Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Forget the old targets, we'll just make up new ones!

Grr...slightly ranty post coming up!

Back in October time, Mini was given an Individual Education Plan or IEP. It took a while to get it from his teacher (who had to write it with the SENCO). It seemed a bit basic, the targets were written as if for a 5 year old to read, not teachers/staff/parents. However, it addressed what we felt what were the main issues (although I can't remember what they were now) and we signed it. It was his first IEP and we were just grateful to have it recognised that he has additional support issues.

So this first IEP was due for review in February. A week late, we had the review meeting on Monday...just Mini's teacher and I. No SENCO present...this struck me as odd as she is responsible for it being appropriate, she has to sign it, and I guess some responsibility for meeting the targets is with her.

Anyhow, Miss P presents an entirely new IEP (that was after she'd been found in the staff room, despite expecting me in her classroom, having forgotten about me coming!). Again this struck as a little bit odd, because I thought we were reviewing the last one...but anyway, she talked me through the 2 targets she'd put down.

Now this is where I start to get a little bit cross....
The first target addresses Mini's daytime at-school wetting. It suggests the outcome should be Mini asking to regularly go to the toilet so he doesn't wet. However, this of course doesn't address the fact that it's not because he doesn't go to the toilet, but more because he's anxious/stressed/under pressure and much of the time he doesn't know he's done it. How can he be expected to pre-empt something that he doesn't even realise after, let alone before or during! (Although I agree he should be encouraged to go as much as possible, actually having a recently emptied bladder makes no difference to whether Mini wets or not, somehow he seems to find more pee within!).
So we changed it all around and Miss P agreed that we should try to address the possible stress factors more and that should be done between her, the staff and I. Mini should not be under pressure to try to address this. We'd continue to use the Blue Star Job system, that I talked about here. And in a attempt to do a bit more bladder training (that I've tried in the past) she has agreed to allow him to have an extra, scheduled drink, which may help expand his bladder...this clearly won't fix the anxiety wetting, but won't harm him either as he's not a big drinker...thus his urine is particularly smelly as he's often dehydrated. In a small way, it might improve that.

The second target I'm even more cross seems pointless.
Back at February parents evening, I asked about Mini's friendships. I was a bit concerned as all the other kids go running to their friends when we get to the playground in the mornings...not Mini, he stays close, follows the others in but doesn't really connect with anyone. But I was told that he had several friends in the class, and Miss P felt they were appropriate, and told me she had no concerns.
So what's on the IEP?
Making and sustaining friendships!! She said 'as you brought it up as a concern, I thought I'd add it'.
I'm still, even after discussing it, not sure why it's there, or what the outcome should be. She proceeded to tell me that on his table he is very friendly with two other children and they get too chatty and have to be 'strongly encouraged' to stop talking and get working. Does that sound like a child who needs help 'making and sustaining friendships'?

At the end of telling me about these targets I'm asked if I'm happy with just these two targets as they're 'biggies'.
I asked about the last IEP. Surely if previous targets hadn't been met they need to be carried over? That would make sense right? We review the last targets, look at why they have/haven't been met, discuss ways of meeting them, record progress made on them and then add them to this new IEP if appropriate?
Unfortunately Miss P appeared not to have thought about that. She didn't have a copy of the last plan (and I was never given my copy either), she'd have to get it from the SENCO, and then have a look.

As I write this, I'm thinking that as Mini's started Nurture Group this week, there really ought to be something about that on his IEP - what is to be gained by him attending for example.

Anyway, at the IEP 'REVIEW', we didn't 'REVIEW' anything, and will have to conduct a 'REVIEW' of the last IEP another time! Yes, you read that bloody stupid!

So now I wait for this new one to be re-written incorporating my changes, and actually reviewing the last IEP within it too. And I've asked for a copy of the last IEP, and will make sure I get a copy of this one, when it's finished and includes everything it needs to.What on earth is the point of making targets, if you don't look back to see if you've achieved them...just make up new ones every few months!

I struggle with this school coming up with some really great support ideas, but then they can't handle preparing a blooming IEP which was their idea in the first place to help us all address his additional emotional needs!



  1. I find school endlessly frustrating full stop. We have IEP's for big girl and middle girl, I didn't get a copy of the latest version. To be honest I don't care. I've come to the realisation that actually school just don't get it and regardless of what I say/advise, they'll do what they want anyway.
    Hope this rant has left you feeling a bit better, some times off loading makes us feel better than actually 'getting' what we want :)

    1. Thanks lovely. Rant has helped a little :-)
      Having the IEP in the first place has opened doors and helped with other things, so that's the positive. I just wish, if they say they're going to do something, that they do it properly. That's nearly an hour of my life that I could have spent with Mini, instead of on a teeny chair feeling frustrated!

    2. Oops...clearly still in rant mode! x

  2. Just found thus and it makes me mmmmmaaaaaaaddddddd.

    IEPs - in a lot of schools - are the action itself. The IEP is written, and the task, it seems, is done, over with; responsibilities and duty ended. They are then filed, lost, forgotten, binned. Until the next one.

    My other point is - if it is an EDUCATION plan, where are the EDUCATION targets in Mini's plan? If they refuse to accept behaviour (in our case) as a factor in getting a statement, why are they using it at the centre of an IEP?

    Waste of time if they don't do it properly - other than the 'nod' it gives to extraneous needs of Mini. I wanted to write waste of f****** time, but i thought that would be too rude. I am angry for you all, now. Red Tape sucks. Mx

    1. It does indeed suck. Thanks for your anger on our behalf.
      I have a copy of both the new and old, and I'm not signing it yet. More changes need to be made, and I need to re-write it and share it with Mini. How can he be expected to meet targets he has no idea of? They are targets for him, not staff, not parents...he NEEDS to know about this if he's expected to achieve them.

      I'm not fussed about getting him a statement, I don't feel he needs it. Educationally, or rather academically he's doing OK. He needs emotional support, and there doesn't seem to be a process or a document to support that. Perhaps we need to lobby for something that better supports emotional wellbeing in schools for ALL children, not just traumatised ones.