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I've been strongly advised to seek statements for my twins by their hospital consultant. Any advice welcome.

(60 Posts)
jajas Wed 16-Apr-08 19:17:45

My twin boys have been behind in their development since starting school almost 2yrs ago (they will be 6yrs old in July and were 10 weeks premature). The nursery that they attended strongly recommended that they delay starting school (in fact my first thread ever on Mumsnet was a couple of years ago asking about the implications of such action). They eventually started in Reception against our better judgement but after 3 weeks ended up back at the nursery until 5 months later when they rejoined. We tried to get them held back to do Reception again as they had missed so much but the Head assured me that they would be fine and would get extra help in yr1.

Now in yr1, they have struggled albeit with a great teacher but we had a meeting with him a couple of weeks ago and he expressed concern about them. He said that it would be very beneficial if they could be held back and do yr1 again and asked if we would be happy with that and of course we concurred.

The Head has now written to us saying that she spoke to County Hall and that they cannot be held back unless they are statemented. We assumed that they weren't that bad and so agreed that some extra help would be the way to go thus keeping them with their peer group.

By coincidence one of the twins had his annual consultation today with the paedeatrican and she is strongly recommending that we apply for statements for both of them. Apparently we are to contact the Educational Pyschologist who will visit them at school to observe (she came to the house a year ago but didn't report back on an awful lot).

Sorry, very long winded but can I ask if anybody knows what happens next, how long it takes and how hard it is to get them statemented? I get the feeling that it is a very protracted and hard won process from odd threads and articles read before.

Thanks in advance!

jajas Wed 16-Apr-08 20:19:03


girlfrommars Wed 16-Apr-08 20:49:10

Sorry I can't help but bump.

chavtastic Wed 16-Apr-08 20:52:35

Crikey, if they were ten weeks premature they never should have started school when they did; of course they should have been allowed deferred start, they should have been born in September or October, after all.

Sorry it's been so rough.

I think the statementing process is a piece of string -- can be short or long. Good luck.

Hassled Wed 16-Apr-08 21:00:16

I think if you have strong medical support (i.e the paediatrician) backing the statement it should be relatively straightforward but that isn't the same as quick - there are built in delays to the process, as well as people being inept delays. I think DS3's Statement took 8 months, from initial assessment request to the actual bit of paper - at least 3 months of that was down to people being idiots, and that was with me ringing Childrens' Services weekly.

It is still worth it though from what you say - if your DTs can get some hours (my DS3, with a severe speech disorder, gets 20 hours a week) of one to one support they will have the levels of help that no class teacher can possibly provide with 28 other kids around. Go for it but be prepared to nag, nag and nag again. I turned into a right harpie .

Clary Thu 17-Apr-08 01:02:08

jajas there's an interesting thread elsewhere on holding back children and the implications later on in school career.

roisin and others make the point that as a rule children who are out of their peer group go from yr 6 to yr 8 I think, which sounds like a nightmare to me.

So this may be of interest to you.

AFA statementing goes, it takes ages and is very hard (they are given out more sparingly these days) but may well be worth it, not nec to pull them back a year as much as to get extra TA support.

thread here

Clary Thu 17-Apr-08 01:03:48

oh sorry didn't see hassled's post, 8mo is not bad is it. I know s/one whose twins have a developmental delay and getting a statement took them years IIRC.

Obv if the issue is clear cut then it's a quicker process as far as I understand. What I'm saying is, yes, be prepapred for a bit of a battle.

snorkle Thu 17-Apr-08 10:32:24

I'd go for the statement and fight for as much support as you can for them - view the statements as a positive thing rather than a negative one. Whether to hold them back a year is more tricky; I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility, but get written confirmation from both the LEA and any senior schools you think they are likely to attend that they can remain in their new year on transfer if you do. Also consider that while the difference between year 1 and 2 is large; the difference between consecutive years higher up gets much less marked, so the more help you can get for them as soon as possible the better. Would paying for TA support for them for an hour or two a day yourself be an option (maybe just until the statement is sorted) and would the school be OK with that?

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 10:34:00

Type IPSEA into google and you'll find a template letter to request a statement. It's important that you request the statement and not the school.

mrz Thu 17-Apr-08 10:34:06

The school should be involving the Educational Psychologist on your behalf and applying for a statement. Depending where you live (Local Authorities do differ) it can be a very long process. In my area there is an annual cut off date for applications in November so no more applications will be processed until next November and Statements can take up to an additional six months.

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 10:42:13

Much better if the parents apply for the statement than the school. You have much better protection applying as a parent (and LEA's can not apply silly rules such as cut offs by November if a parent is making the request- that would be illegal).

Do check out IPSEA. It takes you through each stage of the process.

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 10:44:31

IPSEA template (for the request to assess whether to make an assessment for a statement). Note that the LEA have to reply within 6 weeks by law.

mrz Thu 17-Apr-08 11:22:49

yurt parents can only ask for an assessment of special educational needs this is an initial step and not the same as a statement.

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 11:27:26

mrz- but that's the procedure that has to be followed whether by school or parents. the initial request for an assessment to see whether a statutory assessment will be carried out. If it will then it's the beginning of statementing. I did it 5 years ago.

That has to be responded to within 6 weeks. If it is agreed than a statutory assessment is to be carried out then off the top of my head I remember that should take a maximum of 6 months. IIRC It is possible to appeal a refusal to assess or a refusal to award a statement.

mrz Thu 17-Apr-08 11:30:55

As SENCO I can get a statutory assessment much quicker than the six weeks it takes for a reply. It's worth working with the school because it's to everyone's advantage.

jajas Thu 17-Apr-08 11:34:07

Thank you very much everyone, I've only got 5 seconds to reply as about to dash out but will come back and read replies properly later and fill in a few details. Thanks again!

Hassled Thu 17-Apr-08 11:34:39

I think this "Who should apply?" question must just vary from LEA to LEA. DS3's request for assessment came from his SALT, not me, and I was advised that would be quicker. Other people have advised on here to go via the school, others feel to do it yourself is best. The Parent Partnership is specific to each LEA and might have a better clue as to what works best in your county.

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 11:39:01

IPSEA has advised parents for years to make the request themselves. There used to be real legal advantages in doing so (to do with the right to appeal which I can't remember in detail). That seems to have gone from their website so the law may have been changed in that area- but they still advise parents to put the request in themselves. I trust IPSEA more than the LEA (or parent partnerships) and as they deal with tribunals etc day in day out then I suspect there may be a reason for them saying this (I note

In our case ds1 was statemented a lot faster because I made the request. If I had waited for the LEA to initiate the request then it wouldn't have been ready for him in time to start school (non-verbal, severely autistic child was not starting school without full time 1:1 help).

mrz Thu 17-Apr-08 11:50:31

I agree for pre school aged children such as your son yurt there is an advantage in parents instigating assessment but once a child is in school things change slightly. For a statement a school would be required to provide evidence of their actions over a period of time.

Journey Thu 17-Apr-08 11:51:42

Do you get statements in Scotland or is it just in England?

yurt1 Thu 17-Apr-08 11:54:29

Scotland's different- used to be Record of Needs but I think that may have changed.

IPSEA still advise parents to do it mrz- and I therefore think there must be real advantages in doing so. The parents and schools views etc are sought anyway- whoever makes the initial request.

TotalChaos Thu 17-Apr-08 12:02:35

a minor point, but if you apply yourself at least you know what you've sent off and when, so that's one less thing to worry about.

mrz Thu 17-Apr-08 12:25:39

It makes me feel very sad that some parents appear to have such little faith in schools after all it is to the school's advantage to have resources to meet pupils needs.

Journey Thu 17-Apr-08 12:27:14

Thank you yurt1

jjaandmum Thu 17-Apr-08 12:50:43

I would always try to encourage the parents to make the request for Stat Ass as the school and LA authority then has to do something about it. If you leave it to the school they may well have other children prioritised to see the Ed Psych which is essential to the process. If parents make the request then it forces the school to ensure your child 'jumps the queue' to see the EP. Of course it may be different in other LA's, but this is how it has worked ime.

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