Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Why are schools not held just as responsible as the LEA for the failures

(112 Posts)
hoxtonbabe Thu 01-Aug-13 15:57:59

I have been reading through a few threads and the common none these last few months ( or in my case few years) is the issue with the school not implementing.

I understand that LA are ultimately responsible but given that schools also have a duty of care how is it so many of them can get away with what they do.

I suppose it depends on the issue so if a child needed say OT in school and LA didn't provide then I get that is the LA at fault but what happens if say the school have said they can offer xxx learning programme within school and their resources and then don't? That to me would be the school being at fault.

I think a lot of what we face as parents AFTER the ordeal of tribunal is then getting the school to comply and because they know they will never face any action like an LA does they just do whatever they feel like.

It's like a never ending vicious cycle of crap within the SEN system

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 17:24:05

Anyone got any ideas how to police the provision? Should I insist on a detailed timetable with everything timetabled and specified? A weekly email from them confirming all provision was met?

I know I'm going to have to keep a paper trail on all of this!

'And LAs do have SEN budgets. Yes they are not big enough but that is not the children's fault.'

Why are they not big enough?

IMO this is pretty obvious. The huge pretence that needs are being met when they aren't. The collusion of those in power to fight for our children, doing the best they can with what they have and covering their own and their colleagues arses until the resources diminish further causing them to become further entrenched in cover-up actions, not to mention token gestures whilst stressed to the core and getting aggressive with parents who object.

But I have no pity for them. Because they are grown adults failing vulnerable children.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 21:35:29

A good start are the IEPs.., depending on what the provision is and how it is worded in the statement.

Things like " opportunities to access to a computer" would be tricky as the school could say we did it on xxx day and never again, and their defence could be "well be allowed an opportunity, it didn't specify how often etc.." That is tricky to police, but something like " a qualified SLT to deliver weekly 1:1 therapy" is easier to police as you could ( although if they do this is another matter) ask the therapist to send you copies of her notes on a monthly basis...this shouldn't be too hard as she has to keep notes as a basic minimum so just a case of paying for the copies.

You can ask for timetables, etc...but them actually sticking to it or actually physically doing it is the main problem, as schools will say yes we have done it, write IEPs etc only to have not done it and just want to cover themselves.

There is not real certain way that you can guarantee though that the people involved are not going in having a cuppa and then just randomly writing notes, the only way you can fully ensure they are doing what they are supposed to do is by sitting on top of them (senco and professions involved) and I doubt that will go down too well..lol

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 21:51:37

Ah - emailing the therapists direct is an excellent idea! Thank you.

The provision is very very specific and also the job title of the person providing the provision is explicit.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 21:53:59

You tell em starlight!!

I have no issues or feelings of guilt whatsoever dragging therapist upon therapist upon EP to the HPC...( although they will wonder if I'm just bored or crazy if I submit another one, which I HOPE to not have to do)

I will never be able to get back all the wasted time, money and lost provision, but just like I have had to fight, and sweat to get my DS the most minimal of provision implemented, you too will fight and sweat for your reputation/job...the job you are lucky to have because you didn't have any additional needs or a school/LA blocking YOU from succeeding and having the opportunity to attend Uni, earning £40k + a year all the things my DS will not be able to access because you chose to sit back and fail a vunerable child.

I don't care how bad resources are, no one should play roulette with someone life like that.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 22:03:44

Towie: I think if you can maintain a good relationship with all the people involved then that helps...my lot hate me with a passion so it has now gone beyond the stage of my DS needs they are now simply gunning for me via my DS.

My sister had issues with the SENCO at her DS school but got on quite well with SLT, she was one of the goid(ish) ones that wete honest and actually helped with gettibg his statement, however no sooner did she start being honest she got shipped off elsewhere...it's so sad.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 22:18:23

Oh I can assure you they hate me with a passion! Two senior school people were witnesses for the prosecution LA at the Tribunal. They failed to realise that the entire point was not that I was against their school or them personally, but that their school couldn't provide my son's needs. So when we do get to the point were they totally realise that they can't provide, I will have no sympathy for them whatsoever. And, sadly, I won't care for the other children in that school when those two people realise that all their resources will be going on my DS and no other child. And when they say, sorry we didn't realise how severe he was, I shall say -why not, you said to a judge that you had read ALL the reports, so WHY didn't you realise?

LuvMyBoyz Fri 02-Aug-13 22:25:22

I agree that implementing a very specific statement is nigh on impossible for a ms school while also being discrete AND ensuring the NC is made accessible to the child. I have to accept Statemented pupils from another Authority (on our border) with conditions with which my school just CANNOT comply e g certain movement programmes not run by my Authority or inclusion in 'small groups' which I am unable to set up. So far ( as SENCO ) I have worked with parents so they agree with the provision we do manage to put in place but if I came across a parent who wanted the stated provision no matter how it went against what we do in school....well, I hope it never comes to that. And I am devoted to giving young people ( and their parents/ carers ) with SEN all the help they deserve. It's really hard!

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 22:30:16

Tbh LuvMyBoyz, I do sympathise with your position, however not when people have stood up in a court of law and said "yes, we can provide x, y and z". So I will insist on the stated provision - no matter what. They have told a judge in the British justice system something so they will have to live with the consequences of their actions. Yes, I may sound tough and harsh - but you haven't heard the half of what has happened in my DS's case.

hoxtonbabe Fri 02-Aug-13 23:29:33

Towie: I'm not familiar with your issue but I am getting bits here and there but I assume that the LA have named a school and you do not want it, the twits from the school have said they can meet needs so judge said off you go to LA named school?

Luvmyboys: if you knew your school could not meet the needs of the statement, then it should be a case of you saying we can't realistically meet this need/provision. If parent then says well fine out child can do without then all is good ( maybe not for the child but parental rights and all) but if they insist then it should be a case of going to the LA saying no can do as that would be in the best interest of the child.

If the LA then start their crap then that's a separate issue but at least as the SENCO you can with good conscience say " I did my bit and tried and was honest and open" I'm yet to come across a SENCO like this but I'm sure there are some out there???

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 23:40:14

Hoxtin - nearly right but we still don't have a decision from the Tribunal. I am pre-empting the decision and getting my head around how it's going work at the LA school

Yes. It is one thing to do your best to meet the requirements of a statement that came to you. Quite another to promise to deliver provision you have no hope of delivering for the purpose of convincing a judge not to award the parental preference.

Though I do agree that a school should make it clear to the parents that they are unable to meet any requirements of the statement if that is the case.

The problem I have had is where the Senco failed to tell me that the OT was no longer happening. I even asked to speak to the OT at one point and the SENCO agreed to pass on the message the next day at the scheduled session despite the fact that the OT had left half a term ago and was unreplaced. The OT had discharged ds before she left (though written in statement and not reviewed, and the SENCO failed to ever mention it hmm.

And for the most part, this was a good SENCO.

TOWIELA Fri 02-Aug-13 23:58:57

Yes, Star, that is precisely my point. They said they could meet need - not me. They said they could meet the very specific provision - not me. They said they'd read all the reports (when they hadn't until the evidence bundle ended up on their desk days before the Tribunal) They now personally have a duty of care to my DS to provide the statement exactly as its written.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 03-Aug-13 00:05:26

Hoxton "it can be done under public/Administrative law rather than just Education , although when I tried this route (inc IM) I kept getting fobbed off to go to one of the Education solicitors". Most will do both - education and public law.

I think the problem with schools and statements is that they often bury their head in the sands when they can't do things and then use the argument 'well I don't think the child really needed OT anyway' when they can't deliver rather than having an open conversation about whether specific packages can be delivered within a mainstream context or taking advice on how they can be delivered discretely.

So they want to stick to timetables that kids aren't bothered about and then complain there is not time to do stuff. I went through DS' timetable to highlight areas of flexibility to do specific work discretely e.g. assembly which he detests, and that went down like a lead balloon.

hoxtonbabe Sat 03-Aug-13 07:48:04

Well fingers crossed it does well towie! I would never wish on my enemy to have to send your child to a school that has lied and cheated to keep your child as the realationship becomes impossible.

Bury their heads in sand I agree... and some are just too lazy and incompetent to care and it is at that point I think the school rather than the LA that should be held responsible. The LEA can give then all the tools but the school are the ones that ultimately know if those tools can be used/work in their setting and if they can't and like we've either heard or experienced you are faced with an issue of certain professionals not working with the child any longer and the school saying "well they didn't need it any more" or the SENCO illegally removing provision then that school should be held accountable for not being
upfront about the situation.

I am no LA fan but I do think there is too much responsibility on LA, I bet it the Law changed it that schools would be held equally as responsible as LA with financial penslties and it also effecting their coveted ofsted grading, all of a sudden it will be an every man for themselves situation, schools will think twice before going before a judge and telling porkies about what they can do and being led by the LA rather than what is best for the child.

I don't think there is too much responsibility on the LA. Their role is a monitoring one, not necessarily a delivery one, and that imo is right.

THEY should hold schools to account and schools must be accountable to them.

Instead, they collude with schools to come up with 'stories' that justify the denial of a child's needs and the provision to meet those needs.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 08:40:38

DH has an aunt and uncle who were/are in the teaching profession. The aunt had just retired as head of one of the towns secondary schools told me that, as head, she was asked whether the school could meet needs on various occasions. Unless there would be substantial structural modifications at great cost, the answer was always 'yes'. To say 'no' was suicidal as the school was also trying to convince the LA that they were highly capable.

No school wants to say that they are unable to meet the needs of any child the LA wants to place in the m/s as this is an admission of failure.

ime the LA named school said yes to the LA (hence having to go to tribunal) but told both parents and our EP that there were 'concerns', that they would need more hours 1:1 than proposed, that it was too big, too complex, that they didn't know when they could deliver the therapy in the statement but that they would sort something out in the event that we lost. The senco told me that he thought the school was wrong for DS1 but told the LA they could meet need and would have been a witness for the LA had they not conceded at hearing.

But there is also the cultural context of the teaching profession.

Their role has deteriorated so much in the eyes of the government, the media, even parents and children that for their own self-esteem they have to stick rigidly to the idea that they are misunderstood and that no mere parent could have a clue about education.

They (and I am aware this is a wild generalisation and doesn't apply individually) also see huge disparity between children and the resources available from home and take it upon themselves to even the playing field. Therefore they are hugely irritated if some children with what they consider lesser affecting disabilities secure provision that they feel another child in their class requires more urgently and do what they can to enable the other child to benefit under the justification that that is fair. If the parents have been rather annoying in securing that provision they can even tell themselves that the child doesn't 'really' need it anyway, especially given their severe lack of SEN training which they are unable to admit to, lest they have to give way to the idea that the parents might know more than them about educating their particular child.

I guess what I am saying is that it is complex.

And the LA, and certain contracted solicitors, play heavily on this idea, telling teachers and LAs that parents can't possibly appreciate them or be able to make reasonable demands as they just don't have the pedagogical training that they do. They are pandered too and their 'story' is affirmed.

TOWIELA Sat 03-Aug-13 08:58:37

The naming of this school was of total and utter surprise to us. It is a school over 20 miles away - a journey which in rush hour on a busy motorway into London can take up to an hour. We have had no previous connection to this school whatsoever and know no child at this school. Apparently 2 other children from our town go there - but as the population of my town is about 15k, I have no chance of knowing who they are - and even if they are the same age as my son. Having educated 2 other (now grownup) children in my town, i am very aware of the schools here (of which, there are many). The LA's solicitor, in her summing up during the hearing, said that if DS went to this school, then the journey would be 10 mins and he'd stay in the local community and have friends from his own community. So she'd read the case notes properly then! As my DH said, a helicopter couldn't do the journey in 10 mins!

So our first dealing with this school was a meeting with one of these 2 senior people (the other was "busy"). In this meeting a lot of things became very clear (which I don't want to go into here) including the school can't meet need.

My next "dealings" with the school was the DPA material from the school which turned up an email about my son from her to the senior LA manager - it was signed "all my love [name]"

My next dealings was when she told my indie EP (on a school visit) that she had no idea why county had named her school because his primary need is dyslexia and her school has no experience of the severity and complexity of his needs

My next dealings with her was in the hearing.

So the relationship is a non-runner before he's even started there! Personally I feel that the LA should never have put them both up as witnesses because they knew that this would happen. But then when has my LA ever done anything in my son's best interests. To be fair, I personally think she is a person of great integrity and highly professional and she does care passionately about her pupils (and I said this in the hearing to the judge when i was giving my evidence) BUT the LA, in their plain nastiness and viciousness to me personally, have stitched her up too.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 03-Aug-13 09:00:18

ime the culture of minimisation is so strong a part of LA-speak that those in the teaching profession do so automatically and habitually by answering a different question than the one asked.

So, for example, my and DH's concerns that DS1 had been level 3 for maths at KS1 and remained so at KS2 were restated as 'it is 'normal' for DC to start secondary at L3. Statemented DC are usually below L3'. The issue of progress was not considered as the clock is reset at secondary and previous rates of progress at primary school were irrelevant. A relevant reply would be 'no, this is not normal, it is highly unusual, did you know 0% of DC have this rate of progress etc'.

This LA-speak came from relatives. They have actually been supportive, in their way, even 'baby-sitting' DS1 whilst DH and I were at the hearing.

Three quarters of my extended and close family are teachers.

Some of them have seen the light (the ones that are closest and seen in real life what has been going on), the others have hung onto their ideologies and denial that what I say can possibly be happening, or that if it is I am incredibly unlucky and probably made it happen by being too difficult.

bochead Sat 03-Aug-13 09:20:05

Individual schools do need to be held accountable for SN pupil progress in the same way that they are for ordinary children. Until Ofsted FAILS those schools who fail SN children as a matter of course nothing will change.

This year any and all advice by ASD outreach etc was simply ignored. ASD outreach could and should have put up a fuss about this.

The culture of professionals covering each others mistakes at every turn needs to be addressed so that the spotlight is shone upon individuals that fail to do their jobs in the same way it happens in almost every other industry I've ever encountered. In most workplaces the incompetent are weeded out fair rapidly. This doesn't seem to happen in this sector and I just don't understand why given the massive societal cost of failing these kids. The fewer children that reach adulthood requiring lifetime welfare & state social care, surely the better for ALL society?

I also continually astonished at how easily schools get away with the most awful lies time and time again. A brief search on this board shows that it is an endemic problem - that's shameful as what example are our kids being set ffs?

At the moment the buck is passed all too easily.

sazale Sat 03-Aug-13 09:37:14

My DD's special school have delivered none of her statement the whole school year she's been there. They say they are going to do things then either don't or try to pass off doing it a couple of times as doing it. We've requested amendments to parts 2,3 &4 at annual review (which we called early). The LA have made amendments to parts 2 & 3 but won't change part 4. They say it doesn't matter that we say school doing nothing as the school say they can meet her needs and are actually going above and beyond the statement. So we're now about to apply for tribunal.

Unofficially staff have told us not the right place for dd but of course when asked officially the same staff have lied about the conversations. They have also lied about many things to the extent that I have refused verbal communication with them.

My DD's anxiety is through the roof so I am refusing to send her back in September. This school is a generic special school where the majority of the pupils have learning disabilities. My daughter is above average a academically. She has a dx of HFA but has traits of many comorbids including PDA.

The school originally said no to dd but the LA over ruled them. We did t go to tribunal due to reassurances which of course turned out to be lies. Also recently discovered that DD was sent there with 10 hours extra funding and the school have now requested full time! There is no provision for. children like dd in our town so the LA are trying to use this school but they don't have a clue about Autism and to be quite frank don't want to have a clue. It's so frustrating.

There is no referral to extra funding in the statement

fightingforfairness Sat 03-Aug-13 09:42:03

Totally agree with all that has been said here.
The school have acted absolutely appallingly to my child and myself but at all stages the LA have told them what a marvellous job they are doing. The school then believes all of this and consider themselves to be a very inclusive school. They then fail to consider what's for the child or take on board the parent's views because they clearly know best. The LA and school should both be accountable for their actions but never will be. Any complaint is considered to be vexatious and therefore not responded to. That is their way of avoiding any difficult questions. And so the cycle continues .....

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