School named in EHCP are saying they cannot meet my son's needs. - advice please(58 Posts)
My 5 year old has a diagnosis of ASD and an EHCP naming the school which he has attended since September, but I learned at a meeting today that they say they cannot meet his needs because of lack of funding to continue pay for a 1 to 1 which they consider he needs. They also say that whilst there has been a TA with him at all times, and that has been funded till Xmas, that he really needs someone who is trained to manage his behaviour, and the TA they've got till Xmas isn't. I got the feeling in the meeting that if the funding was there there wouldn't be a problem. They are saying he should go to a special school, but I want him to stay where he is because he is so happy there. The behaviour they complain of at school (throwing chairs etc) comes as a shock to me because when he is with me he is quite well behaved. They say they need someone with him who is trained to deal with such behaviour. He is a bright boy, but he does need fairly constant bringing back to task.
You need to contact your local authority early and tell them what the school is saying. It is the local authority's responsibility to ensure that your child gets the support set out in section F of his EHCP, and therefore they need to talk to the school about why they say they can't fund 1:1 and whether they need extra funding to cover this. If that doesn't work, contact SOS SEN or IPSEA.
Yes Jeeves is right, contact the local authority. If the named school has funding issues, this is between them and the LA.
They say they need someone with him who is trained to deal with such behaviour
Too flipping right he does! Who the hell are they using as a TA if that person isn't already trained?! on your behalf.
The exact type of support should be specified in your EHCP, including the level of training, skills, expertise of the TA supporting your dc. What does the EHCP state? If there is specified and quantified support there which isn't being met this also can be taken up with your LA - if this is the case write to them to inform them they are not providing what is specified in the EHCP.
The fact is, if he has been assessed by Ed Pysch etc, and deemed able to go to mainstream school with adequate support, and you want him (and he wants to) to continue at that school, the school cannot just say they cannot meet his needs simply because they haven't provided adequately trained support for him. If they need more funding for a higher level of expert staff, this is between them and the LA.
I'd ask for this thread to be moved to the SN Children section OP, it gets much more traffic there, and many, many people who have been in your position and can advise more.
Thank you both for your messages. I am away from home at the moment (gone to my parents for a weekend of licking my wounds), so cannot check exactly what the EHCP says. I also can't remember if he has ever been assessed by an Ed Psych. I know that the school he is at now are getting an Ed. Psych in to assess him - undoubtedly one friendly to them who will agree with them that they cannot handle him. The thing I really cannot understand is why they are isolating him at school by having him spend his day in a separate room when the whole point of him going to school was to allow him to mix. I must say, my inclination is to home school him - he behaves himself with me because he knows I won't let him get away with it. At school, if he has a meltdown they send for the teacher who is supposedly trained, who then holds him till he calms down. My son likes the teacher and I wonder if holding him is reinforcing the bad behaviour, because he views it as a hug.
I will try to move all this to the thread you suggest - thank you both.
If he is throwing chairs around (presumably in lessons?) then as a teacher I can understand why they are putting him in a separate room.
I'm so sorry you and your son are in this position.
I'd just like to add, as a reception teacher, we are in a similar situation with 2 lads in our year. Both would probably cope in mainstream but our head has told us no funding for a 1:2 (they both had 1:1 at nursery so god knows why they don't at school)
We are considering trying to encourage the mum of one to think about specialist setting. As much as it pains me and the lad is wonderful without a 1:1 we cannot cater or extend his learning in the way he needs.
It breaks my heart that we are failing those 2 so badly.
I do feel that when a child is being educated completely separately from the rest of the cohort, something needs to change - either the setting or the approach.
One of the difficulties of getting children to do things when they don't react in a standard way is what effect it has on the rest of the children. It is tricky to bring a child constantly back to task in a classroom of other children. It's also hard to watch a child who finds the classroom environment intrinsically difficult to handle, spend most of his resources just on dealing with where he is.
However, I've known a child in your son's position go back into class. TBH it was because he had a teacher who was skilled enough.
Special schools can be fantastic, by the way! DD1 gets a rich, varied and functional curriculum. Behavior is dealt with strategically and analysed for trends as a matter of course. Restraint (hugs are restraint if imposed on a child) is a last resort.
What I really don't understand is why the teachers are all unwilling to take on board how I handle him - he knows I mean business, so if he starts to lose it I just glare at him and tell him that if he wants to do whatever nice we've planned for later then he'd better stop right now. At first there would be quite a few times he would continue to work himself up, but if he continued I would put him in time out for a minimum of three minutes, with the last full minute of silence (which ensured he calmed properly before coming out of time out). It only took a few weeks of consistent discipline and now, with me around, he is quite well behaved. It seems to me that the school is being rather inflexible
One of my main concerns about special schools is that I would not be as in control of my son's education - I could not pull him out of school to home-school him without the permission of the LA. That strikes me as semi institutionalising him.
I really think my son's tantrums are caused by frustration at being isolated and at not being stretched academically. The school say he behaves when he chooses what he does but not when they choose tasks. They want him to draw to improve pencil skills to assist with writing - but he is far happier writing than drawing. He will happily work at reading and writing for 20 mins at home and will transition from one activity to another with little or no fuss. I think the school are expecting too little of him and he is frustrated at being treated like a baby and not allowed to mix with his peer group. I think they do not even allow him to mix at lunch playtime - they frog-march him around between a teacher and TA as if they think he is a criminal - yet before school starts he runs with the other children in the playground and the other children appear to accept and like him, including him and greeting him in a friendly manner.
Actually, if he could just be at school for break times I'd be happy - I can teach him. And I think that once he is reading more fluently he will start learning at a more rapid rate and will start to understand about social mores.
Havannah how does he react if the teacher treats another child in the same class differently? What about if another child bumps into his desk or shouts near him?
I can't figure out how to move this conversation to the thread suggested above!
As someone who is struggling to try and get their son into a special needs school I would absolutely bite their hands off to take the chance to get him into a good one. There's so much variety with complex needs schools, we've been looking round lots recently with a view for September next year for our son and admittedly there have been lots we feel ds would be much too able for but we did find one we feel would suit him perfectly. Maybe it's just a case of looking at lots to see if you can find one he would be happy in? Our ds has asd and communication difficulties and we visited a school where 80% of the children there were the same and he would have a natural peer group of children to play with. Lessons were 10 to a class with 5 teaching assistants; one of those higher level and a teacher. We felt really impressed and felt ds would get much more support at that kind of setting. We are in the ehcp process and fighting to get a place at this school.
Personally I wouldn't want to keep my ds at a school that clearly didn't want him there and wasn't prepared to (or couldn't afford to) invest time and money into making sure he had the right support.
The school clearly can't cope. If he is throwing chairs round the class room it's only a matter of time until another child is badly injured and that isn't fair on them. Regardless of whether the School should be doing things differently it's certainly not working at the moment.
I think you need to speak to the Local Authority urgently and see what they are going to do about it.
Annandale - I have not seen him in class, and by the sounds of it the school does not have him with the other children. From knowing what he is like, he would probably laugh and think it all a joke. In the playground before school he does a lot of running, and a number of other (mainly older) children, run behind him, slowing and speeding up as he does. He, and they, find this funny. On the odd occasion my son has fallen over & the other children have picked him up & seen that he is OK. All in all the kids at his school are lovely, and I want my son to have the benefit of mixing like this. I kind of feel the ideal would be if he could attend school for play times and be at home for lessons.
You're probably already more than familiar with the code of practice
Around p175 onwards is helpful - it outlines the idea of reasonable steps.
The school should absolutely be funding a one to one and ensuring they are specially trained to deal with him. If the funding in the plan is insufficient then there are steps they should be taking to get more.
Some schools (a) don't want all the bother in the first place and (b) seem desperate not to ask the local authority for more money. You have to get very, very assertive.
Agree with lougle, special schools can be fab (although looking fab means nothing, you have to find out what they actually do). You need to do a bit of research to be sure about what you believe is best for him, then fight for that.
Also, what about another mainstream school? Have a look at some. Sadly sometimes once you've lost the school's cooperation, you're on a road to nowhere really.
Fairylea - I am going to look at a couple of special schools, but one of my biggest concerns is that once in a special school I would be sacrificing control of my child's education as, even if I decided homeschooling would be better, the LA would have to agree with me before I could take him out of school.
Can you keep your options open. Yes look at special schools, home Ed, other schools more used to SEN and support in his present mainstream school. Educating a child on their own separately from his class is a last resort really. His behaviour must be very serious.
I understand that but from the research I've done recently it seems that applies more to children with complex medical needs to ensure they receive the best physical care as they would do in a hospital type setting - with a child with an asd type disability it seems that as long as you could ensure the local authority you could provide a suitable education at home they would have no issue with removing a child for home schooling. I would contact your local councils Sen department and ask what their policies normally are.
Just be wary of agreeing to home school as they will call parental preference and then fund nothing if they can.
If you think being at home for some or all of the time is the way to meet his needs, then that could be 'education otherwise' or a dual placement. As he has an EHC plan the local authority are still obliged to ensure the provision is arranged.
You could get a personal budget that includes funds for a tutor coming to the house. Of course you are brilliant with him but there are other highly trained professionals out there who could help share the load. However I would recommend sourcing your own (we do ABA) rather than accepting some 'learning mentor' that you know nothing about.
Could the playground supervision thing be about liability? If, for example, there was an incident at break which resulted in someone getting hurt, and it transpired that your ds was effectively unsupervised (as in, no adult near enough to intervene and divert), the school would be crucified by the authorities. Before school, when he is playing with those other children, you are officially in charge of him (I think).
In practice though, it's very simple. One of the Mums at our SS decided that she'd like to HE for secondary school. When annual review time came and she had to name the next school, she just said 'I'd like to HE'. The LA asked how she proposed to do this. She said 'functional learning' (e.g. 'money' is taught by buying things at the shop; writing might be taught by writing a list of things you need to do, etc.). The LA said 'great. Let us know if you need anything'.
Thank you Brucietheshark. That is very helpful. I know that the school will likely argue that my son's behaviour is a danger to others - but this gives me some good ammunition to argue for, perhaps Flexi-schooling so that my son could socialise with the little friends he has already made, he could do the school-work set by the class teacher with me at home, and have regular checks on progress and attempts at re-integration from time to time for short periods. I live only a short walk from the school, so from my point of view this would be feasible, if the LA and school would allow this to happen
Clam - I think the playground thing is because of my son's tendency to run off when the bell is sounded to go in. There is a side exit to the playground which leads to a grassy area and access around the perimeter of the school. In the mornings I simply stand near that exit to ensure my son does not lead his runners out of the main playground.
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