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Need some quick advice- just taken DD out of school!

(56 Posts)
CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 10:11:50

I posted recently about Home edding DD from Yr4 (sept2014) but the events of this weekend and this morning have led to me bringing her back home from school instead of leaving her today.

So now what? i'm not sure she will be going back tomorrow or not- or if she ever will- should I be contacting anyone or anything legally important I should be doing right now?

Other than that DD is quite happily sitting at the table next to me doing a maths workbook. she has asked to do literacy next and guided reading this afternoon. i'm guessing this was the timetable at school for today, but if that's what she wants to do I'm happy to just let her do that for now.

I am panicking slightly but distracting myself with doing mega tidying up (not a bad thing)

Floralnomad Mon 10-Mar-14 10:17:30

All you need to do is write a letter to the head teacher to say that you intend to HE . They will inform the LA who will probably get there HE person to call you . We accepted a visit from ours ,he gave me some useful advice re the local library and local groups ,I don't expect to see him again . He also gave us a card for my dd to carry that says she is HE so that she can show to anyone should she be in town etc when there is a truancy sweep . Good luck.

throckenholt Mon 10-Mar-14 10:20:54

You need to formally deregister if you are going to home ed - google - there are standard letters you can send in.

I don't know what the back story is - but give her a bit of a break before doing anything too formal unless she wants to. There is often a period of recovery from the school environment.

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 12:20:19

I don't know if this is it, I'm going to home ed from now on (and if so officially de-reg DD) or if she will go back tomorrow, next week, ever!

Part of me is saying don't send her back and I certainly won't force her if she won't go willingly. The other part says i should give it a go at trying to work things out with school- I had originally planned to give it until the summer holidays and make the decision then whether to home ed from yr4. I don't like change when I've already made a plan (Asperger's) but I also don't want to let that affect me doing what is right for DD.

A brief back-story if it helps- things have never been 100% 'right' at school for DD. Behaviour problems which were intially put down to 'settling in issues' then later as 'difficulty with the transition to more formal work in Yr1' , none of which were seen anywhere outside of school. She also found writing difficult- DD was diagnosed with hypermobility as a baby and has met most of her motor skill milestones later than average. This has led to a great deal of anxiety around writing and some major self-esteem issues.

During yr1 DD also began complaining that she was being bullied. This is still ongoing (same child named as the bully) now in yr3. school do not consider it to be bullying (I have only witnessed a few of the incidents) and instead are focussed on preventing Dd from reacting to the other childs actions. All weekend and this morning DD was giving the reason she didn't want to go to school as 'she was scared of X'

Part way through yr1 DD was given a TA 1:1 as a way to combat both the behaviour problems and the percieved bullying. At the begining of yr2 the school applied for and got a statement for DD 'to fund the TA as we are currently paying out of the school's budget' she still has a TA, though I have never been able to get in writing anything to say exactly how many hours or when or for what. The statement does not specify anything or even that DD should have 1:1.

Floralnomad Mon 10-Mar-14 12:31:25

There is no problem with de registering her and then reapplying for school at a later date it is not a decision that you have to stick with forever .

ommmward Mon 10-Mar-14 13:15:57

Might it be worth seeing the GP and having her signed off for 3 weeks with anxiety? Then you can privately treat it as a trial period - have a really good break, do a few little things that look educational. If at the end of 3 weeks she is clearly thriving out of the school context, then send the letter in instead of her!

Saracen Mon 10-Mar-14 15:14:42

I agree with the other posters. Just to be clear, legally you cannot just keep your daughter off school without having deregistered her from school to HE. It counts as truancy.

You may not even care about that at this stage if school is clearly detrimental to your daughter's well-being, or you may think it unlikely that the LA would bring a truancy prosecution straightaway. I just wanted to be sure you know where you stand.

This is why Floralnomad suggested removing your daughter from school to home ed with a view to possibly returning her later, and why ommmward suggested getting her signed off sick. Both of those courses of action would keep you on the right side of the law.

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 15:48:38

i can't deregister her for a day though can I, or a week if she wants to go back then. i don't know how long it takes to reapply, but there would definitely be space at her current school- it's far from oversubscribed!

In the last hour i have had a phone call from DD's keyworker (never been very positive about home ed) saying I should send DD back tomorrow 'otherwise she will get behind' I said she's already behind, that is part of the issue and a couple of days won't make much difference really. she is also trying to push me to transfer DD to a nearby 'outstanding' but oversubscribed school. it is 3 times as big as the current school which I'm not sure Dd will cope with well. When i said I had already been told they have no spaces in yr3 she told me apparently if the school request it, there are ways round that problem! the question as to why school had more powers in this regard than parents do, went unanswered.

I left it with her that i will take DD in tomorrow if she wants to go, but i will not force her if she doesn't. The keyworker thinks i should make a bargain with DD that she goes in for 2 days until the meeting we have on thursday (Me, keyworker, Ta, SENCO, behaviour support person from LEA) where apparently all DD's problems are going to be solved. I just repeated I won't force her if she doesn't want to go.

then I got a call from the Behaviour support person saying school have asked her to go in to work with DD tomorrow PM (why so sudden after all the months that have passed when the could have asked her, but didn't) I know DD will want to go because she absolutely loves the woman. i am prepared to send her for that session but again I will not force her if she doesn't want to go for the morning or any other time.

its just so confusing. i feel like we have neither one thing nor the other at the moment. DD is not in school, but she is not officially being home educated either (although she has probably done more work out of choice already today, then she would have done in school anyway)

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 16:01:39

sorry i wrote that last post at about 1pm this afternoon but for some reason it has only just been sent when I logged back on a few moments ago.

I think taking her to the GP would be a sensible idea and I will try to get her an appointment for tomorrow if she refuses to go in then (at the moment she is certain she is not going) I know I'm on shaky ground legally, which is why i posted originally to find out what I need to do while we decide if this is going to be permanent from now on (I'm thinking yes, everyone else is giving me big NOs)

I'm sure DD would get a sick note if needed as she is already showing many signs of severe anxiety (self-harming daily and on sunday she was saying she would rather be dead than go back to school) For what its worth I'm pretty sure that the majority of what the school class as 'bad behaviour' are actually other signs of anxiety.

ommmward Mon 10-Mar-14 16:09:59

If she is self harming then you simply need her out of there, IMO.

Of COURSE all the professionals are going to be invested in keeping her in school, traumatised if necessary, with their "support". That's their bread and butter.

I predict that 90% of your daughter's problems will evaporate once school is off the agenda. And, almost in the immortal words of Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, "when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life without the stress of school, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

OddBoots Mon 10-Mar-14 16:15:02

I'm a supporter of home ed so I'm not trying to put you off but you don't sound sure about it so is there the possibility of moving to another school?

Martorana Mon 10-Mar-14 16:26:37

I think the idea of a sick note is a good one. That gives you breathing space- and you can then talk to everyone at the school knowing that you are in the right legally and have the option of deregistering her at any point, but you do 't have to make any rapid decisions. Go and listen to what the school people have to say- it might be helpful to you whatever you decide long term.

FionaJNicholson Mon 10-Mar-14 18:25:37

Temporary solution as others have said is sick note. Also possibly part-time timetable, or one day at school + tutor or alternative provision funded by the school.

School and everyone else may suddenly be a whole lot more helpful if they think you are about to jump ship.

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 18:42:57

Another school is a possibility but I can't get enthusiastic about it really and I'm not sure it would be the right choice for DD either. My reasons for this are:

1)Its a huge school, about to merge with another school. estimate of 800-900 pupils from next Sept, current school has 180. DD doesn't cope with huge crowds and I worry she will just be 1 among many where he needs could be easily overlooked.

2) the upheaval of moving school quite likely will cause further stress for DD. Not knowing anyone/ her way around/ the rules etc. will be difficult. No doubt the labels from current school will go with her. Those two things combined will mean it probably won't be a fresh start for DD as her behaviour problems will be apparent from the start.

3) actuall logistics of a different school run won't work, if her younger brother remains in current school. Its unlikely her would also get a place. I strongly suspect if DD doesn't remain at current school (whatever the choice) he will not want to stay there either.

Obviously there are loads of reasons why home ed would be good for DD. i do however have a few doubts:

1)I would be no good at it, I would fail to give DD a decent education. I am counteracting this with the fact she is learning very little currently so anything will be an improvement.

2)everyone talks about the socialisation and that she would miss her friends. I pretty sure we would manage to still see school friends and I could provide other opportunities for DD to mix with other kids. I'm not the most sociable person though and don't have a good personal experience of friendships to be able to judge whether DD is socialising enough. However the lack of distraction from learning, due to the friendship (and bullying etc.)issues in school, is one of the appeals of home ed for me.

3) Finances. It shouldn't be a something that prevents me from providing what DD needs but I do worry that i won't be able to afford much in the way of equipment trips at present. If I home ed all thoughts of full time work will be out for the foreseeable future, but i quite possibly could work part time once we are more settled.

4)Someone said to me today, 'you can't home ed, you would never get any time to yourself' I really don't know what to say to this one. would i go crazy at home everyday with DD ( and possibly DS too) ? i don't know but during holidays i love spending time with them and I always feel a bit sad when they go back to school. i guess that's one that only time will tell but I'm sure I can arrange for DD to go out for a day or 2 with other people if needed. Likewise if she needed more time away from me.

snice Mon 10-Mar-14 18:49:04

This school may not be right for your daughter but that's not to s a y that another s school might suit her much better. You s should start looking at other places perhaps ?

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 19:02:04

They are the only 2 schools in this town. Only other realistic options 9without moving house) are a couple of village schools. I would still have concerns 2 and 3 though, in fact 3 would be more of a problem as there would be no possibility of DS staying in current school with a drive of up to an hour to another school with DD.

i will consider all the schools as an option for now though. a transfer wouldn't be instant and at the moment I am leaning towards home ed over staying in current school in the meantime.

throckenholt Mon 10-Mar-14 19:04:52

I can't comment on your thoughts about the other school - but I can comment on the home ed worries you have.

For what is worth - you are not alone in your concerns - I think they are common to most people before the try HE. Things to remember - HE doesn't have to be a long term decision - but it might be the right decision for your DD at the moment - to give her a chance to recover from the current situation - and by the sound of it she does need to recover. HE doesn' have to be a once and forever decision - it can be the best decision at one point, and then school is a better one at another stage - you can move between the two as appropriate.

1)I would be no good at it, I would fail to give DD a decent education. I am counteracting this with the fact she is learning very little currently so anything will be an improvement.

It is not a case of teaching so much as facilitating. You provide the opportunities for her to learn in a way that suits her - I am sure you can do that in the short term at least - most people can handle primary school level stuff - just give her opportunities to explore, read, play with numbers and measurements etc

2) socialisation

This is always a concern - but it doesn't need to be. You can keep in touch with school friends, join after school clubs, and if you want to go to HE groups - there is more to socialising than being in a classroom.

3) Finances.

It doesn't have to cost much in terms of equipment and trips - but like everything - you can spend a lot if you want to. Your biggest cost would be lack of earnings - again something that is likely to evolve over time.

4)Someone said to me today, 'you can't home ed, you would never get any time to yourself' I really don't know what to say to this one. would i go crazy at home everyday with DD ( and possibly DS too) ? i don't know but during holidays i love spending time with them and I always feel a bit sad when they go back to school. i guess that's one that only time will tell but I'm sure I can arrange for DD to go out for a day or 2 with other people if needed. Likewise if she needed more time away from me.

You find space for yourselves - you and the children. They are less stressed, and often more able to entertain (and educate) themselves - they don't need constant input from you. Again - it is a try it and see situation - everyone finds what works for them, and that may change over time.

FWIW - I would go with sick leave for immediate effect, with a serious thought about options - which may include current school, other school, some other school or HE.

Martorana Mon 10-Mar-14 19:50:51

A few practical things to do- find out whether there are home ed groups you can get to easily and see what they are like- like any other group,some are great, some less so. Is there anything your dd particularly likes about school? The answer may well be "no" but if she likes choir or sport or something- is that something you could provide? Sometimes this can be where it gets expensive- if I was home educating my ds, providing the level of sport he wants and needs would cost a fortune.

And remember- you don't have to make any rapid decisions- you've got her safe with you at the moment- take time to breathe and think.

CaisleanDraiochta Mon 10-Mar-14 20:15:35

DD actually wrote a list (unprompted) over the weekend of the things about school she thinks are 'good' (with added smile face) and 'bad' (with a sad face) Under bad there was a whole page of A4, mainly related to things the bully has said/done, but also things like 'shouty teaches' and 'dtenshon'. Under good there was one single word- 'frens'

So if i make sure she still sees her friends and maybe gets to make others through home ed/other groups that would be ok, right?

She does currently have a music lesson, once a week during school hours. Its provided by the county council music service though and I have to pay for it. Would she still be able to carry on with these lessons or would i need to look for a private tutor?

Martorana Mon 10-Mar-14 20:20:37

"So if i make sure she still sees her friends and maybe gets to make others through home ed/other groups that would be ok, right?"

Yes of course. But it's useful to know that it's at the top of her list of priorities- so it needs to be high up yours too.

Don't know about the music-I would have thought you might need to find another teacher. But that's no bad thing- you can choose, rather than taking the one allocated!

ommmward Mon 10-Mar-14 21:36:25

What a list. That's amazing. And so self aware <3.

Yes, if you make sure she still gets to see her friends and has opportunities to make others (top tip: go for rather younger children at first to build confidence and minimise queen bee/wannabee exposure), then yes, that would be very much ok.

CaisleanDraiochta Tue 11-Mar-14 11:05:11

Made a GP appointment for DD this morning, but unfortunately the doctor we saw was particularly unhelpful. I explained the anxiety DD has and he said he would write to the school nurse to see DD. Other than that he said there was nothing he could do, it was up to the school to sort it out. when I asked if she could be signed off, they apparently don't do those for children anymore hmm I asked then how I stood legally, as I am essentially allowing DD to truant and he said he knew nothing about that side of things and suggested I speak to CAB.

Really stressing out here now, what do I do next? Feel like I have made a big mistake taking DD out of school, but at the same time feel like sending her, when she absolutely doesn't want to go, is the wrong thing too.

Martorana Tue 11-Mar-14 11:14:00

Bugger. Well, if I were you I would tell the school she's not well (you don't have to specify if you don't want to) and see what happens at your meeting. In the meantime, let your dd relax. Tell her she's staying at home for this week, and you'll talk about what happens next soon. Try not to let her see you're anxious about it - easier said than done I know! Do some research about local HE groups - see if you can actually talk to someone locale who HEs. Don't make any quick decisions.

CaisleanDraiochta Tue 11-Mar-14 11:57:28

We will be going to school this afternoon as Dd would like to speak to the woman from behaviour support who has agreed to come in again. while we are there I will notify the school that DD is currently 'off sick' due to her anxiety. if they ask for evidence i will say to contact the GP who has recorded my concerns at our appointment this morning. if they want a letter from him they can pay for it ( GP's here always charge for letters) as I can't afford to do so at the moment.

I'm fairly good (I think) at hiding my worries from the DC. at the moment Dd is happily chopping up some fruit using biscuit cutters to make lunch for us. I have just been given a plate of heart shaped bit of watermelon (seeds included) She is happy and i'm happy that she is happy despite worrying about what to do now.

Floralnomad Tue 11-Mar-14 12:18:39

Your problem with being charged for unauthorised absence will surely be lessened by going in this afternoon , I would imagine they will take a dim view of you 'picking and choosing' what to attend and what not to attend ,unless you can agree with them to a flexi school arrangement .

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