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Local Mainstream secondary turned down my son due to not being able to financially meet the statement

(13 Posts)
fingerlicking Thu 20-Mar-14 16:52:09

My son has a statement for a specific language development problem: mixed expressive and receptive.

He has been at a language unit in a class of 8 for the past 2 years. After a number of specialist reports his transitional statement came and I was delighted. It was specific and not at all wooly.

He would have fortnightly language therapy from a SALT, attended by a TA, who would then carry out a twice a week half hour follow up programme.

He would also need a TA (not exclusive to him) in class for all lessons with a language element, stated as English, Maths, Science and Humanities.

All wonderful.

However, his local state mainstream secondary has said no because they can't afford to pay for the TA time.

The next nearest secondary is an Academy and has said no because they can't afford to meet the TA time.

The next secondary school is over half an hour away and is so oversubscribed they can't fit him in.

Pretty much all the other mainstream secondary schools have the same opinion, they can't afford to give him the TA time, even on band B.

The only 2 special schools in the county are for children who come in at year 7 with a score at max of level 2. My son is scoring 3A/4C.

He has no school and I have no idea what to do now. The county are being very quiet about it.

ouryve Thu 20-Mar-14 17:15:42

IIRC they don't have a leg to stand on. Schools are given a SN budget and are expected to find the first £6000 of any statement. They can apply for a top up, if needed.

Give IPSEA a call.

fingerlicking Thu 20-Mar-14 17:22:58

The school have estimated that the TA time required is about 17 hours a week. They only have 3 TAs in the school so 1 TA would be following my son (and others in his class) leaving only 2 other TAs to help the rest of the SEN children.

They say that they need to employ another TA, at around £20k. The LEA are offering an additional £1,250 a year. Not in one go, the school have to reapply regularly throughout the year, which takes up the finance office staff time.

I do understand the school's perspective, but if all statements were written based upon the schools' financial constraints, rather than on the childrens' needs, it makes a mockery of the whole process.

Now we are left with no transitional days being booked in as we don't know where he will be going.

fingerlicking Thu 20-Mar-14 17:23:33

I wonder if the school are 'playing a game' of who blinks first. They are putting a gun to the LEA's head for more money, as they know there is nowhere else for my son to go.

PolterGoose Thu 20-Mar-14 18:16:09

Unless it's some sort of micro-secondary, having only 3 TAs for the whole school suggests to me they're spending their delegated SEN budget on non-SEN stuff.

Bottom line is it is up to the school to argue with the LA over funding, but I'm not sure I'd want my ds going to a school that plays silly (but potentially very damaging) games like this.

fingerlicking Thu 20-Mar-14 19:33:58

There are 800 in the school up to 16. Of that 800, only 9 are statemented and only 30 fall under the SEN banner. It is a high achieving school in a wealthy area. Considering our area's brightest go to the grammar schools in very close by Kent (under 6 miles), and it is a wealthy area so a large amount go to private schools; the local secondary school still achieved 74% of pupils getting 5 A-C GCSEs.

That is the whole problem. They don't have enough SEN children to gather a pool of money to do things.

Nennypops Thu 20-Mar-14 22:09:25

That simply isn't an adequate reason in law. Tell the LA which one is your preference and there is a very strong chance that they will simply agree to name it in the statement. If the school still objects it can complain to the DfE, but the reality is that they would do some horse-trading with the LA to get the funding.

ouryve Thu 20-Mar-14 22:51:13

Have a look at the section 251 data for schools in your area. I'm looking at one in a reasonably well off part of our county, of a similar size (actually a bit smaller), with a notional SEN budget of £175K and a pupil led AEN budget of £125K. This isn't including the pupil premium. If that school were to suggest it could only afford the FTE of 3 TA's, I'd expect the staffroom to have rather plush seating.

Don't believe their spin. Children with SEN can come from all walks of life.

Of course, you have the dilemma of would you really want your child at a school which worked so hard to reject them, but it seems that you have very little choice, unless the LA is willing to fund a more specialised (and expensive) option.

HoleySocksBatman Fri 21-Mar-14 10:28:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moosemama Fri 21-Mar-14 16:25:46

If the LA can't get any of their schools to take your ds and to be honest I think they could if they tried as the school's arguments don't hold water, legally, they will have to be prepared to fund an out of area placement.

Could you have a look at what's available outside of your LA, both state and independent and have that discussion with the LA. You might be surprised at how they suddenly manage to persuade one of their own schools to change their minds when faced with the prospect of independent school fees, plus statement funding, plus transport costs.

I was told the only reason the Secretary of State would accept for Academies refusing SEN pupils was that their education would be detrimental to the education of their peers. I presume this is what they're aiming for by saying the TA time would have to be taken off other pupils to support your ds. Like ouryve said, I smell a rat with the figures the schools are quoting and have a feeling books are being cooked purely to avoid having to provides statement support.

At the end of the day the LA has a legal responsibility to provide an education for your ds, if no-one will take him without them providing significantly more funding they will have to either produce those funds or look at a more expensive out of area and/or possible independent placement instead. It may well be worth you doing some sums re the fees for the most likely independents compared to the cost of a TA, as quoted by these schools, and see what the outcome is.

RaRaTheNoisyLion Fri 21-Mar-14 17:22:58

Get them to put it in writing that they won't accept your child due to funding issues, then send that letter to the LA explaining that you cannot put your child in such an inappropriate placement given the schools' lack of training, expertise, attitude, understanding of SEN and the law and insist that they instead fund a place at Eton (or other place you fancy).

RaRaTheNoisyLion Fri 21-Mar-14 17:25:00

It's all very well saying you shouldn't put your child into a school that doesn't want them, but in the current climate, hardly any schools want them.

Even those with good attitudes have learnt that having them is detrimental to their chances of competing with their local alternatives and is a risk to their popularity and subsequently funding.

manishkmehta Mon 21-Apr-14 22:02:55

You state..."It was specific and not at all wooly." - GREAT... if the statement has a school named in part 4,... and you are happy with parts 2 and 3... then I don't see what the problem is... but please forgive me if I have missed it... i'm just rushing to get my answer out as I need to change the little one shortly... However I do appreciate you have said "he has no school..." but i'm not sure what that means... does that mean he has a school named in part 4, but the school are not willing to take him...? If there is a school named in part 4 they have to take him...

If you do indeed have statement that is enforceable, and a school named... then you should have no problems... Call Maxwell Gillott first thing tomorrow morning... tell them the problem you are having... I suspect

1) if a school is named the school can be forced to take him and make the provision that is in his statement as per section 324 of the education act 1996... specifically section (5) (a) (I) - see here...

www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/324

2) If you don't have a school named.. then you are a little stuck... but Maxwell Gillott should be able to resolve the problem... It makes no sense for a child to have a statement that is "specific" but then results in the child NOT getting the provision in the statement...

3) If you are able to appeal... not sure if that is possible... then you could seek a fully funded education package at home... Now, I appreciate you might not want that... but the fact that the LEA aren't finding you a placement isn't ideal,... often faced with home education LEAs will find a solution...

If you get stuck... please pm me...

Good luck
Manish.

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