SUPPORT SEN CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS
SUPPORT SEN CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS
Dear Gavin Williamson. Gavin Williamson
So where do I start ?
Well I have 4 children, 2 of which have SEN. They have both barely scraped by in primary school. Let’s start with my daughter because she the reason I feel compelled to write this open letter to you.
My beautiful daughter is 11 now and has NO school.
We knew from a very early age that she had SEN. What a journey it has been to getting her diagnosed and support. As a new parent I had every faith in the system, I thought it’s ok we will see a GP and they will refer to the relevant people and get her much needed support. Wow how wrong was I ah !
She started school at the age of 5 and straight away her behaviours escalated. We would resort to carrying her to school in her PJs kicking us, screaming at us, punching us. But school is important right ? She needs to be in school ? Heard that all to often. So school is important but how she is behaving at home isn’t ? As long as attendance is up for the school it doesn’t matter.
Her behaviours were down to school refusal and pure anxiety regarding school, but yet as parents we were made to feel we was the problem. We would tell everyone we could that school was in fact the issue. But that always fell on deaf ears. We was made to feel we were not parenting right, made to feel inadequate as parents and worse of all made to feel we was failing our child. NO Mr Williamson the Education Dept and Schools were failing her.
My beautiful clever child only just scraped by and made it to year 3 at the junior school and that’s where the failings came in most. She was sent home on a regular basis some for the most silliest of reasons, I put this down to it was more convenient to send this child home than actually sit and talk to this child. She finally saw a paediatrician and was very quickly diagnosed with ADHD and other issues. I thought great, we have answers now we can help she can get the educate she deserves. AGAIN how wrong was I ah !
She was excluded so many times I’ve lost count, I had other children tell me how staff would handle her and quite frankly was horrified, if I had handled her in such ways I have no doubt safeguarding issues would of been raised.
I wanted her to have an EHCP but we just kept getting fobbed off constantly, the best excuse would be we don’t have enough evidence, really so where’s all of the reports and incident forms and her academic reports etc ? Never could get a straight answer. (It turned out most reports were not made or filed by the relevant staff)
I watched my beautiful, funny daughter deteriorate her mental health, she hated school (not because she didn’t want to go) because of the lack of support for her. She wanted to be accepted at school, she wanted to learn but there was never that support for her.
Let’s fast forward to year 6 shall we. Finally I got told we would start the EHCP process ready for secondary. I had said all along my child would not cope in mainstream secondary. But that EHCP never materialised in the end. In January (roughly) I had a meeting with her teacher who told me she wasn’t coping at all in year 6, so we agreed to let her go back to year 5, (she was doing ok).
Lockdown came due to COVID. That was tough going but hey I won’t complain about that. Some have had it much worse !
So now we are starting secondary school. She will be attending a big school, with no support whatsoever, in fact wasn’t even on the new SENCOS radar.
I won’t go in to details about what happened as it’s a long story but after a week and a half they decided that she should of never been in mainstream secondary in the first place and they can’t cater for her. So that was that my child with no school.
I requested her whole school file and when I received it I noticed very quickly that were so many incident reports missing, there was not even a scribbled handwritten note anywhere to say she went back to year 5. Nothing ! So how can I apply for an EHCP myself with the most pathetic school file ever made !
A lovely family led behavioural unit have agreed to help her, she has half an hour a days tutoring, and have already picked up on certain issues with her that a primary school couldn’t do in 6 years. How is that even possible ?
We are waiting for her EHCP now (hasn’t been easy) so we can get her into education and give her the education she so rightly deserves.
You know you start realising how screwed up the SEN education system is when a parent like myself says to someone, Why is my child invisible to all those that could help her? Why is my child not worthy of an education because the SEN system has so many flaws?
I’m writing this to you today not to slate any schools involved, I do not want a generic printed letter from you telling me what things are going right. I want you to listen to this story, imagine you are this parent having to write this and DO SOMETHING. Be the one to change the system, be the one to take a stand and say the system is flawed and you are going to change it.
It might be too late for my daughter to catch up and her mental health has taking such a beating I don’t know if I will ever get her back into school again, but what I do know is there are many like this now.
Take my daughters story and act on it, MAKE THE CHANGE. Don’t let another child slip through the net again like this. Don’t let parents feel they have let their child down.
Give the extra resources school desperately need, give them funds to support these children, make the relevant staffs role more about physically helping the children and not about them sitting in the office filling out 50 forms just to make a referral.
These children and families are suffering because of the system not because of individual schools.
Please listen to this and make the change
From a Very exhausted but determined Mummy