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to be outraged at this labelling of SEN children by a head teacher

(52 Posts)
JustNotFunnyAnymore Wed 20-Jul-11 19:36:16

The KS2 SATs results at a local school are particularily poor (compared to recent years and then they were not particularily good) and a letter has just been sent out to all parents. The contents of the letter point to the fact that the cohort consists of 40% SEN children (8 of 20 children in the class). To me, this is wholly unacceptable. I interpret this as the HT using SEN as an excuse for the poor results. In my opinion her message to the world is SEN children are academic underachievers where I know this is absolutely not the case.

I am shocked that a HT considers this kind of labelling as acceptable. If this is what she believes then how on earth can those kids be getting the education they deserve?

I really would like to challenge the HT on this (my DC are not SEN) but feel I have to be careful as to what I say as she has accused many a parent before of bullying her when offering their views.

AIBU and (obv if you think IABU) all suggestions re my course of action would be gratefully received.

PonceyMcPonce Wed 20-Jul-11 19:37:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

inkyfingers Wed 20-Jul-11 19:38:53

Either talk direct to her - she's got 6 weeks to get over the pain, or any parentgovernors in the playground you could sound out?

Glitterknickaz Wed 20-Jul-11 19:39:42

I don't like SATS results. All it gives is a picture of how the class as a whole performed for the duration of the tests.

DS1 has just done his KS1 SATS. As his class has 50% SEN the overall results were generally lower than they usually are. The fact that the class does have these additional needs is an explanation, it's not an excuse.

Despite the actual result I know that DS1 has made excellent personal progress FOR HIM. There is a strong chance that kids with SEN won't achieve as highly in tests designed for NT kids.

I don't see it as an excuse. It's an explanation.

ragged Wed 20-Jul-11 19:40:45

In terms of HT covering her arse with the LEA, I think waving the SEN card will be a big help.

Also... what if the nature of the SEN for this cohort really did mostly mean learning difficulties? Do you know that to not be true? Maybe she could have phrased it better ("learning difficulties" not "SEN"). Is that the point you want to make?

Agree that sending a letter out as you describe doesn't sound appropriate. Tell me what the KS2 results were, btw, probably average for DC school smile.

rainbowinthesky Wed 20-Jul-11 19:41:12

Are they? Depends on what their special educational need is. If they have a learning difficulty then generally speaking they are not expected to progress at the same rate as a child without one. Impossible to know without knowing the details and it's noones business to know the specifics.

lubberlich Wed 20-Jul-11 19:41:15

YANBU - she is wrong on every level.
Be bold and challenge her - how can someone in authority bleat about bullying FFS?! Clearly she is a dick.

JustNotFunnyAnymore Wed 20-Jul-11 19:42:22

Poncey can you say again bit more explicitly please <<feels thick>>

Flisspaps Wed 20-Jul-11 19:42:27


Not all SEN children are academic 'underachievers', some are but I don't think she is labelling them all as such.

I think she's contextualising the results in terms of the cohort - surely she's much better placed than you to know if the results of the SEN children were key in terms of the results or not?

I'd have read the letter and gone about my day.

activate Wed 20-Jul-11 19:42:36

I think YABU

Children with GDD and S&MLD and some BESD can bring down SATs scores

Children who are academically gifted can raise it

so what's the frigging point?

rainbowinthesky Wed 20-Jul-11 19:43:02

That was in reply to PonceyMcPonce.

bluerodeo Wed 20-Jul-11 19:44:01

it isn't labelling, it's explaining the results - 40% of SEN children will really lower the SATs scores and for the majority of parents choosing a primary school for their children - SATs results do matter.

it's a stretch for you to extrapolate that the Head thinks children with SEN are underachievers

do you have children at the school yourself?

Glitterknickaz Wed 20-Jul-11 19:44:23

I find personal achievment more useful than statistics.

alowVera Wed 20-Jul-11 19:44:23

HT is using SEN children to explain how her school has failed all of the children, SEN or not. That is despicable.

Nanny0gg Wed 20-Jul-11 19:46:19

The issue should be, what were the school's targets and did they reach them? If they did, fine. If they didn't, why not?
The targets would take into account any SEN 'issues' (apologies), so that is what is important to know.

wredel Wed 20-Jul-11 19:46:49

YABU children with SEN are more likely to perform worse than those that do not so I think the HT is entitled to point this out when the schools results are presented and scrutinised.

rainbowinthesky Wed 20-Jul-11 19:47:05

Where is the evidence that any of the children were failed by the school? The value added scores would be far more useful.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 20-Jul-11 19:48:26

I would imagine that the LEA will be looking at the results anyway and will know exactly the SEN/non-SEN results split. It's pointless leaping in to complain about the results because you won't know where that split is.

I think it has much to do with the government's policy of inclusion; nobody wants to see segregation in schools but I would imagine that having a high percentage of SEN children in a school does mean that a large percentage of teacher's time is taken up with SEN issues. It doesn't mean that it's 'wrong', just that if that is an indicator, then the Head is right to note it.

It doesn't mean that you're being unreasonable, of course you aren't, but the facts do need to be looked at without emotion and that's difficult to do when you're a parent of a child in the school.

I would really counsel that you get your questions together, based on looking at the information you've been given and try to be objective; nobody is disparaging your child or any other child in the school, they're just broad facts and it's been done without finger-pointing but if it is the case that the number of SEN children = lower SAT results then that needs to be looked at by the LEA.

Mitmoo Wed 20-Jul-11 19:48:39

It sounds to me as if the head is covering her butt. Of course if they have a higher percentage of SEN then the results could be lower. SEN covers a whole gambit from autistic children who can be above the average intelligence for their ages to dyslexic, tourettes, OCD ADHD which can impact on certain subjects or overall achievements.

Autism when they can have higher than the average intelligence is classed as a learning difficulty. It sounds as if she has had a really bad OFSTED report and she's protecting her arse by making excuses.

What she needs to be careful of is a couple of things one that parents will not want their non special needs kids there or worse that the parents of the children who don't have SN will blame the children and not the head, for the schools low achievements and poor reputation.

In the end it is the last and this governments fault for the way they measure a school's performance. SATs are not a reliable indicator for a parent.

FrankieSandford Wed 20-Jul-11 19:49:31

I find all this stuff really sad. None of these numbers actually mean anything to anyone in the outside world.

JustNotFunnyAnymore Wed 20-Jul-11 19:50:28

Glittanicks - you're right, could be an explanation, hadn't considered it that way.

Ragged - true too, could mostly be learning diffs, I don't know.

rainbowinthesky Wed 20-Jul-11 19:50:32

It sounds to me like she is giving an explanation rather than an excuse.

DartsRus Wed 20-Jul-11 19:52:28

I am a former governor at a school with a unit for children with SN attached to a mainstream school. It is the case that children with SN have to be entered into the SATS tests and their results do indeed lower the overall average for the school. This is an explanation, not an excuse. The mainstream children of that school did as well as expected, or better (my own dcs did well), and the % is very good when the results for the SN children are removed. BUT, the tables have to show the overall score and this always looks lower compared to the nearby primaries without units for SN children. And the SN children are lovely and most have been able to achieve their expected scores or better them. This school really helps those children.

40% SN children would have a major effect on the SATS scores.

rainbowinthesky Wed 20-Jul-11 19:53:44

Children with sen do not have to be entered for sats. That's simply not true.

worraliberty Wed 20-Jul-11 19:54:48

In my opinion her message to the world is SEN children are academic underachievers where I know this is absolutely not the case

But SATS don't measure achievement.

The SEN kids who scored low, could have achieved massively during the time they were at the school. It all depends on what level they were at to begin with.

This is why I think YABU. The Head is merely explaining the low results is due to the high proportion of SEN...she's not saying they've underachieved.

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