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Progress Review Day/ Barriers to Learning

(32 Posts)
insanityscratching Wed 04-Feb-15 20:02:51

Tomorrow is dd's first progress review day since starting secondary. I have got her data sheet today and she is mostly in red which means that she isn't making the expected progress.
Dd is quite worried as apparently "any reds are to be discussed with parents and assurances made that the student will make the required effort to change the reds to amber"
Dd has autism and a statement of SEN and yet no allowances have been made for this and apparently she has no barriers to learning it is purely a lack of effort on her part.
Her targets/levels are aspirational ones that are ridiculous to be honest considering how much effort it takes dd to cope with being in school and to be frank the full time TA support is poor at best not least because their grasp of dd's needs is tenuous. There is no pro active support, everything is mopping up after I have raised concerns and offered solutions and it drives me mad tbh.
So would I be unreasonable to demand that the targets/levels are adjusted to ones that dd has at least a chance of meeting and that her autism is recorded as a barrier to learning and allowances made accordingly because quite frankly if school were making half the effort dd and myself are making then it would be ten times more than we have experienced so far.

Leeds2 Wed 04-Feb-15 20:08:22

I have no experience of what you are talking about, but I think I would be suggesting that the TA be replaced. I think having someone who could support DD would be invaluable.

lljkk Wed 04-Feb-15 20:14:45

what targets does she have & how do you want them adjusted?

insanityscratching Wed 04-Feb-15 20:26:55

Maths 6a although she is exceeding that one, the others are mostly 6b or 6c apart from French which is 4b (which she is meeting) PE which is 4b which she hasn't got a cat in hell's chance of meeting because of all the issues that are documented in her statement.
I'd like them to be realistic levels, taking into account her needs documented in her statement. It seems very unfair to me that dd should be classed as not putting in the required effort when in actual fact she puts in at least double the effort tbh.

lljkk Wed 04-Feb-15 21:04:15

She must have scored highly in the SATs, yes? Do they stream for PE (maybe later)? DD's school does, I think it's a godsend for many kids.

Do they get separate grades for effort or attitude?

insanityscratching Wed 04-Feb-15 21:15:53

Yes she did well in her SATs but then her Primary gave her fantastic support and the environment and curriculum suited her better.

They are streamed for PE (dd is rightly in lowest set) but there again I have already had to point out that it is not a lack of effort that impedes dd but all the issues in her statement as they are seemingly oblivious and suggest she tries harder or practises more.

She gets attitude to learning grades which are satisfactory which id fine but totally fails to acknowledge how much effort she does make to cope with the autism, the sensory issues, the planning and processing difficulties, the hypotonia, dyspraxia, anxiety and all the other stuff that is documented.

lljkk Wed 04-Feb-15 21:20:36

You could try posting on SN board specifically about has anyone managed to get school to reduce the targets. But would your DD notice? Would she be annoyed that they got reduced?

insanityscratching Wed 04-Feb-15 21:30:06

Dd would be much happier with reduced targets tbh because she puts herself under too much pressure as it is. In primary her target was a 4 even though they knew she would easily get fives because a low target took off any pressure and lowered her anxiety.
I think I wouldn't care so much about the ridiculous targets if they didn't equate dd not meeting them to her not making the effort and if they actually acknowledged that she has a statement and needs that are a barrier to learning.
It will be fine up until the point they decide to address dd's effort and then I might just give them my own appraisal of their efforts to date wink

Caronaim Wed 04-Feb-15 22:08:09

targets are set according to national formula, and the school has no discretion at all.

yes they are often ridiculous.

TheFirstOfHerName Wed 04-Feb-15 22:17:37

I feel your pain. DS1 (Y10) has unrealistically high targets (all A or A*) and every report just looks like a sea of mostly red & orange. Very disheartening, and his case, demotivating.

I took my request to lower the targets as far as the head of KS4 and deputy head before giving up.

Caronaim Wed 04-Feb-15 22:19:43

They can't, it is out of their hands entirely.

Schools setting their own targets?????? ofsted would go ballistic!

Quitethewoodsman Wed 04-Feb-15 23:12:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

insanityscratching Thu 05-Feb-15 07:26:35

No I think she got the grades she deserved in Primary (and her SATs grades fit with what she produced during lessons) but her grades were a consequence of the outstanding support she received in an environment that suited her.
It was a very laid back approach to SATs so a couple of practice papers in the two weeks before the actual tests, no coaching to get her though and we did nothing at home so I don't think they weren't a reflection of her abilities.
I think there has been no consideration of the effect of her SEN nor any allowance made for the dire support we have endured so far, in fact I know there hasn't as there is no mention of it probably because there is no understanding of it.
Dd will crumple if there is any pressure and she will probably cry today if we get the "red is bad" chat which will probably provoke me to provide them with my own assessment of their efforts tbh.

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Feb-15 07:34:54

Absolutely go in and point out that she is statemented and therefore she has significant barriers to learning which the school are failing to address. Put it all on them.

You may well find the teacher agrees with you. Whether they'll be able to reduce the targets depending on the school. We could adjust them downwards at my school but it would require a discussion further up the chain.

PastSellByDate Thu 05-Feb-15 10:10:05

Hi insanity:

I think you have to recognize that the school is expected to achieve a certain level of progress for every child beyond their KS2 performance: (e.g. - so in order to achieve that they divide up progress into sub-levels across KS3/ KS4.

At present at end KS2 you're expected to be NC L4 and by end KS3 you're expected to be performing at Level 5/6.

So it isn't unreasonable for the school to be looking at your DD's NC L5+ results (I'm presuming as you said she exceeded NC L4 targets she achieved Nc L5+) and looking to move her to NC L7/8 by end of KS3 (end Year 9). Therefore the targets they've set are relatively high (most likely arrived at from a computer programme which probably reviews in school testing as much as KS2 SATs results).

Now, I'm just a Mum, but my advice is this. On the 'red' targets (and DD1 had 2 red targets in her best subjects and it was upsetting for the both of us) - look at where she is - if she's working at 5a and the target is 6c, well she's just one sub-level below expected performance. OK yes, if she's working flat out, studying every hour under the sun and really stressed - yes the target it too ambitious. But if she's not very seriously revising for tests, finishing homework in 5 minutes flat, doing very little extra reading (self-directed study), not reviewing her mistakes and learning from them - then there is all sorts of scope to raise that mark.

My view with DD1 is this - it's a target. Having high targets is no bad thing - it's a goal. I'm more concerned that she tries her best than that she actually achieves the target. Indeed, I think it is that process of trying to achieve which is valuable - not the certificate/ 'green' symbol on the report card/ etc... once you've achieved it. In both cases of DD1's 'reds' she was working one sub-level below expected target and the targets were very high. The school were clearly thrilled with her performance and felt that now she had settled (it was a bit bumpy at first - very few friends from her old school/ new situation) - anyway, they felt that she could knuckle down and it would be more than possible to go on and achieve those targets.

So I think part of this may be to change your view on targets - not to see them as putting 'too much pressure on' - but to see them as useful:

useful in terms of high standard of teaching for your child - teachers can't just coast - they're expected to be getting your child to a certain level (teaching that level curriculum/ assigning that level homeworks) - so she won't endlessly review perimeter/ area in maths if she's ready to be coping with volume of 3D shapes and calculating angles.

if you desire that your child does well at A-Level, the more work put in now, the better - and the more options for future she will have. The test date is coming - there's no stopping that - the more things your child covers now (mistakes/ difficulty or not) the easier it will be come GCSE/ A-Level.

If everything is easy and you never have to put effort in to achieve it - you do really 'freak out' once you hit a situation where that isn't the case - (at university/ work/ sport/ etc....). Far better to have high standards (personally imposed or externally imposed) and strive to achieve them - than to just paddle along. The reality is education/ employment is a competition (we tend to try very hard to avoid thinking about it in those terms - and that's regardless of whether your child is going for an apprenticeship/ a job/ or a university place.


insanityscratching Thu 05-Feb-15 15:09:59

Past if it was my NT dc the levels wouldn't bother me tbh and it wouldn't bother me if they got the "red is bad" chat because if they were in the red then it would most likely be down to lack of effort. For dd though the levels are unrealistic because of the autism.
Dd expends so much effort managing the autism that it leaves little in reserve for making rapid progress or even normal progress. She was successful in Primary because the school managed the autism leaving her free to learn.
Her secondary seem to think that dd can manage the autism and the learning and the TA can fill in the liaison book. In fact I have no idea what they do apart from that tbh because the only time there is any action is when I tell them what went wrong and how to fix it.It really is ridiculous at times because I'm sending in lists of instructions to her TA's that I would have expected them to know and to implement automatically particularly as her statement details the support she needs.
To be fair a few of her teachers seem to understand her needs and have adjusted accordingly but considering she has a TA at the side of her in every lesson there have been too many incidents where dd has been floundering and not received the support she should fundamentally because the TA's and SENCo don't understand what is needed.
Her health is suffering she has lost weight because of not eating through anxiety, she has had repeated migraines when she only had one in the past four years previously and she is self harming the very last thing she needs is pressure to perform or to be chided for lack of effort and if they had any understanding of her needs they would know that too.
If I'm honest my aim is for her to stay in school and not be too damaged by her experience, that she actually enjoys some parts would be a bonus. Do I think we will manage five years in the school? well probably not because dd's health is already suffering and it's nigh on impossible to get the support to be pro active rather than reactive. Do I think that her results at 16 will reflect her SATs at 11? well no, considering the poor support, the environment and that as subjects become more complex dd's processing, planning and comprehension difficulties are likely to impede her progress.
I don't for one minute think that these aspirational targets are useful for dd and I think of them more as an illustration of the school's lack of knowledge and understanding of dd and her needs.

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Feb-15 17:48:21

It sounds like you have way more problems with the school than unachievable targets. Do they know about the self-harming? Is she seeing CAMHs? If she is and they know about her anxiety, then if they are badgering her about targets, that is completely unacceptable.

Have you had a proper face to face meeting with the SENCO and her TA? It sounds like one is well overdue.

BackforGood Thu 05-Feb-15 19:04:34

The targets are set by Gvmnt formula, and are generally ot to be worried about - they don't take in to account the indivdual pupils at all.

If you are so unhappy with the TA, how have you addressed this with the SENCo so far?
Have you asked that the SENCo attends the progress report meeting (alongside the form teacher, presumably?).

I would take a copy of the Statement with you, and also the IEP (or whatever documentation the school have replaced the IEP with), and ask questions as to how this is being implemented.

In truth, I suspect you won't get any answers at this meeting - IME, it is the form teacher reading the same report you have received at home, and any questions asked will be responded to with "I don't know", but from there, I would ask to see the SENCo (if they weren't at the meeting) and the HoYear, to see how your dd's educational needs are being addressed.

insanityscratching Thu 05-Feb-15 20:53:38

I have just gotten rid of a TA who was deliberately isolating dd and exacerbating her anxiety. The SENCo isn't happy with me not least because she hoped she could brush it under the carpet so I took it to the HT. Fortunately the TA was also stupid and so it was inevitable that the HT had no other option to remove her as I had written proof that not only was she a bully but also a liar too.
Relations are somewhat strained at present between SENCo and myself as she feels that I am unreasonable by going over her head to the HT although I did raise it with her first and also because I don't think she expects that a parent would question the quality of support given.
Dd's current keyworker is the best we have had so far (we have had some dire TA's tbf) and given time I think she could provide decent support. She at least tries which is something, she is sensitive to dd's anxiety and she communicates with me which is a positive but she is the third keyworker since September (the first left for an admin job) and of course she only covers 30% of dd's timetable
School know about the self harm, they see it every day because she gouges her face. CAMHS won't see her because the autism means to our CAMHS that it isn't a mental health issue and the learning disability team at CAMHS won't see her in spite of the autism because her IQ is too high. It is a farce tbh. We are waiting see the paed who then has to refer direct to the psychiatrist cutting out CAMHS and their criteria.
There is supposed to be a meeting after half term at my request, I've asked that the Inclusion Officer is present which has gone down like a lead balloon too because the SENCo seems to think that because they act on every suggestion I should be happy at that. Where I'd like it if they actually saw the problem and sorted it before dd was made ill rather than my having to try and work out what is wrong(never easy with dd's communication disorder) and give them the solution.

BackforGood Thu 05-Feb-15 21:11:28

Well, in that case, I'd ask if you could arrange a meeting with dd's TA, and the Head of Year, to try to see the best way forwards. It is proactive; it means you actually get to build a relationship with the TA, and can share things that have worked well in the past, and things that make her anxious; it keeps a more senior menber of staff, who should have an overview of all pupils in the year, involved.
I know you shouldn't have to be teaching (leading? / supporting?) the TA, but it's a fact that it's a poorly paid job, which usually attracts people with few qualifications, who usually get little training, and, on the whole, they aren't going to be the most knowledgable. You can complain about her, or work with her - depending on which you think will be best for your dd.

<<I also know LOADS of wonderful TAs, please don't think I'm insulting TAs here.... but I'm sure you'll acknowledge that many of you are just asked "to support a pupil" without being given any training or understanding of their needs, strengths and weaknesses>>

insanityscratching Thu 05-Feb-15 21:36:30

The problem is that the school haven't invested in training their TA's (I asked which courses the TA's had completed) and so they only have a very limited knowledge of stereotypical ASD and dd is far from stereotypical. They have only just stopped mentioning dd behaving well each lesson because they obviously equate ASD with behavioural difficulties whereas dd is rule bound and has never misbehaved in her life. It's unlikely that the TA's will be able to pick up on dd's subtle nuances of ASD when their knowledge is pretty limited tbh although I would have hoped that knowledge of her statement and instruction from the SENCo would have alleviated some of this. As it is they sit next to dd and see this as support where to my mind that isn't support.

Caronaim Thu 05-Feb-15 21:51:32

I doubt you "got rid of a TA"!

insanityscratching Thu 05-Feb-15 22:05:43

Oh I did, it's not wise to write lies in a liaison book when the parent keeps meticulous records of her own wink It's also helpful to have knowledge of the Data Protection Act should you want to force the school to act. I didn't manage to get rid of her for bullying admittedly, I had to bide my time and wait until I had the evidence I needed to force their hand.

BackforGood Thu 05-Feb-15 22:26:42

Well, thats my point, insanity - you know your dd best. Use your energy to help teach the TA how to help your dd.
Get the HofY onside.
If your dd is fairly atypical, then, getting the TA on another course isnt going to help her. Setting up a monthy (?) / 1/2 termly (?) meeting to see whats going well, which bits are making your dd anxious, and which bits the TA is struggling with, is going to help your dd, which, presumably is the outcome you want, even if you feel you shouldn't have to.

insanityscratching Thu 05-Feb-15 22:46:07

Yes I do that anyway and did exactly the same in Primary. The difference is that dd's TA didn't need spoon feeding and I wasn't giving her the basics in instructions just warning her of dd's worries, upset and difficulties and letting her sort it out.
I really don't mind alerting her TA to dd's sensory issues that will impact on her learning I don't mind communicating that dd's anxiety is high because of a topic she find's tricky.
I do find it annoying to have to explain to a TA that the reason dd missed an instruction was because it was given whilst dd was already doing something else, it was addressed to the class as a whole and the TA didn't either give the instruction to dd individually or write it in the liaison book and so dd didn't have the necessary equipment next time. Incidentally this is in her statement and it's a pretty common theme with autism and so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the TA not to need reminding of this.
It does get tiresome pretty quickly because I can't always pre empt what they will miss and so much of the time I am mopping up after them and dd is paying the price.

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