The frustration of facing Informal exclusion

autism informal school exclusion

In my life,each time I have faced obstacles I found a way to get through it.  

Those battles seem like nothing when compared to this week which has felt like a full on war. A war against uncertainty, a war against “the system” and a war against time.

School has implemented an informal an "informal exclusion" process

Our son's school have implemented an "informal exclusion" process which means we will need to collect him on "bad days", and they will review whether the school is the right place for him if things don't improve. 

The teacher is struggling with his behaviour and it is causing issues for the other boys in his class.

It is difficult to hear the reported behaviour. Frequent throwing of toys at other children, lying on the floor howling, biting, destroying other boys’ work and kicking the teaching staff. 

This doesn't sound like the son I know, we don’t see this at home. There must being something in the school environment which is triggering this behaviour, and so that is where he needs help and support.  

School say that they can't provide support

The school say that there is little they can do to provide additional support due to a lack of teaching resources. 

They are reluctant to consider training which they feel would just be a “sticking plaster” since they are not experts in behavioural issues. 

Their suggestion was for us to pay for dedicated 1-to-1 support in the classroom. Not an option for us since I forgot to buy a lottery ticket the week our numbers came up.

It doesn't seem right, but Private Schools are not bound by the same policies as mainstream schools and don’t have the same obligations in terms of supporting special needs and putting in reasonable measures to avoid exclusion. In addition we are told that within a private school setting is is harder to access to the same services which can be provided in mainstream schools. 

And now all our local mainstream schools have no places to take him - so we can't move him.

It feels like our Son is paying a high price because we decided a year ago to put him in a private school where we thought he would benefit from smaller classes and would have more opportunity to experience extra curricular sports such as swimming. 

In trying to do what we thought was the best for our son, we seem to have put him at a disadvantage. 

We need to apply for special funding through an EHCP

Our hope is to apply for funding from our Local Authority and request an Educational Health Care  (EHC) plan, but we have been told that they are less willing to provide this to children in private schools. 

We have sent off our request to the Buckinghamshire SEN team, and have 6 weeks for them to respond on whether they will do an assessment. If they agree, it will then take at least 20 weeks before the assessments are completed and a decision on funding is made.

The problem is we can’t wait 20 weeks.

Trying to find help before exclusion

We are now playing a game of “Find Help Before Our Son is Excluded” – a cross between a treasure hunt, Snakes & Ladders and Don’t Panic. Not the snappiest of names, but it is a game the keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The rules of the game:
  • Hunt on the internet for anything to do with autism, Aspergers and ADHD - trying to find out about available therapy, training courses (for us/ him / the school), helplines and other advisory services
  • Follow up with phone calls/ emails/ letters to try find people to discuss your situation with, and identify some advice and guidance on things that might be worth considering 
  • For every successful call and piece of advice obtained, you get to advance forward however there are also the setbacks as you are passed from pillar to post or a promising option turns out to be a no-go either because the information is outdated, you don’t fit the criteria for consideration or they don’t quite know what to do as your situation is “slightly different to the norm” 
  • The game is won when you get help for your son, and lost if the school permanently excludes your Son and you are forced into a school far from home as none of the schools in your area have any space in their reception classes

So far we have contacted a child psychiatrist, educational psychologist, occupational therapist, Pupil Referral Unit, the Buckinghamshire Schools Admission Team, two local mainstream schools, an ASD Early Bird Training Programme, three support charities and two helplines. 

And we are still trying to getting help within the school.

And so the game goes on, and we continue to wage the war.
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