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Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children and Families, LIVE webchat about SEN reforms, on Tuesday 13 November at 12:00pm

(142 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 09-Nov-12 22:37:27

You may remember that we were due to have the previous Children's Minister, Sarah Teather, on Mumsnet for a webchat back in September but she was reshuffled just hours beforehand. So we're very pleased that the new Children's Minister, Edward Timpson, will be here for a LIVE webchat on Tuesday 13 November at 12:00pm to discuss the Government?s proposed changes to special educational needs policy.

The Department for Education has been consulting on draft clauses for the Children and Families Bill since September. This is what the DfE says the aims of the bill are:

-Local authorities and local health bodies would be required to plan and commission education, health and care services jointly and publish a clear and transparent 'local offer' of services for children and young people and families.

-A more streamlined assessment process would be put in place, integrating education, health and care services and involving children, young people and their families at its heart.

-A new birth to 25 Education, Health and Care Plan, replacing the current system of Statements and Learning Difficulties Assessments, would reflect the child's or young person's aspirations for the future, as well as their current needs and have a stronger focus on preparing them for adulthood.

-Young people aged 16-25 in further education would have comparable rights to those in schools.

-Families and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan would have the option of a personal budget for their support.

More information is available here.

Prior to entering Parliament, Edward was a family law barrister in Cheshire, specialising in the cases of vulnerable children. He has two adopted brothers and his parents have fostered 87 children over the last 30 years, many of whom Edward grew up with.

Until his ministerial appointment he was Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Adoption & Fostering and Looked After Children & Care Leavers and Vice Chairman for the Runaway & Missing Children group. He is married with three children.

We know that many posters on Mumsnet are deeply involved in the issues highlighted in the draft bill, and that some of you have already responded to related consultations; now's your chance to put your questions and concerns directly to the minister, so please join us live on Tuesday if you can. If you can't make it on the day, please post up your questions in advance here.



amy15447 Wed 14-Nov-12 08:47:33

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

amy15447 Wed 14-Nov-12 08:46:16

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dietstartstmoz Wed 14-Nov-12 07:33:23

I missed this webchat, but am not impressed reading through it. The entire system needs an overhaul. Team around the child meetings don't achieve much, LA are having their budgets cut and are already cutting back on provision, including post 16 provision and transport post 16. Getting a specialist college placement post 16 is a huge longwinded task, and as for a local offer-what if your local college is not able to meet your childs needs. My son has HFA and I know from living and working locally numerous examples of 16/17 yr olds with HFA who either leave or are exited from their course as the college cannot support their needs.
Agree with other who said their needs to be much more provision locally and a wider range of provision available, not just the same old crap rehashed under another title

drowninginlaundry Tue 13-Nov-12 21:33:34

I'm sorry but that was just not good enough.

'we want to involve parents earlier in the process'.... 'it will reduce conflict'

well fuck that for a game of soldiers.
starlight that's exactly the way it works, Team Around The Child - if I had one hour of practical, evidence based measurable therapeutic intervention for every hour spent co-ordinating, liaising, updating files, monitoring, that would be doing something.

lukesrock Tue 13-Nov-12 14:58:18

I too would like Ehlers danlos syndrome taken seriously, my 8 year old son suffers from this awful rare condition and we as a family have been reported by my sons school to social services and interigated like criminals with regard to FII, thankfully all unfounded but the stress this places on a family already struggling to cope with a disabled child is not acceptable, I know many familys going through this, we have had to pay privatley to see proffessor grahame and have paid for many other private things for our son, there is no support out there and our children are suffering, please please help these families, this condition needs to be taken seriously

straweberryjelly Tue 13-Nov-12 14:36:16


I couldn't agree more that was what I wanted to get across we constantly have to fight to get our children assessed or the right provision and prove ourselves and children again and again to so called professionals and the bloody LA.

I'm sick of it too.

Eliza22 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:16:38

I have to say that Mr Timpson, being my MP, helped me to push for something which benefitted my son greatly, after I was met with a brick wall on seemingly, all sides. Face to face, I found him interested, concerned and determined to help. And he did. But his Govt took it it away again. Cut backs.

What he is proposing to give us now has elements of "excellent" about it but I fear the reality will mean a harder battle for parents to get what they need. We will find ourselves in a position of justifying our requests to "assessor a" who feel that we don't need this, that or whatever (as funds are tight and there's always some other poor soul, worse off).

As I said in my question to Mr Timpson, I was told emphatically that my son DID NOT NEED 1:1. He DID NOT NEED a Statement. He WAS NOT BAD ENOUGH to require Social Services input (so that we could access Direct Payments). We were told by the Educational Psychologist that he was "doing very well and hes a bright lad" .... this assessment from a man who had signed his name to reports HAVING NEVER ACTUALLY MET MY SON!

We now have all of the above. I was often close to tears/losing it but always gathered my evidence and presented my appeal in a calm and informed way. Do I want to do it again? Oh God NO!!

God forbid, we have to go back to this shambles...

We've cut our financial aid to India? Good. Because we're in a right bloody mess HERE.

straweberryjelly Tue 13-Nov-12 13:58:17

You would have thought the fact that his parents did such a good thing in helping foster LAC children he would get this stuff!

It's absoulte joke which is why the likes of IPSEA, SOS SEN, SEN legal are raising the questions that are on our mind because this new bill will affect our children and not in a positive way.

straweberryjelly Tue 13-Nov-12 13:49:00

Me neither! It's still a worry.

There is an online petition on MN petition notice board against these changes for everyone to sign who doesn't want this to be passed.

Happy to PM the link if you get stuck.

I have signed!

Queenmarigold Tue 13-Nov-12 13:48:55

'Involving parents early' cropped up a lot didn't it.

Like parents aren't involved - I clearly remember being at the birth.

I just feel like it's more of the same c**p, just dressed up differently - no money, no funding, all the fight on the parent, all the pressure of working, making ends meet plus fighting for your kid at the same time.

He may have had 87 foster siblings, but he's got no idea really. sad
and [scared].

HecatePropylaea Tue 13-Nov-12 13:30:37

I feel like we weren't really assured of anything.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 13-Nov-12 13:29:21

That should read : I feel SCARED for what is coming for my children.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 13-Nov-12 13:28:47

[Hmm] I note no answer to how provision will be ensured for children on SA or SA+ that aren't making progress but are unable to get statutory assessment fue to illegal blanket policies and gatekeeping.

Not goung to help those parents that can't afford to fund private EP reports or to take the LA to court.

I see this as a way of denying a huge raft of children with quite complex, multiple and severe SN's, that should have a statement but don't, from getting the support they need.

I feels cared for what is coming for my children.

straweberryjelly Tue 13-Nov-12 13:28:31

Thank you Edward for taking the time to read my post.

Thank you Edward for taking the time to read my post.

I would have to strongly disagree from what I have seen of the bill it simply wants to take away the parents rights that way the LA can get away with not giving statutory assessments that's what I have read and many others are reading the same.

So for those who have a statement they will remain in place and the current provision in part 3 will still be relevant and be legally enforceable even when the EHC plan comes in??????

With regards to mediation why should parents be forced into mediation?

Those parents who don’t want to or cannot attend mediation will receive penalties that doesn’t sound like a fair or better system to me.

What about the current time scales the new bill does not require the LA to comply with timescales for instance the LA currently have to reply to a parents request to assess within six weeks-the new bill does not????

For our children that means they simply have to suffer on while the LA decide if they require a statement , if there is enough money in the budget etc.

Prehaps if you and the dept of health refer to the IPSEA website it raises some very valid and important points...will you look at these????

Thank you

AgnesDiPesto Tue 13-Nov-12 13:16:46

LGO can't look at anything can go to tribunal so anything right appeal out of jurisdiction. Tribunals can order wasted costs but never do but because they can LGO can't overrule judge. Besides hard to argue appeal should never been brought if tribunal heard it and not said that. Are gaps in regulation. No way getting back costs while wait for tribunal except suing and no legal aid and massive cost risk to sue. I shall send my evidence law breaking to Sec of State then.great questions everyone!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 13-Nov-12 13:14:24

And thank you Frances.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 13-Nov-12 13:12:09

Thanks - I'd be interested in hearing about your thoughts on your pathfinders' practices in refusing SEN DPs at some point.

Another case of LAs picking and choosing which laws they abide by - yet your Dept is aware of this and should openly admonish such unlawful practice.

Equally, it should openly admonish a Director of Education who quite happily gives evidence to Parliament confirming his LA's unlawful practices.

alison222 Tue 13-Nov-12 13:12:07

However, I'm glad that you came to talk Mr Timpson and assume that you will look at later comments posted here and those that you ran out of time to answer and take them all on board.

alison222 Tue 13-Nov-12 13:10:58

grin at snorbs and the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Sadly I think she has a very good point.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 13-Nov-12 13:09:57

Thank you Edward. Impressed with your typing speed actually smile.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 13-Nov-12 13:07:37

Edward, having meetings about meetings about meetings, including involving parents in those to reslove conflict etc. just gives the illusion of intervention without just getting stuck in with the child. It keeps the LA personnel in a job and avoids paying out.

I went to a Team Around the Child meeting once and the level of support promised was amazing.

Someone promised to 'refer' my son, someone else was going to 'observe' him, someone else 'montior' him, someone else was going to 'open a file', another was going to 'cooridnate', and yet another person was 'raise awareness' and yet another was going to 'liaise'.

None of these were outcome based, and all we needed was someone appropriate trained to deliver provision directly to my son, at a fraction of a cost of all the above nonsense. When we asked for this, we got a barrister against us. I'm afraid i can't see anything in what you propose to change this.

A 'local offer' is about as useful as 'opening a file' unless you are focussing on outcomes, evaluation of effectiveness, transparancy about eligability criteria etc.

Snorbs Tue 13-Nov-12 13:07:09

Doesn't the Titanic look nicer now the deck-chairs have been rearranged?


AgnesDiPesto Tue 13-Nov-12 13:06:53

If as in my case your child costs £50000 per year and the LA has allocated £5000 then it is in LA interests to use tribunal as delaying tactic. Why has Dev child been without education for 3 years because he costs too much. Bottom line la staff don't think our children deserve what they would pay for a cancer patient in a heartbeat

EdwardTimpsonMP Tue 13-Nov-12 13:04:07

Sadly my hour is up. I'm sorry I wasn't able to reply to more posts but I can categorically state that my words per minute count has improved in the 60 minutes allotted. I need to go on a refresher typing course! Thanks to all those who have contributed and I will reflect on all your points, queries, concerns and offers to meet so that the dialogue can continue. Thanks and goodbye! Edward

Glitterknickaz Tue 13-Nov-12 13:03:23

hear her, inappropriate

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