AIBU to think it isn't right that "...there isn't enough LSAs..."? Should I look for a new school?(23 Posts)
Just looking for some help.
DS is 5 (in Reception)... A few months ago, his teacher came to me with some concerns. She claims that "...he is a very polite and caring boy, who is actually really intelligent, but struggles to follow basic tasks..."
When he is given a worksheet to do (which is described beforehand) he starts doing something completely different - they will be asked to copy words, but he will start to draw what they are. He will be asked to describe something, but he will start to write about something completely different. They have tried him with an LSA, he came on loads - was following tasks and keeping up with others. However, she recently explained to me that there just isn't enough LSAs; "...there are other children who need them more..." and I do understand that, but my son does also need one. 5 new children have joined the school and more need them than they thought.
My son began to stop following tasks again, but doing his other work. This stops him from understanding questions/mini tests, even though he is actually really intelligent (teacher's words!)
I approached head of SEN/his teacher about this, his teacher said that he will have to just keep doing what he is doing... I asked her about long-term and she said that he will be fine, he isn't distracting anyone and he is above his age anyway, so it doesn't matter if he misses a bit
I then spoke to the head, I wasn't really that happy with that answer. He suggested that he goes to Yr 3 (to sit with their LSA (there is always one per class)) as there are no students in that class that require one. He has been in that class for 2 weeks. He sits next to the LSA, while she tries to juggle helping him and answering children with raised hands.
DS often comes home very upset, saying that the other children think he is naughty and that they have been told not to play with naughty children... It just isn't fair on him.
The schools response to this seems really odd, all classes need their TA.
Are you saying he has sen? Has he been tested for it?
At my dc school, there is one teacher and one Ta per class of 30 children. That is what there is finding for. These teachers/assistants need to be shared around.
None of this sounds satisfactory. Why isn't the LSA in the class with him? Why has he got to go into a ks2 class when he is in reception? Poor thing. I would be really cross about this.
Unfortunately, budget restraints are hitting LSA (TA) funding above all else. Many schools will now only employ LSAs to support children with an EHC plan (formerly a statement). Teachers are now expected to deal with any other additional needs through their own teaching. You could look around for another school to see if you can find one which does have more LSA's, but there's no guarantee that they will be available long-term.
Otherwise, your best option is to meet with the teacher/SENCO again and ask what their plan is for going forwards. His difficulty in processing instructions could just be his young age, but it would be worth suggesting to them whether they think he should have any testing. Or would it be possible to discuss with them how they use the LSA in the Year 3 class and whether they could be redeployed for part of the day in the reception clas.
I don't think that's fair on him at all. However, I don't know what kind of pressure the school is under. Maybe ask at a different school?
I don't think a different school is the answer unless you are particularly unhappy with this school. All schools have the same problem of lack of funding for LSAs.
You need to get a diagnosis and then an EHCP.
You may have to pay a private Educational Psychologist for the diagnosis but push the school first.
IPSEA is good for support with this sort of stuff.
He is in reception but is going to y3 to do worksheets??? That is extremely poor of the school! He is missing all of the EYFS provision set out for his age.
I would go in and ask:
how they are doing observations of his learning in continuous provision if he isn't there?
Does the school think there is an underlying cause of his difficulties and should you be going to see a paediatrician?
If they think he cannot cope at all without an LSA, when will they refer to EP?
What steps will they be taking to meet his needs in the meantime, because they have a duty of care towards your child?
He has a right to an education. Many schools do not have enough support staff, but teachers still have to adequately teach their pupils.
It always amazes me that some teachers want someone else to teach children with SEN, when that child has an equal right to time with the class teacher.
I would approach the LA and start looking at a school move - he's clearly capable of mainstream but the school aren't meeting his needs.
I don't want to armchair diagnose but I know a lot about types of dyslexia and that popped into my head on your description, he should see an educational psychologist for assessment as well
Another school won't be the answer if he doesn't have a statement of educational needs. No school will have a spare TA who can sit with your DS every time he needs to do some work. I'd be going back to the SENCO and asking for him to be assessed for dyslexia. Sending him to year 3 is VERY bad practice and I'm surprised school think that's an appropriate solution
Putting him in with Y3 kids is obviously completely inappropriate, he should be with his age group.
But step back a bit. He's 5, he's bright and academically quite advanced. But he has some difficulties focussing. This is most likely because he's 5 - an age at which, in most other countries, he would still be in pre-school. The push for more and more formal education at ever younger ages is resulting in schools and parents identifying children as not being "normal" when their behaviour is well within the range of normal for their age.
Does he really need 1-2-1 support - or would he maybe benefit from being given a bit of time to grow up normally?
Is it possible he has Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia affects fine motor skills and makes processing multi-step tasks difficult. It can be hard to get diagnosed especially if the child is bright as it's often misunderstood to only affect children who are under-performing but might be worth looking into.
I'd push for a speech and language assessment.
Getting 1-2-1 support for even quite severe sen is a battle. Schools are stretched financially so can't just magic up money for another ta.
It sounds like what he basically needs is someone just to sit next to him and keep him on task, rather than actually an issue-my dd2 is similar.
So actually him going to year 3 may well be a good solution. Because the children in year 3 are older and more independent, the ta can probably sit next to your ds and remind him to keep on, and when a year 3 child needs a bit of extra help they can cone to the ta, and the ta can advise and then they'll go away and sort it.
Also he may be less inclined to get distracted.
Dd2's teacher used to put her to work in the library, and it worked very well, and she loved doing it. (and was the envy of her friends)
It sounds like the school are trying to think creatively to provide some kind of solution for him that they can afford to fund, it isn't what would be ideal for him but they just don't have the money to provide what they would like to for him. It's clearly not working though.
You could try for an EHCP, they are difficult to get but it is worth a shot. While that is ongoing it sounds like it is worth a discussion with the school to see if there is a particular time of day when he is able to have some support from the LSA, even if that is less time than would be ideal a little time would be better than none.
How much structured work are they doing? Worksheets, questions, mini tests? Really surprised this is being a problem in yr R! It should be mostly learning through play. It doesn't sound like the things your DS is choosing to do instead are particularly less educational. Is this really a problem at this stage?
I'm also not seeing why they can't for example sit the LSA on a table with all the kids who need one. Does your DS really need constant 1:1 input? Or someone to make sure he's understood the task at the beginning and check every now and then and nudge him back on task if he's wandered? That shouldn't be without the bounds of possibility.
Are they sure he's understanding the tasks in the first place? Has his hearing been checked? Are they getting him to repeat back to make sure he understands?
The Y3 thing clearly isn't working and I'd ask them to stop that if I was you. Not sure if I'd be thinking of moving now, Y1 teacher may be better at handling what is I'd think fairly normal small child distractibility.
If that was in our school, the TA in the class where she/he is not really needed would HAVE to go to the class where they are needed!!!
Quite shocked actually!
I certainly wouldn't be happy with a reception child in year 3, how is that a solution? Is he doing year 3 work or reception work just with the year three TA? If it's the latter then surely pull the TA out of year 3 so she's available in the reception class room. As I think has been said TA should generally go where their needed.
The thing is the head says no one in year 3 needs a TA but it sounds like they need one as a class so their TA is doing two jobs one to one with your son and supporting the class teacher with year 3. Neither will be done properly, just cos you can't support a child one to one and a class at the same time.
This really isn't a solution and I'm amazed it was suggested.
It doesn't sound like he would qualify for an EHCP at this stage at least. You could ask the school to get him assessed by an educational psychologist, but that might well take some time - if you can possibly afford to get an assessment yourself that may well be better, particularly as some local authority EPs aren't very good.
This sounds an extremely odd response from the school, and more particularly the teacher; she is perfectly capable of directing his work, checking he has understood and is following instructions competently, without having to sit by his side and supervise all his work. Does he do a lot of worksheets?
'she said that he will be fine, he isn't distracting anyone and he is above his age anyway, so it doesn't matter if he misses a bit.'
Is she a qualified teacher?
You could wait until he enters Y1, with a different teacher, and see what happens. If nothing improves, then move him, because you are clearly not going to get help from the SEN co ordinator or the Head.
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