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Can you help me understand this?

(22 Posts)
Whymightitbe Thu 24-Jan-13 16:54:17

This might be sensitive, so I apologise in advance if I manage to offend anyone. I'm raising the question out of a genuine desire to understand.

I work in a non-teaching capacity in a junior school. We have a yr 3 child who is well behind where he "should" be on his monitoring levels. His attendance at infants was very poor and it's still not great, but in his first term in the juniors, he has made more progress than any other child in the school. We've worked with the family to improve attendance, worked with mum (weekly sessions) on how she can help him and he has daily 121. He doesn't have a statement. The view of the SENCo and head is that he doesn't need one, now he's actually in school he's making really good progress.

However, mum is at the school office ranting on a weekly basis about how she needs a statement for him. It has been explained to her regularly that a statement would make no difference to what the school is able to offer him, as he's getting loads of extra help already. So, why is she so keen for him to have one?

TheLightPassenger Thu 24-Jan-13 17:01:07

because in this time of v pressed resources if your school were unable to afford the 121 anymore, your school could pull it at any time, whereas statementing should help ensure that the 121 hours carry on for as long as he needs them. Also she may be thinking ahead to secondary school.

Catsdontcare Thu 24-Jan-13 17:03:54

A statement is a legal document that schools must adhere to. At the moment the school could pull all the extra support away and there is nothing she can do about it.

sweetteamum Thu 24-Jan-13 17:04:06

I think it's because mum knows that unless she gets a statement that no help is guaranteed. Especially in these times where finances are being cut.

Whymightitbe Thu 24-Jan-13 17:12:44

Ok, I understand that, but the professional opinion of the people working with the child is that he doesn't need a statement, he needs mum to make sure he's in school regularly.

During today's rant, she screamed in my face that if we didn't get his statement it would be my fault that her family were living in a house too small for them. Now, I admit its hard to like someone who screams and swears at you at least once a week, but could there be reasons other than concern for the child?

TheLightPassenger Thu 24-Jan-13 17:21:25

But it may be that 1-1 support is necessary for him to cope with attending school more regularly? I doubt there would be any personal financial incentive for her to push for a statement, if that's what you are getting at...

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Thu 24-Jan-13 17:31:16

Perhaps the reasons he wasn't attending the infants were due to anxiety and it's only since he's been properly supported in school that he's happy to attend? If the school removes his support because he's made so much progress, might he go back to not attending? You don't know the whole story, and obviously neither do we, but there may be much more to it than you know.

Whymightitbe Thu 24-Jan-13 17:31:18

I don't know Light, I was wondering what she was getting at.

lougle Thu 24-Jan-13 17:32:25

Actually, much as I hate to admit it, I can see how finances can be linked to Statementing.

Statement of SEN ----> Official 'SN' ----> Possible DLA ----> Possible claim that small house is detrimental to DS ---->Possible rehousing to 'more suitable' accommodation.

Certainly that is what has happened (legitimately!!) with us. We were living in a small 3 bed house - 1 reception room, tiny kitchen, small bedrooms, postage stamp garden, no downstairs loo.

DD1's needs (she goes to special school) meant that it really wasn't suitable for her to be using a potty downstairs all day, plus the garden was tiny and access to play facilities was fairly impossible - main road 200 yds away and busy estate.

We had priority on the council list after OT assessment, and got allocated a bigger house with a downstairs loo and a dining room, with a big garden.

However, I think Whymightitbe would be better served to find out what the Mum's concerns are, because she may well be able to explain what the issue is. It's not fair to make assumptions.

Whymightitbe Thu 24-Jan-13 17:46:19

LOL lougle - this is what she spat at me when I tried to get her to calm down and explain to me how she thought having a statement would change things. My first port of call in any difficulty isn't usually MN grin Lots of effort has been made to get her to explain. She seems to have decided she hates the head and he has no idea what he's doing, despite the fact that her child has made incredible progress after one term in his school.

It's not that he needs support to stay in school, he likes school and does well socially. Mum finds getting out of bed difficult (by her own admission) and yes, there may well be lots of underlying problems there.

lougle Thu 24-Jan-13 17:53:30

It does sound tricky, but if the school were to approach it from a proactive position and invited her in to discuss her request for Statutory Assessment, how she feels it would benefit her DS and what she feels could be done but isn't, etc., then she'll feel so much more respected and you might get a working relationship.

You can't say he 'doesn't need' a Statement. You can only report that your perspective is that he is progressing well at school. Special Needs (and I'm not suggesting that there is a SN there - SEN and SN are different, although overlap) can display differently at school compared with school.

To give you an example - my DD1 is in Special school. I had lots of intervention for her.

DD2 has some emerging needs. I am concerned. She is displaying anxiety at home, but her communication skills falter when she is anxious, and her response is to clam up about that at school, paste a smile on her face (you can literally observe the 'pasting' as she rounds the corner to the classroom) and sucks her hand.

School and I differ on whether she has an area of need. Academically, she does ok. She decodes text well (I think her comprehension is behind). The Paed we saw thinks there are some issues, but not sure the extent or specifically what the issues are.

If school would only accept that I have concerns and even give lip service to them, our relationship would be so much better! Telling me she is 'fine' is no reassurance when she comes home to tell me we have 'guns in our bodies' that help us breathe!

used2bthin Thu 24-Jan-13 20:39:55

Could the housing thing be down to catchment areas or something? We moved to be in catchment for the only mainstream school I felt dd would be ok at the time. We are in a house too small for our needs(two bedside the dds can't share as dd1 would hurt dd2). Had I known dd would need special school I'd have felt differently about areas and possibly gone for a bigger house in the cheaper area we were in before.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 21:36:42

A statement can be quite a key document in providing evidence for DLA, though it doesn't guarantee it in itself as it should explain the child's educational needs which might not be enough to be awarded DLA.

The mother could be wanting a statement in order to be able to choose the secondary school? If you have a statement you become an earlier priority than catchment or siblings!?

Your interpretation of 'progress' could be way below her expectations of what her son is capable of?

She is worried that her son will have support withdrawn to fulfil budget needs?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 21:44:31

Having said that, I had a ds that the school was swearing was progressing amazingly well, and I kept keeping him off due to anxiety and what I felt was neglect on part of the school.

When I spoke about how ds behaved at home in response to school I was told he never behaves like that at school and that the solution is obviously to keep him in school and not at home more.

This is very common. A huge percentage on this board have experienced similar.

I wanted a statement for him because I wanted his needs properly investigated and support in place. It was all of the professionals 'opinion' that he didn't need one and he was progressing well at school.

But the problem was, they thought he was progressive well 'for a poor child with ASD who would never amount to much', and I wanted him to 'progress well and catch up with his peers where he could, and learn independent living skills', which I was told was beyond him. In fact, at one point I was even told he wouldn't ever talk angry. This was all 'professional opinion'.

My ds now has a statement, attends an independent special school for children with normal IQs and is doing better than any of those state professionals ever consider he would.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 24-Jan-13 21:58:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lougle Thu 24-Jan-13 22:09:57

lisad, to be fair though, I seem like 'hard work' to DD2's school.

They see a girl that is decoding well, is progressing academically, etc. I see a girl who is withdrawn and relies a lot on my input to get in and out the classroom. I see a girl who is very bright, but possibly missing a few vital pieces of information each time she learns.

For example, she came home today, talking about the Crimean War. She had really absorbed facts about it. But, when she turned to me and said 'When I'm older, Mummy, I'm going to open a school for nurses who look after soldiers in the Crimean War', I knew that she hadn't quite grasped that this was a historical event. She thinks the Crimean War is happening now grin

I don't blame the school for not noticing that she's not the same at school as at home. How could they know??

I do blame them for dismissing my knowledge as her mother and ignorantly presuming that their 30 hours of contact with her equals or betters my 138 hours.

Handywoman Fri 25-Jan-13 00:58:04

Lougle. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Your dd2 is *SO*** like mine it's UNbelievable!!!

That is all......

lougle Fri 25-Jan-13 06:44:29

I know, Handywoman -for my sanity, I've chosen to accept that I'm in it for the long game. <sigh>

justaboutchilledout Fri 25-Jan-13 06:59:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Fri 25-Jan-13 08:54:22

I've been thinking about this and I'm not sure why the school wouldn't want to have a statement for this child?

Your discription of the childs mother sounds very negetive, which is your impression. Surely the best way to protect this child is to have his educational provision legally tied up? Mum could move him yet again and then he would likely flounder about and waste all your good work.

If he has a statement and you are fulfilling it, it makes no difference to the school, may attract extra funding, and safeguards his provision. This sounds like a vulnerable young man, why wouldnt school want that in place?

As an aside, I am quite a stickler for getting into school on time, but it isn't easy. Many Mums mornings are NOTHING like a nt morning and certainly when ds was younger 4am was a relatively normal start to our day. There is a reason for my nickname. My dh is very supportive and I live very comfortabley, who knows how i would manage in different circumstances.

Has anyone asked the poor woman if they can help her? I know she is behaving revoltingly, but perhaps if you all lead the way, and gave her a more effective way to be things could change for this family?

lougle Fri 25-Jan-13 09:13:56

I agree zzzzz - I am nothing like the mother I imagined I would be, simply because all the things I thought I would do have been overtaken by the sheer lack of sleep and constant attention DD1 needs when she's here. If I am cooking a meal, that's time that DD1 can get into danger or cause havoc elsewhere in the house. It's hard. In fact, in many ways, it's the hardest aspect of having a child with SN.

Also, DD1 is thriving at school. She really is. Her annual review pack says 'who needs 3 LSAs in the class when I've got DD1?' It doesn't in any way take away from her needs for structure, routine, bite-size learning, etc., that not even a mainstream class with 1:1 would be able to provide. She thrives on the fact that there is a song for saying hello in the morning, a song for snack time, a song for lunch-time.....she knows and identifies with the song and the certainty that indeed they did mean 'now'.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:31:23

I agree with zzzzz.

I worry about what will happen to these struggling families with the whole strivers and skivers stuff.

What possible reason could the school have for not supporting this child having a Statutory Assessment at miminum, regardless of what they think is 'causing' his difficulties. It's hardly the child's fault. His statement could include someone actually going to his house and getting him if that was what was required for him to access an adequate education.

Not likely to get, admittedly, but there are lots of creative and inexpensive ways to help that would need to be written in a statement to ensure that it actually happened, and that the support stayed with that child regardless.

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