Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Why are schools not held just as responsible as the LEA for the failures

(112 Posts)
hoxtonbabe Thu 01-Aug-13 15:57:59

I have been reading through a few threads and the common none these last few months ( or in my case few years) is the issue with the school not implementing.

I understand that LA are ultimately responsible but given that schools also have a duty of care how is it so many of them can get away with what they do.

I suppose it depends on the issue so if a child needed say OT in school and LA didn't provide then I get that is the LA at fault but what happens if say the school have said they can offer xxx learning programme within school and their resources and then don't? That to me would be the school being at fault.

I think a lot of what we face as parents AFTER the ordeal of tribunal is then getting the school to comply and because they know they will never face any action like an LA does they just do whatever they feel like.

It's like a never ending vicious cycle of crap within the SEN system

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 01-Aug-13 16:03:33

I agree it is a never ending cycle of crap. But the buck stops with the LA because, in law, they are responsible for the child they have identified as having SEN. So, if the school can't or won't provide the support, the LA has to do it.

Schools are controlled by LAs so it is for the LA to take matters up with the school but the child shouldn't be failed by internal wrangling and that is why one clear responsibility rests with one body - the LA.

In theory of course. You can forget the LGO enforcing it! You can go to JR though there really is a limit to how many times you can cope with threatening JR.

Of course, you can complain about schools to the Gov Body or to Ofsted (in a very limit fashion) but I agree they do duck out of it all responsibility most of the time.

TOWIELA Thu 01-Aug-13 16:22:58

Although I still don't know the outcome of the Tribunal (long story!), before we even walked into the hearing the LA conceded to great rafts of provision

I have spent the last few sleepless nights wondering how the hell I'm going to even be able to determine if the LA's school does implement it all. It's not even as though I can pop into the classroom, because the LA, in their wisdom, named a school 20 miles/1 hour away so are liable to taxi-ing to and from their school. I will never be popping in!

So how the hell am I can to ensure that everything that we gained (I refuse to use the word "won") is actually put into place?. I honestly don't think there's enough hours in the school day to do it all - and the Statement states very specifically who should do the providing

It is going to be a nightmare to "police" it - also as the school put in 2 witnesses for the LA - how the hell do I build a relationship with these 2 senior people?

ilikemysleep Thu 01-Aug-13 17:59:26

In these days of academies actually LAs have less and less control over schools, and almost no budget. Its one of the great ironies of the sen system, that the LA gets all of the responsibility to police but doesn't any longer hold all the money to ensure the school does what it's meant to.

fightingyetagain Thu 01-Aug-13 18:45:56

And what if the school tell the LA that they're doing things when they're not? I have seen emails going around the school staff congratulating themselves on what a marvellous job the LA have said that they're doing with my ds - they really failed him! hmm

uggerthebugger Thu 01-Aug-13 18:54:43

The problem here is that responsibility means nothing unless there's accountability - and the people who hold schools and LAs accountable for the quality of SN provision often don't have the skills to do the job.

Even when we painstakingly hand-craft the tools ourselves and point these people in the direction of the problem, many of them aren't interested, and some are actively opposed. The accountability issue with SN in academies that ilike raises is an open invitation to neglect for any school senior leadership team that has no interest in supporting kids with SN.

There is one other agency that schools and LAs are indirectly accountable to - Ofsted. After a bit of pressure, Ofsted are now starting to employ more inspectors with genuine specialist SN expertise, and they now make more explicit judgements about the quality of SN provision in their reports than they used to. They still rely far too heavily on data rather than direct observation to make judgements (even in highly individualised SN cases) , but things are on the up - the specialist teachers at DS2's school actually got some meaningful and useful feedback from a recent inspection, because it was carried out by a specialist.

Unfortunately, momentum's stalled elsewhere. Ofsted came very, very close recently to begin regular inspections of LA specialist children's services - including SEN officers. In the end, they decided on a crappy fudge whereby they'll only do it under very narrow circumstances.

I reckon that with a bit more pressure though, Ofsted might be willing to take it on. Can you imagine the synchronised sphincter clenching in LA SEN offices across the land if they had to answer to no-notice inspections?

hoxtonbabe Thu 01-Aug-13 19:34:04

But who holds the schools accountable? Ofsted, the Dept for Education? They have no interest in these things and all to often you get batted around being told go to the governors or the head of education (when you have already done that) , that is the problem as you pointed out the people that should be holding these schools to account have no idea themselves, plus Ofsted will not deal with individual issues, unless something to do with safeguarding or extremely rare cases.

Fightingyetagain makes a good point, this for me is a major issue and still trying to find out (which hopefully I will by the end of this month from a QC and report back) where the responsibility lay. If you have a school saying they have done xxx (bearing in mind they have no evidence to back this) they refuse..flat out refuse to do xxx as per the statement and lets face it an LA can not put a knife to the headteachers throat especially if it is an out of borough school as then you have the headache of the school not wanting to be told what to do, etc..

if a school take on the responsibility of saying at a tribunal (and in general for years) we can deliver xxx provision , to simply not do it, now remember the LA are basing their defense/evidence at a tribunal based on what the school are saying they can do.

The school "should" be acting in the child's best interest as they too have a duty of care, so they should not be saying whatever the LA tell them to (we know it happens though and goes against everything witnesses guidelines state and not acting in the childs interest) so if they do lie and the sh*t hits the fan, then why should the school not be held accountable? and I don't mean some piddly telling off from the just as corrupt LGO, I mean really get it like the LA's can. I should not be the norm or accepted that a school can say "yeah we can do xxx" in order to meet your childs needs, have that written into the statement, then some weeks/months later say, "nope we cant be bothered"

Whilst it is seemingly too late for my DS, I would like to live in hope that in the future schools will be held more accountable for their part of failing children with SEN, rather than it all being on the LA, as far too many schools get out of their responsibilities and duties because of this issue with LA being ultimately responsible

fightingyetagain Thu 01-Aug-13 19:46:19

Ofsted wouldn't even look at a safeguarding issue I raised, which I think was pretty serious. I was informed that if I sent evidence they would make a note to put 'on file' for the next inspection. Apparently any concerns should be raised with the LA nominated safeguarding officer but if they think the school's marvellous they're hardly going to investigate properly are they?

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 01-Aug-13 19:53:02

I can only say, like the rest of the SEN system, it is parents who ultimately hold schools and LAs to account as no one else really gives a toss.

That is the reality.

Yes, there are academies but there are none in my city so there's no excuse there. And LAs do have SEN budgets. Yes they are not big enough but that is not the children's fault.

You wouldn't accept a hospital saying sorry our budget isn't big enough for the treatment all the clinicians agree is medically necessary for your child. But we are somehow expected to accept this or even feel sorry for LAs when they pull this line.

If they don't like it, badger their elected officials to campaign to their parties about the effect of poor funding. Produce data to support it. No? Or just hide behind self-pity and policies and arguments that parents expect too much and all children in our county get x,y,z ad infinitum and, when all else fails LIE.

So oversight bodies can't administer this because you can't address people who persistently lie until you prove them to be liars. Look at NHS Trusts for evidence of that.

But where are the whistleblowers in the SEN world? Eh? TAs or teachers who know schools are lying. SEN staff at the LA who cover up failures in provision or follow policies which unlawfully prevent kids from accessing provision.

No, they are nowhere to be seen because no one really gives a shit about disabled kids.

TOWIELA Thu 01-Aug-13 20:05:43

Hoxtonbabe - yes two senior school reps stood up in a court of law and said 'yep we can provide x y and z'. If the judge rules in the LA's favour, then I will hold these 2 people personally liable that they deliver x, y and z exactly as it's written in the Statement. It truly will be a miracle if they can provide, because the LA conceded so much very specific provision before the hearing that I honestly don't think the school realised the implications of what they've agreed to.

So I'm likely to be labelled a "trouble-maker" and vexatious because I sure as hell aren't going to take any excuses over them not providing and I will be on their backs constantly to personally ensure the Statement is adhered to. Lack of resources will not be an excuse.

Pre-empting my concerns... Anyone know any good legal aid lawyers who will take on a judicial review?

hoxtonbabe Thu 01-Aug-13 21:48:07

I always sit at my laptop reading everyones thread shaking my head and getting so worked up, half the time I dont know what to say when I read the same shi* story over and over about schools, LA, "professionals" , as it really appears to be getting worse for SEN/disabled children, and I did not think it could get worse!

TOWIELA: There are only 3, Maxwell Gillot, Coram Legal centre and until recently NYAS, but they no longer have the education contract and I think it has moved to Tower Hamlets Law centre who I would not use for all the tea in china! so gone are the days of having a choice love, thats your lot...only 3!

You can ask to be put to a preference, but I also think it depends on how you get on the helpline (you have to go via a helpline thingy first)

I want to use MG for my Cease to maintain but I dont want some "education Advocate" dealing with my case, as more often than not I end up telling them the bloomin law! I want the actual solicitors that tend to not deal with the Legal aid cases, so im certainly stuffed, lol

hoxtonbabe Thu 01-Aug-13 21:50:11

oddly enough upon all the grief I am giving the LA and school they have not thrown the vexatious card at me yet...just the I am a crap mother not looking out for her child best interest card , lol

fightingyetagain Thu 01-Aug-13 21:58:34

Oh yes, the 'doing everything in your child's best interests' old chestnut. Have you logged any official complaints yet - that's when they start the 'vexatious parent' spiel.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 01-Aug-13 21:58:45

You don't need to have an education contract to do judicial review work. I would recommend Irwin Mitchell.

hoxtonbabe Thu 01-Aug-13 22:31:44

IE, that's true as it can be done under public/Administrative law rather than just Education , although when I tried this route (inc IM) I kept getting fobbed off to go to one of the Education solictors...

I suppose it depends on your case..

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 02-Aug-13 09:34:59

DS1 is in a indi specialist school with similar peers, specialist teachers and onsite therapy.

If the LA had not conceded he would have gone to local m/s secondary with an enormous package of support - far more support than any other DC in a school of 1500. I am sure that there are DC there with as great or even greater needs whose parents did not go to tribunal and have statements for far less.

By the time we got to the hearing the statement described the needs of a child that the school would not recognise if he had actually attended there. This is partly due to misunderstandings that are repeated and treated as fact - for example DS1 was extremely anxious about the size and complexity of any proposed school which was most obvious to him in the schools having more than one floor. By the time I visited the LA named school, the SENCO had interpreted this as a phobia of stairs! Had we lost, the school would have quickly discovered that he does not have a phobia relating to stairs and so would assume that everything else in the statement had been exaggerated and that the provision stated was not necessary.

He would have had full-time 1:1 and so the LSA should not be used as a class resource but in reality I am not sure that I would want to insist that if DS1 was engaging and working independently that the LSA must be on stand-by just for him and ignore the other DC in the class. Insisting on my rights to have the statement implemented to letter would not create the environment that I wanted. I don't think that the right environment can be found in the m/s for some DC with HF ASD and high levels of anxiety that is internalised. Ironically, these are the same DC where m/s schools report 'no problems' or 'good progress'.

As it stands, I have no idea if the statement is implemented to the letter. This is less important as I trust the environment and I trust that the staff really do have the best interests of the DC at heart rather being more concerned about their budget or Ofsted rating.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 02-Aug-13 09:46:17

I think you are right keeping, they don't know what to do with AS kids at all. The traditional TA model just doesn't work.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 02-Aug-13 10:06:38

Towie is right - by the time you get to hearing there is not enough time in the school day to deliver the provision in the statement. DS1 had one hour of SALT and one hour of OT (with p/g for SI) each week. The m/s school was forced to try and cobble together sufficient time for interventions that did not remove him from teaching time. They planned to deliver 20 minutes of therapy each day whilst the other DC were at registration and in their form classes despite the fact that this was impractical and increased the cost from 1 visit from an indi therapist per week to 3 visits.

But without a statement that specifies that amount of provision in the m/s, placement in an indi ss is seen as 'unreasonable public expenditure'.

newregard Fri 02-Aug-13 10:36:06

DS is in an independent specialist school too but his last year of mainstream was a nightmare mainly because of the lack of implementation and lack of training for staff. Most parents I know with HFA DC are in mainstream and even those with very good statements, and in good schools have to police it. There is still a lot of suspicion against the school and I think that contributes to a higher level of stress. For me, that was the key factor in pushing for a specialist school - I didn't want to spend all my time factchecking and confirming things, I just wanted to be able to be a parent and enjoy school events without constantly being on the alert.

When I was constantly at meetings with the old mainstream school, I felt like I was in combat mode all the time. I don't feel like that now, even though I know that the statement isn't being fully implemented. I just know that it's the right environment, DS is doing well, and like keepingon I feel that I can trust the staff - not just having the best interests for DS (which I actually feel some of the staff had in mainstream) but also the training/experience (which staff in mainstream definitely didn't have!)

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 02-Aug-13 10:59:58

I agree. You end up with this statement to deliver needs which is not going to be able to be delivered in a mainstream school without removing the child from classes and making him look very different and to a child that really wants to fly under the radar this is a nightmare.

Sadly, for us, I haven't seen a special school that would be appropriate for DS as we don't want residential and other SS locally don't seem to be able to combine the AS expertise etc with ensuring academic success and I don't want to compromise one for the other.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 11:48:37

I have just added up all the provision that the LA conceded to shortly before our hearing. This is not TA classroom support - this is very specific support to do a very specific objective carried out by a very specific person/role. It comes to 17½ hours. Taking that the school week (less lunch and break) is approx 23ish hours - my son will be educated with other pupils for less than 6 hours a week with his peers! So in these 6 hours, he will have to do the rest of the curriculum - maths, English, PE, history, design etc etc.

Still waiting...

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:40:40

This may bode well - after all, if the package is not completely illogical and requires high levels of funding to deliver in the mainstream, it is unreasonable.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 13:49:31

Well nothing else has gone logically or legally in my DC's case, so I won't hold my breath that the panel can count! Although if he does end up at the LA school, in a year's time, when we do secondary transfer, I'll be able to show that all the provision has meant he hasn't had access to the national curriculum.

It's all a game!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:03:11

Have you phoned the tribunal service?

At least you have work and the rail network to distract you smile

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 14:11:21

Yes Keep. Houston, we have a problem. So another weekend of no news.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 17:24:05

Anyone got any ideas how to police the provision? Should I insist on a detailed timetable with everything timetabled and specified? A weekly email from them confirming all provision was met?

I know I'm going to have to keep a paper trail on all of this!

'And LAs do have SEN budgets. Yes they are not big enough but that is not the children's fault.'

Why are they not big enough?

IMO this is pretty obvious. The huge pretence that needs are being met when they aren't. The collusion of those in power to fight for our children, doing the best they can with what they have and covering their own and their colleagues arses until the resources diminish further causing them to become further entrenched in cover-up actions, not to mention token gestures whilst stressed to the core and getting aggressive with parents who object.

But I have no pity for them. Because they are grown adults failing vulnerable children.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 21:35:29

A good start are the IEPs.., depending on what the provision is and how it is worded in the statement.

Things like " opportunities to access to a computer" would be tricky as the school could say we did it on xxx day and never again, and their defence could be "well be allowed an opportunity, it didn't specify how often etc.." That is tricky to police, but something like " a qualified SLT to deliver weekly 1:1 therapy" is easier to police as you could ( although if they do this is another matter) ask the therapist to send you copies of her notes on a monthly basis...this shouldn't be too hard as she has to keep notes as a basic minimum so just a case of paying for the copies.

You can ask for timetables, etc...but them actually sticking to it or actually physically doing it is the main problem, as schools will say yes we have done it, write IEPs etc only to have not done it and just want to cover themselves.

There is not real certain way that you can guarantee though that the people involved are not going in having a cuppa and then just randomly writing notes, the only way you can fully ensure they are doing what they are supposed to do is by sitting on top of them (senco and professions involved) and I doubt that will go down too well..lol

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 21:51:37

Ah - emailing the therapists direct is an excellent idea! Thank you.

The provision is very very specific and also the job title of the person providing the provision is explicit.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 21:53:59

You tell em starlight!!

I have no issues or feelings of guilt whatsoever dragging therapist upon therapist upon EP to the HPC...( although they will wonder if I'm just bored or crazy if I submit another one, which I HOPE to not have to do)

I will never be able to get back all the wasted time, money and lost provision, but just like I have had to fight, and sweat to get my DS the most minimal of provision implemented, you too will fight and sweat for your reputation/job...the job you are lucky to have because you didn't have any additional needs or a school/LA blocking YOU from succeeding and having the opportunity to attend Uni, earning £40k + a year all the things my DS will not be able to access because you chose to sit back and fail a vunerable child.

I don't care how bad resources are, no one should play roulette with someone life like that.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 22:03:44

Towie: I think if you can maintain a good relationship with all the people involved then that helps...my lot hate me with a passion so it has now gone beyond the stage of my DS needs they are now simply gunning for me via my DS.

My sister had issues with the SENCO at her DS school but got on quite well with SLT, she was one of the goid(ish) ones that wete honest and actually helped with gettibg his statement, however no sooner did she start being honest she got shipped off elsewhere...it's so sad.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 22:18:23

Oh I can assure you they hate me with a passion! Two senior school people were witnesses for the prosecution LA at the Tribunal. They failed to realise that the entire point was not that I was against their school or them personally, but that their school couldn't provide my son's needs. So when we do get to the point were they totally realise that they can't provide, I will have no sympathy for them whatsoever. And, sadly, I won't care for the other children in that school when those two people realise that all their resources will be going on my DS and no other child. And when they say, sorry we didn't realise how severe he was, I shall say -why not, you said to a judge that you had read ALL the reports, so WHY didn't you realise?

LuvMyBoyz Fri 02-Aug-13 22:25:22

I agree that implementing a very specific statement is nigh on impossible for a ms school while also being discrete AND ensuring the NC is made accessible to the child. I have to accept Statemented pupils from another Authority (on our border) with conditions with which my school just CANNOT comply e g certain movement programmes not run by my Authority or inclusion in 'small groups' which I am unable to set up. So far ( as SENCO ) I have worked with parents so they agree with the provision we do manage to put in place but if I came across a parent who wanted the stated provision no matter how it went against what we do in school....well, I hope it never comes to that. And I am devoted to giving young people ( and their parents/ carers ) with SEN all the help they deserve. It's really hard!

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 22:30:16

Tbh LuvMyBoyz, I do sympathise with your position, however not when people have stood up in a court of law and said "yes, we can provide x, y and z". So I will insist on the stated provision - no matter what. They have told a judge in the British justice system something so they will have to live with the consequences of their actions. Yes, I may sound tough and harsh - but you haven't heard the half of what has happened in my DS's case.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 23:29:33

Towie: I'm not familiar with your issue but I am getting bits here and there but I assume that the LA have named a school and you do not want it, the twits from the school have said they can meet needs so judge said off you go to LA named school?

Luvmyboys: if you knew your school could not meet the needs of the statement, then it should be a case of you saying we can't realistically meet this need/provision. If parent then says well fine out child can do without then all is good ( maybe not for the child but parental rights and all) but if they insist then it should be a case of going to the LA saying no can do as that would be in the best interest of the child.

If the LA then start their crap then that's a separate issue but at least as the SENCO you can with good conscience say " I did my bit and tried and was honest and open" I'm yet to come across a SENCO like this but I'm sure there are some out there???

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 23:40:14

Hoxtin - nearly right but we still don't have a decision from the Tribunal. I am pre-empting the decision and getting my head around how it's going work at the LA school

Yes. It is one thing to do your best to meet the requirements of a statement that came to you. Quite another to promise to deliver provision you have no hope of delivering for the purpose of convincing a judge not to award the parental preference.

Though I do agree that a school should make it clear to the parents that they are unable to meet any requirements of the statement if that is the case.

The problem I have had is where the Senco failed to tell me that the OT was no longer happening. I even asked to speak to the OT at one point and the SENCO agreed to pass on the message the next day at the scheduled session despite the fact that the OT had left half a term ago and was unreplaced. The OT had discharged ds before she left (though written in statement and not reviewed, and the SENCO failed to ever mention it hmm.

And for the most part, this was a good SENCO.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 23:58:57

Yes, Star, that is precisely my point. They said they could meet need - not me. They said they could meet the very specific provision - not me. They said they'd read all the reports (when they hadn't until the evidence bundle ended up on their desk days before the Tribunal) They now personally have a duty of care to my DS to provide the statement exactly as its written.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 00:05:26

Hoxton "it can be done under public/Administrative law rather than just Education , although when I tried this route (inc IM) I kept getting fobbed off to go to one of the Education solicitors". Most will do both - education and public law.

I think the problem with schools and statements is that they often bury their head in the sands when they can't do things and then use the argument 'well I don't think the child really needed OT anyway' when they can't deliver rather than having an open conversation about whether specific packages can be delivered within a mainstream context or taking advice on how they can be delivered discretely.

So they want to stick to timetables that kids aren't bothered about and then complain there is not time to do stuff. I went through DS' timetable to highlight areas of flexibility to do specific work discretely e.g. assembly which he detests, and that went down like a lead balloon.

hoxtonbabe Sat 03-Aug-13 07:48:04

Well fingers crossed it does well towie! I would never wish on my enemy to have to send your child to a school that has lied and cheated to keep your child as the realationship becomes impossible.

Bury their heads in sand I agree... and some are just too lazy and incompetent to care and it is at that point I think the school rather than the LA that should be held responsible. The LEA can give then all the tools but the school are the ones that ultimately know if those tools can be used/work in their setting and if they can't and like we've either heard or experienced you are faced with an issue of certain professionals not working with the child any longer and the school saying "well they didn't need it any more" or the SENCO illegally removing provision then that school should be held accountable for not being
upfront about the situation.

I am no LA fan but I do think there is too much responsibility on LA, I bet it the Law changed it that schools would be held equally as responsible as LA with financial penslties and it also effecting their coveted ofsted grading, all of a sudden it will be an every man for themselves situation, schools will think twice before going before a judge and telling porkies about what they can do and being led by the LA rather than what is best for the child.

I don't think there is too much responsibility on the LA. Their role is a monitoring one, not necessarily a delivery one, and that imo is right.

THEY should hold schools to account and schools must be accountable to them.

Instead, they collude with schools to come up with 'stories' that justify the denial of a child's needs and the provision to meet those needs.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 08:40:38

DH has an aunt and uncle who were/are in the teaching profession. The aunt had just retired as head of one of the towns secondary schools told me that, as head, she was asked whether the school could meet needs on various occasions. Unless there would be substantial structural modifications at great cost, the answer was always 'yes'. To say 'no' was suicidal as the school was also trying to convince the LA that they were highly capable.

No school wants to say that they are unable to meet the needs of any child the LA wants to place in the m/s as this is an admission of failure.

ime the LA named school said yes to the LA (hence having to go to tribunal) but told both parents and our EP that there were 'concerns', that they would need more hours 1:1 than proposed, that it was too big, too complex, that they didn't know when they could deliver the therapy in the statement but that they would sort something out in the event that we lost. The senco told me that he thought the school was wrong for DS1 but told the LA they could meet need and would have been a witness for the LA had they not conceded at hearing.

But there is also the cultural context of the teaching profession.

Their role has deteriorated so much in the eyes of the government, the media, even parents and children that for their own self-esteem they have to stick rigidly to the idea that they are misunderstood and that no mere parent could have a clue about education.

They (and I am aware this is a wild generalisation and doesn't apply individually) also see huge disparity between children and the resources available from home and take it upon themselves to even the playing field. Therefore they are hugely irritated if some children with what they consider lesser affecting disabilities secure provision that they feel another child in their class requires more urgently and do what they can to enable the other child to benefit under the justification that that is fair. If the parents have been rather annoying in securing that provision they can even tell themselves that the child doesn't 'really' need it anyway, especially given their severe lack of SEN training which they are unable to admit to, lest they have to give way to the idea that the parents might know more than them about educating their particular child.

I guess what I am saying is that it is complex.

And the LA, and certain contracted solicitors, play heavily on this idea, telling teachers and LAs that parents can't possibly appreciate them or be able to make reasonable demands as they just don't have the pedagogical training that they do. They are pandered too and their 'story' is affirmed.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 08:58:37

The naming of this school was of total and utter surprise to us. It is a school over 20 miles away - a journey which in rush hour on a busy motorway into London can take up to an hour. We have had no previous connection to this school whatsoever and know no child at this school. Apparently 2 other children from our town go there - but as the population of my town is about 15k, I have no chance of knowing who they are - and even if they are the same age as my son. Having educated 2 other (now grownup) children in my town, i am very aware of the schools here (of which, there are many). The LA's solicitor, in her summing up during the hearing, said that if DS went to this school, then the journey would be 10 mins and he'd stay in the local community and have friends from his own community. So she'd read the case notes properly then! As my DH said, a helicopter couldn't do the journey in 10 mins!

So our first dealing with this school was a meeting with one of these 2 senior people (the other was "busy"). In this meeting a lot of things became very clear (which I don't want to go into here) including the school can't meet need.

My next "dealings" with the school was the DPA material from the school which turned up an email about my son from her to the senior LA manager - it was signed "all my love [name]"

My next dealings was when she told my indie EP (on a school visit) that she had no idea why county had named her school because his primary need is dyslexia and her school has no experience of the severity and complexity of his needs

My next dealings with her was in the hearing.

So the relationship is a non-runner before he's even started there! Personally I feel that the LA should never have put them both up as witnesses because they knew that this would happen. But then when has my LA ever done anything in my son's best interests. To be fair, I personally think she is a person of great integrity and highly professional and she does care passionately about her pupils (and I said this in the hearing to the judge when i was giving my evidence) BUT the LA, in their plain nastiness and viciousness to me personally, have stitched her up too.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 09:00:18

ime the culture of minimisation is so strong a part of LA-speak that those in the teaching profession do so automatically and habitually by answering a different question than the one asked.

So, for example, my and DH's concerns that DS1 had been level 3 for maths at KS1 and remained so at KS2 were restated as 'it is 'normal' for DC to start secondary at L3. Statemented DC are usually below L3'. The issue of progress was not considered as the clock is reset at secondary and previous rates of progress at primary school were irrelevant. A relevant reply would be 'no, this is not normal, it is highly unusual, did you know 0% of DC have this rate of progress etc'.

This LA-speak came from relatives. They have actually been supportive, in their way, even 'baby-sitting' DS1 whilst DH and I were at the hearing.

Three quarters of my extended and close family are teachers.

Some of them have seen the light (the ones that are closest and seen in real life what has been going on), the others have hung onto their ideologies and denial that what I say can possibly be happening, or that if it is I am incredibly unlucky and probably made it happen by being too difficult.

bochead Sat 03-Aug-13 09:20:05

Individual schools do need to be held accountable for SN pupil progress in the same way that they are for ordinary children. Until Ofsted FAILS those schools who fail SN children as a matter of course nothing will change.

This year any and all advice by ASD outreach etc was simply ignored. ASD outreach could and should have put up a fuss about this.

The culture of professionals covering each others mistakes at every turn needs to be addressed so that the spotlight is shone upon individuals that fail to do their jobs in the same way it happens in almost every other industry I've ever encountered. In most workplaces the incompetent are weeded out fair rapidly. This doesn't seem to happen in this sector and I just don't understand why given the massive societal cost of failing these kids. The fewer children that reach adulthood requiring lifetime welfare & state social care, surely the better for ALL society?

I also continually astonished at how easily schools get away with the most awful lies time and time again. A brief search on this board shows that it is an endemic problem - that's shameful as what example are our kids being set ffs?

At the moment the buck is passed all too easily.

sazale Sat 03-Aug-13 09:37:14

My DD's special school have delivered none of her statement the whole school year she's been there. They say they are going to do things then either don't or try to pass off doing it a couple of times as doing it. We've requested amendments to parts 2,3 &4 at annual review (which we called early). The LA have made amendments to parts 2 & 3 but won't change part 4. They say it doesn't matter that we say school doing nothing as the school say they can meet her needs and are actually going above and beyond the statement. So we're now about to apply for tribunal.

Unofficially staff have told us not the right place for dd but of course when asked officially the same staff have lied about the conversations. They have also lied about many things to the extent that I have refused verbal communication with them.

My DD's anxiety is through the roof so I am refusing to send her back in September. This school is a generic special school where the majority of the pupils have learning disabilities. My daughter is above average a academically. She has a dx of HFA but has traits of many comorbids including PDA.

The school originally said no to dd but the LA over ruled them. We did t go to tribunal due to reassurances which of course turned out to be lies. Also recently discovered that DD was sent there with 10 hours extra funding and the school have now requested full time! There is no provision for. children like dd in our town so the LA are trying to use this school but they don't have a clue about Autism and to be quite frank don't want to have a clue. It's so frustrating.

There is no referral to extra funding in the statement

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 09:42:03

Totally agree with all that has been said here.
The school have acted absolutely appallingly to my child and myself but at all stages the LA have told them what a marvellous job they are doing. The school then believes all of this and consider themselves to be a very inclusive school. They then fail to consider what's for the child or take on board the parent's views because they clearly know best. The LA and school should both be accountable for their actions but never will be. Any complaint is considered to be vexatious and therefore not responded to. That is their way of avoiding any difficult questions. And so the cycle continues .....

Because the one thing that teachers cannot be dismissed for, is poor teaching.

And there are a LOT of poor teachers coming through the system. Some of the older, better ones, who had substantial pedagogical training didn't receive anything at all on SN.

Of those who have come through later, many only passed their teaching courses because universities had to account for their pass rates, and whilst they did have some training in 'inclusion' most prefer to focus on ESL than SEN.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 10:07:27

Fighting - and of course with no oversight from the LGO, it is easy to keep acting in this way.

Star - teachers can be dismissed for poor teaching. I have a friend who is an assistant head and she has had to do this several times. There is a procedure to follow but it is far from impossible. Also I think there is a difference in primary and secondary school teaching and those who take generic BEds and those who have degrees and take PGCEs. Also like anything to do with colleges, not all colleges are created equal so there are varying standards,

Boc and Sazale - I think it is the lies that are the most destructive. Schools pretend they did stuff when they didn't and I agree lack of oversight encourages impunity. But the oversight they have from the LA also supports the lies and even if they were overseen by the LGO what's the chances of that helping? So perhaps we need more personal integrity and a better oversight system for LAs and schools.

Without improving the oversight for LAs nothing will change for schools either.

hoxtonbabe Sat 03-Aug-13 10:13:34

But starlight that's the thing, LAs do not monitor, that is the reality of all this, and when you as a parent highlight that the school can't or won't deliver they then collude with the school to cover this up as ultimately it is their necks on the chopping block. The school is more than happy to go along with this as it makes their life easier if they can get away with not providing xxx provision as its less paperwork, etc..and they know they can point most of the blame on the LA...take away that shield coupled with penalties of some sort, then I'm sure these schools will buck up their ideas.

I know this will not happen anytime soon, but I live in hope :-)

It's funny how when it suits them teachers (especially the SENCO) are EPs, SLT, OT and a judge with powers of removing provision when they feel fit, but as soon as that child leaves school and miserably fail in the real world or whist at school the behaviour worsens and as a parent you are looking for remedy due to their "super skills and high level of experience" suddenly its the parents fault and they profess that they are not SLTs, OT, etc and weasel their way out of any blame when the negligence claim comes a knocking at their door.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 10:20:31

The problem is, who would monitor? LAs do already in theory but as you say this amounts to little more than collusion in many areas.

The LGO could take complaints about schools. It did for a while. But they are beyond useless on SEN, and have no resources which makes a very convenient excuse to do a crap job.

Ofsted on a 2-3 day visit can't scratch beneath the surface and most Ofsted inspectors aren't skilled in SEN issues. Ofsted don't deal with complaints unless its safeguarding.

So you would need have a new body.

hoxtonbabe Sat 03-Aug-13 10:31:05

Excellent point IE...personal integrity is just as important here.

I tell you what have us running the SEN system we will get it sorted, lol.

In theory the monitong set up and LGO, etc..should work however the people sitting at their desks doing the job are the problem...lack of ethics and a certain mindset is a huge problem

sazale Sat 03-Aug-13 10:32:24

The special school my DD goes to is OFSTED outstanding! I know of 2 other parents this school year who have removed their children with ASD from it. They have also covered up for bullying of numerous pupils by a teacher who suddenly took early retirement when someone started legal action. The LA are fully aware of it.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 10:40:53

The indie mainstream school I had to withdrew my son from because he was heading towards a nervous breakdown is also Ofsted Outstanding. This school has appeared in glossy national magazines as "the" place to put dyslexic children. Hmmm, not my dyslexic son though!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 10:58:26

ime experience, the LA treated the words of teachers as gospel truth, even where there was disagreement from parents, OT, SALT, EP, even consultant paediatricians.

On a day to day basis, the teachers believe that their own observations and beliefs trump those of any other professional. For example, the school are supporting DS2 'well' but OT recommends a move 'n' sit (or is it the other way around?) to attempt to reduce movement but the teacher erroneously believes that a cushion would increase movement and so does not provide one. Teachers find the fact that DS2 does not follow instructions and is both distracted and distracting challenging but won't use visual timetables because they think DS1 would not like to be seen to be different - despite elsewhere stating that he does not care how others perceive him - and won't use a token reward system as this is reserved for DC with a diagnosis of ASD.

ime even where a school is 'trying', the assessment reports of (LA/NHS)experts are vague and wooly and do not enable them to understand the needs of the child or how severe and persistent they are now/will continue to be. wrt DS2 provision was commonly not delivered/or was a waste of time as results of assessments were minimised in reports. Eg, one SALT assessment showed that DS2 had narrative delay. No other details. So provision was the TA listening to him read 3 times a weeks. I requested more info from the SALT and it turned out that despite being assessed using a test for younger children, his overall score showed delay over half of his chronological age. The SALT then went into the school to train the TA to deliver a different intervention.

I have met good and bad in the NHS, teaching profession and even the LA. Years back, when DS1 was 7, I spoke on the phone to an SEN staff member at Essex CC. She advised me to apply for a statement despite what everyone else said - it had taken a long time but she had got a statement for her daughter. She said you will not even be on the radar without a statement. Bet she didn't last long though.

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 11:03:49

Oh yes Keep, school staff definitely have blinkers on and it's their way or nothing sad.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 11:33:20

I think this is particularly so with 'invisibility disabilities' as it is so easy to say 'he looks fine to me'.

I have had it for years with DS. We set up breaks etc for him so he isn't spending time out of class. TAs decide 'he looks ok to me' so don't offer a break.

DS says 'I hate Mrs X (TA) as she never lets me have my break'

I go to speak to Mrs X who says 'he can have a break whenever he wants one'.

I have to explain he is not likely to ask for a break because of his communciation difficulties so you have to pre-empt the need for breaks with a regular pattern of breaks which you can offer and then he can decide whether to take.

DS goes back into class. Mrs X offers a break. DS says no once and they never get offered a break.

DS says 'why don't they offer me breaks'

Mrs X said 'but he looked alright to me'

And on it goes until now ....... now you wouldn't' get him back in a school if you paid him.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 11:35:14

That should be "so he isn't spending all his time in class"

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 11:49:25

Yes, we had the 'nothing wrong with him' and 'he's choosing to behave like that' so they did things that wound him up. He had a phobia about something but records show that they decided to 'persist with it' as he was 'clearly choosing what suits'.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 12:02:58

You have all this nonsense so you put your poor child through assessments for (a) a diagnosis and (b) a statement.

At the end of it, you have a statement confirming your child's diagnosis and all the help the child needs because of the diagnosis.

Then, along comes a TA who decides he is just the same as everyone else until he does something 'rude' or 'inappropriate' or 'refuses' to do something.

Then, rather than saying 'aaah that is what they were talking about in the statement', the TA says 'what a rude boy'.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 12:03:45

So, how much further did the statement get you?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 13:26:53

So far ...

a present DS1 likes (where he feels it is OK to be him)

a more positive future for him in all sorts of ways

a better present and future for the whole family

an end to the constant battle

an end to being always branded, including by other parents, as somehow 'difficult' and 'demanding' because, in truth, unless you are difficult and demanding sweet FA happens.

hoxtonbabe Sat 03-Aug-13 14:07:55

Lol @ IE

I shouldn't laugh, but what you describe about the cycle of teachers and TA knowing best sounds the exact thing I go though...children with hidden disabilities get the real rough end of the stick, my DS has a hidden and for his entire secondary education he has receive no provision even after tribunals, amended statements etc..why? Because SENCO says she doesn't feel the need for him to have it!!

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 14:11:02

Ds was constantly chastised for his 'rudeness' (blunt words) which are a known trait.
Shame that the shoddy 'support' staff are not 'hidden'.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 15:10:20

Keeping - but that is not what a statement got you. YOU did that. You fought for that. A statement was not issued with what you wanted in it and you had to fifth for it to mean something.

This is what I mean.

A statement on its own is not enough. Even Ofsted say that.

Invariably, parents have to fight for the statement to mean something either by ensuring the child is in the right school or that the provision is actually put in place to effect.

Who has had a statement issued and been able to sit back and just let everyone get on with it?

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 15:10:57

'Fight for it to mean something.' Stupid ipad!

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 15:21:44

Keep - The very sad thing is this is why so many of us fight for indie ss. The same Statement, the same diagnosis and the same provision. If tribunal rule that my DS goes to indie ss, then I expect in a couple of months, I'll say the same as you. If they rule that he goes to the LA named mainstream school, then I will spend the next 2 years having to police provision which cant be delivered. That's if my son lasts 2 years there. Because if he goes to the school who has no experience in meeting the needs of a child like him, no doubt at some point i will have to withdraw him and home ed him. The question is, before i have to withdraw him, who will have the nervous breakdown first: me or him?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 16:00:04

There was a huge difference in my case between the finalised statement and the statement that resulted from the tribunal process.

The final statement got none of the things referred to above in day to day life.

The one thing it got me was the right to appeal - or to level up as DS1 puts it.

But had we thought it was right for DS1 to be in the m/s, with the same statement etc we would have achieved none of the things that really matter listed above even if we had 'won' at tribunal.

It is not the statement but the environment that is key.

I have received emails from NAS re free schools with specific ASD focus in counties with no/little specialist provision - anyone else?

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 16:09:49

"It is not the statement but the environment that is key." It's a great pity that LAs don't take heed of that! But environment has no place in SEN law.

My DS's statement has gone from nothing quantified at all to 17 hours very specific agreed provision/therapy presented to us at 9:30am on the morning of the Tribunal. Why are LAs allowed to do that! They had our version of the Working Document for 3 weeks, but still they are allowed to use last minute tactics!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 16:39:25

We lost our claim for costs (£5k) and I have decided not to apply for permission to appeal despite the fact that I have adequate grounds - the tribunal accepted the word of the LA post-tribunal with no evidence (none existed) despite ample counter-evidence in the bundle.

LA's are allowed to get away with crap all the way. We got OOC indi ss but they gave us a bloody nose.

Towie - of course 'environment' is off the agenda angry

WetAugust Sat 03-Aug-13 16:47:39

They do it because they know there are no penalties.

The LGO fails to deal effectively with maladministration.

There is no independent oversight and no penalties for behaving badly.

What I would really like to know: There are many teachers on this site/board. What has been the response from SENCO or the Head when you have expressed your concerns that any particular child may need SEN support?

Because it takes at least 3 levels of ignorance to leave a child unsupported, pick any of these who may be in contact with a child:
class teacher, subject teacher, SENCO, Head of Dept, Head of Year, Head.

Funny how there is a collective blindness?

Is failure to provide support a cultural thing that comes from the Head or just shit teaching failing to observe that their pupil may have difficulties?

I'm kinda 50/50 on each theory.

But looking at some of the teachers I've been in contact with - deputy heads with shaven bald heads and diamond earring in one ear, English teacher sporting a nose ring and weoring cheap flip flops, art teacher wearing vest that allows his very tatto0ed arms to be displayed ...... and this is an outstanding school according to the inspectors. What sort of message were they sending out to their pupils?
I guess she must have taken the nose ring out during the Ofsted inspection.

And this is where I'm going to go all Daily Mail on you - the problem is that 'anything goes' and nobody has the guts anymore because of everyone's u-man rights to say - "That's wrong".

If I was a Head and one of my teachers was determined to ape Farmer Giles prize bull I would tell her to take the bloody nose ring out during the hours I was paying for her services. I would also tell het to consider the effect it may have on her pupils. But I can't say that - can I? So I have to pussy0foot around hating the sight of her but unable to do bugger all about it.

My teachers were always appropriately dressed. the French teacher wore tailored suits every day. The Spanish teacher did a line in very chic tunic dresses with a blouse underneath, even the ancient science teacher managed a twin set and flowery skirt. Their dress was not a distraction (and certainly not to be emulated grin).

No - the teachers I have met on the whole have been utter crap. The further ed lecturers I have met have been absolute heroes.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 16:59:59

Wet - well said. Although i'm not sure if we should go back to the dress code of my grammar school - the head used to regally arrive in assembly in full Oxford academic robes every single day!

Keep - Oh I'm sorry you lost the claim. It's such a bastard unfair system!

Last year my LA bullied me for months saying they were going bring costs against me because of their refusal to assess my DS. They sent continuous bullying letters to myself and the Tribunal whilst, on exactly the same days, I was having to come to terms with all the reports coming in from my experts saying in no uncertain terms how severe my son's disabilities are. The whole of August and September of last year was spent worried sick about him and these costs. They couldn't even resist having another dig about costs in their letter in which they conceded and agreed to assess. Exact same letter stating a) in light of new evidence we will SA but b) we are going to claim substantial costs from you

This they maintained until the October when the claim finally came in and they decided to go after my solicitor. As well as claiming substantial costs against my solicitor because of the LA's refusal to assess, they even tried to sue my solicitor for punitive damages because, the LA said, my solicitors were not acting in my DS's best interests so had denied him any provision. The judge threw it out.

I tell you, these people are barking mad! These people are in charge of the education of our vulnerable children! I couldn't even make up half of my DS's story if I tried!

WetAugust Sat 03-Aug-13 17:11:48

Yep - all teachers in gowns and head wearing mortar board at Assembly each morning. grin

Punitive damages - which State of the US do they think they are? Dream on.

Something is driving this behaviour and it's more than just cost-saving. I mean I can understand the parents saying kid needs x support and LA offering y support and neither agreeing so they go to Tribunal that orders z support - that's a fair fight. But that sort of experience is becoming few and far between these days as parents get threatened with spurious child protection charges or fear financial penalties. Just who in the LA is driving all this?

It's a real pity that people are not brave enough to go to the Press about some of these LAs (and I count myself in the coward club here).

It would be so interesting to publish how much it has cost an LA in fighting individual cases in solicitors, barristers, EP, etc fees compared to what it was ordered to finance by Tribunals. And to publish the parents costs too. It's the HITS (Human Interest Stories) that interest people and that raise awareness and questioning and that ultimately get the system changed.

One of the saddest things I've ever heard was my own DS saying he will never have children unless he is sure he could afford to educate them privately. After what he went through I can understand his feelings.

Summerhasloaded Sat 03-Aug-13 17:25:10

That's interesting about costs, Wet. I wonder if it would be possible to FOI how much a LA has spent on fighting appeals?

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 17:30:24

Privately educating their own DC was certainly something my eldest has talked about for when they have children. But then she saw what a top ancient mainstream Ofsted outstanding indie school did to her brother! Private schools have a lot to answer for too!

I seriously believe that I haven't had any child protection issues raised against me only because I have had a solicitor very involved from the point when they refused to assess in March 2012. The home ed depart stayed away from me too. Although the DPA material showed that the home ed person sent everything they had on my DS home ed through to the SEN dept. So they haven't dared try anything because if they did, they know my lawyers would be snapping at their heels. Disgusting!

I would like to go public. But the time isn't right yet. The daily fail would love my story grin. They really went to town on a story about my ds old school this time last year - so theyd love this! But maybe not!

Summer - if you search whatdotheyknow, you'll see that several LAs have had this FOI asked of them. You'll also see that most have wriggled out of answering.

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 17:36:29

You're right Wet, there is a heck of a lot of nastiness going on. What is driving it - who knows? In my case I think it's just their belief that they know best and woe betide anyone who thinks otherwise.
Why are people not brave enough to go to the press? Probably for fear of any backlash/nasty tricks. I think though that getting these issues out in the open may be safer in a way. If people are aware of what you've gone through it might make it more difficult for them to try to do something else to you or your child.
Only accurate details can be published so as long as you have evidence to back up your claims what can they do?
I really want to publicise what happened to us to hopefully make other parents a bit more aware of what could happen to them. There are lots of human interest stories on this board and some seem quite unbelievable so publishing these would increase public awareness of what many of us have had to go through.

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 17:39:08

Not sure about the daily fail for my story as I've seen some of their reader comments about SEN children before hmm . Think I would go to our regional BBC myself.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 17:50:03

Fighting - Totally agree with you! Daily Fail are appalling. But they'd love my story cos it would give them a chance to bash an indie school - and an indie school that they've bashed before!

As for why don't people go public? Fear of reprisals on our DC! That's why!

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 17:50:18

I've even had threats issued in writing to me and have some classic quotes that are absolutely ridiculous so have plenty to excite the readers grin

WetAugust Sat 03-Aug-13 17:56:26

You see my background is public service as a civil servant - LAs are public servants.

Nothing in my training would have led me to act as these public servants do. We were always taught to be reasonable. If we developed a policy and we have objections / complaints we would examine them fairly and either adjust policy to accommodate the suggestions or state plainly why we wouldn't do so.

I can only imagine that these people actually believe they are doing the right thing. In which case what objectives are driving them? Is it a budget that must be adhered to? Is it that they can only issue a certain number of Statements each year? I just don't understand why they feel they need to play so dirty in the first place.

What may be happening is this growth in 1:1 and the exorbitant costs that incurs the LA. It was unheard of to have 1:1 when I was at school but then again we never had the most difficult cases in our mainstream schools in those days as they were funnelled off to SS.

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 18:03:00

Maybe they just want to scare off as many parents as possible. Let's face it, not everyone will want to take these people on or have the knowledge and strength to do so.How many children fall by the wayside and receive inadequate provision? - that saves the LA's a lot of money. If even the one's with statements are being failed there's no hope really sad

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 18:03:40

Totally agree Wet. But the old system of ss didn't work either. When I was 10, my DM was told I was mentally retarded and needed to go to a ss. I wasn't - just a severely dyslexic child but a very bright one too. Fortunately my "saviour" was a wonderful class teacher in my grammar school who personally took charge of me when i was 11 and personally taught me to read and write. The love and commitment of one dedicated teacher changed my life.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 18:12:10

Wet - I think some of it is about individual power and how important these people perceive themselves to be. I saw a massive display of this "power" and preening in the security reception/entrance lobby of the Tribunal when we all unfortunately turned up at the same time before the hearing.

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 18:19:04

Bet they were like a lot of peacocks strutting around grin

WetAugust Sat 03-Aug-13 18:25:03

Oh I know what you mean about preening. My neighbour has just retired from a LA. Well actually he's just been driven out of his job by an absolute assholse of a manger half his age. He had an extended period of sick leave due to stress and then retired. Very sad. So they do it to each other as well as to us.

I went to a retirement do yesterday at my old office. Heard all the jargon and the politics and all the managerial crap, for the first time since I left last autumn. I so regret that I spent so many of my 'good' years working in that place - but I suppose we all have to work somewhere and it paid well..

WetAugust Sat 03-Aug-13 18:28:25

The system of SS when I was at primary in the dark ages was that you took the really seriously disabled cases away to SS. That left those with moderate learning difficulties. You then took them regardless of age and taught them in one 'remedial' class.

I always remember that the 'remedial' class produced some amazing artwork which was hung in the school entrance. And they seemed happy. Expectations of them were low in those days - but they did seem more supported even in that whole-class environment than some of the so-called 1:1 support that's provided now.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 18:44:32

Fortunately I was spared the remedial class! Probably because I was in grammar schools and a remedial class was beyond the pale! Actually CSEs were beyond the pale and we all did (and got) 10 O levels! After a year in one grammar school, we moved and I did the rest of my school years in another grammar. This was the one with the head always in academic robes. My first meeting with her was when all 6 foot of her swept majestically in, in full flowing robes and announced to my 12 year self that "we are putting you in the Latin class, because if you learn Latin, you will learn the roots of words so will be cured" shock

Strangely enough, learning Latin didn't cure me of my dyslexia! However it did give me a love for history and I can (vaguely) understand Medieval Latin - which has been, surprisingly, a useful talent to have!

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 19:43:25

Wet - I am sure that teachers are all very appropriately dressed in top grammars and private schools. I can't see that makes any difference to their ability to care or to support SEN though.

I don't see the connection between dress code and effective practice at all to be honest and I very much disagree with blaming 'human rights'

If human rights principles were truly understood and applied, our children would not be treated the way they are. And a teachers dress code doesn't fall under any human rights article I am aware of. So that is very Daily Mail, in the sense of blaming everything on 'human rights' when 'human rights' are not actually involved !! grin

To be honest, if DS was support effectively and compassionately, I couldn't give two hoots about what that support looked like.

I worked in one of the top practices in the country and I have never met such dedicated lawyers. When we were not at court, we wore jeans or whatever we liked to the office. It didn't change the quality of my advice to clients.

WetAugust Sat 03-Aug-13 20:21:27

IE - I think you've missed the point here. I called it 'u-man rights' because it is not human rights per se but some thicko's (mis)interpretation of them.
I mentioned the Daily mail because every time someone harks back to 'how things used to be' they are usually accused of being a frothing Daily Mail reader. So my post was actually tongue-in-cheek in some respects

But this is where we disagree radically:
*Wet - I am sure that teachers are all very appropriately dressed in top grammars and private schools. I can't see that makes any difference to their ability to care or to support SEN though.

I don't see the connection between dress code and effective practice at all to be honest.*

Looking the part is everything. It sends out the right signals. You agree you wouldn't appear in Court dressed in jeans and a T shirt to argue your case would you - but even if you were permitted to I doubt that you would because it would not give your client the same confidence seeing his brief dressed as though for a weekend in Glastonbury rather than exuding professional calm in appropriate clothing even if the case is argued in exactly the same way.

The top grammars and private schools send out those right signals. Turning up in jeans, nose rings etc to teach impressionable students is, in mind, displaying contempt i.e. you are not worth me spending a little time each morning dressing in a professional manner. No, I want to dress like you and be one of your gang - and with that they have totally lost any command of their classroom.

They claim to be professionals, they want to be as professionals - well start acting like professionals.

Actually - don't bother discussing this with me. I know my prejudice is clouding everything as you know just how much I loathe teachers.

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 20:35:34

You do have a point Wet. At ds's school the children were all threatened with exclusion if their tie was worn too short as it would not project the right image of the school.
Ds rightly pointed out that this seemed a bit unfair as some teachers were slopping about in scruffy leggings. Double standards!

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 22:51:31

Oh Wet, I would never get into a fight with you about anything!! You are tops. I would appear in court in jeans if I could. I totally don't get the uniform thing at all.

But I am an old leftie grin

WetAugust Sun 04-Aug-13 00:18:00

Left wing lawyer ! grin

As an example of how important appropriate clothing is:

The Army decided a few years ago that everyone from Major General to the greenest squaddie had to war DPM fatigues - i.e. trousers and shirt in disrupted pattern material and big clunking boots. A few of the old Colonels I worked with were most put out about this as they had to forgo their olive green tailored trousers, green shirt / jerseys and red flashes.
Meanwhile the RAF permitted their people to wear Air Force Blue shirt jerkins /jerseys and trousers and the Navy continued to war black trousers and white shirts.
An Army major in my team complained that he wasn't being taken seriously at meetings as everyone else in the room was dressed very business like, in office attire, while he had to turn up looking like Action Man.

So it is important.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 04-Aug-13 12:22:30

But not to me grin What else can I say comrade?

Off on me hols now. Have a good week. And thanks to all for your endless fabulousness and Wet for your being ace this week!

WetAugust Sun 04-Aug-13 12:23:36

have a lovely time. Send us a postcard! grin

bochead Mon 05-Aug-13 08:22:23

Has anyone complained to the General Teaching Council?

If so has it yielded results?

I hear of people complaining to the General Medical Council, (the MMR case or Harold Shipman being the most widely publicised) but there seems to be radio silence on public complaints to the General Teaching Council. Why is that?

WetAugust Mon 05-Aug-13 19:47:59

I think the GTC has only 'struck off' about 2 teachers since they started sad

fightingforfairness Mon 05-Aug-13 20:30:58

The GTC has now been abolished and replaced by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
I think you have to go through various stages before you can complain though (just like everything else)

WetAugust Mon 05-Aug-13 21:19:32

'spect it's a waste of time sad

fightingforfairness Mon 05-Aug-13 21:28:12

everything else seems to be tbh Wet sad

hoxtonbabe Mon 05-Aug-13 21:33:18

I didn't think there was a replacement for the GTC...I wouldn't even bother with that, I suspect they will be no different than school governors...cover everything up and turn a blind eye.

i have lost all respect for teachers, and when they approach me about some stupid strike/campaign for more pay, etc... I calmly tell them about the wonders of the teachers at BOTH my DS school and how they have refused him his legal and human rights so forgive me if I do not feel any sympathy for you as you, can at least get a job...god knows what will happen to my child....that soon shuts them up.

Hmmm...the press thing is an idea I've been toying with, but I then get dragged back into some appeal or complaint that takes up my time....gosh I hate the LA and more so DS school!!

fightingforfairness Mon 05-Aug-13 21:48:49

I have lost all respect too after being threatened by governors who don't even know the law but think they are above it! angry.

hoxtonbabe Mon 05-Aug-13 22:11:39

Threatened you?!? I am convince most of these schools think they are the Mafia! I'm waiting to find a dead horses head or something at my front door from my lot with the way they behave... They have not threatened me yet though, they just like to tell me I should know my place, lol

fightingforfairness Mon 05-Aug-13 22:42:00

Oh yes - the threats were an attempt to try to stop me asking too many awkward questions. It backfired on them though as it made me wonder what they were trying to hide by being so aggressive and defensive. I then had a dig about and uncovered some interesting stuff wink. Their behaviour might come back to bite them on the backside. They've helpfully put everything in writing too so can hardly deny it.
The press would have a field day with some of the stuff we've had thrown at us.

WetAugust Mon 05-Aug-13 23:59:52

... and I thought I was the only one on here who disliked teachers <can't say hated cos I got flamed once when I said that grin>

Join the club.

hoxtonbabe Tue 06-Aug-13 10:16:41

Wet: I'm surprised I've not got flamed for starting this thread! As you know so many people think teachers are gods, so will defend to the hilt...however i have found the ones that defend have never been in situations like most of us on here and will never experience the careless, unethical, defensive behaviour of these people, as they either do not have kids or if they do they do not have any additional needs!!

The sad part is I can't even say its just my bad luck with my eldest DS school, my youngest DS primary school are just as bad as with my nephews school all of which are in different boroughs but behave exactly the same.

WetAugust Tue 06-Aug-13 12:09:02

Yes, it must be nice to think highly of your childrens' teachers.

I have to admit to biting my tongue when all the 'present for the teacher' threads start up at the end of the school year.

The sorts of pressies I would have chosen for DS's would probably have required a firearms licence. grin <<<< notice grin - this is a joke.

uggerthebugger Tue 06-Aug-13 22:04:55

Hmm. If truth be told, I've thought very, very highly of some of my DS's primary teachers over the years - I've had a few who weren't fazed by the disability, who knew they didn't have all the answers, who listened to our concerns and experience, who had high expectations, and knew how to work with parents and other professionals.

But I've never met a member of a school senior leadership team who has come anywhere close to this - in fact, most of the ones I've dealt with would serve their schools and kids better by being shot into low-earth orbit.

Special shout out here for the head who threatened a specialist member of staff with capability proceedings if she implemented DS1's carefully-calibrated rehabilitation programme. My DS1 would be many years further behind by now if this teacher hadn't had the guts to stand up for him back then.

WetAugust Tue 06-Aug-13 22:20:34

Depressing, isn't it?

sazale Tue 06-Aug-13 22:26:25

There are a couple of good teachers at the special school my dd has been attending and they've really motivated her. The rest including the senior management team are a disgrace. It's interesting how these good teachers repeatedly said to me at parents evening that they totally understood if I decided to move dd (they know I'm fighting for ASC specific provision)!

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