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Tips for pending Tribunal

(66 Posts)
santaclaw1 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:40:40

Have refusal to assess tribunal very, very soon.

I have the bundle here.

Where did you start?

What did you focus on?

and any other tips?

StarOfLightMcKings3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:30:12

Do you think she is/ever could be persuaded to be on your side?

Or is she just a muppet?

santaclaw1 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:31:29

I have a social worker who is totally out of her depth and doesnt understand professional advice and doesnt have a clue about education or special needs or the processes involved.

For example CAMHS and EWO told me if ds was not fit to attend, take him to GP. I take him to GP, GP signs ds off, a few days later SW is arranging meetings for ds to return to school and putting plans in place, when he has a medical certificate stating he is not fit to attend.

Then writes in report i am 'incapable' of following professional advice!

She is recommending that school need to gather evidence for a statement to put support in place in school. While school are opposing my request to do exactly that and going to tribunal to oppose it!

Ive tried explaining it to her verbally, but she is obviously not understanding.

Maybe i need to put it in writing briefly with my request to postpone the meeting?

StarOfLightMcKings3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:33:36

Yes I would. Be nice though. It is your last chance to show how utterly utterly sensible you are in a crazy world.

santaclaw1 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:47:27

Star even after CAMHS explained it would have to be a gradual, tiny step approach, with ds doing school work at home being step one and ds actually attending school being the goal. Me explaining, i have started the process already ie trying to do school work and sorting out sleeping etc, etc.

She insisted on a 'start' date, of the first day of term. A 'start' to what exactly! A start on me trying to get ds into school.

In one ear and out the other. Admittedly she has been thrown into a complex case and is trying to get her head around it. But she is just full steam ahead with HER plan, disregarding everything else.

She is the one who told me to go and pick ds up from school immediately and take him to A&E after she interviewed him in school.

Yet a few weeks later she is making plans for him to return to school and when it doesnt work, turning up at my house, not happy and threatening ds to the point he locked himself in a bedroom to get away from her.

She is out of her depth and really doesnt have a clue what she is doing or how to handle it.

She has calmed down a bit, now CAMHS are involved, but even then ignores what they say and ahead with her plan.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:49:18
santaclaw1 Mon 31-Dec-12 21:00:33

No not at all Star, its brilliant, i am up to my eyes in it and any help and advice is much appreciated. Will have a read. thanks smile

AgnesDiPesto Mon 31-Dec-12 23:31:11

I would refuse the meeting tbh. Write and say that your priority is to succeed in getting SA and getting right support in place is integral to success of plan to return DS to education. You can tell sw (in writing) that while she clearly agrees SA is necessary the school and SEN Manager do not agree and are proceeding with tribunal against the sw advice. Therefore the tribunal has to be your priority and you will not be able to meet her to discuss plan to return DS to school until after tribunal, which is after all only a few days away. You will be spending the day before tribunal preparing for what will no doubt be a stressful experience for you and your family and you are sure she will understand you have to give this your full attention. Then give a list of several dates in the following 2 weeks when you can meet. Then take the letter with you to tribunal.

This is just a cheap trick to keep you occupied and stop you having time to deal with tribunal. If the meeting had any bearing on tribunal then there is a risk the tribunal may be critical of you not attending - but here it has no bearing at all and you can point out the last meeting to discuss the exact same issues took place on x date if the LA raise it - and I doubt they will as it will make them look like bullies.

I would not answer the phone or the door that week unless you are sure it is not sw. Take the battery out of the doorbell if necessary so you can blame that if she comes and you do not answer.

The tribunal cannot tie any future tribunal about what should be in a statement but they can make critical comments and give a firm 'steer' about what they might have expected to see, or about time lost. They can also make factual findings so could for eg find that your DS school anxiety etc is real and not fabricated by you or at the very least deserves to be properly investigated by CAMHS.

It may take a few weeks to get tribunal decision so you will need to be prepared for the 'plan' to enforced in the weeks between the hearing and the decision.

And for the last time in 2012.....Wot Agnes said.

santaclaw1 Mon 31-Dec-12 23:59:15

Thanks guys, i will scribble it down and

Happy new year xx

Happy New year to you too Claw. Hope things start to get better. You will come out of this, blinking in the sunshine, and you'll get on with life as if it never happened eventually, and once you have slept.

There are probably more challenges ahead in the near future but those hurdles are put there because you are getting close.

Keep going, steady.

sazale Tue 01-Jan-13 00:45:35

Wishing you all the best claw x

AgnesDiPesto Tue 01-Jan-13 10:28:37

Happy New Year Claw, if anyone deserves a good one its you.

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 13:37:48

Claw, the best defence against 'failure to engage' is appropriate engagement. Fire off a few very brief emails summarising the main points, and asking for urgent meetings straight after tribunal. You have engaged, many of the professionals haven't. This needs to be paper-trailed.

Send the emails to: SW, SW's boss, ed psych, HT, CAMHS, EWO, statementing officer at LEA. Copy in your local councillor, the head of children's services, and (if you're feeling really narked) the chair of the multiprofessional child protection committee (local safeguarding children board).

Book a GP appointment to keep her updated, just beg the practice manager if you have trouble getting a slot. And school nurses are always worth keeping on board, you can get their office number off the old health visitor.

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 13:38:50

Having done that (and brief means 1 paragraph max) put your feet up and have a happy 2013 x

santaclaw1 Tue 01-Jan-13 15:23:08

Maria, i have fully 'engaged'. Sw has accused me of lots in her report, i think because she simply doesnt understand, but she is trying to make it look likes its me!

For example 'i am incapable of understanding professional advice'. I followed professional advice, i have everything in writing, its her who cannot understand the advice or how it works!

She is referring to my GP signing ds off from school. My GP signed ds off from school until further CAMHS assessment and plan in place, as he was an emotional wreck. My GP left the date blank as we didnt know exactly how long this would take, but we anticipated a few weeks.

I told her exactly this in writing and gave her a copy of medical certificate. My GP told her exactly this.

She has then written in her report that i am incapable of understanding professional advice!

She then arranged a meeting and put a plan for returning ds to school in place, despite him having a medical certificate stating he was not fit to attend.

Her plan didnt work, as ds was an emotional wreck and not sleeping of a night, which is why my GP signed him off in the first place!

She then accuses me of 'not engaging' with the plan.

and so on and on

wasuup3000 Tue 01-Jan-13 15:45:59

I had the same kind of thing with my daughter a few years ago - a vindictive head teacher who had some problems of his own and an equally awful SW. What changed it was an excellent Ed Psych who backed me up fully and the fact that some people in the LA knew that the said head teacher was an absolute nutter with control issues.

They try and blame it on the parents/mother aka having somekind of obsession with enjoying the attention from professionals and enjoying disagreeing with them and enjoying their child having SEN/difficulties.
You are damned if you do try and get the right education for your child and your child is damned if you don't.

Have you got a voice recorder or a dictaphone for anything verbal? Also keep everything in writing. Could you ask for a change of SW?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:20:23

claw I really hope that all goes well for you and DS at tribunal. atm you have to focus on tribunal. This means presenting the 'right' image - which means dispassionate, putting your emotions to one side and discussing the 'case' 'rationally'.

This other issue is not going to go away - regardless of the outcome of tribunal. I don't mean to be critical but your posts demonstrate a desire to tell your account of the facts as you see them over and over again. There is a practical danger in doing this as the account is unwittenly edited through repetition. Your 'not engaging' does not mean not communicating but relates to an idea of separate spinning cogs that fail to 'engage'. Every time you repeat your pov it reinforces the view that you are not able to see things from the pov of the professionals. There is also the possibility that you may be misinterpreting why things are happening as they are - it may be the case that the CIN was called to conform with statutory obigations following core assessment and not because you reported the SW to her manager.

Professionals will also interpret failure to engage (in terns of refusal of help/support) as indication that you do not have DS's best interests at heart. For example, at an ealier stage much was made of the need for CAMHS to complete assessment prior to any attempt at reintegration but when CAMHS did complete assessment and make recommendations they were discounted. This raises the question of whose advice you trust and will follow.

The other side can prove their appropriate engagement - how they have conformed to statutory advice and guidelines and have a paper-trail going back many months.

Please do not have false hope in the ability of tribunal to fix everything.

Sorry to be the voice of doom and gloom - again.

To be fair, if most of us agreed with and then followed professional advice there would be no tribunal system. If professional advice always led to our children's needs being met, there woukd be no parental wins at SENDIST.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 01-Jan-13 18:24:25

Keepon - my advice would be just as gloomy. If two years of fighting things has taught me anything it is the paucity of commitment on the part of those who are employed to know/do better, to even do their job.

We have just had a request for a case management directions hearing refused despite the fact that the LA hasn't even set out its case in relation to one of the two small, but very specific, issues we are going to Tribunal on. The Order which came back was mumbo jumbo and our solicitor had done a very thorough job in her application.

When we had signed contract for new address and submitted, but still lived at old, (but submitted end of contract there document) new LA requested a Telephone conference to 'establish where we are living because they were confused'.

My solicitor booked barrister and herself for this. I wrote directly to tribunal and told them not to be silly and if new LA were confused about anything they could call me as my number had been supplied with documents. Tribunal then agreed and inwas spared £2.5k. hmm

santaclaw1 Tue 01-Jan-13 19:40:03

Keep, maybe that is how i do come across on here, maybe a bad habit of not being believed in RL for years and a desire to be believed or me trying to make sense myself of the conflicting advice i have been given, i dont know. I will take that onboard smile

I havent given my POV in real life or to professionals. It has just been a case of me following the advice that is given.

I might have a moan about professionals on here, however i would never do that in a meeting etc. I dont turn up for meetings and say i dont agree with that, its more a case of 'ok, il give it a try' kinda thing.

Regardless of why the CIN was called, i have taken on board there is nothing i can do about it and i have to work with it. That is what i have been doing.

However on here, i am saying it just appeared to me to be the case. SW had previously put in writing that she would be involved for 2 weeks, then close the case.

Her '2 week plan' before she closed the case, was for ds to return to school for one hour. It didnt work, because ds wasnt able to sleep of a night (i have now got Melatonin from CAMHS to try and remedy this, but i had to wait for this appointment)

She insisted during this time i attempt the plan regardless of ds not being able to sleep until early hours of the morning. I did attempt to wake him to get him to school and he went berserk.

She then turned up at my house and attempted to get ds to agree to return to school herself, it went wrong and i made a complaint about her.

I was then called to her office 2 days later, I was handed a core assessment and where i was told verbally by her that it was being raised to CIN because i did not get ds to school during those 2 weeks. If i did get ds to school, she would have closed the case.

Sorry if that is repeating again, but i am feeling misunderstood!

CAMHS have stated the plan needs to be flexible at the meeting SW attended too, step one is me completing school work at home, talking about school etc, etc.

SW then waited for CAMHS to leave the meeting and told me the core assessment was not finalised (i had told her the chronology was all wrong, with all wrong dates etc and asked for some time to get back to her) in the core assessment it states there is a time limit for ds to be returned to school and if he isnt then CP proceedings.

I expressed my concerns to CAMHS and asked what the time limit was etc, they had no idea what i was talking about and said we had agreed a flexible plan, with tiny steps.

I also told them, i felt like i was on my own again and was hoping for a comprehensive written plan from them, which everyone was agreed on.

The emphasis is again being placed on me to decide on a daily basis, if ds can attend school and if i make the wrong decision, then CP proceedings.

So now neither SW or CAMHS have produced a plan and all i have to go on was what was said at that meeting, which was conflicting!

CAMHS flexible gradual, tiny steps. SW start date of 7th Jan and time limit.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 01-Jan-13 19:53:30

Star, it would be ridiculous to have a directions hearing on something so small and resolvable as where you live. I think what not responding to the appeal itself is, however, different so I have no idea why that has been rejected as it would clearly save everyone time and money.

So, I'm sorry but I have no faith in these bodies at all and I would certainty not hold my breath for them to resolve my child's fate or mental health. I think it is different if you need a specific type of provision like ABA or a specialist school. But even then, you need overwhelming evidence to support your case and these bastards will use anything and everything against you.

Presumably your solicitor will be dealing with the bundle anyway.

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 20:01:48

Claw, I know you have not only engaged, but that you have bent over backwards to try to work with staff whose attitudes, actions and behaviour were totally unprofessional. Outside of this board (and including at tribunal) a social worker will usually be believed above a parent. It's worth a bit of work now to demonstrate your commitment to engagement is far greater than school /LEA/ SW have stated.

A bunch of emails setting out why DS came out of school, and asking for meetings a few days after tribunal is your insurance policy against the LEA requesting extra time / new witnesses / additional reports based on non-existent social care concerns.

You can do this extremely clearly and succinctly (think short comment followed by politician soundbite, or advert ending with slogan) shows that, on this point, the SW was mistaken, or misled by school giving poor information.

The school claiming your ds's issues are exacerbated by your 'failure to engage' has rubbed off on the SW, despite it being untrue. The problem with this is that, if tribunal does order SA, the social work 'advice' (and if you get the statement, thus parts 2, 3 and maybe 4) will be totally polluted by the same rubbish.

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 20:23:02

I spent 20 years working in/ with various branches of health, social care and education before having a dc with SEN. Incompetent colleagues, saving face, professional in-fighting, poor systems, lack of training, overwork, essential paperwork getting lost... all very familiar ad something that drives you insane but can usually be got around.

Staff sometimes get badly harassed, though the unions usually step in. But persecuting a client is something I had never encountered till entering the SEN parent world, and it was a real shock. If someone back then had told me that they were threatened with CP for trying to help their child, I'd have assumed either 'no smoke without fire' or a dreadful misunderstanding.

mariammama Tue 01-Jan-13 20:37:52

The reason for that essay, is because the non-evil staff dealing with your DS will mostly be as naive as I was, and that's why I keep harping on about you demonstrating that the school's allegations are wrong. Otherwise SW, CAMHS, EWO, maybe even GP could be taken in. The allegations may stem from lazy, incompetent, groupthink, or there may be a power-crazed psychopath like the poster above's HT mistaken individual who is over-skilled at convincing others of their views.

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