Threat of prosecution from LEA

(6 Posts)
clarisa Mon 07-Apr-08 14:00:32

Hi all,

As alot of you are aware, ds(autistic,tourettes,sensory intergration disorder,dyspraxia), was refused a statement of education. Had great help from ancientmiddleagedmum drafting me a letter to send to local MP, which I have done...(this is all in pipeline,MP is contacting various education chiefs and will contact me as soon as he has feedback)). Well I am HE ds, but he is still on role at his previous school(who had no idea how to cope with him, and he definately couldnt cope anymore there). I have been HE since late January, and today received a phone call from LEA, saying he has non authorised absence, and this may lead to prosecution etc etc. I explained to her that I am appealing about his statement, and that I have enquired with last school (as 2 girls are stil there) about whether they could get a placement for him one day a week in a special school.........senco had no idea, but would look into this.....have had no feedback back from her. Also explained to her the person dealing with statement was off sick....and collegue has no idea if all paperwork needed was received etc etc. Any advice????? Parent partnership have arranged a meeting with myself and school...... cant happen until 1st May as HT too busy, this is to deal with the day a week special school placement that school have no idea about. I feel like pulling my hair out yet again...........do none of these people correspond with the next!!!!!!! Will I be prosecuted??????

Candlewax Mon 07-Apr-08 19:13:24

Claris, if they want to play dirty they will unfortuntately.

My AS ds stopped going to school in September. He was referred to CAMHS for depression. The school therefore are marking his absense down as approved.

Has your ds been to see your GP or anyone else connected with his care? You could get a letter from them to give to the school and therefore the absense would not be unauthorised. Get them to back-date it too - not the letter but the illness period or period of high anxiety/stress.

If you have taken him out of your own accord, then yes, technically they could prosecute but it would be highly unlikely. The Education Welfare Officer knows the difference between a parent who cannot be bothered and a parent who has a child who is genuinely suffering with attending school.

MY EWO organised home tuition for my ds - he has it three mornings a week currently.

I think the fact that you have written a letter and got your MP to rattle some cages is making them play dirty. On the other hand, it could very well be that one department is just NOT talking to another.

Good luck in getting your Statement. It is worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears in the end.smile

Candlewax Tue 08-Apr-08 08:54:49

Hi, I am bumping this for you for the morning crowd as I am sure that someone else must have had experience with the Educational Welfare department as well.

I must stress I do think it unlikely that they would prosecute. How would it look in Court? Child off school because he cannot cope - parents applying for Statement etc - parent has sought help etc.

By the way, have you anything in writing saying that you requested what you did from SENCO? If not, I would drop them a letter now, detailing WHEN you originally asked for help etc. Put in that letter to school as much as you can, all the problems school think they are having etc and copy it to the LEA.

Every meeting, telephone conversation that you have from now on in, RECORD it in writing and send the appropriate body a copy. If they dispute what you have written, they must write back. You must do this to safeguard yourself. Courts/Tribunals like paper trails.

Also, if you are called to a meeting, however informal, take a friend along. This friend can make notes etc. The EWO may want to call on you at home at some stage, make sure you have a friend there too.

It is not meant to sound alarmist in any way, it is to help you.

I am rambling but I hope you get what I am trying to imply.smile

Stargazer Tue 08-Apr-08 09:01:21

Hi - I'd like to echo Candlewax's comments. Make sure you have everything documented. Ask for a statement again - your DS sounds like he really needs lots of additional help - and if you don't get one from the LEA take them to tribunal. It's all down to costs and sometimes you have to fight back for your DS.

I know because I had to do all this with my old LEA - we got a statement and help eventually, but it was hard. 4 years on and a new LEA - things are much better.

So good luck. I don't think you'll be taken to court.

thelittlestbadger Tue 08-Apr-08 09:09:53

Hi, I don't know about a SENCO point of view, but I used to do prosecutions for the LEA where parents didn't send their kids to school and would like to reassure you on a couple of points:

A) The key point is whether the child is being educated. As you are HE, it would be worth keeping records of the hours/subjects/ points covered in lessons. If you are able to reach an agreement about sending your DS into school for one day a week then that is all you have to do IYSWIM, they can't prosecute you for not sending him to school every other day. You should probably make sure the EWO has all this info to try and stop him prosecuting you in the first place and is copied in on your correspondence with the SENCO etc.

B) Magistrates are VERY unlikely IME to punish a parent in your position. it might be worth seeing if you could get Cod's view on this but the only time I have seen anyone actually get convicted and punished was when the child was not attending school because the mother really couldn't be bothered. She was fined £50.

I hope it is unlikely that the LEA are now attacking you because you have challenged the refusal of a statement and it is much more likely to be incompetence. Whenever you contact the school/LEA either make a written note of the conversation or follow it up with a letter setting out the discussions (time-consuming I know) as far as you can. If you write to the school, copy it to the SENCO/ EWO and head of education at the LEA just to try and give everyone as much info as you possibly can.

Good luck

sarah293 Tue 08-Apr-08 09:25:13

Did you write a de-reg letter when you started to home educate? technically he is unauthorised unless you have done that and being tosspots, the LA can prosecute.
Contact IPSEA and Supportive Parents.

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