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School searched for a new school for ds and didn't tell us!

(24 Posts)
bigschoolworry Mon 01-Apr-13 18:45:08

Have obtained paperwork under a FOI request to LA.
School had admitted to the LA that they couldn't meet his needs and were considering permanently excluding him. Notes show that a message was made showing that the Senco had called the SEN Officer to discuss my ds and whether xxx school would be suitable for him. in big letters was this idea has not been discussed with the parents shock.
Turns out there were no places at that school in any case and a few weeks later ds was permanently excluded . Amazing what you can find out from school and LA paperwork isn't it?

Icedcakeandflower Tue 02-Apr-13 08:08:41

Does ds have a statement?

InSearchOfPerfection Tue 02-Apr-13 08:47:16

shock
No help I am afraid but just shockshock

Dinkysmummy Tue 02-Apr-13 11:06:45

Ok no advice... Just like insearch I'm shock shock

cornygrigio Tue 02-Apr-13 11:34:02

shock

flowwithit Tue 02-Apr-13 11:39:54

That's disgraceful! Appalling uncaring behaviour.

float62 Tue 02-Apr-13 15:08:21

Yes, it certainly is. I had to give up reading my FOI stuff (reams of it!) because of all the absolute bollocks, insinuations, judgements and lies that had been written about me and ds by the 'educational professionals' (bwah..ha..ha) some of whom had never met or spoken to either of us; seemed like a professional gossip-fest to me. I hope that you are managing to get something sorted for your ds.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 02-Apr-13 15:12:48

Yes. I always tell people to think carefully before getting the FOI stuff and to brace themselves. It doesn't always solve all your problems as it can make you feel the need to write a neverending to-do list to challenge half the stuff that is written, not to mention send you into expensive therapy.

Sometimes it really is better not to know.

alwayslateforwork Tue 02-Apr-13 15:21:44

I'm on completely the other side of the fence. This could entirely have been done with the best of intentions - they knew they were unable to meet his needs, knew that there was at least a possibility looming of exclusion, and were discussing placements which might be more suitable.

Presumably if a place had been available, and had been possibly suitable, you would have got a telephone call requesting a meeting to discuss the possibility. At that point you could all have worked together to visit, discuss the placement, look for other possibilities etc.

I'm not sure what the problem is. I'd be quite happy for an educational establishment to be pro-active about where my child's needs could be met, particularly if they knew they weren't meeting them.

Much rather that way than ignoring the fact that they were unable to cope and leaving the child to fail in situ.

I'm sure it would be important for those concerned to know that this hadn't been discussed with you - I don't see it as sinister. I see it as a care taking so that you didn't get a phone call from a well meaning LA dude who opened with 'so, about x going to y school...' Rather than someone contacting you and saying 'hello, x's current school are struggling and we would like to meet and discuss a more appropriate placement.'

I would be reassured that they had ds's best interests at heart and were looking for an alternative placement. I'd actually be more ticked at the LA who knew the school were unable to cope, and did nothing.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 02-Apr-13 15:25:51

What on earth would be wrong with 'Dear lovely parents. We are struggling to meet ds' needs. What do you think? Can we work together on this? Would you mind if we contacted x school to see if they think they could meet x' needs? Would you like us to arrange a visit?'

Far far better imo.

alwayslateforwork Tue 02-Apr-13 15:31:45

It would be, but half the time this stuff never goes anywhere, as places are so sparse - in an ideal world it would be great. I don't see anything particular awful about the school making a few discreet enquiries as to what might be available before discussing them openly.

There are plenty of awful things that go on behind the scenes - checking for potential places prior to parental discussion isn't something I can raise much angst about, tbh. I'd be more cross that they hadn't made more of an effort to find an alternative to exclusion. Ditto for the LA. The fact that they were actively seeking out alternatives is a good thing.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 02-Apr-13 15:34:24

'I don't see anything particular awful about the school making a few discreet enquiries as to what might be available before discussing them openly'

Because the child is entitled to an education that meets his needs, not to what is available.

alwayslateforwork Tue 02-Apr-13 15:40:12

Not disagreeing with that. But utopia doesn't exist, and 'what is available' is sadly the starting point.

If nothing is suitable, then the LA should be looking further afield to find out what is. Not the current school. So the school highlighting to the LA that they are not meeting the child's needs should be the flag the LA need to buck up their ideas.

The school have done nowt wrong. Like I said, I'd be more ticked with the LA. The school were acting responsibly and highlighting to the appropriate authority that they were unable to meet the child's needs. As part of that discussion, they pondered whether another school would be (more) suitable.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 02-Apr-13 15:48:23

'The school were acting responsibly and highlighting to the appropriate authority that they were unable to meet the child's needs'

But why are the parents not considered the appropriate authority?

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 02-Apr-13 15:48:55

although agree that the LA should have stepped in.

float62 Tue 02-Apr-13 16:01:55

I agree with Starlight's first response. And why did it take an FOI request to discover this and let's remember that for the poor OP and her ds this ended in a permanent exclusion. Horrible for them.

float62 Tue 02-Apr-13 16:04:51

Sorry meant just Starlight, not just the first response.

alwayslateforwork Tue 02-Apr-13 16:15:46

<shrugs>

Not sure why you are asking me? The day the LA sees a parent as a font of educational knowledge with intimate professional experience of individual settings is some way off. In an ideal world, a parent should be more than aware the educational establishment is not meeting needs and starting a dialogue with the LA way ahead of the school. That's not to diss the op, who is clearly making an effort to find out wtaf to do about the education of her ds.

The parent isn't going to know what's available, and is only going to call the LA anyway. Professionals always consult each other ahead of the parents, if the parents don't barge their way in. I'm all for professional agencies looking for solutions and presenting options to me. It pisses me right off if I'm the one suggesting they aren't doing their jobs, and expecting me to do it for them.

They do their bit, and then they seek my opinion. I may or may not agree with their proposal, and I may or may not have other (and better) ideas about what my child needs, but I do expect them to do their jobs and work out the art of possible in a timely fashion. I'm not paid to sit in the LA and do this stuff day in day out, they are. And I'll advocate for my child's education as necessary. I'm not going to butt in and insist I'm involved in every initial conversation - I've signed plenty of information releases that allow them to get on with their jobs, and I expect to be consulted at the appropriate point in the conversation.

The appropriate point isn't when I put in an FOI request. The appropriate point was where no suitable setting was identified by the LA and they knew the child was going to be excluded. It would also have been the time to get involved if a potentially suitable place was available. The op is entirely right to be pissed not to have been involved in a subsequent discussion.

alwayslateforwork Tue 02-Apr-13 16:17:25

<and yes, of course the op should have been aware that the school couldn't meet her child's needs before she put in a FOI request>

InSearchOfPerfection Tue 02-Apr-13 16:36:55

Fore this isn't about the fact the school tried to find a solution to the OP's ds education. It's the fact they have discussed and disclosed information about that child to other professional wo prior knowledge if the parents and wo their agreement.
For me it comes down to confidentiality.

At my dcs school, the senco has been vet clear when he wanted to ask question about ds to the ed Psy. He asked me first, asked the ed Psy but never mentioned ds name. He said he wasn't allowed to discuss a pupil issues if the child wasn't already under their care so couldn't do that. I would have thought that would be the same in that case.

alwayslateforwork Tue 02-Apr-13 17:20:26

The op didn't say she had not signed an information sharing agreement. Most LAs get you to sign them as part and parcel of any sn child's portfolio. I'm sure they have one on file. I've signed more than I care to remember. I'm all for information sharing. It makes me uncomfortable when parents complain that people aren't doing their jobs when they are actively prevented from doing so by folk refusing to let people talk to each other.

In that case - sure. If you had refused to sign an information sharing agreement, op, then you are entirely within your rights to be unhappy about professionals discussing options, and to be pissed about the underlining that you had not been notified.

I assumed you were ticked because you felt the school weren't doing the best by your son, when I kind of still think they were. It's about priorities. I'd still be going after the LA. The school obviously can't meet his needs, and so you need to both allow (and be involved in) discussion with all professionals to ensure his needs are being met in a new setting.

I hadn't realized it was just a permission discussion. I thought it was about how to get the child's needs met.

I hope you find a new setting that meets his needs.

bigschoolworry Tue 02-Apr-13 18:38:35

Wow,lots of responses.
always - I can see why you feel that they may have been trying to help.
However,other records show that around 8 weeks before they excluded (just a few weeks after diagnosis) they admitted to LA that they couldn't meet needs and that he was likely to be permanently excluded. LA professionals reported that the placement had failed - at no point were we, as parents, told this. At various points there are records to show that he was almost at exclusion, but not quite hmm. There is even a record showing that the implications of the DDA were discussed but school were 'comfortable' that everything was covered.
They suddenly started keeping daily records about him (obviously evidence gathering) and several remarks show that some of his support staff thought he was 'putting it on' and that he should be made to do things that he couldn't do because of his condition. When he was excluded no one spoke to him to obtain his view or looked at the statement he had written because they had obviously made the decision weeks before and didn't need to discuss it!
We were constantly being told that everything they were doing was in his best interests but it doesn't seem like it to me.
I understand why sometimes it's not a good idea to obtain records but don't regret doing it.

bigschoolworry Tue 02-Apr-13 18:42:47

I think the big issue for children with disabilities is that schools only have to show that they made reasonable adjustments and no-one can say what 'reasonable' really is.

float62 Tue 02-Apr-13 20:31:02

bigschool I had an idea that the single example you gave was just the tip of the iceberg, and I'm sure you're right about the intelligence gathering. Before ds's first permanent exclusion I honestly thought the school were engaging with me at meetings and doing the best for him. After the FOI I was shocked, angry and upset that this wasn't the case at all. I read all that one, it was the final permanent exclusion FOI that I gave up reading as I knew the final fight was over and ds would get the right school. So, please focus on getting ds into the right school for his needs and maybe one day we can all have a big burning of the FOIs because maybe one day we won't need them any more.

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