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Experienced tribunalists - Starlight needs help!

(64 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 17:20:18

This is my situation.

DS did well on ABA.
We lost ABA at tribunal. After 6 months independent EP ruled DS had stood still.
We are 6 months on. DS has been doing some unofficial ABA since July when I pulled him out of nursery 2 weeks early. He has made good progress but the programme is a bit messy.
We started formal programme beginning of Sept. DS is making excellent progress, especially in social skills which is the key reason we lost last time (he hadn't).
Our tribunal is mid Jan. EP booked for early Dec after almost a term of good ABA to hopefully be able to vouch for programme.

Now this is the problem.
DS was supposed to start the school that is named on his statement in Sept. We wrote to the school and LA telling them we are deferring until Jan due to his autumn birthday. This wasn't imposible for them to fight but the didn't as the law is complex re statement vs legal attendance.

So he is due to start in Jan. But the tribunal is in mid Jan, add 2 weeks for decision, add 6 weeks for statement implementation and you're closer to Easter. In the meantime they will 'probably' insist that he starts in Jan (the school will as they have made it clear they don't want him, so anything to put us off will appeal). But, assuming we win, he'll have inappropriate support for a whole term, whilst in the meantime I'll still have to pay the tutors to retain them, and I really DO need the ones I have employed, as it is their CV's and costs that will convince the tribunal.

Now I have the option of bringing the tribunal forward. However, due to a holiday that would mean the EP could see ds at the latest 4th October instead of December, and I believe that 2 months is quite a substantial amount of time in my ds' ability to progress. If he spots progress in Oct, it will be hard to seperate it from the input he had from hs last placement. The EP would be unable to do a update visit closer to the tribunal due to his 6 week holiday.

What would you do? And thanks for reading all this if you have.

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Thu 22-Sep-11 17:31:57

How old is your ds?

maryellenwalton Thu 22-Sep-11 17:32:00

I know they are often snowed under but is there any way you can get hold of a different EP?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 17:42:08

he's 4. 5 in a few weeks.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 17:43:01

I'm trying to Maryellen, but this EP did the baseline, It would be strong to have him again.

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Thu 22-Sep-11 17:45:11

he doesn't legally have to be in school until the term after he turns 5, as I am sure you know.

any chance of delaying his start on those terms? (with added "well, it's tribunal in a couple of weeks, don't want to start him in one system and then change when we get our result" and "just had tribunal - let's wait for the verdict so we know what we are putting in place"?)

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 17:49:20

No. No chance. There is nothing sensible about this situation. If the school have ANY opportunity they will cease it and deregister ds.

Legally they can do this after 2 unauthorised absences, so for this reason, they wouldn't authorise.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 17:51:55

Normal, actually I think that legally he DOES have to be in the placement named in part 4 of the statement, but LA's so rarely challenge this, as it would involve social services etc. and then they would have to fund it, so they 'usually' they let it go, and I think that actually ours has forgotten the law in this regard, because it is probably never challenged except in a child protection situation.

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Thu 22-Sep-11 17:57:01

yes, take your point re: placement named in part 4.

as to school - why do you want your ds in a school that would be so obstructive (given you would be delaying only to find out exactly what should be in place for him when he starts)?

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Thu 22-Sep-11 17:58:13

any chance of adding "date when ds will start school" to tribunal issues?

then you can't start him there until you have an answer...

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 18:05:32

Oh yes - good idea, but I'm only appealing part 2 and 3. If I did that I would have to submit a changes form and appeal part 4 too which makes the whole thing a lot more complicated, given I still want the school.

I wonder then if the school placement would have to be brought up and then whether that gives the school another platform to make a case against ds' attendance, although, actually, given they don't want him, it might help parts 2 and 3 to have 4 there as the tribunal can then see that one minute they are saying they don't want him and the next they are saying they can meet his needs easy peasy! hmm Will have to think about that one....

Appreciate your time - thanks.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 18:18:04

The thing is. The school is named in his statement. So does that mean that I can simply say that he will attend when his provision is sorted out and not before, and they can't give his place away because it is in his statement!?

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Thu 22-Sep-11 18:21:38

yes, I would think so.

after all, a tribunal (or even an LEA, if they are a helpful one!) can direct a school who doesn't want to take a child, and the school has to then take the child because it is named in the statement.

so, assuming that tribunal does not overturn part 4, then I would say the school would then have to take your ds.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 18:25:03

But I suppose my worry is that it is a very oversubscribed school, so the school can then say that it has taken the next one on the waiting list and then will go over numbers according to their capacity assessment or whatever and maybe even child/adult ratio numbers as ds does not have full-time 1:1.

But then if it is in his statement..........

Hmmmmm, are they able to remove the school from the statement for any reason between now and then?

cansu Thu 22-Sep-11 18:48:09

sorry am probably being dim but why do you want the school if you are going for ABA? If you want to carry on with ABA programme surely you are challenging part 4? or am I missing something?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 18:54:26

DS is at the stage where he needs ABA methodology to teach him how to learn in a mainstream school, and to work on his social skills.

I can do a lot resource-wise at home, but I can't magic up 30 peers or teach him how to attend to an adult in a large group.

The home stuff will continue, but I'll do it. I'll even fund it in the school (we sold our house for these types of things) but the school have refused, so the only way I can get our tutors into school is if a tribunal rule it.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 18:55:37

We're not challenging the school. We're challenging the autism advice that the school are getting iyswim, and we are challenging the expertise of those at the front-line working with him.

cansu Thu 22-Sep-11 19:09:17

OK sorry I understand. You want the tutors in the school ideally then assisting your ds and teaching him in an ABA way. I think then you should probably try and bring it forward because as you say you will be the one coping with the bills in any interim period. I can see what you're saying re the EP, but I am not that convinced tribunals take as much notice of witnesses as they should do. Could you also submit a video of your ds showing the additional progress along with data sheets? or maybe submit this to EP to base a final update report on rather than another visit just prior to the tribunal date?

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 19:17:21

Thank you cansu. There are some reason why we can't submit video evidence, but they are not for a public forum.

I have been trying to get through to ipsea for a week. They have supposedly put me forward for case management support but I haven't heard from them since 3 weeks ago when they told me that.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 19:19:16

This whole thing has an easy solution.

The HT employs ds' tutors for less than she pays her own, and I fund the Consultant in the way that some parents fund a private SALT to go in.

No tribunal. No additional costs. Probably less costs to the LA because the school doesn't need their 'expertise'.

squidworth Thu 22-Sep-11 19:27:49

The school has to make exception to the numbers on roll when a child has a statement so the school would be very unlikely to offer place as they would know that the would still have to take DS as named in part 4.

cansu Thu 22-Sep-11 19:52:18

It is an obvious easy solution but I am presuming this has become a point of principle / bloody mindedness on part of school and LA and they just don't want to find a solution. I know you probably already know this but you really have to demonstrate how this will not cost the LA more and that as you said you are willing to fund the consultant. FWIW my own situation is similar in that my dd's school accepted her ABA tutor as her 1:1 LSA which means that dd gets an experienced person who knows how to work with her and this means she gets more out of school. However, it is still probably less than you want in that we no longer use ABA per se and she is directed by the school and the class teacher.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 20:31:17

I wouldn't mind our tutors her being directed by the school and class teacher ultimately, but the school still say no.
They say they are not an ABA school.

Given their attitude, if we reached a compromise I wouldn't put it past them to treat them so disdainfully that they would leave their jobs.

But I DO want the class teacher and the school very much involved. DS is there long term and we won't hold on to provision long term as every year they will cut cut cut I'm certain, so I want to know that they have a vague understanding of how ds learns and how to keep him on task.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 22-Sep-11 20:35:20

Squid, thank you.

I think (but I might be wrong) that they can't make exceptions in YR and Y1. Which means they should pay attention and hold his place, but if they don't then the school can argue that it interferes with the education of others or will require an additional teacher or some other poor use of public funds.

It is looking more and more likely that I have the upperhand here though, but I really do need to check out all the potential actions of the school because they are desperate not to have me ds.

tiredoffightingwithjelly Thu 22-Sep-11 20:40:51

star, can you not request an indiviual budget and purchase the services of your current tutors given that your LA now has pathfinder status?

They have tendered for the status and parental involvement and choice are key parts of this aren't they? I think a foi request to all of the pathfinder authorities to find out how they will select the children and families they will choose is a great idea.

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