Hidden Children – PaCC 1st surgery session: children on part-time/reduced timetables
Many families are facing the issue of children being put on part-time timetables, also known as reduced timetables. PaCC is aware of this and we are working with the Local Authority to make sure children don’t get penalised and that families are fully involved with any decision to change a child’s attendance at school.
In March this year we organised our first termly online surgery which was attended by Norman Haskins, Hidden Children Officer at Brighton & Hove City Council and by Becky Robinson, PaCC Vice- Chair. The surgery focused on part time timetables. Norman contributed to the session with a presentation:
Part-time timetables: legal position
From DfE Attendance Guidance July 2019: “Can a school place a pupil on a part-time timetable?
As a rule, no. All pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education. In very exceptional circumstances there may be a need for a temporary part-time timetable to meet a pupil’s individual needs. For example, where a medical condition prevents a pupil from attending full-time education and a part-time timetable is considered as part of a re-integration package. A part-time timetable must not be treated as a long-term solution.
Any pastoral support programme or other agreement must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with alternative provision
In agreeing to a part-time timetable, a school has agreed to a pupil being absent from school for part of the week or day and therefore must record it as authorised absence.
It is unlawful for a school to impose a reduced time table (RTT); written agreement is always required from the parent/carer (or the Virtual School for looked after and previously looked after children and/or the SEN team at the Council (where appropriate).
Use of (RTT) in Brighton and Hove
- As part of an in-school support package:
School, parent/carer and other professionals may agree that a short-term, maximum of eight weeks, reduced timetable, alongside other targeted forms of support, will enable a young person who has become disaffected, regain success. This arrangement must be a closely monitored intervention to ensure that it is being effective in supporting the individual needs of the pupil. There should be plans in place to address any underlying issues – dysregulation for example – and that sufficient adjustments are to be made in school, in order for the pupil to be able to return to fulltime provision.
- At risk of exclusion:
A part-time timetable must not be used as a disciplinary measure. However, in limited circumstances, a reduced timetable may also be used as a method of managing pupils at risk of exclusion. Brighton & Hove City Council regards reduced educational provision as the last resort and least desirable method of managing pupils at risk of exclusion. This ‘intervention’ is viewed as highly intrusive and may only be chosen – if at all – after other strategies have been implemented and exhausted and other appropriate agencies, including the Brighton & Hove Inclusion Support Service (BHISS) have been contacted and involved and the graduated approach has been implemented (LA Suspension and Permanent Exclusion Guidance)
Children with an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) must not be placed on a reduced timetable unless such an arrangement is agreed to by the Brighton and Hove SEN Team. Without an agreement from the Virtual School Head or the appropriate social worker, Children in Care, must not be placed on a reduced timetable.
- To enable reintegration:
A (RTT) can be part of a planned reintegration into school for a pupil following an extended period out of school for reasons such as a medical procedure, trauma, exclusion, non-attendance and emotional school avoidance.
- Guidance notes on part-time timetables must be followed
- Have high aspirations for all young people and especially those young people who have identifiable SEND
- Risk assessments must be undertaken
- Coproduced reintegration plans – where possible – must be devised
- Be mindful of the legislation with regard to the use of part-time timetables (authorised absence ‘C’ code)
- Consent sought by parents/ carers
- The use of part-time timetables should not be seen as a ‘form of long-term provision’
- For children and young people in care or those who have EHCPs, careful consideration should be undertaken before using part-time timetables. The virtual school and SEN must be informed.
One thing that Norman underlined throughout the surgery was that SENCOs are the first point for any issues you and/or your child experience around school attendance and part-time or reduced timetables.
We also talked about the ATTEND form which looks at the push pull factors of why a child is struggling to attend school. Parents or carers, the child or young person and the school complete the form.
Read more about PaCC’s work on school attendance and ATTEND form here.
Brighton and Hove City Council have updated their guidance for schools on the use of reduced/part-time timetables; read the guidance here.
Parents who attended the session found it very interesting and informative. We will let you know as soon as possible date for our next Hidden Children surgery and what the session will focus on.
If you need to talk to someone about your child’s part time/reduced timetables do contact SENDIASS, as PaCC is unable to support and advice with individual queries or situations.