Should I be told about experts observing my child in school?
A team called ASCOSS have visited my daughter once, at nursery. She has now been in primary school since Sept this year. I managed the transition myself. Ascoss said they would let the school know they were there if the school needed support and that they would arrange to go in at a future date. I then learnt yesterday that ascoss went in to the school and met the head teacher and observed my daughter, without me knowing. Can they do this?
Am frustrated as neither of them knows her needs (she is high functioning ASC). Can I ask to be involved in future? Also, are there guidelines about who needs to be informed about her diagnosis? I want to keep it confidential at the moment.
I am not at all sure who ASCOSS are but am presuming it stands for “Autism Spectrum Condition Outreach Support Service”. This seems to be a locally provided support service in your area. Under the Children and Families Act 2014 the LA has a duty under s. 19 to use their best endeavours to ensure parents fully participate in decisions about their child’s SEN. Not letting you know that this visit was going to take place, not asking for your input, not involving you so far in any decision making around the needs they have identified your child as having or the support needed to be put in place for them is not complying with this duty.
As far as the school is concerned, a school does not need your permission in order for a professional to observe your child but it certainly good practice. Once they begin to make special educational provision (that is provision which is additional to or different from what is being made available general to children of the same age in mainstream schools) they the school must notify you. Importantly you need to find out why you were not been told about this visit? If it is a failure to communicate with you then the school need to review their approach – quickly.
Your question about who needs to know about your daughter’s diagnosis is more difficult to answer. If your daughter is to get the support she needs then it is very important that those responsible for her education know about it. Otherwise they cannot plan to support her properly or get the right professionals in to help them find out what support she needs. This is something that all staff should know about at the school – including lunch-time assistants and classroom support staff. If it is other parents knowing then there is no need for them to know if you do not want that to be the case. You need to make your wishes clearly known. However you may well find it helpful for some of the other parents to know as they may well be a good source of support for you and your daughter.