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AIBU?

To think my daughter isn’t going to get an education?

90 replies

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:21

Ok this is long but I’ll keep it as brief as possible. DD 13, diagnosed ASD and I strongly believe has ADHD, and either PDA or ODD (but I’ll never know about either of those as there’s no diagnostic pathway in my area).

Primary was ok - she started to need a lot of support once she got into year 5 which the school gave her in the form of one to one sessions with the ELSA who was brilliant. And then lockdowns happened so the rest of year 5, and a lot of year 6 just didn’t happen.

Secondary was ok for the first couple of terms of year 7, and then it all started to go very wrong, I believe she couldn’t mask beyond that point. Starting truanting lessons, refusing to do anything teachers asked of her, very rude to staff, disruptive in lessons. Her behaviour at home was absolutely unbearable too, and unbeknown to me at that point she was self harming.

Year 8, more of the same for the first couple of weeks, the school were beyond useless at doing anything to support her and their solution went from putting her in isolation pretty much all the time to just suspend her each time she came in, which wasn’t helpful for me as a single parent trying to work. I could see her behaviour going from bad to worse and so at October half term I made the decision she wasn’t going back to that school. Her behaviour changed instantly for the better and she was far more pleasant to be around at home.

So for the rest of year 8 I tried to get her into another school, we live rurally so options are limited, and basically no one wanted her because of her behaviour record. Did appeals - nothing. Finally found somewhere that would take her which is in another area which has the middle school system so she wouldn’t be able to start until year 9. So she missed pretty much the whole of year 8.

During that time I applied for an EHCP with the help of SENDIAS, but they refused to assess because they said there wasn’t enough evidence, and that her difficulties might have just been circumstantial to her previous school.

So she started her new school in September. She really dialled the bad behaviour up to 11, and after 10 days of having been there she was very close to being kicked out, for encouraging another student to assault a teacher. They decided to put her in the inclusion unit - a small base which only has a few kids in, just for 2 hours per day. The guy that runs it was great and I thought if anyone can get through to her it will be him. But she completely refused to engage, despite being there for many weeks. She was then given the option of choosing one subject to attend and being allowed to attend those classes. But she either truanted them completely or turned up so late it wasn’t worth going, so that was removed as an option. The school then suggested that she go in for 2 hours a day and sit with her head of house, which she point blank refused to do and therefore hasn’t been to school since a couple of weeks before Christmas holidays.

As soon as she was back at school in September her behaviour at home became absolutely vile again, to the point where I ended up in hospital twice due to stress related things, and she was literally making mine and her sister’s life a misery. It got to the point where I phoned SS twice begging them to take her as I literally couldn’t cope. Since she stopped going she has reverted to being relatively nice to be around.

I must say her current school have been great at supporting me and trying to support her compared to her previous school, but the bottom line is that she just isn’t going to cope in a mainstream school. I am being supported by the PFSA and she is really pushing the idea of HE. I realise it would be ideal for the school for her to be off their roll. However I am a single parent with a disability which means that I have very limited energy, and I have two teens with SEN with very high and opposing needs. I am really not well at the moment and barely coping with life. I can’t pretend for a minute that I could home educate her, I realised that in lockdown, she won’t do anything I ask.

In the last year she has been:

  1. refused an assessment for an EHCP.

  2. doesn’t meet the threshold to be seen by CAHMS.

  3. doesn’t meet the threshold for an ADHD assessment.

  4. turned down by every school in the area, and that’s when she only had a bad behaviour record from the first school.

    It’s just dead end roads and brick walls whichever way I turn. And I’m exhausted. I have no fight left in me anymore. She needs a specialist education but my local council is about to go bankrupt, and they’re just not issuing EHCPs anymore. And even if by some miracle I managed to get one, there aren’t placements for her to go to, from what I understand. Everything is about money and there isn’t any.

    I really don’t know where to go from here. I can’t see her going back to the school she’s at and I know from last year no one else will have her, and if they did it would just be the same thing all over again. The knock on effect of all this on me, and her sister…I can’t even put that into words really. For my sanity I’ve been having a few weeks off even thinking about it but I know I have to do something before I start getting fined for her not attending school. But what? To add, I don’t have money to throw at the problem, literally none, I am unable to work at the moment and DD doesn’t have a father.
OP posts:
Hankunamatata · 13/01/2024 22:29

Is the inclusion unit a pru?

I know homeschooling sound alike a nightmare but have you looked at Inter High. Iv no experience but seen the online school mentioned on lots of sen boards. Have you appealed the echp? Some people managed to get inter high named on it and paid for. Even if you could get maths and English if sh would engage online

cansu · 13/01/2024 22:29

You need to look at alternative provision. There are some school placements for students at risk of or having been excluded.

You can force the lea to assess her for an EHCP. It is not that difficult and it will open doors to AP and specialist schools. Get on the IPSEA website and download the model letters. You may need to show the LEA you mean business by going to tribunal. Parents often win appeals against refusals to assess.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:33

@Hankunamatata no it wasn’t a PRU, just a unit for kids who for whatever reason couldn’t be in the lessons, some of them had anxiety etc. I couldn’t afford to pay for interhigh, and she wouldn’t do it anyway, her demand avoidance is extreme, trying to get her to do ANYTHING is such a battle.

OP posts:
SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:35

@cansu doesn’t AP need to be sorted through the school? I have asked about that but haven’t had a response.

I will apply again for an EHCP but I’m not holding my breath. It was too long ago since the last application to appeal that so I’ll have to start again.

OP posts:
stomachameleon · 13/01/2024 22:39

@SENwoes does this school she attends now send to a PRU? I teach at one and we have students from ten plus schools. They buy places depending on the size of the school. Lots of parents are reluctant or concerned about the PRU but for some students it's absolutely the right thing. Especially those with strong behavioural issues or ODD etc.
we have much smaller classes- ten max. Lots of support and lots of inventions. We teach less subjects but a more pastoral approach.
We also apply for ehcp if needed.
Might be worth thinking about.
Two of my children attended special Ed schools and one had extreme behavioural and mental health problems (ended up sectioned) so I know what it is like.

Bluevelvetsofa · 13/01/2024 22:40

I really don’t know what to say that would help you, or offer anything useful, but I can sense the desperation you feel and wanted to say that I feel for you.

I think that the LA has a responsibility to provide something for your daughter if she can’t attend school, but if your LA is in financial difficulties, who knows whether they will provide anything.

If she behaves better when she’s not expected to be in school, it would seem that school based education isn’t going to work. Do you think a tutor might work, if one could be provided?

Have you looked at Not Fine In School? Also, there’s no point in fining you if she can’t go to school and can’t cope if she’s there.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:41

@stomachameleon I don’t know whether they are linked to a PRU. There is a TAC meeting in a couple of weeks so I’ll ask then.

OP posts:
KeepGoingThomas · 13/01/2024 22:42

Did you appeal the previous EHCP refusal? Request another EHCNA and appeal if refused. If you appeal it isn’t the LA who makes then decision.

If you get an EHCP there are limited reasons the LA can refuse to name your preferred placement (unless it is wholly independent) and again you can appeal if the LA refuse. And, if school is inappropriate there is EOTAS.

In the meantime, the LA has a duty to ensure DD receives a suitable, full-time education. Email the LA about this.

Don’t deregister EHE, it is easier to get support when DC remain in the system even if they can’t attend.

EMajor · 13/01/2024 22:42

You need to appeal the refusal to assess. IPSEA can help with this. Depending on the timing you probably don’t currently have a right of appeal, but IPSEA again could advise you on re-applying for an EHCNA so that you do, or alternatively the LA may actually agree to assess this time now two placements have failed.

In the short term if she is not currently able to attend school she still has a right to an education in whatever form works for her, whether that is tutors at home or some sort of alternative provision centre. If the school is not doing anything about this get on to the Director of Children’s Services at the LA. Again loads of info on the IPSEA website about your rights and how to go about sorting this.

You sound thoroughly overwhelmed, and no wonder. It is a horrible place to be when there is just so much to deal with that you can’t see a way forwards. There is hope. It can be done. The law is on your side. The LA might not want to grant the sort of placement your daughter needs, but if you appeal they will have little choice.

I would also recommend contacting social services and getting a carer’s assessment done for you, which will look at what you need to be able to care for your daughter.

Good luck. One step at a time. Do whatever feels manageable first. I’m on the other side, post appeal, with a child now in a suitable placement and my stress levels are so vastly reduced. Life is manageable again.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:43

@Bluevelvetsofa the PFSA did mention medical tuition but apparently they have to be being seen by CAMHS to qualify for that…and she doesn’t meet the threshold, the GP did try.

Yes I am in that FB group 😊

OP posts:
EMajor · 13/01/2024 22:45

I’d still contact the Director of Children’s Services. There will be other provision. And if not then their criteria are breaking the law.

KeepGoingThomas · 13/01/2024 22:48

Medical needs tuition does not only apply to those who have seen CAMHS. That is an unlawful policy. s.19 provision applies to all compulsory school aged pupils who can’t attend school full-time. Email the Director of Children’s Services requesting provision. If they ignore, delay or refuse email again reminding them of their statutory duties and threatening judicial review. Then, if that’s fails contact SOSSEN for help with a pre-action letter.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:49

Thank you @KeepGoingThomas. I can’t appeal as it was back in March that they refused to assess, so need to start again. At least I have a fair bit more evidence now.

I have already been in touch with the director of children’s services last year, when I couldn’t find a school to take her, but she wasn’t overly helpful, she just said she’d forward my emails on and then…nothing.

I phoned to ask for a carer’s assessment back in September kind of time, they took details and said they’d be in touch and then…nothing. I really need to chase these things up but my brain is fried to be honest and I am really struggling to organise things.

OP posts:
Naptrappedmummy · 13/01/2024 22:51

What kind of specialist education do you think she would engage with? If the settings she has attended previously can’t make her do anything, and neither can you, then where from here? Not saying this as a criticism at all, it sounds unbearably difficult, but perhaps starting from a point of what you believe would work might help?

EMajor · 13/01/2024 22:56

Keep at it. You can do it. Would a note book solely for all things related to this help? So you can note everything down and when you’ve done things, when timescales expire etc. When your brain is this fried it is impossible to remember to do things or what you’ve done. Make lists. Work out what you need to do next and write it down, then when you have time to do something you just need to look to see what it is and get started on it rather than going through everything again from scratch.

KeepGoingThomas · 13/01/2024 22:56

On their website, Contact has a model letter you can use to request a carer’s assessment. If the LA refuse complain and then after this request it goes to a review panel. Also ask for an assessment of DD’s needs. Contact has a letter for this too and another one for if you are refused.

LAs often only start listening when parents start enforcing their rights, sadly.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:57

@Naptrappedmummy I think she needs to be somewhere where all there is is other kids with SEN, so not a base attached to a school, but just a specialist school. The reason being that she is desperate to be ‘normal’ and mirrors behaviour to an obsessive degree, so if there were ‘normal’ kids at the same site doing ‘normal’ things, that’s where she’d want to be and wouldn’t engage with anything else. But wouldn’t be able to cope in the main classes.

Ideally something a bit more hands on and vocational would be great, she has no attention span at all and is very active, literally can’t sit still, so something that was more outdoorsy and ‘doing stuff’ rather than sitting down and being expected to learn nicely in a classroom would be ideal, because she is incapable of doing that.

OP posts:
EMajor · 13/01/2024 22:57

I was wondering whether you might even be needing a waking day curriculum or possibly even boarding, but I don’t know anywhere near enough about you all.

EMajor · 13/01/2024 22:59

Look at the independent specialist schools near you. Some of the Aspire or Aurora schools maybe. There are others too.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 22:59

@EMajor thats a very good idea, that’s exactly what I need. I keep missing really important things even if they’re in my phone calendar because I instantly forget things at the moment. Another reason I can’t HE, I don’t have a functioning brain.

OP posts:
EMajor · 13/01/2024 22:59

It comes back when the stress goes down!

BlingBlingTing · 13/01/2024 23:00

Refuse HE, the school is trying to off roll you. Ring the LA and speak to the inclusion team. Explain the school is trying to off roll you and shirk their responsibilities instead of finding solutions. The school should offer her a school funded alternative provision, wether that’s online learning or a PRU set up. PRU set ups are small and well supported.

SENwoes · 13/01/2024 23:01

@EMajor boarding/waking day would be ideal for her I think. And for us as a family, the time we would spend together would be so much better I think.

OP posts:
KeepGoingThomas · 13/01/2024 23:03

It is the LA’s duty to ensure DC unable to attend school full time receive a suitable, full-time education, not the schools, and this duty is non-delegable despite what many LAs claim.

Hankunamatata · 13/01/2024 23:04

Contact NAS. They advocated for me, helped me organise stuff and generally were a rock

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