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I need to write a letter to school without upsetting them

(45 Posts)
Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 10:57:00

Relationship with previous school really broke down to say the least, ds has started at a new school almost a year ago now and i am trying to be very mindful of keeping a good relationship with them.

I have written one letter to new school and they really took offensive to it and SENCO told me there is no need to write and i should just phone up whenever i needed to find something out.

This is all well and good, but i want things in writing just in case i do decide to apply for another SA.

Recently my request for a statement at Tribunal was refused. However, I would like to know exactly which recommendations from expert reports the school plan on implementing if any.

I would also like to know what progress my ds is making with things such as his SALT targets, movement targets etc, etc which are not included in his IEP or even a copy of the SALT program.

Do i write a letter or as SENCO suggests just have a chat?

Although school are 100% better than previous school, i do find it very patronising, that they seem to have the 'just leave it to us' attitude.

wasuup3000 Thu 07-Jul-11 11:09:17

It will probably pee them off but you need to know what they are doing for your son. Ask for solid feedback (ie written evidence - programmes they are using,targets ect)of outcomes and progress.

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 11:10:26

Claw,

Write to the SENCO and tell her that you are very pleased that they school are so welcoming of you and willing to discuss face to face any of your concerns and you do appreciate that.

Then go on to say, that however, your preferred method of communication is the written word because you feel you can express yourself much more clearly and that it gives you time to consider carefully what you mean, which you feel is a more efficient use of your and the listener's time.

Be open and also include that your prefer this method also because it means that you can keep a record of your own letters and the responses so that you don't forget things or raise the same issue twice and nor do you have to hold everything in your head, which you can find stressful.

Don't say that you are collecting evidence for a potential tribunal, but do be open about your need to keep records etc. for your own sanity and to ensure you have a clear overall picture of things.

clangermum Thu 07-Jul-11 11:13:29

even if they do have the 'just leave it to us' attitude you have every right to know what's being done

how about having a chat and then writing down what's been promised, with dates etc., in case you need this later

schools are as different as families - I've dealt with four now between my children and it's difficult sometimes to adapt to their way, but the bottom line is you need to be comfortable, and they should appreciate this.

clangermum Thu 07-Jul-11 11:17:22

cross post smile

also meant to say I too prefer things to be written down (whichever way this is done - letter or note taking) because i've often found that things said in informal chats (and even statement reviews, incredibly) are often forgotten, meanwhile I've gone away thinking something has been actioned when it hasn't

and i realise you haven't got a statement but the same applies

IndigoBell Thu 07-Jul-11 11:20:36

Or, ask for a face to face meeting and discuss everything with them.

Then follow it up with an email clarifying everything that was said smile

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 11:56:58

Thanks everyone, i have decided to put it in writing. I find in meetings, they tend to try and fob you off and unless i am prepared to be confrontational i wont get an answer, which will probably do more damage to the relationship, than a letter would.

I am going to list all the recommendations from reports and the NIL and ask in the nicest way possible what they plan to do.

NIL is totally crap, it is literally just a list of quotes. But two of the quotes are that ds recieve 'a level of one to one support in the classroom' he currently gets zero one to one.

I will also be writing to the LA asking them to include recommendations in the NIL. I know this is a waste of time, as it will mean nothing, but their response will be future evidence.

Thanks Star i will use that in my letter.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:09:16

More one thing, i have dug out all reports and i am about to start with my letters.

Do you think it might be a good idea to play dumb ie 'after Tribunal i am a bit confused as to what support is being action and which is not, could you please clarify' kinda thing. Or go from the point i know exactly what im talking about?

wasuup3000 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:15:29

Know exactly what you are talking about - they are probably the dumb ones! x

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 13:17:04

Both.

Know exactly what you are talking about but write to 'clarify' to make sure you haven't forgotten anything vital. Give them an opportunity to 'input' or even 'interpret' but make sure you keep a record of that too.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:18:14

I was thinking if i play dumb, they might slip up a bit, if i come across as knowing what im talking about they might be more guarded?

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 13:21:58

Claw, you've been to tribunal. They'll not think you're dumb and will be guarded anyway. If you stick to clear questions but word them politely and offer them always a way of working with you on anything that is probably the best you can do now.

If you play dumb they'll think you're playing them.

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 13:23:13

But you can be genuinely confused. I expect to a certain extent you are.

I mean the school convinced the tribunal that they can meet the needs of your child and that they have strategies and systems in place. You have every right to see those strategies and systems and be a part of them to support his learning and development.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:43:42

To be honest, i hadnt thought about what to do if ds didnt get a statement, one step at the time, was my thinking.

Thats quite true Star, i am confused as to the programmes they have in place, as some of these are not in ds's IEP. NIL states targets etc should be addressed through his IEP. School are saying they can only focus on 4 areas in an IEP and need to do other difficulties seperatly, but i havent seen these. (from what i can gather from tribunal, ds has met some of his SALT targets, but not all, but the school didnt provide any evidence of this)

Thanks again, just sorting through boxes of paper work, then will get on with writing.

Do you know if you get an annual review with a NIL? SEN SOS didnt know.

Monitoring at the end of NIL, states " an IEP shoud be drawn up by school and appropriate professionals. This should be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis. If ds does not respond to support of his needs become more complex, the case could be re-reffered for consideration"

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 13:57:38

If you're feeling extremely brave you can write to the SENCO and be extremely upfront and simply say.

'As you know, I believe that my child should have got a statement. As his parent I am responsible for my ds and his education and need to make sure that I am making the right choices for him at every step. I appreciate we won't always agree on this but I would be failing in my duty as his parent if I did not fully monitor this.

Therefore, I am asking to be regularly updated on of his provision and outcomes and how his progress is and will be measured in order to be able to make a fully informed decision when the time arises for the NIL to be reviewed of the time has passed that enables me to request another SA..

It would be quite a brave letter but it might be refreshing to write and receive, as you all know where you are.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:59:35

God what an idiot i am, just realised when looking through all the boxes of paperwork that ds's first IEP dated October 2010, was due to be reviewed in February 2011 and wasnt.

I really need to get back into the swing of this.

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 14:05:04

We get half-termly IEPs but I'm trying to move to fortnightly ones.

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 14:05:31

You're not an idiot for believing and concentrating on justice being done.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 14:15:48

Im kicking myself Star, at Tribunal school provided no actual evidence of progress, just SENCO saying he is making progress. As the NIL states that his progress should be montored through his IEP and this has not been updated, how do they know he is making progress!

God i dont know where to start, his IEP:-

Target: for ds to express his anxieties at school with confidence

Resources : Ds to have an identified person to discuss worries with both in class and at lunch.

Provision, who and when: TA supporting ds.

He does not have a TA!

Same goes for to develop ds's fine and gross motor skills and lunch time. TA to facilitate extra 'play'.

There is only one TA in the classroom for a boy who has full time one to one!

Lougle Thu 07-Jul-11 14:33:23

"Provision, who and when: TA supporting ds.

He does not have a TA!

Same goes for to develop ds's fine and gross motor skills and lunch time. TA to facilitate extra 'play'.

There is only one TA in the classroom for a boy who has full time one to one!"

Bear in mind that you don't know what the other boy's statement actually says, or how it is worded. It is quite possible that this boy is a 'victim' of the wooly wording that parents are so often warned about on this board, and that your DS is getting some 1:1 creamed off the top of this boy's provision.

I think you are absolutely right to want answers, and I have been there. The excruciating feeling of knowing that you will walk out less liked than you walked in is undescribable. But, don't presume that they are lying outright about the provision. Rather ask them how the 1:1 is implemented, who gives it, etc.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 14:42:20

Lougle,you are exactly right, school stated during Tribunal that they could provide support if necessary from TA from within their own budget. When asked how they would do this if the other boy needs full time one to one, after some stuttering, they stated 'they are trying to encourage the other boy to work alone for short periods'

When school provided a list of all help that ds gets for tribunal, there was NO one to one listed. So i am assuming that ds doesnt receiving any.

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 14:46:07

Claw, I can quite see why you are kicking yourself but actually, if there was just the SENCO's word and an absence of IEPs and the panel didn't ask for them then you really were never going to win.

Don't be hard on yourself about this particularly.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 14:56:23

Thanks Star, as i said previously some personal stuff came up and i didnt give this my full attention, it is literally only the last few days, i have started to get back into the swing of things.

Aha, i have found 2 IEP's first July when he was receiving 20 hours of one to one when he first started school.

Second dated October. Interesting July evaluation is left blank, so i assume ds didnt met those targets by October?

Also has exactly same targets set.

Starchart Thu 07-Jul-11 15:02:35

Yes Claw, I know and remember. All the more reason not to be hard on yourself.

What I meant about the tribunal was that the panel REALLY should have asked the SENCO about the IEPs, or at least acknowledged an absence. That is pretty much bread and butter stuff for all of them.

The fact that they didn't means that your panel was crap quite frankly.

Claw3 Thu 07-Jul-11 15:40:20

I did say at Tribunal that ds hadnt met ANY IEP targets or SALT target for over 3 years.

The panel got annoyed at me for this and corrected me 'you assume he hasnt'. When i referred to the IEP's and SALT targets, which everyone had in front of them, school said that he was meeting targets and when i continued, i was told by the panel, 'school have just reassured you, that he is', so stop going on about it basically.

This is probably old hat to most people, but I didnt have a properly formatted IEP at previous school, so ive never seen a 'proper' IEP or what happens on an IEP when a target is reached.

Ive also noticed that targets, have just been removed and a new unrelated target put in its place, even though i assume the previous target wasnt reached, can school do this?

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