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TA - make a child 'look different' and statement provision

(30 Posts)
appropriatelytrained Tue 26-Jul-11 10:33:24

OK, our ruling from the Tribunal had a quote from the head saying that DS didn't need additional hours as this would make him look more different.

This was said in the context of her explaining that he doesn't have support on Wednesdays.

We didn't attend Tribunal but they clearly have gone with this. I am contemplating asking for a review on a variety of grounds but it concerns me that the head has admitted that on Weds DS does not get the support set out in his statement - e.g. daily literacy sessions, daily keyboard sessions, daily OT session - but the Tribunal seem to be indicating that this is ok.

Also, it seems to me that arguing that TA support will make you look different is the wrong argument. Surely it should be: what are the child's needs, are they being met by his statement requirements, how we can meet them so that the child doesn't look different?

If there is a problem with TA support making a child look different, surely that is a problem with the nature of provision and doesn't obviate a child's needs.

Additionally, the Tribunal has not then taken into account the further provision agreed in the statement e..g support through PE, daily help with independence skills when looking at hours.

Any thoughts about this?

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 26-Jul-11 10:43:16

I have two perspectives.

Firstly my DS2 is already so different that I really don't care if his TA makes him more so, he just couldn't function in MS without one.

Secondly, the parents of the DC I support have made it clear that they don't want the other children to know I'm there solely for him, and we have honoured their request. It's perfectly possible to support a child within a group and even take some 1:1 sessions with him and the other children not realise I'm there only for him. It does mean that his parents have to accept that I work with others using their DC's funding. It's a classroom management issue only. They are talking bollocks. Fair enough if you hang over a child's shoulder every minute, that's going to make them stand out, but that's only very rarely necessary.

appropriatelytrained Tue 26-Jul-11 12:16:52

Absolutely Ellen - how can you say a child will look different so we won't give him the provision he's entitled to on one of the days a week? It's got to be wrong in law to do that.

The child is different. Provision should be about ensuring inclusion irrespective of that and managing difference in a positive way. Not meeting need is not managing difference.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 26-Jul-11 12:24:39

I don't work Fridays, AT. Nice for me, but the thinking is that they don't want the DC I support to become dependent on me. Again, it's bollocks, I work hard when I'm there to make him as independent as possible but he's not very good at getting on with it. He needs lots of prompting. He just copes when I'm not there, but doesn't get much work done.

coff33pot Tue 26-Jul-11 12:33:31

Utter rubbish....the decision I mean.

My DS is different anyway and without the TA support he would stand out even more because he would be charging around the school or hiding under a table or cupboard.

There are other TAs in class assisting the teachers anyhow with individual reading etc so I dont see the difference really. All the TA has to do is comment on someone elses work as they walk by to get something and praise them to take the limelight off the fact that he/she is solely there for DS and his peers will be used to seeing the TA in the class with the other TAs anyhow.

The idea of the TA is to stand back and assist IF it is needed and help with inclusion. Unfortunately my DS cant sit in a class on his own full stop without running so she is glued to him lol.

He hardly does PE but the TA had the sense when asked by a peer where DS was going she said he had to have his individual maths lesson so no time for PE.

Poor suggestion from the Head to be honest.

silverfrog Tue 26-Jul-11 12:36:01

erm, sorry to point out the obvious, but how does having the TA the rest of the week NOT make him look differnt, then?! confused

if he doesn't look different on a Tuesday with TA support, then why would he on Wednesday? of course the answer is probabyl that he does, and as you know, this is bullshit reasoning. but what an odd argument.

I have always taken the same view as Ellen - dd1 is different, and the lack of a TA would only make her more so. a TA, in her case (eg when she was going into ms school for inclusion with one of her tutors) enables her to join in, to the best of her abiity, with the other children. no TA would mean she could not join in at all. so which one is better? and which one makes her less different?

tabulahrasa Tue 26-Jul-11 12:59:07

It makes no difference whether a TA makes him look different or not, he either needs the support or he doesn't.

Or presumably they'd deny a child with a hearing impairment the option of using a loop system in class and children with poor vision shouldn't be wearing glasses to see the board hmm

SparkleRainbow Tue 26-Jul-11 13:36:48

I agree with tabulahrasa....it is simply a matter of need for the support, or not, how someone else perceives this makes a child the same or different from others is a bogus and legally ridiculous argument. angry

utah Tue 26-Jul-11 13:56:28

The great inclusion policy surely the idea should be getting the other children to understand difference not trying to hide it. I did not like the "more different" which implies his peers already know there is a difference so why try to hide the obvious.

appropriatelytrained Tue 26-Jul-11 14:02:58

Thanks guys that's what I thought - where does it say in the Education Act that you are not allowed to meet a child's needs if it makes them different?

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 26-Jul-11 16:21:34

This is an excellent example of the kind of patronising hypocrisy we were talking about on the other thread: they want to save money and cut TA time, but to make them feel better about how they're treating the little "disabled kiddy", they make out they are actually doing it for his own good - "unlike nasty old mum, we don't want the poor mite to look different at school". That way, they can sleep better in their beds (tribunal head and LA and headteacher) - we're not just doing it to cut costs, we're doing it for the poor wee thing! Pathetic!

appropriatelytrained Tue 26-Jul-11 16:52:08

Excellent post - just need to translate that into law. I'm thinking of:

(a) setting out legal test for support in Ed Act s.324 - no mention of 'difference' there

(b) considering an Equality Act angle - I think this is a person centred approach to looking at the issues i.e. treating this person the same as everyone else puts him at a detrimental disadvantage because you don't want him to look 'different'

SparkleRainbow Tue 26-Jul-11 17:55:36

Plus Every Child Matters document and National Curriculum Document which specifies what every child is entitled to, hence some children need support in order to access what they are entitled to.

appropriatelytrained Tue 26-Jul-11 20:19:24

Thanks. I think this is such a disgraceful attitude. As if a child should not have their needs met as it might make them different - they are different - deal with it.

Use it positively to foster inclusion and empower the child with his uniqueness not make him think it is something to be ashamed of.

appropriatelytrained Thu 28-Jul-11 10:38:45

A lawyer friend has said this about this argument in case this helps anyone else:

I know LAs often argue that provision not necessary because the child will feel marginalised from peers, but I've never known that argument to succeed. If there is a need for provision, then it must be met.

wasuup3000 Thu 28-Jul-11 10:41:28

The LEA tried this with me saying that my daughter may as well have a big red flashing light above her head with sirens saying that she was different......

appropriatelytrained Thu 28-Jul-11 17:36:40

Looks like it's a standard tactic but if so, I'm amazed that an experienced Tribunal judge not only fell for it but used it as the reason to refuse to increase provision. You just can't let crap like that go or what is the world coming to!

SparkleRainbow Thu 28-Jul-11 17:38:32

Shocking and yet not surprising angry

appropriatelytrained Thu 28-Jul-11 17:42:09

Just when you're trying to walk away from these things, they make the ruling so bad in law and appealable that it is difficult to walk away from.

How dare they treat disabled children this way.

Starchart Thu 28-Jul-11 17:43:38

Ah, yes, it is only on Wednesdays that children look different by having a TA.

Quick, - sack all the Wednesday TAs!

So sorry AT

appropriatelytrained Fri 29-Jul-11 11:00:23

How can these Tribunals fall for crap like this? It really is an utter disgrace.

Starchart Fri 29-Jul-11 11:53:17

AT, my case rested on a Senior EP who had never seen ds, or even the setting that he was in ,saying that he was making good progress there, despite the written evidence and assessment data saying the opposite.

Her quote appeared in the decision as the main reason for not awarding what we were asking for.

I'm probably going to annoy you by saying this again, but it isn't only you.

There is someone that posted on here once recently that is collecting anonymous data and information on parents experiences of tribunals and matching experience against particular judges. I have spoken recently to a number of solicitors (claiming my free 15 minutes from each of them) Some of the judges appear to be notorious for being anti-parent. It seems that you can be certain of the outcome the second the judge is named with some of them. I don't believe this process has anything to do with the law any more.

The informality and 'accessibility' that this process pretends to have allows in reality, unprofessionalism and personal comments as well as abritary decisions.

I would not put someone off from going down this route however, as it is the only route available but I do sometimes wonder whether it is worth the effort.

appropriatelytrained Fri 29-Jul-11 12:05:33

Absolutely Star. I realise it's not just me but that makes it worse!! As a lawyer, I cannot let this go and I suppose that annoys me too as like you I have realised the whole system is pointless.

Starchart Fri 29-Jul-11 15:07:01

I don't think the system is pointless, but I do think it needs challenging somehow. And I think your example of the not knowing whether they can release the chair notes is not only disgraceful but a good example of what a parent group can easily challenge. I think there must be dozens of examples like that, if those who have been through the process can pick them off, - all those little niggles we have that we don't understand but 'feel' a bit odd.

There must be people within it who feel as we do too, and if some of the issues are made a bit more public those people might have more power to act.

Starchart Fri 29-Jul-11 15:45:32

btw, thanks for sorting the FOI thingy. Can't wait for the response.

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