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Ongoing issue with school what should I do next?

(23 Posts)
mummy2bears Tue 04-Mar-14 20:15:28

I'll try to be brief!
My daughter is in yr 1, she is deaf she has support from teacher of deaf (TOD) one afternoon every two weeks, she has two pieces of equipment a radio aid and sound field set up at school, she's currently on school action plus.
The problem is even though she's assessed as needing the equipment school won't use it, we've arranged training ourselves for them, I've given them publications from NDCS, we've met with SENCO, head of teaching and executive head and class teacher on 5 occasions this year 2014 already.
We had an IEP back in 2012 but were not invited to contribute and haven't had one since. Our LA are moving over to the new assessment framework that replaces SA, SA+ and statements so our parent partnership said we should request she be started on this, school agreed to that 3 wks ago and said they'd arrange a meeting for us, SENCO and teacher but we've heard nothing.
The TOD carried out an assessment when she started school in 2012 and her literacy and vocabulary skills were 8 months ahead of her age, she's now 4 months behind as she cannot hear what is going on at school if they don't use the equipment.
Every day since half term she has come home crying saying she keeps getting told off for not doing her work or fighting at break times, I went into school today and was totally fobbed off by her teacher, I asked why she hadn't told us sooner that my daughter was getting into arguments as it's so unlike her, she's never been in trouble before and very rarely gets cross at home. I'm sure it's out of frustration that she can't understand all the time.
I'm considering looking at other schools now but would much rather sort it out but I feel I've tried everything I can think of, any ideas of what to do next?
Many thanks from a weary mummy sad

mymatemax Tue 04-Mar-14 20:32:26

Reasonable Adjustment. Failure of them to make reasonable adjustment is discrimination under the disability discrimination act.
They are failing to use the equipment provide to enable your dd to access the curriculum equal to her peers.

If your daughter were a wheelchair user would they refuse to use ramps to allow her to access the building, no I doubt it.

Go to the head, Insist that they stop discriminating against your daughter, give the chair of governors a quick ring also, just make sure they are aware.
Its not easy to disrupt & uproot a child but I would only want my child at a school where they have the childs best interest at heart & it doesn't sound like this school really cares.
Your poor DD.

Redoubtable Tue 04-Mar-14 20:57:40

Oh god that's awful for you and your poor DD.

mymate has it.

I would only add,
follow up every conversation by you writing a note/email to them to confirm what was discussed (paper trail)

How can they possibly look at themselves when they are excluding her in this way.

mummy2bears Tue 04-Mar-14 21:16:55

Thank you both, we have the minutes of our last meeting with head in writing and a note from SENCO dated 5th January saying latest IEP is ready, we've never received it despite requesting it many many times.

I'm very disappointed, my poor daughter has been through so much, she also has neuromuscular disorder, she didn't stand, crawl or walk till age 2 yrs and still wears supportive boots to walk, and can't keep up with her friends at running, then aged 3 yrs she had an infection in her skull that led to a brain abscess, thankfully she made a full recovery. Despite all this and being born deaf she has always had great speech we put it down to not being able to move about when she was little she had to learn to ask for what she wanted! smile
I feel that school are robbing her of her abilities sad she is such a bright and able child that seeing her so angry and upset breaks my heart as it's so unlike her.

I will talk to the head again, mention disability law and look into the governors. Really what I want to do is pull her out together.

Thanks again x

uggerthebugger Tue 04-Mar-14 21:25:34

I would only want my child at a school where they have the childs best interest at heart & it doesn't sound like this school really cares

This. These people are simply not worthy to share the same classroom space as your DD. They clearly don't give a fuck that her hard-won progress in pre-school is eroding under their watch, and you've done everything practicable to help them help her.

The equipment you're talking about is simple to operate - ffs, the soundfield system is something that benefits the whole class, not to mention the teacher's fecking vocal cords.

This is where your TOD should be earning his/her money - the TOD assessments make it clear that there is a problem. The TOD needs to observe, report, and make it clear in writing that the school is not making reasonable adjustments, and that this is impacting DD's progress. This, in conjunction with everything mymatemax said above, might start to shift some arses.

If you want some more stuff that might help to convince the school on the radio aid front, follow this link - it demonstrates pretty clearly to the hard of thinking just how hard it is for deaf pupils to hear in the classroom, and why radio aids matter.

The trouble is, if they can't be arsed to help DD on an issue as simple and straightforward as this, I very much doubt that they'll be arsed to do it for other stuff that'll crop up in years to come, once the language of the classroom and social interaction gets more complex.

It sounds like you've got the drive and spirit to drag these people with you. But really, why the fuck should you have to be dragging them?

fightinginjustice Wed 05-Mar-14 06:09:45

Yes, they're definitely not making reasonable adjustments.
I would have a chat with the head but put all your concerns in writing as an official complaint, asking them what reasonable adjustments are being made for your dd's disability. Also ask for a copy of their SEN policy and any Equality policy that they may have (although this policy is not compulsory).

I won a reasonable adjustments case against a school that had repeatedly said they were acting 'in the child's best interests' hmm. The school turned very nasty when I complained but hopefully yours will take on board your concerns and act appropriately. If I were you I would still look at other schools as, like ugger say, if they can't get the simple things right then it doesn't look promising for the future.

mummy2bears Wed 05-Mar-14 09:25:50

Thanks for your replies, we requested a copy of the SEN policy back in Jan from SENCO but didn't get it till we sat down with the executive head last month, it says they will do IEP each term with parents, which hasn't happened so far!
TOD has written out 4 page report about what they should be doing, but the communication between TOD and school or TOD and us isn't great, in fact I've only met her once. I emailed her this morning to say how upset my daughter has been and she said that my daughter seems fine to her ( as far as I know she hasn't seen her since before half term ) and that the school have been using the equipment since half term.
Even if they are now using it I want to make sure this continues into yr 2, I don't want this every year!
I'm going to ring parent partnership again and see if they can help improve communication between all parties, school seem to think that as long as daughter is meeting academic targets like counting to 20 which my 2 yr old can do (!) then everything is fine.
Cheers for the comment about having the drive and spirit to make things happen, it made me cry in a good way, I'd do anything for my daughter and I really can't see why the school which btw are an outstanding school can't get the basic stuff right.

It's all so frustrating!

uggerthebugger Wed 05-Mar-14 16:12:25

Hmm. The TOD needs a kick up the arse, imo. What you are saying - and what she has put in her own assessment - raises very clear and obvious red flags. An experienced, effective peri TOD will know to look out for these red flags, and will also be aware that the time she has to observe DD in the classroom represents 1/60th of DD's time at school, and is only part of the picture.

You could ask the TOD this - if DD is getting adequate amplification in the classroom, and if she thinks that the mainstream classroom environment is appropriate for DD, then what is the reason for her much slower progress? She is clearly capable of learning language at an age-appropriate level - you've demonstrated that through your own blood, sweat and tears - but something is not working out in the school environment - what, in the TOD's view, might that be?

You'll probably get fobbed off by the TOD at first, but drop in phrases like "concern at DD's inadequate rate of progress," openly wonder whether she is getting an "adequate education", and say that you're thinking about whether you should be applying for more binding specialist support via a statement.

This might prod the TOD into spending a bit more time on DD's situation, as her bosses will probably kick her arse at the prospect of a request for statutory assessment for a statement. If it doesn't, you'll need to take matters into your own hands by applying for a statement anyway - it's the best way to get legally binding provision in cases like these.

As for the 'outstanding' school bit - it's really, really common to find that 'outstanding' schools are total shit at dealing with SN. Many mainstream schools that have either got (or are striving for) outstanding status get the job done by adopting a certain set of priorities - priorities that mean that kids with SN are a problem for the school, rather than an asset to it.

There are some diamond places out there that don't do things this way - but there are many more schools out there that would rather see a child with SN leave the school in pieces than have the child mess up their carefully-cultivated attainment data. A 5 minute chat with the head of your current school will tell you which sort of 'outstanding' school your DD is in.

One other thing - if you're feeling under pressure, then give NDCS a ring. They have a team of regional officers who specialise in helping out in cases like yours, and they'd probably be happy to come along to any meetings you have with the school.

Best of luck! thanks

mymatemax Wed 05-Mar-14 19:23:07

we looked at an outstanding school for ds2, told us what they could offer, wasn't interested in what ds2 needed & couldn't get us out of the door quick enough.
The very sporty or academically gifted are very welcome, its a shame some schools wrongly assume that those with additional needs don't have anything to offer their school.

mummy2bears Wed 05-Mar-14 19:39:30

Than you !
Our LA is one of the pathfinders for new SEND legislation so in the process of replacing all statements with EHC plan, school have agreed to start this process, well they agreed 3 wks ago!
Anyway I had a very helpful talk with parent partnership today, they think DD should be started on this EHC plan ( education, health and social care), they've said I should request a 15 minute meeting this Friday to start the process, ask the school to agree who is going to do what and when.
They are also going to look into what kind of support the TOD should be giving and how communication and reporting should be working between us all, by contacting head of sensory support services to discuss my concerns.

All I really want is written evidence that they know how to use and when to use the radio aid and that they are then doing so. Considering it was school who requested sensory support input to start with in 2012 when my daughter started to fall behind after just 3 months at school, I find it all quite absurd that they can't follow the advice they requested in the first place! We don't want anything new, her needs have been assessed we agree with the assessments, equipment has been purchased, a plan is in place but not implemented!!! Sorry ranting now!

Cheers for understanding x

mummy2bears Wed 05-Mar-14 19:43:44

Yes it is very sad that outstanding status is judged on achievements not well being of all pupils.
I'll report back with whether meeting is agreed, I'm not hopeful sad

Cailinrua Wed 05-Mar-14 22:11:03

I am just horrified reading your post op. This is just not good enough and your DD's school and TOD should not be getting away with this. To put it simply, they are not doing their jobs. I am a teacher (mainstream) and I have used this system for 2 children in my career so far and it was absolutely no problem. In fact all teachers felt very positive about it and i have never come across any negativity from any teaching staff about it. In my opinion, it is an extremely easy 'reasonable adjustment' to make. However, the TOD who visited the child in our school once a week would not have accepted such provision for the children she helped. She was a real advocate for each child and extremely professional in her links with parents, class teachers, teaching assistants etc.

I feel so sorry for your poor DD as classroom life must be very frustrating and difficult for her. I think you have been 'too nice' so far and I think it is time to take it further. Have you considered writing/ documenting this treatment to the Board of Governors? This may achieve a turn around much more quickly. I would definitely contact the TOD's head/manager as he/she needs to try much, much harder.

mummy2bears Thu 06-Mar-14 09:20:26

Sometimes I think maybe I'm expecting too much, mainly because school have made me feel this way, when the radio aid and sound field was first installed I went into school to meet TOD to learn how to use it, we also use it at home and DDs teacher and TA were so rude they made me cry sad. The TA had a go at the TOD saying why had the school had to spend all this money for stuff my daughter doesn't need, then her teacher refused to learn how to use it saying she had 26 other children to deal with and my daughter is only one of them!
They always seem to make me feel like I'm asking for too much.
We have other issues like my daughter coming home with unopened lunch box and hasn't eaten all day. When peads were concerned she may have dyspraxia, she falls down a lot I told school and asked for their opinion which peads told me to, and teacher said she wasn't in the business of diagnosing children.

Anyway sorry for the ranting it's very refreshing to have people listen who understand smile

I have managed to get a meeting with SENCO and TOD for 9am tomorrow morning, first time I've got them together in the same room!

Redoubtable Thu 06-Mar-14 09:32:48

shock shock shock

I am rarely openmouthed when it comes to SN or SEN but the comment of "teacher said she wasn't in the business of diagnosing children" is appalling.

Being the parent of a child with SN has left me oversensitive to comments from teachers/professionals at times. I imagine the same is true for others.

BUT

I regularly assess children, I regularly have to tell parents their child has dyspraxia, I always ask teacher to give me feedback as to the child's performance in class.

I am always energised by the care and diligence of teachers- their concern to ensure that this one child gets what they need .....IN SPITE OF HAVING 20/25/30 OTHERS TO DEAL WITH. They will go out of their way to talk to me, to have me spend time in their class, to make sure that I have what I need.

I dont hop on the drama wagon, but this school (?) or teacher does not have your daughters welfare in mind.

Miel8 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:11:38

mummy2bears I'm a TOD and it sounds like your TOD is doing a terrible job so far. Has the TOD been involved in training the staff at the school in basic deaf awareness and in using the (very simple to use) equipment? She should be monitoring the usage of this and stepping up the support as needed at the school as they sound like complete fuckwits there . Is she part of a hearing impaired service? If so you could also contact the head of service and request some input from them. The school should be using the sound system and I am APPALLED at the attitudes of the mainstream teacher and TA and what they have said to you. How awful for your DD to have to struggle through her days at school like his - it's tiring enough for deaf children to get through the school day WITH top support in place, so I can't imagine how difficult it is for her. I really hope that something positive came out of the meeting for you.

mymatemax Thu 06-Mar-14 23:19:03

OMG, I would so love to slap your dd's teacher. FFS she should care about the welfare of each and every child in her class as individuals.
She is in the wrong job!
Good luck with the meeting tomorrow, do NOT feel guilty, you are asking for no more than your dd needs in order to be happy and successful at school. Surely the school should have the same aim

mummy2bears Fri 07-Mar-14 15:02:56

Well the meeting was just me and the SENCO in the end and was more of a hallway conversation BUT I think it was productive.

I said I wanted 3 things, 1) written evidence that all staff know how and why to use the radio aid and that all staff are adequately trained 2) that targets are set out each term to work towards and progress reviewed 3) that communication between all parties is greatly improved.

This afternoon I received an email with today's TOD report, which talks about the problems my daughter is having with mishearing her friends and getting upset when they get cross with her. I am pleased this has been recognised TOD made recommendations to support her in this area.
The equipment was all being used during today's visit ;)

The SENCO said she will start doing spot checks each week. I've said I want a meeting with TOD and SENCO each term.

We have another meeting scheduled for next Friday to fill out the EHC plan, I'm going to try to get them to agree on dates for training of staff to be in place.

As for the dyspraxia I doubt her class teacher ever informed anyone about our conversation so I'm going to include the problems she's had with gross motor skills on my part of the form, although she has improved massively from being unable to crawl or stand at 2 yrs she is still a lot slower than others and gets very tired. Last yr her consultant thought she may have a mild form if muscular dystrophy as her ck levels were high, so I would like to feel that school understood these concerns as well.

Also just received school news letter and her class teacher will be leaving after Easter!

Feel today we may be getting somewhere. Thank you all so much for understanding and helping me feel empowered to stand up for my daughter. I hadn't realised it would be this hard for schools to get these things right.

Thanks again xxxxxx

mymatemax Fri 07-Mar-14 18:13:57

smile See what you've done, that teacher just couldn't cope with you!

Only joking but well done for making progress, fingers crossed things will improve for your dd

mummy2bears Sat 08-Mar-14 10:36:43

Lol smile x

Redoubtable Sat 08-Mar-14 12:20:15

Well done mummy2bears...it sounds like you were firm and assertive without being aggressive.

mummy2bears Fri 14-Mar-14 17:45:52

Thank you, I'm not good at confrontation my normal reaction is to either cry or say nothing and seethe about it later.
Had the EHC plan meeting today, I made all my points and SENCO has agreed to draw up a time scale of when all the staff will be trained, the TOD gave a lot of helpful advice to both me and the SENCO.
TOD is concerned about her falling behind with her language and has come up with a plan to help this.
I discussed the problems my daughter has had with mobility which they were both interested in and said they'd be happy to continue her physio at school, they seemed amazed that she had these issues even though it's on her transistion forms and I've spoken about it before to her teachers.

I spoke with my friend about it afterwards and she can't believe it's taken this long and this much fuss for them to listen, what makes me most cross is that my daughters needs are not complicated, she is a happy and bright and socialble child so there should be no reason for her to fall behind, goodness knows what those of you need to do to get the support in place foe your children with more complex difficulties!
But for now I'm trying to be positive and am just relieved some one has finally listened.

Xxx

MariaNotChristmas Fri 14-Mar-14 19:35:53

I think you're being sold a pup.
I think they're still trying to get rid of your dd.
But more subtly, changing their tactics, now they know you're not standing for straightforward parent-bullying. They've probably guessed that continuing the blatant disability discrimination will land them in court.

What will the EHC plan give her, that the current statement doesn't?
Her educational needs were denied, till you kicked a**e. And the 'new' SENCOP isn't even out yet, so the 'E' bit will be plucked from the air.

Her health needs are minimal: she's diagnosed, she has the right aids etc, Any speech therapy needs here, are educational rather than medical.

She doesn't need social care. At home, she's a well-adjusted HI child whose family know what they're doing. At school she's being picked on by staff and not properly supported in relation to other pupils.

Mrskeylime Fri 14-Mar-14 21:00:23

The school and TOD sound appalling and incompetent. All the agencies should be meeting together to discuss your dd's needs - let the SENCO try to explain to the paed during a multi-agency meeting why the teaching staff in her school are too incompetent to use dd's hearing aids.
Does the pead know that school haven't been using her hearing aids and dd has been caused suffering as a result of that? School are very lucky that you aren't putting in a disability discrimination application.

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