School not providing what is on IEP.

(190 Posts)
FatherSpodoKomodo Sat 15-Jun-13 22:28:38

DS1 is year 1 and nearly 6. I was shown his IEP in October and was told he would be doing Narrative therapy (continued from Reception) and would also be doing a Motor Skills programme. I didn't see his IEP at the March parents evening.

I found out last week that he has only done one session of the Motor Skills programme.

What happens when a school doesn't give the child what they said they would on an IEP? What is my next step?

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 07:27:01

Is the IEP based on a statement of SEN or is it an IEP where a child is considered at School Action or School Action Plus? If it's the former and the statement specifies that ds is to receive Narrative Therapy and a Motor Skills Programme daily/weekly etc then you can write to the LA to complain that your child isn't getting the provision detailed in his statement and the LA will force the school to comply so as to avoid legal action . If it's the latter then you haven't got any legal right to enforce the IEP.
What should you do? Ask the school to reinstate the therapies and consider writing to the LA to request that a statutory assessment is made of your child's needs so that it is clear what they are and what input he should be receiving. If the school aren't able to meet his needs from the resources then there is cause for a statement which will mean that you will have the legal right to ensure your child gets the support he needs.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 07:59:33

The new SEN code of practice is removing the school action and school action plus categories insanityscratching

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 08:05:56

Of course blush I was lucky that mine had statements before nursery and so didn't have to jump those hoops. I'm adopting ostrich mode though about the new policy at present seeing as my two are both in schools that are very able to meet their needs and I trust them to continue to do so.
I'd worry though if mine didn't have statements tbh.
What can a parent of a child without a statement do to ensure that their child's needs are met? It seems to me that you have to rely on a school's willingness and ability to provide what's needed .......and that would make me nervous.

ShadeofViolet Sun 16-Jun-13 08:08:40

What will replace it mrz?

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 08:13:10

As a SENCO I'm worried too. I was told last week that a child identified by a whole spectrum of professionals as having profound difficulties won't get a statement because I've "done too good a job" of teaching him skills he can't apply without support! angry

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 08:21:00

ShadeofViolet there is to be a single new category (yet to be defined) but the criteria for who qualifies as having SEN will be much tighter

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 08:22:07

Schools will have to show that children aren't behind due to poor teaching or absenteeism for example

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 08:37:30

a child identified by a whole spectrum of professionals as having profound difficulties won't get a statement because I've "done too good a job" of teaching him skills he can't apply without support!
This is always worried me about having a child enter school with needs (autism for instance in dd and ds's case) and then the school have to jump through hoops to provide evidence of need. But if the school have done a good job the LA turns down the statement hmm.
Had dd started nursery before the statement was in place she wouldn't have got a statement (her EYFS was I think 113), she's intelligent and well behaved her statement ensures that she is also happy. Now in yr5 without the statement she wouldn't even be on school action we keep it though as the LA is incompetent and so don't reassess and her statement brings funding and an extra pair of hands in class 20 hours per week.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 10:26:12

I believe the schools are being asked to manage the upfront 6K because there is a history, of schools playing the system in order to receive extra funds which distorts level of need.

If the child was coping with the lesser resource being channelled towards them they still suffered as their actual 'need' was being distorted (possibly with permanent implications) and schools had no incentive to address this issue.

If they were not coping it could be difficult for parents to ascertain what the problem was, not being able to very easily track what their child's funding was being spent on.

Doing it this way may enforce a cultural change concerning what a school can deal with at a base level. When you read about all this 'working to rule' from teaching unions it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see how the 'rules' would require more children, with even slightly delayed self care skills, be deemed special needs. Previously teachers (in my Aunt's generation) saw helping children with coats, wiping noses, the odd toilet accident etc as an important part of their job, as an Early Years Practitioner.There was problem of a child's funding not being spent on them which before this reform was extremely difficult to address.

Also the fact that a school has to show how much they have spent before extra resources are applied for prevent the exaggeration of needs just to receive extra funding (for the school).

I can see how this exaggeration of need happens. My LA lowered the amount of funding they delegated to schools simply because more schools were applying for statements. This meant more schools had to apply for statements (because there was less delegated funding), as a policy decision, which in turn in my opinion lowered the entry requirement for a statement, distorting the level of a child's additional need (when compared with national levels).

A statement seems to be universally understood as being indicative of a high level of need, yet not all authorities even attempt to require schools to quantify their provision subsequent to awarding the statement.

Instead they seem happy to work using vague matrices, in terms of severity of need, whilst the only aspect of need that is quantifiable is the money that has been spent or that needs to be spent. They have probably taken the view that the administration of monitoring provision would cost more. This is why they then buy in block provision in order to ensure some money actually is spent on Special Needs.

I therefore agree with the funding reform but believe there has to be further tightening up of regulations regarding admissions.

However I appreciate there are some horror stories, where schools say they cannot afford any more children with additional needs.What is needed is much more transparency.I therefore agree with the funding reform but believe there has to be further tightening up of regulations regarding admissions.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 11:08:40

^ that is a history of a child's statemented funds not being spent solely on them, eg their designated 1 to 1 TA spends time supporting a group, covering the class with 1 other TA, doing photocopying / displays.

Plenty examples of this on the Special Needs boards.

I can see how it happens when teachers have a whole host of other pressures...

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 11:56:45

Daftdame under the "old" statement SEN funding schools were often responsible for much much more than £6K per child. Speaking as the mother of a SEN child the worst thing for him would to have had a TA permanently hovering around him. Some children do need that level of support 24 hours a day but for many it makes them dependent and can actually be detrimental to the child

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 11:57:08

But will the changes mean that the statemented child's TA will now be even more pressured to pick up children who have needs but no statement?
FWIW I 'm not bothered at present that dd's TA supports other children in her class because dd doesn't in fact need the support her statement gives.
It is mutually beneficial to the school and myself that dd keeps her statement and so school provide the reports at the AR that support the need for the statement to be maintained and whilst ever dd is happy and progressing I don't point out that her TA covers various groups and children that dd isn't a part of because she is academically able.
If however dd was unhappy and not progressing dd's statement is specified and quantified to the nth degree with time built in for her TA to keep records and liaise with me that I would be able to force the school through the LA to account for each minute of her twenty hours support.
Unless a parent ensures that a statement is specified and quantified then really the statement isn't worth the paper it's written on.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 12:29:12

mrz I understand (too well) a TA 'hovering' is not necessarily the best type of support. This would make it all the more galling if this kind of support has been reduced and the school did not reflect this at Annual Review time (because there was no quantification of support required by the LA.) This distorts the perception of need in my view.

insanity What happens now is that if the statement requires provision of over 6K, the school have to demonstrate they have spent 6K, and the LA tops up the rest. It is this demonstration that will require a 'high needs' statement's fund to be spent on the appropriate child, as demonstration of spending is required.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 12:40:45

At the moment it costs us about twice that from the school SEN budget to top up statements daftdame

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 12:47:28

Statements here are quantified by hours rather than funding but I'd say a 20 hour statement would cost significantly more than £6000. Ds's statement costs £60,000 pa as he is in independent specialist provision the LA fund all that direct to the school.
I'd imagine as dd is progressing 2 sub levels a year then that would be evidence of the support working even if in fact she is progressing without support.
Our LA haven't reassessed dd since her statement was secured at three, she hasn't seen an ed psych since she was 2 and a half. The reports to the LA at AR are written between school and myself, they have no idea what happens from one AR to the next. Are we going to see Inclusion Officers in schools monitoring the statemented child's support as I'd guess that would be the only way that an LA could determine that a child's statement was more costly than the £6000?
Doesn't the £6000 apply to statements secured under the new system? I thought "old" statements would be maintained as they are.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 12:49:49

mrz Surely it would depend on the individual case.

There seems to be huge variation from authority to authority and school to school which is unfair because perceptions of a statement = high needs. It is plain to see that my LA's previous funding policy caused a distortion of the perception of need since it incentivised / increased the need for a statement (because delegated funds were reduced to this purpose.)

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 12:54:23

insanity Not as I understand it re. old and new system statements. 'Roll out' is not at all completer in our LA.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 12:56:21

insanity It is estimated that the 6K will buy approx 12 hours 1 to 1 support per week. Forgot where I read this but makes sense.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 12:58:19

In our LA statements are funded in full by the LA, schools are not obliged to fund any of the statemented hours of support from their own resources. That said schools have to jump through hoops to secure a statement for a child already in school but a parent who secures a statement before a child enters an educational establishment doesn't have to do any such thing.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 13:03:18

insanity The funding reform promises more delegated funding to schools but they must fund the first 6K of SEN provision (and demonstrate they have done this) per child before 'high needs' funding is requested.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 13:05:07

Hopefully by the time the LA come meddling then dd will have completed year six and I will most likely home ed from year seven because I can't find a suitable school and I wouldn't win at tribunal for independent specialist which is what I would want.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 13:06:59

In my LEA it is very difficult to get a statement (I'm continually amazed by posts on MN) with cuts to SEN budgets I'm not sure all schools will be in a position to support pupils effectively.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 13:07:23

The LA seems to still have some choice re. delegated funding. Prior attainment, FSM figures can be used to determine whether to award schools less or more delegated funds.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 13:09:59

mrz I find it very difficult to make a judgement.

Much more transparency is required nationwide before parents can truly know what is really going on.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 13:14:36

But how do they demonstrate? Currently school and myself provide evidence that the 20 hours support is working. How can an LA decide that the reports we have provided for the last four years (at her current school) are no longer sufficient evidence? They could of course send in an officer to observe but for how long, one day,one week? Dd's progress is all the LA needs to confirm at present that her statement is working. Of course school and myself could go through her statement detail exactly how it works and put on a show for whoever comes to observe because they wouldn't observe for very long and dd is making more than the required progress. It seems ridiculous to me tbh.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 13:15:53

mrz If you compared the delegated funding policy of you LA to the funding policies of other LAs, does your LA offer more delegated funds and less statemented funds comparatively?

This is where I think there is huge variation, which alters perception of severity of needs, from LA to LA.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 13:20:15

insanity I expect a form of provision mapping is used.

Some LAs do not quantify hours of support, statements may also be written in such a way that they last for years and are flexible, which means support may not have to be designated 1 to 1 for example. A (coded) banding regarding amount of funding is given - may not be disclosed on statement.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 13:22:28

Dd isn't typical of a child with a statement in her school. But she has a Mum who has an older child with a statement from three and who knew and played the system. She was also very severely delayed at two when I requested a statutory assessment (developmental age of 6 to 12 months at 24 months).
She keeps her statement because the school is happy to support me in keeping it and the LA are incompetent and inefficient and possibly wary that I would go to Tribunal if they tried to cut the statement down.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 13:33:53

insanity I think it depends on the type of needs your child has and whether you expect those needs to be permanent. If a statement no longer describes your child's needs accurately you wouldn't want there to be any hurdles changing it or ceasing it, whichever is most appropriate.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 14:40:41

Dd's needs have never been academic tbh yes she entered nursery below her peers because of the autism and the delayed development and her speech disorder but she had made amazing progress in the eight months it took to secure her statement and by the time she left reception she was the most able child in EYFS despite only attending very part time until Easter. (I did an early intervention programme with her at home).
Once the statement was amended for year one the academics were mostly removed (fine motor skills remained because she has/had low tone and poor core strength although it's pretty average now)
Dd's statement is to help her cope with everything but the academics But in her wonderfully inclusive school the strategies are there anyway. I choose dd's teacher and the ones I choose have calm, quiet, ordered classrooms with clear rules and strong routines. I work closely with school pointing out where she may have difficulties (outside providers/ activity days) and they ensure that they make provision for her needs not necessarily by having a TA shadowing her but by making adjustments to ensure she isn't stressed.
Dd will always have autism, she will always need sensitive handling, if I could find a secondary like her primary then I'd keep her in school with her statement but ultimately it's not her statement that makes her school experience a positive one its the particular school she attends. I'm under no illusion that had she been attending the OFSTED outstanding catchment school she would need ever minute of those statemented hours to cope as it is her statement gave me the choice to send her to a different over subscribed out of catchment school (only rated good hmm) that I wouldn't have got her in without her statement.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 15:04:44

insanity It is great that your daughter is receiving the right educational provision for her. However it is just not right that you have had to 'play the system' (as you yourself put it) to ensure this.

This is why reform, in my opinion is needed. Not everyone has advocates who can (or will) play the system for them. The previous system was nowhere near transparent enough, it is outrageous that dishonesty (in your case non -disclosure of TA's other classroom activities) is practically required to ensure appropriate educational provision.

I do not think the funding reform goes far enough (admissions is one grey area), but at least it is a start.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 15:10:07

insanity Added to this there are some very worthwhile strategies, classroom and school organisational policies that go a long way to help, but don't cost anything.

It is not always extra funding that schools need but rather a change in ethos. The only way to encourage this is to withdraw funds, take away some of the support, which only is in place to manage/police problems away from the classroom, instead of teachers and heads thinking more about how they could have prevented them occurring in the first place.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 17:02:06

Yes but the needs of the children who dd's TA supports in her class need support for academics all the structure, routine and sensitive handling won't make a difference to them. They need statements giving TA support that school can't secure because the teachers are jumping through every hoop and it's deemed that they can meet needs without a statement.
They might not have parents willing or able to take on the system (ds's tribunal cost more than £10,000) because it's a hard fight when you have to take on the LA as they ignore statutory duties and don't comply with the legislation already in place (Being granted leave for Judicial review was what forced the LA to provide the placement he needed)
Dd's school is considered outstanding in the support it gives to children with SEN so as a result they have a high proportion of pupils with SEN as parents of statemented children use their right to express a preference and it's in a high deprivation area as well. To give this support they need the highly qualified TA's they employ
I don't feel in the least bit guilty that I played the system. I'd rather the funding for dd's statement goes to the school that supports her so well rather than into the system that uses every trick in the book to evade their statutory duty depriving children, teachers and schools of much needed support.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 17:21:36

insanity I'm not saying you should feel guilty (for playing the system), just feel that the previous system was atrocious and the new one needs rolling out in order to see if children will be any better off.

The fact that you feel justified in playing the system suggests the system was not fit for purpose. If schools genuinely do get more delegated funds and these funds are managed fairly, the more borderline children (in terms of being awarded a statement) may be better off.

A child's statement should not have to finance other children's needs because this distorts the statemented child's needs and people's perception of them.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 17:34:45

But I don't think the school's perception of dd is in any way negative because she has a statement. She isn't in low ability groups she's in top groups that reflect her ability. The HT calls her exceptional so not at all negative. She represents the school in the community. School don't disclose she has a statement or a diagnosis and neither do I. She's known as her name or the little one with very long hair and glasses not the statemented autistic one. I don't think in my experience in dd's school statemented children are seen as a negative at all in fact it could be argued that the children with the statements are very much less a drain on resources than the children with needs but having no funding to support them.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 17:59:02

insanity It is good that the school's perception of your daughter is in no way negative.

However if someone has to move schools, or during transition, it is important that the statement accurately describes needs, resource requirements. Also what happens after school age if on paper someone's needs do not match their actual needs. If on paper they need support, when they don't in fact need support. Lies have a tendency of catching up with people.

I would also not want my child to be seen as a 'cash cow', have every little quirk jumped upon, as if a school sees them in terms of pound signs, no matter that each individual quirk is very minor and easily dealt with (and perhaps short lived).

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 18:05:33

^ I would not argue any child is a drain on resources. All deserve the right education for them. However monetary resources is not always what they need. A bit of sensitivity and compassion (from the professionals) goes a long way.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 18:20:04

If dd was to move school to secondary then her levels will reflect her academic ability (LA are told accurate levels each AR so they know she was 4a last AR and predicted 5b next AR), her statement describes her difficulties with stress, organisation, anxiety, sensory issues, social needs and emotional needs all very accurate. It also describes the strategies and programmes needed to manage them. All of these would be needed in a school that wasn't as sensitive to dd as her present one is. It also states the level of TA, time for report writing and consultation with me and the need for me to be fully involved and consulted when considering dd's needs. No lies at all in fact a very accurate description of dd seeing as I pretty much wrote it wink
As for having every quirk jumped on well dd doesn't really have many that marks her out certainly Autism Outreach and the SALT couldn't spot her but if she had a quirk that needed addressing then I'd want it addressed rather than ignored or dismissed because of a lack of resources or funding.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 18:35:24

insanity Again all good, but how do you tell whether it is your daughter that has progressed (in terms of her needs been less severe) or the school's sensitivity in managing those needs? Or that she may cope now without these strategies?

To be honest it does sound as if you have a very good relationship with the school, which is key. However not every school is as communicative and in the state sector, choice is a bit of an illusion.

It is a good thing that your daughter's school obviously adheres to her statement, in terms of approach (although not designated support). You must agree though there has to be this, and the flexibility to change a statement, at least at AR. With the previous legislation there was way too much scope for parents to be left in the dark.

If schools are not spending the funds on the statemented child on that child, strictly speaking, they should not receive them. Transparency and accountability cannot be a bad thing. If funds need diverting somewhere else, to someone with greater need, it is only right that they are. The welfare state simply does not have enough funds for this not to be so.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 18:36:02

If she didn't have a statement she'd still have needs but there would be very little I could do to ensure that her needs were met. So whilst the statement does secure funding etc the real reason I hang onto the statement and will continue to hang onto the statement is that it gives me the legal right to ensure dd's needs are met because I don't like having to rely on the good will or ability of others to do this.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 18:42:50

insanity See your point but it is not a statement that ensures this, at least not without a fight.

Under the new legislation, with the support her statement says she requires, she would qualify as 'high needs' and receive top up funding beyond the 6K. The only difference is that her placement would have to demonstrate what they have done with the 6K (which is useful to know anyway). This will give the government data as to which kind of support is most effective for groups of children.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 18:53:39

I think the point is that the support is there for insanity's daughter if and when it is needed is important and much better for most children than having a TA sitting on the child's shoulder.
Most SEN TAs are professionals and are more than able to use their experience and judgement about when to step in and when to back off. Unfortunately in terms of a child's needs this isn't quantifiable and can vary day to day week to week so impossible to timetable. Removing support because a child doesn't need it this week doesn't mean they won't need it next week when they meet a new challenge or experience. Once removed it is very difficult to get back.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 19:04:12

Well she has certainly progressed she entered the school in yr1 after a very successful EYFS in one school was followed by a yr1 teacher that was horrendous. At the time of entry (current HT admitted her straight away without waiting for LA to amend statement such was his concern) she was school refusing, self harming, bed wetting and an emotional wreck.
Looking at photos on entry she looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights and now she is a happy and confident child fully included in all aspects of school life. School provided support on entry in addition to her statement to put her back together it's only as she gained her confidence that the TA stepped back from supporting her 1 to 1 initially for the whole of the day to where she is now.
Proof really that it's the school and more specifically the class teachers (that I choose) that are the key factors in her progress rather than the statement because the TA in her previous school was very good as well but constrained by the teacher and ultimately the school's unwillingness to address a teacher that had been through competency once already and was on the path again as we withdrew dd.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 19:10:16

Exactly mrz she doesn't need the support at present because her class teacher is brilliant and the school is exceptional But if her class teacher went off sick and dd was faced with unknown supply teachers then she would need the TA as a buffer. Little things can unnerve dd, her TA can read her because we have worked together closely so whilst she won't be near dd she will be watching her body language to intervene if needed. Heck we've even taught her to recognise when she needs help and to ask for it so she'd even do that nowadays too.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 19:23:57

insanity mrz Well it does sound like this is one good success story. smile

However not all teachers use the TAs as effectively. Too many times a designated TA is not available, when the statemented child needs them, because not providing the support has become a habit. They are in fact timetabled to take the class during PPA time / because a teacher is off sick or help set up the school fayre (not beyond my experience). Also a teacher might leave too much to the TA. Leave them to effectively teach the child, away from the classroom. When the teacher is asked about the specifics of how the child is learning they may not know, may not have consulted adequately. The TAs are not always SEN professionals either, such people are not always available, a lot of TAs do not hold the higher qualifications.

Support is not quantifiable, but the money spent on it is. Money is quantifiable. The new legislation reflects this, why be secretive about what is actually spent? How long does the support have to be held in reserve for it to be deemed as just not needed any longer?

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 19:33:59

Yes but daftdame I've fought before and I'd fight again if needs be. The LA know this and really it is enough to have the reputation of someone who will fight, who will force them to tribunal and JR to ensure that when I phone LA and give my children's names I don't need to give any more details they know who I am and they would know if I wrote to say dd's statement wasn't being met then they had better get onto it before I bring in the solicitor and barrister like last time grin In our LA the quality of the provision is directly proportional to how much work a parent is going to cause them in order to get their child's needs met.You don't give them grief then you won't get the provision.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 19:37:29

insanity Good on you but not all have the resources, the know how or the energy. sad

For this reason I believe a change was long overdue...

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 19:44:41

insanity Why would the new legislation change your power to fight? Surely you'd be in a stronger position if the school had to demonstrate what had been provided (at least the initial 6K)? The paperwork would all be ready.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 19:44:48

Dd's TA is in the class for the whole of the day apart from the last 15 minutes twice a week One of those sessions is to consult with me. Dd's support is 20 hours of that time but she may need 10 minutes here and there rather than support during literacy and numeracy (in fact she is streamed so in a different class entirely and doesn't need support then) which is more common in her school. It works not only because she has a qualified and experienced TA as her statement specifies but also because communication between school and home is excellent and we work as a team to get the best for and from dd.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 19:50:35

insanity I think I understand the provision at you daughter's school is good for her. However it is not the old legislation that governs this, because you have found a way to work round it, you 'play the system'.

Your DD doesn't receive the 20 hours support, it is there in reserve. Why should she have support in reserve designated, when some children do not receive adequate support, that they need, constantly, in order just to function in school?

This is not a fair system.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 19:56:21

I'm not naive enough to think that the new legislation is being put in place to enhance the support given to children with SEN. Like the majority of the legislation this government has introduced the motive is cost cutting and dissolution of an individual's right to legal protection. My understanding is that children with statements already will continue to have the right to appeal to SEND those with the "new" statements or those refused statutory assessment won't have that protection. When you factor that into reduced budgets then there will be many more children not getting the support they need and teachers having an even worse time trying to support children without the resources needed.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 20:01:58

Well she has it because I secured it and her TA isn't sat there twiddling her fingers you know when dd doesn't need her she is supporting other children who need it and have been denied.
What you don't understand is that dd is an exception rather than the rule because our LA supply the bare minimum support in statements and one of the reason that they haven't reassessed dd is because reassessments generally lead to securing more provision rather than less.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 20:04:51

I would suggest any parents make sure that it is written into the statement that the person supporting their child is suitably qualified and not a level 1 TA for show

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 20:11:28

All OK if you are prepared for legal action.

I'd just like a fairer system up front.

Of course there is cost cutting involved, ineffective support costs money, rather it wastes money.

In the current climate this country just cannot afford the ineffective support which a lot of children receive. Lack of accountability and transparency only makes it more difficult for parents to ascertain exactly what is going on.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 20:12:35

No life isn't fair, I don't particularly think it's fair that two of my children have autism. I educated myself about that and about the education system and I studied the SEN code of practice. What my children have is because I was prepared to fight after making sure I knew what their entitlement was.
I am happy to share my knowledge and experience to those that ask in fact I helped another parent secure independent provision because the HT asked me to help but nothing is handed to you on a plate these days so if you aren't pro active then you shouldn't be surprised when you get very little in return.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 20:17:49

mrz definitely dd's TA has to be level 3 and experienced and with various training completed all written in her statement. No way was dd having one of the mums off the playground wanting a little pin money wink

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 20:19:26

People pick their fights in life...

Glad it has worked out, education wise, for you and you family

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 20:27:18

Yes but what's a more important fight than getting the right education for your child? confused
My aim is that dd will be able to live independently and support herself unlike ds who will need a lifetime of care and quite unlike the prognosis for her when she was diagnosed at two.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 20:40:21

You misunderstand me insanity, a lot of people are not in the position you are in. Some are living hand to mouth, I knew of one woman who was diagnosed with cancer just as her child was statemented. For some the new legislation helps regarding finding out exactly what their child is receiving when the school is evasive. Your experience, whilst valid, is not the only kind of experience.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:04:00

But don't you think that schools could still be evasive? They only have to document £6000 worth of provision. Well what's to say they document £6000 of provision with an inexperienced TA supporting ten children but only documenting for the one child. Yes they provided the support but if it wasn't good support to fit a child's particular need then it most likely would have no effect. Who is going to see that the support was in fact given by a dinner lady to a group of ten children rather than the support that is documented. If a school is evasive now the new system won't change anything because evasive schools (unlike dd's) wouldn't allow a parent in to observe at any time without notice (as I could if I chose to and would if there was a problem)

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 21:10:50

of course schools can still be evasive

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:14:58

mrz insanity Ssssshhhh! Don't give them ideas!

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:17:19

You know I'd worry if dd's school was saying to me that her TA was sat beside her twenty hours per week because firstly that's not what I'd want for dd nor is it what dd needs but also because I'd know they were lying and the trust between school and myself is far more important than them documenting every minute of dd's support.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:20:04

Anyway it will depend on what is demanded in terms of mapping the provision, size of group, money spent etc. Do you think schools would actively lie, which goes further than being evasive? That would be fraud.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 21:20:21

I think the changes will see more TAs sitting idle next to a child who doesn't need them every second of every day. Now that is waste!

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 21:21:23

alternatively less experienced staff will do the child's work for them so the child learns nothing

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:23:46

So really if a parent doesn't trust the school to provide the right support that a child needs and the school isn't open and honest about how they are using the resources to support the child the new legislation won't change the fact that that school isn't the right school for their child

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 21:24:36

We already do provision mapping rather than IEPs but you might plan for the group to be 6 children for 30 minutes a day and 2 children are absent or 1 arrives later and the paperwork has to be re calculated ... I can see me spending more time doing paperwork than actually supporting the children

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:27:06

mrz if that happens the records would show the TA is not needed for that child. A school would not let this happen, no one would want the job, very dull. Purpose served. If a child does not need their TA a statement should not say that they do. Why would a school let a TA do the work, this is superstitious nonsense.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:29:22

I think the changes will see more TAs sitting idle next to a child who doesn't need them every second of every day. Now that is waste!

They'd better not be trying to impose that on dd through her statement angry as it is dd is pretty independent with good friendships and peer support and her TA is gainfully employed for the whole twenty hours support those who need it at the time. Why would anyone think that that needs to be changed?

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:30:07

insanity Sometimes it is Hobson's choice. Schools can also improve, cultures change.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:32:57

insanity that could happen with an inaccurate statement in terms of the support given under the old legislation. Especially if the child moved schools or has a new teacher or SENCO.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:36:20

insanity Sometimes it is Hobson's choice. Schools can also improve, cultures change.

Exactly so I'm keeping dd's twenty hours for exactly that reason.... schools don't only improve they also deteriorate and a new HT could bring a whole new ethos which would mean her support was needed. After all if her statement lapsed I wouldn't get it back because who's going to give a statement to a well behaved high achiever?

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 21:37:35

mrz if that happens the records would show the TA is not needed for that child." Yes daftdame people do want the job ... I've seen it far too many times but because the TA isn't needed for 20 mins of art one day it doesn't mean the child won't need them for 1 hour of PE later in the day or to deliver a SALT programme every day or for a practical science lesson or to go on the school trip quantify accurately will be a nightmare.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:39:21

But they'd have to reckon with me first grin as per her statement that says I am to be consulted with regards to dd's needs and support wink

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:45:34

mrz A history of retrospective accurate provision mapping would give a good idea. The provision received used to predict future provision, this is true evidence based practice.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 21:51:46

I have a child in my class who needs 1-1 support but he doesn't need his TA attached when I do carpet time because he sits on my knee. Now one day my carpet time might be 18 mins for one lesson 23 mins for another , only 12 mins for another and perhaps a full 30 mins for story or songs. He also doesn't need his TA when we do maths jingles because he likes to dance so that might be another 10 mins I also feel that he deserves some of my teacher input so I work 1-1 with him while his TA works with another child but if he didn't have a TA he wouldn't be able to attend a mainstream school.
So are you really suggesting that someone should record how many minutes a day he spends with his TA, how many minutes he spends working with me, how many minutes he spends with his LSA (he has additional support at lunchtimes) how many minutes with other staff ...if so we better employ extra staff just for the paperwork ...

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 21:54:00

But who decides whether a statement is needed or not? It shouldn't be some faceless bureaucrat it should be the people at the coal face who work with and live with that child every day.
When ds was being assessed for specialist provision the LA made arrangements to observe ds in his primary school. As is the case as it always was during numeracy the one lesson that ds behaved reasonably well in or was at least well managed and distracted from disrupting in. Ds's teacher was also the SENCo who had a very good grasp of ds's needs and he could at times be a pussycat for her particularly in numeracy. The SENCO transposed the day sending in the PPA to teach history (ds would normally be withdrawn to work with the TA as he hated the PPA teacher and history). Ds excelled himself he showed exactly why he needed specialist provision as he displayed every challenging and disruptive behaviour he knew to get out of the class. The LA were almost commiserating with ds's SENCo by the end of the observation grin and so ds got specialist provision but he wouldn't have if the LA had seen a snapshot of him in numeracy.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:54:16

Maybe more roughly than minute by minute. However people do do time sheets in other forms of employment. They do not have to be that cumbersome.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 21:58:53

People at the coal face so to speak also have a conflict of interest. When they are fighting for all forms of funding any opportunity for that funding can be grabbed with both hands, whether appropriate or not. Added to this the extra resource can mask poor quality provision, managing a child's needs instead of overcoming them.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:01:16

If all the support has to be documented mrz would the person doing the supporting have to document too as dd's TA would need an extra 30 minutes a day to do that. I wonder if the LA's will like parents pushing for extra time so that support can be documented? hmm

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:05:32

Conflict of interest or real knowledge and experience I'd say. Our LA is fighting to save money to conserve the Local Government Employees pensions I know because ds (another one) is a Local Government employee. Do I feel bad about dd's support possibly depriving one of ds's colleagues of an extra fiver a week on their pension? Nah grin

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:07:23

People do not spend 30 mins on time sheets. Time, member of staff, group. This with wages bill, teacher's plans and assessment data would be all that is needed.

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 22:09:48

That's exactly what I'm wondering insanity ...I'm the SENCO so responsible for all children in the school so I guess I'm not going to be doing much actual teaching for doing time sheets.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:11:25

People do not spend 30 mins on time sheets. Time, member of staff, group. This with wages bill, teacher's plans and assessment data would be all that is needed.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:13:04

But it would depend what record keeping they wanted wouldn't it? Dd's TA doesn't sit next to her the support she gives is flexible and differs day to day minute to minute I'm pretty sure myself and school could prove that thirty minutes was needed if push comes to shove wink

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 22:15:28

daftdame in a previous life when I first left school I spent 40 hours a week doing time sheets

Schools don't calculate wage bills that is done by the LEA ... and I'm not sure how teacher's plans and assessment data will give an accurate picture, planning change in response to the classes needs and assessment data could be recorded termly

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:16:25

I'm think retrospective support received, quite easy to report on a log. Lying on this would be considered fraud, if that is why you winked.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:18:04

mrz there must be day t,o day observations in order to inform teaching.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:18:54

Dd's would look like this 8.50 3 minutes meet and greet 8.55 10 minutes physical literacy 9.05 3 minutes preparing dd for vicar in assembly 9.10 3 minutes reassuring dd because said vicar is not the same vicar as last time and even though his voice is loud he isn't shouting at her.
By the time we'd done I'd say her support is easily justified.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:19:19

Schools must submit info to L A so they can calculate wage bills.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:26:34

"FWIW I 'm not bothered at present that dd's TA supports other children in her class because dd doesn't in fact need the support her statement gives."

Your post insanity suggests she doesn't need her support. Which is it? If your school can easily demonstrate support, why worry?

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:29:53

Not lying just saying that if you have a child whose needs and support aren't uniform then retrospective filling of timesheets wouldn't be necessarily truthful or accurate and so fraudulent by your interpretation. For dd's TA to make them truthful and accurate they would need to be filled in as the support happened which I'd say would easily tag 30 minutes onto her TA's day.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:33:39

I'm not worried at all the LA will get the documentation they require and dd will keep her support. If others benefit because her TA is able to support others whilst dd is working independently then it's a good situation all round.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:35:00

A child could be cheated out of more than 30 mins of support under the old legislation. 2 TA's taking class instead of Teacher and 2 TA's because teacher is absent = hours of missed support opportunities. Parent helper looks after statemented child on trip, ditto.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:42:34

I don't understand why it's such a big deal that dd's support supports other children as well. I know it happens and dd isn't suffering because of it so as far as I can see no one is being negatively affected by it. It happens all the time in lots of schools not least because statements are wishy washy and so the schools aren't doing anything wrong.
The difference is that dd's school doesn't hide that it happens, dd's needs are being met regardless and I don't want dd to be dependent on a TA by her side for the majority of every day and so support the school in what they do.
Some parents want different they fight for the statement and want every minute used with a TA attached to the child's side it's then when school's are forced to be evasive IME.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 22:46:54

But it doesn't happen in dd's school on trips dd's TA supports her because out of school her needs are greater. In her class there is a FT class TA and another SEN TA as well as other TA's who work part time on specific programmes with individual and groups of children. There is lots of support so probably the reason I'm not possessive of dd's.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 22:59:40

What I think should be present is equality. How much does a teacher/TA spend supporting individual children normally? This is needed as a base level. Why with a statemented child should a normal level of individual support be seen as extra, over and above what a school should have to provide? I think the new reform could encourage schools to reconsider what they can provide at a base level. The entry level for statements is not consistent between LAs.

The chatting about the vicar could be equated with telling a NT child to stop talking or talking to another NT mother about reading books.Why does a child need a statement if their provision is different but equal in terms of resource? Should you get a statement for having inquisitive parents who just take up the teacher's time?

Some parents may suspect their child is not getting their support and coping. The statement should reflect their progress, it generally should be celebrated, not hidden in order to cling onto resource. Schools may seek to cling on to funds and in turn distort the child's needs.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 23:08:48

But all things aren't equal are they if they were no children would need a statement. I'd be happy to give up dd's statement to anyone who was resentful that she got extra provision so long as they were prepared to take on the autism besides.
I have three older children besides the two with autism, they were all high achievers in school and needed no support or individual input. I was never resentful of the poor child who had a TA because of their needs just grateful that mine didn't. I don't really get all this it's not fair stuff tbh My thoughts would be get a grip or do something about it if you believe that your child has needs that aren't being met,

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 23:15:22

I am not resentful. I think it is great that your dd is thriving at her school.

I just believe in honesty. A statement should accurately reflect needs. Playing the system is wrong, it perpetuates inequality between those who can afford the legal clout and those who can't, those who know how their child should be educated and those who can only listen to 'experts'.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 23:17:52

Yes but the chat about the vicar would lessen dd's anxiety so that when she left assembly she would be able to concentrate on what was being taught. My fifteen minute chat with her TA allows her and myself to ensure that we are both up to speed with what's happening and to plan for any support dd might need before our next chat. That ensures that staff working with dd are pro active and therefore more effective rather than being reactive and subjecting dd to unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Both totally different to a child needing a reprimand or a Mum wanting to swap her child's reading book.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 23:22:13

Dd's statement does reflect her needs accurately it's more the school is very proficient at providing an environment that means her needs are met without her being permanently attached to a TA. Should they be denied resources because they support all children with SEN well or should they keep the resources so that they can continue to support all children with SEN well not only the statemented ones?

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 23:23:49

Stopping talking is proactive for that individual child. As would swapping a reading book, if it was totally inappropriate, just don't see the difference unless the amount of support was different. All interactions require a certain degree of professional skill and knowledge. If the amount of support is different this would become evident in the documentation.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 23:25:28

They will not be denied resources as the increase in delegated funding will compensate for stumping up the initial 6K.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 23:28:47

But I can't imagine anyone documenting that a child was told off for talking or a mum wanted a book change.
So are you saying that my three children without additional needs should have had individual support and I should have had the opportunity to chat to their teachers weekly not because it was needed but because it would be more fair? hmm

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 23:32:34

Believe you and me I look back on my older one's school days like they were halcyon days. No input required from me other than attending parents' evenings and signing the reading diary. Absolute bliss in comparison to the minefield of SEN and the input I am required to give now.

insanityscratching Sun 16-Jun-13 23:52:56

But your argument is that dd shouldn't have her statement and twenty hours of support because it doesn't meet what your rigid idea of SEN support is thereby denying dd a statement and all the children her TA supports would mean the school would lose the funding they currently have so £10,000pa by your reckoning.
But if I put her in our catchment school who aren't good with SEN dd would need twenty hours at least of the TA sat beside her therefore denying her the independence school and myself have worked hard to achieve and withdrawing support from all the children her TA currently supports.
Of course dd's school would then make a case for funding for these children and so in effect it would cost more and dd wouldn't be as happy or as able to achieve as she does currently.
so somewhere the thinking is flawed surely?

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 06:46:38

daftdame school staff are salaried. Schools don't submit time sheets

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 06:54:50

If your daughter was in a special school it would cost 4 times that to support her insanity that is inequality!

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 07:04:30

"mrz there must be day to day observations in order to inform teaching."

I have 30 children in my class for 300 minutes a day when do you imagine I have time to write down observations and fill in time sheets ... I cover play ground duty 5 days a week and deliver interventions during my lunchbreak and before school starts ... some days I don't even visit the loo

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 07:24:08

insanity Nowhere have I said that I think your daughter should not have her statement. I questioned whether playing the system was right, questioned a system which actively encouraged this was right.

I believe a statement could be just as harmful if inaccurate but held on to because of a school's need for the funds. This distorts a child's actual need, gives a false impression of their needs, which is never appropriate.

Yes, schools will have to be able to demonstrate they have spent 6K on a child before extra funds are applied for, but they will receive more delegated funds to cover the initial outlay. In the current economic climate are you really that surprised? It is what has had to happen everywhere.

It sounds as if your daughter is receiving an appropriate education for her needs, I have said this several times. However part of the reason for this is that you have had to go through the courts for this to happen. Why defend a system when that is what it takes to get the right education?

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 07:35:19

I probably should add that yes I do assess and observe all the time but not formally every day, most observations are in my head or I would never have time to actually teach anything.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 07:38:28

The delegated funding has been drastically cut daftdame and I know our school budget won't cover the £600 000+ it would need to show every child who needs support has had that amount spent on them.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 07:48:43

mrz Cutting delegated funding is not what the legislation promised. Did your school participate in the LA consultation which was to decide how to delegate funding?

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 08:29:45

mrz You don't have to demonstrate 6K spend for every child with additional needs, only for those who need more funding than this. How many children in your school are individually funded more than this currently?

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 09:31:45

With the old legislation if the OP's child has a statement, ultimately a complaint can be made to the LA if the school are not delivering what is on the statement.

With the new legislation the school would have to be delivering the first 6K's worth, and demonstrate they are, before top up funding is received. Built in incentive to deliver the initial 6K's worth.

By not delivering, they would not have the funding in the first place, so provision like Motor Skills programmes will have to be in place to ensure funding.

With the old legislation our LA delegated provision of a statement to the individual schools, entirely. The Annual Review was an annual review in name only, as the statement was not expected to change annually. The paperwork required was minimal.

Not that any extra funding was genuinely received by the schools as a whole because the LA had reduced the amount of delegated funding to compensate for the amount of statements that were applied for.

Therefore the entry requirements for a statement were lowered (in comparison to other LAs nationwide), thus distorting need. People assume a statement = high level needs. As a result the schools which had parents who are prepared to or able to 'fight' for funding receive more than schools who didn't have such parents. Funding ceased to be about need but more about who possessed the legal clout with which to threaten a LA with.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 11:06:29

But dd's statement has been tweaked at pretty much every annual review since she was three years old to reflect the changes to her difficulties, the progress she has made and the extra demands placed upon her by the curriculum.
School and I are a team, we work together to ensure dd thrives and achieves in school. The LA are happy that her needs are being met because of the progress she has made and the fact dd gives her own input in person where they see a child who is happy and confident and clearly enjoying school. They recognise that school and myself have a firm grasp on dd's difficulties and needs and there has never been any resistance to the alterations we have requested.
A statement does indicate high level needs but it doesn't necessarily indicate that a child is poor academically though and with children with autism the academics are quite often the thing they find most easy in school.
The reason that there is now a need to resort to lawyers and barristers (because incidentally the tribunal process is supposed to be parent friendly and accessible without legal advice) is because LA's prefer to spend their SEN budgets employing solicitors to fight parents at tribunal to avoid having to fund support to children who need it.
I only engaged a lawyer and barrister quite a long way down the line when nothing I was doing was getting the LA to meet their statutory duty and comply with the law despite going through the stage one, two and three complaints procedure and having my complaints investigated by the LGO and the ICO.
The new legislation won't change anything LA's and schools don't take any notice of the law that is in place now.Unscrupulous schools will continue to short change the children with SEN by using delegated funding for other things rather than supporting the children it's there for. They will spend more time providing the paperwork to ensure that they get the funding than they will supporting the children that the funding is there for. Teachers and schools will have more hoops to jump through and parents won't have the entitlement to resort to the law to force the LA and school to give the support needed.
Meanwhile our LA will be paying £60,000 pa to an independent specialist school in a different County to maintain ds's statement and dd will continue to thrive in a school that cares for and supports all children with SEN with or without a statement. I will continue to work closely with school to ensure that dd keeps her statement and I will if I have to resort to the law to ensure that the LA continues to maintain her statement as it is whilst ever dd is in school.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 11:15:40

mrz the child in your school who has been denied a statement despite professionals identifying a multitude of difficulties. Please advise the parents to contact SOSSEN and IPSEA and get their support to appeal the decision. I can also pm you the name of an SEN advocate who would take it to Tribunal for a nominal amount compared to a solicitor and the number of an SEN legal helpline who would provide 30 minutes free advice.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 11:29:13

Just to clarify I have never needed to use any legal help with regards to dd and her statement. The lawyer and the barrister was needed to force the LA to fund an independent specialist education for ds when they had no maintained provision to meet his needs and felt that it was appropriate to leave him out of schoo altogetherl providing 5 hours home tuition per week when he had a statement giving 35 hours of 1 to 1 support (he needed a TA at his side constantly) They fought and delayed and ignored the law because it was saving them money because they pulled out of Tribunal and didn't challenge anything in the statement the lawyer wrote because they knew it was accurate and needed they just didn't want to pay for it angry

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 11:32:54

insanity I agree with you in that it is difficult to produce legislation to tackle all the unscrupulous schools or LAs. Changing the law does at least address some of the loopholes in the old law re. schools not providing what is on a statement.

There will probably be winners and losers. The winners are those children whose severity of need has genuinely decreased but their statements don't reflect this, as the funding is being used to fund other children without statements. For this, I welcome any attempt to improve transparency and accountability.

It could go so far as their achievements being 'managed', kept artificially low in order to maintain funding. Parents do not easily have access to all the assessment data, it is difficult to judge whether the assessment is rigorous enough. QCA /SATs paper results can be moderated down by teacher assessment. Teachers admit they make APP assessment data up (read confessions on TES website, I could post the link if you don't believe this).

Children with statements can be seen as 'cash cows' and this is wrong.

I do believe you have done exactly the right thing by ensuring your DD's statement is tweaked at annual review time. I appreciate (only too fully) what a fight all this can be.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 12:01:07

But why would dd be a winner if she lost some of the hours on her statement? As far as I can see she would be a loser because if she needed those hours a month or two down the line which is a possibility she wouldn't have them. Her classmates would lose out too as her TA wouldn't be there to pick up other children. The teacher would lose out as she would need to provide the support that her TA does to dd and others and those who don't need support would lose out because the teacher's time and attention would be focused elsewhere.
Dd's levels of academic attainment have always been accurately reported to the LA. The academics aren't her SEN. Even ds with pretty severe autism and challenging behaviour and mutism has in fact passed 8 GCSE's grades A to C despite the fact he has had a TA by his side for every minute he has been in education since he was 3 years old. Their academic ability has never been seen as a reason to deny them the support they need in other areas.
I totally agree it's not a fair system when only some children get the support they need and a parents ability to fight could be a reason for this. But taking away dd's support won't benefit others who might need it it would just save the LA a few thousand to put into the pension fund.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 12:06:54

insanity The difference is you feel your DD needs to retain a reserve of support, as she potentially could need it.

For those who know their child is not receiving the support (and is coping without it), the fact that schools will have to demonstrate what they are providing, in order for it to be retained on a statement, is a good thing.

devilinside Mon 17-Jun-13 12:22:01

I don't understand the process. My DS is 7 has asd, can barely write his name, can't read, can't dress himself after PE, yet we have been told he has no chance of getting a statement. I have aspergers myself and I have idea how to 'play the system' to get him some help

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 12:24:46

I think you should still be able to write to the LA for a statutory assessment. They have to make a decision of whether they will do one within 6 weeks.

This website is good.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 14:07:04

This morning though, to me, illustrates why being forced to document support to satisfy bureaucrats won't make any difference to the quality of support a child receives.
As we entered the playground dd's TA indicated that she needed to speak with us before dd entered the classroom. Swimming had been cancelled because of illness and the TA made sure dd knew before it was announced and what would be happening to replace it.
Her teacher wouldn't announce to the class until after register when she would write on the board the changes to the morning and she'd keep on top of any noise than an announcement would bring.
Dd's anxiety and stress levels were low as a result and her TA would withdraw but still watching and probably do targeted support with a child who needed it whilst dd was independent until she went off to numeracy and literacy where she is totally independent.
So this morning dd has had 5 minutes support.BUT in a school not sensitive to her she'd have found out possibly from a classmate or be left to second guess what was happening. Her anxiety and stress levels would rise and her TA would be sat with her to support. Then rather than her being independent in numeracy and literacy she'd be sat at a table with children who needed TA support and so weren't her academic equals but she'd be there to be able to document where her support was being used.
So the school who wasn't sensitive to her or proactive could document that dd needed support for the whole of the morning but it wouldn't be the support that was needed. She'd have an adult sat at the side of her possibly a mum of a child in school who had no knowledge or experience of autism or the levels of qualification and training that dd's TA has.Dd wouldn't have been independent which raises her self esteem, she wouldn't have been working with children on her level maybe she'd be doing work that was too easy for her.
So should dd's school be penalised for giving effective support for 5 minutes and another school rewarded for giving ineffective support for three hours? Incidentally the LA know that dd has no support at all in numeracy and literacy so they aren't being deceived.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 14:13:47

Devilinside as daftdame has said you need to write to the LA and ask them to make a statutory assessment of your child's SEN. The template letters are on the link the beginning of the process is pretty straightforward but there is also a helpline on there which can give you more specific support.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 14:32:59

insanity What your daughter received was effective support.

However the ineffective support, not doing anything re. swimming cancellation, child anxious in a group of non academic equals, could have happened in a school under the previous legislation. (Has frequently, the SN boards illustrate this only too well). They balance the disruption caused by one anxious child (could be that they just withdraw) child against using their designated funding to manage more disruptive non- statemented children.

I think what you have with your daughter's school is genuinely caring, sensitive, understanding and professional staff. This data can be used by the government to champion a pro-active approach. Although some children may actually need this approach to be on a sliding scale basis, they become less anxious over changes in routine through positive experience and can self manage.

I expect your daughter's school will be fully capable of documenting effective provision, a long as they have the courage of their convictions.

When dealing with staff that are not quite up to that calibre, possibly through no fault of their own, anything which could encourage them to reflect on what effective support actually looks like will be a good thing.

Effective support is cost effective, however it is funded. It may be that your daughter uses only 5k of the support and no more, in which case your school will know it is worth spending all of that 5K (with a floating TA) to prevent having to provision map. It is not in the school's best interests to escalate needs with the current legislation. In this case trying to present a false picture of need would have a worse outcome for the school and your daughter.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 14:38:41

^that should be (with your daughter's share of a floating TA).

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 14:39:19

^ The class teacher may also have been able to make the 5 minute explanation.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 14:44:26

No dd's school will document that the hours on her statement are needed and I will ensure she keeps what she has.
My understanding is that the old statements will continue as they are it will be the new statements that will follow the new legislation after all the old statements are keeping their legal entitlement.
There is no way I will agree to dd's support by a level 3 qualified and experienced TA (it's written in her statement anyway so LA would have to go to Tribunal to get it removed) being replaced by a floating TA. That wouldn't help dd it would just save money which may be the governments intention but it's not going to happen at dd's expense

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 14:53:13

You seem so worried about funding when really the funding is no concern of yours. If you have a statement that is specified and quantified and legally enforceable then it has to be met. How it's met and with what funds isn't your problem it's ultimately the LA's because school can, if they choose say, they don't have the resources in which case the LA has to fund it or they'd have to account to the secretary of state.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 15:00:18

insanity Funding is the only truly quantifiable aspect in terms of severity of need. If less resource is needed the needs are less.

How else do you track progress in the severity of need, or do you expect needs to remain severe in all cases, for a lifetime?

Whilst this may be true for some, some people do overcome their needs. I know people who have overcome their needs and this was unrelated to their 'treatment' by 'professionals'.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 15:55:38

But it's not the funding that is responsible for the results it's the support itself.
I know that dd has made incredible progress because at diagnosis she was considered more severely affected than ds.
The "price" of dd's statement comes in hours, those hours could have taken place in her current school or any other.
In dd's current school those hours have seen incredible results in a different school those hours could have seen negligible results the cost to the LA would have been the same.
So I would say that it's not the costing that is the measure of need and progress it's the quality of support that determines whether or not the resources are used to the optimum effect.
Dd's progress is measured continuously not only her academic progress but also the progress made towards the targets on her IEPs and those on her statement. Dd's school is the only school I know that does three IEP reviews per year with mid way monitoring to ensure that the IEPS are still relevant and working.
I don't think needs have to be severe in order to qualify for support. In comparison to some of her school mates dd' needs are minor as they have pmld and physical disabilities too. Likewise some in dd's school have nowhere near the academic ability that dd has but don't qualify for statemented support.
I don't think that some children are more worthy than others and think that all should be supported. So if when dd's needs are met her TA supports others with needs rather than twiddling her thumbs then that can only be a good thing and in effect makes dd's statement even more cost effective.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 16:14:44

insanity Making IEP's quantifiable is problematic. With non academic progress too often figures for success criteria are picked out of thin air (or number applied inappropriately eg 'on a scale of 1 to 10 tell me how you feel...') with no reference to norms or variables in the environment, the relationship between cause and effect. Provision is not always adequately quantified (sometimes even qualified) either, vague 'TA to support this', is all too common.

Without true quantification, it is difficult to accurately assess progress, the measurement is subjective. Support costs however and that cost is quantifiable.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 16:18:04

^ in reality all methods of measuring progress should be used, to give a more rounded picture. I wouldn't shy away from the numbers. How did you know the quantification on the statement was accurate in the first place?

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 16:29:17

And I would say it is not support that is always responsible for results.

People can achieve well against all odds. It is what is beautiful about life. They succeed just because they believe it is possible. Their successful actions and in turn results are the fruit of that belief.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 16:49:01

Because her statement is an accurate picture of dd's difficulties and the support she needs to meet them. Professionals made recommendations and I pressed them for timings. As it is now her statement works not because school adhere rigidly to the minutes specified but because they adapt the support to meet her needs at that particular time.
What is paramount and the reason that dd is well supported is that her TA is experienced and well qualified. Then her teacher provides an environment that is conducive to her learning, the school has experience with SEN and a desire to meet the needs of all the children there and that they consider me an equal in her education and we work together as a team,
None of that could be achieved if there wasn't a level of trust from me and an openness from the school.
My feeling is that if a school isn't open and is evasive then that is because they don't have the the expertise needed to meet a child's needs. Likewise if a parent isn't able to trust the school rather than hitting their head against a brick wall then they should consider that it isn't the school for their child and should search for an alternative rather than fighting a losing battle.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 16:55:05

I'm not sure that believing that something is possible is an option I'd take as a strategy to see my children achieve though. It's a bit like cosmic ordering and I'm not sure God or whatever higher being you believe in works at our LA it's more the case that there's quite a few there who think they are wink

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 16:55:54

I sometimes think my standards are too exacting, nobody would meet them...hence in life I have to be very forgiving.

However I wish you and your daughter well.

So what if your child needs no TA 1:1 (or needs it but the school provides it with an experienced volunteer from the WI) but does need weekly direct SALT and OT?

Does the school have to source and fund the first £6k of that? confused

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 17:00:13

I think possibly you haven't found a place where you feel you can trust them enough to take a little step back. I know I'm a control freak but it's always at its worst if I feel I am not being given the full picture or things are being hidden from me.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 17:01:44

I don't know Star and I'd hedge my bets that schools and LA's don't know either tbh.

Btw, I've always found it easy to make no-academic IEP targets quantifiable, though in 5 schools I have yet to find a teacher with this skill. What training do they have?

One teacher told me in no uncertain terms that this target was SMART:

For a TA to support ds with 3 spellings no less than 10 minutes, 3 times a week. Success criteria, ds spelling improves.


'Funding is the only truly quantifiable aspect in terms of severity of need. If less resource is needed the needs are less.'

I absolutely don't agree with this, - sorry.

I went to tribunal for a package of provision that cost LESS than the LA preferred model, but was measurable and accountable and crucially, delivered NOT by the LA.

I was fighting against an undefined holistic approach with 100 meetings a year or senior staff to talk about our feelings or something.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 17:05:06

I think so but you would have to check the legislation.

You can also get minutes of your county's school forum and cabinet etc which will tell you about individual policies. Some services are 'traded' some are not.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 17:08:14

Starlight I don't disagree with your fight, in fact it sounds like we violently agree grin. Can of worms. Why I ache for change, but I'm like that...

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 17:17:52

"mrz the child in your school who has been denied a statement despite professionals identifying a multitude of difficulties. Please advise the parents to contact SOSSEN and IPSEA and get their support to appeal the decision."

The parents don't want to accept their child has difficulties and have been very reluctant for other professionals to be involved. They continually tell me that SaLT, Paediatrician, OT etc don't know why their child has been referred ...then I get reports from the same professionals showing him on the 0.01 percentile ... I'm afraid the parents will see this as a good thing.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 17:20:58

"mrz Cutting delegated funding is not what the legislation promised." no it isn't is it daftdame but that is the reality across the country not just my LEA. It's the same as when the government said their would be no cuts to education budgets they called it a negative increase instead.

I lost.

On the basis that the undefined holistic approach hadn't been tried, it looked impressive cost-wise, and that the HT of the school we wanted ds to attend preferred the LA unaccountable model.

Subsequently after wanting £23k for two years fading to £12k the following and £6k the year after that, my ds fell behind so badly IN JUST ONE YEAR that he required a special school placement at £50k per year for possibly the rest of his school life.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 17:36:48

Well something has to change...

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 17:38:59

The parents don't want to accept their child has difficulties and have been very reluctant for other professionals to be involved. They continually tell me that SaLT, Paediatrician, OT etc don't know why their child has been referred ...then I get reports from the same professionals showing him on the 0.01 percentile ... I'm afraid the parents will see this as a good thing.

sad for the child and the school.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 17:40:41

Change for the better is what's needed not change for financial reasons or as a cost cutting exercise though.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 17:41:34

I think they see it as a personal criticism

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 17:45:57

Although to be fair, it was the previous legislation that favoured an unaccountable, inefficient, ineffective approach, as in Starlight's case.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 17:51:50

It was no more unaccountable than the new system daftdame

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 17:53:28

The new system isn't fully rolled out yet mrz.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 17:58:53

Yes but until we have evidence there is nothing to say the new legislation will be any better after all it's still the same people monitoring and delivering. All we know is that children will be removed, funding will be cut and legal entitlement will be withdrawn. Hardly a recipe for success when you put it like that is it?

It isn't even slightly rolled out, despite the pathfinder authorities having had the money to do so.

Am about to join forces with a group to request under the DPA how many people have actually received direct payments for provision. From a basic strawpoll it appears that ONE person from ONE authority has in TWO years and only because they threatened Judicial Review.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 18:00:03

I know daftdame but I've always had to show what the school has done from it's own budget to support the child and provide all provision mapping and assessment levels prior to involvement by outside agencies. The only difference is the new code of practice has cut my delegated budget and will exclude some children due to poor attendance

I agree with Mrz though, that this reform won't make any difference.

I almost don't care WHAT the law is. The crux of it HAS to be that LAs are policed and forced to comply with it. That they weren't and didn't was all that was wrong with the old system. The new rules won't change that.

We need a reform of the regulatory bodies such as SENDIST, LGO and the ICO, because unless they get some teeth the wording of the legislation is quite pointless.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 18:03:49

mrz what about once a statement is gained? Still the same provision mapping and assessment? There certainly is a post-code lottery.

The way I see it is that the majority of children were failed under the old system, and we are moving to a new system where the majority of children are failed but for less money.

I suppose that is progress of some kind. Though where the money is going that is 'saved' is anyone's guess. I hope it is going into the adult social care budget or the prison service perhaps, or at the very least mental health hospitals, because that is where these children will end up.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 18:05:31

Less than 1% of our pupils receive additional funding from the LEA ... for one the funding meets his needs for the other the funding falls far short of his actual needs and considerably short of the cost to educate him in a special school.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 18:06:38

Yes daftdame I have to provide termly updates

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 18:28:03

mrz Not the same in all schools...

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 18:39:06

Dd's school is good at what they do and so as a result parents who can express a preference choose to transport their child to that school rather than their local school. As a result 20 plus students have statements in a 300 plus school so quite a high number compared with the schools surrounding it. It's the support they offer that draws parents to them and not the reassurance that the school keeps meticulous records of the cost of the support given. I worry that these records of cost will come at a detriment to the support offered because will the cost of all this accounting of SEN budgets come from the SEN budget itself

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 18:39:46

mrz If less than 1% of the pupils at your school receive additional funding from the LA, your costs are less than a special school, as you have said in a previous thread you are a single form entry school, why would it cost you £600 000+ to map provision of the initial 6K for those who required top up funding?

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 18:43:44

insanity Sadly the accounting is needed because some schools and LAs have been misappropriating the funds at worst, scandalously inefficient at best.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 18:57:39

But accounting won't make for better provision it's just another hoop to jump and another stick with which to beat the schools.I'd say the only difference it will make will be that the schools that keep the best records regardless of the quality of the support given will secure the most funding and to do this they may choose to hire an accountant at the cost of quality teaching and support staff.

insanityscratching Mon 17-Jun-13 18:59:06

*to and not at

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 19:11:11

because over 50% of our children have educational needs not covered by a statement daftdame. As I said it is extremely difficult to obtain a statement even for children who have been identified by numerous outside professionals as requiring support.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 19:16:07

mrz The majority have additional needs?

Did your school participate in your LAs consultation which determined how to designate which schools would have more delegated funding?

I know our LA was hugely disappointed in the response for the consultation..they had little information with which to decide the best formula.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 19:17:11

yes daftdame they did

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 19:26:57

In September 17/26 of my class required additional support (excluding child with a statement) in June only 2 still require high levels of support (both being assessed by the EP but unlikely to get statements) but 3 new children arrived today who from first impressions may well need support and we have a similar picture in other classes ... Then I have a child who has attended 10 sessions since Easter ...

As a mother of a child with SN, I couldn't give a flying fig about the accounting. I'd be happy if my child had no funding at all if he had a decent evidence-based education.

If that required a TA, I would give a toss if it was someone volunteering from a local childcare course provided they could follow good instructions from the teacher who was themselves trained in good sound evidence-based practice techniques.

I am worried that outcomes for children are getting lost and mixed up with number-crunching.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 19:31:46

Most of the mainstream primary schools in our area only have an average spend of approx 4K per pupil.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 19:37:38

Perhaps the mainstream primary schools in your area aren't recommended by EPs to parents who have children with SEN

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 19:39:37

mrz They are. Most of the mainstream primaries in our area has the same % of children with statements of SEN as your school.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 19:40:01


mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 19:42:07

I'm not talking about children with statements daftdame I'm talking about those children who need support but have been refused a statement. Often children like insanity's daughter

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 19:45:17

insanity's daughter has a statement.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 19:47:51

mrz Don't EPs usually recommend schools during Statutory Assessment? They do recommend mainstream schools for pupils with SEN in our area.

mrz Mon 17-Jun-13 19:55:04

Yes EPs can recommend schools as part of the statementing process but they can also recommend schools based on their personal knowledge of the school to parents who have failed to acquire a statement or indeed to parents who haven't tried to get a statement for their child

and yes I know insanity's daughter has a statement but that doesn't mean there aren't many children like her who don't

DS got a statement because we killed ourselves proving he needed one before he got into the school system of hierarchy, misinformation, undertrained SENCOs etc.

We were continually told he wouldn't get one until the day he got one which wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Indeed when we began the appeal against the woefully inadequate provision, the parent partnership (who were supposed to be supporting us but shared and office with the LA SEN bods) told us that there was no POINT in appealing the statement because we were lucky to have one at all given that everything in it could be delivered without having one at all hmm.

My ds would most likely have been one of the children Mrz talks about being in her school but without a statement if it wasn't for the fact I had a lot of inside knowledge into how the system works and also how stacked against parents and their children the SEN truly is.

Indeed, the provision we were asking for was not what the LA 'provided' so they threw inappropriate SALT and OT at ds despite him not needing it (he did need both, but a special type and not as many hours as they were offering), because they had already purchased those services in block contract deals, thus depriving a good number of other children those services in order to win a tribunal against a parent that was challenging their lack of appropriate provision.

That provision failed him, and he is now in an independent special school, which didn't take much of a fight given how much he had deteriorated.

What a waste. His life chances are now at risk, a good number of vulnerable children lost their SALT and OT for a year or so, and he is costing the tax payer substantially more that he needed to.

Direct Payments are supposed to be introduced that would technically have enabled us to purchase the provision ourselves (Thus allowing us to have our cheaper but outcome-based provision) but Local Authorities are refusing these to parents on the basis that services they might chose aren't being independently evaluated and that it risks parents being exploited.

What they fail to acknowledge is that their own shambles of holistic, non-accountable, make it up on the spot provision is also not ever independently evaluated and thus risks parents, children and tax payers being exploited.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 20:07:29

mrz The point I am trying to make is that spend varies hugely from LA to LA. The % statements in our LA is the same as yours, yet your school spends more than most mainstream primaries in our LA.

Obviously your demographic is different, hence the difference in spending.

Yet the % of statements is the same, could it be that the children who receive these statements have vastly different needs in terms of severity?

Hence a statement is not necessarily indicative of a high level of need (as it usually is perceived.)

IMO A statement is indicative of a high level of need AND a strong advocate, usually parent.

High level of need + no advocate = no statement
Low level of need + strong advocate = no statement
Low level of need + no advocate = no statement

I think it is worth bearing in mind however, that a statement itself does not raise attainment levels and more often than not they go unread and are pretty useless for the child anyway.

If the child is particularly disruptive I think that the school would more readily play the advocate role if the parent doesn't.

daftdame Mon 17-Jun-13 20:29:29

Starlight I agree with you except I have no idea concerning levels of need nationwide, except that the level of need required for a statement varies from county to county. Thus I'd question the Low Level & strong advocate outcome. (Our family might be the exception to this rule).

I agree with you regarding effectiveness of statements for raising attainment.

You're right about consistency.

My ds would probably have been considered low need because for a long time his needs were ignored/denied and covered up by selective and inappropriate assessments chosen to give a more able picture.

When we were looking for a school for him many refused to even see him as on the basis of his statement he looked more severe than he was. That isn't to say that his statement didn't accurately reflect his needs, but the REASON it did so was because his family had the resources to make sure it did.

If the were presented with version 1 of his statement no doubt they'd feel more able to meet his needs.

A school has no idea just from looking at a statement, how many drafts it has been through or how fastidious the child's advocate has been, or how detailed the assessments or how competent the recommenders.

And when all is said and done, neither the child or the parent has any control over the quality of the provision that the statement secures even if it tightly worded and specified.

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