Her son has been excluded 3 times and School Action Plus isn’t helping. What can this mum do? Do you have any advice for this week’s A Problem Shared…
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My 6 year old has been excluded for the third time due to his behaviour. He has been aggressive and violent. We have been on School Action Plus with no improvement for 18 months. We’ve been under consultant since July 2015. However we have no formal diagnosis and no clear indication of what we are dealing with. The doctor recommended an anger management book!
I’m looking at options regarding school, such as part-time schooling, reduced hours or even full home schooling. I’m looking for advice on legalities and practicalities.
Our FamilyPoint advice…
Thank you for getting in touch with us about the current difficulties with your son’s behaviour and the impact it’s having upon his schooling. It sounds like he’s really struggling at the moment and would really benefit from extra support.
The law around exclusions
You may be aware that exclusions are governed by a legal framework. This requires schools to follow set procedures before excluding a child. The reason for legislation and guidance on exclusions is to ensure that schools do all they can to support pupils who are experiencing difficulties with their behaviour and/or learning needs. Exclusion is only ever used as a last resort and to prevent the use of unofficial or illegal exclusions.
Were you satisfied that the school followed these procedures correctly? For example did you receive the school’s decision and reasons to exclude in writing? Was work provided (if the exclusions were for more than 1 school day)? If the number of days for which your son has been excluded exceeded 5 days, have you been notified of the date of the discipline committee meeting? Have you been able to make representations to this committee?
This PDF sets out a summary of all aspects of exclusions which can be complicated to follow, and you may want to discuss further individual aspects relating to your son.
Ask for a second opinion
You mentioned that your son is under a consultant. If you’re not happy with how you and your son have been dealt with, you might wish to revisit your GP. You can ask for a second opinion or referral to another consultant.
School Action Plus: Formal review?
18 months seems like a long time for your son to be on School Action Plus without any sign of improvement. Have their been any formal reviews? What has the Local Authority said, if anything, about your son having a full assessment of his special educational needs? These assessments are soon to become Additional Learning Needs under new legislation in Wales.
Unfortunately this imminent change in the legislation has resulted in some local authorities, incorrectly, delaying full assessments. Contact the following organisations for advice and/or advocacy if you feel this may be the case with your son. They will be able to support you through the process and make sure you’re fully informed and understand the implications of any decisions:
- Ombudsman Wales: The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. See their Special Educational Needs factsheet
- SNAP Cymru: offers free and independent information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.
Considering alternatives to full-time education
It’s understandable that you’re considering alternatives to full-time education for your son, given the 3 exclusions and on-going difficulties. However, it is advisable to make sure that you have secured another school place or other educational provision before withdrawing him from his current school (if that is an option you are considering).
Before you make any decisions, a good starting point would be to request a meeting with the Headteacher. Also at this meeting there should be an educational welfare officer, an officer from the local education authority and an educational psychologist. This is so you can explore what options might be available. They have a duty to provide him with an education. They will also be able to explain what provision is available in your area for your son’s age group and what he can access. This can vary regarding home tuition, specialist provision etc. SNAP Cymru may be able to support you if you feel you would benefit from support to arrange and/or attend this meeting.
There is a lot of information to digest and consider with many questions that you may want answered. If you would like to discuss your son’s situation with us further, then please contact us again. Alternatively, you might want to consider contacting one or more of the organisations listed above. We hope there is a positive resolution to this situation to ensure your son receives the education that he is entitled to.
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
I hope this advice has been helpful. Good luck.
The FamilyPoint Cymru Team
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