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To ask Tory voters what I do now.

(435 Posts)
GailCindy Fri 13-Dec-19 11:21:43

I have a son who has SEND issues. I am trained as a senior nursery practitioner and have done a lot of courses to back up my college NVQs so I can look after children with quite severe disabilities in a range of settings but I like nurseries. On paper I could get a job for about 25k quite easily.

My son is 14 and has SEND issues. I worked full time until he was 12 and half way in year 7 when it became impossible to work and be a mother to him. Over the past 3-4 years, his support in school has dwindled so he now gets 10% of what is on his EHCP and none of it is 1v1. It is all in small groups which is better than nothing but not if it is only for 2 of 25+ periods he has in a week. My son is not violent or disruptive in the usual way. He will become very anxious and have panic attacks if he feels overwhelmed in any way by his surroundings or work. This sometimes mean he will cry or become very withdrawn and unable to sit in lessons. Rarely he will explode but he wont hit other people. It will be closer to self harming. Also, for reasons related to his ASD, my son goes through uniform/clothes/shoes much faster than other kids his age. Quite a bit of his DLA goes on uniform where I buy at least one item a month. Often 2 items. Plus other clothes.

They wont let him take his phone to school. I was part of several parents across the country who tried to protest these rules locally and nationally but the education minister backed the schools with these rules. My son has to travel alone to and from school because I work* for a few hours per day. He can become overwhelmed by something unpredictable happening so not having any contact (not even by phone box as he cannot carry money) on his way to and from school is terrifying. Plus they issue same day detentions for up to an hour so I never know when he is leaving school. Same for a club or event. The Xmas auditions ran 1hour past time until 630pm and they did not tell parents so we were all wondering where our kids were. Nobody answering school phones and of course we cannot call the kids.

These two things with school always ringing me and him needing to be able to contact me means I cannot do my job. We are not allowed phones in the nursery and it is not practical for the school to ring the office as much as they try and contact me which can be every day.

I had a partner but we recently split because of money issues. We couldn't afford to be together legally and it is too hard to maintain separate homes and finances and feel like a couple. That is a friend with benefits.

A special school might be better for my son and I thought as much from year 7 but guess what? Cuts mean that because my son can do his work alright he isnt eligible for a special school. One man from LEA told me that special schools are for kids with brain damage in wheelchairs now and not kids who can write and read. All of those are moved into mainstream he told me.

So the cuts mean that my son has to go to the only school with autism unit which is defunct due to lack of funding but people have the knowledge of what should be done at least. However he gets no support there so they'll regularly need me to get him. Lack of funding also means that he cannot go to a special school because they are now for people more disabled than him.

All of these things mean I can only work 3 hours a day because the only feasible job I could find that just happens to be in my field was to do the mornings in a nursery as a NVQ level 2 employee. I meet him when I can but it would cost me £15 a week to do so unless I walked there which would take an hour out of the other things that need doing. Therefore I only meet him when it combines with some other task which makes the bus fare worthwhile. I still can't work in the afternoons though because I have to be "on call" for him. If he needs to be collected which he often does, even if it is at home time, they will not let him leave alone distressed or in a cab. So either me,his dad,or my recent ex has to collect him. His dad lives 150 miles away. My recent ex had to work all the hours God sends to provide for us all (he has kids himself). So it is me.

MY UC housing allowances does not cover my housing costs by £150 so that comes out of our living expenses. That's because the HLA is low, we are in private accommodation with no chance of local social housing for years and we need to live somewhere he can easily get to the places he needs to get to alone. This independence frankly means that he is more likely to put money back in society at some point. Moving would set us back and the nationwide shortage of services means that moving somewhere cheap and rural would mean he wouldn't get even the support he gets now.

Long story not so short we live on 100 pound a month ( including his DLA) after I've paid to not be evicted and to keep in contact with each other. That includes food, travel for me, clothes, treats, replacement furniture, everything. The only luxury we have according to budgeting sites is wifi but really my son would never pass his GCSEs if he didnt have good internet at home. Streaming off of a phone to laptop does not work well enough to access all the complex websites and programmes he has to use just to do compulsory homework. Good GSCEs means he will more likely earn money and pay taxes.

His dad gives CM but considering he has 6 dependents in his home, has bipolar and works "part time" according to them, it is barely enough for my son to have some pocket money for the trips he takes out with a social group of local SEND kids and the occasional treat related to his hobby which I use to get him to do stuff that he doesnt want to do and likely wont get support doing anyway because of the cuts. I mean things like completing assessments and exams. They freak him out big time.

I know this is pathetic and long but honestly AIBU to ask what do I do?

Every turn the Tories have cut off our options. I haven't bought a pair of knickers since last Xmas and they were from Primark and I'm literally praying someone buys me some this year because they are ripped and off colour. That is my life now. I'd love to go back to the job I trained so hard for given that I had a shit family who abused me and stopped me finishing school but the support just isn't there for me to leave my son. What do we do when BJ will just take more and more away and make it even harder for people like me who want to work but can't with such shit public services?

Dragongirl10 Fri 13-Dec-19 11:41:17

Op l think your solution is nothing to do with politics..

If l were in your situation, l would be looking at using any skill l had to work from home, ironing, admin for people, proof reading for companies, internet home based jobs, telemarketing, sales jobs etc.
There are many very inexpensive adult courses that could give you new skills.

As a single parent you need flexibility and I guess from your sons school perspective you are unable to move closer to family so you need flexible working.
You can then build up by working evenings when he is asleep, the hours in the day you are free.

The ideal would be to look at anything which you could charge at £20 per hour plus and see if you can find a way to do it.

Maybe get a session with a really good life coach or recruiter to look objectively at your skillset?

Good luck

GailCindy Fri 13-Dec-19 11:48:38

Any money I earn will be at 33p per pound unless I lie about it so work that would be 20 pound per hour, I'd get about 7 instead but employer would expect 20 quid worth of work. If I did too much of that work for which I only get 1 third of the money, I'd lose all my HLA and have to try and pay full rent.

I can't envisage a time in the next few years when I'd be able to leave my son alone all night and work. He could work in the day and I could work at the same time but where as when he was 10 I thought he would be able to do things like that by 18 I'm not sure any more. His anxiety and self harming has increase dramatically. Plus I think it would be very extreme on my wellbeing to switch to working exclusively at night. Surely that would mean very limited family and social time and that would in turn make me a less productive worker if I was constantly unhappy.

Skyejuly Fri 13-Dec-19 11:52:50

I totally hear you. It's a massive worry. I took in some cleaning jobs but its back breaking and not regular hours so would be a pain on UC.

Dragongirl10 Fri 13-Dec-19 11:53:43

Sorry op but you are not looking at ways to improve your situation, tax credits help if you are on a low income and yes it takes time to build a good income but it can be done, many many face issues like yours but still work.
It take commitment and an open mind but if you really want a better future that is your best option....what is the alternative? sit around complaing about whichever Government is failing people, because sadly they all do at different times. There is no perfect answer but helping yourself is always the best option.

AllergicToAMop Fri 13-Dec-19 11:57:00

Any money I earn will be at 33p per pound unless I lie about it so work that would be 20 pound per hour, I'd get about 7 instead but employer would expect 20 quid worth of work.

I don't have experience with benefits, can someone explain the math to me, please?

Sparkle567 Fri 13-Dec-19 11:59:40

The support written in his ehcp has to be provided legally. They can’t just provide 10% of it.

steff13 Fri 13-Dec-19 12:01:46

Why can't you and your partner afford to live together "legally?" I'm not sure what that means? But if your partner works fulltime than doesn't that help you

steff13 Fri 13-Dec-19 12:02:00


SympatheticSwan Fri 13-Dec-19 12:02:45

Oh OP that sounds tough. As a single parent of two, one with SEN (albeit younger) I can sympathise. I work full time and have literally zero social or family time. I would have probably voted Tories if I were a British citizen, so did not want to read and run.
I don't think any political party would be able to solve issues with the poor communication from school re Xmas events or relationship problems with your DP. However, I can totally see how all this things can just pile up on top of you when you are already way too stretched.
Is there anything that you can do remotely / from home? Is there a degree that would be a good fit with your current experience / interests? Is there a spare room for an au pair, for someone to be on call with the school etc. so that your hands are a bit more free regarding work?

Littlebearstrousers Fri 13-Dec-19 12:03:28

I voted labour but flowers for you and your son.

JeffreeStar Fri 13-Dec-19 12:04:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Xenia Fri 13-Dec-19 12:09:49

Good advice on this thread.

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 13-Dec-19 12:14:02

As Dragongirl10 said you need to be more flexible in your approach to work.

You need something that can be done around your Ds and need to approach it as if you did do jobs that earned £20 per hour and you come out with £7 then it is another £7 income.

Even if you only did 2 hours work like that per day 5 days per week then it would be another £70 per week.

Over a year that is £3640

Tax credits and benefits are there as a back up but even if you think it isn’t worth doing something because it is only £7 per hour you have to change your thinking and think of it as another £7 or another £5 or another 1.50 which all add up.

I know you have done all your training and you work mornings in a nursery but have you looked at possibly doing something else that brings in more money.
Even cleaning I think would pay more than working where you do.

At this point you need to look at using your time to work around your Ds and get as much money in as possible.

horse4course Fri 13-Dec-19 12:15:45

@JeffreeStar just think about what you said. And have some compassion.

Do you really think people should only have children if they can afford to provide full care in the event they have SEND issues? Really?

CrossingTheAlpsInOtley Fri 13-Dec-19 12:18:17

What did you think Labour would do? Send you lots of extra cash every month? They wouldn't have done, you know.

Mummy0ftwo12 Fri 13-Dec-19 12:19:33

'The support written in his ehcp has to be provided legally. They can’t just provide 10% of it.' this, can you request a review?

and also, its not true about the special school thing.

JeffreeStar Fri 13-Dec-19 12:22:50

@horse4course yes I do, I have plenty of compassion, I know life is tough but no one is legally required to have children.

AG29 Fri 13-Dec-19 12:24:51

Oh I don’t really have any advice but I feel for you, I really do. I have a son with autism and a daughter with suspected autism. Both younger than your son but I am struggling to hold job at all so you’re doing better than me and I get it. Thankfully I have a partner who works so I can be a stay at home mum but it’s not easy. I actually want to go out to work but it’s impossible to find work around what my Oh does plus no childcare for my children. Nobody knows how hard it is to raise children with sen unless they’ve been though it and makes everything ten times harder. Hugs 🤗

ChristaMSieland Fri 13-Dec-19 12:27:59

You need to look at enforcing his ECHP provision. Or getting bolshy and pushing for a specialist placement. There are places that cater to that 'in between' territory of HF ASC but lots of issues. I know it is tough, but SEN tribunal is very sympathetic to parents and children.

I am not clear whether you are working and if so how many hours? Is it temping you are doing?

I went self employed when I was in a similar position. I think it is often the only solution for parent/carers of children with SN, especially lone parents. Is there something self-employed you could start PT now that has potential to expand in a few years?

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 13-Dec-19 12:28:37

Can I ask why if you earn £20 per hour you would only come out with £7

CuriousaboutSamphire Fri 13-Dec-19 12:29:42

So you and your OH decided to live apart so you would get more tax credits, benefits?

Your OH has a number of other dependents and cannot work full time?

You have worked out some odd math on possible earnings that would mean you take home less than 50% of what you earn.

And you are catastrophising, panicking based on one party's dire predictions that were made in order to scare us into voting for them?

Stop, breath and have a re-think. You have a lot of issues going on there. Some of which will always be totally out of your control.

Your DSs issues are going to be your major constraints, ones you can do something about, work around and posters have made some good suggestions.

I'd only add the very patronising sounding but sincerely meant: calm down, take a deep breath and stop panicking. You WILL be able to work through this, but you have to be able to see the wood for the trees first!

NotMaryWhitehouse Fri 13-Dec-19 12:29:48

@JeffreeStar what about people who have a change in circumstance? Lose a job, have a breakdown, partner dies, etc?

What about children who suffer an injury at the time of birth and end up needing full time care from birth?

There but for the grace of god, and all that.

People don't set out to struggle, you know?

ChristaMSieland Fri 13-Dec-19 12:30:09

Also, are you getting Carers Allowance? If you earn about 120£ a week (you can deduct travel, childcare and all payroll deductions, IIRC) you can still get CA, and keep all of your UC. That's a 'sweet spot' in the system.

slipperywhensparticus Fri 13-Dec-19 12:30:57

I get it and people on here wont sshe has an echp can you ask for a mobile phone to be considered a reasonable adjustment due to his disability? Even if he hands it in at the office in the morning and collects it after school?

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