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Want to fight for DS, but all options are nuclear... disoriented and paralised. Please give me some stepping stones

(24 Posts)
HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 09:58:56

It is a long saga. DS has ASD and a statement. He did very well in his GCSE, with A*A*A*A*ABBC, including the A in Physics and started 6 form. This is where the good bit ends. The school wouldn't allow him to do Physics this year and as a result the mix of his AS subjects is such that he would not meet the entry requirements of any uni course he really wants to study. Most likely he will end up with only 2 A levels in Maths and Further Maths which most courses consider as one subject. So DS needs an additional AS to take all the way to A2.

The options we have are
1) to change school
2) to pull out and restart next year
3) to try to start Physics in year 13 and complete in year 14 as it were.

Can I realy pull him out of school and will he be able to restart? What about his statement. Anyone with experience here?

For option 3, converting to EHP might help or might not. I am minded to talk to the LA and call an annual review. However, what could they do in the worst case scenario? Could they just name the local failing school in part 4?

PolterGoose Sun 28-Sep-14 10:35:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bbkl Sun 28-Sep-14 12:45:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 15:25:48

bbkl, in his school he meets the criteria to study Physics, but they are saying the class is full. I really don't understand their end game. Maybe they want to limit DS to 3 subjects instead of 4 for funding, LSA support or league table reasons. My problem is that those are the wrong 3 subjects. DS needs Physics. I can see that those decisions are comming from the top and talking with them doesn't change anything. I need something within my control that we could do with or without the school's cooperation.

Any advice as to how to secure the extension over 3 years.
How to pull him out?
PM if you feel more appropriate.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 15:27:40

I agree, Polter, that an extra year could do good. How to do it?
If DS does well in his German AS, they would push to continue to A2, no Physics.

If DS fails German, they would kick him out, they already said as much.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 28-Sep-14 15:41:20

Can you get physics written into his statement?

Correspond with the school in writing for the evidence trail. Ask them what resources they would need to enable your child to study physics. Ask them for the previous 3 years drop out rates. Ask for the criteria they used to fill the course and why your child did not meet it.

Just keep asking them to justify their decisions - in writing.

Icimoi Sun 28-Sep-14 16:13:05

How is the class full? I'd be really a bit suspicious if they claim to have filled the class with A* students.

Can he do Physics anywhere else alongside his schoolwork? The dd of a friend of mine had this problem with Maths, and did it outside school with the help of a tutor and an online programme, and got an A* for AS. Suddenly the school discovered that maybe they did have room in their A2 class after all.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 17:06:22

Starlight, you are pure gold. Why didn't I think of such obvious thing... Get them to justify it in writing... flowers
Any thoughts on pulling him out or EHP

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 17:11:31

The tutor is also a last resort. At school they get 5 hours per subject per week. And if the school plays hard ball, as they are now, we are forced to go on for 2 years with no way out...

pannetone Sun 28-Sep-14 17:41:52

That is awful HisMum - his school appear to be acting appallingly. When did they tell you he wouldn't be able to do Physics this academic year? Were you expecting him to be able to do Physics as long as he got the necessary GCSE grade (which he did)? Your DS has been greatly disadvantaged if he was only told recently that having got the grade, there was no space for him in the Physics class. And even if the school had said to you earlier 'even if DS does get the required GCSE grade there won't be space for him to do Physics' I can't see how they could justify that.

I don't know what the bottom line is legally _ I suppose the school may have a 'get out' clause saying that even if a student gets the required grade, being able to do the A level depends on there being enough space in a class. There again, A level classes hardly have a fixed limit on numbers. And why is it your DS who hasn't got a place? Are there other students doing Physics A level who got the required grade, but not A* at GCSE?

My experience is different to yours _ my DS (HFA, anxiety) got unexpectedly low AS grades (much lower than the school predicted) because they failed to support him adequately in Y12. (And we eventually got a finding of disability discrimination against them for that.) DS's grade in Maths was lower than he needed to be allowed by the school to continue with A2 maths (but was in now way a reflection of his ability - he had panicked in the exam), so the school refused to let him. We then asked for him to be allowed to retake Y12. The school refused to let him. They wanted him to go to a different school. That was hopeless for DS who doesn't manage change. (And anyway his grades were so low - because of the school's lack of support - that he wasn't going to get accepted elsewhere.) In the end the school let DS sit in A2 Maths classes (but not do the work - he had to revise his AS work for retakes) and after months of argument - and probably because we had taken out the discrimination case - they let DS return (as a 'visitor') to do A2 Maths as a Y14. But they didn't put him on the roll and he wasn't entitled to any support....

Sorry that is all a bit long winded, but I would be approaching this with the school as a disability discrimination issue. Having ASD would it be difficult for your DS to go to another school? Having ASD is your DS 'substantially disadvantaged' (legal criteria) if he is not allowed to take the subjects he wants, in that he can't then do the uni course he wants? (DS got the Maths A2 which was essential for the engineering course he is now doing at uni.) But really I can't believe the school should be treating any student this way, let alone a disabled one. angry

My DS didn't have a statement so I haven't got any advice on that fromt.

PolterGoose Sun 28-Sep-14 17:42:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Sun 28-Sep-14 17:44:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bbkl Sun 28-Sep-14 17:45:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bbkl Sun 28-Sep-14 17:46:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 18:36:26

Pannetone, your DS had such awful treatment!. TBH I fear the same scenario. Feels a bit like disability vigilantism, to put the DC with SN in their place as they see it...

Interestingly the school stopped all SN provisions. They would just watch DS sink or swim.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 18:37:33

I am looking at other schools, but it looks more difficult than I thought. Apparently there are timetable clashes for his subjects, nobody takes STEM subjects with MFLs... With 3 AS they say he would not qualify for funding as full time edication.

Does anyone understand what is the threshold of full time vs not full time?

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 18:55:01

Pannetone, could tell more about the finding of disability discrimination? What were the facts and on what ground it was found, if it is not too intrusive...
DS's school stopped support, so I really need to be ready for a nuclear option.

bbkl Sun 28-Sep-14 19:35:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Sun 28-Sep-14 19:52:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pannetone Sun 28-Sep-14 21:47:10

I don't know how statements work post-16. But if the statement continues how can the school withdraw SN support as you say they have done? Surely you have a case against the LA?

In any event under the Equality Act (2010) the school has a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' pupils to avoid them suffering 'substantial disadvantage'. As my DS didn't have a statement, that was the grounds (well, one of!) that we claimed disability discrimination against the school. (I think in your case the school would still have a duty to make reasonable adjustments, but as your DS has a statement, in deciding if the school was acting reasonably, the tribunal would have regard to what the LA are responsible for providing/funding.)

In my case we won on the grounds that DS's school had failed to make reasonable adjustments for him in Y12. Basically they didn't put in place support, and didn't monitor his (lack of) progress. Even worse, when they knew he was struggling - having meltdowns in lessons - (upset rather than disruptive), failing to complete classwork or homework, not managing to sit all of his mocks - they didn't tell us, pretended he was doing well and said he was on target for his predicted grades of AAAB. (He got CCDE). The school couldn't produce any contemporaneous records of support, and the SENCO at a CAMHS meeting even assured the doctor there that DS was fine and progressing well,when he'd just done disastrously in the mocks he did manage to complete. Luckily for our evidence, though of course the SENCO had no record of the CAMHS meeting, the doctor did...

But in our discrimination case we also claimed it was 'discrimination arising from disability' not to allow DS to study A2 Maths, but we didn't win on that one - the judge thought the School could make its own 'professional judgement'. We applied for leave to appeal to the upper tribunal but the judge, whilst giving the school a hard time at the hearing, didn't give permission, because he said that as DS was by then at uni, the costs involved in rehearing the case weren't 'in the public interest.'

We also claimed that the school refusing to let DS do a Y14 at the school was discriminatory, but at the first hearing we were told the tribunal had no jurisdiction over that claim because it was an 'admissions issue.'

So we actually won on what we thought was the hardest claim to prove, because we had to prove that the school was 'unreasonable'. Given the claims we didn't win on, I don't know if a tribunal would find it discrimination for your DS not to be allowed to study physics, or to study for a 3 year sixth form. A couple of the judges we came across in our protracted tribunal saga (about 20 months worth), to our mind were too ready to let the school 'get away' with the 'exercise of their professional judgement' argument, which we thought, and still think, somewhat negates the protection that the Equality Act is meant to give.

I don't get the funding problem with 3 AS subjects not 4 - I thought it was not that unsual to do 3 subjects. And I know that my nephew who has just gone into the sixth form (state comp) is definitely only doing 3 AS levels and no 'extras' which his school have agreed to, and I imagine they wouldn't have agreed if they couldn't get funding. I think bbkl may be right that full time ed is 12+ hours teaching time - though for my purposes it was whether DS qualified for a free bus pass, not if the school were getting funding!

Icimoi Sun 28-Sep-14 22:28:38

The statement certainly stays in force post 16, the LA has a duty to make sure that ds gets all the support in the statement and the school also has a duty to use its best endeavours to ensure that the support is supplied. I suggest you point out to them that they still have to give all the support set ou in part 3 of the statement. If they won't do it, contact the LA to ask them to intercede. If that doesn't work, tell the LA that unless it's sorted out you will need to take judicial review proceedings. If that still doesn't work, contact solicitors with a legal aid contract (because any court claim would be in your ds' name) and get them to write a formal pre-action letter. The only solicitors I know of who can offer legal aid are Maxwell Gillott - it could be worth mentioning their name to the council if necessary.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 23:14:44

Polter, language is not the issue for us. But apparenty some schools do 5 AS as standard and wouldn't accept DS for 3 AS as they belived it wouldn't be full time.

HisMum4 Sun 28-Sep-14 23:27:17

Thank you for such fantastic range of advice. I really appreciate.

Any idea on puling out of school or home education?

Can home education be part time, i.e. Physics at home, everything else at school?

Should I ask the LA for annual review, or for finding a different school, or is it better to keep them at bay?
I can complain about lack of provisions though.

allfarcical Mon 29-Sep-14 05:51:05

Failure to provide the provision in Part 3 of a statement constitutes a failure to make reasonable adjustments and is therefore discriminatory according to the judge at our discrimination tribunal.

I would contact the LA advising them that the needs in the statement are not being met and requesting a review.

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