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ADHD excluded from school trip

(30 Posts)
runningonmt Mon 30-May-11 11:37:22

Hello world ..... first post so bear with me. In brief my DS has ADHD and is 11yrs. Changed to an independant school for last year of primary (due to start 2ndary in Sept 2011) as he was offered a place (and substancial bursery) to the end of year 11. School have (after 2 terms) changed their mind and withdrawn offer of place due to his "difficulties" and their unwillingness to provide additional support. They will not allow him to participate in end of year residential trip (5 days) dispite me offering to pay for a 1to1 to accompany him. What (if anything) can or should I do ? Cant afford legal fees as single working mum in average paid job.

Hassled Mon 30-May-11 11:42:43

Would the Disability Discrimination Act come in here?
Guidance for schools (I've cut and paste):
• A school’s duty not to discriminate against disabled pupils extends to ‘education and associated services’ – a term that covers all aspects of school life, including all educational visits and offsite activities.
• Schools must ensure that disabled pupils are given equal educational opportunities (including offsite visits), and are not put at a substantial disadvantage– i.e. treated less favourably as a result of their disability.
• Schools have a duty to be proactive and to “anticipate” the likely needs of current and future pupils on school visits, and should not respond reactively or retrospectively.
• A school must demonstrate that it has taken all reasonable steps and undertaken reasonable adjustments to try and ensure that offsite visits are accessible to all disabled pupils.
• Schools must not exclude a child from any associated educational activity, including offsite visits, because of their disability.

What I don't know is whether the child needs to be registered as disabled for this to apply or whether this is taken to include all additional needs. Might be worth doing a bit of digging around. Is there an Inclusion/SEN/Equal Opps policy on their website? If you can see that they are going against one of their own policies, get in touch with the Chair of Governors pronto.

runningonmt Mon 30-May-11 11:58:01

Thanks Hassled - DS is in receipt of DLA (finally) which pays for most of his discounted school fees - (New DLA form just arrived - Have booked nervous breakdown as cant deal with it and the stress at the moment.) The school are aware his condition is clasified as a 'disability' but dont seem to care either way. They have stated they are unwilling to provide any extra time for my DS over and above any other student in the class - I agreee this is obviously not the best environment for him after all. Chose the school on the basis of their Behaviour Policy, SEN policy and Accessibility plan, none of which they appear to adhere to. I strongly believe they are in contravention of the Disability and Equality Act 2010 (was DD Act 1995) but how do i proceed on the basis the trip in in 4 weeks time. If i do have time to 'force' their hand are they likely to make his trip difficult, resulting in meltdown, resulting in getting sent home from trip ???!!! Catch 22 situation.

northernmonkey Mon 30-May-11 12:01:01

DS has just recently missed out on a 3 day residential <although we were involved in that decision> and that was because of the safety issue. The school didn't have enough 1-1 support available to them in order to keep him <and more importantly the others> safe.
It is a hard decision on the schools part, BUT i do think they should do more to help. Its not fair that our dcs have to miss out.
My ds has another trip coming up next year for 5 days and i really want him to go to that. I have been assured that they will put things in place which means he can go.
Hope you get things sorted. Just wanted to post to let you know your not alone

runningonmt Mon 30-May-11 12:23:56

Thanks northernmonkey. I am not an unreasonable person (?! probably) but i do feel that by doing nothing I am advocating discrimination in some form, but if i do challenge their decision I could be making things worse for my DS and at the moment he really has enough on his plate (again) with missing the last two days of last week again (unofficially suspended owing to incident which was deemed an accident but still resulted in injury to another child so was suspended again). We have been told no more incidents or he is O U T. He is devistated he has to change schools again as he really has been trying so hard. :-(

Hassled Mon 30-May-11 12:27:18

Have you spoken to the Governors? They have a duty to ensure policies are adhered to.

runningonmt Mon 30-May-11 12:33:43

Good point ...... i hadnt even thought of that. That might just work. I am going to give that a go- where is my sense of logic when I need it ???!!!!!

smileANDwave2000 Mon 30-May-11 12:55:36

yes the governors and point out the disability discrimination. i was a couple of years ago in this same position but it was before my DS had a DX and before id read up so intensively on all aspects of disability although i still felt he had been ostracised, and i had offered to go as i was on the parents committee and had a CRB but they refused saying they didnt like parents going on school trips (it was a 5 day trip) id rather not too DS would have not particularly liked me being there but at the same time he was worried about this and that and what will happen ect he was still wearing pull ups in the day at the time and bed wetting and he was so worried he couldnt sleep plus he was also being bullied oh sorry i forgot (they dont have bullying in their school, her little darlings dont do that) apparently silly dont let your dc be pushed out its awful what happened to inclusion ffs sad

runningonmt Mon 30-May-11 13:43:23

Thank you 'smile', your post did make me smile :-) I always used to accompany my little darling on all school trip (as i felt I owed the school a favour for the increased time my son took up in school) but I had to take time off work to do this which meant less time off in school holidays, which meant more money on holdiday clubs. Mine is now at the age where Mum's hanging around them is certainly not "cool" therefore going myself is out of the question. He relies on my very much for much of his social interactions and impulse control and this trip is designed to "increase their independance and develop their social skills" which i feel he more than anyone needs. I (stupidly) though that by paying for a 1to1 they would not have the audacity to turn down my repeated request - i guess i am nieve in believing that the world is a fair and just place. No sure how many more battles I (and my son) can cope with at the moment.

IndigoBell Mon 30-May-11 15:27:29

Do independent schools have governors? I thought they could pretty much do whatever they wanted.....

Why don't they want him even if you pay for another 1:1? Do they think that even then he would still be not safe? Do you think he'd be fine?

tallulah Mon 30-May-11 15:53:42

I feel for you. We were in an identical position at the end of Y6 with our DS2. We only found out by accident that they weren't planning to take him on the eoy residential trip they'd been looking forward to since the start of Y5. We were going away for a few days in the March and popped in to see if he could Board for a week. They said not only would they not let him board but BTW he wasn't going to the IoW.

We were lucky in that the Houseparents said they would take a chance and have him Board on the understanding that they had at least 2 contact numbers and someone who would come immediately if called. They insisted that my FIL (the main contact) go up to the school so they could meet him before we went away, and impressed on him that if they called they wanted him picked up now.

Of course he was beautifully behaved and didn't want to come home grin. With that experience they couldn't refuse to take him on the trip, so it killed 2 birds with one stone.

Sorry, probably doesn't help you at all. I think I would ask for a meeting with the Head and ask why they won't accept your offer to pay for a 1:1. Ask them to spell out what they think will happen.

madwomanintheattic Mon 30-May-11 15:59:10

i think the fact that it is a private not state school will scupper most of your avenues of hope. sad

sadly it's why most parents of sn children don't go the private route (unless through tribunal where the lea has agreed to pay any additinal support fees required).

the board of govs will not exist in the same form, so are unlikely to be able to offer any help.

if they are already talking about withdrawing his place, i think that this trip is the least of your worries. you need to be meetingng with the school and potentially looking for another place.

at 11, you really don't want to be fighting them all the way to gcses. they do not sound supportive, and it does not sound as though this is the right environment for a child with additional needs. sad trying to keep him there sounds as though (albeit you and he don't want the stress of another move) it will be more stressful than biting the bullet and trying to find a more suitable alternative.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Mon 30-May-11 16:39:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bigpants1 Mon 30-May-11 18:07:45

Hi. I think just cos the school is Private, does Not preclude them from the DDA and SEN Code of Practise-this is why you chose the school! You should ask for a copy of both the above and then arrange a meeting with the Head asap.
BUT,given the schools attitude, if it was me, I would rather keep my ds at home while the Trip took place and do something special with him for a few days. Could you book a few days off work? I dont think I could trust the school to have my ds best interests at heart while he was away.
I think you should contact Ofsted or whatever external Inspecting body deals with the school, and make a Formal Complaint--cc in the Head of the school, and you soon may see a different attitude! The school should provide whatever support your ds needs to access the curriculm.
You need to make contact with your LEA ASAP and sort out schooling for your ds from Sept. onwards. Make sure wherever he goes, they are aware of ds difficulties and are willing and able to provide Support. For this reason, it is probably best Not to go Private again. Good Luck!

madwomanintheattic Mon 30-May-11 18:15:10

interesting if depressing read

pinkorkid Tue 31-May-11 09:07:20

Independent schools do have to adhere to the disability discrimination act just as other schools do. A colleague whose son has adhd and attends an independent school was also in your position where school were initially unwilling to take her son on ski trip but gave in when she mentioned that they were likely to be in contravention of the dda.

If you don't have any joy with improving the attitudes at your ds' current school, you might loook at others on the gabbitas special schools guide - some state specifically that they support students with adhd. There are also independent special schools such as those run by the cambian group which cater for specific needs but I don't think they offer bursuries. Most places are funded by leas and are accessed by the pupil having a statement of sen which specifies their needs can only be met in this setting. Parents usually will have this much more expensive setting agreed only after appealing to tribunal.

runningonmt Thu 02-Jun-11 21:31:32

Thank you to everyone who has given me advise, support and a few smiles along the way.

You have all given me a lot of food for thought and I have to agree that although it is wrong for the school to stop him from going on the trip - it may not be in his best interest to 'force' them to take him. I have looked into alternatives so that he doesnt miss out but he really wants to go with his school friends (camping with mum just isnt the same nor is going on a trip with other 'disabled' kids that he does not know !!!!!) I am running out of time as he is due to go in 4 weeks and I cant see the school making any effort to adapt to his needs at all knowing that he will be leaving a week later anyway.

He will be going to our local secondary in Sept now and i have already had a meeting with them last week to sew some seeds so to speak. They too have concerns with break times and although there is an area he can go to if he feels he is getting stressed or hyper the onus is on him to access or askfor the help he needs. Trouble is he only realises he needs the help after he has done the wrong thing (classic ADHD). Living with ADHD can be horribly negative for everyone involved not just the one with the DX it is so hard to try to stay positive.

A statement looks unlikely as i have been told (especially with the current cutbacks) that as he is not failing academically he is unlikely to get any particular support apart from being allowed to use the special area they have for children with additional needs. He has very good academic levels (plus side of ADHD and having a fast brain!!) and SocEmotBehavioural Problems doesnt seem to come high on the agenda of our LEA.

It breaks my heart because he is such a good kid if you can see behind the very typical ADHD behavioural problems - he is desperate to do the right thing and is so upset withhimself when it all goes wrong again - I dont know how much more rejection he can take before he completely runs out of self esteem and decides to stop trying for once and for all. I am doing the best I can but there is only one of me and I cant change peoples attitude and understanding on my own - but it feels like that is what I am expected to do.

Sorry - that seems a bit grim doesnt it ! - I think i will start a new thread to cheer myself up ..... 100 good things about having ADHD ....

madwomanintheattic Thu 02-Jun-11 21:47:21

well done for making your mind up and getting things lined up for september.

have you had a meeting with the learning support department at the secondary? i used to work as an lsa in one and access to the learning support 'area' might come in useful tbh. ours was used for small group and 1-1 work, but was also available for any (sn) kids that wanted/ needed to use it as a quiet space at any time (break/ lunch, or even in lessons of the chold or teacher/ lsa felt that a break might be in order).

a lot of secondarys also utilise their lsas by allocating them to class groups where there are one or more kids with additional needs (not nec statemented - i used to get a list with my timetable showing me which kids in each class were statemented or on sa+, or just on sa, so that i knew where to target my support.) i assume that he will enter the school on sa+ as he has support from external agencies? so he might not get a statement, but that doesn't necessarily mean he won't get classroom support via a different route.

worth asking if the secondary operates similarly, anyway?

now you need to foster a positive mindset - this doesn't have to be seen as a rejection, but a positive move to somewhere which will offer a more receptive background?

good luck - pleased you have come up with a plan x

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 03-Jun-11 07:18:06

Hi running,

Re your comment:-
"A statement looks unlikely as i have been told (especially with the current cutbacks) that as he is not failing academically he is unlikely to get any particular support apart from being allowed to use the special area they have for children with additional needs".

If I had £1 for everytime I had read similar on here to the above, I'd be pretty rich by now. Who told you the above exactly, his current school? You've been fobbed off by being told that. Its all designed to put people off from applying, people whose children really do need statements (like your son).

Am unfortunately not all that surprised that this school have not played ball, private schools act outside of the LEA's control and can pretty much do as they wish.

The only criteria for a statement is need.

Do not fall for their lies; statements can be issued for social needs as well as academic ones.

Unless you yourself apply for the document you won't know and his new secondary sure as hell won't do it readily. Apply for the statement personally from your LEA and ignore the nay sayers. You are your child's best - and only - advocate here. No-one else but you will fight his corner for him; his current school certainly have not have they?.

IPSEA's website is good re the whole statementing process

runningonmt Sat 04-Jun-11 16:35:28

Thank you attila - I phoned IPSEA yesterday on your advise and have been told in no uncertain terms that it is blatent discrimination. I have decided to complain to the governers to hopefully obtain
1) an admission of guilt
2) an appology
3) a reversal of their decision to exclude from the trip (If i decide not to send him on the trip as I dont feel it will be in his best interest that is my choice to make - not theirs!!!!)

Hopefully (if things go well) it will alert the school to their ilegal activity and to prevent them from doing it to anyone elses children (its a bit too late for mine). I dont think they believe ADHD is a disability therefore why would the discrimination act apply here !!!!!!

Should i be sucessfull i would be well within my rights to go to the local paper and perhaps change other peoples understanding of ADHD - I am so fed up with reading that it is somehow caused by bad parenting and associated with poverty.

I have also enquired about getting a statement myself and the LEA (nice lady) told me that they require evidence from current school and as they (current school) are unlikely to admit my sons difficulties (as they refuse to address them) and consequently alert the LEA to their own failings and discrimination (the relationship between me and them has nosedived recently) I am unlikely to get a helpful report from them. If he is turned down on the basis of a lack of evidence his new school will then not be allowed to apply for another 6 months (LEA rules) which could delay assistance even further.......

Fingers crossed people ..... this is one mum who is not going down without a fight. x x x

I will keep you lovely people informed on progress x x x

runningonmt Thu 09-Jun-11 23:41:40

Letter went into Governors today ...... Eight bloomin pages and no waffle - just comprehensive examples and evidence of what in my opinion is discrimination.

Waiting for the fireworks now.............

madwomanintheattic Thu 09-Jun-11 23:57:26

er, if they are exclusing him from a school trip because of his difficulties, then they'd be hard placed to deny they recognised he had any, surely?

anyway, hope he settles at his new school.

something to think about though - dragging them through the mud in the local press will probably just reinforce their desire not to accept any sn pupils at all, however mildly affected. so it might be counter productive for other prospective students. keeping it professional with a request for assistance from the governors is fine, but if you get a positive response from them, i really wouldn't run off to the media with your story and gloat. (that might not be your aim, but it would be perceived as such).

IndigoBell Fri 10-Jun-11 08:08:06

Well done. Lots of positive steps taken.

While you're at it apply for a statement. Yourself. Today.

If you don't get it this time you can always apply again in 6 months - but after that 8 page letter to the governors school might decide they aren't coping with him smile

Good luck. You're doing everything right.

unpa1dcar3r Fri 10-Jun-11 19:01:58

Oh poor you Running. And your poor son. Grrr stories like this make me so mad. So much for inclusion huh!
My boys go to a SEN school and NEVER get discluded from anything; that's Inclusion!
Not making their differences obvious by not allowing them to do certain activities/segregating them into separate classrooms/breaktimes/meal times etc from the 'normal' kids. That is segregation.

The school should be named and shamed. After all, they get enough money to have him there! This smacks of a simple exercise in box ticking to me; showing on paper that they take SEN kids but not being prepared to actually help them! Grrrr I'm fuming as this story is all too common.
I wish you luck in challenging them, good for you girl.

runningonmt Sat 11-Jun-11 11:44:06

madwomanintheattic - my suggestion of involving the local media would certainly not to be to gloat (although I can see that some less resonable people may see it as that) - and obviously it would have to be written in a constructive way rather than a 'sensationalist' manner.

However my brief experience in the private sector has shown that it is "all about the reputation". I think it is very important for parents to make a decision to educate their children within a school that actually abides by their own policies rather than just talk a good talk.

I think that is is worse for the SN kids to be taken on by a school that cannot / will not cater to their needs. If I actually knew what the school really did rather than what they say they did I wouldn't have sent him there. I dont believe the school should accept SN kids if they dont know how to cater for them and are unwilling to adapt to their needs where they can. Sorry if that seems a non-PC view but what is the point of promoting yourself as an inclusive-school if you dont really mean it - surely that is false advertising. The cost (aside from the fees) has been to my DS's self esteem and I personally find that unacceptable.

How can other parents make an informed decision about any school if they are not informed? I dont imagine (if my complaint is upheld) that they would be printing it in their prospectus, do you? At least if it becomes a matter of public record any parents in a similar position can either select another school or ensure the school has learnt from their mistakes and have put them right - if it is all kept very hush, hush who will ensure they are kept accountable for their errors and raise the bar for all curent and future students with SN?

My aim would be to raise awareness to ensure fair treatment for all kids with SN in our area - and to raise awareness within the local schools that discrimination against children with additional needs is not acceptable, regardless of if it is a private school or otherwise.

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