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Direct discrimination for nursery attendance

(15 Posts)
MamaElster Fri 10-Jun-11 16:11:56

My Fairy Queen has complex SEN, too many things to list here. We have been told our funding for the dual nursery setting she attends (where she requires one-to-one to ensure she is no danger to herself or others due to profound difficulties, vision, hearing, mobility - she is mobile) is going to be cut.

This means in my mind's eye direct discrimination towards a child with complex SEN. So as funding is going to be cut, we as parents are expected to pay the cost.

Let me get this right.

My other child has no SEN and I have always paid normal childcare rates like any other mother.

My daughter has SEN and we have to pay over and above for the right childcare, some is funded, some is self-funded.

My son will attend a nursery and I will pay for the weekly rate like anyone else.

My daughter attends a nursery outside term time allocation of 15 hours, and I am asked to cover cuts in funding so that she like my son could access a nursery. Because without a one-to-one she cannot attend.

It seems very much like direct discrimination here. Any parent can send their child to a paid nursery setting, I am being asked to pay for that AND for one-to-one because my daughter requires it. Fair? I think not.

I need to take this further, if anyone can help with theri experiences, we'd be very grateful.

IndigoBell Fri 10-Jun-11 16:20:40

You have to pay for 1:1 cover for the 15 hours all children are entitled to?

That's not right. You need a statement, specifying she has full time 1:1, NOW........

cornsilks Fri 10-Jun-11 16:22:02

Does she have a statement?

r3dh3d Fri 10-Jun-11 16:44:08


Well, I don't reckon your chances tbh. It's not discrimination by the nursery, because asking them to fund a 1:1 is not "reasonable adaptation". A bit of extra help, eg with a child just with visual issues, would be affordable and so reasonable. Full time 1:1 they can't afford and afaik the law won't force them to. SEN provision by the LEA is covered by education laws not SEN ones, and you have no legal right to education for your child till they are age 5. None whatsoever. At least that is what I was told by IPSEA when I called them for advice when DD1 (also complex SEN) was the same age.

Now, in practice, children that need a lot of support cost more the later you leave it to start working with them. So LEAs do tend to fund nursery support despite there being no legal requirement to do so. And I think once that provision is actually in a statement then it is legal regardless of age. The issue is that if they refuse to statement before 5, then you're a bit stuffed. I'd still follow it up, and push it up the food chain at the LEA; my experience is that though kids with complex SEN are expensive as individuals, they are fairly rare so the LEA will sometimes back down because they can do so without setting a precedent that other parents will try to exploit. DD1 was granted a statement at age 3, because it would have been berluddy daft not to.

Where do you want her to go to school, btw? DD1's statement was for a SN nursery attached to the SN school she attended afterwards. If you've got a school in mind, they may have some advice.

MamaElster Fri 10-Jun-11 16:45:36

Yes she has a statement specifying full time 1:1, she's 4 years old and due to start school in September. She is accessing the nursery from now until then as she cannot cope without structure.

She will continue to attend the nursery out of term time to keep continuity in place and they are requesting we as parents pay not only the nursery fee but also the cost of the one-to-one from September.

From now until Sept start we will have to pay the funding cuts - 2 hours one to one at one nursery and 6 hours one to one at the other nursery.

I think it's outrageous that she is being penalised for SEN - if any child can attend a nursery, we should, like other parents only have to pay for that nursery time.

corsilk Fri 10-Jun-11 17:02:15

I saw something about this on a website - IPSEA perhaps - about LEA's making parents pay towards provision when there is a statement in place. Can't remember where it was though but I'm sure it said that it's illegal. Phone IPSEA to check it out.

IndigoBell Fri 10-Jun-11 17:03:11

So they're only asking you to pay the 1:1 for the hours you have to pay for?

I think that's how things work unfortunately.....

corsilk Fri 10-Jun-11 17:04:38

oh actually yes Indigo....I'm confused now confused

madwomanintheattic Fri 10-Jun-11 17:05:59

she has a statement saying ft 1-1 (how many hours btw?) and you are being asked to pay for the 1-1?


i think there's been a mistake.

unless you mean they are withdrawing funding for the provision outside the 15 hours until she starts school? (sorry, i'm being a bit dim)

how many hours does she attend? and are they providing 1-1 for the 15 hours without any hassle?

mmm, tricksy. we had a similar issue iirc but younger.

it would be worth arguing that she needs longer time in the setting to build stamina ready for ft schooling - but i don't think the lea are obliged to fund the additional hours unless they choose to. <sigh>

they should be providing the 15 hours though. (actually, didn't it go up? am i worng?)

have you spoken directly to the area inco? i used to go straight to them to discuss nonsense like this.

corsilk Fri 10-Jun-11 17:06:30

'but also the cost of the one-to-one from September'...that's not right surely?
link here is this of any help? Was actually linked to on this board originally.

direlahere Fri 10-Jun-11 22:38:54

Is the nursery named on the statement?

MamaElster Fri 10-Jun-11 23:50:34

I think my main issue here is that if I want my daughter to be able to go to a nursery outside of the 15 hours specified, then I pay the extra hours - like any other parent. But they are now going to ask me to pay for the one to one for those out of 15 hours allocated.

She goes for extra hours because she cannot cope without nailed to the floor routines and consistency - holidays don't mean anything to her, and until she is of an age when she can cope without her structure we have to be able to provide her with the structure to function without causing her massive anxiety and stress which impacts her in so many ways.

I think that it is direct discrimination against any child with SEN to say we have to do this - a child without SEN can go to a nursery for any time the parents pay for, a child with SEN (in my daughter's case) has to have one to one because of her needs. They won't take her otherwise but they're not prepared to absorb the costs in the setting and our county aren't either. I rang EDCM and they said it's a case of direct discrimination so I will be talking to my lawyer.

I'm fed up of children with disability being penalised at it seems. The system is wrong, and well if I have to stand up and shout about it I will.

Thank you all for posting and sharing, it means a lot!

r3dh3d Sat 11-Jun-11 10:08:03

I would have thought that if her 1-1 in the 15 hours was statemented, then you have them by the knackers.

The thing you always have to remember with this stuff: there are 3 sets of rules your case worker is bound by. The law, govt policy, and LEA policy. Broadly speaking, the law is generally the most favourable to your child. Some govt policy breaks the law, and can be overridden by Tribunal. Quite a lot of LEA policy breaks the law and is regularly overridden by Tribunal. hmm But your case officer will primarily be trained in LEA policy and a bit hazy about the law. So they do make bad decisions in good faith quite often. The up side of that is that sometimes you can change their minds by just keeping communication up with them, before getting to the stage where battle lines are drawn and you are all headed to court.

direlahere Sat 11-Jun-11 12:06:18

I think if the nursery is named in the statement then your case is solid, I went to the LGO with a similar complaint and the LA had to reimburse the fees. If the statement does not name the school then perhaps an early review to get this rectified would be a way forward?

Good luck, hope you get it sorted, I would absolutely agree that restricted access is discriminatory. I would be really interested to learn how you get on with your case.

MamaElster Mon 13-Jun-11 17:04:19

I'll certainly let you know how we go. We're meeting on 21st June to talk through this. The budgets of how we go forward will be discussed. My lawyer will be attending this meeting with me.

Whatever happens, we'll win. We won the right to her education at an out of county private school and we'll win this.

I'm not going to let anyone dictate the terms under which my daughter has a fair right to life.

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