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Can you MAKE a school give an appt with EP?

(51 Posts)
CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 13:02:14

Further to my thread where I am trying to help my friend, I have noticed that despite being on SA+ since October 2009, her son has not seen the EP AT ALL. Now I know (through personal experience) that in Essex LEA, it is the decision of the school's SenCo as to who actually gets to be assessed or seen by the Educational Psychologist.

But surely, a child that has been DIAGNOSED with ADHD, is working on lvl 1c in one subject, and 'P' scales in all other areas AT THE END OF Y2, AND is awaiting ADOS testing for asd/aspergers...should have bloody seen the EP at some point in 3 years attending the school ? ?

I also know that this school takes absolutely NO NOTICE of parental requests for their child to see the EP. Part of the reason the LEA has refused to assess this child for a statement is because there has been no involvement from the EP. The EP in our area CANNOT request to see a particular child, even if they feel they should be seeing them.

Which our EP MUST know they should be seeing them, as they filled in a form to do with the Statement application that goes like this:

Has the school discussed the collated information with you ? Answer - NO

The school has been asked to attach the most recent EP visit reports .(of which there are none...)

Is there any other information about EP involvement and advice about this pupil that you think should be considered ? Answer - NO

Is there any other information that you feel would be helpful in deciding if this case meets the criteria for a stautory assessment ? Answer - NO.

Then signed by EP. What's the point in asking the EP to fill in this form, when he/she has never MET the child the form is about??

Is there any laws covering access to the EP? I have looked through the entire SEN COP, but either can't see the wood for the trees, or there isn't any. hmm.

CAN a parent insist their child sees the EP for assessment? Is there any rules or regulations that would make this possible, as I don't see an application for a statement being successful until the child has been assessed by the EP.


nickminiink Wed 31-Aug-11 13:18:26

Loudlass, our son was intially seen by our local EP as requested by his school for failure to progress at school, so there is no reason why this childs school can not make the same request for the same reason. I am a determined parent and every appointment made for my son has been due to my persistence. I made a nuisance of myself at my sons school until the SENCO agreed to get an EP involved due to concerns over the progress of my son. This is my own experience I am sure EP's have seen children in less fuss than this but that's how I got an EP appointment. Now they have seen him once which was 2 years ago, I got another appointment approx 4 months ago very easily and now my son is gong through the SA route and hopefully a statement issued.
Good luck keep persisting.

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 13:31:24

In 6 years - even making a persistant annoyance of myself - I COULDN'T get my own DD seen by the EP at this school (i.e. they have form for this). They only let DD see the EP when the Secondary she was transitioning to requested she was seen at the end of Y6. Despite the fact that at her previous school, she was seen every 6 months by the EP...

It WON'T matter how persistant the mother is, they will either ignore her, or do what they did to me - which was to send me a letter asking me to stop sending 'vexatious correspondance' (i.e. letters requesting that my DD see the EP...), and when THAT didn't stop me, basically making up that I had had 'threatening behaviour'. Which was me sitting in a chair, with my hands in my lap, stating CALMLY that I would not be leaving the office until I had seen the HT, even if I had to wait from 9am until 3pm. THAT is threatening behaviour - I then got a letter from the LEA and the school threatening to ban me from the premesis. Yet a week later the school asked me to help out on a school trip because I have been CRB checked by the school. Which I'm sure they WOULDN'T have done if I was truly displaying threatening behaviour...

This school uses VERY bullying tactics to get unsatisfied parents to shut up. They have already warned my friend for 'threatening behaviour' because her DS got excluded for an incident where he had been bullied and isolated in the playground, thus he got angry, when the teacher didn't listen, he had a meltdown and got excluded. When my friend complained that it was due to the school not following the bullying procedure - they accused her of being threatening.

Also they do not like anyone accompanying you to the meetings, they try to gaslight you (I have recorded evidence of this - again,as I recorded without permission, I was accused of threatening behaviour, I only recorded due to my disability causing memory problems, and the fact that they had lied to me, then claimed to have never said those things, playing on my disability...)

So persisting won't make a difference unless I can find some rules or regulations that say that the school HAVE to put my friends' ds forward to see the EP, or it'll be 4 years and secondary transition before they do...

moosemama Wed 31-Aug-11 13:40:23

Loudlass, do you know if your EP has a crisis line at all?

I found out ours had just set one up and contacted them myself to ask their advice. I was called back by a duty EP, who discussed the situation with me, then put our case on their weekly meeting list and ds had not one, but two EPs working with him within a fortnight.

I appreaciate that this might not be the case in all LEAs but it might be worth asking your Local Council - or checking on their website.

Becaroooo Wed 31-Aug-11 13:40:32

That is truly dreadful loudlass but sadly I am not that surprised.

We have given up with the school and comm paed and have arranged for an EP to see ds1 xmas gifts for me and dh this year!

Its costing £600.

The alternative was waiting another year with no progress from ds1 then they would condescend to get him assessed...with the long wait that entails. He goes up to high school in 2 years!

The paed asked the school to get him assessed by the EP and fill in a GARS-2 questionairre and neither has been done angry

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 14:14:42

The EP not having seen the child is actually a very good reason FOR a statutory assessment and refusal cannot be based on lack on evidence, only on evidence that there is no need iyswim.

But, she should write to the school and ask for their reasons explicitly and then submit another SA request with the schools reasons for no EP involvement as part of their REASON for needing a SA.

As well, write to the EP asking for the evidence they used to complete their form.

wasuup3000 Wed 31-Aug-11 14:49:03

With one of mine the LEA refued a statutory assessment on the basis that the school had not got the EP to assess said child!

appropriatelytrained Wed 31-Aug-11 15:02:55

Loudlass this is awful but sadly similar to the terrible tactics I have encountered.

If I could have my time over again, I would have pulled my son out at this exact point - before statutory assessment.

Can your friend move? You cannot change a school. You just can't and she'll waste her precious time trying. She needs to be working with a school interested in helping her child

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 17:44:11

Nope, no way of moving. Not unless she can find places for TWINS at another school when the closest school with places in that year group is 30+ miles away. And that's only ONE place. And she doesn't drive...

Ta, Starlight, will get that letter typed up for her in a minute. I thought the school had been awful with MY SN dc's - but this case just beggars belief!

And, of course, No parent partnership officer - our area has only had one for 12 weeks out of the last 3 1/2 years. Post Vacant again. <<sigh>> Hence me trying to help my friend.

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 17:52:55

She doesn't have the money to go private.

In our LEA, parents are not allowed to directly contact the EP, only leave a message. The EP then doesn't get back to you. EVER.

We have to appeal the refusal first, rather than submit a new statement request, as in our LEA, if the LEA refuse to assess for a statement, you have to wait 6 months before re-applying for one. So I need to include all these things in her appeal letter.

I'm also going to write a letter to the school asking them to put XXXX forward to see the EP. Friend had no idea who/what an EP is/was or the fact that she should ask for her son to see them. I have filled her in a bit, so we will submit request in writing, copied to the LEA. Not that that'll make a difference, because I did that myself till I was blue in the face lots, but it'll be the start of a paper trail, as she's been doing everything verbally until now.

HT is going to HATE me more than he does already the smug git. <<Mwahahaha>>

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 17:54:59

Oh, yes, the school is awful for explaining things to the parents, they rely on the fact that most parents haven't got a clue about SEN procedures, and without a PPO, there's no help for the ones that DO want to find out, anyway.

HT thinks my friend will be a pushover because she hasn't got a clue. Not so with me helping her...grin

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 19:01:47

No no no Loudlass. The LAW is that you can submit a request for a statutory assessment the very day you receive your refusal. YOur LA is not exempt.

If, on assessing they refuse to give a statement, THEN you either appeal or wait 6 months. But if they have simply refused to assess, you can do it right away.

However, you'd be a bit daft doing it the next day with the same evidence, so you do need to take some time writing letters all over the shop to show a level of need and to show up people's incompetence etc.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 19:04:29

Keep a log of every encounter. If you have the time, tell her to call you daily for a brief catch-up and write down anything she says anyone has said that has been significant enough to her to tell you.

THEN, write a letter to the person who said it asking them to clarify that you understood correctly, giving the time and the place that the conversation took place. You can do a list in one letter if you like.

Their response might be to deny it all, but that can be helpful in itself i.e. 'no we didn't say we won't refer to a EP.'

Do you see?

appropriatelytrained Wed 31-Aug-11 19:25:14

This school will not commit anything to writing and will then blame this woman for being difficult and/or vexatious.

You need someone independent involved. Can you see if you can get legal advice or a parent representative like Fiona Slomovic to help? Even if it is just to write a letter. I'm sorry to be pessimistic but you will not get a school like this to play ball or to catch itself out. They will turn on you first.

There is no way I would ever get answers to letters like that Star - from the LA, services or school. They would just refuse.

I thought you had to wait six months before you could apply again or appeal if you were

The IPSEA document is here in case it helps

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 19:38:09

My argument for 'being vexatious' is that being vexatious is not illegal, and my friend is legally entitled to have everything IN WRITING. I have found legislation that backs that much up, but I haven't found anything that backs up a request to see the EP.

The school already HAVE me down as being vexatious, so anything I do isn't going to make much difference to that. So long as I act in a reasonable manner all the time, I'd like to see them try to stop me...

What FREE legal advice could we get? (neither my friend nor I have a pot to piss in) When you say parent representative, what or who do you mean?

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 19:48:00

appropriatlytrained - NO WAY could my friend afford to pay the fees set by the company Fiona Slomovic works for!

I KNOW the school will turn on me & her first, but what choice do we have? To leave her DS with next to no education, 2 hours a day and repeatedly excluded? And also, while the school is not helping her son, he will be dirupting the education (unwittingly) of the other 29 people in the class...So, really, we have no choice but to do it ourselves and make a nuisance. The only alternative is to leave her son to get to the point where he is permanantly excluded (which won't be long, if the school has their way...). With no other school to take him. PRU unit full, SEN school full in that yr (personal knowledge) all the LEA will offer is 2 hrs a WEEK tuition at home. From the age of 7yo until he is 16yo. Have seen it happen before.

appropriatelytrained Wed 31-Aug-11 20:00:24

Parent reps like Fiona are cheaper than lawyers but if she can't afford that, can she get assistance through the legal aid scheme? It would be worth ringing one of the well-known firms for a free chat to check e.g. Levenes or Maxwell Gillott

CardyMow Wed 31-Aug-11 20:02:39

Wondering if The Childrens Legal Centre in Wivenhoe might be able to help? Have gone through them before myself. hmm. Will give them a ring on Friday when we are at my friends' house.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 20:30:56

Vexatious doesn't MEAN vexatious. It it a kind of technical term to mean that the time someone is taking up to deal with is considered to be a waste of the public purse and a justification to refuse to engage with them any more.

This term is not defined nor regulated it would seem. A point for the campaign group for sure (although I think someone has recently done a sweep of LA's about this just recently on that website).

The school may refuse to respond, but providing the written requests are reasonable a legal bod or even tribunal would see through them.

The trouble I can see with your friends case Loudlass is her and your lack of resources. There isn't a nice way of putting that so I'm sorry, but the truth is those WITH resources are being put through hell despite friends in high places, high levels of education, occupations in highly relevant fields and top legal support.

The law is there, and you can use it but LAs have for far too long been getting away with ignoring it with no reprimands or punishments and law can be interpreted. Tribunal panels and Ombudsman personnel are made up ex LA employees with an interest in law and who in all likeliness stood against parents for a LA before they got their promotion.

There may be some simple wins that can improve things though and it is best to contact the law firms AT posted. It is also possible that SOSSEN and maybe even IPSEA might be able to fund some expert witnesses out of their charity funding. They have a number of experts to whom they refer their clients who have agreed to work for free for a small no. of cases referred.

Insisting that he attend full-time unless a letter is written is also a potential win, but god almighty, if there is ANY way she can move him, even if she has to think outside of the box, get her neighbour to take him to school for a return favour of cleaning her house or something, then grab it.

CardyMow Thu 01-Sep-11 09:02:50

There really is NO other school, believe me, if there was, MY son would be moving. And would be above her son on the waiting list. My own son has been on the waiting list for the 6 next closest schools for 3 years now. We are so short of school places in this year group, which is an extra large year in our town. There are just no places ANYWHERE. And unfortunately, its the school our dc are AT that took all the extras with a bulge class. The next closest school has a waiting list with 60 dc on - which is the same as their intake!

I know the lack of funds is an issue, but I am an LP with a disability, and not in work, and my friend, though she is not on benefits as her DP works (but on a low-ish income), has 7 children at home. She doesn't have ANY spare money, but wants to do the right thing for her ds.

CardyMow Thu 01-Sep-11 09:05:38

It is patently unfair that people who can afford legal representation etc can get the help their dc need, but if you're poor? Then screw you! If this child gets permanently excluded when he's still 7yo - how will he ever get an education, or a job?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 01-Sep-11 09:07:10

I understand Loudlass and in your and her position I would still do the same as you.

But be careful and do your homework. If your friend or you has TIME then that is indeed a resource.

But do contact those organisations.

CardyMow Thu 01-Sep-11 09:15:42

I have more time than she does, and have had dealings with trying to get SEN help myself in the past, hence trying to help her, as she has no clue really what to do.

I have found something that says every LEA is OBLIGED to have a Parent Partnership officer that can meet with parents if they want - it looks like that is a legal requirement. So where does our LEA stand on the fact that every other area of our HUGE county has a PPO, except ours. That has been without one for 3 years, barring a 12 week interlude over 2 years ago? If the LEA is obliged to give you an appointment, and they have at least 3/4 others working in other areas of the County - can you insist on a PPO from one of the other areas (of your County/LEA) coming to visit you, or do you just have to put up with the fact that no-one can help you? And who would you complain to about it? Ombudsman or Sec of State?

<<Can you tell I've been here before...>>

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 01-Sep-11 10:10:08

YOu don't tell them what the solution is. That is up to them. But you do tell them (in writing) that since it is a legal requirement for them to provide you with parent partnership or similar role, you expect someone to contact you in that capacity in the next 7 days or an explanation of why they are legally not obliged to.

You don't need to tell them that it has to be one of the others, that they have to hire one in privately or anything like that. Their staffing and management issues are not your concern or interest.

But seriously, do contact the charities.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 01-Sep-11 10:11:21

tbh, though, - the legal requirement isn't so legal.

Believe it or not, the CoP isn't even a legal requirement.

But they are useful tools and the LA's will have respect for them and fear them even if they are trying to get away with ignoring them.

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