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Is this discriminatory??

(22 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:58:46

I have become aware that DS2 year 2 and DS1's primary school until July 2012 has its own criteria for 'expected progress' for children with SEN. They use APS (average pupil score) to measure this - 2 APS is equal to one sublevel and so the expected progress is 12 APS for all children. Historical demographic data shows that expected progress is less by 0.4 for children on SA, 1.0 for children on SA+ and 2.4 for statemented children. The score for statemented children is very diverse as it includes SpLD and vision or hearing disabilites at around a 75% progress rate and PMLD at around 6% giving an average of around 45% which equates to 2.4 less APS.

The school is using this historical data of the failure of SEN kids to make expected progress to set individual targets of expected progress. The head states in writing (but not to parents) that expected progress for SEN kids is thus 3 APS per KS2 year giving an expected progress of 9 APS between KS1 and KS2. For non SEN children (and DfE and the rest of the education system) expected progress is 4 APS per year giving a total of 12 APS (or 2 full levels, or 6 sublevels). Historically, statemented children on average have an APS of 9.6. However children who are on SA are only expected to progress by 9 APS by my child's school. DS2 is on SA+ and I have never been told that there is a lower expectation of progress for him than his classmates. Even if it were legitimate to use twisted logic and use such data to set targets children who are on SA on average have an APS of 11.6. This new criteria for calculating progress is then used to produce data on the progress of SEN children in the school.

Surely this is legally as well as morally questionable practice. Who can I/should I tell? atm I am toying with the idea of handing out leaflets to parents at pick-up but this would definately make me look like a crazy woman. Perhaps I would look less crazy wearing a Wonder Woman costume a la Fathers for Justice but I really don't have the figure and it is rather chilly. The urge to shout it from the rooftops is pressing.

moosemama Fri 23-Nov-12 10:25:20

So - and excuse me if I have this wrong, am feeling very sluggish today.

Your school, sets progress targets for children who have SEN based on what they know the school is able to achieve, given historical data, rather than using the national targets like everyone else. They then report their SEN pupil progress as successful, because effectively they don't have to do anything in order to achieve it. shock

So they don't actually have to strive to improve at all, because their targets are easily achievable by default. hmm

The bit that confuses me is that I thought all schools had to report against the same targets for the purposes of the compilation of national statistics?

If every school gets to wrangle their own targets, then the national statistics are completely meaningless. Surely they have to comply with the same rules as everyone else for the national tables, so they would then end up with two sets of data, one - their own - showing targets achieved, the other - national - showing that they are way off the mark. confused

Wouldn't life be easy if we could all set ourselves targets based on what we know we can already achieve and then get rewarded for it. hmm angry

As for what you can do about it, sorry, I don't have a clue. Is there perhaps someone you can approach at the LEA?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:04:29

Close moose but not bad enough angry

The school uses national data relating to the whole SEN population. From this they extract the headline of the average APS of pupils with a statement which is 9.6 or 2.4 APS lower than 12 - the total expected progress between KS1 and KS2.

Children with a statement have a diverse range of needs and so consequently the number of children that make expected progress in some groups (according to 'primary need') is low (eg PMLD) whilst in other groups it is close to the expected progress of SA, SA+ non-SEN pupils.

The school have taken this data and produced targets (for all SEN children not just those with a statement) that determine expected progress for an individual SEN child to be commensurate with the expected progress of a statemented child with a pretty severe learning disability. So a child on SA would be expected to make less progress (2.4 less rather than 0.4 less) than their classmates and as long as their progress is in line with that expected of a statemented child this is seen as good enough.

As this is good enough it is reported as expected progress and the school produces data about the performance of SEN kids in their school that concludes that the majority make expected progress (according to their idiosyncratic criteria) when the real story is that last year 0% of the 1 statemented, 0% of the 1 SA+ and 0% of the 1 SA in a KS2 cohort of 17 did not make expected progress.

In fact progress was so bad that these children all failed to make even reduced criteria of progress. This is apparently OK because DS1 (who has made the least progress of all) apparently has 'insecure' KS1 scores (obtained at another school). They therefore split the SEN KS2 year 6 group into the 2 children who had been at the school since reception and DS1 and therefore decided all was well with the school (even though DS1 had spent 2 years and 2 terms of KS2 at that school)

Further digging has revealed inconsistencies between the figures on reports written simultaneously and between old and current reports so I am now going to see which data was submitted.

Is it discriminatory to have one (secret) criteria/practice for SEN kids and a different practice/criteria for non-SEN kids??

moosemama Fri 23-Nov-12 13:21:23


It certainly sounds discriminatory to me, but who knows. They seem to be allowed to get away with almost anything these days.

Could you call a SEN solicitor on one of those 'free initial chat/consult' things and ask them. If it is discriminatory I think you should have a case under the DDA.

Lougle Fri 23-Nov-12 13:33:18

I would say 'no', it isn't. In theory, the expectation is that all children will make the 2 sub-levels of progress per year, from their previous baseline.

If children with SEN are expected to make the same progress, then the question remains 'why are they starting from a lower baseline?'. The answer to that, of course, would be 'they have a SEN which prevented them developing at the same rate as their peers.'

Even with the best resources, children with intellectual disabilities will have reduced progression, because by definition they are less able to access and process information and respond to it. The provisions under School Action, School Action Plus and Statementing should reduce that lag, but lag will still remain.

What I think is a travesty, is that frankly amazing achievements by children with PMLD, SLD and MLD are devalued because the criteria for success is the same for children with no learning disability.

Handywoman Fri 23-Nov-12 13:42:46

Keepon, a lightbulb has just gone off in my head. This would explain why my Dyslexic daughter was seen to be making 'apprpriate progress' despite making actually zero progress in NC sublevel terms over more than one academic year.

If this is actually what is happening then yes, this is a travesty. And a scandal.


KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 23-Nov-12 14:10:23

Teachers assured me for years that DS1 was making progress although this could not been seen in sats levels. I didn't realise that we were operating with different criteria of progress - because theirs was bloody secret!

Lougle Fri 23-Nov-12 17:02:54

They may well be using CASPA which is a progress measurement software for Special Needs. I'm still not quite sure why you would expect a child with SN to make the same progress in the same time-frame as a child without, though?

If our children could do that, they wouldn't have SN.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 23-Nov-12 17:13:23

SEN covers a wide range of needs and doesn't measure progress in ways that would make a difference to day to day life for me or DS1. I can't say I am 'lucky' or 'unlucky' - crap comes in many different forms - but DS1 is of above average ability. Non-progression is an indication that his needs are not being met.

Lowered revised targets means that DC with average or above average ability do not have their needs met - and then some. Rather than the resources being made available to allow them to make progress in line with their ability, the targets are lowered so that there is no need to provide the resources. This has a direct impact on DC - I am reminded of this daily by DS1 presence and inability to attend school.

This does not lessen in any way the achievement of other DC with different needs and different abilities.

HotheadPaisan Fri 23-Nov-12 17:15:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lougle Fri 23-Nov-12 17:15:22

This is the 2010-11 Advice on improving data to raise attainment and maximise the progress of learners withspecial educational needs Obviously, it won't have up to date data, because they have to collect, collate and analyse. I couldn't find anything for 2011-12 yet.

Lougle Fri 23-Nov-12 17:21:08

Ok, so it is more tricky if the reason for lowered attainment isn't a learning disability but an...environmental maladaptation, if that's the right way of looking at it.

If your DS doesn't have Learning Disabilities, but simply (I use that word in the most basic way - 'raw impact' - I realise that his SN are by no means simple) has SN which prevent him from accessing the curriculum which he is more than able to learn and understand, then his progress expectations should be the same as any other child without a Learning Disability.

My point was more geared towards Learning Disability, which was a bit narrow and short-sighted.

Lougle Fri 23-Nov-12 17:24:39

"I was about to say that if their SENs are met why shouldn't they progress at similar rates? That's why they need the provision."

Hothead, of course with needs being met progress will be made, but to take it to the most extreme examples, a child with PMLD isn't going to be doing university level mathematics no matter how much provision they are given, because that is the nature of PMLD. These children will progress, their progress will be celebrated, but it will be much slower than NT or even MLD or SLD progress.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 23-Nov-12 18:36:14

lougle we know that a child with PMLD isn't going to be doing maths at uni but the point is that a child at SA or SA+ (ie the vast majority) are not going to be going to uni either - not because they were not able to do so but because adequate resources to enable them to achieve in line with ability (as a result of SEN not being met) are, in some cases, not going to be provided because the child has been given different criteria for assessing progress.

Lougle Fri 23-Nov-12 20:56:54

Well page 12 of the document I linked to showed that:

66% of children who were working below level 1 at KS1 (yr 2) made 2 or more levels of progress by the end of Key Stage 2.
84.8% of those working at level 1 made 2 or more levels of progress
67.6% working at 2c
87.3% working at 2b
97.5% working at 2a
68.8% working at 3
87.9% working at 4

The overall figure for 2 or more levels of progress by the end of KS2 is 81.3%

So, I think the real question is why is your DS in that minority group (even accounting for SN)? The figures show that the majority of children are making the two levels of progress, even with low attainment in KS1.

moosemama Fri 23-Nov-12 21:38:07

My ds is similar.

He has been assessed as above average academically, above gifted in language skills and with no specific learning difficulties, but SNs which prevent him from accessing the curriculum and being able to produce the work required to get the grades, iyswim.

He walked level 3s across all his y2 sats and was predicted high 5's (this was before we had level 6's) but has made nowhere near enough progress since y3 to achieve this now.

The reason he hasn't made the progress is because the school has systematically failed to properly support him and meet his needs and because he was still going to get 'good enough' SAT results, so he wouldn't throw up any red flags or drag down their statistics, the school were happy for that to happen.

They weren't interested in his potential, just as long as he didn't bomb completely and show them up. angry

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 24-Nov-12 09:09:55

Around here all the primary schools are small - 2 years to a class, around 100 children in total. In terms of SATs the cohorts are always small and each child is 'worth' around 7%. So whether the school is rated as 'satisfactory' or 'good' depends on the performance of a small number of children. So resources are used to make sure that performance is maximised where it counts - to make sure that those who are borderline 3 or 4 get 4.

SEN stats are collected by the DfE and used by ofsted and so the school have to be actually good at enabling progress (more expensive) or be able to present data that makes them look better than they actually are if they encounter a problem. The impact of a couple of children that are a mystery on a small school is disproportionately large in a statistical sense - ie 0% of KS2 cohort with SEN making expected progress. The school would argue that this is not an accurate reflection - one made steady progress in line with ability and one was a complete mystery. Don't know why the other child didn't make expected progress. Trouble is they don't give the real reason but resort to underhand tactics because they believe that prospective parents will ignore the real reasons behind lack of progress even where the school has been consistently attempting to meet needs, but just read the headline stats and so will not send their children to that small school. It is a real threat, if a bad or not very good ofsted report comes out, a number of parents will move their child/children to a neighbouring village school.

TheLightPassenger Sat 24-Nov-12 09:32:03

I don't know the ins and outs of its, but surely a child with SN should be regarded as an individual, rather than the school using a blanket criteria of the average historic statemented child to determine adequate progress?

Lougle Sat 24-Nov-12 09:32:48

Ok, so how much divergence is there between national target and school target? What does that mean in real terms, and what would you say needs to change to make your DS make adequate progress?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:40:40

lougle the national target is 2 levels or 6 sublevels or 12 APS.

The school target for all SEN is 9 APS or 4.5 sublevels or 1.5 levels.

It is too late for DS1 at that school now - his KS2 scores were similar to his KS1 scores. Long story - new head/senco - concerns halted and denial began again - private EP assessment showed SpLD and ADD at beginning of year 6 but assessments confirming APD and ASD did not occur until the summer after he left. 2 refusals to assess followed by assessment followed by crap statement so going to tribunal. Failed transition, medical authorisation, home tuition through EATOS.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:47:13

Questionnaires sent to school re ADD, APD and ASD were all resoundingly negative but expert medical assessments were positive (as were parental questionnaires).

The school failure to meet his needs is being rewritten - not with school at KS1 - KS1 scores insecure - not school 'fault' so it does not count.

His needs were consistently denied, dismissed and minimised. Most shocking of all was that GOSH assessment showed that even when concentrating he is unable to catch more than the odd word with normal background noise of a classroom. And yet his CT and TA who had taught him for nearly 2 years were oblivious to this.

How can they meet needs they deny exist?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:52:31

But the doctored stats show that children at the school with SEN make good progress. Nice story but does not match the facts of the matter.

Trouble is the 'reality' presented by incorrect stats is given more credence than the 'real' story when the school assesses its performance and identifies where it needs to improve. It does not consider that the SEN policy needs to be improved because their stats show expected progress. Nice little argument with apparent internal consistency. Only problem is that it is not true.

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