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Tribunal application - hit upon something I need advice on.

(30 Posts)
ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 22:13:40

I'll try and tell as much of the story as possible, here, since not everyone reading will know it.

DS1 has had a statement for support in his current MS school since he was in reception. The current version of his statement dates from early in year 2. He's not in year 5.

At AR, in May, we'd had the support of a LA Ed Psych, who knew that we felt that he was struggling more than he should be in his current placement, who, despite their best will and efforts are unable to meet his needs. HT has a non-exclusion policy but there have been incidents every few months that he would be excluded for, elsewhere. He is not fully accessing the curriculum, even though he is academically very capable.

There are no other suitable options for him in this county, either for now or for secondary. EP was aware that we have been in contact with a specialist indy SS and LA are aware, though we have not made a formal representation to change part 4 of the statement.

In fact, in spite of the EP report, which was very prescriptive about his needs in terms that can neither be met in MS or by a joint placement, when i eventually managed to chase up a (late) response from the LA, the refused to amend the statement.

They gave no reasons, either over the phone or in writing, but told me they wanted to explore options for him, such as a joint placement with a local SS or a secondary place in an ASD unit in a MS school that hasn't even been established yet (SOSSEN has a few things to say about these kinds of empty promises, and that option does nothing to help him now)

My quandary is this: Do I concentrate on parts 2 and 3, based on the EP report (plus the private OT report I will soon have, which agrees with their EP about his needs), and make my appeal about part 4 based on the ways in which is current placement doesn't meet his needs and the type of placement he needs instead?

Or do I add in their suggestions over the phone, too and how they are unsuitable, too?

Or do I go the whole hog and act as if we got to the part of the SA/AR process where I get to officially name a school, inform the indy school we are officially going for it and name it in my tribunal application?

I have a feeling I'm going to need to phone IPSEA for advice on this one, to make sure I pitch it right, but there's no way I'm going to be able to do that until after half term. What I'm appealing is their "no amendment" decision, so I'm suspecting that I need to stick to the first one.

ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 22:14:42

now in year 5!

TOWIELA Tue 22-Oct-13 10:47:12

I haven't been through a review (yet!) So can't help. So are bumping for you.

ouryve Tue 22-Oct-13 13:29:58

Thanks!

Ixashe Wed 30-Oct-13 10:48:25

I know this is about a week old and hope you've managed to get something sorted by now, but when I questioned the statement I concentrated on parts 2 and 3 in my appeal. I made sure I stated that I wanted it to be leads led for the child and listed exactly what changes I wanted made to part 2 so that if fully described the child and their needs, and then listed what changes I wanted made to part 3 to make sure all the needs identified in part 2 had a specific action point in part 3 with specific provision. It was only after that I mentioned part 4, where I simply stated that my belief was that the only place which could meet the identified needs was the independent out-of-borough place I wanted them to go to. You then put the ball in their court to either disagree with the needs of the child which you have your independent reports for, or to suggest other placements which could meet their needs and the nyou can argue as to why you think they couldn't.

ouryve Wed 30-Oct-13 11:35:12

Thanks, Ixashe. Had a hectic week last week with various visitors and it's half term, this week, so I'm on crowd control (they might both have 1:1 at school, but they don't at home!) so I've not had a chance to make a start.

LA have been making noises about their own suggestions for placements. One for the remainder of primary, which is completely unsuitable (joint placement bet his current MS which isn't able to meet his needs and a SS which they have admitted can't meet his needs - and option which would be worse than the sum of its two parts, since he really struggles with transitions and needs consistency) and a secondary ASD unit in a MS school - which doesn't even exist, yet, so how.

So I'll definitely go with my first hunch - 2 and 3, as you said, since they're the basis for whatever end up in part 4. Then for part 4, highlight how his current placement isn't meeting his needs, based on the evidence I have, but in a way which makes clear what the best alternative would be.

It's a bloody minefield.confused

OneInEight Wed 30-Oct-13 15:20:59

According to IPSEA you have to argue that the options the LEA proposes for your child are unsuitable rather than that the independent is better as the LEA have a legal obligation to provide a suitable education rather than an optimum education. This is what I have tried to do in my request for secondary schools although am not optimistic they will give in without a fight.

ouryve Wed 30-Oct-13 16:09:11

I have nothing in writing from the LA about their suggestions, but they haven't refuted the letter I sent them to confirm our phone conversation.

OT warned me that the LA would probably try to argue that the problems he has with school would be problems for him anywhere.

The joint placement should be straightforward. I could write an essay on that. The "unit" is an unknown quantity, though. It doesn't even exist, so I can't even visit it. Even if I did visit a unit I do know of, in another LA, there's nothing to say that this theoretical one would be run in the same way. Although, this isn't purely about transition - it's about now. He's in year 5. He's potentially got almost 2 years left in a school that is unable to meet his needs.

ArthurPewty Thu 31-Oct-13 16:32:34

bump

ouryve Thu 31-Oct-13 16:44:37

Thanks.

I think I've got what I need to do sorted out in my head, anyhow tempted to go all out for full residential, after today! Just need to get it all on paper over the next couple of weeks.

ArthurPewty Thu 31-Oct-13 19:45:09

sorry i couldnt add anything - i've got a huge mess to try and sort out myself, and thinking beyond my own situ just isnt happening right now.

ouryve Thu 31-Oct-13 22:51:01

No worries. I've had a relatively easy ride until now.

It baffles me how people without a modicom of literacy, knowledge and confidence deal with this shit (setting aside being able to throw £500+ here and there at private professional reports without having to seriously compromise finances elsewhere). It baffles me even more how the new system will make it all any better.

ArthurPewty Fri 01-Nov-13 07:36:34

These ladies here inspire me. I had a lot of confidence a few years back but its worn very, very thin.

The new system? Dont make me laugh. There cannot possibly be any improvements, certainly not here. The LA havent even started thinking ahead to what they're going to be required to do next September, they're still trying to clear an enormous backlog of shit from September just gone, and before...

OneInEight Fri 01-Nov-13 09:50:33

Feel a bit silly saying this but have you asked the HT of the independent for his advice? If it is still the school you were thinking of in the summer we found he was very helpful and was prepared to come and see our boys in school to give advice. We have decided not to go for this school at the moment due to distance (should be 3 hours but took us 7 hours last Friday night to visit my Mum who lives very close & I couldn't face that every weekend even if they boarded weekly) but it is still the one dh and I liked the best because of the way the staff were with the boys.

ouryve Fri 01-Nov-13 10:39:48

Yes, I was going to contact them, after half term, anyhow, or at least their parent liaison. We've been in ongoing contact for about a year now. It's a real chicken and egg experience anyhow - while we've been able to express an interest and get to know the school, there's no chance of them formally finding out exactly how DS1 would fit until the LA are willing to consider it.

But knowing that they'd possibly come and visit (we're only 45 minutes away) is very helpful. Thanks thanks

ouryve Fri 01-Nov-13 10:40:18

oh - and so not silly grin

ouryve Mon 18-Nov-13 14:40:20

OK, nuvver quick question.

I have referred in my "reasons for appeal" to the MAST report in my arguments for a setting with small class sizes, rather than a setting where he spends most of the day in hiding from a normal sized class with a TA. Should I assume that the judge and panel will be aware of that report, or should I include it with my application?

With this sort of thing, where some independent research echoes my own reports, is it safest to just chuck it in, with everything else?

TOWIELA Mon 18-Nov-13 17:49:25

I'd say chuck it in with your reasons for appeal. If you get to Tribunal, then you must definitely include it in your evidence bundle.

At my Tribunal, the LA's EP tried to argue that dyslexia doesn't exist - based on a very recent controversial academic study/research. My barrister was furious because the research hadn't been previously declared to us by the LA. The judge then refused point-blank to accept any of the EP's evidence on this report because it hadn't been previously declared. But the EP kept going on-and-on about this research, and each time the judge basically told her to shut-the-f***-up because they hadn't declared this report to us.

So if you get to Tribunal but you haven't declared it with your evidence bundle, you will run the risk of the LA protesting to the judge and them ruling that you can't use it during the Hearing.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 18-Nov-13 18:09:49

I havent actually made it to appeal, but have done appeal forms 3 times - the LA has pulled out every time with only days to spare, knowing full well from the beginning that we were right / not asking them to go above & beyond, just do their job properly.

wot TOWIE said.

ouryve Mon 18-Nov-13 18:18:00

So in it goes, then! The executive summary, at the very least. I don't think there was anything controversial about this particular study and its findings aren't exactly rocket science.

Must put an extra thick, extra strong envelope on my shopping list for this week! I've already bought plenty of paper and printer ink!

TOWIELA Mon 18-Nov-13 18:41:33

Don't forget that if you get to Tribunal, the LA will be doing everything and anything to deny your DS the provision you want. So, even if the report isn't controversial nor rocket science, if you haven't declared it in its entirety but are relying on it as part of your evidence, the LA will think nothing of requesting that the Judge disallows it on a legal technicality.

On the subject of extra strong envelopes - by the time I got to Tribunal, my evidence bundle was well over a thousand pages!

ouryve Mon 18-Nov-13 18:44:04

I'm hoping our experience is the same, Holey, frustrating as it is to have to do all this work, now. I'm also finding all the cross referencing and compiling useful to me, even though it shouldn't be my job.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 18-Nov-13 18:46:00

We had 700 pages by the third appeal, even though it was about the other child. Cross referencing and creating an index are an absolute necessity - the beauty is that you become au fait enough with the evidence you have, to do your own arguing at the appeal.

Once you have that confidence and that familiarity, you'll be able to recall passages from reports at the click of fingers - and that usually scares your LA enough to give in.

Strong envelopes are a must.

ouryve Mon 18-Nov-13 18:54:05

So, I'm thinking, at this stage, declare the study now, include the executive summary & make clear that the rest of the 88 page report will be included in the final bundle.

ouryve Mon 18-Nov-13 18:56:25

700 pages?

[thud]

Must put reinforcing the hallway floorboards on my to-do list.

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