Do you know what help and support your child should be getting at school?
Your child does not need a diagnosis or complicated EHCP. The law in all areas of the UK, protects your child and states that schools must do all they can to provide help and resources:
Google for a copy of the full documents.
England – SEND Code of Practice 2014
Scotland – Code of Practice 2010
Wales – Additional Learning Needs and Education 2018
Northern Ireland – Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2016
Each piece of legislation shares common threads:
- Teachers must differentiate work for individual pupils
- There must be a designated teacher (SENCO) responsible for Special Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
- Schools must use their ‘best endeavours’ to meet the needs of all pupils
- There must be collaboration with parents
- Schools need to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable all pupils to access the full curriculum
- There needs to be a cycle of Assess – Plan – Do – Review
- There should be opportunities for the Local Authority to provide professionals to work with individual pupils
- Pupils are also protected by Equalities Act 2010 which states that a pupil cannot be discriminated against based on their ‘disability’ (ADHD)
It is beneficial for everyone to establish good relationships with the staff.
Request regular meetings to discuss progress and any difficulties that may be occurring. This is a great opportunity to work as a team for your child’s benefit and not just a moan fest to complain about your child’s behaviour.
Follow up all meetings with an email so there is a record of what has been decided.
There must be a written plan outlining your child’s needs and difficulties and what resources could be in place to help them flourish at school.
This document may be called a Pupil Profile, a Pupil Passport, an Individual Learning Plan, an Individual Education Plan or something similar. It is up to the school what they name this document.
This plan must be a working document that all members of staff have access to and so all are aware of your child’s diagnosis and resources that should be used.
This plan must be drawn up with collaboration with the parents and must be reviewed at least once a term.
What are these?
Anything that is something a little extra or different that your child’s needs to make progress in school. So it could be sensory equipment, support in the playground or lunch hall, movement breaks, extra time in a test, sitting in a quiet area to work, using a laptop or dictation recorder, calming box of equipment, planners, schedules or timers.
Reasonable adjustments should be included in the SEND Plan.
When a teacher differentiates a task they literally make it different so the pupil can make progress with their learning.
This can be through pitching the task at the most suitable level.
So teaching the concept of ‘half’ to a pupil when others are learning equivalent fractions.
This could be using equipment or visuals that aids understanding.
It could be expecting a more appropriate outcome and changing expectations.
Examples of differentiation should be included in the SEND Plan.
Check out the school’s Behaviour Policy on their website.
Request that due to their diagnosis of ADHD, there is flexibility with the Behaviour Policy. Reasonable Adjustments must be in place and there should be evidence of Differentiation. Punishments do not work if these have not been put in place.
For example: A pupil is punished for not finishing their work, distracting others and rudeness. However, on investigation, the work was pitched wrong and too hard, there were no visual supports, no equipment to aid writing, no timer to keep a track of how long to go. The pupil had been sitting for too long and hadn’t been allowed a movement break. This resulted in losing focus, needing excitement to stimulate their ADHD brain and being unable to move. Is it fair to punish in these circumstances?
It is useful to be familiar with the school Equalities Policy so you can ensure your child isn’t being unfairly punished without taking into account their ‘disability’.
Pupils with ADHD find it a challenge to regulate their emotions. So the school environment needs to accommodate these needs.
What is available to help a pupil regulate their emotions before it gets too full with explosive anger or shut down with fear or crippled with anxiety?
There should be named mentors, calm areas, calming strategies and encouragement for pupils to talk. Are there opportunities for your child to show their talents and develop their interests?
Examples of emotional support should be included in the SEND Plan.
Teachers are doing a very challenging job in difficult circumstances. I was a teacher for 30 years and I have worked with some amazing, talented people. They are under huge pressure, even more so now there is pressure for them to ‘catch up’ on missed days of education. (That’s a blog for another day….)
You must be your child’s loudest advocate. You know your child best. Let the school know what they need and help the teachers understand how your child works best.
You are being a great role model. So that one day, your child can do it for themselves.