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Is this usual practice?


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Hi

 

I have just attended a transition meeting for a child starting Reception in September.

 

This 4 year old child (spring born) has a cognitive delay with S&L and toileting issues as a result. We have just been told he will not be put forward to the panel for a statement.

 

We are currently working very hard with Mum to support the child to use the toilet rather than wear nappies.

 

My question is this; is it usual for Reception Class Teachers and Teaching Assistants NOT to change children in nappies/pull ups. We have been told that they are not allowed to change children. Children would be expected to change their own wet clothes and if clothes were soiled the parent would have to come in and sort the child out.

 

I just wonder whether this is their policy or a national expectation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am holding my breath waiting for teachers and teaching assistants to come and share their policies and practices with you, but since I'm not either of those I don't feel qualified to speak about what happens in schools.

 

What I will say is that we have been told for many years that it is potentially illegal to deny a child this kind of support whilst they are with us in pre-school - even more so when the disability discrimination legislation was updated (I forget the name of the Act - forgive my vagueness).

 

I feel so sorry for this child and for Mum - the school's policy will put you all under so much pressure to 'crack' the toileting issue before September and, with the child already struggling in this area, this is potentially very problematic to his overall development and wellbeing.

 

We have discussed this issue many times here on the Forum, and passions tend to run high because the pressures school staff are under with regard to supporting children with their toileting needs are often at odds with those individuals' wishes to meet children's needs and uphold their rights.

 

If you want a flavour, do a forum search and have a look at past discussions.

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We have an SEN child going to school in September who is very unlikely to be toilet trained by then. The attitude of the school was that they would do whatever was necessary to help him.

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What amazes me is that after years of changes and guidance there are still schools out there who have policies like this one. Why are parents still having to fight for their child at the beginning. of schooling? Why are schools imagining that they don't have to adapt for the needs of their children? All I can say is that there are very many schools out there whose staff will meet such a child's needs, even though it can be very difficult in reception, especially if there isn't full time TA support.

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It comes under the Disabilities Discriminations Act.. and while they find it difficult and not easy to comply with should make adjustments to make it possible for the child to attend the same as any other child.

 

a child does not need a statement to be covered by this act.. it covers all children who have an additional need.. many start school without being trained this has been in place since 1995, they may not have been challenged by a parent about the policy...

Edited by Inge
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I attended a school entry plan meeting this week for a diagnosed autistic spectrum child who will be starting school in september. when told that she was not toilet trained and was not likely to be by september, the school SENCO said, and I quote, 'just send her in with knickers on and she'll soon get the hang of it'. This is a reception class with 1 teacher, 2 TA's and the funding already in place so they could apply to get some additional help for her for just this aspect of her care as she does not need 1:1 for the rest of her school day. The parents understandably, were very upset and worried as they were already concerned about her coping with starting school.

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We have two feeder schools one is excellent and will go out of their way to support children the other is not so excellent. Going back a few years we had a child who was diagnosed as Autistic and going through the statement process and in my opinion picked the wrong school.

 

They were told that he would need to be toilet trained, mum could come and change him (even for wet clothes) or he could have an injection that would prevent him from going to the toilet in school time!!! once I picked myself off the floor and got over being so astounded I was furious, luckily for the child he managed to learn to use the toilet in the summer hols so it did sort out but with no help from the school!

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I can't remember the phrase I want but it's something about making adjustments to accommodate a child's needs. I haven't yet come had a child in nappies but I am sure we would make the adjustments. I know in my first job I had a child with toileting needs (not nappies) and I have a feeling the school delayed her start by a term - started January rather than September so they could make a space available for changing etc. Don't hold me to that though - I was an NQT and it was all a bit of a blur! I do know that the child's carer was asked to come on our trip as ratios/spaces available would make changing difficult but other than that changing was done by staff in school.

 

In my current job it would be very difficult - I have 7 hours of TA support for the week. There is only one TA in the whole school in the afternoons but we would manage somehow!

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our reception teacher said today "i don't change nappies", when i told her one child is still in pull ups and may still be in september as he is unaware even when pull up very wet......... may be on spectrum. i'm nursery teacher and of course change children as needed. it's part of my job. i was shocked when she said this. i said whoever finds child changes them for us - finders keepers!!!! or sometimes they ask one of us who they feel more confident with x

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I'm a reception teacher and while I have not so far had children come to school wearing nappies or pull ups -of course we change children if they wet or soil themselves we have a duty of care! How do you not?! We do encourage the children to do as much as they can themselves but do step in to help to make sure they do a thorough job. The issue that we have particularly at our school is that the toilets are along the corridor are way out of sight of the classroom and we have a policy that 2 adults together change a child. What has to happen is that I or my TA go and get another TA from another class so we can sort out the child while the other supervises the class. If there is a child with a medical need and in nappies then the school and parents need to put together a care plan to address this. I looked into this for a friend last year with a similar issue with her daughter and my understanding was that schools have no choice but to Meet this child's needs by changing him or her. That being said, there is a supervision and ratio issue to consider here, remember that most reception classes have 30 children and 2 adults not the 1:8 that playgroups have. it is unlikely that an extra person will be put into reception to support this child unless he/ she is statemented so how often would 2 adults need to leave the classroom to change the child? In the case of my friend's daughter it could be up to 8 changes a day due to very loose bowels (sorry!) That leaves the class with a ratio of 1 adult to 29 children regularly each day and that could have a big impact on the learning of the other 29 children. I wonder if that is where the school in question is coming from.

 

It is only 5 years ago since my son was not allowed to start Playgroup until he was toilet trained even though he was 3. Eventually I persuaded them to let him go in pull ups but only if I was on hand to go in and change him if he needed a change because they didn't do that!!

Deb

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Thank you for all your comments so far.....I have gone to the Governing body for answers....if this practice has been unchallenged thus far, the gloves are off now!

 

We need to preserve the essence of this child (and future children) and make sure his self confidence and self esteem are not compromised.....all the work we have done to support the child and parent through all of his difficulties could be undone in his first day at school. He may be 4...but actually is under 3 developmentally.

 

I am so glad that other schools out there are supporting children in this situation and would find a way.....it's heartening to hear it.

 

I do appreciate the problems Reception classes face in terms of ratio's etc...

 

Anyway....watch this space and I'll let you know how it goes!

Edited by DebbieW
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Thank you for all your comments so far.....I have gone to the Governing body for answers....if this practice has been unchallenged thus far, the gloves are off now!

 

Can I hold your coat for you? :1b Go Debbie! :1b

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