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At risk of exclusion - jump or be pushed?(11 Posts)
Hello all, I'm relatively new here, and would welcome advice. My DS, 10, ASD, in Y5 mainstream with what used to be called a statement, has always been happy in school. However, this year there has been a perfect storm of DS hitting pre-puberty, losing 2 grandparents and being told that he's autistic, and the school going through a really bad Ofsted report and high staff turnover, so that DS has changed 3 class teachers, 2 SENCos and 4 one-to-one assistants, all since September.
HIs anxiety levels have gone up, strategies and recommendations have not been consistently implemented, and his behaviour has escalated into some episodes of physical aggression towards his TA. The (new) head teacher has now put it in writing that DS is at risk of exclusion, and that he thinks that the school can no longer meet his needs.
I have taken legal advice, and am aware that I could challenge exclusion if it came to that. I could also raise the point that the threat of exclusion is being used to push us out of the school. On the other hand, would it be better to just look for another school?
WWYD? DS wants to stay in the school - moving in his last year of primary school would be yet another change. DS's dad (ex-DH) is in favour of moving because the atmosphere at DS's school is now completely toxic. I don't know what to do - has anyone here gone through something similar, and has wisdom to share?
If school are saying they can no longer meet his needs, you can ask for an emergency review of his statement, if you want him to stay.
If I were you, I wouldn't jump, because the changes in your DS's needs sound like they need properly assessing. Calling for an emergency review would get that done.
I agree, push for the emergency review ASAP. Ask the school and LA to get urgent specialist advice on ASD provision and strategies to help DS, and ask the school for a defined plan to ensure those strategies are properly implemented. Ask the LA to get their EP to monitor the school for that purpose. Emphasise to the school that your DS' behaviour is not his fault and he shouldn't be penalised for it. If the school is still saying it can't meet DS' needs, start looking for an alternative, maybe one with a specialist ASD unit.
The statement will need to be amended anyway to include the autism diagnosis and autism-specific provision, and in fact it would make sense to start again and do an EHCP. They're going to have to do it anyway by February next year. Make sure they do proper assessments for that purpose, including speech and language and, if your ds has motor and sensory problems, occupational therapy.
Schools an refuse to take a new child in year 6. It is the only year that they can do this. I would ask the HT to put in writing what exactly it is about his needs that they are unable to meet for yours consideration.
Don't jump, find out what is available for secondary, what needs they can't meet and when he will be assessed for his ehcp. What you want for secondary is the focus imo
Agreed. Use this current discomforting time to get as much documentation as possible on his needs in order to ensure you get the very best suited Secondary placement.
The more the school want rid, the more justification in terms of needs they will give. Don't ever agree to remove your child voluntarily. Make sure any exclusion is properly documented, and essentially, don't be afraid of them.
Exclusions are often evidence of a failure of a school to meet need, not a failure of a child. The more the better sometimes.
Thanks everybody, and sorry for having gone off the radar. As it happens, DS was excluded for 2.5 days today. A clearly identifiable trigger which the (under-trained) support teacher did not recognise, followed by the head teacher trying to stop DS running towards what he perceives as an open space, and engage him in reasoned talk (all the things that the Autism Outreach Officer had said not to do), followed by DS biting the HT's chest. I really shouldn't laugh but I can't help it every time the chest bite comes up.
Anyway, I'm preparing the representation for the governors, and we're having a meeting of all parties involved next week, after which I expect there will be more meetings, in particular to get more psych support. Silver linings in all this: all the mums at the school are being supportive, one of them wants to collect signatures in protest (not a good idea, but such lovely mums), DS is becoming really good at getting insight into his triggers, and, as you guys say, we can use this to write up a better EHCP. And thanks Starlight for telling me not to be afraid.
I would recommend moving ONLY if provision / support is likely to be substantially better at a new school otherwise the stress of moving is likely to outweigh any benefits.
We were pushed with ds1 and jumped with ds2 at a similar age.
ds1 had a managed move at a new primary which lasted only three weeks. We were at an earlier stage than you so at this point he had no statement and went to the new school without any support so was pretty much doomed from the start to the failure. After this he was given a place at a primary EBD which was very successful. The exclusions gave us the written evidence to secure this so is one benefit of the school going the formal route. He is now thriving in a specialist school for secondary
We moved ds2 for the start of Year 6 to an ASD unit but was not a success. Too strange, too different and too little time for the school to reduce his anxiety. They were lovely and it would I think have worked if they had a longer spell to work with him. But because secondary was looming fast they agreed with us that it was better for ds2 to move to specialist provision as soon as possible. Again, the benefit of trying a different school was that evidence was gathered to secure his place at a specialist school for secondary. Unfortunately, we chose badly for his secondary school and he is now home educated when even that one failed.
As he already has a statement then I would do as others suggest call an emergency review to see whether additional support can be put in place or if a new placement is required.
Like your ds there were a lot of home factors that contributed to the stress overload but I also think at this age it becomes more stressful anyway because of increased expectations of teachers and peers. Think also that some of their peers had realised that if they wound them up it was good entertainment and got them out of work - although I have to say most of the teachers cottoned onto this one quite quickly.
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