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To not want to provide free supervision on a school trip again?

(41 Posts)
WelshMaenad Wed 07-Nov-12 15:58:06

Bit of pertinent - dd is 6.4. She has cerebral palsy, which affects her mobility and means she ends up v tired and in a lot if pain if she has to walk far. She is a blue badge holder and we have a wheelchair which she uses for any significant distance. She is in mainstream primary, smallish class size, no statement of SEN but is on school action plus.

Last year the class went on a trip to a local outdoor museum. The site is large and she would absolutely need to use her wheelchair. The plan her teacher/LSA made was to allocate the LSA to dd and ask the HT to fund an extra LSA to accompany so dd had 1:1 to push her chair and they still had adequate ratios of staff:kids.

He refused to fund it. He said they would just have to 'juggle it' with the LSA pushing DD and also being responsible for a group. The teacher/LSA were so worried about the safety aspect that they begged me to come along, DH ended up taking an unpaid days leave to look after our toddler, who was not allowed to come, so I could go. It absolutely would not have worked or been safe if I hadn't been there, the LSA and I agreed. I subsequently expressed concern to the HT and was assured this would not happen again.

I've just taken a phone call from DD's new teacher saying they are going back to the same place on Nov 26th (a monday) and can I accompany.

I really don't want to have to do this again. I actually don't know if we can, DH has a staffer off sick and may not even be able to get the day off. I am now working (was SAHM last year) and I work nights, Sunday night is my Rota'd night and I will not have slept! DS should be in playgroup in the morning but someone will have to collect him at 1 and we have no one. We have a meal out on the Monday night as its my mum's 60th do no chance to nap in the afternoon/evening. Most if all, I feel that u just shouldn't bloody have to, that the school should provide enough staff to keep Dd safe.

WIBU to say no, and kick up a fuss till they agree to provide sufficient staff? And what do I do if they won't?

stella1w Wed 07-Nov-12 16:04:58

If you won,t have slept sun night you can,t do it. Put the ball in their court.

Sirzy Wed 07-Nov-12 16:08:40

Are there no other teaching assistants in the school who could go? Would another parent be willing to volunteer to help on the trip?

44SoStartingOver Wed 07-Nov-12 16:08:42

I think you would be absolutely right to ensure they provide the support and supervision everyone needs.

Not only should they not it take it for granted that you can help, but your dd needs the same opportunities to spread her wings and get experiences without her mum alongside that all the other kids get.

I believe they are required to provide access to the curriculum for your dd (not physical obv!) so they need to get their act together!

BigBirdisSaved Wed 07-Nov-12 16:08:53

I would say no. I would say that you are happy to volunteer like any other parent when it fits your schedule but this time you can't.

pigletmania Wed 07-Nov-12 16:12:43

Say you are not able to, they should provide te same opportunities for all and tey shoud find extra staff

WelshMaenad Wed 07-Nov-12 16:13:52

Yes, 44, I totally agree that she doesn't want her mum traipsing along in school trips and embarrassing her!

I went sling on a trip when she was in reception, but it was a last minute request due to snowy weather (was trip on a steam train to see Santa) but she was only 4... At 6 she needs to have the luxury of independence! Also her classmates are very accepting and I don't want to mark her out as different because her mum has to come on trips with her...

HecatePropylaea Wed 07-Nov-12 16:15:37

I believe this falls under their duty of care and DDA.

Tell them they are failing in their duty of care if they don't ensure that there is adequate supervision and that your daughter's needs are met and that they are breaking equality legislation if your daughter is excluded from a trip on the grounds of her disability and that it is unreasonable of them to expect that you will step in to relieve them of their obligations.

That'll light a fire under them.

WilsonFrickett Wed 07-Nov-12 16:18:20

Nope, this makes my blood boil. Your daughter attending school trips should not be dependent on you accompanying her angry what a piece of nonsense! (Sorry, not you, the school). They need to find extra staff, it's a reasonable adjustment and if I was you I'd be quoting the DDA at the HT very loudly indeed.

Do they ever ask for general parent helpers for school trips btw, because that's another way to do it, general helpers help, LSA focuses on your daughter, but absolutely this is not down to you. They are discriminating and I don't throw that word around lightly.

GreenShadow Wed 07-Nov-12 16:18:24

Most primary schools will depend on parents to help on trips out. Ours could never have gone ahead with out a loyal band of (mainly) mums.

It never seemed to bother the children that their parents were coming along to help.

If you can't go, then I would ask if they have other volunteers who could help out.

WilsonFrickett Wed 07-Nov-12 16:20:03

And when you do speak to them don't mention the second last para of your OP - it's not relevant if you can or can't do it, you shouldn't have to.

And what Hecate said ^^

threesocksmorgan Wed 07-Nov-12 16:20:09

yanbu, that is disgusting and tbh reeks of discrimination, unless all the other children's parents come too.

Sirzy Wed 07-Nov-12 16:21:15

The difference with parent volunteers in normal circumstances is that the parents aren't there to look after their child (in theory) they are there to help the class.

The school should just ask for parent helpers not expect one mother to attend to help her own child

BerthaTheBogBurglar Wed 07-Nov-12 16:25:59

Say no. You can sweeten it by saying there may be occasions when you could be a parent volunteer on a trip with a different class. I volunteer in ds2's school, but not in his class - he has a hard enough time getting independence as it is.

Say that you understand that it is difficult for them to ensure that your dd is not treated less favourably than other children because of her disability, while still ensuring that all the children including your dd are kept safe. But that they must do so.

Tell them that providing a 1:1 would be a "reasonable adjustment" necessary to ensure that your child isn't discriminated against. Suggest they phone the LA to discuss funding options, or ask if they would like you to phone the LA and/or the Ofsted safeguarding team for advice?

Have a word with the teachers and ask them to refuse to "juggle it".

Have you got a Parent Partnership thing where you are? aka parents of children with disabilities, who have been there, won the tshirt, and will help you fight your corner!

Blu Wed 07-Nov-12 16:28:36

What Hecate said.

If she is on school action plus they should be planning and budgetting for access issues such as this.

As the Head assured you this would not happen again, I wonder if this has been relayed to the class yeacher who called you? Just say to the class teacher "sorry, no I'm not available, but in any case after I came last time it was agreed with the Head that in future the school would make suitable provision - so I assume you will be getting a proper access assistant?"

healstorturepeople Wed 07-Nov-12 16:36:22

That's not right. I have taught several disabled children in mainstream schools. They were always included on trips and I would borrow a ta from another class. While its lovely for parents to volunteer the emphasis should be for the school to sort adequate help, not on you. Parent support is essential but not to the extent where a class trip would be un-doable without you.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Wed 07-Nov-12 16:38:43

Of course YANBU. How sad that the school has put you in this position again.

LeeCoakley Wed 07-Nov-12 16:38:59

I'm not understanding the problem. Any trip outside of school needs a ratio of 1:6 or somewhere in that region for infants. So normally a band of parent helpers have to help or the trip doesn't go ahead. So why don't they just have one extra so the LSA can push your dd? But then again, why does pushing the wheelchair need a 1-to-1? Surely this would be just part of the group e.g. 5 walking, 1 in a wheelchair?

WelshMaenad Wed 07-Nov-12 16:50:19

Lee, on other trips is has not been required to have 1:1 - walking trips around the local area etc, they have managed. It's hard to explain unless you know the nature of the place, but she really does need that extra attention - helping in and out if the wheelchair at exhibits etc, taking detours around rough terrain or inaccessible areas. It does compromise the LSA's ability to adequately supervise the other children in the group.

I may ask last years LSA to speak to the HT and emphasise how badly 1:1support is needed in this circumstance.

mousebacon Wed 07-Nov-12 16:50:57

I'd be kicking up a major fuss if I were you. This is absolutely the school's responsibility - especially after they failed in their duty of care first time round.

I agree with other posters - go directly to the HT and remind him/her of your previous agreement (and the DDA). Even though your daughter doesn't have a statement, at SA+ school still receive additional funding for her.

Definitely don't go. There is no way they can exclude her from the trip (DDA again).

Good luck.

LeeCoakley Wed 07-Nov-12 16:54:08

Fair enough. So what about the volunteers? Or do the school generally manage to get the correct ratios by borrowing other members of staff? I'm sure they could drum up enough volunteers if they wanted so as to enable the LSA to concentrate on your dd.

WelshMaenad Wed 07-Nov-12 17:04:11

Apart from myself last year it was all staff and they managed with ratios, they are lucky in that they're a village school do small class sizes plus existing LSAs mean they can hit ratios - there was just an issue getting that one extra staff member for dd apparently.

Parents only seem to volunteer for things that are 'fun' such as the Christmas panto. Which they're welcome to, it's my idea of hell. I do support the school in other ways, PTA, fetes and events etc, I just resent being coerced into helping whilst they basically shirk their responsibilities under the EA. I don't want to give the I pressing of being a dump-and-run, school-is-there-for-free-childcare kind of parent.

WilsonFrickett Wed 07-Nov-12 17:21:36

You're not but tbh it wouldn't matter if you were. Your child's attendance on an educational trip isn't co-dependent on you volunteering to make the costumes for the nativity - it's not about what you do, it's about equal access for her education! Oh I am FUMING about this! <backs away slowly>

Lougle Wed 07-Nov-12 17:29:59

Why oh why, is it so complicated?

DD1's special school take their classes out regularly. 10 children with complex needs, all adequately supervised, many using wheelchairs, kaye walkers, with epilepsy, etc. They manage to sort it out to be safe.

Why is it that a MS school can't cope with 1 child who happens to use a wheelchair as her mobility aid?

spotsdots Wed 07-Nov-12 18:22:39

OP you should only volunteer if you can and want not because your child is being discriminated. The school is breaking the law by not providing the required support for your child. Write to HT and remind him of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.

The disability equality duty

In 2006, the “disability equality duty” came into force, as introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. This puts a general duty on public authorities – including schools and further and higher education institutions – to promote disability equality. Regulations published under the Act put a specific duty on public authorities to prepare and publish a disability equality scheme which gives details of how disability equality is being promoted. Schools must have regard to the need to:

promote equality of opportunity between disabled and other people;
eliminate discrimination and harassment, promote positive attitudes to disabled people;
encourage participation by disabled people in public life; and
take steps to meet disabled people’s needs, even if this requires more favourable treatment.

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