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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Live webchat with Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families, TODAY, Tuesday 4 September, 1pm

(73 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-Aug-12 13:25:28

Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families joins us again for a LIVE webchat on Tuesday 4 September at 1.00pm to talk about the SEN and Disability Green Paper. The Green Paper will:

· Replace statements with a single assessment process and a combined education, health and care plan
· Require local authorities and health bodies to take joint responsibility for providing services
· Require local authorities to publish a local offer of services for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs
· Extend statutory protections to young people aged 16-25 in further education and focusing on preparing them for adulthood.
· Give parents and young people the option of a personal budget

The draft Bill will be published in September to give people the chance to tell the Government what they think. Following this, the Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament from Spring next year. More information is available from

Do please join us on Tuesday, if you can't make it on the day; please post up your questions in advance here.


HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:53:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:54:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:55:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 16:57:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blahdeblahmum Mon 03-Sep-12 17:00:12

Hi Sarah,

I was hoping that there would be more about local support for families. The local offer sounds like a directory. What will make local authorities provide it - they will just say look in the local offer. How will you make them provide what local families need? There's nothing that makes them have to provide local services, we will still have to fight and still have to travel to find what our children need. I want good services close to home not miles away.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 03-Sep-12 17:00:27

How will personal budgets work anyway?

Will it be: 'This is what the child needs, and this is what it costs us, so lets offer 2/3 of that to parents to deliver it themselves'?

Or will it be 'Lets only recruit professionals who are likely to underplay or completely miss the needs of the children so they don't cost us much when the parents ask for the personal budgets'?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 03-Sep-12 17:01:59

Yes, - the word 'offer' suggests provision-led rather than need or outcome-led. What was the rationale for naming it thus?

TaniaLT Mon 03-Sep-12 19:09:38

Hi Sarah and thank you to you and Stephen Kingdom for answering my open letter on my Special Needs Jungle blog, which I posted this afternoon, along with a brief initial bill response. Need much more time to digest it, though.
I was very interested to see mentioned in the response to the open letter about cultural change. How can you make sure that this is compulsory for all LA staff, as I know for a fact that shoddy and illegal practice is still happening as this process is underway and it needs to be stopped now, not in 2014.

Also, regarding the draft legislation, I would like to know how you intend to consult on the bill - through the pathfinders? How will this be fed back? How will changes be made to the draft bill and when - in one go?
Finally, please come to our Surrey Family Voice/Surrey LA joint pathfinder event in November!

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 19:59:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Mon 03-Sep-12 20:23:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lionheart Mon 03-Sep-12 22:42:36

I'd like to know how precisely the system is supposed to work up until the age of 25 when it doesn't even work now and won't unless the govt. puts up the money.

As Starlight says, publishing guidelines is a long way from delivering an adequate service.

lionheart Mon 03-Sep-12 22:44:46

Forgot to say, good for you, Sarah for coming back again. smile

AgnesDiPesto Mon 03-Sep-12 23:19:08

The position for home education is the same - education otherwise - and you still have to prove first that no school or nursery would be suitable before you get ABA / home programme. sad sad angry

No clear right to request using your personal budget on home education programmes - I am not even clear if the personal budget will cover education at all??? I accept there would have to be some accreditation of home progs (not a problem for ABA as already accreditation process in development). But there is such clear evidence for home programmes for autism in early years, do we really still need to jump through the hoops of proving nothing else will work first. Does this not go against all the early intervention advice? Why are we forcing pre school children into a neurotypical nursery education system rather than designing an education that is right for them starting at home and moving into a setting when ready?

Why are mainstream and special schools using methods like TEACCH still getting preferential treatment when their evidence base for good outcomes is poor?

My son gets a fulltime ABA programme partly delivered in a mainstream school (he attends 5 half days at year 1) with an additional 20 hours of ABA at home / at an office. Nothing in draft bill to make this easier to negotiate even though for many children part time school is much more successful than fulltime school. Dual placements are still not really clearly included in the legislation as a viable option. Parents given no extra rights to ask for these.

Why could ABA / other accredited home programmes not be listed as an standard education option rather than education otherwise? Why not a clear commitment to fund home programmes (if appropriate) as recommended in the 2002 ASD Guidance???? Thats right we were promised this 10 years ago!

What about young people who are able to express a preference eg for home internet school? Split placements? Flexi schooling?

'I fear that all we are really "educating" our autistic children for in this country is institutionalisation in later life, when they get too big to control.' - Absolutely agree. My child also speaking, less aggressive following ABA. Is included beautifully in mainstream part time by his well trained ABA support. Is achieving fantastic outcomes compared to the 18 months he was stuck on the LA ASD provision.

Does not address the issue about whether will be any independence introduced into assessing need. My LA created a fictional, much less disabled, much more mildly affected child for which to provide provision - ignoring and manipulating evidence to do so & ignoring the child in front of them. Went against the advice of their own EP to place him in mainstream nursery & against our preference. Told us he was too bright for special school even though no idea what his cognitive function was! Nothing in bill to stop LAs doing this except backstop of tribunal. We won 6 times the cost of LA provision at tribunal. A pretty massive margin of error. Nothing to stop LAs making under provision. This is why parents end up at tribunal. Not because of bureaucracy but because LAs lie. They tell you your child is less disabled than you think, make experts change their reports to play down difficulties and tell you their schools can do vastly more than they can. Nothing to stop the widescale abuse of the system by LAs. No sanctions. LAs don't follow the rules so having a new set won't change anything. Until assessment is independent of funding nothing can change.

Seems mostly the same as the current law. Apart from the compulsory mediation and some vague promise of personal budgets for health its exactly the same as the current system.

It will be education, SS and health professionals who all know each other stitching up what they want to provide behind closed doors and then presenting to the parent as a fait accompli.

Anyone know if will for eg be able to take a notional budget and say I don't want that generic special school I want to use the same amount of money for this much better indep SS / home programme?? Or is personal budget just going to apply to health / equipment?

SarahTeatherMP Tue 04-Sep-12 09:53:24


DysAct Tue 04-Sep-12 09:55:50

Hi my name is Becky, I'm posting on behalf of national dyslexia charity Dyslexia Action. We would like to know how the bill will make sure that children with dyslexia get help?

Will support be left to schools to decide and if so what guidance will be given to ensure that extra action is taken to make sure all of those with dyslexia or suspected dyslexia get the support they need?

Looking forward to tuning into the webchat.

Many thanks,

Becky (Dyslexia Action)

2tirednot2fight Tue 04-Sep-12 10:10:30

I wanted to ask what about the existing post 16 year olds whose statements have been ceased or have lapsed, some of whom no doubt will be NEET, will the changes mean they will get provision reinstated?

My son lost his statement without us being told it would end and with us as parents objecting to him being placed in a college of FE without adequate support. I know we are not alone.

Probably no change for our son and others like him I suspect because it seems that changes are only ever implemented for new cases and that those already failed by an appalling education system, which seems to me to function without conscience, are simply seen as the experiences of those about whom the mantra is to report "lessons are learnt". It saddens me that the most vulnerable in our society are continually failed by successive governments without hope of redress.

Did we really need this lengthy and costly process to identify the flaws in the current system?

HotheadPaisan Tue 04-Sep-12 10:12:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2tirednot2fight Tue 04-Sep-12 10:23:47

OOps Ms Teather I have just read the rules again, please feel free to ignore the personal experience I have shared (guess this fits the "what about me" rule) but if you do have time and could possibly answer the initial question that would be greatly appreciated (although as per the guidelines will not result in disappointment if it isn't)!

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 04-Sep-12 10:47:02

Place marking, am shattered as both DD and I had seizures last night due to the crappy viral tonsillitis bug we've got, need to up to bed when DS3 naps, but will fire some Q's later, just about 1-ish.

DebsKent Tue 04-Sep-12 10:49:46

Hello Sarah
I have a few questions (as a parent - not as chair of a change board).

* Cl 10 appears to give LAs a get out clause for any support (if any adverse effect on their own function) - how does this benefit families?

* Cl 21 only imposes duty on LA to arrange educational provision, not health or social care. How is that different from a statement...? This is already a big issue and having no duty to arrange health/social care (especially given the new proposed Working Together guidelines) will not protect the families who need this most.

* Cl 17 seems to imply that a Single EHC Plan will only be available for those children with severe disabilities - again, how is that different from a statement and what happens to those children without severe disabilities but still with SEN?

* In Cl 16, there is mention of a judgement being made as to whether a child gets an EHC assessement - how is this different to the current statementing process (ie a panel decides) and what happens to those who are not assessed as being eligible

It is important that all involved have a "duty" to provide the necessary service, it is also imperative that the DfE and all concerned appreciate that we are not asking here for what we want for our children , we are asking for what we need for our children. The current system is not fit for purpose and sadly, it would appear in its current state, neither is this.

TheBlackShiksa Tue 04-Sep-12 10:50:23

There are rumours circulating that you are to be demoted to the back benches, and replaced by Jo Swinson. Does that mean you haven't been doing a good job with your allocated brief? Are you relieved that your post is going to another Lib Dem or ticked off by this.

CatPower Tue 04-Sep-12 11:11:10

You've just been replaced by David Laws. How much of a kicker is that?

notactuallyme Tue 04-Sep-12 11:15:38

Will a child or young person with health or medical issues which affect their ability to access school due too illness or time off be eligible for a plan?

zzzzz Tue 04-Sep-12 11:48:05

How does lumping School Action, and School Action plus together help children with sen?

What reassurance can you give that children's privacy and right to Dr/Patient confidentiality can be maintained within a single assessment process. How will data be stored and who will have access to it.

"local authorities and other services to set out a local offer of all services available;"
Excellent and long overdue. Will there be a minimum level of service required? A "benchmark" of minimum provision so to speak? Will there be any incentive to provide a "gold standard" level of provision? Will there be any onus on local authorities to keep up to date with modern approaches to intervention? If so how will they do this?

For those of us who Home Educate due to lack of local suitable provision, how will we access personal budgets? How will you insure that authorities don't refuse statements in order to stop personal budgets being offered?

"strengthening parental choice of school, for either a mainstream or special school; and,"

Great idea if a true choice is on offer. In my area there are few special schools , and none that cater for the academically able but unable to manage in ms.

Make it assessment independent, anything else is not good enough.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 04-Sep-12 12:23:56

Sorry to say that Sarah Teather's office have just cancelled her webchat today - assume she's been reshuffled. We'll do our best to reschedule with the next incumbent.

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