Statement vs. application for additional funding - advice please!(9 Posts)
Hi, it's been suggested to me that I come here for some advice please.
DS is due to start school in September. We've just been allocated his first choice of school.
He has additional needs at the moment. He has had cancer and been through some really hard treatment. He's now finished treatment and is recovering, but it is taking time. He stopped walking for a while, but is now able to walk short distances. He has a wheelchair but, for instance, we don't take it to nursery because he can manage during the morning (he doesn't stay all day yet) with limiting how much walking he does if he doesn't feel like it. He has had some damage to the nerves in his hands and feet and finds it hard to feed himself. He can't yet dress himself. He is in nappies although sometimes is able to get to the toilet in time and use it. Perhaps once every couple of days. He is also fed through an NG tube and needs to be connected to this for 1 1/2 hours during the day, as well as not really drinking so also has water down his tube.
Although he can walk as I've said, he does have problems with balance, can't climb stairs unless he has a rail to haul himself up with. He can't walk in a straight line.
I spoke to his McMillan nurse last year about starting school and we agreed to apply for him to be statemented. That has now finally got to his nursery who have contacted the LA (I think? The relevant people, anyway). I have a meeting with them tomorrow and they are going to look at DS and see what needs to be done.
The nursery said to me over the phone that they and the LA had thought there was no need for DS to be statemented as he is NT (which he is) and that it would be easier and faster to simply apply for additional funding for him.
The only difference I know about statements is them naming a school on, which obviously is not something we need, but is there something else that DS would be missing out on if we went down the additional funding route rather than a statement?
Obviously, at the moment he is improving but his cancer has an 80% relapse rate and if he does relapse then his needs are only going to increase.
Any help or insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Just bumping this in case anyone can help this morning please?
Hi trazzles, very basically, the additional funding is to cover the costs of any support above the normal resources of the setting. The statement (education health and care plan) sets out the needs and ways to meet the needs. So if he will have long term difficulties which will make it difficult for him to access education (motor skills , tube feeding) etc I'd go statement. If the nursery need extra money they can evidence that to the lA.
The statement is a much more detailed document and the LA will gather evidence and views from health professionals, nursery staff, educational psychologist, and others who have a valuable opinion, including you. It is more precise in what it sets out for your DS. It can be amended when necessary. I would have the statement and it too will trigger additional funding, (eg X number of hours learning support each week), be precise in what needs the funding is meeting, and possibly ensure improvements in the named school if it does not fully meet his needs. I do hope all goes well for you.
It also depends on the amount of support your ds needs in terms or hours of support. In our LA the expectation is schools fund 20 hours of support for a child from within the main SEN funding they are given. Anything that is additionally needed is applied for through a statement. However if a school has a high quota of children already needing 1:1 and a child with a 1:1 need they would go for statementing and in the request also evidence how their main SEN funding is already being spent. So if your ds school can cover the 20hours (or expected hours for your LA) without a statement then they may feel it unnecessary to apply for one. However they may want the additional funds to make appropriate adaptations to the school.
A statement would be your child's though and this would be ring fenced money for your ds which will stay with him until, I think I'm right in saying, early adulthood. This would be the benefit if you or the school feel he needs 1:1 support above the hours the school should supply anyway.
I hope that helps/makes sense. I'm not a SENCO but a teacher with some experience of being involved in statement applications.
Also a statement could be applied for at anytime so if your son's needs were to change and the school felt more support was needed they could apply at that time. Statements in our area are very hard to get so our schools tend to wait until the point where we have the most evidence of the need so there is less chance of the application being rejected.
Hopefully though your ds needs won't change. I've seen a few of your other threads and wish you all the best.
Thank you all for your help. The lady seemed helpful at the meeting and did explain bits to me... Kind of!
An application is being made for additional funding - we ascertained that DS is working at or below where he should be, but not drastically far below so unlikely to get funding for learning support per se, which is fine as I would agree he doesn't really need that. But I think we are applying for medical funding so his Dr, physio and MacMillan nurse will all (hopefully!) be involved writing letters about his needs.
I asked about a statement and she seemed quite negative about them but explained that where we are the funding is totally separate from the statement so having a statement wouldn't bring any associated funding with it if you see what I mean? She was saying for a statement he would need to be assessed by a psychologist?? Every time I think that, I think I must have mis- understood what she said...
Anyway, once we have the opportunity to accept the school place(!) I think she's planning to arrange meetings with the school as he will also need additional support for transition, as well as letting them know what they're in for generally. So I guess we are waiting re: statement to see whether the school says he needs one.
Thanks loads for all your help.
Hi Trazzletoes, I'm glad things were made a bit clearer at the meeting. You are right about the psychologist but it is an educational psychologist. We have to have children we are putting through statementing assessed by one too. They would observe the child at nursery and possibly at home to assess their learning needs, approach in learning style etc and give advice to the school. Their reports are used in the statement application. If your DS is in line or just below age expectation I doubt a EdPsych report (if requested) would support a statement application as his learning need wouldn't be deemed high enough in terms of needing 1:1 support if you see what I mean?
I hope it all gets sorted out for you. I think the avenues in SEN in schools are a minefield and I say that as a teacher. My advice is just keep going back with questions for anything that isn't clear.
I'm afraid the person you spoke to is talking a degree of rubbish. There is no reason at all why they can't apply both for additional funding on an interim basis and a statement. The code of practice makes it perfectly clear that statements aren't just limited to children with learning difficulties, and can also apply to children with physical problems that prevent their access to learning. And it is also nonsense to suggest that statements can't bring additional funding - it just depends on how much help is needed, and basically if ds is in a mainstream school and needs more than £6000 a year in extra help (and if you think about it that's less than the cost of a full time teaching assistant) then the LA has to top it up.
The main advantage of a statement is that it would protect your ds' legal entitlement to support. If they granted additional funding and withdrew it, there would be little you could do about it, but if the statement is properly written with specific and detailed support set out, then ds has to have it by law and you could take action through the courts with legal aid in his name to enforce it.
It's true to say that the LA will probably resist giving a statement, and that if it does it will try to make it as vague as possible to avoid getting themselves tied down, so you may have to be prepared for a fight. Look at the SOS SEN and IPSEA websites for more information.
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