All children of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education in line with legislation. It is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil for a reason related to their disability.
Sometimes parents are asked to take their child home or keep them at home without strictly suspending them, some pupils may be removed from class but not the school premises for disciplinary reasons. These may not be formal suspensions or expulsions, however long-term use of these strategies means that pupils can lose out on education, school trips or specific aspects of the curriculum. Informal suspensions are unlawful even if you have agreed to them.
If your child is on a reduced or part time timetable, there are a number of steps you can take:
- Ask the school to outline, preferably in writing, their reasons for their approach
- Ask them to outline what difficulties your child has that prevents the school from allowing your child to stay the full day along with their peers
- Ask if it the plan is for a set length of time or indefinitely
- Ask what measures/strategies are underway to provide the support your child needs in order to return to school. There has to be clear intention from the school that they are committed to getting your child back in for a full day and identify and put in place the SEN provision/strategies required to achieve that.
- Ask if there is a plan in place to increase the hours and have a phased return to a full day, if not a plan should be requested and agreed.
- Keep a record of the time out of school, incidents/issues/reasons why your child is not in school or is not attending classes
- Speak with your child or young person and ask them what support they feel would help them. Agree with the school what level of support can be provided.
- It would be important to find out if your child is on the Special Educational Needs register and if an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) has been written up.
- Ask the school if they have made a referral to Educational Psychology or if any outside services have been or could be brought in to assist with the return to full time hours
- If your child has a Statement, speak to the EA officer that signed the Statement. Explain that your child is not in school for the full day or is absented from classes regularly. It may be possible to request an early review of the Statement if your child’s needs have changed and the provision on the Statement no longer meets their needs.
- If the school are saying that they do not have the resources to facilitate the inclusion of your child in the full school day you as a parent have the right to apply for a statutory assessment of your child’s needs.
If you would like further help or advice speak to one of our advisers on our Advice Line