Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
I'm a bit miffed at the mo.
Talking to a friend of mine last night, her DD1 goes to the same school as mine; both YR11. She struggles at school but no LD's. She has just managed to get her DS a reduced curriculum.
We had also asked for a reduced curriculum recommended and supported by Paed, OT and LEA EP; school refused because DS is doing OK , they will alledgedly look again after christmas.
My DS was bullied; starts self harming. Childens parents not informed even though it goes on for a year; same children involved all year. School now refer to alledged bullying (failure to adhere to their own policy was excused at the time with 'but she's my friend'. FFS).
Her DD2 is alledgedly heard calling a child 'ginger' in a derogitory manner. Friend called into school, her DD excluded from activities.
I write to school asking questioning/asking for clarification about their practice, ethos etc (information I should be given in accordance with the Education Act/Sen CoP). I try to maintain respect for the professional; even when I have lost respect for the indivdual.
My friend phones school regularly, tells teachers they are cr@p, not doing their job properly etc. I wince when she is telling me how she talks to her DS's teachers.
I have been asked not to contact DS's teacher's unless I copy letters to the head. If I don't the teachers take them to him anyway; he influences the response. The school 'don't want to' but they will invoke their complaints and harassment policy if I keep asking questions. We had to have his academic progression meeting
with the head last week; the only child to get this priviledge from the lists I saw.
My friend goes in shouting the odds, even if they are not justified and yet appears to get all her demands met. She hasn't been requested not to contact teachers, nor had the complaints and harassment policy mentioned; though if what she says is true, IMO she verges on harassment.
So although it goes against my nature would I be better/more effective going in and shouting the odds, than writing in letters with evidence to back up my thinking?
I'm a bit puzzled about your comment "She struggles at school but no LD's. ". A child who is struggling at school must surely have some LDs - even if the school has not identified them as such.
Anyway - your friend and you are doing your kids no favours at all by requesting a reduced cirriculum. With the right level of support all children should be capable of the full cirriculum. So it suggests to me that suport is inadeqaute and that's what you need to focus your efforts on - getting the right support so your child is not disadvanatged, instead of trying to get parts of the cirriculum disapplied.
You're right to keep writing rather than screaming at them.
If they are not responding to your letters or if they are just paying lip service to them and nothing improves then write to the Chair of the Governors and you could also write to the LA direct to complain.
Would agree with Star, you have them rattled and wouldn't believe a word your friend says tbh.If her dd is on a reduced timetable it's most likely that the school see it as damage limitation when it comes to the GCSE results rather than anything your friend had any input in.
Would ask for copies of their complaints procedure, keep everything recorded and escalate the complaint to the next level if you don't feel you are getting redress.
Sausage - Thanks. You've just made me realise that three weeks of her harassing the school to get her Dd a reduced curriculum probably isn't going to help her ds; who was struggling in the subject she's dropped, despite putting in three hours after school each week.
It's not actually going to impact on the schools resources/time/staffing etc. Though the school didn't tell us directly that children have to self-learn, it was implied that they don't get any support or direction; which wouldn't suit my ds. Friend didn't appear too clear about how reduced curriculum was going to work for her ds either.
The support DS is receiving is certainly inadequate. The school have only really responded to his needs very slowly (snails pace), due to numerous evidence based lettes; he finishes in May '11, so it is unlikely they will give him much more support between now and then ('because he's doing fine', 'no worse than lots of others'); though we will keep pushing/asking questions. Everything takes so long.
I'm in process of writing complaint(s)to BoG. Which will also got towards challenging the note in lieu; as the school can't/won't meet his needs.
Starlight - I understand what your saying about the head, but unfortunatley that's not happening here. The head is the one who tries to prevent us accessing info, has withheld info from teachers which corroborates what I am saying and highlights the need for support; by the time I get hold of it months have passed. I'm not intimidated by him; helped by the fact that he lied in our first meeting. He also thinks it's unfair that I take notes of all meetings
The complaints and harassment doesn't bother me it's just a tool to initimdate us into going away. Won't happen.
What are your plans for next year? Will DS be able to go to a college?
Is there anyway you could HE your DS? (Not based on this thread, but based on all the previous threads we've had....)
Are you aware there are online classrooms? Your DS could 'attend' an online school every morning and be taught his GCSE's that way....
I think (again based on all the prev threads) that there is no way you are going to make any progress with this school. And therefore you need to consider all your options. No matter how radical or unpalateable those options would have seemed a few years ago.
Before he leave that school I would make a written request for a copy of his school file. They are not permitted to withold that information from you.
It may not help him now, but it would be useful information for planning his future educational placement.
Sausage - It was through accessing his school file that we found out that info was being withheld - his teachers were voicing their concern, but we weren't being told, instead we were given a highly sanitised version.
Indigo - We are hoping he will go to college, but it is difficult to make him see it could be for the best. The way things are going he's unlikely to get any quals or anything above an F (unless the school cheat on more exams). He hates school and can't wait to leave, but has no idea what he could/would want to do other than his paper round (£5 p/w). He doesn't have any particular interests/specialisms, academic or social, that we can encourage him towards.
HE wouldn't work now, it may have done years ago, but he sees it as my fault that he needs support in school 'because I stick my nose in'.
....he sees it as my fault that he needs support in school 'because I stick my nose in'.
That's very unfortunate. . I cam across a lot of parents who were really trying to do the best for their children but whose children just refused to acknowledge or accept that help. the problem is that, as they get older, you cannot persude them in the same way you could with younger children.
He's probably aready got a Connexions advisor but I'd be asking Conexions for a specialist SEN advisor - they are rare but they do exist. That specailist advisor should be able to come up with some suitable FE placements.
If he's thinking about College then get in touch with the College's own Learning Supprt Team - they all have one but the name varies. they can be brilliant - much better than school.
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