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'Reasonable adjustments' in school for SN children?

(36 Posts)
DancingHippo Wed 04-May-16 14:40:29

Posting here for traffic.

DS (age 14) is classed as having severe learning difficulties. Sec school have dealt with this woefully and I am currently fighting to get him an EHCP which is difficult as the school are not being clear on what support he is getting. This has been an ongoing saga for 2 years now.

The way the school is dealing with him on a behavioural level is really making me quite frustrated. We have been told that DS's cognitive function is much lower than an average child his age, so he is operating at about age 7/8. School are consistently giving detentions for very minor things like forgetting equipment (he has working memory issues too), being late for classes as he wanders around in between lessons, retaliating to being called 'retard' by calling names back, pressing the buzzer on the gate to be let out of school for too long because the receptionist was too busy to open it and being 'obstinate' when shouted at said receptionist, etc.

Today they have put him in isolation (again) for getting 4 detentions in the same days for incidents as above. They have tried doing this before and I complained and said I would not support him being put in isolation for minor infringements like these which are exacerbated by his LD's but they argue that they have to treat all children the same.

Who is right here?

DancingHippo Wed 04-May-16 14:41:49

Sorry being obstinate when shouted at by said receptionist.

Toffeelatteplease Wed 04-May-16 14:45:37

You both are.

Not all children have the same needs and therefore require different support yo reach the same standards.

I'm not up on EHCPs (haven't been transferred yet) but if it was a statement I would use punishment for things that are expected as a result of his special needs as evidence for a statement and that the school was failing.

ouryve Wed 04-May-16 14:49:50

School is very much in the wrong. They are punishing him for things that he can not help and that he needs support with. The idea of treating all children the same is like suggesting that all children should use the stairs to get to the second floor labs, whether they can walk or not.

Between the disablist bullying, lack of support and constant punishment, I'd go so far as to say that this school is not safe for him. As part of your EHCP assessment, I'd use the opportunity to look for a school placement which supports and nurtures him properly, active teaches him the social and organisational skills he is lacking and which can support him post 16.

DancingHippo Wed 04-May-16 15:21:43

Thank you both. The 'forgetting' equipment was because he thought he had an assessment that day (I always remember his equip for him) and wouldn't be doing the practical. Another child who also 'forgot' did not get a detention according to DS!

His EHCP assessment has been hindered by his school not saying what support he's getting so the LEA are saying that he can't have one as it is not clear if the school support has been exhausted. Small amount of info that I have shows that school are not giving him the basic support that is budgeted for (12 hours). They have said that they pay the teachers more to get better quality ones so that is where the money is being used hmm.

I have another school for him but he can't move until Yr 10 so in Sept. I wanted an EHCP assess, even if we don't get a plan, so we have at least an Ed Psych report to share with the new school to enable them to know what support he will need. School have refused so far to even get one in even though they have threatened permanent exclusion for repeated infringement of their behaviour policy.

Toffeelatteplease Wed 04-May-16 15:35:20

I would be arguing that the school have reached the full extent of the support available if they are threatening expulsion for things that are directly as a result of your DS' special needs

AugustaFinkNottle Wed 04-May-16 18:47:40

Punishing a child for behaviour that is the direct result of his disability - particularly when the school is failing to give him adequate support - is very clear discrimination on the grounds of disability. It's not good enough to say that they have to treat all children the same. Ask them if, when the children have to stand up, they would punish a child in a wheelchair for disobeying.

It really is utterly appalling that a 14 year old with severe learning difficulties does not have a statement or an EHCP. Have your sent a formal request for an EHC assessment to your local authority? If not I suggest you do it immediately, and appeal if they refuse.

DancingHippo Wed 04-May-16 19:40:21

Thank you Toffee and Augusta. I have argued with the LEA that the school have admitted defeat with the threat of perm exclusion but as DS is apparently just above the cut off criteria in terms of 'working at' levels, they are putting up a fight mainly because the school has not been able to confirm his level of support because they're not giving him any.

I applied for a statement in Yr 7 and was turned down (I didn't know the LEA automatically refuse and wait for you to appeal). I applied again, for an EHCP this time, at the beginning of Yr9, was turned down again and am now awaiting the appeal which will not take place until the start of Yr 10 as they have 20 termtime weeks as a deadline in which to hear it! In the meantime I have got DS's paed to write ANOTHER letter stating that an EHCP would help him cope in school, in the hope that the LEA will reconsider before his appeal. I am meeting with them next week to discuss this and to ask the school why they STILL won't give a clear breakdown of what support he's getting.

I have put in a complaint to the Head, re: discrimination, who tried to blame DS's social/behavioural issues on my parenting (par for the course I believe and DS has a high performing twin with no issues so he won't get very far with that ploy) and then went to the BoG who did not address it at all, just wanted to move forward with a plan which again amounted to nothing! Am considering the next step, a complaint to the Department of Education next, just awaiting a response in writing from the BoG to my complaint a month later!

DancingHippo Wed 04-May-16 19:49:04

Also DS was not diagnosed with low IQ, learning diffs, etc until early in Yr 7. We had to wait from Yr 5 until then for an ASD assessment as that was what it was suspected to be. I still suspect he's on the spectrum but eye contact, interaction with adults was too good. Prior to me going thermo nuclear in Yr 5 with them due to threatened expulsion for continued silly behaviour, his primary labelled him as 'naughty', as has his secondary school now, and would not support investigation so neither would GP.

He used to insist on sitting under his table in Reception or would walk around the classroom singing to himself while the others were sitting. Yeah right, deliberately naughty [anger].

Ouryve Thu 05-May-16 00:11:19

Bumping this do I can come back tomorrow. When I can see straight.

Even in current tired state, I can categorically stTe that "working at" levels are bullshit.

AugustaFinkNottle Thu 05-May-16 00:14:53

Ideally you need an independent educational psychology report. Phone SOS SEN for names of good witnesses, and check out their workshops on how to run an appeal.

MeirAya Thu 05-May-16 00:30:34

Detaining a child because he shows signs of disability is legally dubious

Today they have put him in isolation (again) for getting 4 detentions in the same days for incidents as above

Not just disability discrimination. It's not far off false imprisonment.

HairyBigSpider Thu 05-May-16 00:32:56

I would write asking them how their behaviour policy is differentiated for children with disabilities and what reasonable adjustments are in place for your ds in respect of that policy. All schools should make reasonable adjustments to their policies for disabled pupils. My ds's former school were regularly punishing him for things that happened due to his disability and finally permanently excluded him for the same reason. They were later found to have committed multiple acts of discrimination but that was small comfort and the stress caused by their actions was immense.

Provision is based on need, not academic ability. I would be asking the LEA for their assessment criteria. A lot of parents get told that because their children are academically fine they don't need support but it's the whole picture that matters.

MeirAya Thu 05-May-16 00:40:40


MeirAya Thu 05-May-16 00:45:38

The school doesn't have to prove their support is any use. They just have to show it's cost them £6,000 per annum.

Detentions, exclusion paperwork, internal seclusion, disapproving feedback from a highly paid headteacher, angry subject teachers insisting the head of year ring you... cost it all up (staff hourly rates, numbers of hours involved). Then add 30% for pension/NI/sick pay etc. Hey presto, £6k exceeded.

PatriciaMaxwell Thu 05-May-16 07:04:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Ouryve Thu 05-May-16 09:57:41

Yes, an indie ed psych would be incredibly useful for identifying his needs. If you haven't already, you need to get in touch with ipsea or Sossen for some solid advice on your rights here.

LA is digging it's heels in and telling you lies to put you off. A high achieving child can have an ehcp or even be in a specialist school if they have sent which prevent them from accessing education without significant support and adjustments. Any suggestion that a DC needs to be x years behind is unlawful.

Meir is spot on about the cost of all those detentions and the discrimination aspect. You can argue that the school does not have the expertise to meet his needs, or else they wouldn't be continually punishing him.

And while the poster above comes across a little spammy (no offence if that is not what is intended) they are correct about the potential effect on your ds's mental health. And mental health needs to be considered as part of the assessment process, alongside social skills, as much as academic progress

Melawati Thu 05-May-16 11:25:39

Spam or not, I don't think any of our LA's will be finding transport to a 'learning center' in the USgrin

JerryFerry Thu 05-May-16 11:33:10

Good grief, this is upsetting just to read, I cannot imagine how hurt you and your son must feel. What an utterly awful school. I have no idea what to suggest but I hope you can get him out of that toxic environment v soon, and that someone comes along with excellent advice.

DancingHippo Thu 05-May-16 19:38:19

Thanks for all responses.

Hairy I did what you suggested and they have replied back as follows: 'as an inclusive school we treat all of our students equally and cannot differentiate the sanctions which are applied.'

I have also just had the paperwork that the LEA has submitted in their defence of the EHCP appeal. The SENCO (or Inclusion Manager depending on what her job title is that week) is down as their witness hmm. I am mightily confused.

Also they are stating that DS is getting enough support and strategies are in place for him. That's why they are threatening permanent exclusion and keep putting him in isolation! This is also after the LEA telling me that they are still not clear on what support the school is providing and that there do not seem to be strategies in place! This is why they have suggested a meeting next week hmm.

I am actually flabbergasted.

Who knew that DS was just a naughty boy then! In the appeal paperwork it is noted that DS had 36 sanctions In Yr 7, 39 in Yr 8 and 19 in just the first term of Yr 9. No mention that his Pead has suggested that an EHCP assessment would be beneficial. I suppose the council bods know more than her!

Why does this have to be soooo bloody difficult <pulls hair out>.

DancingHippo Thu 05-May-16 19:42:37

Sorry DS's school SENCO is listed as a witness. I am presuming for the LEA or would she attend as a matter of course?

HairyBigSpider Thu 05-May-16 21:47:55

A good school should differentiate it's behaviour policy to avoid the risk of discrimination. Government guidance is here
'The behaviour policy should acknowledge the school’s legal duties under the
Equality Act 2010, in respect of safeguarding and in respect of pupils with special educational needs (SEN)'.
This is only guidance though as the school that discriminated against ds was quick to mention hmm

HairyBigSpider Thu 05-May-16 21:51:35

You might find this article useful

The Equality and Human Rights Commission are also very helpful.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 05-May-16 21:56:23

Our LA called the senco as a witness when we went to tribunal! They do it because the senco's believe the garbage they tell them about us demanding parents and then the LA will probably make out that its the school that could be doing more and that its their responsibility to meet the child's needs!

The panel will see through their rubbish and will read and listen to all the evidence presented to them.

Good luck flowers

DancingHippo Thu 05-May-16 22:55:55

Excellent Hairy thank you. I may copy that link to the Head. Do you think it will go down a bit like a lead balloon? I know it's only guidance but this school is apparently 'outstanding' so you'd think they'd want to follow it.

Thanks Ineed. That's good to hear.

Just as an adjunct to this. I was told last week by the LEA that the 'SENCO' cannot be the SENCO as she is not a qualified teacher but they have still called her as a witness in paperwork they emailed me this afternoon hmm. This lady told me that she been asked to be the SENCO for DS by the Head late last year when I started getting a bit antsy about the repeated isolations. The actual named SENCO for the school is a lady who I have never met and who never responds to any communication that I have addressed directly to her, someone else in the Leadership Team always responds or ignores. It is very odd surely the school's ACTUAL SENCO should be dealing with this!

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