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Exclusion of as-yet unassessed 6 yr old with SEN (apologies for littering boards)

(15 Posts)
mummery Fri 28-Aug-09 23:49:38

I'm REALLY sorry for posting on what is now 3 boards about my DS but I'm desperately trying to glean advice about a crisis with DS (P2 in Scotland) who has been excluded from school after only 2 weeks of the new term.

I posted on parenting about his behaviour at school which is extremely violent and disruptive (hitting, kicking, throttling, using books and pencils as weapons, all at very slight provocation eg people bumping into him, sticking their tongues out at him etc).

As of today (Friday) he has been excluded for a week due to this behaviour. He has not yet been assessed or diagnosed for any kind of behavioural disorder or SEN although it is quite clear he is troubled in some way and referrals to occupational therapy and ed.psych. were made last spring.

The head took the decision late yesterday and informed me this morning, written confirmation (plus homework) to follow in the post.

I've phoned Children and Families who were very understanding although there was nothing they could actually do except try and get a clear definition of the head's long term plan for exclusion. The head is 'having a chat' about DS with a visiting ed.psych next Tuesday but of course DS won't be there and thus there won't be an assessment.

I'm stuffed to put it mildly as I'm self-employed, have been using after school club as my childcare, apart from that I have nothing to fall back on and if I can't go to work, I don't earn. Which is bad enough for one week but if the head extends the exclusion (which she well might, given that we all know a week off school is not going to change anything from my DS's perspective) I literally have no alternatives, we have no family, no friends, DS's father lives abroad.

What I need to know is who I need to be pestering and what arguments I need to use to get this resolved. I have a GP's appointment for next week although I don't see how she can get the assessments kick started if the school can't. Has anyone been in a similar predicament and what kind of timescale might I be looking at to get assessments and additional support put in place? The head's argument is that she cannot continue to risk the safety and wellbeing of other children and that the school does not have the resources to cope with DS. But although she has the legal right to exclude for as long as she chooses, surely she cannot, in practice, as there is no alternative educational plan in place?

I am not disputing DS's behaviour and have cooperated totally over the past year, signing all the referrals, attended every meeting, backed up the school with restrictions and punishments at home (actually v.difficult when your child is entirely different in the two places). I quite honestly had no idea that they would even consider exclusion, I thought that was a measure taken with 14 yr olds who assault teachers.

Am devastated by this, not just for DS's sake (excluded at 6 - sheesh) but more pertinently because my livelihood and our home is effectively at stake here. I've been told to 'find a childminder' but who the hell is going to take on a 6 yr old who routinely punches other kids

nellie12 Sat 29-Aug-09 14:42:04

I think you need to stress to the Gp how bad things are and that it he is not in the education system. Ask the GP to get in touch with the hospital for referrals to be done by them and as urgent. This should bump him up the list. In England (probably not dissimilar in Scotland) there are different waiting lists for community and hospital staff. Also gp referrals into hospital have to be seen within so many weeks, plus there has been a dramatic change of circumstances.

I think you need to push for a diagnosis because once he has that then he possibly has a disability - this puts him under the remit of the disability act. At that point the education authority cannot just exclude him as it becomes a case of discrimination.

The only reason I know this is because nephew has just been diagnosed with aspergers and this was one of the things sil got told on a parenting course. Fortunately she is a sahm. If she wasn't the school would have made it impossible for her to work they have had her up and down that often to deal with his behaviour over the years.

The only other suggestions I have are to contact social services as they should have a list of childminders for special needs children, or at least some suggestions on how to arrange childcare.

Finally I think you need to contact a solicitor to find out what your rights are and what the education authorities obligations to you are. (and lean on the lea if necessary) My sil experiences are that the head of the school is not very proactive and would rather do as little as possible. She has had to push and fight every step of the way for diagnosis and even now she has one for dn they still dont appear proactive and in order to make any progress she is having to continually involve outside agencies.

I dont know how much help this is to you but good luck in any case.

asdx2 Sun 06-Sep-09 11:44:56

I think you need to contact ACE or SOSSEN for advice and quickly tbh. Without a diagnosis or a record of needs there is no obligation on the head to have ds back in school until the appropriate support is in place and this takes six months and sometimes more.
As for your immediate childcare needs I would contact social services for advice and explain your difficulties they can give you names of childcare providers and can put pressure on the education authority to make provision for your ds. They can also support you at this time and give you contacts for support services.
Would agree with pp that schools aren't very proactive and prefer to do as little as possible. It seems unreasonable that ds has been in school a year and support services haven't been secured yet.
I would also contact education welfare too because it could be that you are looking at ds being permanently excluded if head feels the hassle just isn't worth it.
Good luck

uddy Thu 17-Sep-09 14:05:09

diagnosis can take a long time. head cant just change how long exclusion will be. she must state how long exclusion will be and when your ds can return to school. she must arrange a meeting with you upon your child returning to school to discuss how best to manage your ds in school in future.call your la if this is not what happens. ask for behaviour support to be called in so you can discuss a pastoral support plan as he is at risk of further exclusion. also ask school to call in learning support to do an assessment incase there are learning difficulties they have missed explaning his behaviour. my son has had difficulties at school for 5 years now an school has always insisted he is just naughty very much like your ds. been excluded several times an although he is finally being assessed for autism/adhd an alike his previous school still wouldnt except that he had communication difficulties. you need to argue that there must be reason behind his behaviour. goodluck

harrisonnnn Thu 17-Sep-09 14:16:25

I have no real advice to offer, but all ,my sympathies and support.

Yesterday I had to collect my 6yr old DS from school at 11am as the head had decided the teacher needed a break and they threatened him with calling me and had to follow it through when he still misbehaved. sad

I felt like such a failure as a mother even though it is obvious he cannot really help it and has special needs.

He is still not diagnosed, as aparantly he is not a straightforward case because he is such a different boy at home.

Good luck with getting a diagnosis.

Does your DS say anything about why he behaves like this? I know my DS says he cannot control himself because the noise in the classroom makes him confused and stressed.

mummery Thu 17-Sep-09 19:49:36

Thanks for all replies. Our situation is ongoing, we have a meeting in the morning where (I am sure) the head will argue that he is just very badly behaved. I feel quite threatened by her, she has only been at the school 6 months and does not know me, has made no effort to understand DS (did not even bother to attend his last review meeting), but still has suggested I need a social worker no less than three times in the last fortnight.

DS sees his behaviour as defensive. He feels like he's being attacked pretty much all the time at school. Sometimes it's for daft reasons like someone accidentally bumps into him with a lunchbox. Other times though he really does get singled out. He is easy to wind up and some kids do it for a laugh, others to get him in trouble. The staff have noticed this too in the past and even called me in to apologise one time because DS had been getting the blame for a long time for naughtiness which they finally realised was being done deliberately by others for the 'fun' of seeing him told off. He has a speech delay and on top of his anxiety and temper this makes it difficult for him to explain a sequence of events or to verbalise his feelings about a situation. I repeatedly tell him to seek help from an adult if he feels threatened but it's useless, when he's 'in the moment' he cannot reason to that extent.

sad

We have no-one on our side, it appears. How can you work constructively with a head who thinks a reasonable reaction to the situation is to pop a letter in the post saying "you have agreed to *obey teachers' instructions at all times*..." She just doesn't relate to my son's needs.

As a by-the-by, I googled her and her last school was assessed as 'weak' in provision of special ed by inspectors, showing quite serious failings. Seems she has significant transferable non-skills in this regard.

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 19:59:53

OK firstly you MUST NOT ever apologise for littering these boards LOL- we don't mind here a single bit, most of us have ben there OK?

OK a few points

Absolutely call SOS SEN; we did that and they are truly, truly amaxzing.

Most techers and Heads are committed to SN. A few don't give a damn. We were the victim of one of those in Infants (I ahve two boys, now diagnosed one with AS and one with ASD). Between her and the SENCO they actively caused me far more misery in 3 years than the dx's themselves ever did. Sometimes we feel targetted and paranoid and you mustn't, it really does happen.

Now, what do you have in palce?DLA? If not phone tomorrow- they backdate to when you call for the form, and look at the cerebra website to fill it in. If you get DLA you might get carers allowance if you can't work, or alternatively oput it towards some other form of childcare.

In truth, my ds1 who is 9 is still at the who-is-going-to-have him stge and I am currently studying evenings as I cannot work, but DLA / CA have made amassive difference as indeed it is supposed to.

Have you got a statement applied for? I imagine you have a stronga rgument post-exclusion and a dx is not needed- look at the ipsea website.

Also consider buying teh book dont shoot the dog- a SALT suggested it to0 me and its a great intro to behavioural intrventions with SN kids (looks like a dog training book, honestly its not)- well worth the few quid on amazon.

Then sit down, make a drink and try to keep calm. It's ascary thing at the moment but in a week, six weeks, six mnths you will be past the mmediacy and it will be a memory.
First though

mummery Thu 17-Sep-09 20:19:04

What is SOS SEN? I have spoken to Enquire who sent me loads of stuff about our legal rights, a lot to digest though. I have a full A4 page of phone numbers, rang all of them although most are from our local council's children and families dept. They listen sympathetically and several have contacted the head for clarification, however when they come back to me it's very much of a type: "ah, well, we can't really argue with the exclusion, it's a health and safety matter."

DS has recently lost all the staff members who understood and supported him: the headmaster (who would attend his review meetings even when he was in nursery and helped formulate a support plan for his admission into P1 from eight months in advance: retired); the school's head of learning support (also worked with ds since nursery and was so, so positive about his abilities and qualities: long term sick leave); even the lady at the after school club who understood he had support needs and would keep a special eye on him(retired)...there's nobody left now who gives a s*!

I have been working as much as I can the past fortnight and basically chucking twenty pound notes at neighbours and friends for looking after DS. Am now overdrawn for the first time in a long time! I don't get DLA, wouldn't even have thought of applying. Tbh if he wasn't at school there wouldn't be a problem, he just doesn't act the same way at home, using everyday objects as 'weapons' etc. Hence medical services are only just getting involved.

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 20:20:44

sos sen

FluffySaysTheDailyMailsShite Thu 17-Sep-09 20:23:37

Goodness, it sounds like this school is not meeting the needs of your child at all. Is there somewhere else you can move him to?

mummery Fri 18-Sep-09 07:38:56

Thanks Beth I have bookmarked the site and will give it a thorough read. They sound like Enquire who do similar work just in Scotland.

Re. moving him, yes have thought about it and am still thinking about it. It would be very disruptive though and of course the new school would need a support structure in place before he arrives. I'm loath to just disappear however, DS has every right to be where he is now and is capable of both the work and the social aspect, *given the right support* . He needs extra resources possibly a lot of 1-on-1 time, on which he thrives. Like I said though the head is trying to deal with him like a naughty teenager instead of a troubled, defensive and bewildered 6yr old.

Thanks again

FluffySaysTheDailyMailsShite Fri 18-Sep-09 13:10:39

I'd say that this school is really not meeting his needs and he has been labelled as the naughty child, it's practically impossible to shift this once it's attached to a child so it could be in his best interests to start again. Poor lad sad

AMA40 Fri 18-Sep-09 13:26:04

The school should have by now referred your child for an assessment as to exclude him is an admission that they are not coping. The GP also can refer for an emergency appointment with paediatrician. Does the school have a senco? If they do why has she/he not been very involved. What are the teachers views on your child. History tells me that children have to fail miserably and have no self esteem or self worth left before LEA will even look to assess. You must get onto Assessment and monitoring do all of the above in writing and keep copies and notes of any meetings you attend, this is very important as if the worst was to happen and your child is then permenately excluded you need evidence. So sorry for you difficulties, contact social services also, do not look at them as just being people that are looking at your homelife, they can be great advocates and a great deal of help in your situation.

BethNoire Fri 18-Sep-09 14:12:48

If you do apply to asses, make sure your letter focuses as much on the other people invovled- my ds1 is ve5ry aggressiveand I made the fact that he could harm or even kill someone at school without intervention a key point- despite no dx ( now does have one) and against wishes of school, he was assessed and given a statement.

Also outline major failures by the school in the letter- the point is to provve the school cannot meet his needs at present, your school clearly cannot and neither could ours (Head declared on phone to snap- not realising wewere listening- 'Theres no such thing as asd, only bad parenting'!) and they need t spelled out to them (the LEA)

uddy Mon 21-Sep-09 23:06:54

i did the move school trick but no the label still follows forget it. call educational welfare officer see if they can help. depending on lenght of exclusion they might be able to offer something. you need to keep a note of each incident an make notes at every meeting you attend. i buy academic year planners just for the purpose of recording incidents at school and meetings with school. go to your gp ask for referal to camhs if you can get in there u will get a dx. u have to be careful what you agree to with the school as they will do as little as pos if you let them

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