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Meeting with the head, Senco etc tomorrow

(22 Posts)
wetaugust Thu 24-Oct-13 23:35:33

Lougle's right. There are set time limits.

School's sole strategy seems to be to keep it's fingers crossed and hope things will improve.

Sorry - they won't.

I'd apply for a Statement direstly to the LA. There's been too much messing around, too many school days lost and no future plan.

lougle Thu 24-Oct-13 23:29:53

It's a legal process. There is an official timeline:

Day 1 -statutory assessment request (you can do that yourself)

Week 6: - no Statutory Assessment -> appeal
OR
Notice of Intention to carry out SA.

Week 16: Decision that a Statement will not be made
OR
Notice of intention to draw up a Statement.

Week 18: Issue Note in Lieu -> Appeal
OR
Send out Proposed Statement

Week 26: Issue final statement.

There are very few exceptions to this timeline.

The way they were talking it sounded like it would take much longer than that.

lougle Thu 24-Oct-13 23:04:06

"head said that statement takes a very long time and they might just end up refusing to give him one."

It takes 26 weeks. If you apply today, he may well have one by 24th April 2014.

So the main points of the meeting were:
- they thought he had been doing well until the last week or so. The head thinks that it suggests that he is capable of controlling himself.
- they are going to be ringing the Dr to see if they can get DS bumped up the list to be seen sooner due to having been excluded all week
- they are hoping that when he goes back after half term he will have settled down and carry on the way he started the term. In this case they will start by extending his day on a Thursday afternoon until 2 so he can go to a gardening session at the senior short stay school next to his school. If this is successful they will try extending his day on a Tuesday afternoon as well.
- the reward system they use is ticks and dots but the class teacher doesn't take away the rewards earnt by the ticks for any dots he earns. His reward is use of a laptop but he hasn't managed to earn much use of it.
- the Head would prefer it if he didn't go back to the short stay school until they have tried everything they can at their school. She also doesn't think that sending him to a different school would be a good idea, especially if we want to try for a statement.
- head said that statement takes a very long time and they might just end up refusing to give him one. Senco suspects that he does have autism and that we need to get a diagnosis for him.
- they will take him out of the recorder lessons but he will have to do work instead.
- they know he struggles with handwriting tasks but there is no way around that as it is a necessary skill.

wetaugust Thu 24-Oct-13 21:14:19

Yes, great post Agnes

Pink print Agnes's post out and ask the questions that have been suggested.

Your child is being illegally excluded by school.

Out of sight - out of mind , as in, if you keep him at home voluntarily for part of the time then school will not be in a hurry to sort out suitable support.

You need to get angry.

Whatever they are doing at the short stay school, needs to be implemented in the long stay one.

FFS my 5 year old could advise on that.

lougle Thu 24-Oct-13 13:39:44

Agnes, copy that post to a word document and save it . It's fantastic.

I have heard of 'The Explosive Child' but not gotten around to reading it yet. That excerpt looks interesting thank you.
When he gets the ticks I think he earns free time but the dots cancel out a corresponding tick. Last year he earned 2 minutes computer time for each activity he did, with a maximum of 12 minutes. In my opinion that worked better but the only computer in the classroom is the teachers and the kids are not allowed to use it.
I think the short stay worked better because there was only him and one other child in the classroom, and the teacher and ta. Also I think he liked the routine, and felt safer there. He doesn't like writing and a lot of what they do now is writing. He only does maths and literacy at the moment and for the last year.

AgnesDiPesto Thu 24-Oct-13 09:31:37

If you were happy with the short stay school he could go back there temporarily BUT as part of a plan / breathing space while long term provision is sorted out.

What reward does he get when he gets ticks? What does he earn ticks for? Is that sufficiently motivating for him?

Why do you think it works in the short stay school but not mainstream? Is it staffing numbers, because he finds the mainstream class too noisy and busy? is the work too easy / hard??? because the mainstream staff don't know what they are doing??? If you can figure this out you can find a solution eg more 1:1, training, a school with small classes etc etc

You know its not that your child cannot learn or behave - because he did in the short stay school. So the problem must be the school.

And its always easier to give advice about meetings when its not your child grin

PolterGoose Thu 24-Oct-13 08:25:03

Well, clearly the system they have isn't working, so why on earth are they continuing to use it hmm

Have you seen any of the Ross Greene stuff? He's written 'The Explosive Child' and 'Lost at School'. There's a summary of his approach to 'behaviour management' here in PDF format. You might want to print it and take it with you...

Good luck for the meeting flowers

I am taking DH with me. He hasn't been to many of the meetings so I am not sure what help he will be. I asked the family support worker at the school to come too. She has told them before that they are not supporting him well when they were excluding him every time he hit out. Thank you for your mega post Agnes, I don't suppose you want to come with me instead? wink
The school want him to go to the short stay school again. He did full days there which just proves to me that with the right support he is capable of full time. Before the school put him on the PT timetable in year 1 he had had partial exclusions at least once or twice a week. He has a reward system in that each day he has a chart which they put ticks for compliance and dots for not doing as he is asked. As the term has carried on he is coming home with more and more dots, 9 is the most he has received. On Thursday and Friday they just removed him from the classroom and put him in the library with a TA. On Monday when I picked him up they said they would send some work home for him to do but nothing has arrived as of yet.

shirehorse Wed 23-Oct-13 23:23:35

Have you posted about this previously? If so I think I am possibly in your county and have discussed this before (we have an Umbrella pathway too). Please pm me where you are and I might be able to give some useful information.
As others have said tell them that you are seeking advice - do NOT agree to anything tomorrow.
If we are in the same county they know that they can't do this and were supposed to be reviewing policies. We were also told it would be only for 6 weeks and it went on for a year! As Agnes has said it was done for the benefit of the school not the child angry

AgnesDiPesto Wed 23-Oct-13 22:56:59

All children have a legal right to a fulltime education. There are short term reasons part-time timetables can be used eg to reintegrate a child back into school, to avoid exclusion or if the child is ill and can't cope with a full day. That is not what has happened here. The parttime timetable has been for the school's benefit (can't cope with him or don't want to fund support needed) not the child's.

This is unlawful and possible disability discrimination under Equality Act.

You need to be very firm:
1. You know PT is unlawful. Ask them what absence code they have been using and whether they have informed the Council about the PT timetable and if so when.
2. Tell them you know your child has a legal right to be in mainstream and fulltime and the law says the school and council must do everything they reasonably can to make that happen (so its not incompatible with the education of other children). egs of what is reasonable would be to provide fulltime 1:1, make full use of behaviour outreach support, EP, CAMHS, use ASD strategies (even if no diagnosis yet), send teachers on training courses.
3. If the needs are above what the school can provide from its own resources the school should have referred for statutory assessment. They should have done this when they put on PT timetable a year ago. Tell them you are applying yourself. The school can ask the LA for extra funds now - funding is not your problem. Is the school putting in the maximum amount of 1:1 the council expects? Ask them.
4. If they threaten to exclude permanently say you will appeal that and will be asking for a SEN expert to do a report under the new exclusion rules.
5. Make it clear you know the school and council should be everything they can to avoid an exclusion for an SEN child and will need to show at the appeal they have done this.
6. Ask the school to immediately call a multi agency meeting (or say you will do so). This should include EP, SEN officer, behaviour support, SLT to put a plan in place etc etc
7. You can if you want insist on your child attending fulltime after exclusion ends (or by set date) and if they say PT must continue say you will require an exclusion letter every time they want to send your child home halfway through the day. PT is only ever a short term solution and should be a plan for intervention being put in place to enable FT. The school and council can and should be providing work at home / home tutor to make the education up to fulltime if a child genuinely cannot be educated in a school. Your child needs more education than other children, not less.
8. All mainstream schools should offer the same level of support so don't let the school think you will quietly go elsewhere via a managed move etc. say that would just be moving the problem on. You have a better chance of getting a statement by staying put (for now). You can say you will look at specialist placements etc but that will require a statement so is a way off and the immediate lack of education needs attention.
9. If you have not already you must get in touch with the SEN officer at the council - the LA has a duty to provide fulltime education too and there is a complaint process to the ombudsman if the council does not take action. There is no real complaint process against the school apart from a disability discrimination tribunal or complaint to Minister which won't provide a solution to your current situation.
10. Write a list of the reasonable steps you think the school or council could take to avoid exclusion / meet your child's SEN e.g.: put fulltime 1:1 or 2:1 in place, staff training on autism / behaviour, teach him out of the classroom and gradually reintegrate, set up a behaviour reward system with help of behaviour specialist, involve behaviour or autism outreach, put in place frequent breaks e.g. 15 mins in class at a time, call a multi agency meeting to write an action plan
11. Ask for school to say what it will agree to do and commit to a timeframe.
12. If the school is going to exclude there is nothing you can do. I probably wouldn't say much in this scenario other than you will be appealing as you don't believe the school has put in place all reasonable steps to avoid exclusion and you look forward to getting their reasons in writing. You can then get advice about how to appeal.
13. Do not agree anything you are not sure of. It is fine to say you need to think about it / reflect / take advice etc and will come back to them. Do not feel pressured to agree anything on the spot.

The pathway is almost certainly a health investigation / pathway - nothing to do with education. The legal duty to provide an appropriate education is based on need not on any diagnosis.

Every time they say something like 'he is not allowed to go back to short stay school' or 'PT is legal because...' ask them to direct you to the relevant section of law or guidance that says that. If they dont know ask for that information to be provided to you after the meeting and for it to be minuted as an action point (write these all down as well). If they say its policy ask them to send you a copy of the policy after the meeting. ANY policy should have discretion eg a council can always use discretion to disapply a policy on a case by case basis. So don't be afraid to say I would like you to use your discretion to disapply that policy in this case especially given you have contributed to the situation reaching this point etc by not referring for SA, putting in 1:1 earlier etc. Again ask them to formally consider it and write to you with reasons why for e.g. he can't go back to short stay school (if that is what you want).

Info from IPSEA on illegal exclusions here

If you have anyone who can go with you even just to look as though they are writing notes etc take them. Usually people behave better when a 3rd party is present.

If you can't take anyone I would think about recording the meeting. Really you should ask them for permission - but they will almost certainly refuse. It can be useful to help you write up notes afterwards eg use an ipod. If you want to use it as evidence later you should get permission but if its just to help you write notes up I would just do it.

It is really really important you involve the SEN officer asap. Schools only have to use 'best endeavours' for children with SEN. The Council has a legal duty to meet SEN. So your legal route is against the Council.

Good luck.

Don't say anything at the meeting. Don't agree to anything but say you will think about it and get back.

Take careful notes and as soon as you are home write them up and send them back to them in an email with as many quotes from named people as you can.

If you like, post some of the details here and we can help you word the minutes.

What you are doing tomorrow is collecting evidence to throw at them when you DO get advice.

I have been trying to ring IPSEA all day but can't get through. I have tried the Parent Partnership before but they didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.

PolterGoose Wed 23-Oct-13 21:45:57

pink can you ring the IPSEA advice line before your meeting. I think you need some more formal legal advice on this as there is a lot going in that sounds dodgy.

Good luck tomorrow, you can always say to them at the meeting that you will hold off making any decisions until you've received legal advice and considered the options fully. This means you don't need to make any decisions there and then and you show them you are serious. The SEN Code of Practice is essential reading.

The senco he had last year said that the part time timetable is allowed as it is part of his IEP/PSP

He is being assessed by the Umbrella Pathway but I am not sure if that is a statutory assessment or something else. A look on their website makes no mention of the word statutory. I went to the GP on the advice of the EP who visited him in February which I believe is why he has been put on this Umbrella Pathway. They needed a report from me, one from an occupational therapist who did tests and has seen him twice, and one from the speech pathologist. When I finally got through to them yesterday to find out what was holding it up they said they were waiting for him to be seen by a Dr who needs to do psychological tests.

float62 Wed 23-Oct-13 21:11:04

What nennypops says and also get a referral to Camhs via your GP to start the process for a medically based assessment for any conditions that may be causing your ds's behaviour, including autism. Other than that, good luck tomorrow.

nennypops Wed 23-Oct-13 21:00:06

One of the main questions is - why haven't they referred him for statutory assessment? If they can't even keep him in school full time there couldn't be a clearer case for needing one. At least if they had this they could probably get some funding for proper support. So tell them you are going to apply and ask them to confirm that they will support the request.

It could also be worth pointing out that a part time timetable isn't even lawful. Ds is entitled to full time education. If he can't be in school then they should be sending someone to work with him at home.

How do I tell them that it is not my son that is the problem, but the way they are managing him? He is on a part time timetable as part of his PSP and has been for over a year now. He is 6 and in year 2. For every step forward we take there seems to be two steps back. He is currently excluded for 5 days due to damaging school property during a meltdown. They don't know what triggered it. The meeting was supposed to be with the head of a short stay school he went to a while back to get yet more strategies to deal with him but we have done all this before. I'm worried that they are going to just give up and permanently exclude him soon which nearly happened when he started in year 1. He has no diagnosis or statement but they suspect autism. He is on school action plus, has an IEP and a PSP which we review fortnightly. When they started the PSP they said it was only for 6 weeks, as was the part time timetable but a year later he is still on it.
Can anyone suggest some points I need to raise with them, or strategies I can give them to try?

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