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Any teachers or head teachers about? Ds and SATs.

(26 Posts)
PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 08:24:53

Ds has ASD/PDA.
He is very stressed about SATs to the point where he wants to die.
He is increasingly unable to work.
He is academically able (when relaxed he is very bright), but due to anxiety is working very behind where he should be.
I've spoken to his GP who would be happy to sign him off for the week.

I recently read here that his performance will affect his teacher and the school. He is in a very small class (less than 10), so presumably his scores will have a bigger affect than if he was in a class of thirty?

On the one hand, Ds is my priority and I am getting very worried about him (plus his behaviour at home is having an effect on everyone).
I'm also very aware that either a) by taking him out we are doing the wrong thing by the school, and b) by leaving him in his inevitable low scores will also have an effect on school.

There is also a very real risk that I simply won't be able to get him into school that week.

Is there a way to sort this? Would a GP letter be accepted to take him out of SATs week without consequences for the school?

I've tried discussing this at school, but all I get is "it's the law" and if I can't get him in, a teacher will drive to my house to pick him up (which I would be very unhappy about, as it will increase his anxiety around school and SATs even more).

mrsmortis Thu 28-Apr-16 09:13:33

I've tried discussing this at school, but all I get is "it's the law" and if I can't get him in, a teacher will drive to my house to pick him up (which I would be very unhappy about, as it will increase his anxiety around school and SATs even more).

Really? Erm, if it was against your will, wouldn't that be kidnapping?

Cheesecake53 Thu 28-Apr-16 09:23:28

I would put my child first. Afterall I think you are leaving this school and he goes on to secondary? I do not think the school would pick him up when he has a GP letter, surely - I'd guess THAT would be against the law.

Mine is doing SATs too, but the teachers here say not to worry and just to give one's best (there are 30ish children in one class).
As you describe it, the school did not try to help you (My DS's school sits anxious children separately in a smaller room, which helps my DS - they have mock SATS this week) and therefore I think you should not consider what would or would not help the school. However reasoning that a not-so-good SATS result would not be of advantage to the school is good to justify keeping him home smile.

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 09:56:33

I've been told if I take him out, he will have to sit them when he comes back in.

I'll try and have another word and ask what would be preferable, school refusal and possible low scores or withdrawal with a dr's letter.

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 10:10:49

Reading that last bit back, it looks like I'm holding them over a barrel.

catkind Thu 28-Apr-16 10:43:25

I think you need a face to face meeting. Explain the situation as calmly as you can. Remind them of his diagnosis and tell them what you said above about him being stressed and saying he wants to die. Tell them about the GP agreeing and being prepared to sign him off if necessary. Ask them what they suggest.

If they can't come up with a reasonable adjustment for his SEN, then you one thing you could consider is deregistering him from school and home educating from now till 2 weeks after the SATs. (You could also make an official complaint as they are supposed to make reasonable adjustments.) If you actually deregister then it doesn't go on the school's record, and due to the small class size you'd have no problem re-registering after the tests. I'd probably take him out now if you logistically can, it's the run-up to SATs that is causing the stress as much as the SATs themselves. And it sounds like he'd learn more at home.

Them not putting him in or him flunking would both go on the record. Presumably they think he wouldn't do so badly in fact.

As for the law, it does not say that teachers should be trying to take kids into school when they've been signed off by their GP! I'm pretty sure it does allow a school to exempt kids from SATs if it is not in their best interest to take them, particularly in cases of SEN. But hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be along to advise.

TBH I think they've shot themselves in the foot making SATs such a big deal for the kids. There's no need for that.

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 12:44:24

Thank you.
There is form with school believing Ds is fine, and probably thinking I'm making a big deal out of it - Ds masks in school, no meltdowns or anything.
I will arrange a meeting with his teacher and HT.
I'm not sure about de registering him, as I don't think I would ever get him back into school again!

soapboxqueen Thu 28-Apr-16 14:16:23

No children can be exempted from SATs unless they are working below the required level. Then they get a teacher's assessment recorded instead. Though some of this children will still 'sit' the test so that they don't feel left out. De-registering won't remove him from school stats either.

A child can sit a SAT later. If I remember correctly, up to 5 days later so he'd need to be off for 2 weeks.

Talk to your GP and ask if they would be willing to sign him off for two weeks. Screw the school. You don't owe them anything if they have responded by saying they'll essentially come and kidnap him. Which they can't do.

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 16:20:01

Thank you
I have a phone appointment arranged with the GP next week, and waiting to hear when I can see his teacher and HT.
He finally has a teacher who understands him, but her hands are tied wrt SATs.

catkind Thu 28-Apr-16 17:09:09

How could de-registering not remove him soapbox? It's the same as if he'd moved to a different school. Children who've left don't appear on a school's stats, how could they?

BetweenTwoLungs Thu 28-Apr-16 17:21:30

Staff can put 'rest breaks' into the test if that might help your son, without having to notify anyone. Would he feel better doing it in another room?

I have a child with similar issues in my class and she will sit the test in an office, separated from the other children and with rest breaks To go for a walk to her sensory garden etc. As long as she has no contact with other children or access to the Internet this is fine.

Last year, I had a child with ASD who was allowed a treat after and this was her goal eg going to local shop with 1:1 TA.

As a year 6 teacher I would want to try these sorts of things before a child not doing the test. If the class has 10 children and your son doesn't do them, they're already limited to getting 90% achieving and that's if all other children achieve it. It would only take one or two other children to not manage to hit the mark (and standards are so high this year) and ofsted would come knocking...

BetweenTwoLungs Thu 28-Apr-16 17:23:22

Catkind they would be down as '0', we register the children for the test in about March time so it's too late now.

PerspicaciaTick Thu 28-Apr-16 17:24:46

Any school which is prepared to consider forcibly removing a child from their home in order to sit SATs, even for 1 millisecond, is operating so far into the realms of institutional insanity that I would be considering permanently removing my child.
Hopefully your GP will be supportive.

catkind Thu 28-Apr-16 17:50:32

Ah I see, apologies. Poor schools, that's a daft reporting process. What about things like traveller families (a school where we used to live had lots). Not school's fault if someone buggers off between March and May.

Feenie Thu 28-Apr-16 17:52:30

It isn't, Betweentwolungs - if a child has left, you would code him as L for left on the worksheet, and he wouldn't count in the stats.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 28-Apr-16 18:08:08

I don't think the OP said the school would pick up the child if he had a sick note. She hasn't got the sick note yet.

OP, what strategies do you normally use to encourage your DS to do things he doesn't want to do? Could you use those strategies? It seems a shame not to sit the SATs as he will have done all the preparation already.

BetweenTwoLungs Thu 28-Apr-16 18:12:26

Ah apologies Feenie I didn't realise that - I'd been told it wasn't the case but have never had the situation arise, only had children arrive late.

Still, I know that absence counts as a '0' even with a doctors note.

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 18:32:40

"If the class has 10 children and your son doesn't do them, they're already limited to getting 90% achieving and that's if all other children achieve it. It would only take one or two other children to not manage to hit the mark (and standards are so high this year) and ofsted would come knocking..."

I know that, that's why I started the thread, to see if there was a way round it that doesn't affect the school. I'm shocked that a dr's note doesn't cover it!

Perspicacia, I think if it came to it, they probably wouldn't do that, but I will clarify this at the meeting.

There was mention of him being allowed to sit in a separate room, but this hasn't been mentioned again. I think the plan is that the teacher will sit as near to Ds as possible. Again, I will clarify this at the meeting.
He won't need breaks tbh, the problem will be getting him to answer the questions in the first place! And getting him into school.

His GP is amazing, I know for sure that she will sign him off if necessary.

School are doing things like nice snacks and a dvd before exams, to help the DC to relax.
We have let Ds be in charge of the menu for tea that week, to try to soften it for him (I think Chinese takeaway features heavily - hooray!).
We've been very clear that he doesn't need to worry, but nothing we say is making a difference.

He made a noose out of pipe cleaners yesterday. Whilst I know he's not trying to kill himself properly, he is showing us in the best way he can how unhappy he is, and we would be letting him down if we didn't listen.

I don't want to let the school down at all. If there were thirty children in the class I would have no problem having him signed off, but with the tiny number of children in his class, I'm hoping there's another way to sort this, but still make sure it's the best for Ds.

Thankyou for all the replies.

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 18:37:01

Feenie, does that mean deregistering would be an option?

I'm assuming you're a teacher - would you support a parent opting to deregister?

Feenie Thu 28-Apr-16 18:40:57

I think most teachers would prefer you to.register for a.while rather than affect 10% of their data - as previous posters have said, it could have consequences for the school. Obviously you have to put your ds first.
It's a shame the school haven't put in more support for him.

JinRamen Thu 28-Apr-16 18:51:34

The pipe cleaners thing is worrying. Get him signed off for the two weeks. The school can show ofsted that! ( and the noose!)

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 19:02:04

Thanks Feenie.
I think there are only 5 children in year 6, so presumably that's 20%?

Is there a good way of broaching deregistering, and then registering him again?
I don't seem to see eye to eye with the HT. I have ASD too and am very aware that I don't come across very well, particularly when I'm feeling under pressure about something!

PhilPhilConnors Thu 28-Apr-16 19:03:23

Jin, he has done this sort of thing since he was 6, during particularly stressful times, which we know to avoid now!
CAMHS discharged him and said it was normal hmm

Helsybob77 Fri 29-Apr-16 10:32:30

Hi PhilPhil,

I feel so strongly about your experience that I've joined mumsnet just to give you my take on your heartbreaking situation.

I'm a primary school teacher currently on maternity leave. I've taught in primary schools for 8 years including in Year 6 for 2 years. As a teacher I FULLY support anything you feel you need to do in order to protect your son's physical and mental health. Because this is what this argument comes down to: SATs are stressing him out to the point where he says he wants to die. NOTHING is worth that. If it were a different situation that was making him feel like this then all reasonable adults would tell you to remove him from that situation. Taking these exams won't change a thing for your son, they are merely for the school's data. If his not taking them affects this data then so be it. If it means that 'Ofsted will come knocking' then so be it. The people who have to deal with those potential stresses are adults, not vulnerable children. You must not in any way feel that you are letting the school, or the teachers, down if you take your boy out of school for as long as is necessary for him to avoid the exams. If you have a doctor's note then it will be an authorised absence. Even if you can't get one, there is still very little the school can do. I will not hesitate to take my son out of school for both KS1 and KS2 SATs when the time comes if there is even the merest hint that his mental health is suffering. These exams DO NOT MATTER TO THE CHILDREN.

So please, do whatever you feel is right for your child and let the adults at his school deal with any potential consequences.

With best wishes X

PhilPhilConnors Fri 29-Apr-16 10:55:19

Thankyou Helsybob, I appreciate that.

I've kept him at home today.
Last night he was so low and the only time he talked was to say that he wanted to die.
Hopefully a long weekend will refresh him!

I had a chat with his teacher this morning, I've said that obviously Ds is my first priority, and if we need him to be signed off, that's what we'll do.
I also mentioned deregistering him for 2 weeks if that helps with school data, so she's going to have a word with the HT before we have the meeting. I will do what's best for Ds, but if we can have a plan in place that means school aren't affected, then that would be good.
We're hopefully going to come up with a range of options:
1. Keep going and hope for the best
2. Allow him to come into school when he's ready and take the test on his own in another room
3. Deregister or sign him off.

The plan is to give Ds some control of the situation (with PDA, that is our best bet to get any sort of co-operation out of ds). That way, if he chooses to go ahead, he's likely to do better because it's within his control.

The Dr is ringing this afternoon so they have a proper record as to why he's not in today.

We are very lucky that ds's teacher has a Ds with ASD, so she understands about how he's holding it all in, and she will be at the meeting too as the HT has very little understanding of him (not meant as a criticism, I know it's difficult to grasp how affected Ds is by this when he gives very little away at school).

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