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Reception class appeal - aspergers son

(40 Posts)
NourishingButtons Fri 26-Apr-13 21:56:16

Hi, my son has not been given a place at our village school (0.3 miles away). He has undiagnosed aspergers - his issues are inflexibility, needing continuity, lack of impulse control, social emotional devt, rage, control issues. He has been referred to and accepted on the link inclusion scheme to assist the transition to school for vulnerable children. It is a massive blow. I believe his needs will be met at the village school and not at the school place given for 3 main reasons - continuity of peer group where he is known and accepted, has made some strong friendships, and will be exceptionally difficult for him to start a new school with no familiar faces. We moved to the village when he was a toddler so he would settle into the playgroups/pre school. Secondly they have offered a minibus, but due to his issues this is not an option and we have no other way of transporting him. Thurdly he is behind with gross motor skills and he is hard to coax outside/do excercise so the walk/scooter to school will be his main excercise and help with his muscle devt. Its an infant class size prejudice appeal. Do we have a case? Is there any chance?

prh47bridge Wed 15-May-13 18:29:54

For an ICS appeal there are actually three grounds on which you can win:

- the admission arrangements to not conform to the Admissions Code and relevant law and the non-compliance has cost you a place
- the admission arrangements were not correctly and impartially applied and this has cost you a place
- the decision to refuse admission was unreasonable

The standard for a decision to be unreasonable is very high. The decision must be, "so outrageous in its defiance of logic or accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it."

It is up to an appeal panel to decide what is unreasonable. In your case they may feel that, since the Admissions Code is clear that a medical needs category is not compulsory, it is reasonable for the school not to have such a category. Similarly they may feel that the LA's decision was not unreasonable based on the information available to the LA at the time, given that your son's Aspergers was undiagnosed and the Ed Psych report was not available.

I am not saying an appeal panel will decide that. They may agree with you that, faced with cases like your son, the LA should give priority. But you need to understand that it is very difficult to win cases on the grounds that a decision is unreasonable. Given your son's difficulties I hope you manage it in your case.

NourishingButtons Wed 15-May-13 15:34:50

Thanks prh - but what kind of things would win as 'unreasonable'? My understanding is that you can only win on 2 things - a mistake made, or 'unreasonable'. I'm sure going against prof opinion about individual special needs must be immoral and maybe even illegal??

prh47bridge Wed 15-May-13 11:49:47

If the school had an admissions category for medical need and you provided the Ed Psych report when you applied you would have a strong argument that the LA was unreasonable not to place your child in that category. As they don't have such a category you face the harder task of convincing the appeal panel that the LA was unreasonable in not having a medical need category and that your son would have been admitted if such a category existed. You may convince them but equally you may find they take the view that they have to work with the admission criteria as they stand. I hope you manage to win them over.

NourishingButtons Wed 15-May-13 10:07:19

Tbh if we don't get it upheld I will wonder why they even have a 'unreasonable/perverse' category. Our case will clearly state our sons complex special needs (with prof opinion), and that these needs will be much better met at village school, and that he will be vulnerable at other school. I think I will start a one woman crusade!!

prh47bridge Wed 15-May-13 09:57:53

It is still going to be an uphill task to win an appeal but expert evidence to support your case certainly helps.

NourishingButtons Wed 15-May-13 09:47:49

So, we had both BIBIC and Ed Psys assessment done (privately).

Only had verbal debrief from BIBIC as yet, but indications were quite severe sensory processing, 90-99% on intellect tests (possible gifted) and likely aspergers. They can't mention school issue but we can obv pull out bits to make our case.

Ed Psyc report we've had, and he totally agreed with our concerns. His report also confirms high intellect, low social communication, aspergers to be looked at. Highlighted lots of specific needs and that he would need 1-2-1 in whole group activities, desk work and transitions. He also did a whole page in his conclusions about the school issue and that in his opinion why chosen school will meet needs and given school wont - concerning impulsivity/health and safety/transitions/rigidity of mind concerns on minibus, being disadvantaged peer/friend wise.

Do you think this strengthens our case by much?

NourishingButtons Fri 03-May-13 08:02:57

Thanks, have also decided to have a BIBIC assessment which was yesterday with the results and strategies today - I am even more rared up as its the first time I don't feel like a neurotic mum, but a professional is seeing him and there are definite issues, they don't diagnose but indications seem to be very complex including aspergers, sensory processing disorder amongst possible others. We have also applied for statutory assessment, as before we had only just come across it and tbh may have been using it as an appeal/admissions issue, but now I strongly feel he needs it to reach his full potential as he is massively bright as shown yesterday. Awaiting results but they are indications. I am a mummy lion hear me ROOOAAARRRRR

PanelChair Wed 01-May-13 09:06:55

Yes, Ed Psych report could be helpful, but it needs to offer his professional opinion, rather than just repeat your views and concerns.

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 22:52:17

Thanks panelchair - its seems so wrong that my son can be highlighted for extra help with transition through the link inclusion scheme - then his transition can be stomped on by not keeping him with his peers and sending him on a minibus with his social, emotional, behavioural issues. I have a private Ed Pysc on board now too doing an assessment, good idea?

PanelChair Tue 30-Apr-13 20:29:52

I too think the adviser is being overly optimistic, given that this is an ICS case and the threshold for those is so high. I agree with admission that you can use the lack of an admissions category for social/medical need as part of your argument, so give it your best shot.

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 18:15:20

admission - thanks for tip will start diary now

prh yes i can see it now, clicked show all messages and it worked, dont know what i did??

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 18:10:18

Wierd, can see the last comment at all - just the first bir on 'I'm on' but when I click through from there or directly from 'primary ed' only my last 2 comments are at the bottom???? I want to read it aarrrgghhh

prh47bridge Tue 30-Apr-13 16:11:01

I can see the entire comment. Can you see it now?

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 13:05:31

admission - your comment has disappeared - I saw you said 'this is generous given that it is infant class' ??

admission Tue 30-Apr-13 11:50:35

I would say that this is generous given that it is an infant class size regs case and you have to prove that the admission authority are being unreasonable over this, which has a very high threshold. It will be a three member panel and you need to convince two of them about how perverse a decision this is. You need to appeal but you also need to accept that the percentage is significantly against you in winning the case, not because I think you don't have a case but because of the very high threshold to win the case on the LA being unreasonable.
Sorry if this is not the answer you want but it is better to be realistic now than delude yourself that you will definitely win the case.
You need absolutely every piece of evidence that you can to convince the appeal panel that putting a very young child with aspergers on a minibus with older children is an accident waiting to happen. I would start a diary of every incident with your son, especially when he has a meltdown and what you think the underlying reason was. That can then be presented as part of the evidence that there is a real risk here and not just parental concern.

NourishingButtons Tue 30-Apr-13 08:40:26

admission? desperately needing hope? but not at risk of false hope. The advsior I had a 1-2-1 with who is a school admissions lawyer and sits on panels said 50%, does that sound right?

NourishingButtons Sun 28-Apr-13 21:12:52

Thanks admission, really appreciate your frank advice. We are waiting to get the medical insurance form from my husbands new job to get my son on policy but it is taking an age - think tomorrow i will source the best private route and go ahead and book appt for a few weeks in hope the admin side will have been sorted. If we get a really good case together with top notch evidence and really go into detail about specifics of aspergers and my sons specific needs in relation to the desired school, as well as transport meltdown issues, muscle devt etc - what is your honest opinion, do we have a hope?

admission Sun 28-Apr-13 17:05:30

If it is not on the LA admission criteria then there is no medical criteria. In some respects that is a help to you as you could argue at the appeal that the LA is being unreasonable in not having a medical category for those pupils who do not have a statement of SEN but clearly have needs. It will not on its own win you the appeal but may just sway the panel towards accepting there are some very special circumstances here that need to be considered.
The only year group that is relevant is the reception year group that has 30 in it. It does not mater how many places there are in the rest of the school, only the reception year you are applying to.
With 30 in the class the appeal will be an infant class size appeal where only a mistake lead to a successful appeal or proving the LA were completely unreasonable. You need urgently to get medical opinion stating what the issues are with your child. It is no use it saying mrs X says, that will carry no weight. It needs to say that I have examined X and found..... Any comments on the likelihood of issues like having a meltdown on the bus would be of benefit though I am sure the panel will have a good idea of the potential for such a situation.
You also need to know that whilst getting a private opinion on your child's concerns is something you want to do, most LAs will not accept them as proof of a medical condition and therefore award a statement, it has to be via the LA appointed practitioner.

NourishingButtons Sun 28-Apr-13 12:23:48

Panelchair - how do I find out about the social/medical, is it an individual school thing, its not part of the main council admissions criteria which the school follows? Thanks for help.

ryanboy - its 30, I know that current teception has no places free but current year 1 has 2 spaces free, does anyone know if that can help case??

ryanboy Sun 28-Apr-13 09:37:43

what is the maximum admission limit for the school ?

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 23:04:52

The point you need to labour is your son's need for a place and the consequences for him if you don't get one. Parents' health needs are rarely part of the admissions process - a severely disabled parent needing a school with (say) level access might be an exception to that, but it is up to LEAs whether to extend any social/medical priority beyond pupils to parents - so make this about your son's needs, not yours. (Besides, if your health problems are caused by your son's behaviour, it's less clear why this school will help more than any other).

Sorry for the fragmented post!

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 22:58:17

... Reasonable LEA would have made the same decision. In your favour are your son's needs and the difficulties he would face in any other school. You need to produce as much professional evidence to back this up as you can. But weighing against you will be that the LEA wasn't aware of your son's needs, the class is full and the threshold for winning an ICS appeal is very high. So, the point you need to labour is your s

You still haven't whether this school has an admissions category for social/medical need.

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 22:53:25

You can certainly explain why your son's needs weren't mentioned when you applied, but (in your shoes) I wouldn't labour it. The appeal will (as I see it) turn on whether the decision to refuse your son a place was so unreasonable that no reas

NourishingButtons Sat 27-Apr-13 22:26:55

Thanks Panel Chair. Would it be worth labouring the point that it wasn't on the application as I hadn't had the correct support from GPs (I first went in Oct asking for referral to neurologist in my ignorance as I then suspected poss dyspraxia but I was fumbling around needing help - this was wrong place to refer him and its taken until now to get a referral to the right place for medical help, and still a long wait. We will get him seen privately before the appeal for diagnosis) Also both me and my husband have stress related illnesses due to his behaviour??

PanelChair Sat 27-Apr-13 22:17:26

Essentially, the only way to win an infant class size appeal is to demonstrate that there has been some form of error - unlawful admissions criteria, admissions criteria not properly applied or a decision so utterly unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand.

Given that when you applied, your son's needs weren't yet identified and so they weren't mentioned on the application, your only chance of success (as far as I can see) is to try to convince the appeal panel that the level of your child's needs is such that sending him to any other school would be so unreasonable that no reasonable authority would have refused him a place. The potential difficulty here is that as you did/could not provide evidence of your child's needs, it is (clearly) harder to argue that the LEA did not properly take them into account. The panel may feel that the LEA can't be faulted for not acting on information it didn't at that time have.

Sorry to be discouraging, but ICS appeals are hard to win. The waiting list may be your best hope - especially if there is a category for medical/social need and you can satisfy the LEA that you should be in this category.

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