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Edward Timpson open letter on SEN reforms - reassuring

(25 Posts)
Veritate Sat 24-Nov-12 11:39:28

So now we need to know whether he accepts that EHCPs should stay in place pending appeal (as is the case now with statements) after a decision to cease to maintain them. That's a vital provision in the current legislation which has disappeared in the draft clauses - another consequence of starting again rather than building on the good aspects of what we have now.

I would also like to see him accept that the Code of Practice must be laid before Parliament before it can be amended. The mistakes we have seen in this draft demonstrate precisely why proper scrutiny is needed.

moondog Sat 24-Nov-12 09:19:59

It is complete and utter madness that s/lt is considered a medical need as opposed to an educational one. Some aspects are medical (eg dysphagia and cochlear implants) but otherwise this is patently not the case.

I see my closest professional allies to be teaching staff as an s/lt.

OT can't be an educational need ecause the new DSM brings in sensory difficulties as part of the dx, and we don't have any NHS sensory OTs.

bialystockandbloom Fri 23-Nov-12 22:47:59

Delalakis, I hadn't realised that <doh>. I take back my comment then, obviously, hope it didn't muddy the waters.

Delalakis Fri 23-Nov-12 20:29:33

Bialystockandbloom, the draft legislation makes it quite clear that only the education component will be enforceable - the health and social care bits won't. That's one of the reason why I agree that it's very dubious why we need to go through this extremely expensive and disruptive business of changing the legislation rather than simply improving on what we have now. In fact, I don't really see the point in calling it an Education, Health and Care Plan if the health and care bits can't be appealed to the tribunal and can't be enforced in the same way.

However, I have heard separately that they intend to make it clear that speech and language therapy will still be regarded as education provision and therefore enforceable, which is a relief. What we need to know now is whether other therapies like occupational therapy and physiotherapy will be regarded in the same light where they are needed in order to help the child access education.

PassionateMum Fri 23-Nov-12 16:09:58

Seems to me that by dealing with the set-out vs specify issue he is conceeding a "lost leader" point. He was going to lose it anyway.

Basically this is not the joined up plan we were promised but still an education only plan. Sure it will extend to 25 years if our kids stay in education which is great but at what expense?

IPSEA seem to be the only ones that are saying this. I saw their chief executive speak at a conference in the week and she was saying it loud and clear. Shame the others were not. Why?

The key thing for me is where do you go if something is not delivered? The only place you can go under this new systhem remains to the SEND Tribunal and only then about educational provison. No different from now as far as I can see but I am happy to be corrected.

Why not include social care and health as promised? It can only be MONEY!

Sorry but this letter is really only a small step.

TheTimeTravellersWife Fri 23-Nov-12 13:01:12

The existing system needs reform, but that could be achieved without re-writing the legal basis for the whole system. It will leave children with SEN/D worse off; for one thing, all the previous case law will be torn-up!

The existing system could have been reformed and improved within the existing legal framework, with the extension of Statements to 25 year-olds and introducing legal accountability for LAs.

The money spent on the Pathfinder LAs could then have been put to much better use; I believe that there are around 20 of them and that they have all been funded around £150,000 each.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 23-Nov-12 09:49:04

I agree completely.

Typical politics. Make it look like you're going to do much worse things, backtrack a little and then returning back to the status quo looks like a victory.

Nigel1 Fri 23-Nov-12 08:10:44

If you look at where we started from in this process the original draft legislative proposals can only be construed in the main as being regressive [ not including extending the support to 25 etc]. The headline ideas - legally enforceable cross area plans have been ditched.
To say that they are now making concession is simply bringing the process back to where it is now, more or less. Don't really see any concessions there.
Since you are working within a legal framework, words matter as it is the words that will be interpreted by Judges when there are disagreements.
On a more philosophical point do you really want to put your children's future in the hands of politicians whose only abiding interest is self promotion and political power against a back ground of institutional bankruptcy.
We could get to where we need to be without going through all of this by simply amending the existing acts.
You will note the current governments obsession with reducing bureaucracy. Guidance is being slashed. Compare the old and new exclusions guidance if you are in any doubt. No doubt the CoP guidance will be slashed. To whose benefit? I suspect is will not be the childs.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 22-Nov-12 23:11:24

It's a letter. Lets see what ends up in a draft Bill.

'Securing' provision is not the same necessarily as a duty to arrange and it should be noted that these pathfinder authorities are still flouting the regulations set up to trial the plot projects. He knows this as there is a judicial review on the issue of the refusal of these pathfinders to even trial SEN DPs.

Yes, two months to lodge an appeal still exists but he hasn't dealt with whether mediation will be incorporated in some way as a compulsory part of the process post appeal.

There is no increase in accountability. LAs will still be able to drag things out without penalty - so what will change?.

TheTimeTravellersWife Thu 22-Nov-12 23:07:01

OK, he's listening, but I'm still concerned.

He hasn't acknowledged that the revised SEN CoP should be open to public consultation and scrutinised and discussed by parliament. It is one of IPSEA's concerns, on their SEN blog

HotheadPaisan Thu 22-Nov-12 22:57:49

But you definitely can't take the care component to SENDT, I'm pretty sure, although it only needs one test case. Perhaps we should have more faith in it after all, there's still a lot to do on it and he has listened so far.

bialystockandbloom Thu 22-Nov-12 22:44:23

delalakis even, sorry for hash of your name!

bialystockandbloom Thu 22-Nov-12 22:43:37

delakasis perhaps, though, this is covered by the fact that it's an overarching Education Health Care Plan, so the Health provision is as legally enforcable as the Education part (unlike the current Part 3 and Part 6 system).

'X will receive a programme written by a SALT trained in ASD' = specified.

HotheadPaisan Thu 22-Nov-12 22:17:53

Agree with you though, haven't heard about OT.

HotheadPaisan Thu 22-Nov-12 22:17:18

I read somewhere else that SALT will remain under educational provision.

Delalakis Thu 22-Nov-12 22:15:43

He hasn't addressed one of the major concerns, namely that health provision is defined in the draft in terms of provision available through the NHS - which puts speech and language and occupational therapy firmly into the health category. That means that it can't be enforced, and can't be challenged through the tribunal.

I think also the real failure is that they haven't taken the opportunity to make the social care element enforceable and challengeable. For many disabled children, it's almost impossible to separate out the educational and social care elements of what they need, and it's totally artificial to try to do so. The tribunal in particular needs to be able to look at needs more holistically, and under this legislation it isn't going to happen.

coff33pot Thu 22-Nov-12 22:02:03

just curious as the two need to be together as the LA could specify right down the provision and use that as an excuse not to spell it out as exact 1 to 1?

coff33pot Thu 22-Nov-12 22:01:00

I think you are right bialy as it was the SENCOP I quoted and emailed to the LA plus if I remember right a copy of a D of E letter I found on IPSEA about quantifying and blanket policies?

bialystockandbloom Thu 22-Nov-12 21:55:49

coff Good point.

Although, I may be mis-remembering (it was a while ago now I had to look!) but I think the specify & quantify bit may not actually have been in the current Act in any case, but in the SENCOP (??) <<waits to be corrected>>

coff33pot Thu 22-Nov-12 21:49:44

That is a very promising letter smile Almost not bad at all!

Just a question though. The "specify and quantify" bit. He is requesting it be replaced back to specify. What about the quantify? was that still there?

Reason I am asking is our LA although cant fault them now, initially said as per the green paper at the time the specification and quantification of hours would not be put in a statement as in "DS to received 1 to 1 sole 25hrs blah blah but to have the times specified within the reports ie. 25 mins 5 times a week of social skills. And that if I went down the provision it should all collectively amount to 25 hrs! of course it didnt lol but that is an old story.

My LA is also a pathfinder.

HotheadPaisan Thu 22-Nov-12 21:47:29

I think he is saying mediation doesn't stop the clock, you apply to Tribunal but still go to mediation first with the time it takes for your Tribual application/date to come through (bit hazy on the process). I don't object in principle to that, subject to getting yet more time off for meetings etc.

bialystockandbloom Thu 22-Nov-12 21:44:08

Wow, not bad! I was particularly concerned about the omission of duty on LAs to specify and quantify provision. Glad this has been noticed and rectified. (Especially as submissions I'd seen from some hadn't included this.)

He doesn't really answer the question about mediation though does he, or have I missed something?

HotheadPaisan Thu 22-Nov-12 21:25:43

He seems to understand the concerns and will be making changes. I'm starting to see this as a way to extend statement (plan) provision from 0-25, still a bit nervous though that no extra funding for FE, that has got to affect the amount available under 16s.

How much extra Achievement for All funding and who gets it? Maybe this is what he means, there will be extra funding for FE?

Well done to CDC, IPSEA, CSIE and others for expressing the concerns so clearly, he is listening.

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