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Advice please - long

41 replies

LRB978 · 23/03/2009 17:32

Teachers, feel free to give me your input on this, am I expecting too much or am I getting a rough deal?
Other parents - ditto

Background - Ds is 7 and in yr 2. The previous years reports on him have been good, no problems flagged up. This year he has lots of issues with his teacher and I am now getting fed up. The first three weeks, according to him, he was kept in every break and lunch time to finish work. She says he was only kept in 10 minutes max each lunch. I managed to resolve this issue through having her agree to lessen what she was expecting him to do each lesson and by finishing the first lessons work at morning break if needed, and sending any other work home where I would see it was completed. This seemed to work. By the time I went to see her in week three (after having seen the headmistress that morning as he was so distressed) he had gone from loving school to crying and not wanting to attend. In this meeting his teacher said he was behind where she expected him to be but did not elaborate further.

I thought we had resolved most issues, we had another meeting just after November half term in which the measures we had put in place were working, he was coping with the work he was expected to complete and this would be slowly increased to match the level of the rest of the class. It was agreed we would have another meeting before Christmas, however his teacher decided we did not need it, the measures were working and we would meet again after Christmas. This meeting never happened and I unfortunately missed parents evening due to illness.

Last weekend, I researched his reading level and spellings on the net and found out they were the level expected for reception!! I spoke to his teacher after school on the Monday, said that I had worked out his work is 2 years behind (her response was 'well, not quite but not far off') and asked if it would be possible to have a meeting to discuss what help I could give at home, as she could only do the one afternoon that I cannot, she said she would work out a morning and let me know when - I recieved a note in his reading record to say she can do 10 minutes Thursday morning.

Today, however, he has spent his literacy lesson looking for his literacy book and then, as he couldn't find it, his playtime sat at the time-out table. So he has completed no work at all and then been punished, when his work book is placed in the middle of the table at the end of the lesson, then collected in by the teacher (thus I do not see how he can be responsible for it not being there when his teacher collected it in on Friday)

I have no issues with him being behind, he was 8 weeks prem, and that may be an cause. I am annoyed that it has not been mentioned to me before this year, and even then it was not said just how far behind he is.

His teacher is extremely strict, the children are expected to be totally responsible for themselves, she gives no quarter. If I (and other parents) ask her about something it gets brushed off. I feel as if she sees ds as an annoyance as he doesnt fit the mould.

I have called a different school this afternoon to see if I can have a look around and a chat with the head-teacher as I feel he has now got labelled as slow, lazy, impossible. But I don't know if I am jumping the gun and expecting too much or whether he would do better elswhere IYSWIM.

Thankyou for reading, I know it's kinda jumbled, but any advice is gratefully recieved and anything that needs clarifying just ask (I'm sure stuff does)

OP posts:
LRB978 · 24/03/2009 16:26

Quick update - I now have a meeting with the SENCo after school on Friday, but no longer have a meeting with his teacher - her message being: "As you haven't replied (confirming I would attend on Thurs) I have unfortunately arranged another meeting for Thursday so will have to arrange a time after half term" I admit I didn't put "Yes that is fine" but still...

I just get the feeling that she has no interest in helping him progress whatsoever, possibly not helped by my going to the headteacher before her in September (it wasn't the plan, but the way it happened).

Dysgu - thank you so much for taking the time to give advice, having had a day like that. I'd've been flat on my back by that time. He is in the right year, he was a Jan baby, would have been a March baby (would have given him an extra term at preschool but a term less in reception, so swings and roundabouts). I really don't want the teacher assessing him. My dad has just said she looks at you as if you are a piece of dirt under her shoe and that is spot on. If that is how she is with the parents then how is she with the kids? (I do know other parents have issues with her so it isn't just me, in fact one parent requested her ds3 went in the other yr 2 class this year after her ds2 had this teacher last year IYGWIM). I am tempted to insist on an IEP and see where that goes before pushing for a statement, but I will see how the meeting goes on Friday I think.

Jajas - ds didnt seem to show any issues until the formal learning kicked in. His speech, walking, eating etc (issues I have sen with other premmies) are fine. Its the 'fine' balance, co-ordination, motor skills he has issues with. He can balance along a beam, kerb etc and has since he was a tiny, but cannot ride a bike or stand on one leg for any time. He has issues with catching, pen control, 'delicate' skills IYGWIM. He could and can ride with stabilisers, but not without.

As I say, the future - round here as it is, he can walk out with no GCSEs and temp in a factory for a higher hourly rate than what I am getting for admin/reception work. No secondary school round here is fantastic, from memory and chatting to other parents, its a matter of getting into one which suits your child and hoping. (although I still have 4 years, things may change yet).

My big worry is the unsettling of ds, if I change his school. As long as he has his routine and he knows what is happening, where he is going, the people he will be with he is fine, when things change his attitude and behaviour changes markedly (goes from generally placid to very angry), his toiletting becomes an even greater issue (talking multiple accidents daily - and he doesnt say anything if he has wet himself, you have to call him on it), and he has some good friends there. I am not sure I want to upset that, but at the same time, can I let his education suffer for that?

OP posts:
LRB978 · 24/03/2009 16:29

I am going to link this in a thread on SEN as well, but, especially given the cancellation of the meeting with ds teacher on Thurs, what should I be asking in the meeting on Friday with the SENCo?

Obviously I need to know what measures are in place to help him, and what further measures can they put in place, why is he not yet on SA+ or have an IEP, but what else? And if they are too broad, how should I break it down?

OP posts:
LRB978 · 26/03/2009 21:27


Have got the meeting tomorrow with the SENCo and his teacher (she has somehow managed to free up time to attend this meeting).

What should I be asking/saying?

I want to stay away from blaming people for what has happened up to now, just want to know what will be put into place from now on. Am really not looking forward to it. Help, please.

OP posts:
cory · 27/03/2009 08:28

You want to ask about the level he is working at (don't tell them, ask). You want to ask if he struggles with the classroom situation. You want to ask what special measures can be put in place to help him. Also, are the children divided into sets? Is he in the bottom set? (he ought to be, for his own sake) Do they get extra TA help? Has he got an IEP? If not, say it sounds like he needs one.

My ds was slightly prem and has joint problems which mean that he finds it very difficult to do things with his hands. His fine motor skills are also very poor. The teacher has been very supportive, but I now realise that we need to get external help, as neither she nor I really know what the best way of helping him is. This may also be something you want to discuss with the school, whether they think you should get him assessed.

It sounds to me like a priority is to have him assessed by an ed psych or similar to find out exactly how far reaching his problems are.

titchy · 27/03/2009 09:12

You couold also ask for an occupational therapist referral. ds had one due to difficulties with fine motor skills as the result of an accident. He now has specific exercises to do during quiet reading - which is great cos he will not do his exercises at home!

If you want to try yourself it's things like using tweezers to pick up rice, making little balls out of plasticene, rolling a marble across a table or up a wall using fingers only.


theherbgarden · 27/03/2009 17:01

have you heard of Auditory Processing Disorder. I have a similar issue with my son, although he is only in year 1. I have long felt there was an issue with his his reading. I have been in several time thr reception and yr. I have recently been given an IEP ( school tried to slip it, partially completed, into a 10 mintute parents evening session, They didnt fully explain what it was - I thought they all had one!) All I then got from the parents evening was what he was not doing and what he was being told not to do. I came away furious. I returned to school to complain about the poor quality of the IEP and about the fact that they have given me no positives about my son whatsoever. In short the school were failing him and not owning it. The school feel 'it is a failiure to attend' and therefore more practice of the same and a motor skills group for his poor fine motor skills et voila he will be fixed! My son was not premature and but had bouts of glue ear since birth. Never severe enough for long enough to warrant gromits. I have a difrent view on the attention issue - I do believe it is a legacy of the glue ear. I I have been reading around Auditory Processing Disorder. I cannot claim to be an expert but there are a number of resources on the net. Only an audiologist can confirm this, and that is after a battery of tests. They dont generally start testing children until 6/7 or 8 in some cases. There is still a lot to be learned about APD and there are many belived causes premature birth and early glue ear can all contribute to this.,%20Kerry-Mr.%20and%20Mrs.%20Jones.p df

A child could have one, some or all of these indicators.

Apart from a speech and lanugage assessment. I cant give any constructive advice about how to deal with school as I am only just starting my crusade (it feels like that) for my son. We have tested eyes and ears and these are clear at the moment. I am having a speech and language assessment fro him ( had to really push hard for that)- a recomendation from the audiologist and I have had him referred back to audiology even though his hearing is fine at the moment. I do think its hard to have a frank discussion about with the school because I think school try to cover their backs. On the positive since I told his teacher how 'disappointed' I was and that we either 'work with her or without her' She had been much more positive to my ds. I think she had taken on board that ds's actions and currently ability are no a reflection of a child or parents who could not careless. He had come home much more positive and we get more feedback from his teacher. Its not perfect but at least a step in the right direction.

LRB978 · 29/03/2009 14:42

Sorry it's taken until now to update, I am presently without a computer at home, so am having to use my parents

theherbgarden: some points raised in the second article are certainly ringing bells, it is something I am going to print and re-read in detail.

titchy: I may try some of those exercises, it will give me an idea of how good his fine motor skills are, if nothing else

Update: (another long one )
Well in the Autumn tem he was working at 1c and 1b, he is still working at the same levels, he hasn't appeared to make any progress at all. His teacher was at great pains to state that it is going on the work he is producing as the problem she is having with him is that unless he has someone sat with him encouraging him to work the whole time he just does nothing. He is not disruptive, he just sits staring into space. Therefore she has no knowledge of what he actually knows as he is producing very little for her to assess.
In the Autumn term he was placed in the precision teaching group as he was slightly behind the rest of the class, he is now at a point where he could be placed within the SEN group, but they do not feel he will get any benefit from this (talking to a governor, she says there is a high number of children with behavioural problems within the group, and as ds has no behavioural issues that is probably why they are resisting moving him). Oh, and no punishment given by the teacher (losing playtime/dinnertime/golden time/sending work home) is able to persuade him to produce the work on his own. I suspect he is processing what has been taught, although I can't prove this (he went from using 2-3 word sentences to full compound and complex sentences, al words in the right places, went from taking one step to walking around the room in a matter of an hour. It is though he gets everything straight in his head then lets it out).

He is going to be assessed by a learning support advisory tutor (I think they said - sounds like an ed psych tbh) some time next term, probably the latter half as they have children in yrs 5 and 6 thay feel need assessing sooner (fair enough). He will do a series of assessments covering a wide variety of things, and will use this to decide whether he has a problem or whether he is just lazy (their words). He will not get an IEP or anything until after the assessment.

I came out of the meeting thinking, well at least I know what is going on, and that if he is going to be assessed then is there much point in moving him? I would have liked an IEP put in place sooner, however they were adamant the assessment had to be done first. I still felt that the negatives of moving him outweighed the positives. But the more I think on it the less sure about this I am, and the key is they are still using the word lazy about him, it feels as though they have labelled him lazy and that is going to stick no matter what. (Also the fact that I seem to have to be pro-active in order to get information from them. I wonder when I would have found out they were going to assess him had I not arranged the meeting - would it be when they gave me the form to sign giving my permission? It seems like I have to be pro-active, they are being reactive).

Additionally, I spoke to the head-teacher of a different school, more local to myself, on Friday morning, and she gave a very good impression of the school. I am calling her back tomorrow morning (post-meeting) and am going to ask how they would deal with a child who behaves in class like my ds, what support they would give. My gut instinct is pushing to move him, I just don't know it is right for him.

OP posts:
mrz · 29/03/2009 16:01

As a SENCO I would give a Y2 child priority over Y5/6 children as they are going to be in the school much longer for any intervention time to impact. That isn't to say older children's needs should be ignored but it's a case of working with limited resources (LSS or EP)

smartiejake · 29/03/2009 16:05

SENCOs can inititate IEPs and school action + without the need for an assessment from an ed psych. Even if the problem is just that he is "lazy" or has problems with concentration (and it really doesn't sound like that IMHO) then surely an IEP should be put in place to deal with this.

I would be seriously concerned that the school would need pushing every inch of the way to put interventions into place to help
your DC. As you say, nothing would be happening if you were not proactive.

I would go with your gut instict and move him.

paranoid2 · 29/03/2009 16:35

he sounds like he should definitely have an IEP in place. My Dt2 had an IEP long before he was assessed. You had said in an earlier post that you thought he was 2 years behind. However a 1b or 1c at the beginning of the autumn term in yr2 wouldnt suggest that he was 2 years behind. However the fact that he has made little progress surely means that something should be done.

On the question of statementing I dont really think the number of years behind is the key issue. A child in reception who is 2 years behind has clearly significant issues as they are 50% behind where they should be. Being 2 years behind at 10 is clearly less significant. My Dt2 received a statement kast November. He is neither 2 or 4 years behind where he should be for his age but he is probably 2 years behind many in his class because he was premature and summer born

mrz · 29/03/2009 18:06

Does the school still use IEPs ?

theherbgarden · 30/03/2009 01:37

Dont wait for the school to do an IEP after they have sorted out other children. the IEP is agreed with the school to make sure that you and the school know where you are specifically directing your efforts. You then get a timescale to review progress against the IEP. Insist on one now. Push for a speech and language assessment (the school will prefer you to wait for the lss assessment but dont - insist on it now - it take s 13 weeks round here!!)
get your dr to refer your son for a hearing test and auditory processing assessment.
and an eyetest with an optician (free for children) not the person who comes to the school. The more things you can rule out the better. Your son like my son is a risk of being failed by the system because they do not fail by a large enough margin to warrant a swift response. their behaviours seems normal enough for the school to label the issues as being down the the behaviour preferences of the child ie lazy, not attentive enought through choice etc If the school have him labelled then all they will view your efforts as is ' trying to deflect blame'in the nicest possible way of course. Once a child is judged often youa as a parent are also judged. Resources are scare in school and I doubt they have the experise of the time to observe him properly throughout the day and at play to make accurate assessent of his motivations. Also is your son may not chatty and open enough with then for them to really get a feel for him. My son is not, but he is sensive enough to understand when he is being judged as falling short, or being treated unfairly and he responds as you would expect in that situation. another auditory processing link

LRB978 · 30/03/2009 12:43

I have spoken to a number of people over the weekend, spent many hours thinking and have decided that I would not be doing the best for ds leaving him where he is, so I am going to move him. I have arranged a visit to another school this afternoon, just for me (if I decide I like it, I can take ds another day), and will be meeting the head (who I have spoken to on the phone a couple of times) and the SENCo, so hopefully I will be able to get an idea of what measures they will put into place to keep ds focussed on his work.

I am concerned that I have been labelled as unable to accept that ds is lazy, and trying to deflect the blame. I am concerned that ds will go through the school lablelled as slow/lazy (3 different members of staff have used this to describe him). His confidence has dropped dramatically this year, he has spent the whole of this 1/2 term counting down the days to the holidays, and combined with the labelling, the re-active nature of the school and the refusal to give additional help until after the assessment has made it an easy decision for me. Okay, it has taken me a long time to put everything together, I spent most of Saturday thinking about this, looking back over this year and past years as well (I was decorating the bedroom, boring job, lots of thinking time), and I am sure that ds is not a square peg, and he needs to be a square peg to fit in at the school. Speaking to other parents has confirmed this.

I will keep you updated as I can (I am still computerless, using my parents when possible), but I suspect ds will finish this school on Thursday and start his new one ofter the Easter hols. Thank-you for all the advice given, and for helping me see I wasn't being unreasonable in my expectations.

theherbgarden - ds has been under the hospital for vision issues since he was tiny, he has glasses and I go in/send a letter in each year stating his problems and ways to manage them (a previous teacher said she had placed the letter in his file - not sure that future teachers have read his file though). I am being advised to take him to the doctors and get him referred for assessment for developmental delay issues, and at the same time will see if they will refer him for a hearing test as well. As you say the more issues we can rule out, the better.

OP posts:
theherbgarden · 30/03/2009 21:07

It sounds like you have thought everything through, and made an considered decision. Your son has years ahead of him in school you are doing the right thing putting his needs first. Just a note that many children with APD may pass a normal hearing test, only a specialised battery of tests will identify APD. Anyway good luck, I hope it all goes well.

LRB978 · 22/04/2009 21:49


Well, I moved him. He started his new school on Monday, and although it is very early days yet, he seems happy and the school seems a lot more positive. I haven't yet followed through with the doctor, I want to see how he gets on in his new school and whether they feel he has any other issues before taking it any further, as I suspect that a more pro-active school and a teaching style that better suits him will lead to better progress on his behalf. I had a couple of discussions and meetings with his new school in the week before the Easter holidays, ds had a show around and a morning visit, coming home with a reading book that lunchtime.

Interestingly enough, after the visit, his first volunteered comment on his new school (as opposed to answering questions) was "Do you know what mummy, thay don't have a time out table in my new classroom" (I know he used to spend many playtimes sat at the time-out table doing unfinished work). Followed by telling me his new teacher didn't tell the naughty children off - and I suspect that by this he meant she didn't SHOUT at them.

After handing in the transfer request form I had no contact from the school regarding the move, although I do think I was fairly comprehensive and honest in the reasons I put on for the request. This morning, however, I had a phone call at work asking if ds was ok as he wasn't attending (his old) school today (no call Mon or Tues though). I told them that he had moved school (as they should have known), and they apologised for bothering me, but IMO it really does sum up the school and their attitude in general. Am so glad we are out of there.

OP posts:
cory · 23/04/2009 07:56

Sounds like you've really really done the right thing.

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