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Wednesday 26 October 2011

SA+ and Academies

From Worried Parent:

My daughter is on SA+, and is in Y9. I have just received a letter stating that the school is applying for Academy status, and I am very concerned about what seems to be a lack of accountability when it comes to upholding statements of SEN – so how much worse will an Academy be educationally for a child who is on SA+, that relies on her LSA to help her access the curriculum? I chose this school on the basis of the LSA time she would get, which seems likely to be taken away once the school gains Academy status – just in time for her to start GCSE’s.

9 answers – add yours below

  1. Concerned teacher within an Academy said:

    I think you have reason to be worried. I have before me a sheet of paper which I am reliably informed by concerned Teaching Assistants shows that statemented children within our academy are not getting the help their are legally required. Now, if that is the case with sttemented children, what do you think is the provision for children on School Action?

    3 November 2011 at 5:58pm
  2. andrea wilson said:

    Concerned teacher.
    If this is true there is no point coming on here anonomously and worrying people.
    Raise it with your line manager and help ensure that the statemented child gets the correct level of support.
    This has nothing to do with academies v local authority schools it is just (if true) bad mangement.

    4 November 2011 at 11:23am
  3. Yossarian said:

    You might find some enlightenment on David Wolfe’s (Matrix Chambers) blog here: http://davidwolfe.org.uk/wordpress/

    10 November 2011 at 7:22pm
  4. Andrea Pattinson said:

    All schools are accountable for the provision that they offer, as a parent with a child with SEN I would expect regular dialogue about my child and the provision that is in place. It is your right to check that the school is meeting the needs of your child, whether or not the school is an academy makes no difference. There are LA schools also where questions are raised as to the correct level of support offered, best to check with the school rather than speculate and worry.

    17 November 2011 at 10:05pm
  5. Sarah Barton said:

    I have to disagree with the answer above ‘whether or not the school is an academy makes no difference’ – unfortunately it makes all the difference in the world because there is no accountability to parents in an Academy. You state that the school has announced it is applying for Academy status, but has there been a consultation? If so, then the consultation to be legal should have included an impact assessment on the effect Academy status would have on SA+ pupils. Ask the school about this and insist that they conductb a proper consultation if this has not happened. Some more info on seeking propoer consultation here http://handsoffourschool.wordpress.com/academy-consultation/ Info on Academis, SEN & the law here http://davidwolfe.org.uk/wordpress/archives/category/sen but a lot of this may only apply to statemented children

    19 November 2011 at 10:40am
  6. rosemary fergusson said:

    NEw School Admissions Code puts teachers kids above SEN pupils for priority for places
    Now the new convertor academies (CAs),previously good/outstanding LEA schools, and the new Free Schools have to be seen to succeed. A key factor for this is recruiting good teachers without having to offer financial incentives. In the revised School Admissions Code, due to be approved in the Commons during 1st December, Mr Gove has chosen to introduce preferential places for the children of any staff of 2 years service OR where a subject shortage exists ( the same shortage will of course also exist in the challenging schools). This is against strong advice from key parties including teaching unions and members of the revision committee itself. By ignoring their warnings of a “brain drain” of staff to the CA’s/ Free schools not to mention driving a division between parents and teachers it is clear that Mr Gove wants to provide CA’s/Free Schools with a stronger non-financial recruitment advantage over the LEA maintained schools. This is strangely at odds with his ongoing departmental review on how to keep top quality staff in challenging schools.

    The contemptible aspect of the revised Admissions code is the distortion of the original clause that stated LEAs had to request Academies , at the time a few failing schools under the Academy rescue package, to accept children with Special Educational Needs (SENs). With the new CA’s the LEAs , who remain responsible for placing and funding SEN children have no power to automatically place a child in the growing numbers of state funded CA or Free Schools without applying to the school for permission. If the CA refuses then the LEA can appeal directly to the Secretary of State but it seems safe to say Mr Gove will have a pretty full postbag come appeals time and it’ll be the aggrieved Free school rejects that will be shouting the loudest.

    The nationalisation of cash-strapped private schools into state funded Free Schools quite rightly avoids 100’s of pupils suddenly flooding in the state sector. However these failed schools are still allowed to retain any aptitude testing for admission and are being encouraged to expand within the 3-19 year age range. As such we may soon see the disgrace of selective testing for state funded primary schools for the first time ever. Quite a coup indeed.

    Even after a consultation period Mr Gove and Co. are perfectly content with their disgraceful proposal that SEN children and their parents now have less right to a good school than the children of teaching staff and children in care/adopted/fostered .

    I actually feel sorry for the Coalition MPs having to sit on their hands while this passes through Parliament.

    21 November 2011 at 2:08pm
  7. Richard said:

    @Rosemary: are you seriuosly suggesting that holding a few places for the children of staff will prevent sen pupils from getting places? The admissions criteria is a a hierarchy. The pupils who lose out to the proposed changes are those at the bottom of the list. No school is going to fill all its places with staff’s children and looked after pupils and so not have to take sen and any such suggestion is blatant scaremongering!

    That said i agree with you re failed public schools converting to free status.

    23 November 2011 at 1:21am
  8. Lucy said:

    Dear concerned parent,

    There is no requirement for the academy school to provide any LSA time for a child who doesn’t have a statement. You are right to worried as it appears that academies are often intending to use TAs to take classes. The SEN white paper does not provide much comfort with it’s vow to ‘end the bias towards inclusion’ as Gove so charmingly puts it.

    Academies are under so much pressure to look like like they are succeeding, i worry about Sen provision in them.

    Best of luck to you and your daughter.

    5 January 2012 at 1:19pm
  9. Stuart Miller said:

    My son (SEN) is at an Academy. Both my wife and I are teachers (Independent sector). He has been and is being badly let down re the details of his SEN, the use of TA’s/LA’s etc We have been told by his Academy that he needs specific help which they cannot provide but they block the LA from coming in to give him the assistance he needs. The suggestion has been made that we make use of the local library or a coffee shop where he and a LA counsellor can meet. As far as we can see we have absolutely little legal recourse as we have been advised by a variety of professionals that all an Academy needs to do is to acknowledge thew SEN and then put into practice mechansims that they decide are appropriate even if these “mechanisms” and strategies fall woefully short of specific provisions.

    21 May 2013 at 2:25pm

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