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Can a Teacher Insist...

(13 Posts)
LivingInLaLaLand Wed 20-Sep-17 20:29:49

(Name Change in case its outing for DC, but long time regularish poster)

Can a teacher insist that a DC with health problems/SN tell them exactly what their diagnosis is ?

Suddenly dawned on me that I don't actually know if all staff do actually know the details, rather than just the basics & what measures are in place.

I'm trying to decide how best to handle a situation that arose for my DC today. Due to health issues they were unable to take part a class activity, this is all documented, new teacher. School themselves are usually very good.

New teacher aggressively quizzed DC insisting on knowing "what's wrong with you" not accepting "health problems or ill" but actual diagnosis this was done in front of other pupils. DC usually quite private about health problems due to past history of bullying, so is upset.

Lots more to the story, but teacher basically refused to accept DCs word for it, insisting on calling me. At this point I didn't know how they had been with DC, but did pick up on their very bristling manner to me on the phone, which I nipped in the bud by asking exactly what part of the notes that I knew they had & should have read on DC, did they need clarification on.

Attitude better after that, but the call should have been unnecessary,especially as there was a similar problem last week which I had emailed form teachers to ask them to make sure this teacher knew DCs needs as they seemed to be missing info. I do intend to follow call up with an email by way of confirmation of the conversation, but having now spoken with DC (who is usually very honest, though can be anxious) I'm feeling pretty cross

TIA

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Sep-17 21:02:45

No a teacher can't insist that a DC tells them a diagnosis, that is their information to choose to share. However if a student is unable to do a particular activity due to this issue, then it should be documented and accessible by the teacher. A teacher isn't going to let a student off doing an activity for undocumented vaguely claimed 'health reasons' or they'd all be at it.

It sounds like this teacher thought your DS was taking the piss and phoned you to drop him in it. If teachers don't have access to the information they need to effectively teach your DS and manage his needs, then this needs updating. If the teacher misunderstood something then I guess at least they phoned you to check instead of punishing your DS. They should have asked him in private but I'm imagining a conversation 'I can't do this' 'why not?' 'health reasons' 'what sort of health reasons' 'I'm not going to say' etc getting out of hand where 'I can't do this' 'why not?' 'Can I speak to you outside?' Might not have.

Without knowing the details, it's hard to say whether the teacher should have known whatever it was they were phoning about.

LivingInLaLaLand Wed 20-Sep-17 21:16:49

Thank you Noble, that's helpful

yes this teacher should definitely have known DCs issues & how it impacts on their ability to take part in the lesson. If nothing else because we had a similar problem the week before, resulting in DC taking part in the lesson as they didn't feel able to speak up to this teacher as they felt them unapproachable & not particularly nice. DC decided that the activity wasn't as dangerous to their health as it could be & figured it was easier just to go along with it, which they did. This later made them ill. I contacted DCs form teachers to ask for help sorting the problem out & to make sure that this teacher definitely had all the facts they needed on DC. Form teachers spoke with DC to reassure them this was done & not to worry about speaking up again, as they do know they are ill & will listen - though clearly not what happened

Bekabeech Wed 20-Sep-17 21:35:55

I would put something in writing, possibly using the key word "safeguarding". Request that all necessary staff are informed immediately as you do not want a reoccurrence f your DDs Ill health.

When I worked in a school we would often be told that X had a health issue which prevented them doing certain activities, that X knew what they could and could not do, not to pressurise them and to contact Mrs Y (head of year) with any concerns.

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Sep-17 21:49:28

Is it PE? PE teachers I think are used to being harsh on suspected malingering. Possibly the thought was that if DS managed the activity last week then he should absolutely be able to take part this week (that it made him ill won't have been seen, so as far as the teacher was concerned he was fine).

Perhaps your DS needs a card that he can show teachers when there is an activity he can't do, which will excuse him from it with brief details of the type of activity. This will also cover him if there is a supply teacher who doesn't have immediate access to the info.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Wed 20-Sep-17 21:55:32

I would never have behaved as that teacher did - but we don't always get told details of a pupil's condition. Usually, we are told that X has ongoing health issues and therefore cannot do Y and Z, please contact tutor/houseparent/DSL for further info if necessary. At our school, they try to preserve medical confidentiality where it is reasonable and safe to do so, so we work on a "need to know" basis.

BubblesBuddy Wed 20-Sep-17 22:18:16

It has nothing to do with safeguarding. Please don't mention this. It is all to do with internal communication within the school which obviously needs to improve! Children should not be singled out and embarrassed by teachers for the reasons you describe.

DermotOLogical Wed 20-Sep-17 22:30:56

Documented where?

If a physical disability then surely your child will be on SEN register and the teacher should be able to access this.

If it was me I wouldn't have been happy with "health reasons" as that could be anything.

prh47bridge Wed 20-Sep-17 23:14:34

If a physical disability then surely your child will be on SEN register and the teacher should be able to access this

Not necessarily. Some children with physical disabilities are not considered to have SEN and hence will not be on the SEN register.

LivingInLaLaLand Wed 20-Sep-17 23:14:47

Thanks everyone that's all very helpful. I was very unhappy after I spoke with DC & they told how it was handled by the teacher

Yes a physical disability & therefore on the SEN register. I wasn't actually sure how the system works tbh, only that bar one hiccup, (which was a teacher at fault for thinking they knew better & resulted in an injury) it's worked well for DC up to now, but i do know this teacher has been given the necessary information as I trust form teachers to have followed up as they have reassured DC, as they have been fantastic in the past, they think very highly of DC too, so like to look out for them even more so.

Yes P.E. so I do get that they seem to think all DC are malingering if they can't join in, (last incident was also a P.E. teacher) but I don't get why they either didn't have access to SEN register, or couldn't be bothered to look. Ironically DC can often look very well, when they are struggling the most & it's an invisible illness, more than one as it happens. DC also used to be very sporty & would love nothing more than be able to join in, so definitely isn't a malingerer, but knows better than to risk it.

I do get that the invisibility & fluctuations of the conditions can make it hard for a teacher, but not that I've already raised this matter & then this happens today.

Thank you, I will follow up with an email just to dot the I's & cross Ts, plus mention I'm unhappy with how DC was spoken to, will copy in H.o.Y. too (Who has been fantastic) 🤞 that sorts it out as I now have DC who is very anxious that this teacher Teacher will now pick on them sad

Thanks again flowersflowers

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Sep-17 23:23:11

I don't get why they either didn't have access to SEN register

Unlike other teachers who can look something up on the computer in the classroom immediately to refresh their memory, PE teachers are on the field/in a gym so relying on their memory.

Start of the year, teaching hundreds of new kids it's hard to even remember names at the moment.

Obviously the teacher could just be a dick, but hopefully it's sorted now!

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 20-Sep-17 23:47:57

Glad it's sorted for now!

My youngest has newly-diagnosed health issues (after being ill for ages and getting very little sympathy from school hmm - they are now being nice about it!) and her HOY and form tutor know all the ins and outs, but the HOY said she has emailed all dd's teachers saying dd has a medical issue and might be late/absent/etc. (She said to me that she starts these emails off by saying "this is confidential" and so on, and then tells them as little as possible!) So, yes, in our school at least it seems that every individual teacher does not need to know every last detail.

Your dc's PE teacher could have made themselves look and sound a bit less arsey by checking with the HOY first!

Logans Fri 22-Sep-17 01:11:48

I other posters have given far better advice than I can, but flowers for DC, it sounds horrible for them! I hope school don't make any more errors.

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