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To think they may as well say "don't send children with additional needs back in September"

(422 Posts)

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drspouse Tue 30-Jun-20 09:09:14

The current plan is:
All in bubbles of 30
All in the classroom together
All facing the front (WTF has that got to do with virus protection)
No use of shared spaces except at your rota time and after it's been bleached.
Teachers at the front, 2m away
AND focus on behaviour.

My DS has an EHCP and needs a space to escape to when the classroom gets too much. He's often been using a work space outside the classroom. We just looked round a lovely mainstream primary that has a behaviour base and a nurture base. Oh and a library and an ICT suite that children can access at lunchtime.
His previous school had very little space and the corridor was the library etc.

So how are schools supposed to cater for children who need time out of the classroom to prevent meltdown?
This includes children who are having a hard time at home, can't cope with playground noise etc. Not just those who have a diagnosis of SEN.

And children like my DD who have small group teaching outside the classroom most days - you can't do that with 2m separation and all facing the front even if you can disinfect the break out area.

So I'm guessing nobody really wants a child like my DS in their child's classroom if he's not allowed to go out to his calm down area when he needs to?

Well, I guess I knew the government didn't really want to deal with inconvenient children who don't fit their mould, but this confirms it.

I really feel for teachers, yet another impossible task.

OP’s posts: |
TeenPlusTwenties Tue 30-Jun-20 09:15:36

Facing front is so that they aren't breathing directly into each other's faces.

I share your concern. My secondary DD has had a bit of a breakdown and in normal course of events would get a gradual introduction into the main classes. I have no idea what will happen with her if she can't cope full time - and she is headed for y11.

drspouse Tue 30-Jun-20 09:22:17

Good luck getting most children to stay facing front! I'm feeling really sorry for the poor Reception children too.

So they are going to fine parents who keep their children home but don't care about children who want to go but can't.
That's fairly clear.

OP’s posts: |
Porcupineinwaiting Tue 30-Jun-20 09:29:55

All facing the front is so children arent coughing and sneezing into each others faces. (It has other benefits too but they are nothing to do w COVID). I'd also guess there will be less emphasis on small group learning and more use of whole class teaching with children sat in their seats rather than moving round the room.

The new system will suit some children with additional needs more, and others less. From the little I can gather about your son from your post he may find the new more structured classroom easier to handle (less noise and movement), no noisy dining halls etc

It may still be possible to provide a quiet space for your dc to retreat to - you'll have to ask the school about it. There is also no covid-related reason (except maybe space) that he couldn't have a quiet workspace in a corner of the classroom if that would be easier for him.

It's very easy to blame the government (God knows I do it plenty) but in this case, it's just trying to make a difficult situation work in as safe a way as possible.

It is tough, esp if you've selected a school with lots of lovely features (nurture space etc) that now cant be used. But a school that cares enough to provide all that in the first place may also be willing to think about what they can provide for your ds to help him cope.

drspouse Tue 30-Jun-20 09:55:05

The school (as at most schools with this type of provision) has a specialist space set up with a dedicated teacher. If a child needs to access this they need it when they need it, if you have 20 children across a school who need this kind of space AND they need the dedicated teacher you can't have 20 dedicated teachers and 20 dedicated spaces. If they have a sensory room (another school we looked at has a lovely soft room with lava lamps, fairy lights etc.) you can't have 20 of them. At his previous school, one of the main reasons for his failure was the school not setting up a space for him to retreat to; their idea was a table in a busy corridor, and if you can't share a safe space and have to disinfect it, you are looking at a plastic box in a corridor, basically.

He already has a quiet space in the corner of the classroom (when he's been in school) but this isn't enough for the most part.

I have seen almost no primary schools with children all sitting in rows facing the front (and I've seen lots of them), it seems like a Tory ideal of what classrooms should look like, not related to any actual evidence of how teaching works.

Whole class teaching also seems rather 19th century based on the very large number of schools we've visited in our search for a school for him.

OP’s posts: |
Regretsy Tue 30-Jun-20 09:56:25

This really depends if your DS has an EHCP or statemented hours, how many, ie does he have a one to one TA. I currently work in a secondary SEN department so support kids with SEN and I think if there is a TA then I think the school will recognise they’ll have to have some freedom in taking them out etc. Our school has a one way system and new hand washing stations which kids must use at certain points, so staff have been briefed and now the kids are used to it. I think primary may find it harder with behaviour if there is no TA and as usual the rules have been set by people in govt who have never worked in a school, sigh, but children are very adaptable and if parents are suppprtive of the rules and emphasise how important they are then it will work a lot better! I personally think it should be up to the parents if they send their own children in and not get penalised but that’s a whole other discussion!

Porcupineinwaiting Tue 30-Jun-20 10:00:32

Ah, so you think the changes are being made for ideological reasons, rather than because there's a novel coronavirus doing the rounds? Ok then.

Regretsy Tue 30-Jun-20 10:02:47

Just seen your recent reply, so the issue is there isn’t a physical space to take him to. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t any other room in the school a TA could take him to. Your schools rules sound very strict to me but maybe it’s very different in primary. I’d ask the school (very nicely) on the phone, or in person with the head, again. They may not want it on the record but there may be a space. On personal experience these rules tend to become a bit ‘flexible’ in reality and with children around!

drspouse Tue 30-Jun-20 10:04:44

He does, I've said in the OP he has an EHCP and he also has 1:1 hours but they have no obligation to provide anything in the EHCP at the moment. He's also supposed to have OT in school but that hasn't happened for months (even before COVID).
I would love to be able to say "oh we just won't send him if the school isn't suitable" but given that a) we have to work and b) he coped appallingly badly at the start of lockdown when he wasn't in and c) he needs to socialise with peers for the sake of his education, that's not an option.

Not all children with AN have an EHCP - my DD doesn't. She will cope but not learn anything if she has to sit in rows facing the front with no individual teaching.

This is really not just about my DS. It's about all children with AN and by extension it's about all children. Most children with AN don't have an EHCP, and don't have TA hours. Many children have AN but no disability - their needs are due to social/personal factors.

It is, as you say, something thought up by people who haven't been in a classroom since their own, leafy, academically focussed 6th form days.

OP’s posts: |
theproblemwitheyes Tue 30-Jun-20 10:06:07

Have you asked the school what their provisions for your son will be?

DobbinTheFool Tue 30-Jun-20 10:07:09

2 of mine have EHCPs but as it stands the law had been relaxed to reasonable endeavours, not absolute duty.

1 of mine is primary age, we're actually currently in appeal over contents and placement. Currently LA saying full-time 1:1 in a mainstream. He can exhibit challenging behaviour, he is fond of taking himself for some social distancing to the far end of a field.

My other is secondary Yr10 in an enhanced ASD Provision. How this will work there I don't know. They're supposed to spend 70% time in mainstream, DS1 managed zero in Yr9 due to developing extreme anxiety.

The provision is accessible to wider range of pupils for lunch breaks as it's got own space, toilets etc.

The staffing numbers and physical aspects of the space just won't align. I have no idea what they'll do, he currently goes in 1 day a week for a couple of hours and there's 1 other pupil in at same time. Obviously not sustainable from September.

GingerFluffycat Tue 30-Jun-20 10:09:57

All facing the front is so children arent coughing and sneezing into each others faces.

True, but they are then coughing and sneezing at their teacher...

BankofNook Tue 30-Jun-20 10:10:17

The relaxation of rules around EHCP provision has been extended too, LAs and schools have basically been told to do their best but they do not need to offer the full range of necessary support measures. DS school has already said that for the foreseeable future they won't be able to provide the support that is in his EHCP. Other DS does not have an EHCP yet but is on the SEN support register at his school and they have also said that support in September will be very limited. We now have the choice of sending them in knowing that school can't meet their needs, keep them home and risk being fined, or deregister and homeschool them.

On top of several months without support or respite, pitifully low rates of Carers' Allowance that don't reflect the care involved, and cuts to services that support disabled people and their families this is just one more instance of the government failing vulnerable people.

drspouse Tue 30-Jun-20 10:11:10

the changes are being made for ideological reasons, rather than because there's a novel coronavirus doing the rounds?

The changes are being made because the government thinks this is the way to do education.
If they can't have proper education for all pupils in school at the same time, they could have chosen to:
- Have only some pupils in at a time
- Not have compulsory education so that parents who can and want to home educate temporarily can do that (with a close eye on those who are not actively engaging in this).
- A combination of these two i.e. full time for those that really need it and part time for those that may not/may be coping well at home.
- Have a proper, well funded plan of how to open up extra spaces (without making teachers do this for their whole summer holidays - I don't recall doctors having to build the Nightingale hospitals).

But instead they are proposing rows of well-behaved pupils (where are they getting these from?) with 4 year olds facing the front and not fidgeting.

OP’s posts: |
drspouse Tue 30-Jun-20 10:12:36

Have you asked the school what their provisions for your son will be?

I doubt they have thought about it in any detail even for their current pupils yet, but if you read my OP I said we just looked round a school.

OP’s posts: |
BankofNook Tue 30-Jun-20 10:13:12

School have also said that any child who cannot follow the new rules for whatever reason will be excluded for the duration on health and safety grounds. One DS will be able to follow the rules so I'm not concerned about that being an issue for him but the other will need support to follow them and school are saying they are unable to give that support at present so he's likely to end up excluded for breaking them.

Saz12 Tue 30-Jun-20 10:14:26

Surely schools will make “reasonable adjustments” for kids with EHCP. That would extend to them accessing a “safe space” of some sort, if needed for them as a result of disability. I would guess schools are keeping these measures a bit quiet as it doesn’t apply to the majority of kids and they don’t want to hear all the “how come Little Johnny is allowed to do abc when my Little Peter isn’t” complaints.
Can you directly ask your DC’s school in a non-comparative way?

nether Tue 30-Jun-20 10:14:43

And recently deshielded DC too, who are currently expected to return in the basis of

"where possible children should practise frequent handwashing and social distancing"

It is very difficult to trust that advice is sufficient. Especiallymas the role of schools in Leicester is not yet known

TabbyMumz Tue 30-Jun-20 10:15:00

I've heard that each year will be a bubble, and bubbles cant mix so different lunchtimes for each year. But how does that work with yearsc7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, do they start lunch at 10 on the morning and finish at 3?

BankofNook Tue 30-Jun-20 10:15:52

the changes are being made for ideological reasons, rather than because there's a novel coronavirus doing the rounds?

Of course the changes are being made in response to coronavirus but they have not taken into account the fact that disabled children and children with SEN have a fundamental right to access education too and that adjustments must be made to support them in doing so.

DobbinTheFool Tue 30-Jun-20 10:19:32

My LA has put a lot of effort into getting Reasonable Endeavours plan put together. I've refused to engage but I strongly suspect the LA had enough hope that the laws will stay relaxed for an extended period/will not be fully reinstated...

Saz12 Tue 30-Jun-20 10:23:33

Cross posted with loads!
I would expect lots of kids will return to school with the need for significant extra support, due to impacts of lockdown. I cannot see schools catering well to them, depressingly.
I was thinking of primary-aged kids, in primary-sized schools, where there’s more likely to be with a teacher who knows them well (rather than a teacher per subject).

Regretsy Tue 30-Jun-20 10:23:44

OP you have totally triggered me with the image of trying to get a class of 30 reception children facing the front silently all day not touching each other 😂 just had to delete a massive political rant! But basically, I get you, it’s all mad and unfair. Rest assured school staff will do their best though however they can!

SomethingNastyInTheBallPool Tue 30-Jun-20 10:24:01

My DD has an ECHP and a full-time 1-1 at her mainstream primary. The school is sticking to the rules on hygiene, taking temperatures etc, but certainly doesn’t expect DD to do social distancing or sit still at a desk. They’re still spending lots of time in the sensory room and taking her out of the classroom whenever she needs a movement break or to be in a quieter space. I certainly wouldn’t assume your son’s school is going to try to impose all these restrictions on them — talk to the SENCO and class teacher and find out how they plan to meet his needs.

Saz12 Tue 30-Jun-20 10:25:08

What is a “reasonable endeavours” plan?

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