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Feet-dragging school and getting an Ed Psych appointment, amongst other concerns.

(3 Posts)
valhala Mon 27-Jul-09 23:23:13

This is going to be a long 'un as it is so forgive me if I don't go into huge detail and do ask if there's any more you need to know.

My DD is 12 and started at a new school in January on foot of an appeal when moved into a new area. At home she is "challenging", very immature and destructive, showing to me and friends/family signs of what we think might be autism spectrum or ADHD.

Previous schools say she is exceptionally polite but easily distracted, finds it hard to relate to/make friends, approaches them in a "bull in a chinashop" manner, is articulate and confident with adults and fairly bright. Hers has not been an easy life - I'm a lone parent who has had cancer and she has in the past been assaulted and intimidated by a parent in junior school, resulting in a move of schools, HE, and a couple of house moves.

Since joining the new school in Yr 7 she has been quite nastily bullied, which was at first not dealt with properly by staff. She got into a lot of trouble for retaliating to the bullying and for being rude to staff because she felt that it was going unnoticed and unpunished and that she was being reprimanded for having to deal with it herself. Following meetings between staff and myself and a day long exclusion for her for retaliating when a boy and his mother attacked her the bullying is now beginning to be addressed.

In March I met with the Year Head who promised SENCO observation and mooted the possibilty that DD has an autism spectrum condition. It took me over 6 weeks, 4 written requests and finally a threat of legal action before I got the report from the SENCO. This was a 1 page A4 sheet which told me nothing much but added that the SENCO had only taught DD on a couple of occasions.

In May, after further problems I met with the SENCO and one of the Deputy Heads. SENCO said that she would organise some craft activities in lunchtimes and at the after school club which DD occasionally attends in order to get her talking about her fears as we established that much of her outspokenness and lashing out (verbally and if under threat, physically) comes from a deep mistrust of other's motives.

The SENCO said that some of this was in her opinion owing to the assaults upon DD by the parent in her junior school. I was offered two things - one was a meeting with a parent/school advisor, which I reluctantly accepted and who has since agreed with me that there is nothing at present she can do as I am doing all I can myself and am confident enough to deal with the school without the need for her help. The school also asked if I would consider an Ed Psych appointment for DD, which I gratefully said yes to.

At the time I accepted an offer of the notes of that meeting and having reminded the school of this I received them on the last day of term. There is nothing on those notes about the offer of an Ed Psych appointment. Furthermore, DD has not had the input promised in terms of craft or other activities in lunchtimes or at the after school club which would give them the opportunity to talk to her, get to know her and assess the situation further. As you might imagine I am rather concerned and a bit cross about this.

I have today left a message with the County Ed Psych department and hope that they will return my call tomorrow so that I can ask them if a referral has been made for DD.

If it hasn't, what do I do now? Do I ask them to do so myself? I know I can but I fear that this will not only be less likely to be successful but that it may put the school's nose out of joint that I have gone over their heads (if you'll forgive the mixed metaphors!).

If I don't ask the Ed Psych team for a referral and wait to speak with the school in September I have a different concern... that they will be tardy in responding again and that it will take even longer for DD to be seen as I understand that not only do the team have priorities but also the school has only a certain amount of Ed Psych time allocated to them over a period of time (unsure if this is per year, per term or what). If the team has no further time to offer the school over next term or beyond because I have waited until September to ask the school to act and they then drag their feet again it will be well into next year before DD is seen... providing of course that the Ed Psych team think it is necessary.

Can anyone advise me on what to do please? CAMHS is not an option - DD was referred to the one where we used to live and hated it so much that she refuses to go again. I may be in charge here but apart from the fact that I cannot drag a well built 12 year old kicking and screaming on the 2 buses and 2 hour journey there, I don't see that it would benefit her or our relationship if I tried. Besides this, it would mean that she is out of school for a full day if she went to our nearest CAMHS centre and for DD continuity is everything.

I'd be very grateful to hear from anyone who can give me advice and/or the benefit of their own experiences in getting an ed Psych appointment and getting a huge school to keep it's word and act with more speed and reliability.

Thank you.

WetAugust Tue 28-Jul-09 00:35:25

You've done the right thing by ringing the Ed Pysch yourself and asking for an appointment. They don't close during the school holidays.
If they refuse to see her unless school initiate the request then complain to the SEN Dept at the Local Education Authority that this was something school should have done but failed to do.

Many ASD children find themselves totally out of their depth at senior school. Their peers are maturing and they are not. There 'differences' become more obvious and that leads to bullying. It's then a bit of a downward spiral. Also, at secondary school they are just another name on the register as they don't have that continuity that is provided by the Class Teacher in junior school, so their problems can be easily overlooked. Not all secondary schools are very proactive in identifying and seeking help for SENs - you have to push for it.

Don't worry abot teh fact that school say they only have x amount of Ed pysch hours per whatever. that's not YOUR problem. school have a statutory duty with regard to SEN - how they fund that is their problem and the LEAs problem - not YOURS.

You may want to consider asking the LEA for an assessment that may lead to a Statement. If you do gone down thsi route it's best to do so sooner rather than later as many LEAs baulk at doing this during secondary ed.

Best wishes

valhala Wed 29-Jul-09 01:17:05

Thank you ever so much. Sorry for the delayed reply - I put a watch on the topic but didn't get notified that there was a response.

I called the Ed Psych team again today and got a young admin lady (the Ed Psych was out). She said that she had told the EP of my query and that the school "might have mentioned DD's name". I take this to be that the school has done no such thing but EP are covering their backs!

The lady told me that I CAN'T request an Ed Psych assessment and that it has to go through the school!

She added that I must first sign a form (if I recall it is called something like a Single Referral) first. As it happens I already have, when I agreed to meet with the home/school advisor and I noted at the time that it gave them carte blanche for others of relevence in the County education department to see the information on it and follow that up. I have a copy of that form here at home.

I was surprised to hear that I can't apparently request an appointment myself but not knowing the system I accepted what was said and believed, as I was told, that there is nothing more I can do until school starts again in September. Thank you for putting me right... now I am b** angry and am going to kick some bottoms!

You are so right in saying that SEN children can struggle and get lost in senior school. Ours is a huge one, 1350 pupils, and it is clear that half the children don't know half the staff and vice versa.

Tomorrow I shall call again and make sure I speak to an Ed Psych, in order to point out that I AM entitled to ask for a referral. I suggested to the admin person that I send them a copy of my "Single Referral" form, or whatever its called, but was met with a vague, "Oh well, you can, but I don't know if it will help, it needs to come from the school".

Out of interest, is it common for parents in my position to be told that they can't ask for a referral themselves? And if so, is it, in your opinion, ignorance on the part of County staff, or, as is so often the case with staff dealing with Home Ed, a stubborn refusal to abide by the law?

Thank you again, your advice is invaluable.

Kindest regards,


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