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Is this an illegal exclusion?

(28 Posts)
MagicalMysteryTour Sun 23-Jun-19 14:38:26

School is sending a my child home when she too anxious/stressed to stay in class. She takes herself to pastoral care and will sit there quietly until home time, she is no trouble. However, school keep ringing me to collect her. I actually don't mind doing this at the moment - she has been quite unwell with anxiety and has missed a lot of school, and I'm just happy she is able to go in at all. But I can't see it working long term. Child has disabilites (ASD, DCD, anxiety disorder) and an EHCP. I want the school to work with her to enable her to stay in lessons, or to support her out of lessons. I'm just wondering where I stand with this?

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Sun 23-Jun-19 15:44:37

How is it being recorded on the register?

It doesn’t sound great, if she has an EHCP is there any sort of plan for de-stressing her and getting her back into lessons?

If there isn’t, then the school needs to be working with you to find a way to manage this. If there is, and it’s not being followed then you need to insist that it is.

Is she taking any medication/treatment for her anxiety? If not, then you also need a trip to the GP to flag that it’s becoming an increasing problem and investigate your options there.

MagicalMysteryTour Sun 23-Jun-19 17:21:52

When she has missed an entire session they mark it as illness. But often they will wait until 5 minutes after registration before they ring, so she gets marked as present. I have been keeping my on records of how much school she has missed. In the last 4 months she has only attended a 2 full week of school.

There is no plan at the minute for helping her de-stress and get back to lessons. I'm hoping to work with school to agree on a plan, they have come up with no suggestions so far and seem completely out of their depth.

She isn't on any medication, this would only be prescribed by CAMHS due to her age, she's been on the waiting list for months but no appointment yet, I believe she could be waiting up to a year.

OP’s posts: |
BelleSausage Sun 23-Jun-19 17:37:34

CAMHS referrals can take up to two years with school support. Please don’t wait on this.

There is currently little to no funding for mental health support in schools. I suspect they are sending her home because they don’t have the provision to help support her. This is not unusual in the current financial climate in schools. Many used to have school support worker to help students but those posts are generally long gone.

The staff in pastoral care may be busy (other students/groups/teaching/case load meetings) and they can’t just leave her there unsupervised.

However, they do need to try to make some arrangements for her to receive schooling if she cannot and will not attend lessons. But be warned that this might be off site alternative provision from which you will have to pick her up and drop her off during the day. If it is an LA school then they will be provision (if stretched). An academy should have a provider. Good Luck.

Startaler Sun 23-Jun-19 17:41:10

You need to ask for a meeting with her form teacher, Senco and maybe head of year and head of Pastoral care. I would take a copy of her ehcp with you and pick at every recommendation, asking how they are supporting your DD. An ehcp is a legal document, the school can not simply ignore it and keep sending your DD home rather than finding ways to support her. Demand that they refer her to camms for help at reducing her anxiety. I would also ask your GP for help and a referral. Also, if you have strategies that work at home, always make sure to share them with school so they can try them too.

MagicalMysteryTour Sun 23-Jun-19 17:56:36

BelleSausage I'm pretty sure they can't just keep sending her home though, I think this would be considered an illegal exclusion and school would be on dodgy grounds....which is why I'm asking here.

School have to provide the provision she needs, that's what her EHCP is for. The alternative would be a very expensive specialist school placement which the LA will be desperate to avoid, so I'm sure they will be keen to ensure the school is providing what she needs to stay in her current school.

OP’s posts: |
BelleSausage Sun 23-Jun-19 19:13:08

@MagicalMysteryTour

Are your sure they have the provision? I can tell you from the inside that the money that school gets for a student with an EHCP does not do much more than cover the legal minimum hours for TA provision.

School are being crap. She needs to be provided with work and kept up to date. However, it sounds like they are not set up for it at the moment. Is the pastoral support room always staffed? Who is it staffed by?

I am going to be totally honest here. In my experience main stream schools can only ever be partially effective with student who fall outside of the remit of ‘mainstream’ and have additional needs. Students who need significant input are always best served by going somewhere more specialist. I would suggest that if the school’s provision for her isn’t good now it will not change that much in the future, even with applied pressure from the LA. Perhaps look elsewhere. It doesn’t sound like the best place for her.

nickknowleshalfateacake Sun 23-Jun-19 19:31:43

Hi I am not an expert but my sons EHCP is to keep him in class. He has complex PTSD, this counts as a SEN so is effectively a disability. School therefore need to make sure he is able to access the lessons. With anxiety this can mean delivering in a way which minimises his anxiety - so small group/ breaks for physical activity/ teaching 1 to 1 with a subject which might trigger.
School have learnt that physical illness symptoms often mean anxiety and so do not get me to collect him unless extreme, we have provided them with ways to help him with it though.
Apologies for my clunky language I left my brain behind 6 years ago at my last job. Please feel free to ask me if you'd like me to elaborate/ clarify.

MagicalMysteryTour Sun 23-Jun-19 19:37:14

Belle realistically it is the best place for her, and with the correct support she could do so well. She doesn't need significant input, and there are many children in the school who need (and receive) a lot more than she does. The kind of support she needs is different, but it is certainly achievable.

OP’s posts: |
notenoughbottletonight Sun 23-Jun-19 19:40:51

Yes this is an illegal exclusion. If the school don't formally notify you via letter the day after then she has been sent home illegally. I've been going through it with my 12 year old DS and didn't realise what they were doing until a few weeks ago. If she has an ECHP they should be putting support into place to enable her to stay in school.

physicskate Sun 23-Jun-19 19:43:23

What does 'the right kind of support' look like? Are the school unwilling, unaware of or unable to provide this?

Teachers, with the best will in the world, aren't experts on individual children with complex needs like their parents. At secondary, most teachers will see an individual for a couple hours a week and see hundreds of children a week. If you've found strategies that work, make sure the school are able to and DO implement them...

MagicalMysteryTour Sun 23-Jun-19 20:11:32

It's not up to me to say what the support would look like physicskate. Individual teachers aren't experts, but they can follow advice from people who's job it is to know or find out stuff like this, like the SENCO, ed psych etc.

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noblegiraffe Sun 23-Jun-19 20:31:11

The kind of support she needs is different, but it is certainly achievable.

This sounds like you know what your DD needs? Or at least have some idea. You need an urgent meeting with the school to address the ongoing issues. Before that, have a chat to your DD and see what she thinks might help.
Sitting near the door? Or at the back?
A time-our card so she can leave any lesson if necessary with no questions?
The expectation that she will try to calm down and go back to lessons rather than simply be sent home (taking away the easy ‘out’)?
Being sent to the SEN base with work to complete, not the sick room?

MagicalMysteryTour Sun 23-Jun-19 21:02:35

Being sent to the SEN base with work to complete, not the sick room? this would be a possibility. Also staff to speak with her to find out what is causing the anxiety, and work with her to help her manage it. For instance when I picked her up on Friday, she told me she got stressed because it was too noisy in English when the teacher kept leaving the room. All it would have taken is someone to have that conversation with her, and say well ok next time that happens, how about you put your headphones on and listen to music, or leave the room for a bit too escape the noise. Give her strategies and help her with them until she can manage by herself.

OP’s posts: |
physicskate Mon 24-Jun-19 00:10:46

Noble has put it better than I have. It sounded like you knew what kind of support your daughter needed but wasn't getting.

I'm sorry her school isn't being more proactive. She's probably getting a bit lost in the woodwork because of a lack of resources and her being a nice kid and no real fussed being kicked up.

I agree with others that it's time to have some serious conversations with the school. Please please suggest to them anything that your daughter thinks would help, citing the example from her English lesson.

PenguinsRabbits Mon 24-Jun-19 00:46:54

Yes they are illegal exclusions. We get same for DS for similar reasons. LEA advised me to refuse to collect, we still do but its a nightmare - he feels school don't want him and I can't work as have to be on call for school. He's also not getting 20% of education and our school records as unauthorised absence.

Comefromaway Mon 24-Jun-19 14:44:09

Is she secondary?

At ds's school they have a flexi-learning area that anyone with for example an asd can go to if the classroom environment gets too much for them and they can complete their work in there. It's staffed by the SENDCO or a SEND TA.

One time when things got too much for ds they sent him to a music practice room as music is his "thing" and he can self calm on the piano.

Starlight456 Mon 24-Jun-19 14:58:20

Imo it is illegal contact senidas.

Actually you can help if you know of triggers. My Ds was finding crowds in corridors difficult but because they didn’t know he masks a lots it was only helped when I called .

I would ring your local senidas for advice

ASauvignonADay Tue 25-Jun-19 07:08:11

I think they're sending her home as unwell, not an illegal exclusion. Other parents might ring in and say they're child is absent due to poor mental health. Or an adult might be signed off work.

ASauvignonADay Tue 25-Jun-19 07:09:24

There does need to be a better place though - can you call an emergency review of her EHCP?

RageAgainstTheVendingMachine Tue 25-Jun-19 07:21:42

I think they're sending her home as unwell, not an illegal exclusion. Other parents might ring in and say they're child is absent due to poor mental health.
And I can guarantee that those parents would be harangued for ruining the stats...angry hence why they are giving her a mark first.
They should have a SEN base/calm down room or worst case scenario silent exclusion room which she could go to with her pass and then have work sent to her. How much TA support does the EHCP say she should be getting? And how much TA support is she in fact getting?

MagicalMysteryTour Tue 25-Jun-19 08:49:14

Yes ASauvignonADay they are sending her home as unwell and that's why I wasnt sure. Also I'm not sure where the boundary is between meltdown/sensory overload (due to her autism) and her anxiety disorder is. Obviously they're both interlinked, but one would not be counted as illness and should be managed by the school, and the other is a mental illness and can be counted as sick leave.

I think she's meant to get 16 hours TA support, but I dont think she is - there's a long complicated story there as well.

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PenguinsRabbits Tue 25-Jun-19 09:00:15

We were advised sending home for mental health of autistic child was illegal by LEA SEND team and SENDIAS - maybe phone them. School are not qualified to diagnose mental health.

ASauvignonADay Tue 25-Jun-19 21:27:56

Hmmm schools are not trained to diagnose other physical health conditions but that doesn't mean if a child can't stay in school because of the symptoms they're experiencing they should be forced to stay.

I think it's a pretty dire situation that needs attention but I don't think it's as black and white. There'll be other parents complaining because the school won't sent their mentally unwell child home or won't authorise the absences etc.

PenguinsRabbits Tue 25-Jun-19 21:53:17

Legally it is black and white - a child with a disability has the same right to education as one without. It's not optional for school to educate them. Often when school send home for mental health reasons its detrimental to child's mental health as they realise school doesn't want them there and ASD is also not a mental health condition. Particularly obvious when they are sent home for "mental health reasons" when Ofsted is coming, its an open day etc at 9am.

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