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Feeling overwhelmed - can the head take over management of provision from the SENCO for DS2 only?

(10 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 28-Apr-16 12:06:33

"Please bear in mind that from now I will be managing DS2's provision and so any communications in the future will need to be addressed to me."

DS2 is currently in year 5 and joined the school at the start of year 4. He has an ASD and has a statement for dedicated support in all written lessons and 1:3 in PE and art. He used to have 7.5 hours so called support at break and lunch times but this only existed on paper and so we 'traded' that at tribunal for in class support. Instead we have to go with NSA suggested buddy support and peer monitors at break.

The amended statement was issued in January. We got the first provision map for in class support in the mornings only plus 5 hours support at lunchtime (but not during break). There was not a TA in the classroom during the afternoons on Tuesday to Friday and so DS2 did not even have access to the class TA let alone dedicated LSA support.

We had a meeting to set short-term targets after which another provision map was issued (we were, by then past the 2 month deadline for arranging provision). This map removed the 5 hours support at lunchtime but did not give 5 hours support in written lessons during the afternoon. Instead another 5 hours had been allocated for out of class interventions (e.g. 15 minutes touch typing each day) in the mornings and support in some lessons on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. There was still no support during science, history, geography etc on Thursday and Friday afternoons despite these lessons being timetabled. We sent an email to the SENCO and copied in the LA. The LA also hadn't arranged SALT and OT as per statement and so we threatened JR on that basis plus the non-delivery of 'dedicated LSA support in all written lessons including science and topic'.

The LA complied with the deadlines for SALT and OT and have commissioned indi therapists and said the school would be sending a revised provision map. I have now received the map. Some minor changes have been made. Lego Therapy has been moved to during assembly rather than being delivered during science. But 30 SALT intervention by the TA is delivered during both english and maths lessons in the morning. There is still no LSA support and no class TA on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

The head seems to have 'put his foot down' and has also banned any further communication with the SENCO and claims to have taken over her duties and responsibilities wrt DS2. In the time he has been in the school I have met with the head twice. Once before DS2 joined the school and once (with the LA senior SEN bod) when he tried to force me to remove DS2 from the school.

Can he take over? What about the SENCOP (p 108/9)? We have been given no reason for this action (but the head/senco hate me and DH and have been caught out by Data Protection request to the LA which revealed bitchy phone calls and emails that both the head and SENCO had made complaining that provision was more than was needed due to parental pressure - prior to tribunal increasing provision based on LA EP assessment). Surely this is discrimination? Why do we not have the same access to the SENCO as any other parents regardless of her personal feelings?

Would you proceed to JR pre-action letter now? I currently have a JR pre-action letter filed with the LA wrt DS1 so am in contact with SOSSEN legal adviser.

Sorry this is so long. DS1 has been out of school with no provision since January 2015 now and I am so frustrated with DS2's school not delivering provision. This is never ending sad

DigestiveBiscuit Fri 29-Apr-16 13:40:37

Yes, I would go to the next stage in the JR process! I don't see what else you can do, against an obdurate head, who seems to think its over provision - and can't get his head round the fact, its a Tribunal order, based on professional advice and not up to him!

The furtherest we have ever needed to get with JR is counsel sending the papers to the High Court!

knittingwithnettles Fri 29-Apr-16 14:09:24

Could it be that the LA is not giving the school enough money to actually fund the extra TA time? Could you find out what the school's allocated budget is for ds2's provision and put pressure on the LA? The LA after all are responsible for giving the school the funds they need to deliver the provision. The LA may claim the school has plenty of money and/or delegated resources but the true cost of the "extras" is why the school cannot deliver.

This has been our position and we were on the brink of JR against the LA to come up with the money. Luckily they conceded, but only after school showed costing etc.

However, it all supposes that the school are any good at organising the provision, and it doesn't sound as if they are.

Could you move school before you hit Year 6?

I wish I had taken ds2 out of school in Year 5 and put a good foundation in before I have had to send him back for GSCE years (which in fact I have only had to do, because he wasn't home educated confused for long enough.....) It is an option if you already have ds1 at home? I really recommend it, gives you some breathing space before you even get to secondary.

knittingwithnettles Fri 29-Apr-16 14:12:41

Tbh I am now sadly coming the conclusion that school is a very imperfect medium. You either accept it warts and all or just give up on it, it isn't possible to make a silk purse from a mainstream ear. I'm sending ds2 back now with an brand new EHCP with all sorts of shiny things in it, but I am not sure whether it will make much difference. I think it depends on staff attitudes. And money too.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 30-Apr-16 08:17:38

Thanks for your replies flowers

I was getting ever so slightly paranoid that nobody agreed with me but your replies and a meeting with the autism outreach worker have reassured me. Day to day contact with the school and such open animosity are hard to deal with sad

I know that the LA are not giving the school funding for full time 1:1 and this is not what we tried to get at tribunal. DS2 is of 'superior' academic ability on assessment but is underachieving and only engages with the curriculum when it suits him. Despite that he is levelled (in old money) above average. He is biddable rather than aggressive, even if he does distract others, and teachers have been quite happy to allow him to draw to entertain himself rather than working and to give him no support.

They therefore were not prepared to support f/t request to the LA (the LA invited them to apply for more funding) and instead claimed that DS2 needed no support whatsoever. At the same time they have told us numerous times that DS2 gets LSA support (access to the class TA) in the mornings but would need a full time 1:1 TA to get any support in the afternoon. This is because they only employ TAs in the morning and, at the time they made that decision, they had no DC in the school with a statement and did not think how it would work if they had any DC who needed support in the afternoons but did not need f/t 1:1. In their mind it is either f/t 1:1 or access to the class TA in the mornings only. The school is therefore ignoring the tribunal ruling and the amended statement. The SENCO has stated that this is not due to budget or financial reasons.

Attitude of the staff is significant. The provision map is a joke. The map is not of DS2's provision but the hours of employment of the class TA. They allocate all of her hours to DS2. Prior to tribunal she would have been paid from the staff budget but now she is paid for by DS2's funding. Her work is the same as prior to tribunal when DS2 had 2 hours in class support even though he now has 20 hours in class support in written lessons. The TA is there for 10 hours for english and maths and so all hours are counted as 'dedicated support'. This is despite the fact that DS2 is in a small maths extension group (where he needs no support) for 2.5 hours of this time. They have also given false start and end times to lessons (contradicts timetable) and insist on delivery of out of class interventions (not in the statement) in the mornings and so are 'unable' to provide support in the afternoons of Thursday and Friday during written lessons (in statement) because they have already allocated all the hours given on the statement.

I have threatened JR and the school won't budge so I have no alternative. I would also like to file a disability discrimination case. Do you think I would have grounds?

AugustaFinkNottle Sat 30-Apr-16 09:22:01

I suppose the head can take over from the SENCo though there's a case for saying that your DS can't be completely removed from her area of responsibility because that's what she's there for and what she's paid for. However, it seems to me that it would make no difference if she were responsible as the head is still pulling her strings. It probably wouldn't get you anywhere, but have you tried a formal complaint to the governor responsible for SEN?

That apart, it seems to me that JR is the way to go. There probably is a discrimination case too, given that not giving a child the help he needs has to amount to discrimination. However, I think I've heard that you can only go to JR as a last resort, and maybe you need to avoid giving them the excuse that the tribunal will sort it out.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 30-Apr-16 12:29:34

I know that the head is pulling the strings. That much was obvious when the SENCO agreed to remove the 5 hours provision at lunchtime but would have to speak to the head about whether DS2 would receive in class support in written lessons during the afternoon. Why? Just read the Statement.

We have already had the Tribunal and the judge has ruled. The head has ignored the ruling and the amended statement, despite the fact that the LA have been threatened with JR.

Legally, I'm not at all sure that the head can just take over if he feels like. He is not becoming the SENCO now and will not be managing provision for any other child in the school. Just DS2. The SENCO has attended courses (rubbish though they might be) and has experience the head doesn't. According to the SENCOP working closely with parents is a key role of the SENCO. How is this action in the best interests of the child? The head does not say he is only taking over communication but management of provision, but gives no explanation for this.

Youarentkiddingme Mon 02-May-16 08:45:13

Sorry to hear this is still dragging on keep

IMO I'd not worry about who takes on the role as long as it's the best person for the job. can you get HT to outline exactly why he thinks he's better? Email him and ask - yiu can always blind CC the la in.

A lack or response or unreasonable reason will give you something to JR with.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 03-May-16 09:05:50

Good idea youare. Asking questions is always better than asserting what you think is the case. Give him enough rope.

Having pointed out the contradictions between the provision map and the timetable (the SENCO did not know that the CT gave us a copy of the timetable each week), different times have now appeared on the timetable, extending the maths or english class before lunch by 15 minutes each day.

If the old timetable is correct, the school have exaggerated the length of lessons to make it look like they are giving more support. otoh if the new timetable is correct, one of the out of class interventions that the school insisted on providing for 15 minutes each day has been delivered during core curriculum lessons meaning that DS2 has missed 1 hour 15 mins of english/maths lessons plus 40 mins (lego therapy and friendship group) science/topic lessons each week since at least January.

The school were pissed off that DS2 had reported incidents in the playground (like having dirt put down his trousers etc) to parents but not to the school. Lack of social skills means that DS2 does not 'police his boundaries' and will let anyone do anything. The school focus on whether or not this upsets DS2 as their sole defence having witnessed such incidents is that 'he seemed to like it'. To their mind the problem was that DS2 did not tell the teacher. So since tribunal they have focused on trying to get DS2 to report incidents.

Instead of working on recognising and expressing emotion as per Statement in Friendship Group, his IEP has 15 minutes 'talk time' with the TA each day where she pumps him for information on things that have upset him. In addition, the TA uses the 30 minutes allocated in the Statement for SALT articulation exercises to 'focus initially on manners and politeness' confused. Social skills are reduced to rehearsing key phrases and to 'use these to communicate what I didn't like ... if I am confused, upset or unhappy' and 'help me talk about things that happened at playtimes or in class that I may not have enjoyed'.

The school are ignoring the judges ruling and amended statement (which means ignoring SALT, OT, EP and GOSH) and are still arguing the toss that they don't think that DS2 needs any support whatsoever because he scores above average and they have not collected any 'evidence' that he is upset.

I think that scheduling of out of class interventions, not specified and quantified in the Statement, during core curriculum lessons (contrary to earlier instruction by the LA learning support advisor) is deliberate and punitive and is grounds for a discrimination claim in itself. Do you agree or am I blinded by rage? I will of course report this to the SEN governor so that I tick the necessary boxes if I make a complaint.

Youarentkiddingme Tue 03-May-16 19:27:04

"give him enough rope". Yep grin

That's the biggest thing I've learnt during this is ask ask ask. Let them keeping providing conflicting information. Let them take the rope, hang it round their necks, start to fall slowly and then...... Offer them a lifeline. Either pull them back which means working with you or let them fall and suffer the consequences.

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