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Reduced school timetable ... anyone else had to deal with this?

(64 Posts)
NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 21:27:05

DS1 has been having behaviour problems at school. He started school in Sept aged 4.1 and since then things have been getting steadily worse. He's rude, disruptive, aggressive and violent to his teacher and the headmaster, although he has been doing well academically.

The school have now brought in a range of professionals to help, both at home and at school. Of course, we have been fully co-operative with all of this, as we are keen to see DS do well and get on at school.

Last week we called a meeting with the headmaster as we had not actually spoken with him about DS at all. This was scheduled for Friday. On Weds we were approached by the class teacher and asked to come in to "discuss what we were going to talk about" on Friday.

We did this, and they told us that since DS's behaviour had gotten so much worse since he has been doing full days, they were considering a reduced timetable for him. The headmaster said "I think probably afternoons". We readily agreed to this.

On Friday, they had drawn up some papers with the reduced timetable on, along with three objectives that DS must meet before he is allowed to proceed to the next milestone, and more time at school.

However, far from being afternoons, the first two weeks consist of Monday, Weds and Fri 9am to 10.45. If he meets his objectives, this will increase by 15 mins, and so on. If DS meets his objectives on target, he won't return to full time school until July.

We were assured by the headmaster that this strategy had worked with other kids, so we agreed to it. They said they would send him some work to do at home that would tie in with what the class are doing, but all that came back with him in his bag were two extra reading books.

The reduced timetable started on Monday, and DS had a bad day, mainly because I made a mistake and told him we could go to the local park, take photos and put them in a scrapbook. I thought it would be a good way to get him looking at nature and writing about things and drawing pics of the things we saw.

The SENCO lady at school told me I should not have done this as it made him uncooperative at school and just want to go home. Lesson learned, I thought I will not tell him of anything we will do during his home time.

However, tonight we were visited by the home school liaison officer, who is helping us to learn new ways of managing his behaviour at home. She informed us that it is in actual fact illegal for DS to leave the house during school hours while he is on the reduced timetable!

I was amazed. No one had told us this during either meeting at the school, and it essentially means that me, DS1 and his little brother, who is 18mths, are under house arrest for all but 5 1/4 hours a week! I can't go shopping, I can't take DS2 to playgroup, I can't visit my sister, I can't even take him out for a walk when he needs some exercise.

If I had known this I would have been much more reluctant to sign off on the reduced timetable. We live in quite a small flat and having two kids alone all day, particularly one with challenging behaviour, is going to be extremely tough. I am feeling daunted and a bit depressed.

Has anyone else had this? I feel like I need a little support from someone in a similar position.

lougle Wed 06-Mar-13 22:24:17

To be honest, I'd go the whole hog:

Refuse to send him part-time. Tell him that if they don't want him there, they need to officially exclude him. If they do so, that is excellent evidence for a Statement of SEN. If they don't, they'll manage.

They cannot just send him home because he is under 5.

Come to the SN board...tell us about your DS. We'll think of things that may help.

ReallyTired Wed 06-Mar-13 22:25:19

"Something else which the home-school lady told us as well: that it is illegal for DS not to be under the care of a dentist and an optitian once he has started school. Is that one true? "

She is truely clueless and sounds about as useless as a chocolate teapot.

lougle Wed 06-Mar-13 22:26:00

"Something else which the home-school lady told us as well: that it is illegal for DS not to be under the care of a dentist and an optitian once he has started school. Is that one true?"

Absolutely hogwash.

Yes, it's ideal or even necessary for dental care at that age. You should have school screening services for eyes. Unless there is a problem, most children don't see an optician that young.

TheChaoGoesMu Wed 06-Mar-13 22:28:29

Re the dentist and optician. Its obviously something that is very desirable. But illegal? No.

TheChaoGoesMu Wed 06-Mar-13 22:30:44

Sounds like she is making it up as she goes along. You have a long journey ahead of you by the sound of it. A swift learning curve on learning your rights and obligations unfortunately.

ReallyTired Wed 06-Mar-13 22:31:24

Do you legally have to see this home-school woman?

breatheslowly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:33:54

I think you are being very badly informed by both the school and the home-school woman who is probably more used to dealing with exclusions. I wonder if there is an organisation which could advise and advocate for you. Have you had any contact with the SENCO at the school?

steppemum Wed 06-Mar-13 22:37:21

I think that the school is avoiding their responsibility here.

If a child has difficulties they are responsible to manage that. it may mean they have to have a 1:1 TA for the child, and that would mean getting them statemented etc.

You need to find out if your child is being excluded. If this arrangement is basically an exclusion, then it is a massive 'punishment' against your child which will stay on their record. I would then write to the school and say that that was not clear and you withdraw your agreement to the arrangement.

In fact I think I would ask for a meeting with the head and say that you are not prepared to proceed with this arrangement and after some thought, you want to discuss it.

You need support. Our local council has a parent support person (can't remember what it is called) who is specifically for the parents and knows the rules. Get someone who knows the system on your side.

bookbird Wed 06-Mar-13 22:39:47

My DS was put on a reduced timetable for two weeks last year. It's totally unworkable and we fed that back to the school which they accepted and he went back full-time.

School did think he needed "a mental break" during the school day, so we bring him home for lunch twice a week. That has been in place for over a year now and is working for us.

duchesse Wed 06-Mar-13 22:42:17

OP, I am speechless. There's no chance you might have misunderstood anything they've told you is there? Your child is not even legal school age yet! You would be perfectly in your rights to withdraw him from school entirely and not even countenance taking him back until the start of next academic year. The SENCO is barking- of course you are allowed to take him out of the house and do fun things!!! Jeez, as though living under house arrest would actually improve the situation! I'm off to read the thread now but sincerely I believe the school it talking absolute shite if that's what they're saying.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 22:49:49

The head was under great pains to stress to us that it wasn't a suspension. Well, he said "this is not us saying we don't want him here" so I don't think he is down as a suspension.

This was billed to us as something quite normal that they had done before and that had worked.

Oh dear, this is seeming like a horrible can of worms now. I am going to have to do a lot of research and make some phonecalls in the morning.

mummytime Wed 06-Mar-13 23:01:16

If you are in England then look up your local parent partnership.

I would also ask carefully about the Home School Liaison's qualifications, as at least some of what she has said is rubbish.

I would also go to see your GP and get a referral to a paediatrician. It can't harm, and starting to get a diagnosis will help if you need one. Of course you can get a diagnosis at 4, the earlier the better for ASD.

NaughtyDolly Wed 06-Mar-13 23:09:52

The home-school liaison gave us her card, she is a family psychotherapist if that helps? Come to think of it, it was also her who told us he was too young to be diagnosed with Asperger's.

The school doctor is supposed to be meeting with us soon, would he be a paediatrician? I only ask because my GP surgery has the WORST system in the world called Open Surgery where you have to wait for two hours in a waiting room full of ill people for a slot to see your doctor and when I have done it before DS has been epically horrendous.

breatheslowly Wed 06-Mar-13 23:29:12

I think you need an educational psychologist or child psychologist/psychiatrist rather than a family psychotherapist. Psychotherapy can mean many things and may not be the right "school of psychology" for your needs. If she is working as a school/home liaison officer then she is not actually working as a family psychotherapist (though her background qualifications may be relevant). The school doctor is likely to be a local GP I think, rather than a paediatrician.

tethersend Wed 06-Mar-13 23:36:07

(Have also posted on your other thread)

The school cannot have it both ways- either he is of compulsory school age and is entitled to a full time education which they have to provide, or he isn't and you can go out whenever you bloody like.

Part time timetables should only ever be used as a last resort and as part of a reintegration programme. I think you should speak to the exclusions officer at the LEA, as it sounds as if this could indeed be an illegal exclusion.

Is he on a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)?

Have the school completed an SA1 (statement request) form?

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Wed 06-Mar-13 23:39:52

No going out only applies during the first 5 days of an exclusion

You have been misled

Sounds like an illegal exclusion to me, do get further advice on this.

mummytime Wed 06-Mar-13 23:44:21

You don't even have to take him to the GP to request a referral, just go yourself and explain his challenging behaviour. However if your GP is pants, I would suggest looking for a new one,mas you will probably see a lot of them over the next few years (school age kids often need to be checked for things etc.).

Dysgu Wed 06-Mar-13 23:52:10

As a teacher, I second getting in touch with your local Parent Partnership - it sounds like you have a bit of a battle on your hands and it will be useful to have someone sitting with you who knows the rules and can explain anything to you.

Also, re getting referral to paediatrician - what is your Health Visitor like? When i needed to get a referral (back) to consultant, mine was able to jump me up the ladder without having to wait for GP appointment. Might be worth a try rather than a difficult wait in the surgery.

OR can you ask for a telephone consultation with your GP - our clinic pushes these a lot for people who do not really need to be examined physically.

OR can you arrange for someone to look after both DC and go to see the GP yourself to discuss things without DS - at least initially? This might then prompt a referral or at least something other than a 2 hour wait.

Good luck.

princesssmartypantss Thu 07-Mar-13 04:29:34

there are far better informed posters on here but my initial reaction was that i didn't think he had to be at school until he was five, i also think from reading the thread that you have been given a lot of confusing and probably incorrect information. i agree with others that you should seek advice from local education authority. i have a friend who before she retired worked in a lea looking after children who had been excluded and getting them into new schools. pm me if you want me to ask her advice.

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 06:56:41

You don't have to do ANY of this. I am absolutely shock at the information you've been given.

If I were you (and I kind of was around 5 years ago when my ds started school, very similar situation) I would get him to the GP pronto and perhaps ask for some help with his behavioural issues and a developmental assessment. in our area we have a child development team that does this.

Then I'd tell the school he's not coming back till after he's 5.

I can see that they are maybe trying to ease him into school rather than go the whole hog immediately and on the surface that's a good plan. However the way they are trying to implement it, the timing etc are clearly unworkable and it cannot continue.

As for this liaison woman shock well words fail me (almost ) the advice and information she has given you is absolute nonsense! I'd laugh in her face if she said all that to me. She sounds completely clueless.

I think you and your ds are being completely failed by everyone involved here. Like another poster said come over to the SN Board and have a chat about your ds.

notactuallyme Thu 07-Mar-13 07:07:04

My advice would be to contact parent partnership for your area, look at the council website - its free and confidential.
Also try your inclusions officer, also local authority website.
Then post in sen.
Good luck.

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 07:56:24

Thank you. I have just found the number for my local Parent Partnership, I'll give them a ring this morning. DH doesn't work on Fridays so that will also make going to the GP a bit easier if I have no joy with the Health Visitor today.

Feeling much clearer and much more empowered with knowledge today. Thank you all so so much.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 07-Mar-13 08:11:34

All that I can add is ask the home School liaison woman to put what she said to you in writing! I bet she won't......sounds like absolute bollocks to me and I know little about SEN! By putting it in writing she is totally accountable and can't claim it to be a misunderstanding, but what it might do is make her think twice about the crap she is spouting.

It's dangerous that she isgoing around under the guise of being a professional and giving such shit advice!

I hope you get things sorted op.

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 08:38:46

I have just spoken to the headmaster, who said he didn't know whether or not it was illegal to take him out of the house during school hours, but that I should just trust the HS liaison worker.

He reiterated my mistake with DS on Monday, my telling him we would be going to do things in the park, and said it had been disruptive to other kids in the class. He said that I should be making things as boring as possible for DS at home so that he will want to come to school and that he will be giving me some school work on Friday that should help pass the time.

He told me that there were truant officers around in the town who would probably stop me if they saw me with a school age kid.

I told him I was intending to get DS a developmental check and he said that the school doctor will help with that.

Definitely getting the feeling I am being fobbed off now. If they suspect special needs then surely boring him at home won't change the problem? I feel as though I am being blamed now for my mistake and that this is being used as a scapegoat.

Going to give Parent Partnership a call at 9am.

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 08:43:57

God they sound useless!

When I was having issues with my ds - he was later diagnosed with autism, I asked the Educational Psychologist if we were making things to fun for him at home (in my defence I was at my wits end) and she said "absolutely not! It doesn't work like that".

Please do NOT sit around the house with ds, it will make NO difference whatsoever to his willingness to settle in school. IMO he's too young to make that connection anyway. It's NOT illegal to go out and quite honestly I would write off any information that woman has given you at best she's utterly clueless at worst she's trying to frighten you. Whereabouts are you? PM me if you prefer, if you're near me I could give you some practical advice and contacts.

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