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Live webchat with Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families, TODAY, Tuesday 4 September, 1pm

(73 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-Aug-12 13:25:28

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families joins us again for a LIVE webchat on Tuesday 4 September at 1.00pm to talk about the SEN and Disability Green Paper. The Green Paper will:

· Replace statements with a single assessment process and a combined education, health and care plan
· Require local authorities and health bodies to take joint responsibility for providing services
· Require local authorities to publish a local offer of services for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs
· Extend statutory protections to young people aged 16-25 in further education and focusing on preparing them for adulthood.
· Give parents and young people the option of a personal budget

The draft Bill will be published in September to give people the chance to tell the Government what they think. Following this, the Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament from Spring next year. More information is available from www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/new-laws

Do please join us on Tuesday, if you can't make it on the day; please post up your questions in advance here.


wannabestressfree Sat 01-Sep-12 05:42:44

From my point in view I applaud the extending of protection into adulthood as I feel this is severally lacking.
I would like to see the ease of accessing respite made a lot easier to protect the family. It seems you have to be at breaking point and beyond to get any help. I asked for help numerous times but was told by s/s that ds's IQ was too high to access children with disabilities team and not 'at risk' for any other. Situation reached crisis point before derisory help was given......
I hope some of these work. Waiting lists are too long to access services that disabled children need urgently. And one again I think up protect the family more could be done.....

HotheadPaisan Sat 01-Sep-12 07:21:38

Hello, welcome back, I will look at the old thread for outstanding questions.

The main thing I remember was about accountability, ringfencing and effective sanctions. I can see where you're going with these ideas but they will only work if the LAs fully commit to them and there are effective sanctions if they don't.

I noticed the First Tier SEND Tribunal service has committed to fast-tracking disability discrimination hearings in exclusion cases, this is a step in the right direction and needs to be extended to the whole plan and provision of education, health and care to children with disabilities.

LA Children Teams need help to ensure budget allocation and prioritise spending on children with disabilities, how can you help them do that?

Hi Sarah,

Personal budgets look great on paper but so far, within adult social care, they have resulted in drastically reduced eligibility, people left with no funding for months on end, loss or fragmentation of services and severe financial hardship and instability for small orgs who provide services.

What have you learnt from this and what measures will you put in place to prevent this happening as PBs are rolled out to children and young people?

HotheadPaisan Sat 01-Sep-12 16:45:19

Personal budgets need lots of flexibility. My experience is that services and people come and go and needs change you need to be able to redirect your allocation quickly. We have got near to the end of a year to be told we can't switch allocation as it's 'too late' and have lost the remainder of the allocation.

I need this to work as so far my DS has nothing!!!

He is a severely disabled 11 year old who is challenging and complex.

He is at home 24/7 and the LA are refusing to acknowledge what health say, it is all conflicting with each other and in the process a child is being severely let down by the whole system that is supposed to be supporting him, not to mention make him flourish and encompass every child matters and EDCM !!!!

I have not much else to say or ask........if you and the system can let down a child like mine, in your face disability wise, it's obvious others go overlooked. The whole system is corrupt!!

What does a personal budget mean for my son.................a future, one that will enable him to leave the house and learn to live on a daily basis doing things that others take for granted..........go for a walk, go to the shop, have a haircut...........etc etc

mariamma Sat 01-Sep-12 19:35:22

The day before back to school, lunchtime, seeking views of SN parents... hmm,

she's not going to hear from many people with inadequate respite/holiday care, nor with dc in a suicidal flap due to returning to inadequate education, nor anyone whose dc have severe and complex needs ie constant close supervision.

mariamma Sat 01-Sep-12 20:06:30

Honestly, what I would want to say if the above factors werent going to prevent me logging on would be; please don't risk selling your party out. This proposed legislation is not an improvement, my carefully considered view is that it is much more likely to be the thin end of a very nasty eugenicist wedge.

Lloyd George brought in national insurance, laid the foundations of the NHS, established council housing, raised the school leaving age to 14 (in some cases to 16). His Liberal predecessors established the school health service and gave LEAs a responsibility to educate children with special needs: initially those with epilepsy or learning disability, and then also those with physical disabilities. The 1921 education act specified that this included sensory impairment, and permitted the provision of residential accommodation if educationally necessary.

So your party, even in those long ago, supposedly unenlightened times, brought in support. And it's now being dismantled, bit by bit, initially by 'New' Labour and now by the Conservative-led coalition, aided and abetted by the Liberals.

Vagaceratops Sat 01-Sep-12 23:19:31

Marking my place.

Vagaceratops Sat 01-Sep-12 23:30:01

My question is based on eligibility, especially for those with 'hodden' disabilities.

My DS has ASD and has full time 1:1 support in school, yet he has no real 'health' issues, but still needs the help of a SALT and an OT.

How will you decide what proportion of the budget goes to a child like my Son, who has different needs to a child with Cerebral Palsy, who has very different needs?

Vagaceratops Sat 01-Sep-12 23:31:30


Sorry, my question is so badly written, but its half 11 at night and we are nowhere near ready for bed yet - the school anxiety has hit and I cant get him to calm down sad

Hello Sarah,

I wonder about this:

'Require local authorities to publish a local offer of services for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs'

How about a requirement to DELIVER one, and enforced by law!? There is too much publication of various policies, guidelines etc. but not an awful lot of accountability or challenge.

Publication does not equal outcomes. Do you agree?

whatthewhatthebleep Sat 01-Sep-12 23:40:09

what if the collective don't listen to parents?...this is the biggest issue in the first instance with any of these policies and whatever way they are put together....a parent or guardian is the 1st point of call, the closest observer to their own individual child, but often is the last person to be listened to....how will this ever change?...and what if the collective specialities are not listening and you can't get on the same page with anything....it's a very scarey thought and I wonder where a family will be left if ranks close and won't listen....another child fallen through and lost in the mire....where can a parent go from there I wonder???

but thats where we are without this what

Yes. A social Worker told us that although we did meet the published criteria for respite, there were people with far greater need and not enough money so we wouldn't get any.

When we complained we were told that actually we didn't meet the criteria after all and had interpreted things like 'being woken regularly' wrongly as our definition of regular wasn't the same as theirs, but no the couldn't tell us what their definition was because it is based on individual need.

How does a parent combat this kind of nonsense?

whatthewhatthebleep Sun 02-Sep-12 00:22:42

yes I know devient ...thats my question...it should be a basic start point and parents should always be listened to...and it doesn't happen and I'm asking how this will be improved...and I'm wondering where it leaves a family if the powers that be are sitting in unison and not listening....I'd say that at least at the moment a parent can go to several places to be referred with their child so if there is going to be 1 with these changes....where does that leave a family if they are not taken seriously????...where do they go beyond this 1 stop collective thing?...how will that be a good thing?
Perhaps I could have explained myself better with this....

KAON Sun 02-Sep-12 08:31:16

Regarding the GCSE grade fiasco: Children have been cheated. OfQual should have sorted out the grade inflation issue years ago. It is not the children's fault. I have one 16 year old who has been cheated. I also have a 14 year old who is about to begin a GCSE programme. How can I trust that he will also not be cheated? Unless the grading system that pupils and teachers were working towards is reinstated, how can I ever trust the exam system again? Please sign this petition

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 02-Sep-12 10:06:46

To Sarah Teather

I like some of your changes, but until we actually get an effective system of educating autistic children in place, it's all just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

My autistic boy would still be non-verbal and punching me in the face, had I left him in the state autism education - the outdated, ineffective, patronising "TEACCH" system.

We haven't had a proper INDEPENDENT review of autism education for years - would you commission one and ask them to look at ABA - as used in great schools such as Treehouse, Jigsaw, Treetops and Rainbow?

For some reason, the LAs all hate ABA - yet it has got my child talking and curbed his aggression.

I fear that all we are really "educating" our autistic children for in this country is institutionalisation in later life, when they get too big to control.

And, btw, I am probably talking about more severe children here - though I think ABA also works well for hf children in a mainstream classroom.


HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 07:30:21

Bump, I noticed Sarah came back and answered more questions on the old thread btw. Click on Wechats to see it under this thread.

What will the complaints/ appeal process be? Will everything still be covered under the First Tier SEND Tribunal system? Even disagreements about care provision for example?

I know in theory SALT and OT can already be challenged under the education umbrella but the reality is you get discharged from these with ASD, as you do from the health service on ASD diagnosis actually, quite astonishing when you think about it.

bjkmummy Mon 03-Sep-12 12:50:28

im in a ridiculous position of having an 8 year old who cannot cope with school and is making himself physically ill at school. he is now only in school part time as this is all he can cope with. The lea have written a statement which is not worth the paper it is written on. we had an emergency review and the school stated they cannot meet his needs, even with fulltime support and he needs a specialised school place. we paid £700 for a private Ot report as the NHS would not see him - he was then dx with sensory intregration modualtion and the lea will not accept the report even though the school agrees its accurate. OT report says he will never cope in a mainstream school - lea just increase his hours of support which is pointless as hes in school part time and then say - oh we will get an NHS OT report for balance which we will pay for and accept but we wont accept your because you paid for it!!! said son is now still in the school part time only - OT yet to see him despite huge promises from the lea it was urgent. he has been offered a place at a brand new free school for ASD but the lea refuse to name it until they get this OT report - so we will now have to go to tribunal - will cost us £3K in reports - everyone and i mean everyone accept that he needs a special school even the lea to som edegree but no let my son suffer and detoriate until mum lodges the appeal papers then we may just do something about it - the sysytem is a mess - there is a code of practice but the LEA chose to ignore it, they are no penalities if they do. will the new system stop this? i think not - ican see even more red tape ahead of us and the situation getting worse not better. the lea need to be accountable for the stress they put on families - i have 2 sons with asd - last year i spent the year battling for my elder sons secondary placement no sooner is that sorted then i am battling again - it just never ever stops and i want a break from it all. i just want my son to have a full time edcuation which meets his needs - im not asking for the world. the school placement i want is £8k a year - the lea are currently spending £16K on the mainstream placement taht he cant access - it makes no sense whatsoever

bjkmummy Mon 03-Sep-12 12:58:53

sorry wrote above post without reading the guidelines - my post does sound quite like what about me.

my point is that the system is so flawed at the moment and in theory of course change would be good but a complete overhaul of the system which hasnt been properly tested is worrying. in some areas, leas are telling parents statements no longer available which strictly isnt true. any new system must have accountability for the LEA otherwise it is worthless. trying to get the lea and nhs working together historically has been difficult and now with all the budgets cuts i can only see it becoming more and more confusing. i agree that the new process must make sure that the leas have to follow the procedures and not interpert them in their own way otherwise we will be replacing one bad system with another. at least with the system we have now, there is so much case law and guidance available to fight your way through it - a new system will be untested and any appeals will be stabbing in the dark. life is hard enough without all of this added uncertainties for parents

I don't really understand the point of any changes to be honest. You can change the paint of the walls, but you're just painting over the cracks with another colour.

WHATEVER is in place needs to be transparant and with accountability. If the current system every had that, it would have worked. Local Authorities currently flout the law because it is in their interests to do so. Pushing a parent to tribunal saves them months of funding even if they are clearly going to lose. It puts other parents off even asking for provision in the first place too.

When statements are not implemented you have parents going to the LGO who rule that whilst the LA has broken the law, they were reasonable to do so due to their budgetary issues, or recruitment problems.

DS has attended 4 schools and has never had an IEP that was SMART with measurable targets. This is BASIC stuff. I would like to see a national quality standard for IEPs please.

Dear Sarah, I am still very concerned about dc with a disability or medical condition but no "learning difficulty" as such, who still need support in school but may not have a statement. What comeback do we have if children with severe issues need support but do not get transferred to the new system as they do not have a Statement? It took me 9 months of fighting (even with full support from the LA PDSS), including many letters, support from MP, staging sit ins, threatening civil legal action and Equalities Act 2010 etc to get our LA to help find a main stream school with disabled access for ds. We now have a super school for him, with a wonderful Head, and one to one support partially funded by pct and part by LA....are we going to lose this because he doesn't have a statement? Am I going to have to fight all over again? My ds can't be the only one in this situation.

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:35:34

Just reading the draft legislation now, the intro talks about redress, I'd like to hear more about this tomorrow, particularly for going to Tribunal and timeframes for being heard:

'The reforms would also strengthen the redress process. Young people outside of the school system would be able to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal for the first time. Where parents or young people wished to make an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), they would first be required to go to mediation.'


Yes, - mediation suggests that there is a difference of opinion. If that is the case then mediation is reasonable.

But why should parents be expected to go to mediation when a LA has acted illegally, or flouted the basic guidelines of the SENCOP to quantify and specify.
How much additional time will this give the LAs to avoid funding provision?

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:53:20

More on the intended aim of the reforms, I liked what Sarah said before about improving commissioning, the problem is SALT and OT for example are overstretched and not up to speed with helping on sensory and ASD issues. That could be changed, or I could get a personal budget and pay people who can help DS1 with these things.

The section was talking about costs:

'These will be offset against the benefits to education, health and social care
professionals of working within a more efficient system, including the reduced need for new assessments when young people move into further education, a downward trend on costs associated with appeals owing to the availability, through a local offer, of clear information for parents and others about support that is normally available in schools and colleges, and from health and social care services, without the need for specialist assessments; a better, less adversarial assessment process for children and young people who need support beyond that which is normally available; the introduction of compulsory mediation; and reduced demand for adult social care and health services where young people are helped to live independently and obtain paid employment (which the National Audit Office estimates could reduce lifetime support costs by as much as £1m per person).'

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:54:27

Agree mediation has to be swift, again, where is the penalty if it is dragged out?

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:55:34
HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:57:25

And does it mean there will be personal budgets for home education?

Blahdeblahmum Mon 03-Sep-12 17:00:12

Hi Sarah,

I was hoping that there would be more about local support for families. The local offer sounds like a directory. What will make local authorities provide it - they will just say look in the local offer. How will you make them provide what local families need? There's nothing that makes them have to provide local services, we will still have to fight and still have to travel to find what our children need. I want good services close to home not miles away.

How will personal budgets work anyway?

Will it be: 'This is what the child needs, and this is what it costs us, so lets offer 2/3 of that to parents to deliver it themselves'?

Or will it be 'Lets only recruit professionals who are likely to underplay or completely miss the needs of the children so they don't cost us much when the parents ask for the personal budgets'?

Yes, - the word 'offer' suggests provision-led rather than need or outcome-led. What was the rationale for naming it thus?

TaniaLT Mon 03-Sep-12 19:09:38

Hi Sarah and thank you to you and Stephen Kingdom for answering my open letter on my Special Needs Jungle blog, which I posted this afternoon, along with a brief initial bill response. Need much more time to digest it, though.
I was very interested to see mentioned in the response to the open letter about cultural change. How can you make sure that this is compulsory for all LA staff, as I know for a fact that shoddy and illegal practice is still happening as this process is underway and it needs to be stopped now, not in 2014.

Also, regarding the draft legislation, I would like to know how you intend to consult on the bill - through the pathfinders? How will this be fed back? How will changes be made to the draft bill and when - in one go?
Finally, please come to our Surrey Family Voice/Surrey LA joint pathfinder event in November!

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 19:59:30

NAS response Joint commissioning should help.

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 20:23:24

Tania's info.

I think the pace is ok, these things take forever legislatively. The principle is right and it will cause/ force all parties to revisit SEN. Many need to.

lionheart Mon 03-Sep-12 22:42:36

I'd like to know how precisely the system is supposed to work up until the age of 25 when it doesn't even work now and won't unless the govt. puts up the money.

As Starlight says, publishing guidelines is a long way from delivering an adequate service.

lionheart Mon 03-Sep-12 22:44:46

Forgot to say, good for you, Sarah for coming back again. smile

AgnesDiPesto Mon 03-Sep-12 23:19:08

The position for home education is the same - education otherwise - and you still have to prove first that no school or nursery would be suitable before you get ABA / home programme. sad sad angry

No clear right to request using your personal budget on home education programmes - I am not even clear if the personal budget will cover education at all??? I accept there would have to be some accreditation of home progs (not a problem for ABA as already accreditation process in development). But there is such clear evidence for home programmes for autism in early years, do we really still need to jump through the hoops of proving nothing else will work first. Does this not go against all the early intervention advice? Why are we forcing pre school children into a neurotypical nursery education system rather than designing an education that is right for them starting at home and moving into a setting when ready?

Why are mainstream and special schools using methods like TEACCH still getting preferential treatment when their evidence base for good outcomes is poor?

My son gets a fulltime ABA programme partly delivered in a mainstream school (he attends 5 half days at year 1) with an additional 20 hours of ABA at home / at an office. Nothing in draft bill to make this easier to negotiate even though for many children part time school is much more successful than fulltime school. Dual placements are still not really clearly included in the legislation as a viable option. Parents given no extra rights to ask for these.

Why could ABA / other accredited home programmes not be listed as an standard education option rather than education otherwise? Why not a clear commitment to fund home programmes (if appropriate) as recommended in the 2002 ASD Guidance???? Thats right we were promised this 10 years ago!

What about young people who are able to express a preference eg for home internet school? Split placements? Flexi schooling?

'I fear that all we are really "educating" our autistic children for in this country is institutionalisation in later life, when they get too big to control.' - Absolutely agree. My child also speaking, less aggressive following ABA. Is included beautifully in mainstream part time by his well trained ABA support. Is achieving fantastic outcomes compared to the 18 months he was stuck on the LA ASD provision.

Does not address the issue about whether will be any independence introduced into assessing need. My LA created a fictional, much less disabled, much more mildly affected child for which to provide provision - ignoring and manipulating evidence to do so & ignoring the child in front of them. Went against the advice of their own EP to place him in mainstream nursery & against our preference. Told us he was too bright for special school even though no idea what his cognitive function was! Nothing in bill to stop LAs doing this except backstop of tribunal. We won 6 times the cost of LA provision at tribunal. A pretty massive margin of error. Nothing to stop LAs making under provision. This is why parents end up at tribunal. Not because of bureaucracy but because LAs lie. They tell you your child is less disabled than you think, make experts change their reports to play down difficulties and tell you their schools can do vastly more than they can. Nothing to stop the widescale abuse of the system by LAs. No sanctions. LAs don't follow the rules so having a new set won't change anything. Until assessment is independent of funding nothing can change.

Seems mostly the same as the current law. Apart from the compulsory mediation and some vague promise of personal budgets for health its exactly the same as the current system.

It will be education, SS and health professionals who all know each other stitching up what they want to provide behind closed doors and then presenting to the parent as a fait accompli.

Anyone know if will for eg be able to take a notional budget and say I don't want that generic special school I want to use the same amount of money for this much better indep SS / home programme?? Or is personal budget just going to apply to health / equipment?

SarahTeatherMP Tue 04-Sep-12 09:53:24


DysAct Tue 04-Sep-12 09:55:50

Hi my name is Becky, I'm posting on behalf of national dyslexia charity Dyslexia Action. We would like to know how the bill will make sure that children with dyslexia get help?

Will support be left to schools to decide and if so what guidance will be given to ensure that extra action is taken to make sure all of those with dyslexia or suspected dyslexia get the support they need?

Looking forward to tuning into the webchat.

Many thanks,

Becky (Dyslexia Action)

2tirednot2fight Tue 04-Sep-12 10:10:30

I wanted to ask what about the existing post 16 year olds whose statements have been ceased or have lapsed, some of whom no doubt will be NEET, will the changes mean they will get provision reinstated?

My son lost his statement without us being told it would end and with us as parents objecting to him being placed in a college of FE without adequate support. I know we are not alone.

Probably no change for our son and others like him I suspect because it seems that changes are only ever implemented for new cases and that those already failed by an appalling education system, which seems to me to function without conscience, are simply seen as the experiences of those about whom the mantra is to report "lessons are learnt". It saddens me that the most vulnerable in our society are continually failed by successive governments without hope of redress.

Did we really need this lengthy and costly process to identify the flaws in the current system?

HotheadPaisan Tue 04-Sep-12 10:12:04

What does it mean about those out of education being covered?

Really want to hear about accountability, timeframes and redress, six months to assess and put support in place is too long.

2tirednot2fight Tue 04-Sep-12 10:23:47

OOps Ms Teather I have just read the rules again, please feel free to ignore the personal experience I have shared (guess this fits the "what about me" rule) but if you do have time and could possibly answer the initial question that would be greatly appreciated (although as per the guidelines will not result in disappointment if it isn't)!

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 04-Sep-12 10:47:02

Place marking, am shattered as both DD and I had seizures last night due to the crappy viral tonsillitis bug we've got, need to up to bed when DS3 naps, but will fire some Q's later, just about 1-ish.

DebsKent Tue 04-Sep-12 10:49:46

Hello Sarah
I have a few questions (as a parent - not as chair of a change board).

* Cl 10 appears to give LAs a get out clause for any support (if any adverse effect on their own function) - how does this benefit families?

* Cl 21 only imposes duty on LA to arrange educational provision, not health or social care. How is that different from a statement...? This is already a big issue and having no duty to arrange health/social care (especially given the new proposed Working Together guidelines) will not protect the families who need this most.

* Cl 17 seems to imply that a Single EHC Plan will only be available for those children with severe disabilities - again, how is that different from a statement and what happens to those children without severe disabilities but still with SEN?

* In Cl 16, there is mention of a judgement being made as to whether a child gets an EHC assessement - how is this different to the current statementing process (ie a panel decides) and what happens to those who are not assessed as being eligible

It is important that all involved have a "duty" to provide the necessary service, it is also imperative that the DfE and all concerned appreciate that we are not asking here for what we want for our children , we are asking for what we need for our children. The current system is not fit for purpose and sadly, it would appear in its current state, neither is this.

TheBlackShiksa Tue 04-Sep-12 10:50:23

There are rumours circulating that you are to be demoted to the back benches, and replaced by Jo Swinson. Does that mean you haven't been doing a good job with your allocated brief? Are you relieved that your post is going to another Lib Dem or ticked off by this.

CatPower Tue 04-Sep-12 11:11:10

You've just been replaced by David Laws. How much of a kicker is that?

Will a child or young person with health or medical issues which affect their ability to access school due too illness or time off be eligible for a plan?

zzzzz Tue 04-Sep-12 11:48:05

How does lumping School Action, and School Action plus together help children with sen?

What reassurance can you give that children's privacy and right to Dr/Patient confidentiality can be maintained within a single assessment process. How will data be stored and who will have access to it.

"local authorities and other services to set out a local offer of all services available;"
Excellent and long overdue. Will there be a minimum level of service required? A "benchmark" of minimum provision so to speak? Will there be any incentive to provide a "gold standard" level of provision? Will there be any onus on local authorities to keep up to date with modern approaches to intervention? If so how will they do this?

For those of us who Home Educate due to lack of local suitable provision, how will we access personal budgets? How will you insure that authorities don't refuse statements in order to stop personal budgets being offered?

"strengthening parental choice of school, for either a mainstream or special school; and,"

Great idea if a true choice is on offer. In my area there are few special schools , and none that cater for the academically able but unable to manage in ms.

Make it assessment independent, anything else is not good enough.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 04-Sep-12 12:23:56

Sorry to say that Sarah Teather's office have just cancelled her webchat today - assume she's been reshuffled. We'll do our best to reschedule with the next incumbent.

wasuup3000 Tue 04-Sep-12 12:24:24

1) There are to many get out clauses for LA's that presume that LA's get it right when they don't as some LA's act illegally and not in the child's interest
2) Mediation should not be compulsory many parents are going to tribunal because LA's have acted illegally not because they cannot talk to the LA's.
3) It is not clear what support there will be for children on school action/plus who might not be "severe" enough for a statement.
4) The government seems to rely a lot on LA's getting it right when quite often they get it wrong and accountability services are in the LA's pockets such as LGO's and not as independent as they are painted.
5) This draft just seems to mash up what's already in place making it harder for everyone to understand.
6) There is a need to make LA's accountable for failing children with SEN which is missing therefore LA's continue to play games with children's futures.

Vagaceratops Tue 04-Sep-12 12:38:09

David Laws sad.

HotheadPaisan Tue 04-Sep-12 12:48:41

All very disappointing, hope Laws continues to push for improvements. Thanks to Sarah for getting this on the agenda and trying to make a difference.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 04-Sep-12 13:09:08

Given the cuts to Legal Aid, that now preclude anyone on a low income from taking their LEA to tribunal because the LA has refused to even assess for a statement, based on proven illegal 'blanket decision' levels, ignoring the combination effect that having LD's and social skills difficulties can have on a child's ability to access education, what is the draft bill going to go about that?

• Is the new bill going to have harsh sanctions for LA's that refuse to even ASSESS for a statement, despite the DC being over 4 years behind their peers, educationally?

• What provision is going to be made for parents that have no access to Legal Aid, and not enough money to pay for legal representation, in the event of a tribunal?

• What will happen to a DC that is 2/3 years behind educationally, needs high levels of support on the classroom in order to access the curriculum AT ALL, but is currently on SA or SA+? If their LA has refused to even ASSESS for a statement, what will happen to these DC's when SA & SA+ vanish? Will they get a personal budget? Will they get any support?

• I am finding, as the parent of two DC's with SN's (and two without), that DC's on SA/SA+ are being downgraded from SA+ to SA, or SA to nothing, despite still being VERY far behind their peers, to the point where they are unable to access most of the curriculum AND are ostracised in the playground and bullied and having levels a very long way behind where they should be. What is going to be done to protect THESE DC's education when their LA has been proven in multiple court cases (not tribunals, court cases) to be acting illegally on their refusal to assess for a Statement.

I know of at least 5 DC's that OBVIOUSLY should have a full Statement, and FT support. In the last year and a half, they have been gradually moved from SA+ to SA, and then from SA to nothing, despite the attainment gap to their peers widening. My very real fear and concern is that under the new system, they will be left to flounder with no support as they can't even get ASSESSED for a statement.

My DD and DS2 are in this situation - my DD has been on SA+ since 3yo at pre-school (though it was Early years SA+ then), and has just been moved to SA despite only achieving NC level 3/4 at the age of 14 in most subjects.

My DS2 was on EYFS SA+ at the age of 3yo also. He is almost 9yo, his writing is illegible, due to his muscle problems and a PCT who discharged him at 5yo not because he could do everything he should, but due to finances. He has lots of time off school due to his asthma, but never spends quite long enough off school to trigger the LA's 14 school day rule to get a home tutor, so falls even further behind every time his asthma starts up. He has GDD/LD's, and is working around 2-3 NC levels (not sub levels, full levels) behind his peers. He has social difficulties and is a target for bullies because he has ASD. Not only have the LA refused to even bother to ASSESS him for a statement, at the start of Y3 he was dropped from SA+ to SA, and at the end of Y3 he was dropped from SA to nothing. No more IEP's, no access to a TA, no help with integrating socially, nothing. Yet he still HAS the same issues he did on SA+, now he will be unable to access the curriculum at all as he will have no access to a TA.

How will you protect THESE DC's education?

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 04-Sep-12 13:13:20


LineRunner Tue 04-Sep-12 13:23:23

Is she no longer a Government Minister?

MyNeighbourIsStrange Tue 04-Sep-12 13:55:50

After all that typing CouthyMow.

Not sure yet Line runner, Dave is still working through it.

LineRunner Tue 04-Sep-12 14:03:09

I read that she has been sacked, to be replaced by David Laws.

I hope MN will try to get him on here a.s.a.p. I want to ask him about the cuts to Local Authority budgets.

I wish Sarah Teather all the best. Being sacked by Cameron and Clegg has raised her up in my estimation.

TheTimeTravellersWife Tue 04-Sep-12 14:09:10

So it looks like Sarah Teather is booted out of her post the same day as the draft SEN Bill is published.....
It hardly conveys joined up thinking by the government, or a commitment to improving the lives of disabled children and their parents.

SwedishEdith Tue 04-Sep-12 14:09:56

Sacked according to Politcal Scrapbook. Ta ra Teather!

Vagaceratops Tue 04-Sep-12 14:13:33

I think with what she has been given to work with, Sarah has done a good job and I will miss her.

My worry with David Laws is that he will be keen to prove himself after being booted out over the expenses scandal and then accepted back into the fold that he will just tow the party line rather than standing up for children.

vesela Tue 04-Sep-12 14:52:21

He's a listener and sensible. He's not the type to need to prove himself in that way - in fact I think the hope is that he'll rein in Gove and the others.

But that he replaced Sarah is a huge pity (to put it mildly). Well done to her, and good luck everyone here in trying to get a sensible system.

HotheadPaisan Tue 04-Sep-12 14:57:43

I could have saved myself a lot of time and just read this: The right start: reforming the system for children with autism. Report on reform of the special educational needs and disabilities system by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism.

vesela Tue 04-Sep-12 17:55:48

Interesting that there's been no official confirmation yet (as far as I can see) that Sarah Teather is actually leaving.

I think it's also not been announced who's replacing Maria Miller as Disabilities Minister.

Wondering if the two things are related.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Tue 04-Sep-12 18:36:47

Poor Sarah.

Vagaceratops Tue 04-Sep-12 18:50:59
MyNeighbourIsStrange Tue 04-Sep-12 19:08:01

Dave dumped her to the backbenches, Wow!

LineRunner Tue 04-Sep-12 19:16:18

Well that's a bit crap, isn't it? A woman who finally knows what a lot of the issues are, and is listening, and just about to come back to MN for a 2nd time...

...and Cameron dumps her.

But Gove stays in charge.

vesela Tue 04-Sep-12 19:35:37

It is extremely crap.

mariamma Thu 06-Sep-12 14:28:53

Having someone knowledgable in charge when the government do a hatchet job on children with special needs would never have worked. And since I think ST is a politician with integrity, I'm glad for her sake that she wont be used. She's done her best to get the White paper as good as she can, not nice to have her push a final bill through which will end up removeing what few safeguards there are now.

lionheart Thu 06-Sep-12 19:15:53

It sounds crap and like she got a raw deal for actually trying to do her job.

LineRunner Thu 06-Sep-12 19:28:32

I think Sarah Teather didn't have any friends in government when it mattered.

2tirednot2fight Wed 09-Jan-13 00:05:22

This is the one I thought Edward Timpson was to pick up on or is that no longer going to happen?

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