion is perceived as a reward and actually encourages the disruptive behaviour. The same could be said for sitting outside the staffroom if it is the noise and other children that is disrupting her.

One thing that helps ds2 is coming home at lunchtime. It gives him a break and it was the time he was most likely to meltdown so double bonus.

Also it is ridiculous of the school to say there are no triggers. There will be they just haven't worked them out yet. I think our school struggles with the fact that somedays the boys can cope with things e.g. getting a question wrong whereas on another it would bring on absolute meltdown. It just depends on their general stress levels on that particular day.

Trigglesx Fri 10-May-13 10:29:24

How can the school say there is not enough evidence for statementing/funding when they then say if the violence continues you will have to pick her up in the afternoons!?!?! confused They are blatantly contradicting themselves.

Apply for statement yourself. Document everything, demand everything in writing from the school, including the "you'll have to pick her up in the afternoons" comment (be willing to bet they won't give THAT to you in writing hmm), and if they ring you to pick her up refuse unless she is actually being excluded and there is paperwork on it (and get a copy).

Any decent school will recognise that she has needs and will act immediately. DS2's MS school (he's now in SS, but was in MS last year) had a FT 1:1 with him with 24 hours of realising he needed it. They applied for additional funding (which they eventually got while they waited for statement to go through) but paid for it out of their budget right away to make sure he had it. When he only got 25hrs on statement, school provided 30+ hours and HT said "he needs it, we'll provide it, that's what we do." And this was not an affluent school - they just deal promptly and proactively with SNs.

The minute your school realises that you're documenting and getting things in writing, they'll notice it as a huge red flag.

nennypops Fri 10-May-13 21:41:20

Please don't just accept her being made to sit in the corridor for hours on end. They're justified in taking her out if it's necessary for the safety of the other children, but in that event they shouldn't be punishing her because in essence they're punishing her for her disability and their failure to deal with it properly. What they should be doing is arranging for her to be taught when she is out of the classroom. I completely agree with Ineedmorepatience's suggested strategy and creating a paper trail.

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