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is it usual for MS secondary schools to offer send support outside of school day hours only?

(10 Posts)
Youarentkiddingme Mon 14-Dec-15 22:43:24

Just that really!

Ds has SEN as well as a dx of ASD. He manages ok in school but needs lots of input to engage and his communication through speech and writing is poor. He's cognitively very able (except verbal reasoning).

School refusing to acknowledge SpLD (removed within 3 weeks of starting despite having scribe and reader and daily literacy interventions in juniors) and have kept his send needs as just ASD.

They also don't offer any support, such as the ELSA he's been identified as needing (and has has previously as group and 1:1) during school day and do it after school alongside the enrichment activities). Also needs to do touch typing as been given a laptop.

I'm very hmm about it because he can't join clubs he wants or homework club like the students without SEND.

I've just had his first terms data capture and remarkably he's under achieving in all subjects he was achieving in. He's still doing well in maths and ICT and miraculously despite having lowest possible score for literacy made 2 sub levels progress (actually there equivalent in new money) in English - despite no support being given now. he only made 5 in total throughout the whole of junior school - 2 of which were fully supported!

Something just doesn't sit right but I'm not sure if this is the norm?

Youarentkiddingme Mon 14-Dec-15 22:45:03

their equivilent blush

TeenAndTween Wed 16-Dec-15 07:59:05

I guess the thing is, to do it in the school day means they have to miss lessons, and will then get behind.

DD had extra English in y9 missing an RE session, which was part of a short course GCSE. At the end of y10 she failed the RE ... DD also missed some tech lessons, but as she was a danger to herself in those that wasn't a bad thing!

At DD's school I know some kids don't (or at least didn't) do an MFL to allow for extra support for English.

Are there any other schools in the area that might serve his needs better?

Youarentkiddingme Wed 16-Dec-15 20:35:22

Ds school do let children drop a MFL for support but don't believe DS needs to. He has lowest literacy score available but yet is taking 2 MFL in year 7!

I'm investigating what else is available but there is no space in schools nearby that I would consider.
I'm going to have to contact schools by email and look at their local offers and take it from there.

moosemama Fri 18-Dec-15 16:42:16

Hi Youare that's what they do at ds2's school. All 'interventions' are done outside of day-to-day lesson times, effectively disadvantaging SEN pupils with social/communication difficulties further, by making it impossible for them to socialise at lunch/break and at after school clubs. Plus of course it stops them from being able to access support at homework club, which further disadvantages them.

As I understand it, it's the same at all the secondaries in our area, which are now all Academies. It was one of the reasons I didn't want ds1 to attend any of them.

Ds1's school is an indie, as you know, but they refused to let him drop MFL until it became clear that there was absolutely no way he was ever going to even scrape a grade. He did French throughout Y7 and Y8, but was in an support session during Spanish in Y7. The school then tried to dump him and the other boys he'd attended the group with back in the Spanish class at the start of Y8, despite all of them missing the entire first year of the curriculum. When I pointed it out, all they did was get the boys to sit at the back of the Spanish class and do unsupervised 'homework'. I kicked up a stink, but couldn't get them to see what a waste of time that was for kids that needed lots of support and intervention.

Y9 they tried to put them back into Spanish - again, as the French teacher had left and they had been unable to find a replacement, so French was being offered as an optional second MFL during enrichment sessions, which none of them opted to do, effectively leaving them without an MFL to study. This time I wasn't standing for it and the end result is that ds and one other lad now have a supervised homework sessions elsewhere during Spanish lessons and aren't studying an MFL at all, which I am confident is the right decision for him.

From what I've seen at ds' school, it's more about staff deployment than withdrawal of pupils from lessons they need to attend. If not they have no way to explain wasting an entire year's worth of lessons for several pupils that sat and messed about on laptops at the back of an MFL classroom. angry

Ds was also withdrawn from Art last year, as they claimed they didn't have another time he could have help with printing his classwork and he was basically refusing to attend anyway, as he really struggles and finds Art humiliating. This year they have insisted he goes back to Art, having missed lots of the techniques the others have been taught and already being disadvantaged by having very poor fine motor skills. hmm

As you know, we've come close to pulling him out of the school so many times over the past couple of years, but he's actually happy and achieving in the most important areas now, so we're just monitoring closely and keeping everything crossed that nothing changes. That said, they've dropped the ball in other ways a couple of times recently, so I'm not all that confident.

Greenzoe14 Sat 19-Dec-15 09:21:05

interventions are normally out side of lesson times, yes. Otherwise students get behind in subjects, which sort of defeats the object.

In our school interventions run 7.30-8.30, or 3.30-5ish.

Staff running these extra sessions get absolutly no extra recognition or payment, and the planning and marking comes entirely our of their free time too.

So I would suggest gratitude would be a more appropriate response than wingeing, personally.

Youarentkiddingme Sat 19-Dec-15 10:37:48

green I haven't whinged I've asked a perfectly valid question.

I have a child with asd who finds school life difficult enough without the added SEN too. He has very special interests and I chose the school because they offer ELSA support and enrichment activities to ALL students of which some relate to his specific interest.

However, because of his SN and need for ELSA support he can't attend the clubs that his peers can.

I'm questioning whether that is normal practice or not? Ipsea seem to think it can be challenged under the equality act and DDA (I haven't!) which is what made me question how common it was across secondary education.

Moose it's frustrating isn't it? I know you've had issues with DS1 and his school. I understand I have to make compromises as DS doesn'yt fit into the neat little box of MS pupils but it seems to me like there is no give. They do things there way with regards SN and the pupils who fit fit in that neat little box so get left behind and don't make as much progress as they could salons miss out on the other opportunities available to them.

moosemama Sat 19-Dec-15 18:54:16

Greenzoe that may be the case in your school, but it isn't always the case in every school or with every pupil. Ds' interventions are paid for via his statement funding and the person that does them with him is paid for out of that funding. (Slightly different situation though as he has an LA funded place at an indie school.)

If your school scheduled interventions according to pupils' needs, at a time within the school day that's not detrimental to core learning, then both the staff and pupils involved would be better off. As I pointed out in my post, ds was put through two years of MFL lessons, only to drop MFL completely in Y9, as he has no hope of even scraping a grade at GCSE and there are other things he needs support with during that time that are far more important to his future. The school chose to leave an entire group of SEN pupils with nothing to do during Spanish lessons for a whole year - they could easily have scheduled their social/communication group or some other support session during that period, but chose not to. It was only myself and dh repeatedly pointing out the obvious to the SENCO that finally changed the situation this year. The fact that I'm angry about that doesn't mean I am ungrateful to the staff that support ds, rather I am wholeheartedly unimpressed with the management team that set that situation up and allowed it to continue. As it happens we go out of our way to make sure the fantastic individual that supports my ds these days is fully aware of just how grateful we are to them.

There is no need for pupils to be pulled out of core subjects to have additional support, if communication with parents is maintained so that joint decisions can be made about which subjects are most important to that particular pupil and therefore when interventions could take place within the school day.

I don't agree with staff being made to run extra sessions outside of their normal hours and for zero remuneration, any more than I agree with pupils missing out on valuable time for developing social/communication skills and enrichment opportunities. I am also extremely grateful to each and every member of staff that helps my ds to fulfil his potential and fully aware that they often do this without proper support, recognition and pay from their management team.

However, I also don't agree with the default attitude of some staff that the parents of SEN pupils are just demanding pains in the neck that don't appreciate the support their dcs have in school.

Youarentkiddingme Sat 19-Dec-15 22:00:32

Well said Moose I suggested my DS drop 1 of the 2 MFL he is taking in year 7. He will only do one at GCSE anyway so the value of learning 2 now above interventions that would increase his chances of better grades in subjects he can achieve in with support is nil IMO.
Seriously - the child with the lowest literacy score possible and a CAT4 score of 22% for verbal reasoning does not benefit from sitting in a MFL lesson weekly and barely registering what's going on.

It's interesting how all I get told is that there is no-wY he can miss any timetabled subjects because the senco would be putting their job at risk yet has missed 8 lessons in past week because he's the only one who can suss the new system for lights/sound in hall and 3 lessons of PE because they have a supply teacher and won't put in support so he can access it.

If they can exclude a parents POV based on the way "it has to work" they they should make sure they out in the support to ensure it always works that way.

camptownraces Mon 21-Dec-15 15:20:32

There is no uniform system for putting support lessons in place. It very much depends on how the staff and the timetable are organised.

The school should employ specialist support staff with specific training, and it may only be feasible to timetable these sesssions before school starts in the morning, or after school starts in the afternoon. School will find it difficult to recruit good staff in these areas if all they can offer is 30% of a timetable scattered over the whole week. There may be different arrangements for different Year groups: some may be timetabled for the lunch break.

The value of OP's son dropping one MFL subject (three lessons a week?) would depend on whether any suitable member of staff was available to do something else with him. No good sending Year 7 kids to the library and expecting that to be productive. In any case, such a decision would probably be up to the head of the MFL department - whose staff are expected to differentiate the work - in conjunction with the SENCo.

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