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School acting unlawfully?

(357 Posts)
emmapemma91 Wed 09-Sep-20 15:58:01

My little girl started a new school Monday, she’s 6 and starting year 2. She has SEN and is waiting for assessment for possible autism.
Today she was only at school for an hour and I got a phone call saying to pick her up as they ‘can’t deal with her needs and she’s disrupting the class’.
Now she’s been put on reduced timetable, only doing mornings. Obviously I’m concerned about her mental health and how she’s coping but isn’t sending her home ‘unofficial exclusion’?. And should I call them out on this? They’ve said they’re going to need her picked up again tomorrow if she doesn’t settle. And it seems a bit extreme to put her on a reduced timetable after only 2 full days.

I will start the EHCP process soon but know the school need to use their resources to try settle her first, but it seems like they aren’t prepared.

OP’s posts: |
JanetandJohn500 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:02:12

You're right. The school cannot do this. Get in touch with them and ask them to clarify whether her absence this afternoon was an exclusion. If it was, they should have given you an official letter and should also arrange for you to have a reintegration meeting.
If they say it is, tell the lm that under the Equality Act of 2010 they have to make reasonable adjustments because they suspect her to have an additional need. Ask them to specify how they have adapted their policy to meet her needs.
They cannot 'impose' a part-time timetable. You have to agree to it. They have to be able to demonstrate that the part-time timetable meets her medical needs (it can't be just because they can't cope with her). They also need to demonstrate that they have spent the nominal £6000 on her SEN needs- they'll struggle to demonstrate that because schools have been back less than a week and were closed all of last term.
I used to be a HT and now work in exclusion ls. PM me if you need more help.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Sep-20 16:02:23

Given her suspected autism and the massive change to her routine, wouldn’t it be better to try to attempt a part time start to school with gradually increasing hours? That might work better than trying to force the school to keep her if she isn’t coping with the change.

JanetandJohn500 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:03:20

noblegiraffe

Given her suspected autism and the massive change to her routine, wouldn’t it be better to try to attempt a part time start to school with gradually increasing hours? That might work better than trying to force the school to keep her if she isn’t coping with the change.


I don't disagree with you @noblegiraffe but it does need to be done with parental agreement and can't be imposed by the school as a fait accompli.

EsmereldaMargaretNoteSpelling Wed 09-Sep-20 16:03:55

It's nit just unofficial its illegal. Email them immediately and she for the fixed term exclusion paper work they filled in. They won't be able to provide it. Then contact your local branch of Sendias or Ipsea and start getting advice. Join your local SEN parents network or ASD network, there's probably a volunteer run one, get your self researched, resourced, and get some advocacy involved. You need to fight back strong and in full knowledge of your daughters rights. I've been there, it's not easy, but if you let this slide they will walk all over you.

Thisismytimetoshine Wed 09-Sep-20 16:04:18

JanetandJohn500

You're right. The school cannot do this. Get in touch with them and ask them to clarify whether her absence this afternoon was an exclusion. If it was, they should have given you an official letter and should also arrange for you to have a reintegration meeting.
If they say it is, tell the lm that under the Equality Act of 2010 they have to make reasonable adjustments because they suspect her to have an additional need. Ask them to specify how they have adapted their policy to meet her needs.
They cannot 'impose' a part-time timetable. You have to agree to it. They have to be able to demonstrate that the part-time timetable meets her medical needs (it can't be just because they can't cope with her). They also need to demonstrate that they have spent the nominal £6000 on her SEN needs- they'll struggle to demonstrate that because schools have been back less than a week and were closed all of last term.
I used to be a HT and now work in exclusion ls. PM me if you need more help.

What reasonable adjustments to disrupting the class can they make? Especially at short notice during Covid.

emmapemma91 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:05:04

I honestly don’t mind picking her up or having her on a reduced timetable, I do feel the reduced timetable will help. I don’t work so i don’t have that to worry about, but would like to know my rights and check they’re acting lawfully and in my child’s wellbeing. I’d like to work with the school to help my child rather than having to fight against them.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Wed 09-Sep-20 16:06:17

Oh I agree Janet that it shouldn’t be imposed and the stuff about illegal exclusions is correct.

I’m just not convinced it’s the right approach for getting this little girl settled in a new school.

JanetandJohn500 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:07:06

@Thisismytimetoshine it's adjustments to the policy so it might be more reminders of the expected behaviour of better positioning of adults to support her, more use of positive praise or earlier re-direction when they see the early warning signs that she's about to 'bubble up'

OverTheRainbow88 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:10:22

I would go for the part time timetable for now, my nephew has autism, he’s just gone into year 1. My sister didn’t send him into school during lockdown even though both parents key workers, as she thought the change in routine would be too much for him. He went into year 1 last week thurs and fri and this week has totally school refused. I think slow and steady wins the race in this instance. Although agree it can’t be enforced on you.

emmapemma91 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:14:00

I totally agree the reduced timetable is the best option, but it’s the ringing after one hour to pick her up really I’m just wondering if it was a unofficial exclusion.

OP’s posts: |
Thisismytimetoshine Wed 09-Sep-20 16:16:37

I do feel the reduced timetable will help.

I don’t work so i don’t have that to worry about, but would like to know my rights and check they’re acting lawfully and in my child’s wellbeing

Why do you need to know "your rights" when you've admitted it's the right course of action and is likely to help?

HandfulofDust Wed 09-Sep-20 16:17:07

The bit I'd find worrying is that they're saying 'she's disrupting the class' and 'we can't cope with her needs'. Rather than looking at it from the perspective of trying to support DD. I would worry that the school are committed to finding a solution for DD and are just trying to unofficially exclude her. As you say the reduced timetable is fine if it will help it's the attitude that would concern me.

year5teacher Wed 09-Sep-20 16:19:00

The ONLY time we “sent” an SEN child to home was because he was incredibly distressed and had been screaming and crying and running off for over an hour and nothing we did would calm him down. It was more because he was just so upset that he wasn’t able to learn and it was just a very negative experience for him.

emmapemma91 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:19:02

@Thisismytimetoshine as I’ve said it’s mainly the unofficial exclusion. I don’t want them to think they can take the piss and I’ll just sit and do nothing.

OP’s posts: |
spanieleyes Wed 09-Sep-20 16:19:12

Yes, it definitely was an unofficial exclusion, whether the school called it that or not, if it happens again, ask for the exclusion paperwork. You should get a letter setting out the reasons for the exclusion and your right of appeal. Of course, the school will say that you agreed to collect early or some such. But insist it is an exclusion and you want it documented as such UNLESS you agree to a reduced timetable under specific circumstances.

Waveysnail Wed 09-Sep-20 16:19:24

Have the school said anything about echp?

emmapemma91 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:20:15

@JanetandJohn500 thank you so much for your help, I’ll give them a email and see what they say.

OP’s posts: |
tiredanddangerous Wed 09-Sep-20 16:20:21

Yes it's illegal. They can't exclude her because of her autism. They should be looking at strategies to help her settle. Have you spoken to the senco?

emmapemma91 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:21:39

@Waveysnail it’s a new school so really need them to put support in place before we can try a EHCP. I specifically wanted this school because it’s additionally resourced and ‘outstanding’.

OP’s posts: |
Mehmen Wed 09-Sep-20 16:23:09

Depends how disruptive she was. If she was causing safety issues then they are entitled to ask you to collect

Boulshired Wed 09-Sep-20 16:24:06

The problem with this is how do the school achieve the correct resources for the child if they send the child home at the earliest opportunity. Whilst part time can and does help it can also covers up the actual needs of the child and progress cannot be made.

spanieleyes Wed 09-Sep-20 16:24:59

The are entitled to exclude her if she is a danger to herself or others but the can't just ask for her to be collected without prior agreement with parents.

averythinline Wed 09-Sep-20 16:25:42

Call them out on it straight away - they need to know they cant do- as once it starts it wont stop - how will they get the evidence they need for an ehcp if she is never there?

they have to demonstrate that they spend more than £6k a year on extra support for her -
they will have to show at least 2 iterations of 'plan do review' to have the evidence to support any extra help..

contact your local SEND- independent advsory service and parent carers forum....

you will need to be robust I'm afraid - she does not need a diagnosis for support or an EHCP but they will need evidence that she needs the help and excluding her wont help that..

get everything in writing.......

spanieleyes Wed 09-Sep-20 16:29:09

The school ( or indeed you) can apply for an EHCP under the exceptional circumstances route without the need for the plan/do/review period if it is abundantly clear she cannot remain in mainstream provision without additional support.

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