Is this illegal exclusion?(139 Posts)
I need some advice, my son is currently being flexible schooled due to his SEN needs. He currently has no EHCP or diagnosis, both due end of the month. He's currently being taught in a small group of 8 pupils and 2 TA's.
There was an incident on Monday where he hit a teacher who prevented him from leaving the room (wrong I agree) however, he'd got himself so worked up he was asking for me. And the Senco refused to call me, later reasoning that he was misbehaving so she didn't want to reward him with what he wanted (ie me). He is very frustrated at school, he can't do the work, we've had issues of the work not being differentiated as per the EP report. And he feels stupid. Has school aniexty around the place, and has a mental and emotional age of around 5 when he is 8. (Think crawling round the floor, running around school, and making baby noises)
I was called in Monday after this incident and agreed to flexi school him. I was upset at the time at the end of my rope, and confused about where to go next. The senco kept talking about exclusion saying, we should exclude him for this incident but won't. Do you want to flexischool him? I was given no thinking time, no cool off period. And the contract was ready for me to sign in the meeting. So between hearing about it and signing paperwork took 30 minutes. I wish I'd been more proactive and asked for time to think but I was scared he'd be expelled and I'm still in probation at work so it's the last thing I wanted.
The senco also keeps mentioning special schools, despite my desire to keep him in mainstream. His EHCP should be agreed the end of the month and they don't want to be the named school. To me it seems obvious they wanted him gone.
Today I arrived to collect him at 1:30pm as per arrangement, to find him in a melt down state. Saying he didn’t want to come home. The reason transpired that they were doing a fun activity. Which he had seen the other children start, yet he was being sent home. This caused him to run off around he school, and get very upset.
I’m at the end end of my teacher but I can’t afford to homeschool completely, I'd lose my job, because I can’t afford childcare.
My questions are:
Is this illegal exclusion?
And AIBU to expect either the activity to be postponed until he had gone home? Or him to be removed to another room so he doesn't witness the fun he's missing out on?
All children are entitled to a full time education. If the school had a letter prepared for you to sign in a meeting then that is putting unfair and unreasonable pressure on you. Their behaviour has been outrageous.
Your dilemma is that it is clear that they don't want him - in my experience if that is their response then they are likely to permanently exclude if they don't get their way (some schools will be unethical about this I'm afraid).
Is there a local authority or is the school an academy. The Education Welfare Service should be an ally - they are usually very hot on schools using illegal moves to get children out of school.
I don’t think anything is illegal here. He is still being offered some education.
I think while it would be nice to think that he wouldn’t see the activities he’s missing out on, there is no obligation to alter the class plans to make that happen. I understand your point though.
The school are telling you clearly that they can not offer your son the best education. They don’t have the skills or resources. In that case,
If he was sent home from school for any other reason than being ill, it is an exclusion. If you haven't been given a letter explaining that he has been excluded, it is an illegal exclusion. Even if you have agreed to flexi schooling, no matter what you sign, you can insist that your child is educated full time, and can stop the flexi schooling at any time. The school has no legal right to exclude your son or hold you to part time schooling. He is old enough to be legally entitled to, and required to attend school full time, unless he has a medical or special educational need, which would have to be laid out in his EHCP. My advice would be to contact your local authority SEN team and speak to your school's SEN officer and explain the situation. Give them a chance to sort it out,but if you aren't happy, complain to them, the governors (I'm assuming the Head was the one who made you sign a 'contract' so there is no point complaining to him/her). You cannot be made to take your son to a special school, although his current school can refuse to be named on his EHCP on the grounds that they cannot meet his needs with reasonable adjustments or that his attendance will disrupt the learning of others. Either way it sounds like they are a really nasty school that don't want to include all children and I would think twice about leaving him somewhere where they obviously don't want him or care about his wellbeing.
In that case, your son will be better elsewhere instead of you and him battling against this school.
Have you looked at other schools? Do any have a unit that allows integration and specialist teaching (pretty much always my favourite option)? It sounds like he needs one-to-one or very small group teaching right now, is this accounted for on the EHCP?
I think that you need to have a good think about:
a whether the school can realistically meet his needs. Is his sen behavioural or is he also going to always struggle to access the academic side?
b would 1:1 support make a difference? Could he then be educated within the mainstream classroom?
c Have you looked around at special schools? Look at both state special schools and look at independent special schools if he has a specific diagnosis / need that they specialise in. You may find that after looking around these you see something that will work better for him.
I have been through this to a degree with a dd with asd who spent a few years in mainstream. Whilst I was initially reluctant, it became obvious that she needed much more expertise and a different curriculum. Once I found the right place, she has flourished and is so much happier.
On the flexi school issue - if you feel you were railroaded then write to the head saying that having reflected on this / having taken advice you now feel that it is not in your ds interests and that he will be taking up his entitlement to full time education. You could also ask the school to take steps to provide more support whilst awaiting the EHCP. It may be that they will exclude him, but they should do so formally and the exclusion should be recorded.
You need a meeting with the school and someone from parent partnership (or whatever its called in your area) and yourself find this info on you're lea ,s local offer under send
I would suggest that you write to the school stating that you felt pressurised in the meeting to agree to flexi schooling in order to avoid an exclusion but that you don't agree that flexi schooling meets your child's needs and therefore you are withdrawing your consent.
He will be returning on Monday full time.
You have mentioned issues around lack of differentiation. is there advice about behaviour strategies and if so, are they implementing it?
Re the flexi schooling:
The Child Law advice service have a helpline and could advise you,
0300 330 5485
SEN & Exclusions:
Another SEN / exclusions advice service
I hope one of these can help.
There are lots of very knowledgable posters on the SEN boards.
The EHCP and diagnosis will hopefully give you some more clarity but I do think you may need to reconsider your view that DS should be in a mainstream school. His present school clearly can’t meet his needs so it would be wise to start looking at other mainstream schools as well as specialist providers.
What others said - you don't have to agree to flexi-schooling.
Does he have an IEP while you wait for the EHCP and what is in it? If he's being taught in a small group then he should have one and you should update and agree it regularly. If he is getting stressed enough to lash out then the emphasis needs to be on how to avoid and defuse such stress, e.g. having a place he can go, a card to wave if he's too stressed to speak, etc.
But if the school are that rubbish then seriously consider another. My ds and dss both have autism and go to schools on different sides of the city. One couldn't be more obstructive and is finally producing a EHCP after taking the council to court. His issues were obvious from reception and he's Y5. The other couldn't be more helpful, pushing for a diagnosis, but in the meantime creating a IEP, saying "let's try strategies that work for some autistic kids and see if they help" and last year after diagnosis writing a new IEP and confirming the two summer half terms and first one of this year would be the three required observation periods for a EHCP so the application could be sent off just after half term (drafted in advance) and the EHCP done just after Christmas. They also helped cut through the bullshit that the other school and council were spouting.
Good luck. Is the class teacher useful or a chocolate teapot?
Schools don't suggest special schools unless they are really needed. It sounds like they can't meet his needs, it's not fair on your son to keep him in an environment he's not suited for and can't make progress in. Go back and ask for more details of the special school
If a small class size of 8 with 2 TA'S is insufficient to meet your son's needs you probably ought to consider whether a special school is better for him than mainstream.
I agree. Look at special provision.
Probably super hard to hear but I think he needs it
It doesn't sound like he's progressing in that school (and it has a great pupil to staff member ratio). It would be worth exploring other schools including special schools, I don't see the point in wanting to keep him at that one.
Re: the activity, I don't know. I would have given him a separate task to work on or waited myself,but I don't see an obligation on them to do that.
I’m so sorry you and your son are having such a difficult experience with school. I know just how stressful this is for the whole family. I have two sons with autism and have just been through this decision with my youngest. He coped in mainstream until year 3, but by Year 4 it was obvious that mainstream wasn’t the right setting for him. At the time it was the hardest decision I had ever made but he settled into his new special school this September and is now a completely different child. He is happy, confident and loves his new school. After the second day he told me “mummy you have picked the perfect school for me. I’m not stupid anymore”. I cried after hearing that and my only regret is that I kept him in mainstream for as long as I did. His new school love him. I would advise you to visit some different schools as it is clear this one isn’t right for him. Good Luck and best wishes.
Good luck. Is the class teacher useful or a chocolate teapot?
He is very frustrated at school, he can't do the work, we've had issues of the work not being differentiated as per the EP report. And he feels stupid. Has school aniexty around the place, and has a mental and emotional age of around 5 when he is 8. (Think crawling round the floor, running around school, and making baby noises)
Hi op. I have sen kids so I do understand but honestly mainstream does not sound like the place for your son. I'd be looking at all the specialist provision in the area. You have to think long term - would he cope in mainstream secondary. You would be better getting him settled in good specialist provision
He really needs more support than a main stream school can give him. I would say his emotional age is much less than 5. 5 year olds don't crawl around the floor and run around the school.
This isn't the right school for him, the staff are doing their best but he's more than they can cope with, in a main stream setting.
The harsh reality is that mainstream schools are unlikely to meet your DS needs.
Instead of focussing on whether or not this is 'exclusion', why not focus on finding an environment where he can thrive?
The school are trying to tell you that they don't have provision for the extreme behaviour your DS is displaying but other places do.
He hit a teacher.
That is a biggie from the school's POV, and should not be lost by focussing in how you feel about the schools actions with you.
He was already in a class of 8, with teacher and TA, and other than reduced timetable, what else can be done to do to keep staff and classmates safe? Because they must have mentioned their reasoning for the change and I'd be quite surprised if that were not one of the factors. They can (and as they say 'should') exclude pupils for hitting teachers. I guess they see this period of flexi-schooling as his last chance - they're prepared to do more than they would normally do for a pupil by keeping him on reduced timetable.
Do you actually want him to be permanently excluded? I was wondering if it might make a difference to what other schools you could then access. Your description of his meltdowns (including violence) and frequent inability to engage with classroom activities, plus anxiety do seem to indicate that school is not the place for him. Or perhaps just not this school? Though if being in a small group 8:2 in school isn't working out, would he cope in any mainstream school? Would it be better to find a special school more suited to his needs? Or are you seeking more help (1:1?) to keep him in mainstream?
Nothing illegal has happened. Your son absolutely could be excluded for physical violence. Was the teacher injured?
Your son is having meltdowns, physically attacking staff and is uncontrollable despite such a high staff:student ratio.
I think that you need to stop considering what is allowed to happen and detailing your 'rights' and consider what's best for your son. It sounds like the SENCO is looking for a compromise, you agreed and now you don't like it.
It sounds like the school cannot cope with your son’s support needs. I would start exploring alternative provision. Either a specialist school or another mainstream.
It sounds to me like the school have put him in a small group with high staff ratios (1 teacher + 2 TAs is higher than I have in my similar group of 12, me and a TA for a child who has 1-1) and he isn't thriving.
It sounds like school are suggesting flexi schooling because he isn't coping at school despite what is in place. You say differentiation, but there's differentiaton and differentiation. There is a limit how low you can go with planning before fundamentally you have a child who simply cannot access the mainstream curriculum. In which case, one teacher can't teach 2 totally different curricula well at one time.
If they've drawn it yp properly then it might be ok. It might not be.
However, what I would say is you seem more bothered about why school is failing and pushing to keep your child in mainstream when he's not managing and the school is struggling to provide him specialist education than getting him thr right environment with qualified specialidt staff. (For what it's worth, I taught a child at secondary who shouldn't have been in mainstream. He became a danger to himself and disruptive for others. Lovely student but it broke my heart that we were doing all we could and he was still rolling on floors, trying to climb on the roof, having to have staff come, shouting random words, chargingn around site, running into lessons ans generally not learning. Home still refused specialist educaton until y9 because they had a 'i'm not sending him there' mentality. I can't help but feel like he'd have had better outcomes being there from the start. A colleague was on supply and saw him in his special school and text me sayinh 'guess who i've seen today' and said he seemed so much less distressed and much happier).
Your son is having meltdowns, physically attacking staff and is uncontrollable despite such a high staff:student ratio.
I think that you need to stop considering what is allowed to happen and detailing your 'rights' and consider what's best for your son.
I agree completely.
And yes, I think YABU to expect the classroom activity to be postponed until your son goes home. There are other children to be considered.
It very much sounds like that school environment isn't right for him.
My son had similar issues, from day one at nursery ages 3 he was getting excluded regularly. First day he smashed a window. By age 7 he was almost daily smashing up the classroom, throwing things at teachers and pupils, he had had no education because his behaviour was so so extreme. He had a 6 month provision where he was in a unit with one to one support and highly specialised teaching, even then it was still very difficult to manage his behaviour. He had no social interaction and the children were terrified of him.
We are in Wales so still have statements, and his statement his shocking and Heartbreaking.
Now, a year later. He is in a mainstream school (different one), he sits with everyone else, he has lots of friends, even a best friend, he plays on the yard with everyone else (never managed before) and has the same lessons as everyone else. He is behind academically because he has no education prior to that, but he's is catching up quickly.
What changed? The school to start with, but also having people who believed in him. He has home tutoring for 5 hours a week for about 5 months, just having someone believe in him and praise him was enough go get out of those negative thought processes. I'm the school as a whole, almost every child with special needs is way exceeding their expectations. The school has a special needs base but currently my child isn't in there. His teacher has no special needs experience but is fully willing to listen and support. He has a statement giving him access for a full time one to one, which he doesn't really need anymore. That isn't to say he is a perfect student, he does at times need time out of the classroom but he has never once lashed out and done anything other than just not being able to focus or keep still.
So, my advice, push ahead with all the echp and diagnosis, but get him into a school that's ill believe in him and give him a fresh start.
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