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governers minutes concerns my child

(22 Posts)
3asAbird Sun 20-Mar-16 14:09:03

My child was brought up for discussion at latest primary governers meeting last week.
I know some aspects meeting confidential but am I as parent as concerned my child entitled see minutes relating to him and who was present.

CluelessClaudia Sun 20-Mar-16 14:53:57

In general governors should not be talking about individual children at meetings, unless it is a specific committee or panel which usually have just 3 governors on them, formed for a specific purpose e.g. an exclusion. However many heads and governors do not realise this. Many governors have had no training. The clerk should realise that this shouldn't happen but again many have had no proper training.

At the very least these minutes should be confidential which means that they can only be seen by those present.

I'm interested in how you know your child was discussed?

sunnydayinmay Sun 20-Mar-16 16:10:07

How do you know? It is very rare that an individual child is mentioned , and we ensure that they are never mentioned by name. Even as a parent, I usually have absolutely no idea who they are talking about.

Was the Head present? I would start by asking them, and escalate to the Chair if necessary.

lougle Sun 20-Mar-16 16:26:55

If it was absolutely essential to discuss your child specifically, that section of the minutes should be redacted as 'confidential minutes'. So the minutes may read 1. Welcome 2. Pecuniary interests 3. Minutes of last meeting 4. Matters arising 5. Committee reports 6. confidential minutes 7. Policies 8. Pupil progress 9. School improvement....etc.

So minutes about your child should not be for public view and in the main, you're not entitled to see them. However, if you did a DPA request for all information pertaining to your child, then they would be forced to release all data relating to your child, including scrawled messages on post-it notes, emails, confidential minutes, etc.

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 20-Mar-16 16:51:30

It would be unlikely that your child was discussed by name, rather more that an area of policy/ procedure was discussed relating to a specific incident/ situation. Some of the governors may know some background detail by being involved with the school in other capacities (parents etc), but often not - it is generally procedure to keep the governing body as a whole free of specific detail in case further action needs to be taken (in which case a sub-set of governors would be selected for any investigation etc). This protects the integrity of the board.

My own dd would often be 'discussed' as she triggered specific policy and infrastructure change, but she was never mentioned by name, and the discussions were based around pupils requiring access to X/ being unable to access X for planning and attainment discussion.

In the case of an accident/ behavioural concern/ incident, the child would not have been named to the full governing body.

That said, the names of the governing body are generally available to everyone (most schools have a board in the entrance hall, or run a meeting every year to try and recruit). Some schools have a governor who is notionally attached to each class, and most (all?) will have a governor that is responsible for SN. You are welcome to write to or approach any of your governing body for procedural clarification. The HoG should be ready available - the school office will pass you the contact details if you don't have them. They can reassure you of the confidentiality measures used to protect your child (although please note that by contacting them, you may be actually 'outing' your child as the student discussed, when they were previously completely anonymous).

If this is a case of a parent governor approaching you and saying 'we discussed X last night', then I would actually write to both HoG and HT to request that this parent governor be reminded of the confidentiality requirements of the position. Do bear in mind that the PG concerned might have recognised the child from the detail (they may have a child in the same class) but that it is quite possible that this was as a position of their privileged dual position, rather than the child being specifically named or discussed in enough detail to identify etc. Either way, they were in breach of confidentiality by mentioning it at all, so it is the PG rather than the process at fault. <all supposition - hoping I am wrong>

catslife Sun 20-Mar-16 17:56:54

It really depends on who told you that your child was being discussed at the governors meeting and the reason why this discussion was needed.
I used to be a Clerk to Governors and often as people have said anything relating to a specific child would be a confidential minutes done on separate sheets of paper (I used to use a different colour) which isn't then available for public view. the child was never named and was usually referred to as "a child in Y1" for example.
If the reason for the discussion is that you have made a complaint to the school, then you would receive a written response to your complaint in line with the complaints procedure.
If the reason is that your child needs extra support and the school has applied for extra funding for example then you should also hear something back probably via the Head.

TalkinPeace Sun 20-Mar-16 21:04:13

(a) how do you know
(b) why

for example when I was a governor there were a couple of kids who regularly came up in discussion due to the ongoing costs of their access needs
it was easier to refer to them by name
and the main discussion was all about fitting their needs into the budget
with an eye on the fact that when they left those needs would vanish

seemed entirely appropriate to us

NB the clerk never minuted the names

3asAbird Sun 20-Mar-16 21:30:15

Thanks for replies

My child has SEN
It's a small village primary
We been going through ehcp process new word for statement of special needs
Draft ehcp/statement gone to panel and come back to myself and the school.

I met with head teacher she seem very negative and unhappy with offer.

I am as a parent more concerned with needs and outcomes

The ehcp offered x £if stayed at current mainstream scholl or offered resource base miles away with no additional top up funding.

It became clear during last meeting funding is an issue.

But this is between la and school not me as parent guilt tripped into how much he's costing school.

She said she would have to consult with governers implying they had power /ability to choose.
She also tried to persuade me to move my child.

I got concerned as up until this point felt she was on my side .

When we accepted place she said she could meet my child's needs.
During ehcp application and assessment stage supportive.

Some things changed and it's not my child

Made fantastic progress
Not disruptive
No danger to self or others
No behavioural issues

Last parents evening few weeks positive

I felt worried.

Contacted chair of governers asked wheb meeting take place.

Initial answers no scheduled meeting for months

Then later reply saying meeting been set late last week which they could not attend.
I wrote letter to governers explaining it was draft and I'm trying negociate best deal for my child and therfore school.
Bit of history why we picked school
That doing well and happy.
What sen and support entails
Bit about my child
How we visited alternative provision not for us.

I did this to counteract anything negative head may say and reassure governers.
My side if story and letter with ehcp said consult with head and governing body
So felt works both ways my letter is consulting them.

Slight feedback from meeting very vague.
Came from parent governer indirectly.
It was negative
My child possibly not mentioned by name so could be referred to as child X.
It's small school less than 150 so maybe obvious to staff or parent governers.
Church/la governer possibly not.
Don't think they gave an sen governer

Head was there she's also the schopl senco.

lougle Sun 20-Mar-16 23:01:10

The ability of a school to meet a child's need is an operational matter. The governors don't have the ability to make a professional judgement on the impact of a child's SEN on the school. Governors may be involved in matters such as authorising the purchase of specialist equipment, or employing an extra TA. They have budgetary oversight, so would need to know the impact of the EHCP on the budget (in terms of current budget + EHCP funding - cost of meeting child's needs).

With the changes to SEN funding, the funding has been removed from the EHCP process. In theory, it is a separate consideration. There is a high needs block of funding which can be applied for once the school has spent £10k on the pupil (combination of their AWPU and £6k that is deemed to be already allocated through the generic SEN notional budget).

heavenlypink Sun 20-Mar-16 23:56:38

I'd be contacting the LA or Parent Partnership (or similar) for advice You should have their details in a letter from the LA regarding the EHC Plan

3asAbird Mon 21-Mar-16 11:52:10

Thanks again for advice.

Have instructed a soliciter in sen /education law to reject ehcp.

My battle is with local authority

I never expected the school turn on us.

Eldest is in 4th year there

They were happy accept him to reception assuring me they could meet his needs.
They supported his ehcp plan application and assessment on him staying in mainstream with support

They says he's no trouble.
He's made speech and academic progress

I think governer discussing small school lack of space extra ta or room to do interventions lame excuse.
Trying change mind they can meet his needs when really funding us issue.

2 kids in year 6 last year both had statements and one to one ta and intervention in smaller class room .

They think small schools can avoid sen code of practice ,inclusive and push him out they sadly mistaken .

They are a voluntary controlled church schools so local authority.

That their sob stories and arguments about funding should be with me not the ever supportive parent.
£ as well as hours on latest provision maps crass.

I have fulfilled by role of a parent by meeting their sen policy under parents responsability ie meetings open communication ect

Their negativity and making us feel like we a negative has just made me angry enough raise my game.

Soliciter says she doesn't give a monkeys if head meets with governers to consult on draft ehcp.
Me sending letter to governer has outed me and my child but was obvious to staff/parent governers anyway.

Next term could be long and cold.

Awaiting response from local authority

Avoiding any ehcp conversation with the head.

Possibly I may be enlightened with governers opinions who knows.

3asAbird Mon 21-Mar-16 11:54:16

School claiming they had no notional sen budget and no access higher funds
That they just had £2800 standard pupil cost for reception.

Also they top heavy on sen especially in his year group.

lougle Mon 21-Mar-16 13:55:01

All LA funded schools get a notional SEN budget, but it is part of the overall budget and isn't ring-fenced for SEN.

starry0ne Mon 21-Mar-16 14:33:44

You have lost me with all these codes..... However my DS was diagnosed this year and needs extra support... I see it as my job to go into school and ensure his needs are met...

I don't care how they are funded... That is for the school to sort out.. I am not sure what extra needs your DC has.. I wonder if you are getting to involved in the nitty gritty ..

bojorojo Mon 21-Mar-16 17:16:54

I think the Governors should not be involved with an individual child who is already at the school. I think you may be in the position that the school (Governors) are wanting your DC to go to the Resource Base and not stay in the school. Is the Resource Base placement a school place or is it provision for part of the week? Is it based at another school and is it effectively taking your DC off roll at his current school?

If a school has a lot of SEND children, their budget will be stretched and they appear to be looking how they make the budget stretch to all the Send children. The Governors are right to be concerned about the budget, but the parent Governor wa utterly wrong to talk to you about the meeting. They should also be looking at the budget in the round, and not focus on one particular child, who appears to be known to the Governors. That is unprofessional and wrong.

If the EHCP is still saying your child can attend this primary school, and that is what you want, then you must hold out for that outcome. The school cannot now turn round and say it cannot meet his needs and it has been odffered extra resources to fund the EHCP. You may need to be flexible if the other provision is for some days (a day) each week as it may have specialist teachers that can be of great help. The EHCP does appear to have come with further funding to the school, so I cannot really see what all the fuss is about from the school's point of view. It is just a continuation of provision and, actually, has nothing to do with the Governors. They cannot force you to leave if the EHCP states this school. As a Voluntary Controlled school, the Governors do not admit to the school anyway and neither do they have any power to suggest a child leaves. They have to provide what is on the EHCP.

I do not understand why a solicitor is involved if the school is named and the LA have offered them funds for your child. Is there any reason why you cannot just accept this proposal? What else do you want the LA to do? Why are you rejecting the EHCP when you say it says he can stay at the mainstream school? I am very confused!

3asAbird Mon 21-Mar-16 18:16:30

Thanks bojo

He started at mainstream primary
1sr draft ehcp seems to offer us a preference

Stay at mainstream primary

Or go to resource base many miles away I'm taxi

Resource base is cheap option for council

They have offered mainstream higher level of funding than resource base.

Our council seems operate in units rather than X amount of hours .

Neighbouring council is different it's more transparent from start he meets criteria for a band we submit application and evidence.

Panel agree and issue X amount hours plus top up finding depending on band for additional things like

Speech therapy or electronic devices

I live in the border and the primary school is on the border but same local authority as we reside .

The school gets kids from over the border and they seem be very well funded compared to my local authority 0-25service which is a total mess.

They said from the start we don't fund electronic devices or speech therapy
Speech and language is his primary sen.
Local health trust been useless offering limited nhs sessions and his therapist left last week no idea when or who's replacing her or how many sessions the trust would fund or provide.

Salt provision should be f education provision not section g health as health is non enforcable

The outcomes for his need is additional regular speech therapy from therapist who would guide his ta on exercises
Due to speech and anxiety he gets a fair amount one to one support from sen ta and class .

The funding they issued is too low to meet all his needs and the wording was very vague which is why we sought legal advice

Soliciter gone through ehcp with fine tooth comb and said parts of it illegal we one many parents fighting la most time win as so chaotic la fail to stick to legal guidelines.

He was assesses for electronic communications device last year by salt outreach

His lead worker says resource base has this as shared classroom resource similar to class computer I guess.

I then check with lady who assessed him.
Said it's personal device for his use with specific software and banging her head against brick wall trying get any devices funded.

I visit resource and ask about this device they don't have it and he would get no additional funding if he went there to fund other things.
In fact they said they not surprised false info as 0-25service never visited.

My gripe was with my local authority not the school.

Over the last year 0-25service gave refused 1st ehcp application
Not contacted me to say he was turned down in December I found out In march post documents .
Lied to me.
Lead worker failed update me with reports prior to meetings or draft documents before went back to panel.
Went awol before around child meeting and went sick at actual meeting so someone else took notes in place.
Took week after panel approved draft to sign off and share with us and school.

So far they been good and supportive.
He's one if few kiss speech and language issues he's more extreme but improving.

It was meeting with head very negative I understand her disappointment with draft but it's a draft wanted calmly discuss her thoughts.

Instead I get long list of why resource base might be for best

Funding is an issue
Handed provision map with costs
Told she's unhappy and has to consult with governers.

I have always supported school they kept him part time until xmas and not allowed stay for lunch.

Attended any meetings iep,around the child,parents evenings,going on trips with him ect.

We like the school. My son loves it there
Just dissapointed with negative reaction .
It's not very nice feel like your child's financial drain and being discussed behind closed doors and I don't know what was said.

I don't wish have fallout with school.
But few alarm bells rang in discussions around draft ehcp.

It's I my son's best interests and there's get the best deal.

It's now going cost me money in legal and independent salt assessment sort this out.
Needless say I'm little stressed and thought school would be more supportive as they keep saying how lovely he is and he's doing well.

I think you guys reassured me they can't kick us put if we decide to stay just feels rather unfortunate

Schools are run like businesses these days and pupils a commodity.
I would rather not be involved with nitty gritty end or know exact costings

I don't understand this notional sen budget or exactly how much school allocated looked at dfe website and school website can't see anything sen just pupil premium which think linked free school meals which is not us.

I know schools supposed spent first 6k or 15hours which they probably done this year or close to as he started month late and was part time until Christmas .

So we turn down 1st draft giving reasons .

It then goes back to panel
Comes back to us 2nd draft 15days consultation where we're approve if happy or reject
Then it goes send tribunual .
Thus could go on next 2 term's.
School may not see extra funding until year 2 September .

Could be frosty few months ahead if they continue be negative and unsupportive.

catslife Mon 21-Mar-16 18:34:10

3asabird try the SN chat board (that gets the most visitors) there will be parents on there that have been through the ECHP process and are able to help and advise.

3asAbird Mon 21-Mar-16 18:45:01

Thanks cats life will do.

Just reassuring read governers don't have that sort of power to get rid sen kids.
We looked at resource base but mainstream better for him at this time.

When draft plan came back with units I asked head what that translated to in value as soon as I heard ×£.

I knew the funding wasent enough to meet his need

Ehcp shoukd be about needs and outcomes not £.

Also ehco badly worded and no salt provision or device both if which he needs and key outcome of his specific sen.
Which is why we rejecting ehcp 1st draft.

Dident expect school panic and react they have.

Feel we at draft stage seemed premature to consult with governers at this point bit if waste of their time.

I know my rights I have legal support we lucky ones.
Just need to develop thicker skin and nit let bother me.

Don't know exactly what was said governers meeting but getting negative vibes.

Wondering if head will voluntarily share minutes.

I'm Not going persue it as soliciter said irrelevant and if bad would only upset me.

bojorojo Mon 21-Mar-16 19:34:48

Honestly, if you want to stay at the school, you stay. The governors have no role in the decision. If he needs more equipment, then this should be in the EHCP. The minutes will not name your child and definitely will be confidential. This means only governors see them. What the governors think or say is a red herring. You do need to get the equipment funded though. Definitely agree you should post in SEN.

lborolass Mon 21-Mar-16 19:46:40

Governors can't get rid of any children, have you been told they can?

I'm sorry I can't understand your posts but it's not unreasonable for the governors to discuss the budget implications of extra costs the school might incur in meeting any child's needs and to talk about options for meeting any budget shortfall.

Even if this is talked about anonymously if the school has less than 150 pupils it's quite likely that one or more governors might recognise an individual child. No governors should be discussing what's said with you though.

bloodyteenagers Mon 21-Mar-16 20:43:51

Often electronic devices aren't funded by ehcp when the child clearly needs this to be independent.
What usually happens is depending on the type of device required (tablet or eye gaze) either the family approach certain charities, gosh become involved or salt approach charities.

Also contact IPSEA. They have helped lots of families especially with the wording of echp's.

The sections are sometimes filled in for g instead of f to try and get around funding. Sometimes nhs for example knows of different avenues to some equipment than say the education people. I am not saying I agree with this, but with cut backs some
Outside the box thinking is needed. (Cannot think of which letters represent which part at the moment)

lougle Mon 21-Mar-16 22:44:23

I think there is a bit of confusion in the communications between you, the LA and the Resource Base.

The resource base will be funded differently to mainstream provision. In mainstream, SEN needs are over and above standard provision, so an amount of money may be allocated to top up the funds already notionally given for each child. In a specialist setting (resource base/special school) the SEN needs are catered for in their 'standard' provision, so each funded place is allocated a higher amount of money to start with. For example, in my LA, we are funded £10,000 per place, then we do a SEN audit which places children on 'steps' to categorise their additional needs. Each step value gets a certain amount of top-up funding. So an EHCP naming a specialist setting won't have a £ value.

The other thing to bear in mind is that what is 'specialist' for a MS school will be 'bread and butter' to a specialist setting. If my DD1 was at MS, she would need TA time, SALT and OT. She would be withdrawn from lesson time to have those sessions and her TA would teach her adapted work, separate from the main lesson. In Special School, her SALT sessions are delivered as a group lesson and then specific targets are worked on throughout the week. The school uses an OT package to develop her calf muscles, fine motor skills, finger strength, etc., then the NHS OTs who are based at the school troubleshoot emerging issues as they see them. Children who need physio are seen within the school day and their therapy is incorporated into their lessons so they don't miss class. Sensory needs are met throughout the day. For example, most children arrive by minibus, so their very first activity is getting out in the playground to burn off energy.

With regard to technology, it's tricky. You've got to consider not only the service provision, but who will know how to use the software? If the normal TA is off sick, does that mean that your child doesn't get to communicate that day? What happens when X technology is specified but you realise that your cold would benefit from y technology - you'll need to get the EHCP amended, etc. That again, can be more routine for a specialist setting.

I'm not saying don't fight for what your child needs. I think I'm saying to really think hard about what you're fighting for. So much of what your fighting for can be much more easily won in a specialist setting. Having said that, it is, of course, your right to pursue mainstream education unless it is an inefficient use of resources or will hamper the efficient education of other children.

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