Worried that Part 3 of the Statement is not being delivered in secondary school(5 Posts)
My DS is in Y7 and got a statement in Y6 - he has ASD (Aspergers). Part 3 of the statement is quite prescriptive and contains a substantial set of provisions to be put in place to meet the objectives set out.
He attends a school that has an outstanding reputation for special needs and, while he achieves well academically, the statement reflects the behavioural difficulties he has stemming from his autism (including meltdowns in class, refusal to work, a high level of perfectionism that sometimes leaves him unable to start or complete tasks through fear of failure).
My worry is that the school, despite its reputation, is not making all of the necessary provision and, where he is failing to cope in class, they are using standard sanctions i.e. detentions to address this. I believe this also includes sanctions against issues clearly arising from his disability such as tapping (stimming) when he isn't coping.
I would really appreciate some advice about how to move this forward with the school. We want a good and positive relationship with the school but at the moment we have daily phone calls to tell us about behavioural issues, may of which we attribute to his ASD, but which the school see as defiance or refusal to cooperate. Please, any advice much appreciated.
Can you pin down specific failures to put in place what is in the statement? If so, they need to be made aware that they don't have a choice - refer them to section 324(5) Education Act 1996. That makes it the responsibility of the local authority to ensure that what is in part 3 is supplied, but the point is that the LA is not going to be amused if it finds itself being taken to court and will pressurise the school.
What they are doing is clearly punishing DS for his disability, and is therefore also unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
I think in the first instance you need to set up a meeting with the school which includes people like the SENCO and year group head. Take someone with you who can make notes. Go through part 3 section by section and ask what they are doing and when to put each section in place. Point out to them that putting the right support in place can only help them, because it if DS is helped to feel less anxious and to build up strategies to deal with problems caused by communication and sensory difficulties that will inevitably help him to behave better.
Take along a print out of this page and point out to them that ASD is a recognised disability; just as they would not, presumably, punish a child in a wheelchair for refusing to stand up, so they should not punish a child for being autistic. If you have anything like a medical or educational psychologist's report showing why he does things like tapping, take that along also.
Tell them you want to come out of the meeting with a set of agreed strategies for putting in place everything in part 3 and avoiding discrimination. If they say they can't or won't do anything in part 3, ask them to put that in writing with an explanation so that you can talk to the experts about it. After the meeting, get the notes typed up and send a copy to the school.
If none of that works, I'm afraid you will either have to look at the option of taking legal action to enforce DS' rights, or moving him.
I'm assuming that it's not the school that is issuing sanctions in lessons, but individual teachers? Are the phone calls from one person, or from different individuals? Messages about SEN, and how to deal effectively with particular pupils are often poorly delivered to teachers, or teachers are simply overwhelmed with info about the hundreds of students they teach and so while they might know that pupil X has ASD, they might not remember the fine detail like pupil X stims so not to punish.
If it's individual teachers dealing poorly with your DS, then the first course if action might be to request that an email is sent around to all teachers who teach him with detailed info such as 'not to be punished for stimming, but redirected to stress toy' (or whatever) and 'if X refuses to work then use Y strategy or send to see Z in pastoral care'.
Thank you so much for your replies.
Ici, yes I can pin down specific parts and will challenge them on these. Thank you for providing the link which sets out discrimination very simply but effectively.
Noble yes it is different teachers and there is definitely a lack of communication at the root of it together with a lack of understanding from some staff about what a disability is and how it should be dealt with.
I am meeting them in early January to go through the statement and come up with some strategies. I have already challenged them on some things and, to be fair, they have acknowledged that my challenge is correct and have rectified some matters.
Thank you again.
Happened with ds2 every now and again - usually involved a chat to the teacher and then a letter off to the LEA who are ultimately responsible for arranging the provision
Ipsea have a template for this type of letter here
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