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Has anyone managed to keep their job?

14 replies

namechange76217052684 · 10/02/2022 19:03

My son (6, has ASD) is currently being excluded from school every few days after having meltdowns. EHCP has just been approved but we're yet to receive a draft and special school hasn't been agreed yet. That's definitely what he needs, but we know it's going to be many months at least before it happens.

In the meantime, DH and I are both supposed to be working full time. Neither of our jobs/careers can be done part time. We've already been hugely struggling for the last two years, since we have no childcare so we have to work from home with the children in the background in the afternoons and during holidays. The only reason we've got away with this so long is because of covid but we're both hanging on to our jobs by our finger tips and exhausted from working all hours to make up the time. Plus the children are being pretty much ignored much of the time.

Now, with the constant unpredictable exclusions it's getting even harder. The school want to move to a part time timetable. We've resisted because it will mean one of us will definitely have to give up our job. But I suppose it's inevitable that they will exclude him permanently sooner or later and then we'll be in the same position.

The dilemma is that my job pays more than DH's and is secure. But I have no attachment to it. DH's job is much more worthwhile and it would be awful for him to throw it away at this stage in his career. But we couldn't afford to live on his salary. He also has health issues, which could jeopardise his career (although also mine if I was the sole earner and had to look after him). So overall it would probably make more sense for him to quit, but it's just such a waste! I'm so resentful that we're being put in this position but I honestly don't know what other choice we have.

I really don't see how it's possible to raise a child with special needs with both parents working full time. I don't know what I hope to gain from this post. I feel completely worn down and defeated. Maybe I just need to face reality.

OP posts:
Imitatingdory · 10/02/2022 21:20

Have you considered one of you asking for parental leave? It is unpaid but if the alternative is resigning.

Do you get DLA?

What week are you on for the EHCP? Are the LA sticking to the statutory timescales? If you think DS needs a SS unless the school you want is wholly independent you can name a SS and the LA must name it unless they can prove:

  • The setting is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs (“SEN”) of the child or young person; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources.

Part time timetables such as that suggested by the school are unlawful whether or not you agree. If DS cannot attend school due to his additional needs the LA must provide alternative arrangements.

Are the exclusions formal, with paperwork each time? Or are they informal, illegal ones? How many days this academic year has DS been excluded for?
Ihaveaskedyouthrice · 10/02/2022 21:25

I'm in Ireland so possibly different in that there may be different supports and so on available. My son with SN is 9 and I had no other option but to leave my job. I know a huge amount of parents of children with SN and honestly in pretty much every case I can think of one of the parents has had to leave their job.

namechange76217052684 · 11/02/2022 15:39

Thanks both. He was excluded again yesterday & today. We're going to have to move to mornings only and even with that we are definitely heading towards permanent exclusion. We met with the inclusion team today who are suggesting various alternative provisions. All options still involve one of us giving up our job to cover the timings etc. parental leave is a good call, if we decide one of us will quit we will ask for this for six months or so and then see if it's possible to go back to work afterwards. Neither of our jobs could be held open for us though.

To answer some questions, the exclusions are formal and they are following the right process. I've lost count of the number but they started off rare and are now very often. He hates school and obviously he has learnt that if he attacks someone he gets sent home, so now does it every day. They do their best, but I don't blame them for sending him home.

We applied for the EHCP in June, got an EP assessment in December and it was just approved in principle at panel last week. We haven't seen a draft yet. We have complained many times.

We're prepare to go to tribunal for our chosen school and the LA know this (we haven't chosen one yet, but we just assume they will say no). But no special schools within 30 miles have spaces, so they will have to be forced and the process will take a long time. We can't work in the meantime if he's not in school.

OP posts:
Imitatingdory · 11/02/2022 17:50

You can not be compelled to be responsible for the education for DS, if that means the LA have to employ (or give you DPs to cover) someone to facilitate the AP then that is what they need to do.

Work out how many days FTE there has been this academic year. The school can only give FTE for a maximum of 45 days per academic year.

The LA are in breech of the statutory timescales. Write to the Director of Children’s Services threatening Judicial Review. If that doesn’t work contact SOSSEN for help with a pre-action letter.

Being full is not defined in law, and on its own being ‘full’ is not enough of a reason to refuse to name your preference. The LA has to prove the school is so full admitting DS is incompatible. The bar is high, higher than an “adverse effect”, “impact on” or “prejudicial to”. Unless the school is wholly independent the LA can, and must, name the school regardless of the school’s objections unless they can prove one of the reasons I posted above.

Onionpatch · 11/02/2022 17:59

I had to change to a part time role and my husband had to get a new job with less travel and working from home. He hates his new job and feels very trapped. We have a lot less money coming in with both these compromises.

namechange76217052684 · 11/02/2022 18:51

Thank you @Imitatingdory . I am listening to your advice and I will appeal/complain/escalate. We will be choosing a school and pushing for it. I just know that realistically this isn't going to happen overnight and it's the immediate term that I'm most worried about. We can't cope any more. I'm juggling work, school, our other child and DH's poor health. I feel completely broken. I know many other parents are in the same position. I'm not sure whether knowing that makes me feel less alone or just makes me feel more depressed.

OP posts:
namechange76217052684 · 11/02/2022 18:57

@Onionpatch this is what I hear a lot. Do you feel on reflection you had any other option? I am scared of going down to one salary, struggling financially and still finding it hard to cope. And never being able to go back to work. But maybe I just need to put DS first and nothing else matters. I don't know.

OP posts:
N0T0RI0US · 11/02/2022 19:03

I have 2 children with SN, both now attend special schools. I have managed to keep my job, but I have been part time for the last 14 years and my employers have been very supportive on the whole. I don't think i would have kept my job otherwise. There have been long periods when I have felt completely broken too. I had 3 months off work sick with stress the worst point Sad

Onionpatch · 11/02/2022 19:06

I didnt feel we had any other option. I am glad i managed to hold on to part time work for my mental health, i wish my husband was happier in his work - but i cant see a different way to do things. I do sometimes think if i had stopped work entirely, he would have kept his better job and maybe we would be better off all round, but i was so scared of depending on one salary.

Do look at parental leave and flexible working. If your child has a disability you dont have to take it all in one go,if your dh did it too if could spread the load.

Imitatingdory · 11/02/2022 19:13

Have you had social care assessments? A carer’s assessment for you and DH, an assessment by the disabled children’s team for DS and potentially an assessment for DH needs.

Are you claiming everything you are eligible for?

namechange76217052684 · 11/02/2022 19:24

No social care assessments. Lots of meetings with lots of different people but no actual practical help so far. We haven't claimed any benefits so far because my job is well paid (I know DLA isn't means tested, but it felt wrong). I now wish we'd started straight away because we clearly need to be building up our savings and I shouldn't have taken my ability to keep working for granted. I will apply for DLA now.

OP posts:
namechange76217052684 · 11/02/2022 19:25

If we can get assessed by social care, what help can they offer?

OP posts:
Imitatingdory · 11/02/2022 19:27

The Cerebra guide is helpful for completing DLA forms. Also consider whether DH would be eligible for PIP.

You can ask for social care assessments. A social care assessment for DS should have been part of the EHCNA. If you appeal the EHCP you can ask SENDIST to look at social care provision too.

MagratLancre · 13/02/2022 10:38

Definitely apply for DLA. It opens up.more avenues of support.
I left my job for a part time term time post which I enjoy but do miss the status of my old career sometimes. But it's a compromise. We went through what you're going through last year and, by the summer when we went to tribunal for the school we wanted, my nerves were shot and it was clear something had to give. It is shocking how the whole education system puts so much pressure on parents and sen children. I'm quite angry about it now in retrospect. Phoning me all the time to collect DS expecting me to just be available, marching him out of the main office all the time while he pleaded to go out the normal door like usual, horrible head smugly telling me there was no shame there, like my parenting was to blame forcDS' inability to cope!! More like how they handled him and the TAs having a total lack of sen training. Anyway.
Try asking for unpaid parental leave to start, to buy you some time while tribunal etc happens, abd look around for part time or remote options.

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