SEN, no dx, and the appeals process - please help!(15 Posts)
Ok, I've read tons of threads on here about how to apply for primary school and how to do appeals, but I'm still in a muddle. I really hope someone can help me!
We're applying for DD's primary place. She is in the dx process for ASD but no dx yet. Her paediatrician just retired too, so we have to start again with a new one, therefore it won't be done before the Jan application deadline.
There is realistically one local school that is ideal. It has relatively small classes (24), VERY nurturing ethos, structured day, a team of SENCOs instead of a p/t one, it runs through til 18 so no need to change school, they will flexi-school: perfect! Its an ex private that's now a free school.
Unfortunately their admissions are on a lottery system within a certain area, and she won't have a statement. The waiting list is ginormous! Is there any way I can improve her chances? Is this something I can put in the "extra info" section then try for an appeal? Otherwise we're looking at HE. The other schools are not an option for her - I have visited them all.
My understanding is that even with a diagnosis she isn't immediately entitled to a place unless she either has a statement that names that school, or if the school lists medical need as a admissions criteria.
If it does list the medical need as an admissions criteria then you want to get evidence from the paediatrican. You shouldn't have to start again with a new one as they should have the notes from the retiring one. It may be a step back, but it's not back to stage one.
I think that's right.
Can you afford about £800 to pay for a private diagnosis which you could get before January?
you will either need an EHCP, you can start the process of applying. see IPSEA website but it wont be in place by January but will be by September if you get one.
Or if medical/ social need is an entry criteria you need to put this on your form and have a letter or 2 from appropriate professionals saying you child needs this school because XXXXX features this school has that other schools don't have and therefore this school is needed.
Thank you for the replies!
No, medical need isn't a criterion, it's just that this is the only suitable school!
Unfortunately we can't afford a private diagnosis. I wasn't able to go back to work after having DD as she wouldn't have coped with childcare until recently - and I have DS now!
Are appeals purely for breaches/mistakes in their admission rules or can they be used this way?
I second applying for an EHCP. Has she been seen by an educational psychologist? If not, your peadiatrician may be able to refer her (different referral routes in different areas) and they should be able to assess what her needs are in terms of educational placement and support. A diagnosis may be helpful but shouldn't be necessary as support should a be needs based. The IPSEA website will help with applying for the EHCP and give you pointers about the process. It takes some time so start now. Unfortunately it is not uncommon to need a 'false start' and a failed placement to highlight a dc needs before a LA will look to meet them but starting the process now should help.
In the short term you will have to take the same chance as everybody else has to for this school in terms of it being a lottery system but I would still put it as your first preference if you believe this is the school for your child. What you need to do is look at other schools and decide what your fall back position is.
At the same time you need to try and progress the issue of your child's special needs. Are you sure that they will get a diagnosis and a statement?
If you are then push ahead as quickly as possible to achieve that. At the point when a statement (EHC plan now) is confirmed you will be able to nominate the school you wish your child to go to and that should mean that you are able to access the school you want. Do not try and short cut the system by bringing in private healthcare people. All LAS work on the principle that it has got to be their people who do the diagnosis etc, so you will need to stick with it. It will be hard and annoying but is the right way forward.
If you have any referral letters or evidence wrt the SEN then I would mention it in the other info box stressing that the school is the most suitable because of X and y. Be factual and brief. Forward your evidence on to the admissions authority.
It may or may not work but it can't hurt as long as it has some medical weight.
Do select other schools though and don't rely on getting choice #1
I know I can't rely on getting them as my only choice. My fall back position is home educating her, as I am absolutely certain that the catchment schools would be disastrous for her. No structure in reception, no real knowledge of or interest in ASD, a SENCO who does the role for less than 2 days per week in a huge school, rushed meal times.... And s big bullying problem in the closest, and she is very prone to being bullied.
No, I doubt she'd get a statement after her diagnosis. As I understand they are like hens teeth now, and she's fairly high functioning. Just needs a bit of understanding and extra care.
I see the new paediatrician tomorrow so I'll ask about a referral to an ed psych.
Thank you so much for helping!
We have a son aged 3.5 who is in the process of being diagnosed with asd and we have applied for an ehcp because I am fighting to get him a place at special school for next September. We are now waiting to hear the outcome of all the reports and whether he will be granted an ehcp.
I would definitely apply for the ehcp now without delay through your local council and let them carry out the assessments to see if one is required. The worst that will happen is you will get a no and then you are no worse off than you are now.
If you put down the school you want and get refused but in the meantime have an ehcp assessment going on (takes approx 20 weeks from start to finish) then if you are granted one at the end you can name the school in the ehcp and they will have to try and accommodate your child or at the very least provide specialist support detailed in the ehcp at another suitable school.
Having high functioning asd does not mean a child will not get an ehcp. You just have to show they have significant needs with relation to eduction and care and this can be due to sensory or behavioural issues too. (Need for smaller class sizes etc etc). It is very area dependent however.
If you are on Fb find SEN action with Sean bowers who gives free advice on this most evenings. He used to work for LA so knows what they will throw at you and how to fight back.
If you get a 'no' from the LA for a EHCP then appeal. It lengthens the whole process but in some areas is almost an inevitable step you have to take.
Thank you everyone. I'll ask the new paed tomorrow about an ehcp and if I get no joy I'll contact the council directly.
Good luck Fairylea !
Don't wait for a diagnosis or a referral by the paediatrician, get your request for an EHC needs assessment in now. There should be forms on your council's Local Offer website.
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