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To think that Local Authorities Education depts are often dysfunctional org. cultures

(63 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 18:10:51

I have read this today:

www.specialneedsjungle.com/why-send-department-targets-mean-culture-change-reform-may-never-happen/

It doesn't surprise me.

Does it surprise any of you, especially those in Education?

streakybacon Mon 06-Jul-15 18:30:28

I read it too, and wasn't surprised. I think it's been rumoured for quite a while. All of us who've fought for statements/EHCPs and any kind of support in schools will see that it makes perfect sense - a reasonable explanation for why support is so often withheld sad.

streakybacon Mon 06-Jul-15 18:31:24

I don't think it's true of all LAs though, but I think that comes across in the article.

moosemama Mon 06-Jul-15 19:05:00

I've heard from an employee that this is true of our LA.

This:

"Targets limiting LA spending on out-of-county or residential school placements – These objectives, again, were mostly at individual SEN team staff member level, but were very common."

... also hit home, as our LA no longer hides their intentions in this area, as I have been able to find minutes of meetings and other documents online that not only state they will not place pupils in out of county placements anymore. Those are the same minutes where they admitted they had refused all but one top-up request for SEN budgets at local schools. The way it was written was tantamount to crowing about how clever they were for doing this. angry

Getting ds into out of county placement went relatively smoothly, as the standard local provision claimed they couldn't meet need, which left him nowhere to go and his school had always been used to plug that gap. The LA has since allegedly opened it's own provision to fill the gap - only the new provision is nothing like what was needed and full of pupils with different needs that had nowhere to go after the pru was closed due to failing OFSTED. I know of three children coming up through ds1's primary school that would most likely have gone to the out of county placement he's at, but will now be put in the LA's new dumping ground instead.

The LA is aiming for zero out of county placements once current numbers have finished going through their schools - how does that equate to them supposedly considering the right placement for the needs of the child ? Simple answer ... it doesn't. angry

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 19:22:21

So job prospects and promotions (if not bonuses) are based on the ability to meet targets rather than needs of the local people who they are supposed to be serving!?

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Mon 06-Jul-15 19:26:21

It's wrong that so many parents have to fight so hard and so long to get the proper support or placement for their children. After fighting for a few years to get ds1's sorted out, now I'm gearing up for an even bigger fight to sort ds2's. It's exhausting, but I have no choice. His future depends on him getting proper support, appropriate school placement, and being able to access the educational curriculum. Thus far, he's gotten none of that.

The LA was god-awful when we were dealing with ds1's statement. They were told by every single educational and medical professional that worked with him that he needed to be in a specialised school placement, yet they said no. When they realised I was fully prepared to attend and fight at the tribunal, they finally backed down.

No parent should have to go through this. And I'm saddened to think of all those children whose parents (for whatever reason) were not able to fight for it, or had not support to fight for it, or didn't know where to get support. Those children have been utterly failed by the government.

Alfieisnoisy Mon 06-Jul-15 19:31:32

YANBU, I am tearing my hair out over the lack of support DS is getting. Adhering to his Statement seems to be very hit and miss!

Just requested a change to a special school and am prepared to take them all the way if I have to.

It shouldn't be this hard to get the right support.

ghostyslovesheep Mon 06-Jul-15 19:43:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 20:07:45

'LEA's and LA's in general just can't cope and can't fund everyone'

I don't doubt it. What I can't understand is why they only tell parents this, and not the Government.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson (1st Sept 14) said:

“This is the beginning of a journey, and the vast majority of local authorities have told us they are ready''

Translates into 'Oh yes Mr Timspon we're ready and enjoyed those pastries we spent our reform money on, but you there lowly parent, we're in austerity doncha know, and the law was written in better economic times'

(For details to show that reform money was spent mainly on catering you can search on the WHAT Do THEY KNOW website)

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 20:11:03

'but lots of children and YP have lost their statements totally due to EHCP really only applying now to those requiring the highest levels of funding'

The law states clearly that the criteria for EHCP is the same as it was for statements so no-one should have lost their provision unless the LAs were acting unlawfully.

saintlyjimjams Mon 06-Jul-15 20:21:52

Our LA has openly been trying to reduce residential placements for years. To be fair to them they did realise this meant they would have to massively improve overnight respite & they have. They also have three special schools catering to complex needs

Their provision gap seems to be around HFA & that seems to a tricky fight for parents.

Balacqua Mon 06-Jul-15 20:27:41

Just read the article. Incentivising staff like that , is that others experience? I'm shocked

ghostyslovesheep Mon 06-Jul-15 20:33:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghostyslovesheep Mon 06-Jul-15 20:34:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghostyslovesheep Mon 06-Jul-15 20:38:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 20:44:12

'and LA know that legally they would be in shit if they where breaking the law'

In what way would they be in the shit? I can't see it tbh.

ghostyslovesheep Mon 06-Jul-15 20:45:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 20:48:14

'if schools say they can meet need through SA and SA+'

Why would a school say they could meet need through SA or SA+ though, if they couldn't? And if they can, then why did the child have a statement in the first place?

Where did you get the wording of that last post ghostys? They appear quite dodgy to me with their referencing to funding tiers and implications that the number of children with EHCP will go down.

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 20:48:58

'erm they would be sued - as many LA's have been before'

How? and who by?

ghostyslovesheep Mon 06-Jul-15 20:52:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MairOldAlibi Mon 06-Jul-15 20:57:20

ghosty, I think that's not reflextive of the reality

eg �We don�t do educational negligence now,� says Chris Barnett of Levenes Solicitors. �The numbers that succeed are pretty small and very few have succeeded since Phelps. It is really only very clear cases � where, for example, there�s undiagnosed dyslexia � that have ever succeeded. Anything more complicated has pretty much failed
extract from article in the Law Gazette- and things have got worse since then

StarlightMcKenzee Mon 06-Jul-15 20:57:24

Goodness ghosty what happened?

3littlefrogs Mon 06-Jul-15 20:57:48

I am not surprised at all.

Family member with SEN consistently denied a statement.
The lies and misinformation perpetuated by the LA was astonishing.

A few years later another family member - very experienced teacher in the field of SEN was asked to advise the then secretary of education. They ignored everything he advised.

He attended very high level meetings where huge amounts of funding were allocated to projects that subsequently failed. When family member pointed out the fairly obvious reasons why the projects had failed - he was told - "well of course we wanted it to fail - there isn't enough money to keep it going, but we will get the same funding next year and we can use it for anything we want..."

Disgusting.

MairOldAlibi Mon 06-Jul-15 21:06:50

Actually, I'd be relieved if I found out our LA was deliberately incentivising staff to act against dc's individual best interests. Because the alternative explanations are even less appetising

My main previous hypotheses were:
1) that our LA has large numbers of more-or-less unsupervised and moderately vindictive dimwits with evil-genius fantasies
2) that we are terrible parents, capable of imagining SEN, creating enough dysfunction as to hoodwink a Tribunal, and of course the NHS too
3) that I personally am sufficiently poor at communicating to somehow aggravate repectable professional people into recurrent lying and cheating to deny my dc their legitimate requirements

poocatcherchampion Mon 06-Jul-15 21:21:15

I don't think you will find that individuals have been paid bonuses; im not aware of that happening anywhere within children's services. More likely is that if a team has a target and meet it (whatever the target) the dept might get one in order to do more good works of whatever sort. That is family common across Local Authorities.

The problem here is that Local Authorities do not have enough money to offer the services in many cases. As you will all know SEN placements are massively expensive and a budget overspend can wipe out the whole of another essential service. Central government knows it is unaffordable; but does not fund it properly for their own reasons. LAs have to make the sums add up. I don't disagree with the statement above that LAs should not have said it is doable if it isn't, and that culture ought to be tackled. In many areas SEN is not given the priority it should be.

As you would always expect the staff will be a mixed bag; some good some dimwits, and some passionate about what they are doing. Most who work in SEN are in it for the right reasons; all though as I said above; with the service in the shadows a bit I wonder whether all staff are performance managed cas they should be, and I get in some cases they "blind" their seniors with their expertise.

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