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!)

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Weekend, and getting ready for meeting with head teacher.. take 2!

This weekend has not exactly been fantastic, but in no means the worst.

Saturday morning Dinky was not in the best of moods and neither was I. When my dad came over at 2pm I asked him if he would watch dinky while I went food shopping. So I went out and got back at 4pm, I made dinner and ran dinky a bath. She loves the bath, I think she likes playing in the water. The biggest problems we have with bath time is hair washing and getting out. Hair washing drives me mad! Dinky refuses to stay still and will do anything to get out of having it done. I can not reacall how many times I have gotten soaked in the process. If her hair wasn’t so long and so curly it wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it needs to be conditioned with detangle solution otherwise the bigger problem would be brushing her hair every day. I know she hates having the water on her face. It is hilarious at swim lessons because they put the rings to pick off the bottom in, instead of diving down to get them dinky found that if she felt for it with her foot she could scoop it up! The teachers are now baffled at how to teach her to dive down, or even put her face in the water because she is smart enough to get out of it. Anyway, she went to bed Saturday night and my dad and I watched inception with some snacks.

Sunday- today, Father’s day.
I feel kinda bad because this father’s day wasn’t exactly what I planned. First of all, dinky woke my dad up and left me sleeping, I didn’t get up until 10.30am. I told my dad he should have sent dinky into me, but he said I looked shattered last night.

Dinky was not exactly playing ball today. Sundays are becoming big issues, especially when dinky is reminded that it is school the following day.

Dinky tore all the school days off her calendar and threw them behind the small unit, she then pulled the washing over, threw her wooden chairs around, pulled her books off the bookcase, spat at my dad and emptied her craft drawers on the floor. My dad picked her up and took her to her room where she could be as destructive as she wanted as 99% of the things up there are dinky proof. I said I would stay with her but dad said It was ok, he would deal with it.  

I listened as he tried to clam her and gave up while she trashed her room. Eventually she came down after she trod on one of her toys and hurt her foot. I cuddled her, she was racking and I felt for her.

She was then very on edge all afternoon. I hadn’t managed to get her to do any of her homework except to plant the seed and water it. She wrote ‘mi’ and then scribbled all over the page and said she wasn’t doing. She said she couldn’t write because she was too stupid. She pulled out many more demand avoidance strategies and then spat on the booklet. I tired to get her to read, she spat on the book too, then spat on me.

Bedtime was just as much of a battle. I must admit, I didn’t handle the avoidance very well today. When she wouldn’t put her night time pants on, I shouted at her. Which made her less likely to do it any quicker. I regretted it as soon as I shouted because I probably added another 20 minutes to the bedtime routine.

 

I am really anxious myself as I have the meeting with the head teacher tomorrow. I feel like a naughty school girl after the letter I wrote on Friday, and then given dinky’s behaviour, it seems even more reasonable that she doesn’t go on the trip to them.

I have to remain strong though. Dinky would not be kicking off like she is at the moment if the school paid any attention to me before she started, when she first started, three weeks after she started and last week. They didn’t listen and now they are complaining about her behaviour. Muppets!

They haven’t given her any concessions and refused point blank to take note of what worked at the previous school.

“Well, this is a different setting, we will wait and see what she is like”

Great! Well done SENCO, in the process of waiting and seeing, you have managed to let it go too far and now she refuses to go to school every morning! Well done you!

I was also worried because of something the head teacher said. She said that it seemed dinky didn’t want to leave school not the Friday gone, but the previous one. Obviously that is not the case, also if she tries to take that as dinky liking school then she really has got her wires crossed! I didn’t want to go in there and say ‘it is because she wanted to go to the park’, because it makes it sound like she is a spoilt brat and was just having a tantrum.
Luckily, the same woman that has written the paper I have read, also has her own facebook group. I mentioned the problem on there and got some great advice from both the woman and some other mums, on what the underlying causes are and also what I can do in order to change the situation in future.

Basically it is a mixture of routine, transition and sensory.

Dinky doesn’t find transitions out very easy, so she has put a step down into a routine of school followed by park, which takes her from busy, noisy classroom, to less busy, probably similar noise, outdoors, which is easier to cope with. She has done this as a step down to be able to manage the difference in school and home. She doesn’t recognise that the rain or other plans can affect the routine she has made and therefore needs to be aware of other plans or other ideas, other than the park.

 

I fully intend to bring the head teacher up to speed on PDA and prove to her that this is why dinky is the way she is, all I am waiting for is the assessment and for the doctor to put it in writing. It may not happen straight away and it may take months. However, that doesn’t change the facts. Also it means the structure of KS1 will probably be too much for dinky and I am trying to get them to see this and to prepare for it. If they carry on ignoring me than they are going to create a monster and I will have proof that I tried to warn you, and it won’t be to say ‘I told you so’ it will be to let them know they would be the ones responsible for it.

I now have a folder, a series of videos and documents to back up what I say.

It is not in my head, I am not a neurotic parent, Dinky has PDA and needs to be treated accordingly otherwise they will destroy her and they will make life harder for themselves in the long run.

I do not know how successful I will be, but I have to try right?

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!

Today the battle with school continues!

Today was one of those days I would sooner forget! I am still very angry, but I have taken some time to calm down from where I was.

Let me start from the beginning of the day..

Dinky and I get up at 6.30am. We stay in my bed until the alarm (which dinky calls the blarm!) goes off at 7.20am

It was a bit of an effort but I managed to get dinky to eat breakfast. after breakfast it was a fight to get her ready for school. Well, I stood there and applied the 5 D’s of dodgeball!

She was shouting in a baby voice ‘Not going’. As she emptied the bookcase in my direction. Once she finally got dressed after showing me the cress (that we haven’t managed to kill yet!), and then she put the jamotes (remotes), on the shelf, then she didn’t have the right jumper. Eventually she was dressed. Then when I said it was time to get her coat on she hid under the washing and said she wasn’t going to school. When I asked why, she said it was because school was stupid and I was stupid and she hated school.

I left her for 10 minutes, then went back to her. After another 10 minutes and after being punched, kicked, and bitten, I manage to get her coat on, wrist reins on and down the stairs.

On the way to school the grass cutters were out, which meant 3 men with strimmers. So I had to straddle Dinky, so I could hold both ears until we got away from them.

We went into school and dinky went straight to the role play shop. I had to try and get her out before she got too comfy! But end of the week teacher came over to me and said that they were postponing the meeting regarding dinky’s academic progress so that the head could call everyone together.

Fine.

Dinky and I made a flower at the creative table and it was put on the wall, I left her with one of the mums that likes reading stories to the children in the mornings.

On my way home I decided to phone the lady from integrated services, I left a message, asking her to call me back.

Which she did.

I told her bits of what is going on, she decided it would be better if she came out to discuss the issues.

The whole day I am still thinking about the school, and what will happen in the big meeting. I wonder how dinky is going to cope today. I wonder if she can keep herself in check. Or whether I am going to end up dealing with meltdown dinky.

I begin to write a letter to the school. I don’t quite know what I should say, but it feels good to vent sometimes.

When I went to get dinky the teacher asked if she could have a word.

She said that dinky had found carpet time hard and that they are going to have to have a discussion about Simba.
I said that I was told her could stay as he was useful for getting dinky to comply with carpet time.

She said that it wasn’t working anymore and Is only serving as a distraction. Then she asked for the contact book.

I said that I didn’t see the point as I wasn’t getting any useful information from it.

She looked all offended and then got defensive. She said that if I wasn’t happy I should have said something, I told her I had spoken to beginning of the week teacher, I can not be held responsible for messages not being shared. She said that as far as she was aware she was only supposed to put in a small amount. So I had to explain that ‘up and down day’ did not mean anything to me. Again she was all offended.

I don’t see what the big deal is. Surely she understands that up and down doesn’t actually give an indication of what dinky’s day was actually like?

I made a point saying that it could mean that she had small periods of up and majority down or vice versa. It also doesn’t give me or them any indication of what sets her off. They may as well save their energy and not write anything.
I told her that I have no idea what has made dinky unwilling to come to school, and I may have done if the book was written in the way I was told it would be.. Informative.

She said

“well, yes they said about that, yet she seems happy enough when she gets here”.  It was said in that condescending, disbelieving tone.

At that point I told Dinky it was time to go. I had enough. This teacher obviously knows my daughter best… muppet!!!

I managed to get dinky home without too many problems. She was a little whiney but that was all. I got her in and watched Netflix and span in a circle for a few minutes, before an early dinner. It is swimming day after all.
I wrote a letter while she ate to the school, saying that communication is a big issue and while I understand that it is difficult for the teachers as there are two of them and that they have a class to welcome in the morning and pair with their responsible adults at home time. If the communication carries on being this flawed then it could jeopardise the home school relationship as I am losing faith and trust in the school as the only way it seems to get things done is to speak to a member of the senior leadership team.

I also went over the points that the teacher raised and showed how that was part of PDA.

I doubt they will listen, but I am fuming!

I wasn’t told the outcome of the meeting or what was discussed. I was only made to feel like a neurotic parent.

I will see what the integrated services lady says tomorrow