To top off a really horrible week, I had a meeting with the Head teacher this morning.
I can not express just how angry she made me! At the end it sounded like she had received a call from the board of governors. regarding my email yesterday, but honestly I have just about had enough.
She was very formal and writing stuff down. Which is fine.
We started off with discussing the referrals that have now been made by the Paediatrician.
She wrote it down and confirmed that is what I had said.
She then explained that if Dinky was to put herself, another child, or a member of staff in danger she was going to be formally excluded. I have given up explaining that I do not condone any of that behaviour, but it better be pretty serious as Dinky wants to come home, and this is the best way of saying to her “Go ahead Dinky… do something dangerous and you can go home!”. MUPPETS!! I said I agree in principle, but it would have to be a formal exclusion or I would not pick her up.
We discussed the speech and language report from the NHS which was basically her own opinion and had no test scores that anyone else could interpret to say where her areas of weakness are. She said that they could go in any time they wanted to. Which is not the issue the issue is that they didn’t do a proper assessment. I told the head that, and I told her where I feel Dinky’s difficulties lay. She was robotic. No answer.
She kept trying to put off the main crux of the conversation. She said that Dinky will not be able to go to play therapy if they set it up as she now has a referral to CAMHS. – the thing with this is when she first attended it was agreed that Dinky, in all reality, didn’t need play therapy. So why mention it.. like it is an actual possibility.
Finally we got onto the support for Dinky.
She said that she feels they already speak to Dinky appropriately. I had to explain that it wasn’t a slur on how they do talk to her, it is just she would respond better to being spoken to in the ways outlined by the PDA strategies. I also mentioned that I couldn’t see why this was such as issue to ask this of them. They are prepared to pay for a programme for Dyspraxia which also has NO formal diagnosis, and they were more than prepared to put her in the nurture group when her profile did not come out as a child with attachment disorder. So why the fuss over this?
I said that we had a provisional diagnosis, this was unlikely to change when it goes to CAMHS. She asked if I don’t think it would change at all. I said No. I have believed she has PDA since march. I have been saying it to the school since she started on the 15th of April. But the school has chosen to go behind my back and do the Boxall profile trying to prove it wrong. It was then she really piped up…
She said that I obviously have something against her and the school.
I said not really. It is not a personal thing. I just think that Dinky could be better supported. She said the school have tried to support Myself and Dinky. I said I don’t feel very supported. I feel like as soon as we walked through the door I have been pegged as a bad parent. She said she didn’t ever believe I was a bad parent. I said it was her that mentioned attachment disorder the FIRST time we met. She said “For the record I don’t think you are a bad parent”. I said you might not but your staff do, or in the very least make me feel that way. She said that wasn’t true, so I gave her 3 very compelling examples. She then said that the staff do care, her class teacher has had a few conversations about dinky,
PFFT, I mentioned the TAC meeting. If Dinky’s teacher cared, why would she say the now and next was too time consuming when another professional, whose entire job is to look after children with special needs, says that it does help to reduce her anxieties. That is not the mark of a teacher that cares. A caring teacher would say something along the lines of “Ok, if that helps we can try… it might be tricky, but we can give it a go.” The teacher came across as completely uncaring and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The other professionals agreed. She asked who I felt supported by. I told her the special needs group, other than that, no one. she asked about the integrated services lady. Nope, she only comes out just before a TAC and by that point normally things are pretty intense. Family link worker. Nope, mostly we talk about school. How we can get Dinky into school, how to help her be happier at school, and how to calm her after school.
Nope we are pretty much alone in terms of real life support. Even the special needs group, the leader does want to help, but there is nothing she can really do. She is great with Dinky. Dinky adores her. In reality that gives me a break in order to regroup. She is wonderful at the meetings and when the integrated services lady and the family link worker go quiet she is normally one to say something about how useless their decision making is.
Back to the meeting. She said that she was going to chase up the statutory assessment decision.
We discussed the fact that she said Dinky was settling better this term, yet 5 minutes later I was talking to the senco who told me what was really going on. The things that were not in the contact book. She still… incredibly.. stood by the fact Dinky is more settled. I said yes, she has times where she seems settled… then she engages in repetitive behaviours at home. Like Wednesday at swimming banging her head on the floor saying “IT IS YOUR CHOICE MRS” over and over and over and over again. Or spinning, or rocking in my arms. These are not the actions of a settled child! In school maybe. I have asked for the strategies, which do not cost anything to be put into place… I also said that she comes home and she is in her own little world, she is not my dinky when she comes home. That she could be much more settled, actually settled, if she is spoken to slightly differently. She said she believes they speak to her appropriately. I said not enough to reduce the anxiety, a small adjustment really. I mean if the school do not want her to be roaming around outside year 6 classrooms with stilts on, it is just a preventative measure.
(she did raise a small chuckle at the stilts thing!)
She said in future all meetings will try to incorporate the whole team as she didn’t have bits of information and other members of staff were not present. I did say that that is what I wanted in the TAC, not even the whole team just the senco would be nice. She said that she wants to as well but it is not always possible. That Dinky is not the only one they have meetings for. She said they have about 70. I said that is fantastic, I am only worried about Dinky and the Senco should be in the TACs.
I said at some point that she has a minimum of 20 weeks left at the school, possibly longer if we are refused statutory assessment. She asked if I was thinking about moving Dinky. I said I had pretty much decided that with the way things are with the school I do not see much choice, my main priority is that she goes somewhere suitable. Like the special school I saw. She didn’t know I had been to see it and spoke to the deputy. I told her they have kids there already with PDA. She seemed surprised.
She went back over her written account of our discussion and said that she is fully aware of disability discrimination law. Which must have either, come from a letter I had written to her previously about Excluding Dinky, or she got a call from the governors.
The last part of my email was
Now we have a provisional diagnosis of PDA, I was hoping the strategies I had requested and were agreed at the October TAC by Muppet head, (which are not extensive, nor do they require additional funding), would be adopted and adapted to suit Dinky and the school. However, I was met with heavy resistance and told that it is still not a formal diagnosis. Therefore the strategies would Not be used.The SENcop does not state a requirement of a diagnosis to meet the child’s needs. Dinky is also technically classed as protected under the equality, and disability discrimination acts due to her being in receipt of Disability living allowance, which, was also awarded prior to diagnosis, given Dinky’s level of need.No reasonable adjustments were made, and nor did the school display any form of anticipatory duty to stop Dinky being substantially disadvantaged by being formally excluded which was depriving her of education.If that was not enough, I was blamed for the poor home/school relationship by Deputy, who is relatively new at the school and is no doubt, unaware of the previous difficulties I have had in gaining the bare minimum support for my daughter who the school knew, prior to going on roll, was at a high level of need due to being on school action plus and having an open CAF at the previous school.The school have made interaction with them very difficult by continually blaming my daughter for having a condition, they are not adequately supporting her with, and making it an issue that I am doing my utmost to ensure she gets the support and education she deserves.Please may you add this to my list of concerns, and the formal complaint.I am currently seeking advice on whether or not to challenge the formal exclusion on the basis of disability discrimination.Yours SincerelyDinky’s mum
The line was busy for SEN team. so I kept at it. She picked up…
Application for statutory assessment declined 😦
I said “thank you for letting me know, I shall phone parent partnership and find out how is best to appeal, goodbye.”
she said she would put it in writing for me. I will probably get that next week.
So the whole statementing process is going to be delayed thanks to this refusal to assess. GRRRRR
So the next couple of weeks are going to be packed with appealing. Then waiting for a tribunal. I will definitely appeal. She cant stay there if this is their attitude!