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child about to go into year 9 - possible disability discrimination or something else?

(3 Posts)
whatstream Fri 10-Aug-12 14:04:49

I'm not sure where this belongs or where it would get the best response, so I'm going to copy it into Legal, Secondary Education and Special Needs.

Daughter just about to start year 9 has had problems ever since starting at secondary with being dumped into groups lower than her ability level. She has physical disabilities but no intellectual impairment or behavioural problems.

Background: End of year 6 results - SATS: Reading Level 4, Writing Level 4, English Overall Level 4, Numeracy Level 3 (School / classroom assessment: Literacy 4a, Numeracy 4c, Science 4b)

So, overall, didn't do so well in Maths SATS but otherwise generally ok/average/fine. (Primary school didn?t do science SATS.)

Went up to secondary and was put into streams according to the LOWEST score, i.e. maths, for everything. We appealed; telephone call to the person responsible, he moved her up a band to 'give her a chance' and she thrived, all fine, did really well, so we relaxed and thought problem was over.

End of year 7 results: English: 5.2
Maths: 5.8
Science: 5.5 (all these scores were comparable with the other kids in her classes, sometimes better)

So as you can see, she met all her targets and exceeded some of them so imagine our horror at end of yr 7 when we saw her timetable for the coming yr 8 and the same person had put her down into bottom set again. This time, we actually went in for a meeting face to face with this person, talked him into not doing this to her etc. Again, he agreed to change it, but was saying stuff like 'give her a chance' and 'but will she be able to cope' etc. Anyway, he let her stay in her middle band for yr 8 and she absolutely thrived:

End of year 8 results: English: 6.5 ? Working Above target
Maths: got a 6.2 in maths in spring this year, way above target of 5.8 for end of yr 9
Science: got a 6.5, again above target: original target of 5.8 then 6.2 now had to be changed to 6.5 because she had surpassed it already (and remember this target is for end of year 9 and she's achieved it already) again, all these scores were comparable with other kids in her classes, sometimes better, and in the last half term of yr 8, she reached 6.5 in science.

So overall, you would think there would be nothing to worry about:

So, to now, the problem has recurred AGAIN. We have seen her timetable for the coming yr 9 and it?s bizarre. The banding of yr 7 and 8 doesn't exist in yr 9, but some of the groups she has been put in are clearly equivalent to putting her down AGAIN.

The worst one is science: Basically, there are 10 groups, and she has been put in 7th out of 10. She was previously in 5th out of 10 which has been very successful, as she is on a 6.5 in science already.

This 7th group now made up of just over half of the second from bottom group from year 8 plus about just under half from other random middle groups.

She has highest level in that group. Some of the kids in that group are working at level 4!

Top 4 groups are doing separate sciences, which we are not looking for her to do, but there are two groups above hers - i.e. groups 5 and 6 - that are still doing double award - have requested one of these but no joy. These groups would be the ideal choice as they contain similar levelled students and more people from her previous year?s science class.

Have spoken to science teacher and person responsible for timetabling - no response, basically it's no, leave us alone, this is how we are doing it. Timetabling person hasn't even responded to emails this time, not even common courtesy, I realise we are seen as a pain, but that's because we have to be because they keep doing this to her every year. Science teacher denies that she has been put down 2 classes when I know that she has.

The group she has been put in for science is using the same class list for technology subjects and ICT, meaning that she will be spending about half her time in this group. The group she?s been put in contains a boy who basically, because of his mental health issues, prevents others from working and is a danger to her on health and safety grounds. Nothing will be done about this boy because he is untouchable (ss involvement etc)

I think my daughter is discriminated against. As you can see from her levels and targets, she is a hard working, middle of the road, average student. She has no bad behaviour marks, has 100 percent attendance, never had a detention or anything like that. She just wants to get on, she always gets glowing reports and her progress since end of primary is amazing (I'm not saying her levels are amazing, what I mean is that her personal progress is amazing).

So the only reason I can think that they have tried to put her down every single year since she got to that school is that she has physical disabilities: and by grouping all the kids together that they see as 'problem' whether that's disabilities or behavioural, they can maximise use of classroom assistant?s/TA?s.

What do you think ? I can?t see any other reason for it, can you? Of course they deny this but what other reason could there be? Please tell me if I am missing anything.

Legally - Have I got a leg to stand on, is it worth me seeing a solicitor about this? At the moment, I have had enough and want to change schools but the change would do daughter more harm than good. I am sure it is discrimination and I promise I don't go around seeing discrimination everywhere - I am ready to see a solicitor if it would help my daughter, especially thinking about this time next year when it will be groups for GCSE and might affect her end results plus might lead to her being only entered for Foundation when she could potentially achieve B grades in some subjects.

Educationally - Teachers, can you give me some reason that I haven't thought of? I promise I am not one of these idiots who want their child in top set even though they can't write their own name etc. that is not what I am talking about here.

Special Needs - anyone faced similar experiences? Her special needs are entirely physical yet she is being put down like this. She needs every opportunity she can get because, let's face it, when she goes for a job interview, she has to be better than the other candidates to make up for her disability, that's the reality - she's willing to work and not be any trouble at school and this is how she gets rewarded?!

Sorry it's so long, but I wanted to make sure I've given all relevant info.


NookAndCranny Fri 17-Aug-12 13:47:19

Hi, Nothing to add other than my sympathies. My own DS is experiencing similar in Y7. So wanted to bump for you and will hopefully draw in some good advice for you.

WetAugust Sun 26-Aug-12 00:45:00

Write to the school stating your disagreement with the sets she's been assigned to.

I've had similar - DS put in Foundation Maths when he was capable of Higher GCSE Maths - wrote to complain and he was enetered for Higher which he passed well.

I was once told by a teacher that if parents compalin tghey generally get what they want - it's easier for the school to acquiese than to fight them.

But it shouldn't be this way.

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