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Examples/experiences of school's contribution to SEN

(29 Posts)
Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 17:16:46

Hi there

Our son has had a statement for 2 years; he gets 10 hours of support. The school has put in a request to panel to increase to 19 hours based on an additional diagnosis from recent EP review and more support needed as he moves into Year 4. Panel has just come back with refusal - not outright refusal actually - they say they need clarification as to what the school is providing towards our son's needs, above and beyond the 10 hours that the borough funds.

SENCO seems a bit clueless as to how to proceed. She says they don't have any additional funding (It seems some schools are given a non allocated pot of SEN funds but that does not seem to be the case here) SENCO plans to resubmit paperwork giving all these marginal examples of how eg the class teacher spends time with our son 1:1 during assemblies pre-teaching vocabulary, how he is in te lowest maths set which has an unusually low teacher/student ratio....basically examples of things they do that cost them nothing extra but which are examples of extra help he gets.

Can anyone give me examples of what their school has contributed towards their child's SEN? What is the panel expecting to see? What should I be expecting/demanding from the school? Is it possible that the SENCO is not being truthful, ie that they do in fact have this pot of SEN money but are choosing to use it elsewhere?


Bumfuzzle Mon 23-May-11 17:25:52

my boys get full time 1:1. The la put in (I think, without checking the statements) 20 hours for one and 22 hours for the other? or 22 / 25 - or something. plus SSSEN for my youngest is an hour and a half a week.

Schools put in everything else to ensure they are covered from the minute I drop them off to the minute I pick them up.

Look. Bottom line - Budget arguments are not your problem. I have always said this when people have tried to involve me in their budget issues. I want to discuss my children's needs. That's all I care about. They need full time 1:1 so they get full time 1:1. Who pays for it I don't care. That's not my problem.

Don't let them talk about budgets. Budgets are not your problem. Talk about needs. request a review. In the review, focus on exploring what his needs are. Only when his needs are agreed, do you then move on to anything else. Once it is decided that he needs X number of hours support, or support in this, that and the other, they can sort out between them who is doing what. When you have agreement on his needs, you then ask them to explain to you how they are going to meet his needs. The school may be more forthcoming in a review than with you!

Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 17:31:35

Thanks for this. Can I just ask what you mean "request a review"? We had my son's annual review last month with the attendance of teachers fomr the school + all the specialists supporting him - is that the kind of review you mean? Or do you mean I should request some sort of meeting whereby the borough/panel people and the school are present at the same time?

Bumfuzzle Mon 23-May-11 17:36:12

yes. statement review. Forgive me, I didn't realise you had had one only last month. If his needs and how to meet them was not discussed in the review, then what did they discuss?

The LA are always invited to a review. Did they not attend?

Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 17:59:06

The LA didn't attend. They have not attended either of my son's 2 annual reviews. Do they usually attend in your experience? Actually, when I say that the LA did not attend, I mean the case worker didn't attend. But the EP who is employed by the LA attended and the OT and SaLT (also employed by LA) were invited but couldn't attend on the dates (but they submitted reports)
My son's needs were discussed during the review - in short, current provision not sufficient to deal with the additional diagnosis (previously only ADD diagnosis, now we have addiitonal dyslexia diagnosis as well as "features of a non verbal learning disability" ) and insufficient to deal with increased academic demands as he moves to Year 4. So school requested 19 hours of support rather than 10 (current provision). School expected LA to fund the entire extra provision. LA came back to say they want clarification on what the school is putting in to my child's support, before they'll make a decision.

Bumfuzzle Mon 23-May-11 18:09:13

The inclusion officer has always come. Now my eldest is at secondary, reviews are going to be just us and the senco unless there's a problem. The next time the la will send someone is his GCSE choices year, apparently. unless there's a problem. But they will still be sending someone to my youngest. In fact, his review is after the holidays. It's his transitional review, so everyone will be there.

What the school is putting in is not a difficult question and if your SENCO doesn't understand what they are asking, then I question their competence, to be frank.

How many hours are in the school day? What support does he actually have? Someone sitting with him? How many hours? How many hours is he unsupported?

These 19 hours they want. Is that 19 hours per week of someone employed to work with him? What is the provision for him the rest of the time?

I think the school doesn't want to say that they are doing bog all. They should be funding some hours of support.

It's not the class teacher who should be spending 1:1 time with your son. Someone should be hired to be his LSA (learning support assistant) or TA (teaching assistant). Does he have such a person atm?

Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 18:31:05

Yes he has an LSA (very good one in fact) who was hired for him and spends 10 hours 1:1 (or supporting him in a group) with him per week, 2 hours per morning. His statement is for 10 hours.
From what you are saying, it sounds like the usual situation is that the school would provide a portion of the statemented hours from their own budget? or the school provides support above the statemented hours from their own budget?
There aren't many statemented kids at the school so I don't think the SENCO is very experienced.....and I'm also starting to wonder whether she is conveying the entire picture to me about what funding the school has.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 23-May-11 18:31:25

Lynn, it sounds a bit like the LA aren't happy that the school have actually been supplying 10 hours 1:1 support for your DS so far, and want proof that that is what they have been doing. This 10 hours may be from your school's budget and the 9 extra would be funded by the LA. (perhaps, not sure, obviously) So the LA may fund the extra hours if they have proof that 10 hours have been provided and your DS hasn't made enough progress. The 10 hours are supposed to be a paid TA who works exclusively with your dS or a small group including your DS if appropriate, or supervising the class while the teacher spends some time 1:1 with your DS. Is that what's happened so far?

Bumfuzzle Mon 23-May-11 18:37:16

My children's statements say X number of hours funded by the la and X number of hours funded by the school, and ds2 has his SSSEN hours written on there too.

Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 18:41:39

Hi Ellen
Re: "The 10 hours are supposed to be a paid TA who works exclusively with your dS or a small group including your DS if appropriate, or supervising the class while the teacher spends some time 1:1 with your DS. Is that what's happened so far?" Yes that is what is happening.
But my son is now 2 years behind his peers in all subjects whereas he was 15 months behind them 2 years ago when his first statement was issued which is not very promising but not necessarily an indicator of the school's provision - may be more an indicator of my child's ability to cope with MS teaching and a somewhat chaotic environment (big school).

Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 18:43:41

Bumfuzzle - how very very interesting!
Does anyone else have statements that say X hours funded by school and X by the LA?

Niecie Mon 23-May-11 18:48:06

It is possible that the school aren't receiving any direct funding for your DS's statement. Not all statements come with funding attached, certainly the 3 statemented children at DS's school don't have any, it all has to come out of the pot. The budget factors in the number of children in the school and use a formual to work out how much SENs might cost but this isn't worked out based on the needs of any specific child, it is just a calculation. Schools tend to use the money to provide TAs but then the TAs are there to support any child that needs the help, not just the SEN children.

As for the SENCO not being very experienced, they quite often aren't given any training but it is likely that if only a couple of children have statements, there will be plenty of others who are on the register and need help on SA or SA+ but as I say, she may not have had much experience of getting funding on that basis because she hasn't had to.

I am not sure that I will be any of any help to you as my DS doesn't have a statement but he gets 0.5 hours a day with a TA 1-to-1 for this OT and also he has some support during PE. Do you have that sort of thing included in you DS's hours. He also spends time with another TA who helps with social comms things. That is his direct help. He does get assistance if he is struggling on an ad hoc basis but that would be with the classroom TA.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 23-May-11 19:08:53

Sorry, Lynn, cross-posted!

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 23-May-11 19:14:09

My DS's statement says 10 hours from the delegated funding provided to the school, and 5 hours TA and 5 hours lunchtime supervision or equivalent funded from £xxx by the LA. TBH, I don't care who funds it, so long as he gets the hours! It shouldn't be your problem, but, heigh ho! No-one else cares enough about your DS to sort it out.

Lynn6697 Mon 23-May-11 23:22:44

Thanks everyone. I had just assumed that my son's ten statemented hours came with funding attached (I think the SENCO or someone had indicated this at some point) but it sounds like there are variants to the way this works so I need to do further investigation.

Justunbelievable Tue 24-May-11 07:16:05

My ds has sm of 22 hours. School hired an LSA for 17 hours! This is because they have to fund 5 hours from their own budget and tell me this time is spent with other staff helping him hmm

Lynn6697 Tue 24-May-11 10:45:59

Hi Justunbelievable
Your situation sounds very similar to mine then. Have you ever asked what "funding from their own budget" means? Does that mean 5 hours comes from some unallocated SEN pot of money the LA gives them, whereas the 17 comes from money given to them directly for your child? Or does it work more like how Niecie describes it - all the SEN money comes into the school by way of a formula and then it's allocated amongst all statemented, SA and SA+ pupils?

Triggles Tue 24-May-11 11:58:35

I've quickly reached the "I don't care who pays for it" point as well. DS2's school says he needs 30 hours 1:1...prelim statement says 25.. I'm going to request they up it to 30, but insist that the school keep it at 30 (as they have stated he must have 30 - duty of care and all that - if they say it's vital he have 30, then they need to make sure he has 30 hrs, regardless of who pays for it). They were initially saying they wouldn't withdraw support, but then I noticed comments that he might not necessarily need a TA with him for this part of day or that part of day... well, IMO that's withdrawing support. As it's for his own safety (runner with no sense of danger), then I expect it to be there. End of.

I understand that as parents we have to educate ourselves to some extent on the ins and outs of it all... but it sometimes reaches a ridiculous extreme IMO. And I find it frustrating that we have to be on top of everybody all the time to make sure things are done the way they should be. hmm

Triggles Tue 24-May-11 11:59:46

sorry, insist that the school keep it at 30 regardless* (hate it when I leave out a whole word from a sentence!!)

Niecie Tue 24-May-11 13:16:55

It is tough finding out what is what when you have a SEN child. I only found out about how SENs are funded by virtue of being a school governor and not really being a 'threat' the school budgets because DS doesn't have a statement and we are lucky that he doesn't require that much 1-to-1 help. I reckon if he had or could have had a statement they wouldn't have been quite so open about funding.

The problem is that budgets for schools, like everything else are being drastically squeezed to the point where the school I am governor at are at risk of losing a TA or 2 as they simply don't have the money. They have a lot of staff due to careful management but they can't go on squeezing other areas for ever to ensure that they can keep staff. As it is they are hoping to keep their TA cover by senior and experienced staff moving on and being replaced by NQTs but you can't run a good school with nothing but NQTs.

It is often said on MN that parents should go for a statement as SA and SA+ aren't legally binding. I would go one step further and say make sure, if it is within your powers, that you get a statement with funding. With the best will in the world, no school has endless pots of money to provide 1-to-1 for children who desperately need it. School are in a difficult position of being pressured by the parents and children on one side and the LEA on the other. This is absolutely not the parents's problem and it is especially not the child's problem - they should get whatever help is necessary - but it may explain why it can be such a monumental struggle for parents to get the help and support their child needs and deserves and I don't think it does any harm to know as much about the system as possible to make sure you get what you need.

I suppose I ought to add that I am not sure if the way our LEA works is the same across the country. I assume it is but who knows!

Niecie Tue 24-May-11 13:38:05

Oh blimey, that sounded like I was sticking up for the schools. I am a bit I suppose - I know they don't want to have to make people redundant nor provide less help than is needed to a SEN child, or any child come to that. But, if parents don't consider the schools they aren't going to get the best out of them because you really need the school on your side against the LEA. None of us can fight the school and the LEA if they close ranks against us so finding out how things are funded is quite important from that point of view.

Lynn6697 Tue 24-May-11 19:42:46

Hi Niecie
Thanks - all good and relevant points....and I am well aware of need not to burn bridges as I've got a younger one at same school and people are gossipy - don't want my younger one to suffer.

Agnesdipesto Tue 24-May-11 19:52:41

If the annual review was a month ago and the statement was not changed from 10 hours LSA to 19 hours despite that being what was recommended then you need to appeal it (a right to appeal the statement after annual review if the LA do not change it came in last year). So you have 1 month left to appeal the failure to amend the statement.

Contact Parent Partnership / IPSEA etc

Different LAs do the money differently. Some split funding with school eg school puts in 10 hours and LA tops up. Other LAs fund the whole statement and the schools fund children without statements

I would not worry about getting evidence for panel. I would just tell the LA you intend to appeal (did the LA send you a letter saying the statement would not be changed and telling you of your right to appeal? check the date on it)

Even if you just cobble something together to register the appeal don't miss the date or you will have to wait another year. Once they know you will pursue it to tribunal if necessary the panel might decide to 'find' the extra money. There will be loads of time to 'clarify' while you wait for an appeal date but at least you are in the system if they do not play ball.

Its not actually your problem who funds it what matters is the statement says 19 hours. Once you have the statement changed you can then enforce it against the LA.

Lynn6697 Tue 24-May-11 21:12:17

Very very helpful advice- thank you. I had no idea of the right to appeal. The LA didn't turn us down yet. They just delayed a decision, kicked the application back to the school and said "tell is what you're adding to the needs from your own resources". I guess it had not been entirely clear from the application. Do you know where I would look to find the details of HOW to appeal? (yes, I'm completely clueless)

Agnesdipesto Tue 24-May-11 22:00:58

SEN Code of Practice Section 9 deals with Annual Review:

Conduct of the review meeting
9:29 Those present at the meeting should, in the light of the issues raised in the reports as set out at 9:14, consider:
● does the statement remain appropriate?
● are any amendments to the statement required?
● any new targets to be set to meet the objectives set out in the statement

9:30 A review meeting may make recommendations on any of the matters listed above.

Amendments to a statement are likely to be recommended if:
● the provision should be amended to meet the child’s changing needs and the targets specified at the review meeting...

Submitting the report
9:32 Following the annual review meeting the head teacher must prepare a report, and submit it to the LEA no later than 10 school days after the annual review meeting or the end of that school term, whichever is the earlier. The report should summarise the outcome of the review meeting, setting out the head teacher’s assessment of the main issues discussed at the meeting; and the head teacher’s recommendations about any educational targets for the coming year; and any other steps that ought to be taken including whether the statement should be amended or maintained. The head teacher should always give reasons for the recommendations. The head teacher must send a copy of the report to all concerned in the review, including the parents and any relevant professionals.

9:33 The review report should be written as quickly as possible. The head teacher should make sure that the recommendations are clear and that any relevant professional reports are appended to the review report so that the LEA is able to review the statement and make decisions without any unnecessary delay. LEAs may find it helpful to offer guidance as to the form that reports should follow, or provide a common format for review reports for all schools in their area.

The role of the LEA after receiving the review report

9:34 The LEA concludes the review process by considering the report of the review meeting and the recommendations prepared by the head teacher. The LEA must then review the statement, in the light of the report and recommendations and any other information they consider relevant. The LEA must decide whether to accept the head teacher’s recommendations. In particular the LEA must decide whether to amend or cease to maintain the statement. Within one week of making a decision, the LEA must send a copy of its decision on these matters to the head teacher, the child’s parents and anyone else they think appropriate.

9:35 Where the decision is to amend the statement, the LEA should start the process of amendment without delay.

Part 1 (2) Children, Schools and Family Act 2010 amended Education Act 1996 to add right of appeal after statement is not changed at annual review. here

So as I see it School should have sent a report within 10 school days (2 weeks) and LA should have responded within 1 week. If you are a month in they have missed these timescales.

You need to make it clear (politely - always write for the tribunal) that these steps and timescale need to be followed - it sounds as though if the school fund it they will agree it and if the school won't the LA won't change the statement. This is rubbish. If the need is there they have to change the statement and work out who pays between themselves.

If they have not sent a decision ask them (in writing) to do so asap so you can exercise your right of appeal without further delay.

Can get advice from NAS education line, IPSEA, SOSSEN etc

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