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Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children and Families, LIVE webchat about SEN reforms, on Tuesday 13 November at 12:00pm(142 Posts)
You may remember that we were due to have the previous Children's Minister, Sarah Teather, on Mumsnet for a webchat back in September but she was reshuffled just hours beforehand. So we're very pleased that the new Children's Minister, Edward Timpson, will be here for a LIVE webchat on Tuesday 13 November at 12:00pm to discuss the Government?s proposed changes to special educational needs policy.
The Department for Education has been consulting on draft clauses for the Children and Families Bill since September. This is what the DfE says the aims of the bill are:
-Local authorities and local health bodies would be required to plan and commission education, health and care services jointly and publish a clear and transparent 'local offer' of services for children and young people and families.
-A more streamlined assessment process would be put in place, integrating education, health and care services and involving children, young people and their families at its heart.
-A new birth to 25 Education, Health and Care Plan, replacing the current system of Statements and Learning Difficulties Assessments, would reflect the child's or young person's aspirations for the future, as well as their current needs and have a stronger focus on preparing them for adulthood.
-Young people aged 16-25 in further education would have comparable rights to those in schools.
-Families and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan would have the option of a personal budget for their support.
More information is available here.
Prior to entering Parliament, Edward was a family law barrister in Cheshire, specialising in the cases of vulnerable children. He has two adopted brothers and his parents have fostered 87 children over the last 30 years, many of whom Edward grew up with.
Until his ministerial appointment he was Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Adoption & Fostering and Looked After Children & Care Leavers and Vice Chairman for the Runaway & Missing Children group. He is married with three children.
We know that many posters on Mumsnet are deeply involved in the issues highlighted in the draft bill, and that some of you have already responded to related consultations; now's your chance to put your questions and concerns directly to the minister, so please join us live on Tuesday if you can. If you can't make it on the day, please post up your questions in advance here.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I would like to raise questions relating to the fundamental problems with the current SEN system and ask you how you believe your reforms will address them
1. LA law breaking
The core problem with the current SEN system is the consistent flouting of the law by LAs who, if they bother to justify themselves, do so on resource grounds. Unlawful practice is accepted and endemic. Indeed, one director of education at an LA giving evidence to the HC Select Committee on Education was happy yo assert his Council told parents they didn't have the resources for statements and so were not 'doing statements' any more. Yet, this is entirely unlawful practice.
How will your reforms address this?
2. LA accountability
The current system operates with LAs following self-imposed policies about statementing and provision and informing parents and schools that these policies represent the law. Largely, they do not. For example, there is no legal provision which says a child has to have an IQ below a particular level before they can get a statement or has to have 'significant and complex' needs. Yet this rhetoric is bandied about as if it were fact.
Decision-making lacks accountability at every step in the process. LAs refuse to give specific reasons for refusing statutory assessments or statements and refuse to justify their choices of provision which are largely dictated by their bulk contracts with local SLT etc.
SEN Panels make decisions without independent members on them (most are made up of LA heads or Ed psychs working to LA policies) and most refuse to record their decision-making. Some LAs even refuse to confirm the members of the panel making decisions despite the fact that these decisions concern public funds.
Such decision-making practices and the failure to explain decisions would generally be considered to be judicially reviewable. However, JR is denied parents because of the existence of the SEN Tribunal. This encourages LAs to drag matters out for months. It also condones the operation of blanket policies which fetter discretion and are unlawful e.g. the 'we don't do statements' line trotted out to Parliament.
How are your reforms going to make LAs more accountable?
3. Poor quality SEN provision
Much of the provision 'thrown' at children within the SEN system (particularly children with ASD) is generic rather than child specific. This means there is a 'SEN industry' of so-called experts pumping out interventions cheaply (on the basis of black contracts) and sometimes when they have not even met the child. Such interventions are generally not evidenced based nor are they capable of objective measurement. This entirely removes accountability and deprives the child of any real chance of objectively measurable progress.
How will your reforms make health professionals and LAs more accountable for the provision they spend our money on?
4. Direct payments
Pathfinder authorities are supposed to be trialling DPs for SEN in accordance with the terms of the Pilot Order. They are not. Instead, they deny they are under any obligation to respond to requests for DPs for SEN and assert that they can pick and choose whether they follow the law in this area.
If LAs are prepared to unlawfully just refuse to entertain requests on the pilots for these important orders, what hope to we have that LAs will take these applications seriously if they are applied more generally?
Further, won't the existence of 'block contracts' always allow LAs to 'get out of jail free' and refuse to agree direct payments for SEN as the cost of employing a private SLT will inevitably be higher than the cost attributed to the block contract?
I am a parent of a child with Special Educational Needs, who has a Statement of SEN. She is currently attending our local village mainstream primary, with a significant level of support, which we only obtained after taking the Local Education Authority to the SENDIST Tribunal.
What will happen in the case of children who already have Statements of SEN? Will they have to go through the Statutory Assessment process again? This would be unnecessarily costly for the LA and stressful for parents. Ideally, their Statements will be seamlessly converted to EHC Plans, without the need for re-assessment.
The Tribunal should be able to take into account unreasonable behaviour by LA during the process of the appeal. In my own case, the LA wilfully ignored the professional advice obtained during the Statutory Assessment; which is the reason why we needed to appeal. We wrote to the LA during the appeal, with a copy of the working document, and they refused to negotiate with us. This is totally unreasonable behaviour. The Statement was unlawful, as it did not specify and quantify provision, as required by the Code of Practice.
However, there are no effective sanctions available when LAs behave in this manner, other than for parents to appeal to the SEND Tribunal. The Tribunal agreed that my daughter required the level of support that was recommended by the professional reports and ordered the LA to amend her Statement accordingly. We suffered stress and expense solely due to the unreasonable attitude of the LA. The Draft SEN Bill proposes compulsory mediation, whilst the Green Paper acknowledged that mediation to date has not worked. Compulsory mediation will prove a failure and simply add to an extension of the overall time-scales involved and parental frustration.
The assessment process should be independent from the Local Education Authority or from the Health Authority, who sadly, will both be influenced by their budgetary constraints.
The Draft Bill does nothing to resolve the inherent conflict of interest between the LA both assessing and being responsible for providing special educational provision. In 2006, the House of Commons Select Committee recommended that the link must be broken between assessment and funding of provision, having concluded that there is an inbuilt conflict of interest in that it is the duty of the local authority both to assess the needs of the child and to arrange provision to meet those needs, and all within a limited resource.
It is not unknown for LAs to issue unlawful Statements, that fail to specify and quantify provision, as required by the Code of Practice, as at present there are no sanctions or penalties if they act in this way. The only redress that parents have is an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. LAs have at their disposal well staffed legal departments and ready access to education solicitors, LA Educational Psychologists and others. Parents do not; they either have to represent themselves or obtain legal advice, which is expensive, as are independent expert reports.
An appeal to SEND takes on average 6/7 months, and during that time LA know that they will save money by issuing Statements that do not properly support the child with SEN.
The system is stacked against parents, in favour of the Local Authority. This has to change. But the Draft SEN Bill does nothing to improve the position of parents.
The SEND Tribunal should be able to make an award of costs against a LA that has acted unreasonably - issuing an unlawful Statement is clearly unreasonable!
The threat of having an award of costs made against them by the SEND Tribunal would be far more effective in reaching agreement before Tribunal than the proposal for compulsory mediation.
At the moment no one is responsible for ensuring that LAs meet their legal obligations towards children with SEN. By default the task falls on parents and those organisations in the voluntary sector who advise and support them. When parents challenge LAs it is on an individual basis.
The SEND Annual report reveals enormous differences between the number of appeals lodged per LA; the reasons behind this need investigating. Some LAs habitual flout the current laws on SEN and hence, the higher number of appeals made to SEND. More importantly, the children of parents who either are unaware of the possibility of challenge, or who do not have the resources to challenge decisions, are disadvantaged if they live in LA that persistently and deliberate flout the law and with unlawful local policies on assessment and provision for special needs.
The SEND Tribunal have no power to compel an LA to change its SEN policy and practice in carrying out its duties, despite having heard repeated evidence on the same issue with the same Authority e.g. on speech and language therapy provision. This is an inefficient use of Tribunal expertise and resources as well as those of the LA.
The Government needs to take action against authorities which have "unwritten policies" applied through custom and practice which nevertheless result in unlawful Statements being issued, otherwise these practices will continue with the new EHCP. Central government need to provide information and training re: the local authorities role, so that they can all know their responsibilities, and put into practice what is needed. Financial sanctions should be introduced for local authorities that do not comply with the SEN Statutory Framework.
There needs to be a better method of ensuring that the provision set out in the Statement/EHCP is provided. At the moment, the only method is by going to Judicial Review, which with proposed cuts to legal aid, is likely to be beyond the ability of the majority of parents to do.
I raised the point about retain the need to specify and quantify provision in the new EHC Plan with the previous Minister, Sarah Teather:
"There needs to be a legal requirement for the EHC Plan to specify and quantify the provision to be made, across education, health and care. The plan has to be legally enforceable, it is is not, then it will not be worth the paper it is written on and parents and children will find themselves in a worse situation than they are now.
Sarah Teather MPs replied:
"The new plan will be legally enforceable in the same way as statement. What we are aiming to do is to add to the protections children and families get and not take away from them."
But the Draft SEN Bill wording for how an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan must describe special educational provision has replaced the current duty to specify with the watered down requirement it to set out.
Setting out is not the same as specifying, and the change of wording may be seen as an intentional difference by the Tribunal and the courts, potentially allowing special educational provision to be described in terms so vague that it will enable LAs to avoid their current legal duty to arrange/secure a specific amount and type of help for the child.
The meaning of specifying has been interpreted by thirty years of case law and is fundamental to the childs entitlement to the provision called for by their SEN.
Leading on from this, without the duty to specify and quantify provision in the EHC Plan, LAs will be not be able to provide a cost for the special educational provision the child needs. So how will LAs calculate the amount needed to be paid in direct payments to parents/children for these services?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I very much look forward to reading your response to the important points that I have raised.
To Edward Timpson
I like some of the SEN changes, although please keep in place the parental right to request a statutory assessment - that was crucial, as everyone was fobbing me off so I needed that legal right on behalf of my autistic son.
But may i make a more general point about autism education? 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. Or sometimes they say they are using "eclectic" methods - which appears to translate as "we use a bit of everything, except ABA".
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? It is the only educational methodology which has proved effective in research.
Yet for some reason, the LAs all hate ABA - even though 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 how are we going to afford that institutionalisation - when the current large numbers of autistic children progress through to adulthood?
And ABA isn't just for severely autistic kids (like my boy) but can also work well for higher functioning kids - for instance, I believe ABA training for LSAs in mainstream education could be a way more cost-effective AND effective of ensuring autistic children can succeed in the mainstream classroom.
Can you answer what the first four posters said please?
I have a 5 year old child with moderate autism and severe language delay thriving in a mainstream school with private ABA support (after being disastrously failed by the usual dire LA offering for 2 years at nursery). I absolutely agree the way forward is to bring more specialist staff and approaches such as ABA into mainstream schools from private providers. The monopoly of LA and NHS staff has not served children with SN well. Early Intensive Behavioural Interventions (EIBI) which are ABA based are the standard treatment for autism from age 1 in other countries - if there was an effective cancer drug out there which other countries used routinely and was denied to UK citizens by the government there would be an outcry. It is unforgivable that our children are being denied an approach like ABA with such solid evidence base in favour of approaches with no evidence or research to show they are effective in mainstream.
If you do nothing else then when LA / NHS providers talk to you ask them for their evidence base and research. Make them prove they can deliver good outcomes, don't take their word for it that a LSA or speech therapist can do a 1 day course and know how to teach a child with autism.
I am another parent in a Pathfinder who has been refused direct payments (for speech therapy) even though it has been recognised the NHS speech therapists are unable to provide what the tribunal wrote into the statement 2 years ago. Apparently my LA believes it has a power not a duty to offer direct payments as a Pathfinder. I understand under the Pathfinder about 5 young adults have received personal budgets (which are cheaper than the previous out of area provision they would have been given) and a very small group of 5 year olds have been assessed using the single plan but it was decided none of them should be offered the chance of a personal budget. This does not seem like £150,000 of Pathfinder money well spent to me.
I also echo the law breaking - not one professional during statutory assessment recommended mainstream nursery for my son and we did not want him to stay there as he was struggling badly. The LA's own EP gave a recommendation my son either continue the ABA programme we had started privately or 'as a minimum' be given a place at the local special school nursery. The LA wrote a statement for 15 hours in mainstream nursery knowing this would fail him and against all the evidence it had received. It took 12 months, a third of my son's life, to get to tribunal to get this obvious abuse of process overturned. LAs use the process to delay paying for children they know will be expensive as long as possible. And there are no sanctions for doing this. The LA knew they would not have to pay any money back for the lost time. I had to remortgage my house to pay for ABA training and give up my career to home educate him. Instead of paying tax I sat at home on Carers Allowance.
Three additional questions:
1. Is it true that Staffordshire Council has 'transferred' its LSA's for disabled children to a private company? Won't this sort of block contract impinge on choice / direct payments / personal budgets? Not all LSAs are provided by the LA - for eg my son's 1:1 support is an ABA specialist from a private not for profit company (as ordered by Tribunal), but presumably if all this is privatised I would be forced to accept the minimum wage untrained LSA the company with the LA block contract wants to provide? As many parents want direct payments to opt out of the shoddy provision LAs & NHS provide, privatisation seems a direct conflict with the policy of more choice. We don't want to be tied into block contracts.
2. Why is legal aid to be limited to only 3 firms, to compulsory telephone advice and why is it on the parent's financial means - not the disabled child's? Surely parents have enough costs to cope with? Research shows early good quality legal advice avoids costs later on. If every parent in dispute with the LA had access to a lawyer then most cases would be sorted out through negotiation without any need for mediation or tribunal; only the cases with genuine expert disputes would go to tribunal. Judges could also use case management powers to stop obvious LA abuse of the process eg defending cases when the evidence does not support the placement they have named and awarding costs as sanctions for blatant abuse.
Brian Lamb advised the SEN tribunal process was now far too complex and dependent on expert reports for children not to have access to legal aid. I am a lawyer and I still had to go to an education specialist to deal with the avalanche of tactics the LA threw at me to stop my son getting ABA at tribunal. It is unreasonable to expect parents to be Erin Brockovich on top of being a carer. It is actually impossible to get a residential placement without an educational psych report recommending a waking day curriculum, children whose parents can't afford this report won't be able to get to the school they need. LAs are increasingly using pubic funds to buy in specialist SEN lawyers, how is it fair one side has unlimited access to lawyers paid for by the public purse and the child has no such right? Isn't this a breach of the rules of natural justice and the human right to an education?
3. Why do you think that mainstream nursery is the right provision for disabled 2 year olds? I am all for expanding entitlement to childcare - but LAs are going to use this as a default way of delivering SN provision to 2 year old children with high level needs. Any child with autism who has merited a diagnosis by age 2 is very unlikely to be able to gain from mainstream nursery - they would be better served by specialist EIBI programmes. Again a policy with no evidence or research to support it. Our children are not guinea pigs, many would find nursery at 2 extremely distressing and frightening. Many will be self harming, have no sense of danger and be 'unreachable' to the untrained staff looking after them.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hello, thankyou for coming to the Webchat.
Please do respond to me, as a rare condition, our cases are often ignored.
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Hypermobility type is a double curse to have. Firstly there is no NHS centre of excellence. Secondly a very high proportion of EDS children have their childhood blighted, family life crushed and their health destroyed by the very high disproportionate false accusations of FII or Munchousens by proxy on their parents. After the state wastes a small fortune, not once has an EDS parent been found guilty. It was at a recent EDS conference that the full extent became clear off the large numbers of EDS families having this added strain in theie lives. If anything EDS people don't complain enough, imagine dislocating joints daily, blacking out, having the runs, tummy pain, headaches to name a few symptoms day in day out? having to carry on and not being treated, not believed, unless your parents pay to go private or you are especially lucky with your GP.
I know William Hague amongst others is being lobbied by constituants to improve overall EDS care.
I know a question about child protection regarding EDS will be discussed in the House of commons in the near future.
I have to pay Professor Grahame £300 to look at each of my children. It is £240 for them to see Dr Ninnis. £150 to get them a table tilt test for PoTS. I haven't even looked into gastro care yet. My 14yo is due to EDS humiliated as she is bowel incontenant dedpite seeing several peads during her childhood. I can't afford the private EDS physio or EDS specialist psychologists for the anxiety and depression EDS physical symptoms cause. NHS GP's, peads, Chams, physio's are ignorant of the condition and can cause harm or neglect to care for EDS children
I am a lone parent, very disabled with EDS myself, I can't afford this private care.
Prof Grahame at St John's and St Elizabeth's or UCL, and Dr Ninnis at St Mary's are who these children should be seeing, they ars not able to get children NHS care.
This is a very disabling condition, it is an invisable condition.
I plead you look into this condition, it is not going to cost much as there are so few.
Sadly EDS people's voices are often not heard, I will be surprised if you notice this and will be shocked if you help!
I just want to add Minister that EDS parents are very concerned about asking for health plans or Health statements of educational needs as it can bring Social Services to their door and queries of FII on parents as EDS people look normal, apart from the wheelchair the Coronation Street character appears "normal" she has EDS in the show and in reallife. Please do listen to the concerns that will be brought up in the house regarding the disgracefull way child protection has become warped and harmfull towards EDS families instead of helping.
One thing that strikes me about SEN provision in England is that Local Authorities seem to mislead and obfuscate regularly about how budgets are allocated, how children have been accommodated, and what the legislation obliges them to do. I brought several choice examples to Sarah's attention during the recent consultation, because they seemed to represent a common issue parents have when navigating the SEN system, that of honesty and transparency. I am wondering if there is anything hard hitting that can be done to discipline LAs and other providers, and give parents and children proper recourse when they have been misinformed and mistreated by public authorities?
Firstly, my apologies if I am only allowed one question, but I do have a number of concerns.
Removal of Scrutiny by the public and by Parliament of the drafts of the Code of Practice.
The draft provisions omits the current requirement that the Secretary of State publishes a draft of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice and consults on it, and then lays the result before both Houses for positive resolution.
It is clearly most undemocratic for the Government to remove public and Parliamentary the scrutiny of the detailed regulations.
As so many clauses in the draft Bill refer to the as yet unpublished regulations, I am sure that you will agree that it is essential that these are laid before Parliament and open to scrutiny by Parliament and the public, in order to ensure that the details of the reforms are correct.
The Devil is in the detail and these details must be right. At the moment, the Government have asked people for their views on the draft Bill which is effectively asking them to comment on something when they do not know and will have no say on its final form, as much of the detail of the crucial day-to-day operation of the reforms will be in the Regulations (SEN Code of Practice)
As it currently stands, it appears that it is the Governments intention to merely rubber stamp these through parliament.
I would very much welcome the Ministers assurance that this is not the case and confirmation that the revised Code of Practice will be considered in Parliament, and if not, an explanation of why not.
Thank you once again for taking the time to read my concerns.
I am the parent of a child with SEN who has a statement.
We have fought hard to get this statement drawn up to comply with the current legislation and quantified and specified so that it was clear what provision was due to my son.
I am currently trying to get the LEA to acknowledge that they are are again flouting the law as the current school are refusing to provide all the help as written into the statement sending me instead letters detailing "blanket provision" for children with autism.
I accept that as it stands the current legislation is not working, but have some grave reservation about the proposed new bill.
First and foremost it seems to remove all parental rights to request assessment, to have their views taken into account and to generally be involved in the whole process. The way that it is currently written gives more power to the LEA to "think" that things are appropriate without giving any justification for their position and therefore cannot be held accountable.
The current draft legislation does not seem to properly unify health and education as these plans are only available for children with SEN's and also that they only refer to educational matters, so that it is not clear how any issues with health provision will be resolved. Additionally, it is unclear to me how the distinction between health and educational provision will be made as the two are often inseparably intertwined and I can foresee the LEA saying it is the responsibility of health and vice versa and no satisfactory provision being make at all.
You said in the education committee meeting last week that you did not want to impose minimum standard on the LEA's when they "set out" their provision This will surely lead to a postcode lottery. I am also concerned that you did not want to impose enforceability to actually provide what is in the local offer and that there will be no time-scales as there currently are in all stages of the care plan process.
I am very concerned that you intend to downgrade the status of the replacement for the SENCOP and that you do not intend to run a consultation regarding its contents and see it as a document that can easily be changed. To a parent navigating the current system this rings alarm bells about its enforceability and legal status, and I worry that you have plans to dilute the legislation at a later date quietly and without any recourse.
Now that you have read my concerns, my question to you is how you are going to resolve them, and those of all the other people who have asked questions before me, without diluting the rights of the children and parents and without allowing the LEA's to be more able to "ignore" the legislation as they see fit, given the dilution in duties in the proposed legislation
Mencap have also put a survey up asking for the response of parents of children with SEN to the reforms. It's a good chance to feed your thoughts in so they can use it to inform their work and pass on to government. It can be accessed via this page: http://www.mencap.org.uk/campaigns/what-we-campaign-about/children-and-young-people
Sorry, this page is better! http://www.mencap.org.uk/campaigns/what-we-campaign-about/children-and-young-people/sen-clauses-children-and-families-bill
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Welcome, Mr Timpson. A lot of the questions I wanted to ask have already been asked . However I would like to know if you will impose a minimum timescale for the issue of the new EHC plan.
I would also like to know what will happen to statemented children reaching the age of 16, given that the new school leaving age will be 17 this academic year. Will their statements continue to 17, and will they be given an EHC plan up to 25 years?
My 17 year old son has special needs and requires support from a variety of different services on a regular basis.
It is a daily battle for us to make it to all these appointments, some of which are a long way away, while still doing normal things like going shopping and spending time together as a family, as well as going out to work.
Scope is running a campaign to support families like ours, by making sure the services we need are closer to home. You have talked about the local offer, but will you go beyond this to require councils to provide these services locally?
My question is simple. Why won't he be straight? This is still an education only system being proposed. No stronger legal duty on social care or health to take part in the assessment process or make provision. Not what we were promised! It even takes away rights we already have. Just read the proposed provisions - if he can't do that read IPSEA's analysis. Do not mislead us any longer. Life is already complicated enough!!!!
Dyslexia is not recognised as a special need when it comes to needing a scribe and/or reader suring SATS and exams (primary & secondary), you have to have 'phonological processing problems' to get a reader and/or a scribe' but some dyslexia is not to do with phonological processing, but other traits associated with dyslexia which make doing exams in the same time and same way as everyone else much much harder and very unfair. Therefore you never get to the true core of a child's measure as their ability is trapped under the issues they are faced with. If they had the scribe/reader to do the exam and more time, results would be much better and show the child's true abilities, leading to better reults, higher self confidence and self esteem and more likelyhood to go into further education with the right support.
80% of the prison population are said to be dyslexic/have dyslexia issues, imagine what that figure could be is intervention, support and help were given in early years provision? Money in early years = a lot less on prisons in later life. Of course all dyslexics don't end up on prison but I hope this illustrates the point.
Getting support in schools for dyslexic students is so hit and miss, dependent upon each LEA, so my question is, why is there not a robust, comprehensive plan which tackles the dyslexia issue in early years education?
And please don't tell me there is one because I have called the Department for Education and they tell me there is not one at present and that the Sir Jim Rose reccomendations are now obsolete as they were carried under the previous administration. In fact, no one could give me any clue as to whether that was to be one.
Search 'dyslexia' on the DoE website and you get very old results, one a video about a buddy reading system and the other from 2009, the rest of from 1999, 2002 - it is 2012!
What I want is an assurance that needs will be met.
what's this guff I've been hearing about "best endeavours"? Can you confirm categorically that this is an unfounded rumour and that it is NOT true that authorities will only have to use their "best endeavours", which, you know (even if you won't admit it!), will lead to them not meeting need and saying, well, we used our "best endeavours". Can you confirm clearly that "best endeavours" will not appear in the legislation and authorities will be required to actually MEET need, not just tell a parent that they really tried their best but it just wasn't possible.
I once had a discussion during a statement review where I ended up saying that it was no different to my son breaking his leg and going to the hospital with his bone poking out of his leg and being told oh, we don't have anyone to put a cast on your leg, therefore it isn't broken.
It is a statement of NEED. Needs should be put in there. But they're not. Because then they'd have to meet them. Instead you get wishy washy language that doesn't pin them down.
And as a second question. Or comment. Or just something for you to think about. Do you have any idea how much we save the government and country? If all of us who are carers said ok, you know what, we're done. We're fed up of this. You are now going to care for our children - and our adult children! (and our parents, grandparents etc!) you know the country couldn't afford it, don't you? you need us. You (government you, not you you) rely on the fact that we're not going to turn around and tell you to deal with it. You couldn't cope if we did that. And I think we deserve a lot more respect, consideration and acknowledgement than we've ever had to date. We save you a fortune and we do a damned good job. Day in. Day out. With bog all help. That's worth something.
If Mumsnet users were able to get together and support you on one big idea, that could actually happen, what would it be?
I question why there is any need for a new Bill at all. Why not simply amend the Education Act 1996? The draft Bill is the result of the Green Paper, but since the draft abandons the Green Paper proposals for a properly unified EHC Plan - because it has abandoned any pretence that the social care and health elements will be either appealable or enforceable - it seems to be largely pointless. The new Bill is dangerous because it omits or changes valuable provisions in the Education Act, particularly with regard to the right to request statutory assessment, the duty to detail and specify provision, the retention of statements when a decision to cease to maintain is being challenged, and the need for Parliamentary scrutiny of the Code of Practice. These are all matters which will harm disabled children and will simply lead to voluminous and extensive litigation. Therefore it makes much more sense simply to add into the existing litigation points such as the extension of provision to age 25 and leave the rest alone.
Hi Edward. I struggled to get amendments to my sons statements. LEA's dont like altering them. My son is profoundly deaf and uses Total Communication. I wanted his home school language on his statement to reflect this and say English/BSL. I was told the LEA would consider it. Luckily they did amend it to what i had asked for. Parents shouldnt have to struggle to get amendments!!!
Reading the eloquent & articulate questions and summaries above I feel guilty for posting my concerns, but if you get time please consider the following.
My DS has been supported on school action since end of Reception (England) for literacy, numeracy and behaviour. He is now in Yr 3 and is assessed at 1B - 2C for literacy and Maths. He has received support for behaviour and social situations. However what I find most frustrating as a parent (and taxpayer) is that no-one seems interested in finding out what the real problem is. They try to treat the end result but clearly as we all know different issues will require different treatment. Please can you ensure that the "birth to 25 Education, Health and Care Plan" will allow parents a much greater say. My attempts so far for referral to community paedeatrician have been delayed as greater emphasis was put on feedback from school. Now clearly schools have a vested interest (like LAs) in not using external resource (due to budget).
Another matter is that my son is very late summer born and would have benefitted enormously from being in the year below the academic year that I was forced to send him in if he remained in the state system. There is much evidence that shows that many summer born children particularly boys are behind their peer group and diagnosed as special needs. Why not do the sensible thing and let these children defer a year if their parents believe that to be best? It would probably mean that less support would be required for this group and the resources can be better focussed. As things currently stand my son is working with children nearly a year older than him, requires pretty much 1:1 support in most lessons, yet he is bright and able. The impact on confidence is dreadful to watch. This issue was raised last year about the high numbers of summer born children being diagnosed with special needs - under the current state system many do require high levels of intervention yet simple measures to deal with this have not been taken. Shocking when government resource is scarce and needs to be managed efficiently.
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