Reception class appeal - aspergers son

(40 Posts)
NourishingButtons Fri 26-Apr-13 21:56:16

Hi, my son has not been given a place at our village school (0.3 miles away). He has undiagnosed aspergers - his issues are inflexibility, needing continuity, lack of impulse control, social emotional devt, rage, control issues. He has been referred to and accepted on the link inclusion scheme to assist the transition to school for vulnerable children. It is a massive blow. I believe his needs will be met at the village school and not at the school place given for 3 main reasons - continuity of peer group where he is known and accepted, has made some strong friendships, and will be exceptionally difficult for him to start a new school with no familiar faces. We moved to the village when he was a toddler so he would settle into the playgroups/pre school. Secondly they have offered a minibus, but due to his issues this is not an option and we have no other way of transporting him. Thurdly he is behind with gross motor skills and he is hard to coax outside/do excercise so the walk/scooter to school will be his main excercise and help with his muscle devt. Its an infant class size prejudice appeal. Do we have a case? Is there any chance?

mummytime Fri 26-Apr-13 22:00:21

Why isn't the minibus an option? Sorry but most very disabled (think Cerebal Palsey etc.) children around here are transported to school by minibus.
Did you mention his health issues on the from?
Have you tried to get him a statement?

prh47bridge Fri 26-Apr-13 22:33:55

As this is an infant class size case there are only limited grounds for a successful appeal. If the village school gives priority on medical grounds and you supplied evidence of your son's problems you may have a case. However, you describe him as having "undiagnosed aspergers". It would be unusual to get priority on the basis of an undiagnosed problem. You can try and you may strike it lucky but on the information you have posted I'm afraid I think it is a long shot. You may have a better chance through the waiting list as I would imagine you will be at or near the head of the list.

PanelChair Fri 26-Apr-13 23:12:48

I agree with prh47bridge. A lot depends on whether the school gives priority in its admission criteria for social and medical needs, whether you presented evidence of your son's needs at the time of your application and whether the LEA took account of that evidence when making its decision.

admission Fri 26-Apr-13 23:40:14

I would have to agree with the other answers but I suppose my first question is if you are in a village why when you only live 0.3 miles from the school did you not get offered a place. If it is an infant class size regs appeal, I presume that the admission number is either 15 or 30.
The fact that the admission authority is offering a minibus to school means that you have also presumably been offered a place at a school more than 2 miles away. So have you just been very unlucky or is there a bunch of pupils who are being transported off to another school?
The waiting list is probably the best option in the short term but I think that the other option to get a place at this school is to get your child statemented for Aspergers and then you can name the school and will get a place.

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 11:53:34

Its due to an influx or new families, we are 2nd on waiting list. I know of a family who have rejected their place but a new familt have moved in closer who will get that place on 2nd round.

the minibus is a problem as there is no chaperone as its to a mainstream school and my son can have sudden raging meltdowns if the slightest thing doesn't go as he expected. They are difficult for me to predict let alone a bus driver.

I went to the GP in October way before application deadline knowing something was wrong and querying dyspraxia, and its taken til now to get a referral to the right place (for poss aspergers), so it wasn't on the application. I went to pre school in Feb (after app deadline) queryting aspergers and they agreed, next day they had written a whole list of aspergers traits and ticked 6 out of 9 as applying to him. They strongly think its aspergers.

He is on the link inclusion scheme for children needing extra help with transition. He now has a Springboard (special needs local authority funded charity) who are observing him on Monday in pre school. He has been referred by pre school and link inclusion scheme for speech therapy.

he is Aug 23 born so very young in year which is why we are only at this stage in process with his condition.

The wait to see paediatrician is 6-12 months, so we are getting him seen privately to expedite a diagnosis.

Statement - Pre School think this is needed, Local authority said its a very high bar so unlikely. I may get a bit futher along with speech therapy, other profs and ask for statutory assesement??

My main concern is related to his aspergers traits - extremely controlling of his environment, lack of impulse control, very oppositional/defiant, behind with social/emotional devt, needs continuity. he took a long time to settle into village pre school and still does after holidays and has been in the village peer group since playgroups and is familiar with them/to them with his quirks. He has also managed to make some strong little friendships which is hard for a child with his needs. I feel it would be strongly disadvantaging for him to be split away from his peers and community.

We have been very unlucky, and I watched as more and more families moved in the last year. We are in the village, just the opposite end to the school.

I have a 1-2-1 booked with schoolappeals.com, good idea?

Any ideas? TIA

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 11:56:23

PS thanks for your replies

scaevola Sat 27-Apr-13 11:59:34

Does the school have a category for exceptional medical/social need? If so, one thing to try us getting LA to acknowledge he should be in that category (you'll need evidence - letters from Springboard and other professionals). This could put you at the top of the waiting list, irrespective of whoever else moves into the village.

If you are already 2nd on the waiting list, and noting his August birthday, is keeping him at preschool for another term an option?

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 12:57:30

Lady - yes have found out he can stay on the whole year - funded! AND still keep the place he has been offered which is real result. But its still an unknown wait.

scaevola - its not on admissions criteria, would the school have something separate? I'll be getting all the evidence together for the appeal so it will all be there.

nlondondad Sat 27-Apr-13 16:46:09

Do focus on Admission's advice if you choose to wait a year. Get a statement naming the school; make it plain to the loocal authority that the primary reason for the statement, is so that it will name the school and get him in.

beautifulgirls Sat 27-Apr-13 19:04:28

Come and chat on the SEN children board. You need to get started on the statementing process here for him which can be a lengthy procedure and often fraught with hurdles with the LA seemingly turning down most applicants to see who fights on and who gives up. It will not be easy but you need to start this and keep collecting professional evidence of his needs to back up your case. If you get a statement you can within reason name your school choice. Lots of support here on MN for the process and also IPSEA website too for model letters and phoneline help.

admission Sat 27-Apr-13 21:23:20

To correct something that has been said, you can defer entry and leave your child in the pre-school, which sounds like a good idea, but you cannot defer for the whole school year, you must start schooling after the Easter break. Officially you could just not start them at school until the september after the birth date (as it is hols) but you do not keep the school place and would have to re-apply for a school place for year 1, not reception. That would be very difficult and probably be a bad option as you will have to accept a place in a school even further away.
If you are considering deferring then you need to arrange that with the school that you have a place at and cross fingers that a place comes up at the preferred school when you are top of the waiting list or that you get a statement.

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 21:48:58

Thanks everyone. We really do seem to be up sh12 creek without a paddle!! Another thing - I have a DD who will be applying for school when my son moves to KS2 (yr3). If we start him at the school given, this is often also oversubscribed so not a definite we will get her in as its not our nearest school so admission criteria just means it will be on distance. Same could happen with the village school as its getting pretty popular, so I really need to get my son into village school before I apply for her so she can get in and they are at same school. FFS!!!

Nlondondad - sorry to be dumb but what exactly do you mean by admissions advice?

Beautifulgirls - have telephone appt with IPSEA next Fri, they look great, will post now on SEN children board

admission - thanks for easter info

does anyone think we have a case at all with our sons circumstances or is it hopeless?? I know we have to give it a shot anyway, we'd be silly not to but I need to manage my expectations! Any chance? Slim? None?

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 21:50:45

admission - to answer you earlier q about transport - one other child missed out (hence we are second on list) who will be on minibus, plus children who moved to village in other years where there was no place

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 22:17:26

Essentially, the only way to win an infant class size appeal is to demonstrate that there has been some form of error - unlawful admissions criteria, admissions criteria not properly applied or a decision so utterly unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand.

Given that when you applied, your son's needs weren't yet identified and so they weren't mentioned on the application, your only chance of success (as far as I can see) is to try to convince the appeal panel that the level of your child's needs is such that sending him to any other school would be so unreasonable that no reasonable authority would have refused him a place. The potential difficulty here is that as you did/could not provide evidence of your child's needs, it is (clearly) harder to argue that the LEA did not properly take them into account. The panel may feel that the LEA can't be faulted for not acting on information it didn't at that time have.

Sorry to be discouraging, but ICS appeals are hard to win. The waiting list may be your best hope - especially if there is a category for medical/social need and you can satisfy the LEA that you should be in this category.

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 22:26:55

Thanks Panel Chair. Would it be worth labouring the point that it wasn't on the application as I hadn't had the correct support from GPs (I first went in Oct asking for referral to neurologist in my ignorance as I then suspected poss dyspraxia but I was fumbling around needing help - this was wrong place to refer him and its taken until now to get a referral to the right place for medical help, and still a long wait. We will get him seen privately before the appeal for diagnosis) Also both me and my husband have stress related illnesses due to his behaviour??

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 22:53:25

You can certainly explain why your son's needs weren't mentioned when you applied, but (in your shoes) I wouldn't labour it. The appeal will (as I see it) turn on whether the decision to refuse your son a place was so unreasonable that no reas

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 22:58:17

... Reasonable LEA would have made the same decision. In your favour are your son's needs and the difficulties he would face in any other school. You need to produce as much professional evidence to back this up as you can. But weighing against you will be that the LEA wasn't aware of your son's needs, the class is full and the threshold for winning an ICS appeal is very high. So, the point you need to labour is your s

You still haven't whether this school has an admissions category for social/medical need.

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 23:04:52

The point you need to labour is your son's need for a place and the consequences for him if you don't get one. Parents' health needs are rarely part of the admissions process - a severely disabled parent needing a school with (say) level access might be an exception to that, but it is up to LEAs whether to extend any social/medical priority beyond pupils to parents - so make this about your son's needs, not yours. (Besides, if your health problems are caused by your son's behaviour, it's less clear why this school will help more than any other).

Sorry for the fragmented post!

ryanboy Sun 28-Apr-13 09:37:43

what is the maximum admission limit for the school ?

NourishingButtons Sun 28-Apr-13 12:23:48

Panelchair - how do I find out about the social/medical, is it an individual school thing, its not part of the main council admissions criteria which the school follows? Thanks for help.

ryanboy - its 30, I know that current teception has no places free but current year 1 has 2 spaces free, does anyone know if that can help case??

admission Sun 28-Apr-13 17:05:30

If it is not on the LA admission criteria then there is no medical criteria. In some respects that is a help to you as you could argue at the appeal that the LA is being unreasonable in not having a medical category for those pupils who do not have a statement of SEN but clearly have needs. It will not on its own win you the appeal but may just sway the panel towards accepting there are some very special circumstances here that need to be considered.
The only year group that is relevant is the reception year group that has 30 in it. It does not mater how many places there are in the rest of the school, only the reception year you are applying to.
With 30 in the class the appeal will be an infant class size appeal where only a mistake lead to a successful appeal or proving the LA were completely unreasonable. You need urgently to get medical opinion stating what the issues are with your child. It is no use it saying mrs X says, that will carry no weight. It needs to say that I have examined X and found..... Any comments on the likelihood of issues like having a meltdown on the bus would be of benefit though I am sure the panel will have a good idea of the potential for such a situation.
You also need to know that whilst getting a private opinion on your child's concerns is something you want to do, most LAs will not accept them as proof of a medical condition and therefore award a statement, it has to be via the LA appointed practitioner.

NourishingButtons Sun 28-Apr-13 21:12:52

Thanks admission, really appreciate your frank advice. We are waiting to get the medical insurance form from my husbands new job to get my son on policy but it is taking an age - think tomorrow i will source the best private route and go ahead and book appt for a few weeks in hope the admin side will have been sorted. If we get a really good case together with top notch evidence and really go into detail about specifics of aspergers and my sons specific needs in relation to the desired school, as well as transport meltdown issues, muscle devt etc - what is your honest opinion, do we have a hope?

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 08:40:26

admission? desperately needing hope? but not at risk of false hope. The schoolappeals.com advsior I had a 1-2-1 with who is a school admissions lawyer and sits on panels said 50%, does that sound right?

admission Tue 30-Apr-13 11:50:35

I would say that this is generous given that it is an infant class size regs case and you have to prove that the admission authority are being unreasonable over this, which has a very high threshold. It will be a three member panel and you need to convince two of them about how perverse a decision this is. You need to appeal but you also need to accept that the percentage is significantly against you in winning the case, not because I think you don't have a case but because of the very high threshold to win the case on the LA being unreasonable.
Sorry if this is not the answer you want but it is better to be realistic now than delude yourself that you will definitely win the case.
You need absolutely every piece of evidence that you can to convince the appeal panel that putting a very young child with aspergers on a minibus with older children is an accident waiting to happen. I would start a diary of every incident with your son, especially when he has a meltdown and what you think the underlying reason was. That can then be presented as part of the evidence that there is a real risk here and not just parental concern.

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 13:05:31

admission - your comment has disappeared - I saw you said 'this is generous given that it is infant class' ??

prh47bridge Tue 30-Apr-13 16:11:01

I can see the entire comment. Can you see it now?

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 18:10:18

Wierd, can see the last comment at all - just the first bir on 'I'm on' but when I click through from there or directly from 'primary ed' only my last 2 comments are at the bottom???? I want to read it aarrrgghhh

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 18:15:20

admission - thanks for tip will start diary now

prh yes i can see it now, clicked show all messages and it worked, dont know what i did??

PanelChair Tue 30-Apr-13 20:29:52

I too think the adviser is being overly optimistic, given that this is an ICS case and the threshold for those is so high. I agree with admission that you can use the lack of an admissions category for social/medical need as part of your argument, so give it your best shot.

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 22:52:17

Thanks panelchair - its seems so wrong that my son can be highlighted for extra help with transition through the link inclusion scheme - then his transition can be stomped on by not keeping him with his peers and sending him on a minibus with his social, emotional, behavioural issues. I have a private Ed Pysc on board now too doing an assessment, good idea?

PanelChair Wed 01-May-13 09:06:55

Yes, Ed Psych report could be helpful, but it needs to offer his professional opinion, rather than just repeat your views and concerns.

NourishingButtons Fri 03-May-13 08:02:57

Thanks, have also decided to have a BIBIC assessment which was yesterday with the results and strategies today - I am even more rared up as its the first time I don't feel like a neurotic mum, but a professional is seeing him and there are definite issues, they don't diagnose but indications seem to be very complex including aspergers, sensory processing disorder amongst possible others. We have also applied for statutory assessment, as before we had only just come across it and tbh may have been using it as an appeal/admissions issue, but now I strongly feel he needs it to reach his full potential as he is massively bright as shown yesterday. Awaiting results but they are indications. I am a mummy lion hear me ROOOAAARRRRR

NourishingButtons Wed 15-May-13 09:47:49

So, we had both BIBIC and Ed Psys assessment done (privately).

Only had verbal debrief from BIBIC as yet, but indications were quite severe sensory processing, 90-99% on intellect tests (possible gifted) and likely aspergers. They can't mention school issue but we can obv pull out bits to make our case.

Ed Psyc report we've had, and he totally agreed with our concerns. His report also confirms high intellect, low social communication, aspergers to be looked at. Highlighted lots of specific needs and that he would need 1-2-1 in whole group activities, desk work and transitions. He also did a whole page in his conclusions about the school issue and that in his opinion why chosen school will meet needs and given school wont - concerning impulsivity/health and safety/transitions/rigidity of mind concerns on minibus, being disadvantaged peer/friend wise.

Do you think this strengthens our case by much?

prh47bridge Wed 15-May-13 09:57:53

It is still going to be an uphill task to win an appeal but expert evidence to support your case certainly helps.

NourishingButtons Wed 15-May-13 10:07:19

Tbh if we don't get it upheld I will wonder why they even have a 'unreasonable/perverse' category. Our case will clearly state our sons complex special needs (with prof opinion), and that these needs will be much better met at village school, and that he will be vulnerable at other school. I think I will start a one woman crusade!!

prh47bridge Wed 15-May-13 11:49:47

If the school had an admissions category for medical need and you provided the Ed Psych report when you applied you would have a strong argument that the LA was unreasonable not to place your child in that category. As they don't have such a category you face the harder task of convincing the appeal panel that the LA was unreasonable in not having a medical need category and that your son would have been admitted if such a category existed. You may convince them but equally you may find they take the view that they have to work with the admission criteria as they stand. I hope you manage to win them over.

NourishingButtons Wed 15-May-13 15:34:50

Thanks prh - but what kind of things would win as 'unreasonable'? My understanding is that you can only win on 2 things - a mistake made, or 'unreasonable'. I'm sure going against prof opinion about individual special needs must be immoral and maybe even illegal??

prh47bridge Wed 15-May-13 18:29:54

For an ICS appeal there are actually three grounds on which you can win:

- the admission arrangements to not conform to the Admissions Code and relevant law and the non-compliance has cost you a place
- the admission arrangements were not correctly and impartially applied and this has cost you a place
- the decision to refuse admission was unreasonable

The standard for a decision to be unreasonable is very high. The decision must be, "so outrageous in its defiance of logic or accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it."

It is up to an appeal panel to decide what is unreasonable. In your case they may feel that, since the Admissions Code is clear that a medical needs category is not compulsory, it is reasonable for the school not to have such a category. Similarly they may feel that the LA's decision was not unreasonable based on the information available to the LA at the time, given that your son's Aspergers was undiagnosed and the Ed Psych report was not available.

I am not saying an appeal panel will decide that. They may agree with you that, faced with cases like your son, the LA should give priority. But you need to understand that it is very difficult to win cases on the grounds that a decision is unreasonable. Given your son's difficulties I hope you manage it in your case.

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