Was allocated a pp lady last year. Am just about to embark on this years agenda of battles, thought I would talk through with pp lady before first meeting. Have a few niggling doubts ie. have been told in past that they are in back pockets of LEA so when going to tribunal, play cards close to chest. They have assured me this isn't the case (not that they would admit it). However, at last meeting my volunteer seemed very chummy with Senco, and Senco seemed very happy to have her in. SHould I be concerned about this?
I dont trust anyone anymore esp if paid by the LEA, I am polite but guarded. I use to trust everyone but now people have to prove themselves for my trust. It is one of the areas of my personality that having SN children has caused.
PP are great for putting pressure on school to provide more help from within their budget, as they work for the LA and dont want you to apply for a statement.
Be careful with statementing and PP and what you tell them as it will get back to the LA.
That is not to say dont use them, they can be very helpful, just dont tell them anything you dont want to be repeated. Also be wary of their advice regarding statements, bearing in mind, it might not always be exactly accurate as the LA do pay their wages.
For example i had a meeting with PP the other day, she was extremely interested in what letters had passed between the LA and school, more so than what had passed between myself and school, seen as she is supposed to be representing me, she was looking out for the LA's back!
Yes the LA do pay PP wages but they should be a completely seperate sevice from them. I dod know that the conection between them varies massively in each LA. Some are in the LA's back pockets but some are totaly out sourced like my local one, they are given a budget and left to their own devices. You can usually tell how much of a conection they have by where they are based, ours is based in it's own building on a site with people such as health visiters, link nurses and physio, so no direct contact with LA.
Oh my PP is based in the same building as LA, they know each other very well. LA (my officer) and school SENCO also know each other very well.
PP dont actually say "dont apply for a statement" but she did give me the old spill about "school being given their own budget and meeting needs from within it, is what they are working towards and in future they hope to rule out the need for statements altogether"
Now if i didnt know any better the wording could be quite misleading for some parents. I replied "well if the school were meeting needs of course i wouldnt need to apply for a statement. No one would, would they"!
Seemed to me she was implying i should put pressure on school to meet needs from their budget. Which of course i should, but she forgot to tell me, that they could remove any help they put into place without a statement.
I would try the charities, Ipsea, Ace and Sossen, form my past experiences I would run a mile form the local parent partnership scheme, but that might just be here at crapshire where they appear to be an extension of the LA.
PP are good for explaining the internal LA systems, giving you contact names, taking notes, writing a letter on your behalf when you questions have been avoided etc. Getting hold of policy documents and various others.
However, if you ask their advice don't assume it is sound, and don't pass on anything you are not ready for the LA to know.
answer to your question in one word is no........my pp worker read reply e-mails from lea out to me on the phone, the e-mails where very rude,abrupt, even had swearwords in them. when i asked for coppies they suddenly disappeared.
In our experience they were impartial and pointed out gaps in the statement that we had missed, the service where they took accurate meeting minutes was invaluable. But it obviously varies hugely sowise to be cautious at first.
Tired all pps is funded in the same way, the difference is in how they are allowed to be run. I know there are pp in some LA's that sit in the same room as the statement writers, which horrifys my. Minimum standards for pp are 'they are an arms length, stand alone service giving impatial advice' some LA's go against this. Some pps are just a phoneline but others offer loads of services, mine is very good, we have an in house councillor, they offer relaxation therapys, hypnotherapy and are the number 1 place in our borough to access asd and adhd parent programmes.
As keepingup says, all pps in theory the same. From our experience - separate building, ready to listen, acted as champion of our cause, advised where they thought lea were in the wrong, pointed out where they thought lea could challenge us, but supported us when we were able to point to supporting evidence. The only issue we had was that due to demands on their services, they weren't always free to attend meetings with us when we would have liked them to.