Life in a primary school is never dull, we are in an area of high deprivation with all of the challenges that sometimes go along with this. We have high levels of children with SEN compared to the national average with the number of EHCPs to match.
Having a large number of children with SEN in school does nothing for your budget – every child with SEN, notionally, has £6,000 allocated to them, for every child with an EHCP you have to provide the first £6,000 towards the support that they need to be included in a mainstream school. The majority of the children in our school who have EHCPs require full-time support. Not “they would do better with” or “I’ll see if I can get extra for” they require it for their own safety and, in some cases, the safety of others. With the right support, we can meet their needs. They can be included and make progress; it is the right provision for them. Unfortunately, even if I get the highest level funding of £5,000 – doesn’t happen often (£,3000 is the more common) the school is out of pocket. It’s how life is, this does mean that there is less money available for those children on School Support (the next level down of SEN rating). This is sad.
This is a re-blog submitted by Sheep2673, and republished with kind permission. You can see the original article by clicking here.
There are several children within school who are capable of showing behaviours that are not really adequately described by calling them “challenging” – they are extreme. We have had very young children using homophobic, racist and sexualised language, we have children who think nothing of spitting, hitting or biting adults. This is sad. These children do not intrinsically know this language – it is learnt and, not, I can assure you, as some parents suggest, at school. This is language that they have heard and copied, they may not know what the words mean but they know when they are used and the effect that they have on others. This is sad.
We are aware of some of the conditions that our children live in at home, we are aware of the difficulties that they have. We make referrals to Children’s Social Care (CSC), CAMHS and paediatricians frequently, we make them know that they are unlikely to meet thresholds but equally that the children (and their families) need the help and support. The referrals get declined, a note is made, a suggestion that school put in more support and work with the families is offered. We are trying as hard as we can to support these children and their families. We feel that we are failing but we are not a health service, we are not specialist mental health workers, we are not social workers. We are educators and whilst children have so many other problems we can’t do this well, the children are not in the right place to learn. This is sad.
We have had some incidences during this half term where some of the behaviours have been so extreme that we have had to exclude children for the safety of others. Exclusions are always a last resort. When we reach this point we try to use fixed-term exclusions – sending a child home (with work to do) for between half a day and five days. We are aware that some of these children are the same ones who we have referred to CSC as we have concerns about life at home but if they are happy that life at home is fine then we can’t argue. There have also been occasions where a fixed term exclusion is not enough and the damage (physical or mental) done to people or property is such that children have to be permanently excluded. This is sad.
On occasions, CSC do get involved in children’s lives and try to work with families to improve things. Sometimes this works and life is better for everyone. Sometimes it doesn’t and children are taken to live with foster carers for their own safety. This is a momentous decision and you know that this is really a last resort. This is sad.
I like to think that I am reasonably articulate, that I have a reasonable vocabulary but during this long half term I seem to find myself repeatedly saying, “It is sad.” I know that there are many words that could replace ‘sad’ – the thesaurus suggests bitter, dismal, heartbroken, melancholy, pessimistic, sombre, sorrowful, sorry and wistful as a start but none of these (or the other 15 suggestions) seems to sum the feeling – sad.
It is sad for us as adults that, despite our best efforts, we cannot prevent some of these things happening but it is sad, really sad for the children involved.