I was speaking to a friend recently and we were discussing how schools spend money that are for children with SEN. Every child’s EHCP normally come attached with a set amount of money specific to the needs of that child/young person. Any monies received for them should be spent on them and nothing else.
There have been times where I’ve spoken to parents/carers and the child/young person has been given money to bring in extra support like a teaching assistant etc and they don’t get that 1:1 support, it will usually be small group support OR he/she will only benefit from 1:1 support for a day or so because the education setting will inform you (but usually only when asked) there is a shortage of support. Some schools you really do get whoever was available on the day, or none at all. It is disgusting!
As we know our kids never tell us, you ask how the day went and you get the same ‘oh fine’ when in reality they were left to struggle for the day, navigating teachers comments or trying to make friends in the canteen. In my experience primary school was where the support was fantastic and secondary school, it was awful. It may have only been 7 weeks in a mainstream secondary school, but those 7 weeks felt like 7 years as it literally snowballed into a big mess, purely because the support was not what was promised or the contents of his EHCP were not adhered to.
Nowadays some schools have a ASD base unit attached to the mainstream school, this seems to be working out well although a mainstream setting isn’t for everyone, it’s always a good idea to check out the schools and see real examples of what they offer. One size never fits all and some don’t understand that.
As parents/carers it’s our duty to ensure the setting is suitable for our young ones for the present and the future. Things change which is why we must ensure that the EHCP’s are fit for purpose and reviewed properly every year too. Make sure that annual review meeting is used effectively. They can be really long and quite intense, but really do matter to look at outcomes etc. Spend some time before your review to go through the document and amend where necessary, it’s your chance to speak up about what you have seen working or not working. If the school are not pulling their weight, you can call in an emergency review to ensure that document is being adhered to. If it isn’t being adhered to, why not?
Don’t tiptoe around where you don’t have to, be unapologetic about it! My grey hairs are evident that there have been some super stressful years, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Think of how many don’t speak up because they count themselves lucky that their child/young person is being supported in some way. It’s their right to have support. Every child is entitled to an education, let’s make it fair for those to obtain the support where needed.
It’s always good to work in partnership with the education setting, as the goal should always be the same, which is the child/young person.