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Saddened by general levels of cooperation from schools as posted by others

(36 Posts)
Triggles Fri 19-Aug-11 08:16:01

I see so many posts where people are fighting with their schools to get their child's SNs recognised and assisted. It just makes me sad that so many parents that are struggling to deal with a child with SNs, numerous appointments, uncertainly, fear of the future, and then on top of it all they have to fight tooth and nail with their school as well.

DS2's school has been wonderful, and we've been told numerous times (by paed, OT, etc) how proactive, cooperative, and helpful they are (and how stunned the medical professionals are by the school's willingness to provide any and all support for DS2).

But surely this shouldn't be extraordinary?? Shouldn't this type of behaviour be normal for all schools?? It's really a sad statement about our society when a school that is working to meet the needs of their students with SNs is the exception, rather than the norm.

I guess it says a lot about who is valued in society and who is not. And that REALLY makes me unhappy.

ouryve Fri 19-Aug-11 08:44:21

We've been lucky, on the whole, with our kids' school, too. The head's grown up son has what appears to be aspergers but grew up too long ago for this to be recognised and was diagnosed with a behaviour disorder. She feels strongly that he was let down by an education system that, at the time, gave him no changes to shine and let him fester and that no other parent and child should have to experience the same. She's been brilliantly understanding, even at a time when many schools would have wanted to wash their hands of DS1. Added to that, we have an LEA which believes in supporting kids with SN in mainstream where possible and doesn't fight tooth and nail to avoid issuing statements like some do.

The prospect of having to move, for any reason, is a scary one. There was a lot of doubt about DH's job, earlier this year, and having to move with the kids and start at a new school was my biggest worry.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 19-Aug-11 09:12:50

Oh yes. The school ds is starting this year fought tooth and nail from accepting him. This is ds's third school and tbh it is good that they started out like that. I didn't have to pussyfoot around for a year knowing that they are failing him and not wanting to upset the barrel. The barrel is already upset so I may as well go in blunt from the start.

The HT has told me that whatever is in his statement they won't provide as they don't get extra money for it and that I will have to take it up with the LA.

You may suggest I try another school, but this is ds's third and quite frankly I believe it is the tight hold that the LA have over them that makes the
Like this.

beautifulgirls Fri 19-Aug-11 09:13:09

Pleased to say we too are happy with DD#1 school, our issue is with the LEA who are refusing to assess at the moment when clearly she needs more than school can provide on SA+.

I agree it is wrong that so many have to fight for adequate help for their children with SN. I do think (hope anyway) though that perhaps we hear more about those that have to fight than those who are happy with their provision? It will be interesting to see how many others post here and say they are happy.

insanityscatching Fri 19-Aug-11 09:50:48

I am very happy with dd's school but know I'm lucky. They are brilliant at what they do about fifteen per cent of the school have statements and many more have SEN. It's not the local school though we travel, it's a really rough area and some of the parents in the playground are scary but I know from looking at many others it's the best I'd get for miles.
Trying to make appointments for viewing other schools was soul destroying, plenty made it clear we wouldn't be welcome, some I visited anyway (with no intention of sending dd) telling them should I choose the statement would mean the LEA would force them anywaygrin
The unit ds attended as well was brilliant so either I've been lucky twice over or more likely I go with my instincts rather than OFSTED reports and even other parents sometimes I know friends were horrified I'd send dd where I do.
Sickening though that SEN really is such a low prioritysad

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 19-Aug-11 11:10:19

It's very interesting. I'm in the same LA as Triggles, and my DS has just left an 'Ofsted outstanding' school in a leafy suburban location. They were initially very reluctant to have my DS2, but as DS1 was already there they didn't have much choice. (Nor did I without moving DS1.) Once DS2 was settled there, by about end of Y1, they realised that he wasn't that much trouble and the attitude become much less adversarial. 200 pupils, SENCo was 0.1 equivalent, eg 1/2 day per week.

I have worked at a school that went into special measures while I was there, and despite it's troubles, it was really good with SEN. Mind you it had a large SEN population, and was in a much tougher area. It had about 300 pupils.

I currently work in a great school, much more proactive about SEN, that works with families to help them get statements, is having to keep pestering to get EP involvement for some pupils whose parents are less involved in their child's education.About 200 pupils.

These schools are all in the same LA, not a particularly good one, but with an excellent but stretched advisory teaching service. Both these schools have a SENCo for 0.5 equivalent, ie 1/2 a week, or all mornings.

It seems to depend an awful lot on the headteacher. If their attitude to SEN is inclusive and they believe in working in partnership with parents (where possible) then even with a crap LA things will be much better. Our LA gets almost the least funding from Govt. per pupil due to some formula. Doesn't help. And schools becoming academies will make LA funded services worse.

IndigoBell Fri 19-Aug-11 13:33:03

I think it def depends on the SENCO and the HT. And there are brilliant schools out there and dismal ones.

Shocked that you're betting a SENCO for 0.1 for a school of 200 kids. My SENCO works 0.8 for a school of 300! Maybe that's why the provision is better......

So, it's up to the HT to allocate funds for a SENCO, to hire great staff, and to have an inclusive ethos. And it's up to the SENCO to be great.

If your school does not have a great HT and SENCO - run a mile. If it does, very often it will be OK.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 19-Aug-11 13:50:53

Yes, Indigo. Can you imagine their horror at having a child with ASD on a 20 hr statement! He was the only child with a statement at the school for most of his time there. He's just left and now there are no children with statements. I must have been stark raving bonkers to have sent him there, but DS1 was happy there, also quite spectrummy but had made a good friend, still his best friend, now. I felt really torn. But TBH, there wasn't much alternative unless we moved and my DS2 did succeed there (despite the crap HT and 0.1 SENCo.)

sugarcanmelt Fri 19-Aug-11 13:51:52

Our LEA primary school was also one of those with a high SEN population and in the 'rougher' part of town. When DS was there, I did find it frustrating as they didn't really get him, but in hindsight and after reading so many posts here, I realise that they did their best to include him and we got their support in statementing (although I still had to be pro-active about applying myself). I believe that DS is so complex that no mainstream school would have successfully managed him.

His current school is brilliant, but it is an independent special school and we fought through tribunal to get him there. I still feel a sense of relief that I'm no longer battling to get provisions put into place and he also gets all the therapy he needs there. The input he needs is intensive so I can't imagine any mainstream school able to provide for his needs, even though he can access a mainstream curriculum.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 19-Aug-11 13:58:26

It can be a problem, sometimes in a 'tougher' school, that while they may have a good SENCo and SEN experience, their experience may be with BESD SEN and they may have less awareness of ASD SEN. But still loads better than an 'Ofsted Outstanding' school that actively discourages those with SN!

lliissaa Fri 19-Aug-11 14:18:16

It really annoys me hearing about schools that couldn't care less about these children. My son went through junior school without to many problems but senior school was a constant battle he was removed from classes yelled at but no understanding why he was being yelled at.Eventually he was put on home schooling for 5 hours a week then to a unit for children out of school with anxieties . He got excluded from there for being to complex. Couldn't get a statement for him. The best thing is I work in a school as a special needs t.a.

WilsonFrickett Fri 19-Aug-11 15:21:47

You all know I fear the Tarquins and Tarquinas more than a jaggy jumper!

I think it's all about the HT. One of the schools we looked at the HT said 'I used to have a stammer. There is no bullying in my school.' I utterly, utterly believed him and we're actually still hoping to move into that area.

insanityscatching Fri 19-Aug-11 15:25:06

Dd's school have the whole gamut of SEN and disabilities tbh including children with PMLD. I think they see each child as an individual rather than their diagnosis certainly they acknowledge dd is quite unlike any other statemented child that they have there.
We initially did a week's trial with no obligation on either side with the school funding dd's support from their own funds. For that first week they watched and listened but they didn't read dd's statement because they wanted to see her in her own right bearing in mind what I had told them she would enjoy and what she'd find difficult.
At the end of the week they reported back what they felt they could do for dd and how they could meet her needs. They checked whether dd would like it to be her new school and whether I felt happy with what they could do and then they read her statement found that there was nothing they couldn't provide and offered her a place.
She has never looked back tbh, she's happy and confident and learning loads. I feel like I can step back confident that they can ensure dd is safe and happy because there is good communication from both sides.
Dd's school is a satisfactory school with outstanding features namely SEN, pastoral care and really that's what I want for dd rather than top class SATs results across the board not saying that dd won't leave with top SATs results because she undoubtedly will but it isn't my priority.

WilsonFrickett Fri 19-Aug-11 18:38:16

Can I hi-jack a little bit and ask how often English schools are inspected? Are SATs published yearly? Up here schools can go up to 6 years between inspections which makes it almost impossible to make an informed decision.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 19-Aug-11 18:58:21

I think if schools are rated as outstanding they get inspected less often and less thoroughly, but about 3 - 4 years I think. Just bloody google it! grin

ouryve Fri 19-Aug-11 19:01:59

Our kids' school has had 2 full inspections and a mini inspection in the 4.5 years I've been in contact with them.

And SATs are published yearly.

It says a lot that while our school is in what is overall a deprived area and a high proportion of children start with limited language, their SATs results are actually good and score really highly on the value added issue. It's one of the reasons we bought this house.

I'm somewhat more apprehensive about secondary school. I have no intention of sending the boys to the one most of the local kids go to, but there's a large core now moving on to another school, instead, now that the different areas of our LEA have merged. It has a mixed catchment and is far from the best school in its town academically, but it is very strong pastorally, which i know DS1 will benefit from. At this point, we don't know if DS1 will still be in mainstream, by then.

Verahaspurpletwuntypants Fri 19-Aug-11 19:51:16

Our SENCO is amazing and is already preparing for dd, getting teachers trained, etc, even though she doesn't start for another year.

WilsonFrickett Fri 19-Aug-11 23:35:14

Google lies and tells you what should happen. You lot tell me what does happen. So you rule. Also my fingers get tired? grin

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 19-Aug-11 23:41:32

Just checked the acronyms and it's J F GI. I'm just too polite. grin SATs definitely published every year. Though they are more for the Tarquins...

WilsonFrickett Fri 19-Aug-11 23:45:29

Tarquin does need his SATs, right enough! His Nenny does the googling an all.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 19-Aug-11 23:47:32

Thread hopping again!

WilsonFrickett Sat 20-Aug-11 00:04:53

I know! It is after midnight after all (smile). To bed! X

Triggles Sat 20-Aug-11 08:39:18

I can't say I set much store by a school's scores. I browse the Ofsted report that's available, and see what areas they are scoring lowest in. But again - an inspection is only a snapshot of a school - it can be wildly inaccurate. We were told by a number of people that DS2's school was big and miserable and rough (and so on...), but it's a lovely school and the HT is so proactive about everything.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 20-Aug-11 12:12:40

People often judge a school by the 'class' of the parents. Big mistake with infants. Children are children and a good school with dedicated teachers and good discipline makes up for lots of parenting issues. Teachers can be opting for an easy life in a 'posh area' school and don't actually have to try very hard or be very good teachers to get good SATs results. For children with SN, I'd be looking for good pastoral care and good differentiation. (And good SENCo, inclusivity etc of course.)

insanityscatching Sat 20-Aug-11 13:03:44

Ellen I already knew what sort of parents would be in the playground when I went to look and have to say I've not been disappointed grin To be honest the school had to be even better as a result to make me opt in and it was. I know that some of the kids in dd's class have a rough home life but in school they are cared for and nurtured and their behaviour reflects that. I think though that people not prepared would be put off although having said that the school is now full and over subscribed in spite of it opening only two years ago with eighty empty spaces so word has obviously got out smile

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