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Wanted - top tips/advice for people considering requesting a statutory assessment

(21 Posts)
sazale Wed 31-Aug-11 22:04:58

I'm more or less certain that I'm going to request a Statutory Assessment for my 12 year old DD. I've been reading many old threads and have gained a lot of really useful info. I thought I'd ask what your top tips/advice would be? Things that worked well or not so well and things you wished you'd known!!??

I was also wondering how long a child is expected to be on School Action Plus for without making any progress before it's deemed to have been unsuccessful, or is that the million dollar question??!!

appropriatelytrained Wed 31-Aug-11 22:09:22

1. Stick to the law - use law - quote the law - know SEN COP
2. Produce clear evidence of need in reports
3. Demonstrate these needs can only be be met by assessment
4. Identify any lack of progress
5. Focus on any provision which cannot be provided out of school's ordinary funding e.g. does child require IT support, specialist equipment, involvement of S&LT or OT

sazale Wed 31-Aug-11 22:18:19

Thanks, appropriatelytrained, that's a great list! I've started trying to gather evidence of lack of progress but it's quite difficult to find info of what is classed as lack of progress!!

nickminiink Thu 01-Sep-11 12:59:48

Hi Sazale, we have successfully gone down the SA route, I say successfully, what I mean we got the LEA to agree we are waiting for reports and if a statement will be issued. We applied ourselves with no help from my sons school, we had been very patient over the 5 years my son was on SA+ with SENCO and his SLT, after 5 years of little if any progress. I decided enough was enough went behind the schools back and requested SA. It's not easy and you have to be prepared to fight and write a few reports. What helped us prove the lack of progress was a private SLT's report (cost £120 but worth every penny) which detailed areas where he was behind in, she carried out her assessment using CELF4. The results were a shock to us as for 5 years we were never made aware of how far behind he was, armed with this and his end of year assessment levels we applied for SA. We initally got refused but appealed immediately with a tribunal date set for December, however 3 weeks into the appeal they did a u turn and now my son is currently going through the SA process.
Good Luck

insanityscatching Thu 01-Sep-11 13:09:39

Mine would be keep a written record of everything. So meetings at school keep your own minutes then email them to everyone there to get them to verify what has been discussed and what they have each promised to do and don't be afraid to chase them up if it hasn't been done.

IndigoBell Thu 01-Sep-11 13:25:07

Lack of progress is also (badly) defined in the SEN COP

One of it's defn's is not progressing as the same rate as her peers.

So, your DD should have made 2 levels of progress in KS2 and be on track to making 1 or 2 levels of progress in KS3.

Do you know her levels for now, Y6 and Y2?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 01-Sep-11 14:16:35

"I was also wondering how long a child is expected to be on School Action Plus for without making any progress before it's deemed to have been unsuccessful, or is that the million dollar question??!!"

You can go straight to statement without having to be on either School action or School action plus beforehand.

Would also concur fully with appropriatelytrained's post.

sazale Thu 01-Sep-11 14:24:40

Thanks guys, this is all so useful! IndigoBell, she progressed academically spot on throughout primary achieving level 2's in year 2 which was amazing as we moved from Wales where no SATS only 2 weeks before she took her SATS in a new school (in England) with a different curriculum! She scored level 4's at the end of year 6. I'm worried that her progress is slowing especially in English. The teacher assessed her as a 4a at the end of year 6 and she is classed as a 4a at the end of year 7. She has had a great deal of difficulty in English this year and she now uses a laptop and has a support worker as she was struggling to access the lesson. Her behaviour in class grade has dropped a level since being on school action plus.
I'm planning on requesting an assessment due to social, emotional and communication needs more than academic but I'm starting to look more closely at the academic side too. She's only been on SA+ since March after being reassured for 6 months everything was fine and then attending the most upsetting parents evening where her difficulties were so apparent and not one teacher had done anything about it, so I wrote to the SENCO.
She has an IEP but after researching it more the targets aren't very SMART.
CAMHS have acknowledged that she is functioning emotionally, behaviourally and socially as a 5/6 year old but we're still on several waiting lists for professionals. I'm going to contact a private EdPsych and SALT I think.
This is all so new to me and I feel that she has been so let down by so many over the years that I'm not going to wait for them anymore. They can no longer tell me she'll grow out of it anymore, I just wish I'd had this knowledge years ago! The OT manger asked me why it had not been picked up earlier all her difficulties and my reply was "you tell me!"

IndigoBell Thu 01-Sep-11 14:31:19

Well you can certainly claim inadequate progress in English if she has made no progress at all in one year.

Of course, that won't be enough to get you a statement. But you should put it in with the rest of your concerns.

It is very common to make no progress in Y7 though, due to different interpretations of '4a' between primary and secondary teachers......

And a 4a end of Y7 is not that bad......

sazale Thu 01-Sep-11 14:43:59

She's always done the good side of average at school which is why I always thought there was nothing we could do. I never realised that non academic stuff came under school as well! It's even more amazing what she acheives due to the amount of difficulties that are coming more to light, it's like we've opened a box of worms!!

sazale Sat 03-Sep-11 21:43:35

Shameful bump wink

IndigoBell Sun 04-Sep-11 06:43:44

I'm not really clear why you're asking for a statement. ie what extra help you think she needs that she's not getting.

If she's a 4a in Y7 there's no way you'll get one for lack of progress - nor does she need a statement for the academic side.

So what does she need? And does it require 1:1 to implement it?

sazale Sun 04-Sep-11 08:27:38

Sorry chuck, you're quite right I haven't made myself clear. She doesn't need a satement for academic ability but she is struggling emotionally and socially. My beautiful daughter appears not to be maturing and it's like sending my 4 year old to secondary school in that respect. She is exceptionally vulnerable and in a school of 1400 children I'm worried for her. I'm looking to try to move her into a local special school that specialises in children with asd/speech & language/behavioural and cognitive learning. It is run by the LEA and has classes of about 5 kids.
Briefly, dd really struggles with self care, team work, friendships etc. She is unable to leave the home on her own as gets lost, has
difficulty judging how far away cars are, forgets to check wether a road's clear etc etc. Has no forethought, unable to perceive danger and believes everyone is her friend regardless of how they treat her. She also struggles with sound etc and finds it really difficult in class and moving about in the corridors etc.
I don't know if this helps explain things a little better as hard to explain as there is so many more difficulties as well.
I'm just someone who has to know the ins and out of a monkeys arse before I commit to something! Sorry for any confusion x

pinkorkid Sun 04-Sep-11 09:34:26

It's good that you have a school in mind that you feel can meet her needs. One thing which would be worth researching would be the admission criteria for this school. You may be able to find this by searching your county council/lea website - I came across some v. useful evidence to refer to when we were arguing for ds to be given a place at similar special school. If it isn't published on the web, you could approach the school or lea directly to ask for this info. It might also help to speak informally to the head of the special school to see if they feel your dd would "fit" the profile of children at the school. Do they have open mornings?

The key to success in getting a stat. assessment and hopefully statement will be obtaining appropriate evidence and then building a convincing argument why this evidence means dd's needs can only be met given this particular provision.

From what you've mentioned you have an OT report presumably and are still waiting for more rigorous assessment from camhs (with daunting waiting times). Do you have evidence from school re the bullying/social naivete? Re the danger crossing roads etc, could you get witness accounts from other students,parents or teachers?

With Camhs, you could try asking directly if they can see dd more urgently because of impact her difficulties are causing her. If they don't agree, PALS - patient liaison and advice service are often helpful advocating for you to get a better service.

sazale Sun 04-Sep-11 10:14:17

We're due with CAMHS on 13th September so I'm def going to push again. The CAMHS worker has requested to visit school at our next IEP meeting as he wants to make suggestions but he feels she should be in a smaller school and was surprised that she hasn't seen EP etc. The OT report showed some major difficulties but they say not enough staff to provide a service for children like my daughter and because she's in secondary school they can't even visit the school! That was from the Head OT after I complained to PALS, not sure wether to make a complaint now. Her sensory profile that CAMHS did indicates sensory processing disorder. She is due to see a Paed on Friday after being referred by OT and Physio on Tues due to tight calf muscles after being referred by Podiatrist! She's due an Irlens screen as having difficulty with words moving etc on 13th as well and is on waiting list for feeding team as issues with not chewing food and waiting list for SALT assessment! None of them communicate with each other!
There should be evidence at school about bullying. It hasn't got bad as far as I'm aware but my worry is that she wouldn't be able to say or recognise it if it was as she finds it difficult to explain feelings and tell when people are being nasty! The few incidents that have happened have often involved my dd saying things to people that she doesn't understand can be hurtful (asked a girl if she had been put in care as that's what someone had told her) and because of her difficulties with team work and PE.
I'm planning on contacting the special school so I can see if it would be appropriate and that's a great idea about measuring my dd against their criteria. We also have a fairly local NAS school as well. I believe the CAMHS worker will support a change of school and he has said that my dd is more like a nursery age child emotionally and behaviourly. School are aware of dd difficulties with road safety and her inability to travel to and from school on her own even though we are only a 10 min walk away. CAMHS and OT are too. They both tell me that my dd is complex!
I hope i've not waffled too much and I appreciate your post x
Shes also on waiting list for ADOS and scored high on Gillberg and Connors questionaires. Crikey that's a lot of waiting lists!! She also refuses to walk all the time which means I'm unable to take her and my 4 year old out if my partner is not around, fortunately he works at home at the moment.

sugarcanmelt Sun 04-Sep-11 10:15:08

DS got a statement when he was in Year 6 and he was at Level 5 at the end of primary, so it's definitely possible for a child to be statemented even if she is at or slightly below her academic targets. His needs were also more social/behavioural than academic - with a bit more emphasis on the behaviour than your DD, which probably helped in our case as it meant that none of the mainstream schools wanted him. You mentioned her behaviour in an earlier post - is it something that is concerning the staff at her school?

In our case we made a parental request which was turned down initially, then I sought legal advice, appealed and gathered further evidence, including reports from an EP, SALT and OT. Our LA agreed to assess before our appeal hearing and I think the private evidence was key for us.

It's good that you're thinking about about getting private evidence - but do check (here or with SOS SEN) that they are recommended and/or deal with tribunals. Even if you don't have to go to tribunal for statutory assessment, you may need to later on, to appeal against the contents or they may issue a note in lieu.

I'd also encourage you to look into the local special school very carefully, particularly whether they can meet your DD's academic needs. We have a local special school which sounds quite similar - small classes and more nurturing than mainstream. However, none of the other students were achieving anywhere near DS' ability and he would have been denied the opportunity to take a full set of GCSEs there and also would not have had a suitable peer group. So we argued that he needed a school that could meet both his social/emotional needs and his academic needs, which meant going to an independent special school. It's great if your local school can meet all of your DD's needs, but be aware that you can look more widely (in other counties and at independent schools).

sazale Sun 04-Sep-11 10:34:51

Thanks, Sugarcanmelt, that's also given me food for thought! The special school do GCSE's and the more able children I think do some work in the local mainstream as well but not 100% sure till I look closer in to it. My other worry is also wether they would be other girls there as well. I'd actually decided that her emotional/behavioural needs were more important at the moment as if she keeps progressing as she is she would be unable to manage a job and live independently and that we could concentrate on academic later but you're right about a school being able to meet both needs.
I'm only just starting to understand the complexity of her needs myself as we were constantly told she'd grow out of it etc! Was always worse at home than at school. Towards the end of primary she started to struggle more at school and then we managed to get referred and secondary has been difficult for her. I think because she's not a "naughty" child she gets missed. I'm not sure what schools views are on her behaviour but they do take her out of a lesson once a week for one to one about emotions etc and are increasing that to twice a week when she goes back so I'm guessing they feel she needs more input. She also has support for English and for changing for PE which is increasing to all PE from next week although she's saying she's not doing it hmm They are trying to support her and she has a key worker but her behaviour in class (not complying mainly) is deteriorating. She's also starting to refuse to go to school where as she used to insist on going!

pinkorkid Sun 04-Sep-11 12:04:43

We made a similar judgement with ds that the emotional/behavioural needs had to come first as we felt if these were not catered for he was likely to fail to academically anyway. The special school he has recently moved to does offer gcses although reduced in number but also has a very high value added score - ie pupils make relatively huge leaps from their entry position to when they leave. Another resource to help you choose suitable schools would be the ofsted website - you can google individual school reports and also the gabbitas independent school guides. If you are happy to reveal general location you could also ask for recommendations on here or opinions on specific schools.

I hope the school refusal doesn't escalate but if so, there are a number of us on here who have experienced this and can advise on what help you are entitled to.

Also would advise not to hold off too long on decision to apply for an assessment of dd's sen as the whole process takes at least 6 months. It's good you have a number of assessments in the pipeline though as this will all no doubt add to your evidence pile.

Agnesdipesto Sun 04-Sep-11 14:21:21

The Dept for Ed website has info on progress - new guidance came out recently which quotes the 2 levels per each key stage rule of thumb. But that only really covers the academic. The SENCOP talks about social, emotional, behavioural lack of progress as being relevant etc.
I know she is much older but it might even be worth looking at the early years foundation stage scales or P scales - there should be a measure of social development etc on these and if you can show that she has not for eg met all the social goals or daily living / independence skills you would expect by end of reception / year one that would be good evidence of delay.
You can ask for copies of the locally used P scales. You could also ask for the school to score her against them now for social etc so you can show by tribunal that progress isn't being made.
Egs of things that a typical secondary school could not provide would be social skills programmes specific for ASC, independence skills / travel training etc, and say to buy these in would be as if not more expensive than the special school place. Perhaps also counselling in teenage years etc. Build up a picture of expensive outside support which would need to be bought in which then indicates a special school where this is all provided on site is more appropriate.

sazale Sun 04-Sep-11 14:21:53

Thanks guys! I've looked at the SEN code of practice and my DD falls into all the categories so I'm guessing that means she's complex! I've decided to just apply instead of trying to second guess all the time! The worst that can happen is they say no!

Do you think it would be best to have an Ed Psych assessment done before applying?

I'm going to see what happens at Paed appointment on Friday and then send the letter requesting assessment. Is it usual to go through phases of doubting yourself and thinking it's all in your mind?

I've always known she was different but because no one would listen I assumed it must only be mild prob ADHD and we could manage without support. I wish I had known then what I know now!! I didn't even know what Aspergers/dyspraxia/SPD was! I'm having a hard time accepting that she isn't mildly affected. I got asked by the OT why it had not been picked up on earlier with her being so affected!!

sazale Sun 04-Sep-11 14:27:41

Our posts have crossed, Agnesdipesto! Some more amazing advice! The progress of social, emotional & behavioural should be easy enough to prove as without even reading the expected targets I can guess she's not there as my 4 year old son has passed her on some of these (he's started to explain things to her and stop her chewing items she shouldn't be)!

I've got loads that I can be researching thanks to you chaps, thank you all so much x

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