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Excluded (fixed term) - now what

(21 Posts)
hackneyLass Fri 13-Oct-17 20:24:33

I am Special Guardian to 2 of my nephews who were previously in care so they both get PP+. The older one, 8 years old, gets very stressed and anxious in the classroom which comes out (sometimes) as bad behaviour. He is particularly frightened of adults bearing down on him and being physically restrained (due to past experiences), so guess what the school do?

Today he got his first 2 day fixed term exclusion for a violent outburst. He's had internal exclusions this term and they have also been calling my partner into the school during the day to "calm him down". They have been very defensive when I asked to apply for an EHCP as it takes too long and the SENCO is already doing another one (!), but also the school don't have the resources to deal with him. This all sounds bonkers, illogical, and in part illegal. And probably depressingly familiar.

So advice on dealing with the school when he goes back after his exclusion. Can I say "we believe he has an SEN" even if the school don't. Can I arrange an Ed Pysch assessment myself or does the request have to come from the school. Can I make the school deal with him better or do I just give up and do a "managed move" to another school (as I sure they hope I will). I'll start the EHCP process myself if they refuse.

I've got advice from various organisations but would like some advice from adoptive parents who've been through it as well.

Msqueen33 Fri 13-Oct-17 20:27:38

I'm not an adoptive parent but I do have two kids with Sen and both have ehcps that I applied for. You end up a bit stuffed if you have a useless senco though. First thing would be an iep. If they think your nephew has Sen they can put him on the Sen register and get him some 1:1 support. Plus you can apply for an ehcp yourself. It's probably advisable to go to see your gp and ask for a referral to your community paediatrician (this is how it works in our area - Essex).

hackneyLass Fri 13-Oct-17 22:51:35

Hi MsQueen - thanks for your reply. The SENCO has been fine so far, until I suggested an EHCP. I'm happy to apply for one myself, I've been through it was my older son.

I thought it was supposed to be difficult for a school to permanently exclude a former LAC. But if they keep putting him back in the same situation he is likely to react in the same way.

They didn't even give a letter today so I don't even know if/when there will be a reintroduction meeting

Italiangreyhound Sat 14-Oct-17 10:02:48

I've got no advice, I've not been through this. But I do have an adopted son. The school were pretty ignorant of his needs and made starting him later an uphill battle.

Can local social service support send anyone to speak to school/SENCO/you. Only move him if it really would be better for him, and you.

Did they 'bear down on him' did they know that was a trigger for him? The school needs to know you will work with them but calling your partner on to calm him down seems counter productive. If he wants your partner to come on he will just play up more maybe!

BewilderedBeaver Sat 14-Oct-17 10:12:37

Just to add its. It quite as simple as they can put him on the SEN register and get him 1-2-1 support. That's not to say he doesn't need it but the school will have to request funding for that which is usually from a pot of money for the family of school and depending on the other cases requesting finding it may not be granted. Adding him to the SEN register is definitely useful in terms of getting the school to look at IEPs and ensuring he is monitored etc. Where we are funding is very difficult to get for additional support unless there is a diagnosis unfortunately.

If you are not getting any joy through school then definitely go to your GP as suggested.

fasparent Sat 14-Oct-17 13:15:11

Contact your LA's Schools Statutary disability team.
Community paediatrician as well., referral from GP. or Health worker.
Ask for a referral too Community disability team with view too a Pathway assessment plan be put in place at the end of this there should be a Educational Psychologists assessment which could lead onto a EHCP, Whilst all this is happening support would be put in place during assessment and Level 11 funding could be supplied too school in the interim. This is how it is supposed too happen, you can apply for your self as can GP and Community paediatrician.

hackneyLass Sat 14-Oct-17 15:49:29

Thanks so much ItalianGreyhound, Bewildered Beaver & fasparent for your suggestions. I want to go into the next meeting with the school forearmed rather than just accepting their proposals. Another boy in his class with similar problems was repeatedly excluded, put onto a short day timetable and "managed moved" to another school. I don't want the same to happen to my DN, partly because being with his younger brother is very important to both of them. I also read back on how Kewcumber' dealt with similar in 2014, very useful.

conserveisposhforjam Sat 14-Oct-17 16:13:26

You need to start documenting this if you haven't. There needs to be a paper trail. It is hard to exclude a FLAC - as it should be - and when/if you get to that stage you need to be able to show an appeal that the school have not exhausted all their potential resources/avenues for dealing with your dn.

I would write to the head requesting a formal meeting to appeal this fixed term exclusion on the basis that they are not meeting you dn's needs. I would minute that meeting and certainly I would want them to put it in writing to you that the reason you can't have an application for an ehcp is that the senco is doing another one because they won't do that because you will have won your appeal then and there!

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 14-Oct-17 16:52:31

I don't have any experience with exclusions but I do have two adopted children who have had issues that the school have failed to help me with. On both occasions , after realising that the school do not want to part with a single penny of the PP to support my children, I called post adoption support . Do you have access to that support as a special guardian?

Post adoption support were brilliant on both occasions. They provided therapy for my DS and arranged an Ed Psych report to be done on my DD which has given me the ammunition to get the school,to provide the support she needs.

Unfortunately even with the PP funding schools don't seem to know how to support adopted children. Well that's in my experience anyway,

PoppyStellar Sat 14-Oct-17 17:45:57

Lots of good advice so far. I think you are doing absolutely the right thing in going to speak to the school and wanting to be forearmed. There's a really useful guide for schools on supporting adopted children which includes a handy table listing possible behaviours, what they mean for the child, what might trigger the behaviour in school and what school can do instead. The one I've used is from Essex but I'm sure other LAs do similar. Here's the link www.essex.gov.uk/Publications/Documents/Supporting_Adopted_Children_In_School.pdf

I'm not sure whether an EHCP would be helpful, however, the school should have him on their internal SEN register because he has clear additional emotional and behavioural needs and poss learning ones too.

I'd suggest contacting Parent Partnership in your area. They might be called something else now, but a quick google should find out what and they exist to provide advice / support to parents, particularly for those who have children with SEN /additional needs I think.

In terms of exclusions any FTE needs a re-integration meeting and school must provide this (and give you notice of when it is). As you know, LAC and SEND pupils are most vulnerable to exclusion and as such, schools are required, under the DfE guidance on exclusions, to do all they can to avoid permanent exclusions for these pupils. Certainly, if it did get to permanent exclusion stage the governors review panel should challenge the school robustly on why they are permanently excluding a former LAC pupil and checking whether the school has exhausted all possible avenues of support, prior to the permanent exclusion. But, and it's a big but, the reality is often that if a school wants to manage a child out by way of exclusion they can usually do it.

It you feel after meeting with the school that they still don't 'get it', and are not likely or willing to change the way they treat your nephew, in all honesty I would think long and hard about whether it's a school worth fighting to stay at. is there a way you could move both boys together to a new school? As former LAC he has priority admission, and I think this applies even to in- year applications under each council's FAP (Fair access protocol).

Other than that, if you feel it's best they stay at current school then you need to get the school to fully understand what's causing the behaviour. Your nephew is not consciously choosing to be naughty and they need to recognise that. I'd strongly advise getting an advocate of some sort to help you, e.g. from post adoption support at LA, from Parent partnership, from an adoption charity etc if possible.

The bottom line is that school receives extra funding for your nephew and needs to use it to ensure he makes the academic progress he's capable of. He won't do this if he's too stressed out to concentrate. School needs to put measures in place to support him.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 14-Oct-17 18:37:30

Poppy that leaflet is fantastic. I've never seen it despite living in Essex. Wish my DCs school had had access to that document. They basically did the complete opposite of the suggestions on it!

tethersend Sat 14-Oct-17 19:01:12

The virtual head of the authority in which the school is now has a legal responsibility to make support and guidance available to parents and guardians of former LAC and to schools within their authority.

It may be that with the right level of emotional support and understanding of how your DN's narrative impacts his behaviour, there will not be a need for an EHCP; without an EP assessment however, this will not become clear. It may be very complex. How is his progress and achievement at school? Is he reaching the expected standard for his age group?

Given the fixed term exclusion (which is illegal unless a letter has been sent home stating the reason and the duration of the exclusion), this is ample evidence and justification to use his PP+ to commission an EP assessment; they needn't wait or use their allocated EP time. It sounds like training on working with PLAC would also be a very good use of the money. There are a number of organisations which offer this training; PAC UK is one- they also offer EP services.

If you PM me the authority of the school, I will give you the contact details for the virtual head- although this is new legislation and many virtual heads have not yet realised(!), they should be able to offer advice and may even liaise with the school on your behalf.

tethersend Sat 14-Oct-17 19:04:12

I agree with Poppy that changing schools might be an option- your DNs should be offered a place at the school of your choice and should not be placed on a waiting list or be referred to the Fair Access Panel. You can apply for an in year school place in the normal way.

tethersend Sat 14-Oct-17 19:04:54

Forgot the PAC UK link

Twogirlsandme Sun 15-Oct-17 22:49:28

Definitely contact virtual school head in your area and ask for advice.

hackneyLass Wed 18-Oct-17 11:36:23

Thanks so much to you all. I now have some hope – the education authority has assigned a re-engagement officer to work with the school to make sure he is not permanently excluded. She is also a psychotherapist & specialises in attachment & severe developmental trauma!! The school is behaving much nicer to us & DN now there are another professionals involved (so predictable and so, so annoying).

<High horse> The school should not be able to get away with "not wanting him" (or any of the other kids in the same boat). They are professionals!! <off horse>

All your help & support has been fab. Poppy the Essex book is fantastic and I will send it on to everyone...

PoppyStellar Wed 18-Oct-17 13:21:10

I'm really glad things are looking more positive, and glad the leaflet was / is helpful.

I'll join you up there on the high horse regarding the way some schools (not all) seek to manage out children who have additional, complex and challenging needs. I fear this will only get worse as autonomy is handed to untested academy sponsors and inexperienced Free school providers. Education is a right not a privilege.

CertainHalfDesertedStreets Wed 18-Oct-17 13:30:00

Aye aye poppy.

What some free school providers don't know about running schools is terrifying.

I went to one of the first launch events with Michael Gove as keynote speaker and the questions ranged from the very very basic to the frankly insane.

hackneyLass Fri 20-Oct-17 12:41:34

ooh certain do tell more...

CertainHalfDesertedStreets Fri 20-Oct-17 14:12:39

Well the first question was 'Can we teach creationism?' shockgrinbiscuit

CertainHalfDesertedStreets Fri 20-Oct-17 14:17:30

And the second was 'you talked about how important it is for a school to recruit good teachers - can you tell us how to do that?'

<faceplant>

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