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Am I overreacting, school

50 replies

Jodiemacdonald31 · 08/09/2015 22:05

I would just like other people's opinions. How would you react?

My 8 year old (autistic) has asthma.
His puffer has always been kept in the class room, b4 school holidays I met with new teacher, discussed PE, swimming, social skills and all the rest. He said he'd just transfer his puffer from old class room to new 1.
Son went swimming today with school, I had filled a medical form in for this b4 summer holidays, asthma all wrote on.
As he came out of school today a TA came and said to me, he'll need his inhaler next swimming. I asked had they not taken it?? No she said... I was fuming, she didn't even think she had sone anything wrong. I went to see the head. But once I got home son told me, b4 he got in the pool TA told him "you need to bring it next time" so she was fully aware he had asthma and didn't have an inhaler.
I'm just getting more angry by the second.
The school & every school policy I thought, was to take inhaler where the child goes, he was away from school & his puffer for 2 hours

Am I overreacting to want heads to roll??

OP posts:
IguanaTail · 08/09/2015 23:31

YANBU to be concerned and raise it - which you have done.

YWVU to "shout at the TA" - she is a person too and should not be shouted at.

You should really reiterate the importance at the start of the year by ensuring the inhaler is with the correct person. All our medication needs to be either collected or is disposed of at the end of the summer term, which forces parents to re-issue it and amend medication where necessary and check quantities. I don't think a policy of passing it from one teacher to another is acceptable. It's definitely not fool-proof enough, as we have seen.

OnlyHereToday · 08/09/2015 23:42

For those who have had inhaler and epipen training in schools, do they tell you when to use the medications as well as how to? Do you know what symptoms to look for?

Littlefish · 09/09/2015 19:27

OnlyHere - we receive epipen training every September. We are shown lots of pictures of possible reactions, and talk about many signs and symptoms, when to give medication, when to call 999 etc.

I have not had inhaler trraining, but there are at least 2 paediatric first aid trained members of staff in each key stage in my school who have been trained.

DoctorDonnaNoble · 09/09/2015 19:35

Asthma is so serious, people don't seem to realise that people die as a result of it frequently in this country. Some doctors are also guilty of this. I would go in and speak to them calmly, armed with some material from Asthma UK who have been doing a lot of campaigning to do with asthma provision within schools recently. Good luck.

Lurkedforever1 · 09/09/2015 19:39

Yanbu. For some reason there's this false idea that asthma is on the same level as a bit of eczema or hay fever. Rather than a possibly fatal condition. They did risk his safety massively, so Yanbu to go in and scream blue murder. But I don't think that is the most constructive way to deal with it. I'd ask for an explanation in writing as to how it happened, and how they plan to prevent this ever happening again.

ShadowLine · 09/09/2015 19:52

I think getting very angry and demanding that heads roll - while understandable - might be counterproductive. If they get defensive in the face of your anger it might stop them from listening properly to the point you want to make.

I would send in a letter reiterating how serious this could have been, remind them that asthma attacks can and do kill people (a girl in my secondary school died from an asthma attack at home that couldn't be brought under control), suggest / demand that the teachers / TAs who work with your DS are retrained in how to deal with asthma, and ask that the school review their procedures so that this doesn't happen again. I'd also request a meeting to calmly discuss the contents of the letter.

EponasWildDaughter · 09/09/2015 19:54

This is a training issue and the school is at fault. Arguably not the TAs fault.

It's understandable that you were angry but yelling at the TA wasn't a good thing.

One of the reasons i left my job as a TA was the serious lack of training for support staff. At the same time as our training sessions were being swerved, we were deemed good enough, however, to take responsibility for larger and larger groups of children - in addition to any one to one charges. Attempts to broach this were met with a put up or go attitude. So i went. Get angry with those in charge of the TAs training OP.

Gatehouse77 · 09/09/2015 19:59

Whilst it's not an overreaction in terms of the school not following the instructions and I would say something, I would also pack an inhaler in his swimming kit separate from the one in the classroom.

2 of mine have asthma, the other was being treated with an inhaler whilst having swimming lessons. I would pack their inhalers with their kit so there was no chance of it being forgotten.

Saltedcaramel4 · 09/09/2015 20:04

I would contact the GP or specialist and request he/she writes to the school outlining the importance of staff having the inhaler.

stopfaffing · 09/09/2015 20:05

You are right to insist that the school is aware of the seriousness of asthma and before you arrange a meeting with headteacher, contact your local gp or health visitor and ask if an asthma nurse could visit the school and meet with staff to talk about managing this condition (say, at the next in-service day so all staff are available at the same time).

When you attend the meeting with headteacher, ask that they agree to make arrangements for a half hour talk to staff with a health professional who specialises in asthma.

I say this because in the past a pupil at our school died (not during the school day, at weekend) as a result of an asthma attack. We were, and still are very upset that a young person lost their life because of asthma. We were already very clear about our asthma policy and have always taken it seriously. In your son's case we would have contacted you to ask for an inhaler (should one one be available or found to be empty) and not taken pupil to swimming pool without it.

Asthma killed an adult, Stuart Beggs (formerly on The Apprentice), recently at him home on Isle of Mann. A tragedy, he was only in his 20's.

I hope you resolve this serious issue at your school, OP.

Passmethecrisps · 09/09/2015 20:08

I 100% understand your fury. But heads won't roll and even if they did they would be the wrong ones.

Personally, I am responsible for producing health care plans for young people who are in my care. On at least an annual basis I meet with parents and a relevant hcp to talk about medication, symptoms and treatment as well as an action plan.

With one young man (considerably older than your ds and without the as) he felt insecure about people's trust in his statement of his condition so I made him cards.

The cards are pocket sized and have a green, Amber, red symptom warning including me how many puffs to take when and what the warning signs are. As this lad enters a class he can hand this over to any teacher so they have detailed info of procedures in technicolor right in front of them.

It has absolutely helped with the way staff manage this lad's asthma and he is more relaxed therefore healthier as a result.

I say all of this purely to give you some insight about a positive way forward which gives you control.

HelsBels3000 · 09/09/2015 20:09

I definitely feel you need to kick up more of a fuss about this and the consequences that could have been reality had your son needed his inhaler. Go to the Chair of Governors if you do not get a satisfactory response from the Head.

goawayalready · 09/09/2015 20:09

my daughter had a backup terbutaline inhaler in her pe kit/swim bag its a dry powder one so doesn't require a spacer it was ideal as it is so small and discreet

Sallyhasleftthebuilding · 09/09/2015 20:10

DD did not have her inhaler at school - left in a coat - and school rang to say they couldnt take her... this is what they should have done.

Sirzy · 09/09/2015 20:12

Because DS has such severe asthma which doesn't follow traditional paths (he doesn't wheeze, normally no audible sign of an attack) all the staff have had special training specifically in him so when he has an attack in school whichever staff member he is with will know how to act. His inhaler goes wherever he does.

Osolea · 09/09/2015 20:17

YABVU to be angry with the TA, it's not her responsibility. She didn't think she'd done anything wrong because she didn't do anything wrong. Whatever happened wasn't her fault. Apart from anything else, she's not paid enough to have that responsibility (assuming that she's a class TA and not a dedicated one to one for your child). It's the teachers job to provide the right information to TAs if they want them to take charge of medication, you had no right to be rude to that TA and you owe her an apology.

Tbh, in your position I'd be most angry with myself for not checking that everything was in place. Its not hard to imagine things going a bit astray over a six week holiday, or things being forgotten considering there is so much going on at this time of year.

BackforGood · 09/09/2015 20:28

YABVU to be angry with the TA, it's not her responsibility. She didn't think she'd done anything wrong because she didn't do anything wrong. Whatever happened wasn't her fault. Apart from anything else, she's not paid enough to have that responsibility (assuming that she's a class TA and not a dedicated one to one for your child). It's the teachers job to provide the right information to TAs if they want them to take charge of medication

How do you know it's not her responsibility Osolea ? Confused It may well be that it is her responsibility. How can you possibly know that it wasn't her fault?? Hmm How do you know the protocol for that school ? It is very common for TAs to take responsibility for First Aid etc in schools. It is very common for TAs to have the responsibility of remembering the things that must go out with that class when they leave the building. It absolutely is part of the role. For all we know, the teacher has provided the information. You seem to be projecting rather.

When I was SENCo, I - as others have said here - arranged all that sort of training for all staff, and it was every member of staff's responsibility to then put the training, and the procedures set up in the Care Plans into place. What we don't know, is if the school has all the right things in place, and the TA didn't follow them, or if the TA wasn't given training or advice. That's what the OP has to resolve.

I agree though that there is no reason to be rude to, or to shout at a member of staff - it never helps the situation.

Sirzy · 09/09/2015 20:29

In the case of DS it is a TA who primarily responsible for his asthma care in school. He has changed class and Ta this year so a new one has been named on his care plan.

Jodiemacdonald31 · 09/09/2015 22:16

Osolea I think you must of read this wrong. It was the TAs fault. It was her job to take his inhaler with them (not my sons) her forgetting to take it is bad enough. She knew b4 he got in the pool there was no inhaler there. She put my sons life in danger as far as I'm concerned and I will not be saying sorry for shouting at her. Would just like to add some info... School is very small, 16 in my Ds class, 1 class for each year. She had previously looked after my son as there isn't a typical TA in every class all day. So the new teacher/class/school year stuff isn't washing with me.
The head teacher has said she will get back to me b4 Friday, she's investigating the situation.
I've made clear to her that who ever was a fault needs more training, a formal warning and to apologise, anything less than this and I will go to the governors

OP posts:
Jodiemacdonald31 · 09/09/2015 22:21

Also, I will now be sending him another inhaler on trips, swimming ect, because I'm petrified they'll fail in there duty of care again, but the point is that I shouldn't have to. He has a care plan. A inhaler in use and a new 1 boxed with a spacer and instructions in the class room that the staff should take with them when my Ds has swimming

OP posts:
IguanaTail · 09/09/2015 22:23

Can you change his school? Why leave him there if you are petrified about failures in duty of care?

Lauren15 · 09/09/2015 22:32

I can top this! My dd's school LOST her inhaler completely. It was kept in the school office. I wrote a very calm email to the head and got a bullshit reply back. The school secretary still refuses to speak to me for daring to make a complaint. Confused

Jodiemacdonald31 · 09/09/2015 22:36

Tbh, this is the only incident, I have had no complaints b4, that was my first instinct but thought I'd give them the opportunity to make it right Confused

OP posts:
Jodiemacdonald31 · 09/09/2015 22:37

Lauren15 omg!!! I'm so shocked that so many ppl have had similar problems

OP posts:
OnlyHereToday · 09/09/2015 23:05

It is not easy navigating asthma signs and symptoms and treatments with others, I find it gets minimised and misunderstood but it is life-threatening and kills.

School staff are in loco parentis, not easy I know but we don't have any asthma plans or reviews or anything for DS2. I'm finding it difficult to insist on understanding protocols and plans without being a PITA but he has anaphylaxis too and I can't just leave it, he has collapsed and we've had to cal ambulances before.

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