I can’t tell you how gutted I feel at the moment. I trusted the school to do what was right for my son and now I feel totally and utterly betrayed.
My son’s annual review meeting was a tense affair. We told them how unhappy we were with the possibility that our son’s place be removed because of his poor attendance. We reminded them that our son had come a long way in his recovery from agoraphobia and to reject him now risks a regression. The head of the meeting retorted that I had got it out of perspective and that my son’s place was not under threat. Really? That’s not what I was told earlier on in the week. I distinctively recall being told that due to the pressure on school places my son is in danger of losing his place. I rather suspect that after I asked the head whether the board of governors “knew SEN law” that they have since eased off with their threatening language.
However, they still maintain that the statement doesn’t meet need. They argue that my son’s poor attendance is indicative of this but I am suspicious that they are going down this route in order to force my son out. What angers me is that we’ve been having school refusing issues on and off for a number of years and never once during that time did this trigger any concern with his statement. And there lies a problem in a way; perhaps his school refusing should have triggered concern (not in terms of chucking him out) but in upping his support.
I mean an autistic child with anxiety issues is clearly going to need some additional help above those who don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Its not enough to simply expect him to manage school without addressing the issues that are aggravating his anxiety. Indeed I’ve tried very hard to flag up the issues that send my son out of kilter such as transition but its been like flogging a dead horse – no-one really wanted to know. The attitude of the school is that if my son can’t manage what is on offer then its not the right school but this is a specialist school for autistic pupils for goodness sake. It should be able to handle mental health issues and poor attendance!
As it is they’re now starting to show an interest in attendance issues and various strategies have been put in place to deal with it including an additional support group. I found this by chance so I asked whether my son could benefit from this only to be told that this is for year 7′s only. I don’t believe them because when I found out about this group it was described as ‘also’ being used by new pupils which means that it isn’t just new pupils who are benefiting from it. This begs the question as to why my son is excluded from it.
To make matters worse the school have also failed to liaise with my local authority over the possibility of additional support. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet so I’ll do a quick resume but be prepared its enraging.
About a year ago we had the services of an educational psychologist who tried to help us find a way through my son’s difficulties. It was hard going and at one point I nearly fell out with her when she suggested that his education become home based. I knew this wouldn’t work because my son refuses to engage with learning in the home which is why I persisted in helping him get back to school. At that point when he started building up his lessons the educational psychologist recommended to school that he receive increased support in class. It was now early summer 2013 and it was agreed that if the school provided the relevant evidence the LA would consider funding a support worker. It was left at that and me and my husband duly waited for something to be organised for this autumn except nothing did happen. Apparently as we’ve just found out the school did not provide any evidence to the LA and consequently no support has been organised.
I can’t tell you how gutted I feel at the moment. I trusted the school and my local authority to do what was right for my son and now I feel totally and utterly betrayed. What is worse is that their incompetence has worsened my son’s situation to such an extent that we have been told that he is unlikely to sit any exams! The thing is if he can’t leave school with any sort of qualification what do we do? He has already said he has “given up” and never wants to go to college and who can blame him. Education has well and truly failed him.