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Can I fund extra support in school myself?? School says they haven't got the funds

(41 Posts)
leannedando2014 Thu 16-Jul-15 17:43:21

Very long story but my 2 year old nephew was placed in my care 2 years ago. (bad past) Started nursery last year and was told they couldn't cope with him as he wont sit still, on the go and cannot sit and do work. They dropped his hours to only 1 hour a day. (instead of 2 and a half) I have to pick him up 10 mins early than everybody else.

Anyway we had a meeting where they said they wanted to keep him back a year as he wont cope full days and doing the level of work the other kids will be doing. I agreed they asked me to fill out forms as they were taking it to panel. That was the last I heard.

They are breaking up tomorrow I asked if he is being held back and was told "no.. we didnt go to panel in the end. He is going into reception and he might do ok as long as you are on stand by to come and collect him if we are not coping... or we might even say bring him in two days a week"

They also mentioned they might be getting extra support for 1 hour a day. Isnt much as they cannot afford it. I contacted Special Education Department who said the school has a budget of £6000 for each child with needs. They should be funding the support and if needed more they top it up"

I took this back to the school who said they havent got the funding?!?! So now im thinking... could I fund this extra support myself?? I am not loaded so not sure how much this would cost but happy to look into it if it helps him at school.

This school was only built a few years ago and the head mistress is new and she wants this "perfect school" with new equipment so I think she doesnt want to "waste" money on my nephew? I don't know I am considering changing schools if come september they are on the phone all the time to come and collect him but just had this thought of me fudning it myself... any ideas?

slkk Thu 16-Jul-15 17:47:18

Check out the ipsea website for information about the ehcp. I applied for one for my ds and it has just come through. Ask for a meeting with senco as well. It's not ok to expect you to be on standby all th time and if you think he would benefit from another year in nursery push for this.

Inkymess Thu 16-Jul-15 18:09:15

Very confusing as at just 4 I wouldn't expect many children to sit and do work. They don't do much of that even in reception. I am at a loss why they dropped his hours as opposed to working his hours up ready for reception? Where are you OP? I assume you applied for a reception place at this school??

LIZS Thu 16-Jul-15 18:12:40

The school would only get the Sen finding if they/you applied for it. However as a lac he may attract pupil premium anyway which could be funding the hour.

PandasRock Thu 16-Jul-15 18:15:18

Do,you have these replies (re: your dn needing support, and the school not being able,to provide it) in writing? Try to get them, if not.

Your SN is entitled to,a school place, which supports his needs. If the school cannot meet his needs, then you need to apply for an EHCP (statement, as was). Usually, the first thing said post application, is that school can meet needs - this is why it is important to get them saying they can't meet needs in writing.

Whatever you do, DO NOT go and collect if they 'cannot cope'. By accepting him into the school role, it is their job to cope. If they cannot meet his needs, they need to work with you on the ECHP application, to ensure that he receives the necessary funding to meet his needs. If you go in and collect him, this will allow the school to shirk their responsibility - to provide a suitable education and the full time place your dn is entitled to.

Millymollymama Thu 16-Jul-15 18:31:03

As a looked after child he not only attracts Pupil Premium funding he may also have a first choice of school he goes to in that looked after children are very high on the admissions criteria, if not top. I think he was in the wrong nursery because you should already have had meetings about which school would best meet his needs while he was at nursery. Does the nursery feed into the primary school? It sounds like they are putting up barriers and will be quite keen to say they cannot meet his needs. If a child is SEN, the funding for meeting their needs is already in the school budget, as is the PP funding. PP funding is allocated to each child, but SEN funding is more at the discretion of the school. You must, urgently, make it clear to the school that he is a looked after child and I would also get Social Services to advocate for you. Your DN has more 'rights" than you think and his needs must be met. I will find out what the PP funding is and get back.

Millymollymama Thu 16-Jul-15 18:41:23

Ok. It is around £1300 per annum. This is money paid to the school to enable children like your DN to catch up or "close the gap". Some schools spend the money on very individual interventions such as TA time, other schools may invite these children to a homework club, invest in alternative teaching strategies or provide different resources. Whatever it takes to raise progress and achievement. This school must tell you, via its web site, how it spends this money. This is a legal requirement. I would try and get the school to use the money it has via PP and SEND to support your DN before you pay out anything. You should not have to do this.

AlpacaLypse Thu 16-Jul-15 18:45:26

You may get more information in the Special Educational Needs area of MN, you have to 'opt in' to see it, but there's some really nice people who've given some fantastic advice to my sister who has a SEN child and had to fight her corner tooth and nail for support from school.

insanityscatching Thu 16-Jul-15 19:01:46

It's time to get tough and stop letting the school dictate. Contact IPSEA or SOSSEN and get advice on how to apply for an EHCP to get your dn the support he needs.
From this minute on, any conversation you have with school regarding dn, his needs or support document them. Ask for an email address to communicate directly and then after each conversation email " following the conversation between myself and (teacher's name) on (date and time) can I check that I have fully understood what I have been told?" Then write exactly what was said.If you are being told a pile of bullshit they will reply with a version closer to the truth if not it is part of a paper trail that you will need to secure the best support you can.

clam Thu 16-Jul-15 19:38:38

I despair that some schools still behave like this. angry

TeenAndTween Thu 16-Jul-15 19:43:42

Was he 'placed in your care' officially or informally?
Does he have 'Looked After' status?
If so he gets the PPP funding referred to above.
If it was all done on a handshake to stop him 'going into care' then you may not.

slkk Thu 16-Jul-15 19:45:39

Lac children get pupil premium plus (£1900) but as he is in a family placement im not sure if he is eligible.Op., please be prepared for a long fight to get the support be needs, but it will be worth it.

catkind Thu 16-Jul-15 20:00:52

They've said they can't cope with a 3 yr old because they can't sit still and do work?? What sort of nursery is this?

Assuming you're in the UK, your son is entitled to a full time education just like any other child. Not two days a week for an hour or so till they decide they can't cope with him.

Given the school's attitude so far, it does sound to me like you'll have an uphill battle on your hands to get them to take responsibility for his education. Are there any other schools you could consider? Even at this late stage, might be worth having a call around.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jul-15 20:49:03

Schools get:

- funding per pupil
- a notional SEN budget
- top up funding

The notional SEN budget is so that the school can make provision to meet children's SEN. The school must use its best endeavours to ensure that they make adequate provision for him. The government has recommended that schools should use this budget to pay up to £6,000 of special educational provision for each child with SEN. Most children will need less than that.

In theory the school can spend the notional SEN budget however they want. They do, however, have a duty to identify, assess and make special provision for all children with SEN.

The top up funding is also related to SEN. If a child needs more than £6,000 of special provision the school can apply to the LA for additional funding to cover the cost.

The above applies to all types of school.

The school has got the funding. They shouldn't be suggesting that they might tell you to only bring your nephew in 2 days a week or that you need to be on standby to collect him if they cannot cope. If Ofsted was aware of this it would count against the school.

Having said all of that, the attitude of this school makes me question whether it is the right setting for your nephew. I would appeal for a place at a more supportive school. I would also consider complaining to the governors and reporting what has happened to Ofsted.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jul-15 20:51:38

Forgot to say - I also agree with the comment up thread that you need to force the school to put things in writing or, if they won't, email them with your understanding of conversations. You may need that as evidence.

There seems to be some confusion on this thread as to whether or not your nephew qualifies for pupil premium. To qualify he must have been in local authority care and transferred to you due to:

- adoption
- a special guardianship order
- a child arrangements order or
- a residence order

If that isn't how he came to be in your care he does not qualify for pupil premium.

Inkymess Thu 16-Jul-15 21:04:03

I agree with catkind. Never heard such rubbish from a school or nursery. They get funding to provide him with 15 hours education. It's their job to deliver this and help the child overcome their issues.

spanieleyes Thu 16-Jul-15 21:11:37

I have never been sure how the "notional SEN funding" works. Is it assumed that all schools have the same percentage of children with SEN needs and so each school is allocated SEN funding based on the overall number of children within the school? Or does the budget allocation depend on the specific number of SEN children within the school at a given date? What happens if the number of children within a school with SEN suddenly increases dramatically, does the £6000 per pupil need to be taken from elsewhere in the budget before additional funding can be applied for? Budgets seem to be increasingly under pressure, is the SEN funding ring fenced?

QuiteQuietly Thu 16-Jul-15 21:18:44

If OP's DN is with her "on a handshake" she should still register as a private fostering arrangement with the county council. They will then allocate a social worker who may help liaise with the school or at least should put you in touch with people who can. I found them helpful with getting DD1 a school place when we moved area.

And pupil premium or not, your DN is entitled to an education and this should not be contingent on you funding it.

tethersend Thu 16-Jul-15 21:25:04

As others have said, he will only qualify for Pupil Premium if he was formerly in the care of a local authority and left under an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangement (formerly Residence) Order.

All children are entitled to a full time school place from the September after their fourth birthday. Inform the school that he will be using his full entitlement from day 1 of the autumn term.

Explain that any exclusion, including asking you to collect him during the day, must be formally recorded and the relevant paperwork provided.

If they ask you to collect him when no incident has taken place, this is an illegal exclusion.

If the school impose a part time timetable, this constitutes an illegal exclusion. Part time timetables should only be used as a temporary measure and as part of an integration or transition plan. They should not be used for disciplinary reasons.

As others have said, they (or you) need to request an assessment for an EHC plan.

admission Fri 17-Jul-15 22:26:30

There seems to be a level of confusion over funding in schools. The pupil premium funding is for pupils that fall into a vulnerable pupils category, so that is things like free school meals etc. The current value of that funding is £1300 per pupil per annum and the school gets that funding.
If as seems the case here the pupil is cared for or previously cared for, then the value of the pupil premium rises to £1900 but that funding does not go directly to the school, it is held by the Local Authority virtual head for cared for children and used as they deem appropriate. That is usually in conjunction with the school but the virtual head has the final say.
When it come to funding for pupils, there is a per pupil level of funding and then various other streams of funding mainly around central costs of schools. Within the total value of funding the school receives the school is expected to use part of this funding for the "notional SEN funding" of £6000 when and where it is appropriate. For want of a better way of putting it the school is expected to cope and properly educate pupils with levels of SEN intervention adding up to £6000. That does not mean they have to definitely spend that level of funding as in many instances of lower level SEN, the school's own resources are able to provide appropriate support to the pupils.
Now the only way to get extra "top-up" funding is to go through the LA process to justify the need for funding over and above the notional £6000. Obviously different schools have different levels of SEN need and this can put substantial pressure on school funding. There is no extra funding other than the top-up funding. The extra top-up funding along with the Notional funding can be used by the school in any way they feel is appropriate to improve the progress and attainment of SEN pupils. That does not necessarily mean a TA "velcroed" to the pupil.

Icimoi Sat 18-Jul-15 08:15:45

The school would only get the Sen finding if they/you applied for it

No, it gets the notional £6000 whether it applies or not - it's a pot of delegated funding which is calculated based on the numbers of pupils with SEN that they have had previously. But I'd strongly recommend that you ask the nursery to produce a report, and make an application for an EHC needs assessment. If you look at the local offer on your LA's website, it will tell you how to do this and will probably have their form.

And I agree, don't agree to part time education if all other rising 5s in your area go into full time education in Reception: point out that depriving your nephew of full time education is discrimination. Once he is 5, you have a duty anyway to ensure that he is in education full time. Also, don't be fobbed off by suggestions that it will be lawful if they send work for him to do at home - it won't.

mrz Sat 18-Jul-15 08:31:03

I'm really confused by the OP ... How old is your nephew - 2.5 hours a day would be right for a 2 year old but a 4 year old is entitled to 15 hours per week (3hours a day)
If your nephew is in nursery why is he expected to sit and do work?
Is he due to start reception in September? Who is recommending he stays back?

The "notional" £6000 is effectively "imaginary" money that the school must prove they've spent when applying for additional support/funding for a child. We've looked,as have most schools, it's not in the budget so schools have to find it by making cuts elsewhere. I've been told by an expert that it represents the child requiring one and a half times the time/support of other children.

lougle Sat 18-Jul-15 08:59:30

There is high needs block funding held by each LA and any school can apply for it if they have a disproportionate number of children with SEN who require support.

It isn't an option to deny support to a cold because of a lack of funding. Funding is not the concern of a parent.

I'd suggest an EHCP application -you can apply yourself. Add in the information that they have suggested you will need to be on standby, that you have reduced hours because they can't cope, etc.

Babymamamama Sat 18-Jul-15 09:11:10

Ask for an educational health and care plan. And pupil premium. Good luck.

tethersend Sat 18-Jul-15 10:10:27

If he is a Looked After Child and entitled to Pupil Premium funding, this should not be used to plug gaps in other services.

Virtual Heads will not release money to be used for SEN support when no SEN support has been applied for through the usual channels as it would be for any non LAC child.

As a vulnerable child, he should benefit from the generic (Ever 6 FSM) Pupil Premium funding, but ultimately an assessment for an EHC plan sounds necessary.

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