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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Can the school actually do this?

(19 Posts)
JellyCurls Wed 05-Jun-13 09:20:24

Dd1 has ataxic cp and attends ms school. She gets no help in class or school at all as she is cognitively able and needs minimal assistance to complete her day so gets by with teacher prompting and help from classmates when needed.

School trip coming up and we mention to teacher that she will need her pushchair (maclaren major as dd1 doesnt want a whelchair yet) as she tires easily and an all day visit to a hilly farm will be too much for her. Teacher says that no-one to push her and they not trained to push kids on hills so unless we provide someone to push her she will need to walk. I am so angry and hurt, we have no-one that can go along so what happens now. Giving school another day to sort this out but I can't see me get an answer. Who sorts this stuff out? Other kids in class with SN have full time one to one assistants but they can't help us as they will be looking after the children they are employed to care for.

crazeelaydee Wed 05-Jun-13 09:22:41

Hi, have you had any meetings with the SENCO?

bochead Wed 05-Jun-13 09:27:22

Letter to the chair of Governors copied to the Senco/HT (email so it's quicker) citing the disability discrimination act and how upset you are that your child is being excluded from an exciting learning opportunity through no fault of her own.

Give a timescale by which you expect the school to be able to confirm that they have arranged adequate staffing so that someone WILL be able to push her MacClaren.

If she misses this trip there will be other activities later on where her needs are also ignored. This is one of those wake people up now and get a potential long term ongoing problem nipped in the bud.

JellyCurls Wed 05-Jun-13 09:30:56

What is SENCO? Excuse my ignorance, since starting school and leaving the PRESCAT system we have fallen into an abyss of no information.

PolterGoose Wed 05-Jun-13 09:33:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crazeelaydee Wed 05-Jun-13 09:39:14

No probs I had never heard of one until last year. SENCO = Special educational needs co-ordinator, every school has (or should have) one. Seeing as your daughter has a Dx of ataxic cp the SENCO should know about this, as it will affect her education in many ways whether she is fine cognitively or not.

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 09:42:46

No they can't, it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of SN and your DD has the right to access the trip.
You need to involve the SENCo, and your LA inclusion team if the school don't get their act together sharpish.
If you fight hard at the beginning and the school adjusts their attitude as a consequence, it often makes future disagreements and negotiations easier.
Getting through the initial stages can be tough.

JellyCurls Wed 05-Jun-13 09:45:39

Does this apply to Scotland too?

Going to call school later to see how they getting on but feeling a bit battle weary today ( been fighting with HT in my sleep all night!)

crazeelaydee Wed 05-Jun-13 09:47:28

Are you in scotland Jelly? if so i'm not sure if it will be called SENCO

JellyCurls Wed 05-Jun-13 09:53:31

Yes we are living in sunny Scotland smile

crazeelaydee Wed 05-Jun-13 09:54:28

oops x posted!! I have read conflicting info, some say SENCO's don't exist in scotland, some say they are called special education needs advisors. You could always enquire who is in charge of the special needs within the school....there must be someone, or they could point you in the right direction.

PolterGoose Wed 05-Jun-13 09:55:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 10:00:45

Ok, back to my old mantra.
Stay civil and firm in your dealings with the school, even when they are being unreasonable.
Put everything in writing, if you have a phone conversation, follow it up with an email.
Ask questions to clarify and make them explain.
'So you are saying that my daughter can't attend the trip because you are unable to meet her specific needs on this occasion? That you are unable to provide anyone to push her buggy?
So she needs a designated care plan, with 1:1 support in specific circumstances, in order for her to have equal access to the curriculum.
Could we schedule a meeting to discuss this?
Would you like me to contact the LEA inclusion team so that they can offer specialised support to the school?

That sort of thing.
Nail their feet to the floor, be convinced that they have your daughter's best interests at heart and be confused and puzzled when they don't and get them to justify their actions every time.

I don't know how the Scottish system works, but you can pressurise and manipulate and be disingenuous in most places. Make them squirm and they will usually do the correct thing because saying why not reveals more than they'd like to about their school and their attitudes.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Wed 05-Jun-13 10:06:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crazeelaydee Wed 05-Jun-13 10:27:53

My suggestion may be long winded but I think in the long run you need to have a point of contact within the school.

lougle Wed 05-Jun-13 10:52:05

I've done a little bit of digging, I hope you don't mind.

This Document is "Statutory Guidance relating to the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 as amended."

It details what should be done for Additional Support Needs, as SEN are called in Scotland.

I also phoned and had a wee chat with a lady from Enquire which is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning.

The lady I spoke to is tracking down a document, which may help - as soon as she sends it to me I'll link to it.

She has said that if you call up on 0845 123 2303 and tell them the LA you are in, you could raise it to LA level and they could/should intervene to sort it out.

bigbluebus Wed 05-Jun-13 12:40:32

they are not trained to push kids on hills

What sort of training do they think is available for this? In all my days of having a DD in a wheelchair (16yrs) I have never heard of staff being given such training. My DD has been to school, respite, holiday clubs and had carers look after her at home. They all push her wheelchair up and down hills - without a training course.

Perhaps you would also like to ask the school what training they are going to get for their staff to be able to carry out this task. I would be interested to hear what course they come up with - unless Scotland provides specific hill-training courses because it is more hilly than my part of England hmm

lougle Wed 05-Jun-13 14:24:58

Here is the email I received, hope it is useful:

"Thank you for contacting Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. We provide independent advice and information to families of children requiring some extra help with their education, to children and young people themselves and to professionals who work on their behalf.

You were asking a question on behalf of a friend whose daughter has reduced mobility. There is a school trip soon and the girl will need her buggy as she cannot walk too far uphill. The class teacher has told the mum that she will have to come on the trip to push the buggy, or send someone else to do this, as the teacher is not qualified.

We discussed Equality law and how the duty is an anticipatory one and that school should be planning ahead. I mentioned a guide published by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission called ?Reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils, Scotland?.

The focus of this guide is on the practical implementation of the reasonable adjustments duty in school education. It states: “The duty to make reasonable adjustments requires a school to take positive steps to ensure that disabled pupils can fully participate in the education provided by the school, and that they can enjoy the other benefits, facilities and services which the school provides.”

“The reasonable adjustments duty is triggered only where there is a need to avoid ‘substantial disadvantage’... whether or not a disabled pupil is at a substantial disadvantage will depend on the individual situation.”

“The duty to make reasonable adjustments requires schools to take what are referred to in the Act as ‘reasonable steps’ to make adjustments. The Act does not say what is ‘reasonable’. This allows flexibility for different sets of circumstances so that, for example, what is reasonable in one set of circumstances may not be reasonable in another.”

This is a complex issue. However, our advice would be that the mum should talk to the head teacher of the school to discuss any options that are available. The next step would be to speak to an equalities officer in the council.

?Health and Safety on Educational Excursions: A Good Practice Guide? (2004) is guidance which is followed by schools.

Paragraph 85:

“Equal opportunities

85. Every effort should be made to ensure that excursions and activities are available and accessible to all who wish to participate, irrespective of additional support or medical needs, ethnic origin, sex, religion etc. All young people should be encouraged to participate in as wide a range of activities as possible. If an excursion is to cater for participants with additional support needs, a suitable venue should be selected.”

Paragraph 103:

“Participants with additional support needs

103. Establishments will already be familiar with the nature of a participant's additional support needs. They should use the planning stage and the risk assessment to consider how the needs of the participants who require additional support can be met. In particular, they should take account of their duties under Part IV of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001. The duties make it unlawful to discriminate, without justification, against disabled pupils and prospective pupils, in all aspects of school life, including school excursions, clubs and activities. The principle behind the legislation is that, wherever possible, disabled people should have the same opportunities as non-disabled people in their access to education. The following factors should be taken into consideration:

- how might the participant best be able to take part in and benefit from the activity?

- does the activity need to be adapted to enable the participant to take part to the best of their ability at a suitable level?

- what additional/different resources are necessary?

- who will be responsible for ensuring that instructions are clearly explained to the participant?

- will additional supervision be necessary?”

(The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 referred to above has been superseded by the Equality Act 2010).

I hope this information is helpful. If you, or the mum, wish to discuss this or any other question relating to additional support for learning, please get back in touch by email ( or via our telephone helpline. Our helpline (0845 123 2303) is open: Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm. The helpline is closed on public holidays.

With best wishes

The Enquire Team

JellyCurls Wed 05-Jun-13 21:03:02

Thank you for all your advice. I sent dd1 into school this morning with a letter saying we couldn't supply a body to assist and they would need to. HT approached MIL tonight as she collected dd1 to say other kid in class with SN has papa going on trip so my dd can have his assistant to push her buggy. Wonder if she trained to push a buggy up hills?

Think as dd has never needed any support they never expected us to use a buggy on a trip, even though she gets picked up and dropped off every day in one. Will keep all links you have sent me as no doubt this wont be the last time I have to fight school for her.

Thanks again x

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