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DS not able to get to PRU. Should be teaching him at home?

(14 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Thu 30-Jan-14 12:17:00

DS1 is too anxious to get in to his PRU at the moment and the teachers are trying to get him back step by step. I have asked for more help from CAMHS again. Meantime, I am working on my statement application for him (just waiting for formal letter of diagnosis).

At the moment, DS1 is not getting any education at all. I home educated him for some time and I'm wondering if I should start teaching him again, but am worried that if I help him make progress that will count against him getting a statement.

The thing is, I'm not really applying for a statement on the basis of him being behind (although he is), but simply because he can't access school or the National Curriculum because he is too anxious to get to school or the PRU.

AgnesDiPesto Thu 30-Jan-14 13:49:45

The Council should be providing him with home tuition if he is unable to attend school due to anxiety / medical reasons. There is an obligation to provide him with full-time education (1:1 him tuition can be less than a full week as 1 hour 1:1 may equate to 2-3 hours group learning), but they cannot have blanket policies about how much home tuition is provided.

Each local education authority shall make arrangements for the provision of suitable F1. . . education at school or otherwise than at school for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them. s.19 Education Act 1996

Government Guidance here

Ideally you need medical evidence from a consultant that cannot attend for medical reasons (e.g. CAMHS, Paediatrician) but the guidance is clear Councils should not delay waiting for Consultant evidence and can consider other evidence e.g. GP or here from the PRU.

Be warned the downside of asking the Council to provide this may lead to pressure to put him back in school etc faster (so Council can save money). So you need a paper trail with PRU e.g. emails etc to show what has happened so far as PRU may be put under pressure by Council to change their story. It can lead to allegations of neurotic parents imagining anxiety so you need to make sure the anxiety / inability to get to school is documented preferably in writing by PRU to protect yourself against that. Try and get GP letter to support. Then write to Council asking them to provide home tuition. If they don't make a formal complaint.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 30-Jan-14 14:12:14

Thanks, Agnes. He was provided with some education at home by the LEA a while back, but it proved too stressful for him (especially because, as you said, there was pressure on him to return to school), so we pulled him out to home educate. Following CBT and a period of home education, he was able to return to school, but, again, couldn't cope and is now back at the PRU. I would actually rather he continued to get help attending the PRU, as he likes the social contact there. Am just not sure if I should be trying to make up for all his missed lessons as I suspect any progress he makes academically may be used against us in our attempt to get a statement.

bochead Thu 30-Jan-14 14:32:13

I have DS enrolled with an online school, so the reason for his academic progress is documented wink. His last school lied about his academic levels, leaving him much further behind than they said.

DS finds the sensory demands of school too overwhelming so this go round instead of relying on Cahms, I'm wondering about getting a private OT report to back up my reasons for not wanting to see DS in mainstreaming failing in a fourth placement.

As far as I'm concerned we either continue with online (I'll go it alone if I have to via officially home edding) or they find a specialist unit somewhere.

Just sharing my thoughts as I always felt that cahms were worse than useless at addressing the CAUSES of my son's anxiety. (and fluffy waffly talking standard touchy feely talking therapies are a bust with a child with ASD type communication issues as he just thinks they are nuts!).

AgnesDiPesto Thu 30-Jan-14 18:49:37

It doesn't have to be either or.
It can be a package of home tuition, online learning and PRU
The aim should be for full-time (or as much as the child can cope with)
It would help if CAMHS would back you on removing the pressure to go back to school
I don't think academic progress at home would hinder a statement as thats not the barrier, the barrier to learning is the anxiety and the fact PRU cannot get him to attend supports that he needs something different
There may be a home ed group near you which has social opportunities

alwaysstressedout Thu 30-Jan-14 19:00:17

Yes Agnes the council should be providing an education but many will try to get away with not doing so. In our case the LGO even felt that it was fine for the council not to comply with their legal duty and that there was no fault or injustice hmm

wetaugust Thu 30-Jan-14 19:09:11

PRUs are only temporary solutions and their primary goal is to get the child back ito their normal mainstream school as soon as possible. Many PRUs dont follow the National Cirriculum because they don't have the facilities to do so i.e. science and PE.

The LA knows that a PRu is not a suitable placement for a child with longterm SNs - but to the LA it's a cheap option.

As long as you are content for your DS to go to the PRU you are taking the pressure off the LA to find him a longterm sustainable suitable educational placement.

It would be better to get medical agreement that he should stay at home for a while due to his anxiety and then you can insist on the LA providing home tuition. That will make the LA start looking for a suitable longterm pacement as home tuition is very expensive. Meaanwhile of course the LA will pressurise you to get him to go back to the PRU (cheaper for the LA).

What you really need is for the Statement to be issued asap stating all his difficulties, what support he needs to overcome them and where that suitable educational will be found.

P.S. I have an identical T Shirt also emblazoned with PRU, anxiety, home tuition, CAMHS etc which I acquired during my own DS's identical circumatances.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 30-Jan-14 20:16:10

I don't think academic progress at home would hinder a statement as that's not the barrier, the barrier to learning is the anxiety and the fact PRU cannot get him to attend supports that he needs something different. Yes, that's very true, Agnes, but would the tribunal panel for a statement see it like that, I wonder? I suppose, as *Bochead points out, the parent is able to point out the reasons for academic progress if his/her child is learning ok at home through home ed/online school.

Sadly, DS1 was not able to join in any home ed social groups because he found that too anxiety-provoking too. I did take him to some, but it was painful for him (and, therefore, for me). At least at school or PRU, he sees the same people every day and gets used to them, without the pressure of having to socialise.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 30-Jan-14 20:16:33

Sorry about the typo in my heading. It's annoying me now.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 30-Jan-14 20:18:11

Bochead - did you deregister your DS and then enroll him in an online school? Can you still push for a statement if you do that?

AgnesDiPesto Thu 30-Jan-14 20:30:16

Is there a placement you do think would work eg indi ss? I agree councils don't always provide home tuition but this LA has done so before. I think you'd have good case at tribunal as you have tried reintegrating once and it's failed again. PRU also failed. What's a tribunal going to do force you to fail a third time?
What do you want the statement for?
I think you need to find a solution you are happy with be it online school, indi etc and work towards that

wetaugust Thu 30-Jan-14 22:39:24

Don't disenrol him. You can do online school while remains enrolled at Mainstream *and therefore very much the LA's responsibility) but is unable to actually attend mainstream.

I very much doubt that the LA would even try to prove academic progress as home tuition is not going to cover the whole national cirriculum and all you need to do is argue that the learning environment at home is totally different and has none of the stressor he experiences in mainstream.

bochead Thu 30-Jan-14 22:41:22

I relocated to a supposedly ASD friendly LA and put DS in online school while waiting for the LA to get it together. A term and a half later, they've only just got round to naming the school they want him to go to [hmmm].

Online school was originally meant to be just a way of covering my own back while waiting for a school place in the new area (old LA set SS services on me and made life hell on earth for DS); but it's turned out to be the smartest thing I've ever done for DS.

bochead Thu 30-Jan-14 22:45:41

I agree with wetaugust- keep him on roll while doing online school. If you officially deregister they can wash their hands of him altogether - access to NHS help also disapears.

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