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Has anybody experienced this (statutory assessment)?

(44 Posts)
JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 11:12:02

Our son has ASD and starts school next September. We had made a request for SA which was turned down. When I inquired as to the reasons - we were told that the panel want us to re-submit in the new year as they want to see how DS responds to nursery.

Has anyone been asked to do this?

Put that in writing to them and clarify that those are the reasons.

Lack of evidence is not a good enough reason to refuse. Bear in mind that you have the right to appeal this decision and tbh I would get a move on with it if you think you have a chance of winning as things will change in Sept and I suspect that is the main reason LA's are trying delaying tactics.

Oh and also remind them that they must not hide behind their panels and that the responsibility of the decision lies with your ds' case worker.

TOWIELA Mon 14-Oct-13 12:02:48

the panel is more likely one single all powerful power crazy person who at the stroke of a pen can decide your DC's future.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 12:39:22

All of the panel agreed that DS needed a statement - but they want to give it to January to see whether he settle into nursery and have asked us to resubmit then.

DS is non verbal; non toilet trained; non sleeping. He was in the 0-11 months in the council report for all except motor skills. He has recently had a MTA and attended an engagement and interaction group. There was lots of evidence (psych report, SALT, paediatrician, portage, council early years team, IEP) and he's on EYFS action plus. He also received DLA HRC (I know this is not relevant to SEN but it gives an idea about where he is at).

Hang on a second.

How did you get the information that all of the panel agreed that he needed a statement?

I think you're being taken on a merry ride tbh.

armani Mon 14-Oct-13 12:57:15

if I were you I would be appealing that decision at tribunal. sounds like you have enough evidence to warrant SA. I bet as soon as you file for tribunal the LEA back down, they sound as though they are trying to fob you off.

The only criteria that can be applied to carrying out a statutory assessment is the probable need for a statement.

Your child meets this criteria. To not issue a child with a statement who needs one is illegal.

I would write to them immediately clarifying their position, their comments that all on the panel agree he needs a statement, that there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that, that the 6 weeks they have to do their assessments will take you until January anyway and that you expect them to therefore to get a bloody move on.

Download the appeal forms and begin filling them in regardless. It helps you formulate your arguments and means you can send them off immediately if your response is negative, which you must. Currently you have time to appeal twice (for the statement and then for contents) before the legislation changes and confuses everyone, but if you leave it until January you will not.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 13:19:39

I spoke to the area SEN co-ordinator for the council who went and asked for clarification from the Inclusion Team - they all agree DS has needs which require a statement but they need more evidence. So the SENCo has sent forms to DS's nursery and is arranging for the LA EP to come and visit.

nennypops Mon 14-Oct-13 13:46:37

I don't follow this. They want more evidence, and they're getting the EP to come in? Surely they can do that as part of the process of statutory assessment? Get that appeal in today!

chocnomore Mon 14-Oct-13 13:46:53

OP, seems you already have loads of evidence.

the "we need more evidence" is nothing but a delaying tactic.

I would not waste more time in collecting more evidence but appeal.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 13:54:17

I've just spoken to IPSEA and they say that asking us to resubmit in ten weeks time is suspect as that takes us out of our time-scale to appeal.

chocnomore Mon 14-Oct-13 14:01:19

IIRC, you only have 8 weeks to submit your appeal.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 14:08:03

Yes, it is eight weeks. I'm going to chase up the statement of reasons today and then get the appeal in ASAP.

Thanks for all of your help.

Yes. Get as much as you can about what they are saying and their reasons in writing. Where you haven't got it from them, send their quotes to them from you for 'clarification' that you understood correctly.

This will help you if at any point you do need to appeal or present the situation in front of a judge.

And whilst this might make you anxious and cross, know that it isn't personal. Why do you think so many of us here know the law?

Good luck.

babiki Mon 14-Oct-13 14:26:22

Aren't you in Essex? They did exactly the same thing last year to us! Don't believe it...

The same arguments: ds can change too much in the meantime before he goes to school and they need more evidence and are sending out EP...It's all time delaying tactics.

JJXM Mon 14-Oct-13 14:49:04

No, we left Essex two years ago thank god-

I know it isn't personal - but it feels like it - a positive education experience would have an amazing impact on my son's future.

I agree that some children can make progress but I don't think my mute son is going to develop speaking skills in the next ten weeks.

Spoke to DS's case work and she was really quite rude especially when I asked for the statement of reasons. I don't care that the decision maker is not in today - they have to let me know within six weeks.

wetaugust Mon 14-Oct-13 19:41:25

You are being lied to by your LA.

The Case Officer (not this 'so-called' Panel) is the person who has the responsibility of deciding whether an assessmnet that may lead to a Statement is carried out or not. This probably the 'decision-maker' who you tried to contact today.

You need to understand that the LA will be underhand, will lie, will mislead and will obfuscate - it will do things you wouldn't imagine a oublic body capable of. All designed to save themselves money by denying your child an assessment that may lead to the expense of a Statement.

You should keep a detailed diary of who you spoke to, about what, when and where.

You also need to be very aware of the deadlines for appealing etc. All correspondence with the LA should be in writing - even if you initially phone them, always follow-up with a confirmatory letter.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 11:39:49

Ok, we have the statement of reasons from the LEA and there is only 1:

Local Authority's Panel were of the view that the request had been submitted too early and advised that the request should be re-submitted in January 2014. This will then enable the assessments to take place in time for DS to start School in September 2014, and will indicate what his up to date needs are and where the appropriate placement would be, to meet his needs.

They quote SEN Code of practice 7.35-7.45.

Has anybody experienced this situation?

wetaugust Thu 17-Oct-13 11:42:28

View of so-called 'Panel' is totally irrelevant as it's the Case ~Officer (not this 'Panel') who has legal duty to decide whether or not to Statement.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 11:44:14

Yes, the Case Officer has decided to refuse statutory assessment - but has anyone else been told that it is too early to submit?

Yes. I have heard it before and I was told to expect that outcome myself.

They are trying it on. With the amount of evidence you have no tribunal panel coukd ever agree that waiting was in the best interests of the child.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 12:06:58

We are aware that they are trying it on - I'm really trying to find out if it is a common practice.

babiki Thu 17-Oct-13 12:09:25

Yes, they use it quite often. It's bullshit.

TOWIELA Thu 17-Oct-13 12:15:18

LAs will try any method they can find to not SA. It feels very personal when it happens to you and your DC but it is the LAs not fulfiling their statutory duties.

This is rubbish The request should be re-submitted in January 2014. This will then enable the assessments to take place in time for DS to start School in September 2014

If you have to appeal anything then this is cutting it very fine for a September 2014 start. As they are saying that you should resubmit in January, then your timeline/clock starts ticking from the very beginning. So, when you resubmit in January 2014, the LA has another 6 weeks in which to make a decision whether to assess or not.

IF (and it's a big IF) they decide to assess, they have to

- Undertake and complete the SA within 10 weeks
- Within 2 weeks notify the parent if they are going to issue a Statement or a Notice in Lieu. If they are going to issue a Statement, then they have to send the Proposed Statement
- Within 8 weeks of the Proposed Statement, they have to Finalise it.

So, for argument's sake, lets say you send in your new request on Wednesday 1st January.

- 12 February - deadline for LA to decide if they are going to assess.
- 23 April - SA finishes
- 7 May - Proposed Statement issued
- 2 July - Final Statement issued.

If you then appeal it, the Tribunal won't be until late 2014/early 2015, and of course no provision will be in place whilst you appeal - and that's if you're even allowed to appeal it because during your appeal process you will be under the new Children's and Families Act.

Of course, if in January 2014, they again turn down your request, then you'll be back on the old SEN Merry Go Round ago and start all over again.

I requested SA in January 2012. My son finally had his Statement in place in September 2013. Nearly 2 years.

Appeal their refusal to assess.

2boysnamedR Thu 17-Oct-13 12:56:26

Yes appeal - they have to call in a EP for sa so their reason seem nonsense to me

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 13:11:27

I've spoken to the LA and they say the reason for delay is they have no evidence of DS in his pre-school setting - because the nursery did not send back the paperwork. Nursery say no letter was sent. Somebody is lying.

wetaugust Thu 17-Oct-13 13:17:18

Even more reason to appeal then.

Also, being pedantic, if they are inviting you to reapply then they must at least suspect he has SENs and if so they should assess.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 13:22:18

They have said he needs a statement as his needs are so complex. But they won't request SA because they have no evidence of how he copes in an education setting.

TOWIELA Thu 17-Oct-13 13:34:41

This is from the Government's own website (bold is my addition) "A statutory assessment is only necessary if the school or early education setting cannot provide all the help that your child needs."

The test is if the child probably has Special Educational Needs. The test isn't that they need evidence first.

Ignore their quoting of the SEN Code of Practice. In one of my appeals, the LA's lawyer reeled off a whole barrage of them conforming to clauses in the SEN Code, but conveniently left out all the clauses that they had actually directly and illegally ignored.

Appeal their refusal to assess. You will have long enough during the appeal timelines to collect your own evidence.

Yes it is common.

Their reasons for delay are not legal reasons.

There is plenty of time before the end of the assessment to gather any additional evidence. Many many children get statements before starting school. Mine did without half the list of professionals involved your did.

The 'educational setting' is anywhere your child receives the majority of the birth-five education, even if that is your home.

They have already said he will need a statement. If you get that in writing you have already won any appeal.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 15:44:59

We had someone from the council come and do an assessment at home - two years behind on everything. They have decided to disregard this evidence as only evidence from nursery will do.

DS is severely affected and he can't get a SA - this makes me dread how it is going to affect other children who still need a statement but are not as severely affected. I'm not going to give up - not just for DS but for every child.

JJXM Thu 17-Oct-13 16:57:27

To those who have gone to tribunal - how much did you write under the grounds for appeal under section 6 of the SENDIST form?

If you can get that in writing (evidence that THEY believe a statement is needed) then that really should be all you need for a successful appeal.

You might want to list the reports you have including the one you mention is key, but I think it is highly unlikely they won't back down pretty quickly. I cannot imagine for a minute your case actually going to tribunal.

Use the code of practice and write key phrases under the relevant sections.

Words like 'complex needs' and a requirement for an 'adequate' and 'appropriate' education are excellent words to litter it throughout, but honestly, I think your case is so strong that you don't need to go to town.

TOWIELA Mon 21-Oct-13 10:38:11

I was just browsing IPSEA's website, and found this useful PDF about pre-school assessments. It's a PDF so will download if you click the link below

The Local Authority say they won't assess our child until he starts school

JJXM Mon 21-Oct-13 17:50:19

Thanks TOWIELA - that is one of the core components of our argument.

And thanks to everyone else too - appeal went in the post today smile

JJXM Wed 23-Oct-13 13:41:12

We received a letter from the head of children's services and it states this:

I confirm that we are aware of DS's diagnosis and acknowledge that DS will require additional support in his educational setting.

They then go on to say they want to wait til he is older. I thought that they have to assess if they think he will probably need a statement?

JJXM Thu 24-Oct-13 08:35:42


TOWIELA Thu 24-Oct-13 08:46:36

It's just LAs' standard way of illegally weeding out requests for SA. Include the LAs letter with your appeal.

JJXM Tue 12-Nov-13 15:02:43

We've just had our FOI request back about statutory assessment in our are. It seems that only 1 out of every 4 parental requests for statutory assessment are granted compared to over 80% for school requests. It seems my LEA are routinely turning down requests from parents.

sazale Tue 12-Nov-13 16:39:57

This is the response I got from my LA for DS6

“It was felt that the school, with advice from support services, needs a sustained period of time where interventions can be continued, assessed and evaluated. Consequently, members of the Panel noted that the expected graduated process leading to the collection of appropriate evidence was not yet complete.

HoleySocksBatman Tue 12-Nov-13 17:37:04

in our LA, they are actively and deliberately refusing parental requests because they havent got enough resources right now after having a backlog of over 300 unfinished and out of timeframe statements at the end of the year in July...

HoleySocksBatman Tue 12-Nov-13 17:37:57

And yes we were refused for the same reason. I requested while DD2 was still 2 and they refused. I just waited the required time and requested again rather than appeal, and it was granted once she was in nursery.

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