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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.

mumeeee Fri 08-Mar-13 23:57:23

OP that home school liasing officer really does not know what she is talking about. It is not illegal to take a 4 year old out when he is not at school during school hours,he is not of compulsary school age. It is also not illegal for him not to be under a dentist or optition that is completly up to you and nothing to do with anyone else. He is also not to young to be diagnosed with Apergers, My friend has a 11 year old daughterwwho has Aspergers and she was under going tests for Aspergers at 3 years old. I also agre with other posters get in touch with parent partenership/ The headmaster also does not seem to know what h is talking about. A truant officer wouldn't stop a parent with a 4 year old child.

Glenshee Fri 08-Mar-13 22:44:25

You can really see how it would make it to all the papers, don't you? With a follow-up next week about irresponsible mother who failed to make her child sufficiently bored at home grin grin grin

Glenshee Fri 08-Mar-13 22:42:14

Breaking NEWS: Truant officer meets a 4 year old boy on the street grin grin grin

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 11:35:16

Part time timetables are not illegal in the case you describe, DeWe; quite the opposite, they can be very a helpful tool in the (re)integration of children with medical or social needs. However, this is not how the timetable is being used here, as the child is having to 'earn back' his full time education, which is an absolute disgrace.

DeWe Thu 07-Mar-13 11:27:31

In all honesty I think that approach would have helped my ds settle better at school in reception. But that's because he has hearing problems, so was sturggling with the noise, and by lunch time was totally exhausted and that's when the problems usually started. So I don't think it's dreadful for the school to suggest that. My ds would have been fine on mornings only.

However suggesting that he can't go outside is ridiculous. When children started part time that wasn't the case at all, and this is no different.
Ignore her.

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 11:02:01

Have PMed you some numbers, Dolly.

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 11:00:43

Honestly? I'd be phoning the HT and the incompetent EWO to request that everything they are advising be put in writing.

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 10:56:29

Getting nowhere with Parent Partnership, seems that there is no one there. Is there any suggestions as to who else I could call?

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 09:50:12

Oh and I have a big tall 10 year old ds, who I HE as he cannot manage in school and I have never been stopped once by a truant officer do they exist? and we are out and about all day every day.

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 09:49:13

"Don't trust the HS liaison officer, I'm surprised she can find her arse in the dark with both hands."

^^ this and I couldn't have put it better myself grin.

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 09:09:06

Dolly, he is not even school aged yet. Don't worry. If you are stopped by a truant officer (ha!) just tell them his age and they'll leave you alone. HT is hiding behind psychologist lady. If they want you to make his life as boring as possible - to the extent of not even going to the park for pete's sake!- so that he finds school fun then that doesn't say much about the school frankly. Is there another school you can consider for him?

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 09:07:41

(Reposted from your other thread)

"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."

Don't trust the HS liaison officer, I'm surprised she can find her arse in the dark with both hands.

I am an advisory teacher, and I am telling you that you can go where you like. I hope you do bump into a truanting officer- they will be very interested to know that your son is not in school due to an illegal exclusion ( which is exactly what the part time timetable seems to be).

Please don't follow their advice and make home boring in order to make school seem good; it's appalling. If they want him to enjoy school, perhaps they should offer him some enjoyable activities. They control what happens at school (and they're not doing that very well), YOU control what happens at home. Explain to them that if they refuse to educate your child, you will take him wherever you wish, particularly as he is below school age.

I would contact the LEA exclusions officer now, under the guise of asking what alternative education will be put in place when your son is not allowed to come to school. I think you will then find things move very, very quickly.

mummytime Thu 07-Mar-13 09:02:55

If you are stopped by a "truant officer" what the heck does he think will happen?
"Excuse me Ma'am why isn't your son in school?"
"Because the school have reduced his hours to part-time because of his behaviour."
"Which school Ma'am, I'll just check."

Then we know who will get into trouble, not you the school. They can't deny they have done this, but it will also prove to outside bodies that they are not taking the correct steps to help your son. By taking your son out you are educating him, going to the shops is very educational.

The whole reason that part-time schooling like this is not a good idea is because for lots of children, especially those who are "struggling" at school, being at home is obviously much more pleasant. It is quieter, more 1 to 1 attention, more self led in their activities. You can also get all the learning done in a much shorter amount of time (just look at the HE boards for that).

NaughtyDolly Thu 07-Mar-13 08:53:50

Thank you, will PM you with my location.

I have to go out today to get some food shopping and I am bloody well going to take DS with me. No way can I wait until after school hours, it's just not practical and the walk will do him good.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.).

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.

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?

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