5 year old…formally or illegaly excluded today? I have no idea!

Today is one of those days where you wish you had stayed under the duvet!

I had a phone call from my American friend whose daughter goes to dinky’s old school. We only spoke 3 weeks ago. It seems so much has happened this week, let alone in the last 3! As for my friend she has had a lot on her plate. Her poor 5 year old daughter was being bullied by 7 year olds. It had been going on for a couple of weeks and no-one had picked up on it at school. Anyway, that phone call lasted until just after 1am.

Dinky did her best ‘I’m asleep’ routine this morning. It took a while to get her ready to go and the only way I could get her out of the door was to let her have her headphones on. Which was fine. We got to school ok, but Dinky wouldn’t give me the headphones back. She was messing about during the activity and when I managed to get them off her she was trying to fight me for them. Needless to say that she wont have that again!
She was kicking off so the TA told me to just go.

So I left her there and went home. To find my Dad had locked himself out and needing his spare key. I let him in. Apparently he went out to smoke and shut the door on himself… muppet!  I went straight to my –it has everything I don’t need but may need- draw, where things like spare keys live. My grandad’s keys were in there but my dad’s weren’t. Hmm.

We had a bit of a disagreement as to who had the keys. He was annoyed, I was equally annoyed. If I had them they would be in the draw.

So I look everywhere I may have put them and they are nowhere to be found.

Then I think about Dinky. She has a habit of putting things on the bottom drawer of my bedside cabinet. There they were. I sent him on his way. Caught up on facebook, and got trigger happy on Call of Duty on Xbox.

I then caught the bus to town to go to my keywork session. I was just coming up to the building when my phone rang. It was the school.

Apparently Dinky had a bad morning at school and had hurt someone so was being sent home.

So I had to turn round and leave a message for my keyworker to let her know what had happened. I caught the bus back up to the school and was there for 1.30pm. The head of pastoral care was there. I had now met the full set of the senior leadership team!

He said that dinky had a bad morning, had refused to do as she was asked and kicked a teacher, so they were sending her home.

The senco brought her out to me, she was not in a good mood at ALL.

The HOPC (head of pastoral care) said that dinky was asking if she could have television on when she got home. I said no not until it would be time to come home. He caught me well off guard and I should not have said that! Dinky was starting to get more upset.

HOPC: You are being sent home, tomorrow is a new day, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow for a fresh start.

Dinky: I don’t want to come to school. I hate this school.  I am not coming to school tomorrow!

It went backwards and forwards, but she was adamant. Then:

HOPC: Well, you need to go home with mummy now.

Dinky: I don’t want to go with mummy. GET AWAY FROM ME!!! I hate her! I’m still not coming to school!

I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little hurt.

HOPC: Are you ok carrying her out?

I had to carry her while she was literally kicking and screaming. Which was not good. I had to put her down once we got outside. Then she refused to come home.

It was hot and I am not a fan of the heat at all. It gets me all flustered and short tempered. I quickly got frustrated with dinky as she refused to walk home. She said she wanted to go back to school. When I eventually got her to move she stopped outside the gate to the early years playground as the early years children had come out to play. Which meant again, she wouldn’t move. We were blocking the pathway so I had to get her home. I picked her up, again kicking and screaming and got her to the community centre across the cul de sac. The nursery children were playing, dinky was screaming and shouting and crying.

One of the kids started shouting “cry baby!” at her. Which made her more upset. Then one of the nursery staff laughed. I then called across saying that allowing the children to name call a child who is obviously in distress is completely unprofessional, and to laugh about it is worse!

So I had to pick her up and get her away from the other children.

Then there were teenagers having lunch, or at least trying to while Dinky was still in a state. They were talking loudly about what a little shit she was. So again I had to move her.

Then she bit my hand and kicked and I dropped her.

Oh dear!

Dinky: you are mean mummy you hurt me.

We had this battle, walk a bit, sit a bit all the way home.

Once in dinky went straight up to her room and started trashing the place.

Then she got into the hugging state. SO she came down and we had a hug. She lay on me and I tried to reassure her. Then after a few minutes she went to sleep, again a few minutes later she was woken by me, trying to get the phone.

It was the integrated services lady. She was really nice and asked how dinky was. I told her she had just gone off to sleep before the phone rang. She apologised to which, I told her there was no need. She said the school had phoned to say she had been send home as she had a bad day at school and kicked the teacher. She said that she had arranged a meeting with the head teacher just after my meeting with her on Friday, and that she would like to come and see me after.

I told her how it took us 30-40 minutes to get home and she said that for dinky to now be calm means at least I’m doing a good job by managing to get her calm quickly. She said that she is going to support me to get dinky the support she needs.

Dinky was then awake so I let her watch some T.V as it was now nearly 3pm. She was much less anxious and said that she was sorry for being naughty at school. I told her it is ok and that I love her. She replied “I know, mummy I know.”

She was laying on me still and out of the blue she said

“They put me in a dark room with no toys, and no teacher to look after me.”

I looked at her in surprise. She carried on…

“There were spiders…. And …. Lots of bugs!”

Well, she was coming back to herself properly now, her sense of humour was back!

We spent the afternoon relaxing and had pizza for dinner. I decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to push it and go swimming tonight. So I left it.

She is still messing about in her room and not going to sleep but she at least seems content enough.

I phoned the ISPEA helpline, as when I looked on facebook I was informed that Dinky was actually informally excluded.
After a lengthy call with them, it turns out that they were spot on.
Dinky was illegally excluded, unless I turn up tomorrow and have written confirmation of a fixed term exclusion, and even then I have grounds to complain about the exclusion as I wasn’t aware of it being a formal exclusion and that it seems no reasonable adjustment was made to take dinky’s SEN or disability into consideration. It also seems drastic for a 5 year old.

As for the school trip, I was spot on they are not allowed to discriminate against her and I have some more information.

Again statutory assessment was brought up.

Just these two incidents prove that this school can not meet dinky’s needs. They should have been able to handle her on site and sent her home (illegally) and the fact that they are again saying they do not know if they can manage her behaviour on the trip, goes to show that they do not have the resources for her.

So I have to decide whether or not going down the statutory assessment route is worth it. It could mean dinky gets a set amount of hours 1:1, which will not only help dinky, but the school too. As if they can keep her calm, and someone is tuned into her anxiety levels then they may have the ability to avert some of the situations the school find themselves in.

This leaves me with some thinking to do.

Do I say something tomorrow? Do I ask if she was formally excluded? If she was do I fight it? DO I use this to show that they need help to cater to her needs?

Do I say yes but wait until I meet with the head on Friday?

I don’t know.

The whole situation has been a nightmare. I don’t want dinky to think that if she behaves like this then she will be able to just come home, and I do not want the school to exclude her formally or illegally!

Getting her hoe was a nightmare and again this shows that the school are not thinking properly. Dinky’s IEP acknowledges her problems with transition yet they still excluded her, which meant something completely out of routine and completely different. They did not take into account how she would react to it, or what effect this would have on her!

They didn’t think. This I will definitely bring up.

 

It feels like I have been tossed into some parallel universe!

Most kids go to school and the most the parent worry about is whether or not little Timmy got paint on their jumper again.

Here I am trying to work out whether or not they just formally or illegally excluded my 5 year old!

You cant get any more different to what I envisioned for dinky for school…

But I am here now and I have to suck it up, place my amour on, put on my war paint and prepare to do battle….

(At least I can not say my life is dull and that I am not learning anything! By the time Dinky is in secondary school I will probably be able to recite the SENCOP and DDA, and equality act!)

Dinky doesnt want to go to school… professionals are starting to get PDA!!!

Today I am a very mixed bag of emotions…

Dinky was not happy, so I am unhappy for her

Professionals are believing in PDA and see that Dinky fits PDA, things are moving forward with school and now more things are set in motion.. I am happy!

Dinky did not want to go to school this morning and pulled out some amazingly gifted demand avoidance strategies!

She went back to bed, she put her headphones on so she couldn’t hear me, she hid under the table, and then the washing. She asked question after question about why she has to go to school. When I wasn’t giving in, it turned to screaming and everything in her path seemed to be a missile, and I was the target. (If anything I am sure to lose my small amount of excess weight dodging them… 5 D’s of dodge ball and all that!)

So I tried to play a new one.

Me: Well, I am going to school because I want to do the activity at the craft table with all the other children

Dinky: You can’t leave me here! That is mean mummy!

Me: well, I can go to the school and then when they ask where you are, I will say that you didn’t want to come.

Dinky: Don’t leave me here!

And she started to get dressed between screaming “you are a mean and stupid mummy!”, she had a point on the mean, but not the right reasons! I was mean for tricking her, but I thought it was pretty clever actually. I will be careful not to over play this one as it would be a nightmare to carry out!

Eventually we were ready to go, but she didn’t want to leave and was having a difficult time understanding why she couldn’t wear her new, converse type, hi tops to school. So I had another idea. I asked her if she would like to listen to music on the way to school. She did and she was happy, she got her shoes on and put her wrist reins on without an issue and put her headphones on. She loved listening to the music on the way to school. Which created another issue. She didn’t want to give it to me when we got to school. She wanted the headphones in school.

Eventually I got them off her and that was it she wasn’t happy. Straight past the TA who she hadn’t seen in 2 weeks, and under the table. So I coax her out by showing her teacher the promise we made about phonics. (Dinky keeps going under the table in phonics so I made a promise to buy a magazine if she was to do phonics nicely until the end of the week. I did a sheet so the school could put some indication if she did it or not). The teacher helped and we got her out. She then did her activity and did the writing! Shock horror!

While she was busy I gave Simba to the teacher and then left it up to her when to give it to Dinky. It all fell apart when I was due to leave. She was still very anxious from the morning. While she enjoyed the music I could still sense the anxiety that radiated from her.

She then asked the teacher for Simba. Oh dear! Really not good!

Dinky went into the teacher’s cupboard, but it wasn’t in there, but she kept looking anyway, then she started throwing chairs and then ran out of the building onto the playground. I tried to calm her but she said she wanted to come home and that if she stayed I had to stay. I gave her a hug (when she calmed down enough to let me have a hug!), and then I took her back in.

Great day back for the TA… not! She ended up having to stop a very upset dinky running after me as I left.

 

I went round to get the plan from the head. Turns out it is an IEP.

The deputy head came with the head to show me the plan. He didn’t look too impressed. It might have something to do with him asking me a week ago not to go over the head of early years’ head, and then me proceeding to go over his head, which has led to the I.E.P being drawn up. I tried to give him my best ‘it was for the best’ look. Still not impressed! Oh well… I did it for dinky. If it was about keeping the school happy then sure, I may have listened.

 

Her targets are set around her behaviour. She has 3 in total…

  1. To be kind to other children and adults and not to hurt them
  2. I will go to my quiet space when I need to be on my own or feel like running out of the room
  3. To meet my adult at the end of the day without getting upset

I was impressed that the head actually got the senco to do it quickly, but then again they were fully aware that the integrated services lady was on her way out this morning!

So I got home and repaired the damage from today’s school battle before the integrated services lady got here.

Have I mentioned how much I like this lady? She came in and I showed her the IEP. Then she asked what had been going on in the past 3 weeks since she last saw us. So I told her about dinky and what was happening at home, which made me concerned about how she was getting on in school, and then I told her that I had a meeting with the Head and the senco yesterday. She said she had looked up attachment and it didn’t fit, but the more she looked into PDA the more she is sure that PDA is the issue. She recommended I definitely take the file on PDA with me to the Paediatrician appointment on the 8th (they changed the date and the paediatrician).

She said that although they don’t tend to like parents who diagnose their children, it seems Dinky has some very (very) strong traits! I asked her if she would write a report on how dinky was when she last came out for me to take with me, and she said yes!

We discussed the issues with the school, and went more in depth about the meeting I had with the school yesterday. I did say to the integrated services lady that again the home time thing was put on me, by them saying that it seemed like Dinky didn’t want to come home. I said that it would be nice if their first port of call wasn’t to blame me.

She said that it is clear to her that I am a good parent, that I love dinky and that I am acting solely in her best interests. She praised me for giving dinky the foundation in reading. (I am not a big fan of praise, especially not when it is something every parent should be doing with their child.) She said I am doing everything I can and will put that across to the school. She is going to talk to the school this week and ask them what services they can pull in for Dinky and call me after I speak to the head teacher on Friday.

Then she will arrange a TAC (team around the child) for Dinky the week of or after the paed appointment so that we can work out how we are going to deal with the transition into year 1, and get some idea of what support can be put into place! I can’t even begin to describe how much the last 2 days have felt like a huge, win!! I feel vindicated, and feel like we can actually do something to help dinky. It is miserable so I don’t think we will be going to the park.

However tonight I think I will relax.

So, until tomorrow!

When I have steps and dinky has swimming, and she has end of the week teacher, which should be interesting!

I’m off to bang my head on a brick wall…. (school issues… more school issues!)

It is getting to the point with the school where I just have to expect the most ignorant and irresponsible things to occur!

Take today and the last 2, no 3, actually 8 weeks.

Ok seriously today was the biggest joke.

This morning Dinky decides that again, she doesn’t want to go to school. So I get kicked and punched while she ‘thinks’. Her choice was a simple one.

  1. She stayed home which means she will not be allowed to go to the attendance treat, which also meant no tv, no tab, no ipod, no toys= no fun
  2. She goes to school and gets to go on the attendance treat at the end of term.

It was a battle for her to accept her choice of the attendance treat (dinky can not turn down a go on a bouncy castle!).
Once it was time to leave I could sense that we were going to go through the same thing we had for the past 2 weeks, so I decided to try and head her off. I said she could take her, now fully grown, cress into school today. She was holding it carefully so I managed to get out without being attacked!

 

On the way she said the usual

“my tummy hurts”, “my feet are burning”, “I have runned out of energy”, “I’m too tired to walk”.

God forbid that one day she does have a tummy ache, I would not believe her for a second!

When we got to school she was interrupting all the adults showing them her lovely fully grown cress. She paid no attention to them saying they were busy, she had the cress, they had to look at the cress! She was then messing about with the activity which involved scissors.

Once she was done she went back to end of the week teacher and was showing her the cress again, then she was showing the other children, she got them all to sit around her while she told them what she used to make them grow.

As I left I asked end of the week teacher if Dinky was allowed on the school trip. Apparently it would have been ok, up until last Thursday when Dinky was playing up… Contact book says

“”Dinky is still very wriggly on the carpet but has had a good day. She has been mixing all day with a new friend (smiley face)””

Hmmm, nothing in that to suggest anything out of the blue! Friday was majorly different. As I wrote on here she cut a hole in her school jumper, had spat and all sorts at school.

I asked if she meant Friday, she said, Thursday as well, and she couldn’t understand the trigger for the change, Friday is music and PE, and most kids find Friday harder as it is much more structured and different to their normal routine.

She said that I would have to speak to the head teacher about it as there is a risk element.

Basically Dinky is not being invited on the school trip.

Ok I thought, I would just go and see the head teacher as I am supposed to be meeting her now. So I left dinky teaching her class mates.

I went to the office to be told that the head wasn’t in this morning, but she would be in in the afternoon. I told them she said to come by today after I had dropped dinky off. She looked puzzled. I told her I was not happy and that I expected better from a head.

I went into town and got more ink for my printer along with some other supplies, and came home to read up on the disability discrimination act, SENCOP (Sen code of practice), and the equality act. All in regard to schools and children.

I then wrote a letter to the school saying that Dinky is classed as having a disability, hence having been awarded DLA, and that means that she should be protected by the disability discrimination act. I highlighted the relevant parts, and then wrote this at the end

“”This means that under the above legislation, reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that Dinky is not discriminated against on the account of her disability. Her disability, while not yet defined by medical professional in terms of diagnosis, includes her behavioural issues.

The school can not say that I have not informed them, or tried to inform them, that Dinky has additional/special needs, which includes the nature of her disability.

Also, while caution is advisable, I might remind the school that Dinky has been on a number of successful trips, both with her previous school and with xxxx. (xxxx is a charity which runs groups for children with special/additional needs- disabilities). Granted she requires 1:1 on such occasions, but I do not see how this is not a “reasonable adjustment” that can be made for this trip to ensure that dinky is not discriminated against by being excluded.

Of course if the school has reasons which do not pertain to her disability, I would be happy to receive this in writing on headed paper and signed by either the Head teacher or other responsible member of the senior leadership team who are responsible for making these decisions.””

 

Hopefully this will mean that she will be accepted, if they have a loophole they can wiggle through then I will have to say that not allowing her to go will cause more issues because the staff, going on what was done previously, will talk about nothing but the trip for weeks leading up to and after the trip. Dinky found the whole thing rather upsetting and I think the only reason she wasn’t more upset is because I took her to the London eye, the aquarium and London Zoo. I will have to do something else with her to distract her from the fact that once again she will be excluded.

This will bring me nicely onto the point about her SEN status, as they can’t exclude her from 2 trips and then deny there is an issue. It doesn’t work that way.

 

So I printed off the letter and took it to the school, the receptionists face was a picture, as she scanned the letter… it was a mix of shock and disbelief!

I left to get dinky and was met by the head of early years. Dinky did not have a good day at school…

  • she refused to take part in learning activities today
  • she hid under the table during phonics
  • she messed about during PE and music
  • she hid during playtime, giving end of the week teacher the run around (which I had to try NOT to laugh at!)
  • She wouldn’t sit for carpet time
  • And finally… she punched a kid in the face for seemingly no reason

At which point Dinky piped up

“Yes, but I did write the boy a sorry letter.”

Hmmm.

So the head of early years wasn’t impressed and nor was end of the week teacher. To be fair I can handle all of the stuff accept her punching the kid in the face!

Then out of the blue the head teacher turned up! She asked if I could meet with me on Monday at 9am. During this Dinky asked if she could go to the park, and I said no because she punched a boy in the face. That was it… she was off. I had to chase her, then get her to go back in to get her book bag, she then went under the table and threw books at me. Then she tried to throw a chair at me. All because we were not going to the park!

I calmed her down by taking her to the shop and letting her choose what we were going to have for dinner and letting her pick the weekend lunch snacks.

Once home I realised that we had left Simba at school! Dinky was not happy, but she didn’t kick off. Actually she was much calmer this afternoon, which was very nice!

I think (obviously apart from punching other children which I do not condone and I feel terrible for the boy involved), that I much prefer it when she avoids all demands at school. It makes for a much nicer home child and now the school cant give me that superior judgement grin, because it is not a home handling issue, as she can be good, and now just as bad for them! I just hope she doesn’t hit the teachers, as I can guess that that will lead to her being permanently excluded!

 

So my meeting with the head teacher did not go ahead, but now I have more ammunition for Monday. It will be very interesting to see what they have to say.

So that is today… we shall see what the weekend brings… which is hopefully a lot better than this week!

After school meltdown…

I don’t quite know where we are at most days. This morning she was her usual (not wanting to get ready for school) self. We got out of the door later than normal, and she was being awkward on the way to school. She hid under the table after she finished her morning activity on the computer (which is normally her favourite). She cheered up when she saw her new friend. I can tell that this is going to be one of her friends that she gets overly attached to.

I caught up on housework and then got a surprise call from the child support agency. (Dinky’s dad has not seen her, and he hasn’t contributed at all to her. The CSA wasn’t about money for money’s sake. I had no choice but to have dinky when I found out I was pregnant. It takes 2 to tango and I have been left with all the responsibility of brining up the child we created. The child which, I have made sacrifices for, in order to do right by her. I had to work part time, and I couldn’t afford to give her everything she deserved. The CSA was his way of contributing to her life. Maybe I could say when she is older, that although he didn’t see her, he still made sure she was provided for. However he hasn’t paid a penny, and I would only use the money for her.)

Anyway, the CSA said that he has finally agreed to make payments. I thought wonders would never cease!

My dad called, he wasn’t feeling 100%, asked if I could do him dinner. Problem is he phoned at just before I went to pick up Dinky, which meant I had to take dinky shopping.

I walked to the school and she seemed happy enough, until I said we weren’t going to the park. Then she ran, she ran through the crowd at the gate, out of the gate, down the path toward the road, went in to the shop and ran round the shop. EVERYONE was looking at us! Judging, tutting, and staring. Which of course only added fuel to the fire. She was kicking and biting. I had to try to ignore her. She was too far gone to reassure and hug out of it. Once she had clamed down a bit I managed to give her a hug. People were looking at me as if I were nuts! Do you know… I don’t care. I looked at my daughter and my heart felt for her. She seemed scared.

Then she was great, she even helped with the shopping. Then I got a text asking if I could pick up painkillers for him.

So we went into the chemist. Dinky was fine, until, the woman said we could put the packet which was in a paper bag, into the co-op bag.

dinky: But it doesn’t come from there

Sales person: yes but it doesn’t matter

Dinky: Yes it does! It didn’t come from there. Mum, it didn’t come from there.

Me: it is ok, I will hold it

Sales person (ignoring the fact dinky is getting wound up and frustrated) : Yes but it is only a bag, just put it in the bag.

Meltdown part 2. I get kicked and dinky (now on wrist reins), tries to hide behind the aisle. She wants the moshie monster toothpaste and mouth wash. When I tell her she cant have them because they are for big children, I get attacked again. I am then kicked as I scowl at the sales assistant, and kicked most of the way up the street. Cue stares! I tell her that she is hurting me and that I do not like it. Of course this makes no difference.

finally she calms enough for another hug where she apologises and says that she doesn’t like getting angry.

At home I drop all demands. I told her she had a reading book and that it was her choice if she wanted to read it, and if she did I would read her one too. So she read 2 books and I did the same! She ate loads, and then my dad came and he got her ready for bed.

We chatted, ate, I kicked his backside at FIFA, and then he went home.

I am shattered again. Tomorrow is the last school day before the half term. I am going to rest tomorrow as her special needs trip isn’t until the Friday. Which will be ok, but tiring. I have a few things planned so we wont get bored!

Another day bites the dust. Day in, day out, this is how we live. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t the most difficult existence. Each day I am grateful for the things that make me smile, and I celebrate every achievement. Her achievements differ from that of the average 5 year old, but I wouldn’t change her for the world.