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Is it only parents of SN children who have to deal with this

(38 Posts)
meaty Tue 26-Mar-13 10:59:03

Today the senco phones me to ask that tomorrow I pick up DS (5yo) at 1pm as they dont have a TA for his 1:1 after lunch. For the first time I said 'no' and that didn't please them.

In the past they just tell me he is ill and I pick him up but after the last time where it turned out his TA had gone home ill and my son was fully fit and well I had just had enough.

He is part time even though it is the term past his 5th birthday as the school says that it is in his benefit. I am in the process of getting a statement to bring this all to an end but from the snails pace it goes at I dont think I will get one in place until the start of the next year. He already has SA+, IEP, Ed Phsyc, OT, Pead, SALT so I am tying it all up in a single legal document.

If you are a parent of an average child surely they would always find replacement teachers to cover sickness/absence why is it that I feel that parents of SN children are treated differently? Is it cost? lack of experience?

bochead Fri 05-Apr-13 16:10:43

Contact a family are doing a survey and a campaign on exactly this issue. Well worth following up with them as together we have a voice.

Ilisten2theradio Fri 05-Apr-13 16:08:32

As others have pointed out to Meaty earlier, the DDA states that your child should not be disadvantaged.
Sending a child home early like this is illegal exclusion. There have been various things in the press about this lately.
If I were you I would say something ( well lots of somethings if it were me) - all backed up by relevant legistation
If school cannot cope with your child for a full day then perhaps it is time to look at statementing to formalise the help that he will get.

extremepie Tue 02-Apr-13 23:04:50

My son has recently started school and has ASD and an awful lot of what has been said on this thread sounds very familiar - tbh, not having any previous experience of schools I just thought it was normal but am now starting to think it isn't?

For example, they have asked us on maybe 3/4 occasions to pick him up early (lunchtime) because he is 'having a bad day' of they are struggling to deal with him. Also they have asked us to keep him off school twice (whole day) to give his TA a chance to plan lessons for him as she can't do it when he is there apparently.

They ask us to pick him up at 3 (instead of 3.15 - not a major difference) because his TA has to leave at 3 and I have to stay with him through breakfast club in the morning until she comes in (about 45 minutes).

Recently on a school trip they asked me to go with DS because his TA had to accompany another group of children.

They have also reduced his hours at school
from full time to finishing at 1 every day because they are, essentially, finding him hard work!

Is this normal?

Should I say something?

MareeyaDolores Wed 27-Mar-13 22:42:37

I don't think they can insist on sending a child home early 'because they're tired'. In fact, if he's so tired from something the other kids manage, then they need an OT to assess what's happening to his sensory and energy levels.

If you give notice in writing that you won't be able to pick him up early, they'll stop doing this I think. Not picking up a kid at hometime, fair enough, they can call social services for neglect. Not picking up a kid before school is finished, just because the school cba to give a full day's education.. I doubt they'd want to be publicising that wink

starfishmummy Wed 27-Mar-13 15:57:21

I agree with Ouryve - the ideal would be for him to have two 1:1s who job share; each working part of every day so that the whole day can be covered and arranged so that if he needs support over the lunch period oine of them does it and has his or her break at a different time

MummytoMog Wed 27-Mar-13 15:01:54

That's shocking. Are they trying to push you out?

DD was excluded from the class panto trip. We offered to go with her, but couldn't because we don't have current CRBs. What really ticked me off about that is DD has been going to the theatre since she was a few days old (DH is a musician) and knows perfectly well what to do and would have been no bother at all.

Trigglesx Tue 26-Mar-13 20:16:20

yes, like ouryve's son, DS2 had someone literally with him from the time we handed him over in the morning until he was handed back at the end of the school day - through lunch, playtimes, and even escorting him to the toilet (he's impulsive/runner with no sense of danger/safety so cannot be unmonitored at all). His school was very clear that it was their responsibility to make sure someone was with him and to include him in all activities (at least encouraging him to try, such as assembly and trips and everything), regardless of their particular staffing levels.

It's all about the school being flexible and organised (and recognising their responsibilities).

ouryve Tue 26-Mar-13 20:07:06

Even though my boys have one TA with them for most of the day, they have points in their day when their own 1:1s have lunch etc, so are, or have been covered by the various floating TAs so they're not entirely strange faces. This also means that their own TAs are with them at lunchtime, which is often more difficult for them behaviour-wise than classroom time.

DS2 can't function without 1:1 at any point in the day, partly because he has a tendency to wander off. A few weeks, he'd get into school and start to strip off. If his regular 1:1 is delayed either another floating TA will drop everything for 10 minutes or DS1's TA will take him with them on their morning errands (DS1 likes having jobs to do to get him settled in the morning - it gives him chance to survey his surroundings and focus his mind through the I was at home but now I'm at school but I'm not quite ready to talk to anyone yet transition).

This is why I'm hmm when schools claim they can't cover lunchtimes or whatever. It always strikes me that there's more inflexibility and lack of imagination on the part of the school than there is in a child with ASD. Even DS2 can manage a short period in a small group, if needs be and when DS1 is calm and interested enough to be occupied, he appreciates not having someone breathing down his neck All The Time. Breathers for a TA and flexibility to cover the biggest flashpoints can be built into the day.

There's also the fact that a class teacher does need to spend a little time with the child - yet another breather, however brief, even if it only gives a chance to talk to a child in the class with a sunnier disposition and be reassured that all is right with the world, despite the earbashing they've had delivered for the past hour!

Trigglesx Tue 26-Mar-13 19:39:51

He gets weary at the end of the week? That's their reasoning? I suspect they'll have to do better than that. Lots of children get weary at the end of the week. How's he ever going to build up to the FT schedule if they don't have a plan to reintegrate him into FT?

As for the TA needing a break, they should be using 2 TAs minimum for him anyway. DS2's school had a set schedule for his TAs. One TA did 5 mornings and 2 afternoons a week (always the same ones), a second TA did 3 afternoons per week. Then there was a third TA that popped in two mornings a week for about 30 minutes while his main TA led the school's SNs physio class (she did DS2's physio 1:1 at another time as he coped better that way).

This worked very well - when one TA was ill, one of the other 2 simply stepped in. He was used to working with them, so it wasn't any problem. His main TA coordinated his lesson plans (with his teacher, adding extras that assisted his learnign styles) and did reports during the 3 afternoons per week that she was not with him. It also meant he didn't get dependent on one particular TA.

mymatemax Tue 26-Mar-13 19:28:24

unless you feel his current hours are in his best interest I would insist on full time hours.
The term after his 5th birthday they are legally obliged to educate him, they should not be offering him a lesser education as a result of his disability
The TA's needing a break, staffing levels, budgets are not your concern, the head gets paid to resolve theses issues.
They must provide a safe, sutable, education (adjusted to take in to account his disability) equal to his peers
Their inability to cope should urge them to shout for additional help/statement/outreachs upport etc, it should not be a reason for them to send him home.
Hopefully it will help you achieve the statment & provision he needs

Dinkysmummy Tue 26-Mar-13 17:38:39

I can't believe he was excluded for 5 days! Poor you and your DS!

Dinky hit her teacher because she touched dinky without warning (trying to direct her into the area she needed her to go). From then on the teacher refused to deal with her when she has meltdowns. Instead she runs off to senco for every little thing. Now we are being forced out of the school and dinky is going to a new school after Easter.

I think 5 days is excessive as the reason dinky wasn't excluded was because they know she has SN, and didn't understand what she was doing at the time. She said sorry after.

Poor TAs? No way! They get paid to look after your DS. It doesn't matter how challenging the DC is they should make sure he gets his full time education. Sure if you want to have part time because you think it is better for him. But no way ok if they want him to be part time because they can't handle him (and that's their problem not your DS or yours).

I hope you manage to get in touch with an inclusion service. I would also talk to them about having to drive up to the farm trip to pick him up as that can't be right.

I really feel for you and your little man. He deserves better and so do you.


meaty Tue 26-Mar-13 14:58:27

icecakeandflower - I did see that report which got me thinking is it only parents of SN children or do schools try to do that sort of thing to other children as well.

Thankyou for giving me details for the inclusion service. I will searching for one in Somerset by asking the parent partnership.

Ouryve - When he was excluded he didn't understand as he cannot communicate he just enjoyed being at home. I wrote on this board at the time and someone pointed out that I should be working hard with DS to stop the hitting. I have put huge effort into this area and now he doesnt hit anymore as they were correct to point out that it is the parent responsibility as well. I suspect that in this area an average child would have been excluded as well.

With the statement they are actually giving me a hand making sure that everything needed is noted down within the application so fingers crossed that goes well.

meaty Tue 26-Mar-13 14:51:31

Right I have picked up DS from school and here in writing is the reason for part time hours.

"... now attends school from 9.30-2.30 daily, which appears to be right for him. He gets weary towards the end of the week". So there we have it in writing the reason for part time hours.

ouryve Tue 26-Mar-13 14:45:59

The TAs need a break he is hard work

So, they use more than one, so he gets to know more than one and neither has to spend a whole day with him. A poorly skilled TA rolling their eyes is probably downright hard work for him, so they need to be properly trained and have appropriate experience and the right personality. It's not a job for delicate flowers.

As has been explained, there will be different names in different LAs. We have both ASD outreach and and separate inclusion service, the latter being for children who are struggling to be included in a full day of school for any reason.

The 5 day exclusion for hitting seems excessive. How did the incident happen? Did they make any attempt to de-escalate or give him cooling off time, or was it out of the blue? Did he understand why he ended up treated to a whole week off school? Did the exclusion give him any impetus not to do it again? Yes, teachers shouldn't have to put up with being assaulted by children, but would they have treated an NT child the same way?

I hate to say it, but it sounds like they're wanting to get rid. How on board are they with the SA application? Do you think they'll comply when it comes through?

Icedcakeandflower Tue 26-Mar-13 14:43:02

Not sure if you'ved seen this recent survey report

I asked Ipsea earlier this week about ds being sent home early at least once a week because there was no support available, and I was referred to the Equality Act 2010.

^Since 2001, disability discrimination law has required schools to make reasonable adjustments to avoid placing pupils at substantial disadvantage but exempted them from the duty to provide auxiliary aids and services. The Equality Act 2010 removed this exemption.
The new duty is contained in section 20(5) of the Act:
‘... a requirement, where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to provide the auxiliary aid.’
The words ‘auxiliary aid’ means aids and services. An aid is a piece of equipment which helps the disabled person, such as a special chair, adapted text, or special computer equipment or software. A service is something people provide, such as personal assistance or (possibly) therapy.
On 1 September 2012, this requirement comes into force in relation to local authorities and schools, applying to all schools including independent schools in England, Wales and Scotland.^

The relevant bit here is "personal assistance"

<why can I never get italics to work!!!!>

I would ask school nicely to ensure support is in place, and refer to the Equality Act smile

N0tinmylife Tue 26-Mar-13 14:17:07

As a parent of an average child I would say that no this would never happen. I'm guessing mainly down to numbers. Can you imagine the uproar if a school sent a class of 30 children home because there was no teacher available to teach them? However it is relatively easy to send home one child, as you then only have one angry parent to deal with. It does seem hideously unfair on your son though. Well done you for standing your ground. I hope they get their act together so he can get the education he deserves!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 26-Mar-13 14:09:03

Ask, in writing what exactly he can't cope with if full-time and why they think that might be.

The inclusion service has different names and slightly different functions in each LA. In my LA we have the advisory teaching service, in different sections, visual impairment, interaction and communication etc. They are funded by the LA centrally and go into schools to help class teachers and SENCos with DC with SEN. In some areas they are called outreach, or autism outreach, or inclusion etc. Maybe ask your local parent partnership for advice. Again, parent partnerships in different LAs can be quite different, (some pretty toothless) but every LA must have such a service.

meaty Tue 26-Mar-13 13:31:52

He went full time for a couple of weeks before christmas but hit a teacher so was excluded for a week. He has been part time since and so far no more anger/hitting issues and no further exclusions.

The reason for part time from the school are poor EG The TAs need a break he is hard work. The fact I have him 19 hours a day + weekends + holidays without a break in the day at all seems to escape their notice.

The only reason I have continued with part time is that he is happy and now he even asks to go to school so in this case it has worked but the time is near where he will have to go full time and I think it is time to put a plan for that in place.

I have never heard of the inclusion service is that something that is available all over the country or is it something the schools have access to?

ouryve Tue 26-Mar-13 13:20:32

And put your foot down about the part time nonsense. Do they have evidence that it would be better? They certainly can't do it without your agreement and without a plan to re-integrate him full time. If you're being railroaded ask for their reasons in writing so that you have copies for your own, personal records. The IPSEA website has some helpful factsheets that can help you to find your way around your entitlements regarding your DS's education.

DS1 did go part time for a while in year 1 because he really was struggling with a full day. He already had a statement, but we were trying to get him assessed for ADHD at the time and it was proving a lengthy process with many delays. We very quickly extended his day, re-introducing lunchtimes, which were big flash points for him with the lack of structure, then odd afternoons, until, within 4-5 months, he was back full time. During that period, the inclusion service were involved, helping to find ways to make school easier for him to deal with eg using IT instead of expecting him to write.

tallwivglasses Tue 26-Mar-13 13:12:47

In my experience, getting someone from Contact A Family to remind them about the DDA does the trick - as does the threat of going to the local press.

ouryve Tue 26-Mar-13 13:06:17

If they persuade you to take him home, he is being illegally excluded. It's one thing agreeing with school that a particular day may be so disrupted and off routine that it would be traumatic for your DC and lead to longer term difficulties, but another being told they can't look after him because they can't organise their staff and don't have contingency plans in place.

Mine are in year 2 and 4 and both have full time 1:1. Recently, all the TAs and many of the teaching staff took up the offer of a course that would be beneficial to the them and boys, which left the school with a big cover problem - they didn't want to leave them with inexperienced staff or staff who didn't know them. DS1 spent some of the day with an older class with an experienced, familiar teacher. DS2, we were much more worried about, since he takes a while to trust people and has personal care needs. We agreed that a day in the foundation unit, which is secure, staffed with people he knows and trusts and pretty much appropriate to his developmental level would be most appropriate for that one day. There is always a way, even if some effort and ingenuity is required.

Dinkysmummy Tue 26-Mar-13 12:24:58

Aww bless him...
Yeah dinky isn't all that bothered, I just hate hearing about the invites that seem to be for every child except dinky.

That really sucks that you have to wait until he is 8. I'm lucky that this group runs from age 5. (actually I'm lucky she will be going at all because she has no dx ATM)

I really hope things get better with the school

meaty Tue 26-Mar-13 12:14:09

dinkysmummy it seems your DD and my DS are similar in the way they behave and the way they are treated. So far we have never been invited to a party but my son wouldn't even care it is more me caring about his involvement with his peers.

We used to have a lovely SN nursery which organised events and outings but funding cuts has lead to another group being setup which caters for children with SN but aimed mainly at a slightly older age group. Once he is 8 my son will be well catered for so at the moment just in an inbetween age.

Dinkysmummy Tue 26-Mar-13 12:04:57

Good for you Meaty for sticking up for yourself and your DS when it comes to the farm trip!
I know what you mean about other things such as assembly. I had no idea dinky was being stopped from going to assembly until I asked why she was the only child in the classroom with the TA every Tuesday afternoon when I picked her up.
You are so right he needs to experience school life.
Although you might think you are missing out on adult contact from drop off late pick up early, I found it easier to miss out on talking to the parents. The looks, and the whispers are horrible and party invites make their way to parents, talks of cake choices ect (Dinky has been invited to all of one party and that is because I know the parents and it was being held at the special needs club house.) The worst part is listening to them boast about their perfect children and how well they are doing and how their teachers just love their DC. Also being asked to go and speak to deputy (who is also senco but the parents don't know that) in front of the other parents is horrible. The ominous "can I have a word"

Have you looked into support groups for children with SN in your area for adult contact?
Dinky will be going to a special/additional needs Saturday club... Is there something like that where you are?

Sounds like everything with your school is a battle


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