I've been strongly advised to seek statements for my twins by their hospital consultant. Any advice welcome.

(60 Posts)
jajas Wed 16-Apr-08 19:17:45

My twin boys have been behind in their development since starting school almost 2yrs ago (they will be 6yrs old in July and were 10 weeks premature). The nursery that they attended strongly recommended that they delay starting school (in fact my first thread ever on Mumsnet was a couple of years ago asking about the implications of such action). They eventually started in Reception against our better judgement but after 3 weeks ended up back at the nursery until 5 months later when they rejoined. We tried to get them held back to do Reception again as they had missed so much but the Head assured me that they would be fine and would get extra help in yr1.

Now in yr1, they have struggled albeit with a great teacher but we had a meeting with him a couple of weeks ago and he expressed concern about them. He said that it would be very beneficial if they could be held back and do yr1 again and asked if we would be happy with that and of course we concurred.

The Head has now written to us saying that she spoke to County Hall and that they cannot be held back unless they are statemented. We assumed that they weren't that bad and so agreed that some extra help would be the way to go thus keeping them with their peer group.

By coincidence one of the twins had his annual consultation today with the paedeatrican and she is strongly recommending that we apply for statements for both of them. Apparently we are to contact the Educational Pyschologist who will visit them at school to observe (she came to the house a year ago but didn't report back on an awful lot).

Sorry, very long winded but can I ask if anybody knows what happens next, how long it takes and how hard it is to get them statemented? I get the feeling that it is a very protracted and hard won process from odd threads and articles read before.

Thanks in advance!

lorrikeet Mon 29-Apr-13 23:34:25

oops grin

lorrikeet Mon 29-Apr-13 23:33:13

sorry, meant to say I also was advised by the school to contact the ed Psych. This might be one route, but it doesn't contsitute a formal request for the statutory assessment, and you could just get delayed for months and have to make the formal request later anyway. I would follow the statutory procedure, then the LA is obliged to carry out the assessment.

DiscoDonkey Mon 29-Apr-13 23:32:38

THIS THREAD IS FIVE YEARS OLD

lorrikeet Mon 29-Apr-13 23:28:41

there's a lot of good advice on here
I would telephone the local council / education officer for SEN first; ask them to explain the procedure for FORMALLY requesting a statement, get personal contact going with the relevant department like yurt says... this is really helpful.
use 'parent partnership' or IPSEA for advice: but don't let it stop you if you can't get through to them
Most local council websites explain the procedures, and how to request a statutory assessment Its a statutory process with timescales & appeals procedure.
sadly it seems schools are often not too helpful, although you will need their input during the process, so they need to be on-side. If the paed will send you a letter / email confirming his advice that might help get the ball rolling.

we got one for my son in about 6 months. there's no need for it to take 4 - 5 years if everyone agrees it's needed. If the local authority don't agree its needed, that's when it gets drawn out and you have the option to appeal decisions at tribunal.

I agree that the SN threads are a great source of advice, And there are many people on there who have had to fight for statements, But its not necessarily going to be a struggle if your DC(s) have clear needs.

yurt1 Mon 21-Apr-08 21:19:34

There's so much crap spouted about statements, such as they can only be given to the bottom 2%- absolute rubbish and a complete twisting of what was said when they were introduced.

Heated Mon 21-Apr-08 20:35:10

Defintely do as Yurt advises- - she knows loads!

I'm in no way an expert, just an English teacher who has done some support re dyslexia/dyslexic type problems (shouldn't be me but needs must when there's no money). I get bloody angry and cynical when a child gets all the way to year 7 & should clearly have had a statement at primary and hasn't. For us, once identified they normally go through in about 7m to a year, but there's already been 4 or 5 wasted years fgs! Schools can and should put in place in-house support whilst the statement is being processed. It isn't fallow time.

jajas Mon 21-Apr-08 20:01:55

Thanks everso much, I will go and have a look on the SN board now. Thought 4/5 years seemed pretty unlikely and she is definitely being obstructive which makes the whole thing even more depressing. Thanks again!

yurt1 Mon 21-Apr-08 19:48:52

yup. A parent can request a statement whenever they like the school then has to provide evidence etc etc. Of course it's harder if the school are being obstructive but there are appeals processes etc.

I'd post in SN as well (and special educational needs, although the SN section is busier). Plenty of people who have been through it in there, and many don't bother to read the main boards.

TotalChaos Mon 21-Apr-08 19:34:31

/slight hijack but on a similar note

on another board a lady said that in her authority kids had to have 18 months documented evidence of falling behind at school before they could start the statementing process - that's also bollocks, isn't it?

TotalChaos Mon 21-Apr-08 19:33:23

agree with yurt. 4-5 years sounds conveniently similar to when your twins would leave primary school, doesn't it hmm

yurt1 Mon 21-Apr-08 19:28:08

She is having you on.

Contact the IPSEA helpline. They will talk you though the process - they've done it many times before (although bear in mind it will take them a few days to get back to you).

yurt1 Mon 21-Apr-08 19:28:08

She is having you on.

Contact the IPSEA helpline. They will talk you though the process - they've done it many times before (although bear in mind it will take them a few days to get back to you).

jajas Mon 21-Apr-08 19:19:42

.

jajas Mon 21-Apr-08 10:05:18

Thanks again everyone.

I've just spoken to the head at the school and she has told me that it will take 4 - 5 YEARS to get any kind of statement in place! Tell me she is having me on? I have the distinct feeling that she doesn't want to play ball and I cannot work out why. She keeps saying that they will get extra help from the TA in class but the paediatrician clearly didn't think that this was anything like enough. Arghhh! I've posted my letters to the EP, special needs dept and to our previous Consultant Paediatrician at the hospital looking for some further advice.

yurt1 Fri 18-Apr-08 18:51:29

It depends what you mean really. We didn't pay for anything for the statement, but we have paid for an awful lot over the years in terms of help for ds1 (thousands and thousands). Some of that was paying for what I call 'basic services' that the state should have provided. Other were extras that it would have been nice to have had supplied by the State, others luxuries.

One recommendation I would make is to meet your statementing officer asap- things became a lot easier/smoother once we'd met face to face. I think we became real people (on both sides).

jajas Fri 18-Apr-08 17:40:22

smile for evening folk

jajas Fri 18-Apr-08 12:32:50

Thanks again everyone for all your advice. Can I ask how many of you have resorted to outside help in the end? Paying for independant assessments and tutoring in the long run?

Initially I was keen for them to be held back a year but now that they are nicely settled within their year group I would much prefer that they get extra help within that year group.

I can see that I have an awful lot of swotting up to do before I throw myself into this somewhat protracted process.

Candlewax Fri 18-Apr-08 09:11:09

Just for info too - the SEN Code of Practice has now changed and section 7.12 states that parents CAN appeal to SENDIST should the request put in by a school be refused.

I still personally would put it in as a parent as some schools are not keen to support parents. Also when gathering evidence, the school has to put in what they have and have not tried anyway.

Also, keep every single piece of paper on your children. I did and I am so glad I did. I was able to quote and photocopy documents to send to the LEA which showed that there had been a problem for my ds since Infant school.

Candlewax Fri 18-Apr-08 09:04:17

Can I just give my own personal experience of working with SENCO and getting a proposed Statement. My ds's SENCO told me that if I was to go ahead and ask for a statutory assessment which, if I was lucky would lead to a Statement, then my son would receive nothing more that what the school was already providing.hmm She said that parents think that having Statements opens doors and it does not and in view of "Every child matters" there would be no way on earth that he would get a Statement anyway.

Well she is wrong on all counts. We are at the proposed Statement stage. The LEA have not bothered to get SaLT or OT assessments done even though their own assessors recommend it. They have not bothered to carry out a Dyslexia test even though their own LEA home tutors recommend it. So I am having all of these carried out independently.

This means that the proposed Statement we have received is a pile of poop. I have sent back the 15 day parental letter to say "No" to having a meeting with them and "No" to making any written representations. There is no need for me to do that, no legal obligation on my part at all. And, quite frankly, who wants to waste time "negotiating" a proposed Statement that is clearly inadequate. The LEA have had chance to carry out all the assessments they deem necessary, I am not going to allow them to carry out anymore as my ds has had enough, they had their chance. I am just biding my time until the Statement is finalised and then I shall put in an appeal to SENDIST. By the way, the LEA did describe my ds's needs as "severe and complex" too.

The LEA have also worded their Statement that my ds would go straight back into mainstream at the school he has currently had a breakdown at and with a SENCO that is not at all clued up on what she is doing. How can I even possibly think of sending my child back to a school where I am told that he would receive no more than what they were already providing. I think not.....

yurt1 Fri 18-Apr-08 07:21:54

The paediatrician is being quite 'blunt' which suggests that the extra help really is needed iyswim.

One of the biggest problems with SN education in mainstream (and I'm not suggesting your twins be educated anywhere else) is that it depends year on year on individuals. They had a great teacher this year but may not next year iyswim. A statement offers legal protection for support they're entitled to iyswim. OK, often they're ignored, but you have something to work with when you have a statement.

I don't buy the "you need a statement to be held back a year"- that's LEA doublespeak. There is nothing legally about the year a child has to be in other than LEA self derived policies. Usually the statement would not mention which year a child is in either. That just sounds like some sort of excuse for not doing it.

When ds1 was in mainstream they looked at repeating reception. The LEA weren't keen as they said that ds1 would 'have' to move to secondary at a certain time (actually as he's in special school now it makes no diffference the school goes from 3-19), and my friend's dd in the same LEA has been in all sorts of year groups. What the school did with ds1 was 'officially' move him into year 1, but he still spent a lot of time in reception class. I guess that needed an LSA for him to work (which he had via his statement).

What I'm saying is that if you statement don't think of it as a means of getting a repeat of year 1 - there are other ways you could push for that, but do think of it as something really useful that will document your twins needs and provide money for support they need above the amount the school is able to supply.

Have a browse through the IPSEA news as well to see if your LEA has ever had its knuckles rapped for poor practice. Helps you know what you're up against.

welovetelegraphpoles Thu 17-Apr-08 22:30:58

Have heard of cases where school says it can cope.....and then doesn't.

Really do think, if you can cope, and get necessary support and advice, request statement yourself. If the school wants what is best for the children, they'll support you.

jajas Thu 17-Apr-08 22:12:56

Ok I will take a look at the IPSEA site over the weekend. I rang the Parent Partnership today but they aren't taking on any new cases until after the Easter Holidays which is next Monday. We had the Educational Psychologist visit at home so have written to them asking for a school visit to follow.

The Head isn't that keen or so it would appear initially to involve 'outsiders' for want of a better expression. She has consistently assured me that they can deal with it within the school but the Paediatrician clearly thinks otherwise.

I'm being positive about this, hoping that they will get the help but of course have worries that they won't get anything and then I will be worried sick that they will slip through the net. The Paediatrician painted a very gloomy picture of how they will progress through school (or not as the case would be) if we don't get help. Both my twins (especially one of them) is very quiet and she said he will just sit not understanding at the back of the class and no-one will notice him as he won't be behaving badly sad poor little thing.

Friends have been great, very supportive but I do dread sympathy ~ well patronising sympathy IFYKWIM.

welovetelegraphpoles Thu 17-Apr-08 22:09:04

Actually thinking on this....I probably did use them.....because I bet some of the advice I saw on here, on threads at the time stems from IPSEA!

welovetelegraphpoles Thu 17-Apr-08 21:58:48

I always understood IPSEA to be an organisation that provided advice to parents going through, or about to start, the statementing process.

Also believed - and haven't heard differently - that their role is to support those parents and make them aware of the statementing procedures. Surely this knowledge helps both parties? After all, there's plenty of charities and other "third parties" that help with applications for things like DLA etc. Surely, involving a knowledgeable third party is to everyone's benefit? Saving time and providing constructive information?

I actually didn't use them, and we were lucky enough to get a statement without a battle (pretty upsetting to realise that DS2 was so needing this that no-one quibbled). But I'm also pretty well-educated and able to fill in forms and we had plenty of professional support in the form of reports - lots of parents aren't as lucky, and this is where an advisory body can help everyone with time and advice!

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 16:55:07

I think re-reading this you are mistaking how I am suggesting using IPSEA. I am suggesting their use (in the first instance and assuming no problems arise) as an information resource. As the quickest and easiest and most independent (and free) way to get information about statementing and the LEA's legal responsibilities. If things turn difficult then they can be there to help, but they can also just provide information to ensure the process is smooth and easy.

I don't actually know anyone at all who has gone through the statementing process without referring to IPSEA's advice in some way. Even if that's just checking things on their website.

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