Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here. If you've come across an organisation that you've found helpful, please tell us. Go to Special needs chat, Parents with disabilities, SN teens, SN legal, SN education, SN recommendations.

Not sure if we are doing the right thing regarding DS's education. Advice needed.

(18 Posts)
charlieboy6 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:30:58

We are taking local LA to tribunal, because they have refused to assess DS for a statement.
DS is 8 and in year 4. He is working at level P7 in most areas.
His needs in my opinion are complex. LA haven't disagreed with this but they will not agree either.
Senco keep saying DS will not get a statement, and we will lose the tribunal.
Spoke to EP yesterday. She has redone some assessments which were done 2 years ago. She said most results were the same and very little improvement in some areas.
DS scored 1 out of 19 in the working memory. Which was the same has 2 years ago.
So want I need advice on is do I keep going with the tribunal? Or give up on the whole statement thing?
TIA

Boostie Sat 30-Nov-13 15:55:48

Hi Charlieboy

Just a quick one as I'm on my way out.

You have nothing to lose carrying on but I know it's hard. Just remember the LA won't want to go through with it either. Statistically the tribunal is more likely to rule in your favour on refusals to assess if there is any doubt. Is the school appearing for you? against you? This is important as if they are saying that needs are being met it is a harder argument unless you have evidence otherwise.
Bottom line - is he making progress? P7 sounds low but if this is line with ability and he accessing the curriculum according to his needs, what is a statutory assessment going to bring?

Good luck.

beautifulgirls Sat 30-Nov-13 17:49:08

No, you fight this all the way and ignore the nay sayers who try and put you off. He clearly needs more than the school are able to provide him with at present in the way of support and you have this evidence very clearly. If we had listened to the various people who told us DD wouldn't get a statement we wouldn't be where we are now - it was a fight and took 2 years to get exactly what we needed for her, but after 3 lots of tribunal paperwork (of which one went to a hearing as LA backed down over the other two) we now have a full statement with DD at an indi SS and she is finally thriving and making progress both academically and in life in general. Inbox me if you need help.

charlieboy6 Sat 30-Nov-13 20:06:06

Thank you both for your replies.
School are saying, that they give DS all the support that he needs.
LA have refused to assess 2 times. Both times they have made recommendations, which the school have followed.
But DS has made very little progress, over 2 years, even with the recommendations in place.
One of the recommendations, was for DS to attend a intensive learning unit 2 times a week. But the Senco admitted that she didn't know if it would help DS. Nobody really seem to know what DS needs to progress with his education.
Like I said above DS is working at P levels. But for his age he should be working towards 3b.
DS did class assembly this week. He had one sentence to say,which he really struggled with. The rest of the class read a page of writing out.
This really brought it home to me how much DS struggles. sad

ouryve Sat 30-Nov-13 20:53:50

If he's still on P levels, then surely he needs a pretty heavily differentiated curriculum, compared with the rest of the class. Have the school said how they are managing to deliver it without the clout of a statement?

I'd say that you have nothing to lose by going to tribunal. As has been said, a very high percentage of refusal to assess cases result in the LA conceding. You have evidence, in numbers, from the EP that very little progress has been made in the past 2 years.

AgnesDiPesto Sun 01-Dec-13 10:56:02

My DS is in year 2 scoring 1a-1c and he has a statement, full-time support and needs an individualised curriculum as he can't do the same work as the other children because he has autism and severe language disorder. You should absolutely win with scores at P7 in year 4. Govt guidance says a child really needs to be at level NC3 to go to mainstream secondary. It is pretty unlikely your child is going to go from p7 to NC3 in 2 years in his current placement. He is going to need specialist education. He needs it now.

Its not just about lack of progress - its about rate of progress compared to peers, whether gap is getting wider, whether progress is in line with intellectual ability (do they even know what his is?) and whether support needs to be above what a school can offer. Its also about non academic targets - social, emotional, life skills - look at SEN Code of Practice for egs

If he doesn't have full-time 1:1 then who is helping him do the work? What work is he actually being given to do? He must be getting completely separate work to the rest of the class so what support does he have to do it? I would ask to go and observe and see what he is actually doing. Senco saying they are doing all they can / you won't win is perfect excuse - you can say I'd like to come in and observe some lessons so I can reassure myself. But really you will just be there to collect evidence of what happens when he doesn't have support.

Look at IPSEA refusal to assess pack for ideas of how you need to present your case. Charities like contact a family, IPSEA, NAS can provide a caseworker to help you with the tribunal.

You say school don't know what to do. So they need more input or he needs to be somewhere else. Does school know what good progress for him looks like? Do they know how to teach in a way he learns? Is he capable of learning more?

DS went from p3/4 to 1c/b within weeks last year when we realised school were not teaching him properly and we (and private therapists) stepped in and did it instead. It turned out school were hugely underestimating his abilities. The teacher spent no time with him herself at all and didn't know him. Just left him to 1:1 to teach. There was no plan to fill his gaps or weaknesses he was just given the same work as everyone else and the 1:1 left to try and adjust it so he could do some of it. We've now made school provide an individualised curriculum. But we had to prove to the school they were underestimating him. I have to be on their back all the time making them do it. It was very convenient for school to decide nothing they did would make any difference as he couldn't learn anyway - it let them think it was ok to do nothing for him! If he had gone from p3 last year to p5 this year they would be telling me that was good progress for him whereas he's now working at 1a. So what did they know.

If you wanted your child to go to special school then I think you would have a good case. Its not just about now you need to think ahead. Year 7 is not that far away. Year 6 is going to be all about getting as many SATs passes at level 4 and 5 as possible. I doubt your child will even be able to be taught with the group at all that year. The child I know from last year in that situation was out the room with 1:1 most of the year.

I would suggest you go and talk to special schools or units etc and look at them and find out what level the children in their classes are working at and see whether he would fit into any of those. Finding the right people who do know how to teach him can be a huge relief even if its not initially what you wanted for him.

lottieandmia Sun 01-Dec-13 11:04:18

Stick to your guns. Don't listen to the SENCO - LEA staff members will of course try to put you off going to tribunal. I was told my daughter would not get a statement before the age of 5 and would not get ABA - I proved them wrong on both counts.

lottieandmia Sun 01-Dec-13 11:07:18

If a LEA staff member tried to tell me not to go to tribunal because we'd lose I would make a formal complaint about them - very unprofessional behaviour.

OP, you have the evidence which speaks for itself that shows your ds is making no progress. The LEA may be ignoring this but the tribunal won't.

charlieboy6 Sun 01-Dec-13 11:39:55

Thank you for all the replies.
They are very helpful.
I have a meeting arrived for Thursday,with the teacher from the ILU and SENCO. So i'm writing a list of questions to take.

armani Sun 01-Dec-13 15:00:16

my dd is in year 3 and is working at p7 level. despite being told by school and ep she would never get a statement we have just recieved it last week, it funds 20 hrs a week 1:1.

dont listen to the school or la, you are your sons only advocate here. if I were you I would go to gp and insist on referal to pead, who can them refer to salt and ot if needed, hence building evidence of need.

from what you have said about the ep assessment results not changing over 2 yrs, this seems like great evidence. do you have this in writing with scores etc?

do you qualify for any legal help? if so you can consult a solicitor, they cant represent you at a hearing but can advise you, which helps to relieve some of the pressure.

also how about phoning ipsea? they are great amd really know the law etc.

good luck!

nennypops Sun 01-Dec-13 16:38:08

If you can, get an independent educational psychologist's report. If you go to one that is familiar with tribunal work their report might well change the LA's mind. Phone SOS SEN for suggestions.

charlieboy6 Sun 01-Dec-13 17:02:31

The latest EP assessment was done has part of the LA's evidence for tribunal. I spoke to her on Friday and she said she's going into school Thursday,so is going to try and attend the meeting.
I will receive a copy of the report then.

Thank you again for all the advice.

AgnesDiPesto Sun 01-Dec-13 19:37:31

Be wary about meetings they can sometimes be used to put you off / fob you off / test out what you are going to say at tribunal / try and wear you down so you give up.
What is the purpose of the meeting?
If a child needs specialist education then they need it full-time, not part-time.
Why have they waited until now to offer this?
Don't feel under pressure to tell them what you plan to do etc. You can just listen and say you will think about it, then go right on with the tribunal. Unless you get a statement they can take it all away again the second you stop the tribunal and you will have to start all over again for secondary.
Even if they offer the 2 days at ILU that doesn't mean thats all he needs, just all they are prepared to pay for.
Tribunals do order extra provision to make up for lost time so aim high.

mommapiggy Sun 01-Dec-13 22:54:05

Shocked to read this. DD in yr 4 and now p8/1c area - but achieved only after transferring to a SS. You must absolutely fight for the statement as on those levels you should be clearly eligible for a specialist placement and not just having To fight to get the statement in the first place. Get specialist legal advice. Might also be worth a freedom of information act request to your LA on the outcomes of previous tribunals and the levels students were at to obtaine statements/specialist placements?? Stay strong and don't give up xx

nennypops Sun 01-Dec-13 23:39:50

OP, I'm suggesting going to an independent EP rather than relying on the LA EP. It might not be necessary if the LA EP is fully supportive but I'm afraid that's not too likely.

charlieboy6 Tue 10-Dec-13 18:42:10

Up-date after the meeting on Thursday, EP and LA ect had another meeting without me.
The LA decided to go back to panel today.
The panel have decided to assess DS. The tribunal is cancelled. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster.

chatee Tue 10-Dec-13 20:17:41

1. Who 'is ' the panel ?
2. Who has cancelled the tribunal?

Both these statements are like waving a red flag to me.....

The panel ...is normally your case worker and they use the words we have to take it to the panel as a delaying tactic and to make you feel like something is happening with an important meeting

Please remember the only person important in this is your child.

Do not cancel the tribunal until you actually have a statement of special educational needs document that is well written and specifies what support your child is going to receive

Please check out IPSEA or SOS SEN or CONTACT A FAMILY and arrange to talk to one of their independent advisers, please also be aware that Parent Partnership service is funded by your authority and in some cases share building where your case worker may be based.

charlieboy6 Tue 10-Dec-13 20:31:20

The statutory assessment 'panel' who decide if there is enough evidence to assess for a statement.
The tribunal was because DS had been refused an assessment.
If after the assessment its decided DS doesn't need a statement, I will have to appeal that and maybe go to tribunal.
But this tribunal case was because they had refused to assess.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now