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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.


wasuup3000 Tue 04-Sep-12 12:24:24

1) There are to many get out clauses for LA's that presume that LA's get it right when they don't as some LA's act illegally and not in the child's interest
2) Mediation should not be compulsory many parents are going to tribunal because LA's have acted illegally not because they cannot talk to the LA's.
3) It is not clear what support there will be for children on school action/plus who might not be "severe" enough for a statement.
4) The government seems to rely a lot on LA's getting it right when quite often they get it wrong and accountability services are in the LA's pockets such as LGO's and not as independent as they are painted.
5) This draft just seems to mash up what's already in place making it harder for everyone to understand.
6) There is a need to make LA's accountable for failing children with SEN which is missing therefore LA's continue to play games with children's futures.

Vagaceratops Tue 04-Sep-12 12:38:09

David Laws sad.

HotheadPaisan Tue 04-Sep-12 12:48:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 04-Sep-12 13:09:08

Given the cuts to Legal Aid, that now preclude anyone on a low income from taking their LEA to tribunal because the LA has refused to even assess for a statement, based on proven illegal 'blanket decision' levels, ignoring the combination effect that having LD's and social skills difficulties can have on a child's ability to access education, what is the draft bill going to go about that?

• Is the new bill going to have harsh sanctions for LA's that refuse to even ASSESS for a statement, despite the DC being over 4 years behind their peers, educationally?

• What provision is going to be made for parents that have no access to Legal Aid, and not enough money to pay for legal representation, in the event of a tribunal?

• What will happen to a DC that is 2/3 years behind educationally, needs high levels of support on the classroom in order to access the curriculum AT ALL, but is currently on SA or SA+? If their LA has refused to even ASSESS for a statement, what will happen to these DC's when SA & SA+ vanish? Will they get a personal budget? Will they get any support?

• I am finding, as the parent of two DC's with SN's (and two without), that DC's on SA/SA+ are being downgraded from SA+ to SA, or SA to nothing, despite still being VERY far behind their peers, to the point where they are unable to access most of the curriculum AND are ostracised in the playground and bullied and having levels a very long way behind where they should be. What is going to be done to protect THESE DC's education when their LA has been proven in multiple court cases (not tribunals, court cases) to be acting illegally on their refusal to assess for a Statement.

I know of at least 5 DC's that OBVIOUSLY should have a full Statement, and FT support. In the last year and a half, they have been gradually moved from SA+ to SA, and then from SA to nothing, despite the attainment gap to their peers widening. My very real fear and concern is that under the new system, they will be left to flounder with no support as they can't even get ASSESSED for a statement.

My DD and DS2 are in this situation - my DD has been on SA+ since 3yo at pre-school (though it was Early years SA+ then), and has just been moved to SA despite only achieving NC level 3/4 at the age of 14 in most subjects.

My DS2 was on EYFS SA+ at the age of 3yo also. He is almost 9yo, his writing is illegible, due to his muscle problems and a PCT who discharged him at 5yo not because he could do everything he should, but due to finances. He has lots of time off school due to his asthma, but never spends quite long enough off school to trigger the LA's 14 school day rule to get a home tutor, so falls even further behind every time his asthma starts up. He has GDD/LD's, and is working around 2-3 NC levels (not sub levels, full levels) behind his peers. He has social difficulties and is a target for bullies because he has ASD. Not only have the LA refused to even bother to ASSESS him for a statement, at the start of Y3 he was dropped from SA+ to SA, and at the end of Y3 he was dropped from SA to nothing. No more IEP's, no access to a TA, no help with integrating socially, nothing. Yet he still HAS the same issues he did on SA+, now he will be unable to access the curriculum at all as he will have no access to a TA.

How will you protect THESE DC's education?

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 04-Sep-12 13:13:20


LineRunner Tue 04-Sep-12 13:23:23

Is she no longer a Government Minister?

MyNeighbourIsStrange Tue 04-Sep-12 13:55:50

After all that typing CouthyMow.

Not sure yet Line runner, Dave is still working through it.

LineRunner Tue 04-Sep-12 14:03:09

I read that she has been sacked, to be replaced by David Laws.

I hope MN will try to get him on here a.s.a.p. I want to ask him about the cuts to Local Authority budgets.

I wish Sarah Teather all the best. Being sacked by Cameron and Clegg has raised her up in my estimation.

TheTimeTravellersWife Tue 04-Sep-12 14:09:10

So it looks like Sarah Teather is booted out of her post the same day as the draft SEN Bill is published.....
It hardly conveys joined up thinking by the government, or a commitment to improving the lives of disabled children and their parents.

SwedishEdith Tue 04-Sep-12 14:09:56

Sacked according to Politcal Scrapbook. Ta ra Teather!

Vagaceratops Tue 04-Sep-12 14:13:33

I think with what she has been given to work with, Sarah has done a good job and I will miss her.

My worry with David Laws is that he will be keen to prove himself after being booted out over the expenses scandal and then accepted back into the fold that he will just tow the party line rather than standing up for children.

vesela Tue 04-Sep-12 14:52:21

He's a listener and sensible. He's not the type to need to prove himself in that way - in fact I think the hope is that he'll rein in Gove and the others.

But that he replaced Sarah is a huge pity (to put it mildly). Well done to her, and good luck everyone here in trying to get a sensible system.

HotheadPaisan Tue 04-Sep-12 14:57:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vesela Tue 04-Sep-12 17:55:48

Interesting that there's been no official confirmation yet (as far as I can see) that Sarah Teather is actually leaving.

I think it's also not been announced who's replacing Maria Miller as Disabilities Minister.

Wondering if the two things are related.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Tue 04-Sep-12 18:36:47

Poor Sarah.

Vagaceratops Tue 04-Sep-12 18:50:59

statement from Sarah

MyNeighbourIsStrange Tue 04-Sep-12 19:08:01

Dave dumped her to the backbenches, Wow!

LineRunner Tue 04-Sep-12 19:16:18

Well that's a bit crap, isn't it? A woman who finally knows what a lot of the issues are, and is listening, and just about to come back to MN for a 2nd time...

...and Cameron dumps her.

But Gove stays in charge.

vesela Tue 04-Sep-12 19:35:37

It is extremely crap.

mariamma Thu 06-Sep-12 14:28:53

Having someone knowledgable in charge when the government do a hatchet job on children with special needs would never have worked. And since I think ST is a politician with integrity, I'm glad for her sake that she wont be used. She's done her best to get the White paper as good as she can, not nice to have her push a final bill through which will end up removeing what few safeguards there are now.

lionheart Thu 06-Sep-12 19:15:53

It sounds crap and like she got a raw deal for actually trying to do her job.

LineRunner Thu 06-Sep-12 19:28:32

I think Sarah Teather didn't have any friends in government when it mattered.

2tirednot2fight Wed 09-Jan-13 00:05:22

This is the one I thought Edward Timpson was to pick up on or is that no longer going to happen?

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