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Reduced Timetable

(7 Posts)
Ananke99 Mon 13-Jul-15 14:16:17

DS1 (7) is awaiting assessment by an ed psych, but looks increasingly like he has ADHD. He's been unsettled at school since the beginning of the year when his (excellent) teacher left, and there was a term of various substitute teachers. He has two lovely teachers now, but is struggling to work in the classroom, preferring to have 1-to-1 time.

He's due to move up to the Junior school (on same site as primary, but separate HT and staff) and has been very anxious about it. I've had a few meetings with the Senco about how best to prepare him (and trying to push for the assessment to be done asap - no joy sadly!).

Two weeks ago he had a really bad day at school, and kicked a member of staff. This is very unlike him, he's never been physical towards anyone since starting school. The school excluded him for 2 days. When I met with the Senco the last week for a reintegration meeting, they suggested a reduced timetable 9am - 12:30pm. I agreed, and it seemed to go well, although I was concerned that he would consider it a reward of sorts. He has been working with various support staff, but has not been back in his classroom. My understanding is that has can select from some worksheets to complete, and then choose an activity - so it's very much led by him.

I had a meeting last friday, where I raised concerns about him not being able to socialise on this timetable. It was agreed that today he would remain until 1:30pm and we would work toward him attending full days by the end of the week. I collected him today and was given a letter that states he is to be collected at 1:30pm for the rest of the week.

I'm really not happy about this. He finishes school next Wednesday for the summer, and I really think he should be back in for full school hours this week. My concern is him getting used to shorter days, and basically being able to dictate what he does in that time, will make starting Juniors in September even more difficult.

Is the school able to set this reduced timetable without my agreement? It's very hard to work out what is best, as his behaviour at home has been ok, so it feels like the child they talk about at school is completely unknown to me. Does anyone have any experience of reduced timetables - positive or negative?

TIA and apologies for the length.

OneInEight Mon 13-Jul-15 17:34:25

I think it's a pretty grey area and often it is forced upon the parents under the threat of permanent exclusion. When ds2 was put onto reduced hours I did look up the legalities but couldn't find much other than it should be short-lived and there should be a plan for how reintegration to fulltime in a realistic time-frame. The school is obviously not coping with your son if (I) he is on reduced hours and (b) Even when he is there he sits outside the classroom with a worksheet. I think you need to apply for an EHCP plan and I am a bit shocked that school have not already done so given the situation. If you take a look at the IPSEA website it tells you how to go about doing this. Hopefully, with appropriate support (i.e. not what is happening at the moment) your son will be able to access the full curriculum again but the way it sounds at the moment is that this school is the wrong place for him. We sought a change of placement for ds2 when it was clear reduced hours were not helping very much but he was a t the primary/secondary transition point anyway so he was going to have to move from the school anyway so it just brought it forward a few months.

Icimoi Mon 13-Jul-15 17:53:04

I don't think it is a grey area. Every day they demand that he go home early is an unlawful exclusion and they should be sending formal exclusion letters. In addition, your child is entitled by law to full time education. They couldn't lawfully turn a two day fixed term exclusion into a permanent exclusion, particularly if they are doing this because you are making them comply with the law.

They also shouldn't be educating him outside the classroom - he's entitled to proper education from teachers in class; however, given the fairly imminent end of term maybe that's a battle for another time.

If the reality is that they can't meet his needs if he is in school full time, then they should have applied for an ECH Plan a long time ago, and, as they haven't, they need to put in whatever resources are necessary now to support him in full time education.

I would suggest that you tell them that your understanding is that, by law, you have to ensure that your son is in full time education unless he is excluded and therefore you won't be picking him up. Ask them to confirm that they will put in place all the necessary arrangements to support him to manage full time education for the last few days of term, including strategies to prevent him becoming anxious and stressed. Also ask for an urgent meeting to discuss their support in applying for an EHC needs assessment.

Ananke99 Mon 13-Jul-15 19:25:52

Thank you both. I should have said, an EHCP request has been completed, but only in the last week despite me requesting assessment a couple of months ago.

It just feels like they are planning on passing the buck to the junior school and trying to make things easier for them. But that's not going to help him is it?

I think I'll have to demand another meeting!

Icimoi Mon 13-Jul-15 19:54:41

That helps you - if the school acknowledges that he has SEN, not only do they have a duty to meet them but they also have a duty not to punish DS for the effects of his disability.

Ananke99 Tue 14-Jul-15 11:05:50

Couldn't get a meeting set up today, so I've just written to the HT and will hand it in when I collect DS today. I've basically said that I don't feel the reduced timetable is helping, and that he needs to be in full time. I won't be collecting him early from tomorrow.

Pebbles72 Tue 04-Aug-15 13:41:54

I agree that this is definitely not a grey area. A part time timetable with parental agreement is legal as long as there is a clear plan of increase back to full time over a short time period. Any other type of part time timetable is an illegal exclusion.

He definitely needs an EHCP assessment to identify his Special Educational Needs and set out provision to meet these. If this is already underway that is good news.

IPSEA will be able to support and advise on both of illegal exclusions and EHCP needs assessments but their advice line is not open during August. Their web site has lots of useful information which may help in the mean time. www.ipsea.org

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