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Agencies and school meeting without your consent to discuss your child - Agnes?

(8 Posts)
appropriatelytrained Tue 19-Jul-11 19:53:11

I know Agnes, you posted about this issue a while back and wondered if you'd made any progress.

Our S&LT team admitted today in writing that a senior therapist who has had no dealings with my son (but who they wanted to appoint as a 4th tribunal witness) met my son's head teacher for a meeting in June. They discussed my son and how his programme had been implemented - i.e. stitched up their Tribunal patter together.

I knew nothing about this obviously, and whereas S&LT dug up my referral consent which said they could talk to other agencies to assist with my son's programme (stretching it a bit when his own NHS S&LT was due in school anyway that week and this was clearly about Tribunal prep) but I have never signed anything allowing school to talk about DS without permission. School have confirmed I have never signed such consent.

There are clear issues of confidentiality here surely? They shouldn't just be arranging meetings to discuss my son without my consent.

I know this is common practice which is why they were so blase about telling me, but, where is the partnership working there?

I have asked them to confirm the date and purpose of the meeting.

They'll tell me to get stuffed but I've a good mind to get my solicitor to write about this.

Agnesdipesto Tue 19-Jul-11 22:14:02

Yes well surprise surprise our complaint response is well overdue and not a peep.

There is alot of this that goes on behind closed doors and its really unfair, we can't grill head teachers before tribunal can we?

I can't see why they should be arranging any meetings without parents. Our nursery refused to hold a meeting to which we were not invited and told outreach it wasn't their policy to exclude parents from meetings about their child!

Will let you know if we ever receive a response worth repeating!

appropriatelytrained Tue 19-Jul-11 23:42:13

What did you make a complaint against? The service that held the meetings? Did they admit to holding them?

I am trying to figure out what there is to stop schools and LA getting together and caucasing like this.

I think if they are going to talk about your child, they should let you know but I'd like to cement that assertion down with something definite - confidentiality, data protection etc.

Agnesdipesto Wed 20-Jul-11 00:06:04

LA relied on SALT so we FOI LA file and SALT file and SALT had written that SEN officer had telephoned and insisted SALT report back after each session with DS to SEN officer. So every time the SALT saw us / DS (not often!) she would report to SEN officer. Then in months prior to tribunal were meetings with SALT preparing for tribunal - no notes of these meetings obviously but were emails asking for availability so we knew they had taken place. SALT witnesses got refused by tribunal but LA were desperate to get SALT in so we knew they had cooked up something.
SALT also toed the LA line that their provision was nil cost as 'they would not employ a SALT just for DS"
We actually just put our foot down post tribunal (easy because we won and their provision had been found lacking) and said to SALT we were happy to have meetings with professionals about DS to discuss his speech progress etc but as far as we were concerned these should be open team meetings which included parents (as we knew DS best) not behind closed doors and we specifically did not consent to any meetings or reports which were not shared with parents.
So we made it clear we were not against sharing information where that was helpful, but against it being secretive (and of course it was all done to DS detriment to refuse him provision, not to help him)
As far as I can see only consent is Education Act / SENCOP - by asking for SA we gave consent for SALT to be asked to do a report. But as I see it once they had produced that report (which was shared with us first and then circulated to all professionals) that consent ended. Its a grey area if SEN officer could go back for more info - but in my mind that would have to be on same basis eg a further report and the report being shared.
That is totally different to meetings to try and undermine a parent's case at tribunal
I guess we could use Star's group to campaign on this and to get parents to be alert to only giving very explicit restrictive consent for a specific purpose eg 1 report for SA.

appropriatelytrained Wed 20-Jul-11 00:22:04

Yes, that is a good idea. We could draw up a list of standard tactics and also pro forma letters for people to use.

I can see that S&LT will argue they had consent to talk to all and sundry but school did not have my consent to blab to senior management in the S&LT team about DS's targets and how they have been working on them - at a face to face meeting, with God knows who else there, and without telling me.

I actually saw the S&LT herself two days later in school so she could have had an open discussion with everyone then. I then saw the head two days later at a meeting to discuss the problems with the TA. She didn't say 'by the way, I had a chat with the S&LT team manager'

If they're not trying to hide things, why the need for secrecy? And if they're confident in their care of DS, why worry about being asked questions?

tiredoffightingwithjelly Wed 20-Jul-11 06:55:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lougle Wed 20-Jul-11 07:34:22

The problem here is that we as parents see these forms, sign them, then get cross when the professionals actually use them. It isn't our fault, because from childhood we are brought up that professionals know best, and that we should comply with people who say they will help us.

So, there are two ways we can tackle it. We can either refuse to sign the blanket consent, and produce our own consent form, which says something like

"I give the SLT department full permission to discuss DS/DD with his or her class teacher and the SENCO for the purpose of planning an effective SLT programme in the best interests of DS/DD.

I do NOT give permission for the SLT department to discuss DD/DS with the SENCO and class teacher or head teacher in general. In the event of a tribunal or Statutory Assessment request, I do not give permission for meetings to be held about DS without my knowledge and the opportunity to attend such meetings.

I reserve my right to decline an invitation to such meetings on the condition that I am given full minutes of such a meeting.'

Or something like that.

We can also simply refuse to sign consent, but often that will result in withdrawl of service.

appropriatelytrained Wed 20-Jul-11 09:58:45

You are right - I can't even remember signing the form or why I signed it.

But what about school? What gives school the right to disclose information without permission? I never signed anything for them

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