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Do the school get 6 weeks grace to implement a new statement?

(51 Posts)
moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 10:08:11

I'm sure I read this somewhere, but can't find it now.

Three weeks into term and ds's statement still hasn't been implemented - in fact last time his teacher and I spoke she hadn't even seen a copy.

I am trying not to go in all guns blazing at the start of a new year, so have just gently prodded a couple of times so far, but things are starting to happen that simply wouldn't/couldn't if the support in his statement was in place.

Do they get a 6 week period of grace - or do I need to dust off my steel-capped butt kicking boots?

Catsdontcare Thu 20-Sep-12 10:38:42

You should have a post statement planning meeting. Not sure about the six weeks grace but I would go in with a brisk "right let's set a meeting date and get this show on the road"

whatthewhatthebleep Thu 20-Sep-12 10:39:21

I'd not be waiting...I'd be asking for a school meeting and inviting whoever is involved.
You must have this clarified and know exactly how this will be progressed and implemented, etc..who is doing what, when, how often, etc and the perceived outcome of each stategy proposed, etc This should all be laid out and clear to you and everyone involved.
There should also be a meeting scheduled for review on all this too.
I'm not sure of a 'grace' period but still you should be informed about all of this and have a clear picture of exactly what the statement says and how it will be exercised in practice, etc

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 20-Sep-12 10:51:44

Moosemama

I can only go by my own experience at the start of Y7. DS's statement at that time was fully implimented from Day 1 at that school.

Where is their copy of the statement doc; has the SENCO got this?.

I would be having a word with the SENCO now. I would also be getting his Pastoral Support person for Year 7 and his form teacher on side as well.

moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 11:09:25

Thanks folks.

I was hoping you'd all say that. I didn't want to go in and give them the satisfaction of telling me they had six weeks and I was just being pushy, but had this vague feeling I'd read it somewhere and wanted my facts straight before I approached them.

I will book a meeting with them when I go to pick him up this afternoon.

Statement was finalised in July, so outside of term time. Our copy was here when we got back off our holiday, so I'm assuming the SENCO has theirs. Dh and I have both spoken to his teacher about it and she just keeps saying she'll have to ask the SENCO. Dh has spoken to her once and I've asked twice - plus pointed out in his communication book that the problems that have arisen thus far wouldn't have happened if they had implemented the support detailed in his statement. hmm

Whatthe, we do have a time-frame for Annual Review. As for planning and review of strategies, I reckon they were trying to string things out until his next scheduled IEP review, which is just before half term, so there's no way I'm letting that happen.

Attila, he's still year 6 at the moment, so we're just in the process of naming his secondary. That's a whole other question mark, as while the statementing process was ongoing we were sent a letter asking for us to put down 5 choices of school, but afaik, we should only need to put down one now that he has a statement. confused So, I need to call the LA as well to clarify that. I asked the new school's admission officer last night and she said she didn't know anything about admissions for children with statements. hmm

moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 11:10:44

And there was me thinking things would be less stressful once we'd finalised the statement. hmm grin Honestly, you'd think I'd know better by now wouldn't you? blush

AgnesDiPesto Thu 20-Sep-12 11:33:42

No it should be in place from day 1. The LA will (should) have funded it from day 1.

bialystockandbloom Thu 20-Sep-12 11:57:32

Yes others are right, support should be in place already.

I'd deal directly with the SENCO from now on about this, it's her responsibility to organise this, not the class teacher who possibly cba anyway

Don't let them do what my school did which is spend a whole term not implementing the statement as they wanted to "see how it goes" (we didn't argue as were going through appeal at that time and wanted to keep them on side - ha!), and then a second term still not implementing it as they were "having problems recruiting".

Yes call the LA admissions dept or SEN dept about admission to senior school. I think it's probably the same as for primary, where you name the school you want in part 4, but SEN dept would confirm this.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 20-Sep-12 12:46:19

Go get em Moose!!.

Sorry, I forgot your DS was still in his last year of Junior school.

BTW when he does go into Y7, the statement he has should start from day 1 there too.

My own experience with the naming of the secondary school I wanted DS to go to was quite straight forward thankfully (compared to the cock up from infants to juniors transition). Only had to name the one (we're within easy walking distance of it) and DS had a lot of visits beforehand. I also made myself known to that school SENCO before he started there by showing them his statement and giving them a photo of him.

moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 14:08:38

The secondary we want him to go to has been really good so far. We've had a long meeting with the head of learning support and a tour of the school. We're lucky that it's our local catchment school as well. We went to visit the school everyone recommends for children who have ASD locally and it just wasn't right for ds.

Still worried that they might find some reason not to take him. It all sounded positive and the meeting, but we won't find out until 15th February.

bialystockandbloom Thu 20-Sep-12 14:36:59

If he has a statement the normal admission rules wouldn't apply though, would they, so presumably you won't have to wait for the general results to come out? What is named on the statement? Check with the LA SEN dept but this is certainly the case for primary. We were in a similar position - statement came through after normal general admission so we were initially allocated just a local school. As soon as the statement was finalised and we had named the school we wanted, he was taken off the general roll. I just don't think general admission policies apply for statemented children either in primary or secondary.

CillaSlack Thu 20-Sep-12 18:12:46

Yes,get this sorted asap Moose as I'm sure school will be happy to string it along as long as possible. I speak from bitter experience - school wanted to wait 6months to implement anything in the sm as they 'couldn't take him out of class until the SAT's were finished' hmm
You don't have to wait until February to find out about the school. We just named the one we wanted, there was a bit of argy bargy, the hours were increased and school accepted him. We were told several months before the 'official' date.

moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 18:15:20

Well, curiouser and curiouser.

Ds's teacher approached me after school to tell me he hadn't done his feelings diary, but wanted to do it at home with me for this afternoon's section - fine. Then I asked if she'd seen his statement yet - yes. Asked if/when there will be a meeting to discuss and plan provision against targets? "Well there will be yes. Actually there's a letter in his bag today."

Then I mentioned the two assessments (SALT and functional handwriting) that came out of his appointment at the ASD assessment unit yesterday and have been referred to be done in school and she went off on one about how unfair it is to take children out of class to do handwriting groups and how much he objects (seems he kicked off about it today) and how the statement says he should have 5 minutes a day of handwriting input and how are they supposed to facilitate that etc etc. Also said that the targets either aren't achievable or are impossible to track and she doesn't like the statement, basically they can't meet the provision and the whole thing is ridiculous.

SENCO kept going back and forth and circling around us, eavesdropping (I didn't include her in the conversation, because I wanted to speak to her separately to make sure a meeting was being arranged) then she went inside and a minute or two later the Head came out, all flustered, said to ds's teacher that she had an urgent phonecall and scooted her inside! shock Talk about bloody blatant! I was suddenly left standing outside a closed door a bit shell-shocked, before limping home and eventually arriving at - absolutely steaming mad. angry

The 'letter' in his bag was a flyer for the local ASD support group's autumn events. hmm

So, I came home and phoned Parent Partnership. They were really good and are going to come with me to any/all meetings from now on. Dh used to come, but he is starting a new job next week and won't be able to anymore.

General feeling is the school objected to the statement and said they couldn't meet his needs, but the LA told them to lump it.

I am writing a rather curt letter to them this evening asking for dates for a meeting to discuss the statement.

notactuallyme Thu 20-Sep-12 18:20:35

before naming a school, it should be consulted by the LA, so really, they should be informed enough to get going...

appropriatelyemployed Thu 20-Sep-12 18:41:43

OK, the law:

There is, by law, no period of grace allowed.

Under, section 324 (5) of the Education Act 1996, the LA “shall arrange … the special educational provision specified in the statement is made for the child”

Paragraph 8:109 of the SEN COP confirms that “LEAs must arrange the special educational provision, and may arrange any non-educational provision specified in the statement, from the date on which the statement is made”.

The scope and content of this duty has been clearly defined by caselaw. In the case of R v London Borough of Harrow ex parte M [1997] ELR 62, the court rejected the local authority’s argument that, because they had made a request to the health authority to establish the provision, their own duty under the Education Act had been fulfilled. The court ruled that there is no excuse for delay if there are financial or other practical difficulties in giving effect to the terms of the statement. The LA’s duty is owed personally to the child and is non-delegable. This principle was clearly and recently restated in a judgment by the Court of Appeal in R (N) v North Tyneside Borough Council [2010] EWCA Civ 135). The judges held that the statement identified a clear provision, and s324(5) of the 1996 Education Act requires the LA to ensure that it is provided and no excuse will be accepted for failing to do so. At para 17, Sedley LJ reminded local authorities that

“There is no best endeavours defence in the legislation. If the situation changes there is machinery for revising the statement, but while it stands it is the duty of the LEA to implement it“.

Indeed, so clear is the law on this issue that the LA barrister in the North Tyneside case was reprimanded for even contesting it on behalf of the local authority.

The courts have even ruled that the LEA remains ultimately responsible for making the provision even if it is the school’s who fails to do so: R v Oxfordshire ex parte C [1996] ELR 153; R v Hillingdon ex parte Queensmead School [1997] ELR 331. Competent local authorities will be fully cognisant of this unambiguous duty and the onerous and immediate obligations it places upon them. It is submitted that good administrative practice requires them to organise their processes and procedures to comply with it.

appropriatelyemployed Thu 20-Sep-12 18:43:40

Your options:

(i) complain to the LGO who are unreliable
(ii) threaten judicial review. Legal aid is available in your child's name, and a pre-action protocol letter will be sent on his/her behalf, telling the LA what they need to do

I would do the latter. Try Levenes or Maxwell Gillot.

CillaSlack Thu 20-Sep-12 19:41:36

AE - can I pm you a question please?. Need to be careful what I put on here. Thanks

moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 19:49:00

Thank you appropriately that's really useful.

I will be speaking to the LEA tomorrow and to be honest, our Statementing Officer seemed very much on our side last time we spoke. She said the LEA want him in that school and would basically tell the school they had no choice but to take him and put the provision in place. She was very much in agreement that the provision is by no means excessive and perfectly acceptable for a MS primary to provide within the funding units supplied. Something tells me that might be what happened - hence the school not being too happy.

I was actually planning to call regarding the secondary admissions query, but I have no choice but to raise the lack of implementation now.

bochead Thu 20-Sep-12 20:10:11

Schools can also fail ofstead for failing our kids (this is the ONLY good thing Gove has done imho). just saying wink

appropriatelyemployed Thu 20-Sep-12 20:11:27

Schools who don't want children will find a way of never putting the provision in place the way they should.

I may be wrong, but, you could be constantly chasing your tail with this lot.

I may be wrong, and I hope I am in your case, but LAs are very good at looking like they are sympathising while they blame the school. This deflects any hassle from them. Ultimately, they can technically force a school to take a child but they can never make the school want him or do their best for him.

At the end of the day, it is the LA and not the school who are responsible for the implementation of statementing provision. Any complaint should be made to them directly.

Cilla yes do PM me

moosemama Thu 20-Sep-12 20:40:38

The daft thing is that much of the provision has been in place 'informally' for the past year anyway. The things they are quibbling about don't make any sense. There's definitely something fishy going on.

Ds has been at the school since he was 3 years old and is due to leave next July, they've just been given a whopping great lump sum to cover the additional provision outlined in the statement and the amount they are getting more than covers this. It doesn't make sense, but I am going to get to the bottom of it - somehow.

I do think this year's teacher doesn't 'believe' his dx or that he needs the additional support. Of course all the 9 or more professionals involved in his dx and statementing are all wrong. hmm

Appropriately I will complain to the LA. I was foolishly hoping it could be sorted out amicably with the school, but it's not looking likely is it. sad

CillaSlack Thu 20-Sep-12 20:54:41

Yes,complain to the LA and things should start moving. It really annoys me how schools and LA can just flout the law but woe betide us if we want a day off in term time or something hmm

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 20-Sep-12 21:25:57

Sorry it's not going well this year. Effing teachers thinking they can 'unDX' your DS! angry Sounds like you'll be fighting them all year. At least the secondary seems more positive. Y6 is a bit of a strange year for any DC, nothing much new to learn, yet lots of other challenges, like secondary placements, residentials, SATs etc. Hope you can nail them down, moose.

alison222 Fri 21-Sep-12 09:49:51

I am watching this with interest < waves at moose>.
We fought long and hard to get DS's statement amended. We had transition - all seemed to be well. Now the new High school do not appear to be implementing anything from his statement.
I too started of softly softly Nudging about what I think are the most important bits to help get him organised, but there is SOOOO much that is not being done.
I sent a very stiff e-mail to the senco yesterday about something very basic and am waiting for a reply. We have an OT review today too.
I think that after that I am going to have to demand a meeting and find out why things are not being implemented.
<deep joy> < sighs heavily> and runs off to work!

moosemama Fri 21-Sep-12 11:16:34

Well, it get's worse.

Got myself all ready to call LEA this morning, got out statement and something caught my eye. They've added bloody wording into it after telling us that was it for changes! shock angry

They've added in two sentences I hadn't spotted. I'd checked they'd made all the changes we'd agreed with them - removing weasel words and one big amendment about qualifications of staff - I missed these changes, because as far as I was aware those points were already agreed and weren't changing. The start and end of the paragraphs are the same, but they've slotted in a sentence in each which were never agreed.

Unfortunately, the finalised statement arrived while we were on holiday, so we missed the appeal window.

I strongly suspect the changes are down to the school - although I have no idea how, as it was done in the summer holidays. AFAIK the school shouldn't have been allowed to change wording without our approval, as it was our SA request and they had nothing to do with it. I'm suspecting that the LA made the changes in order to get the school to keep ds1. angry

One change adds something for them to do specifically, which as been tried, tested and failed as a strategy by his autism teacher. The other allows the school to only address his anxieties - if convenient to staff. Which isn't what the Ed Psych says he needs.

Neither change comes from the SA reports and neither is supported by the reports.

There's nothing I can do about it is there - we can't appeal and I'm pretty sure LA will refuse to remove them.

Have emailed PP to see what they think and dh is contacting our advocate this evening. There may be a way we can call an emergency review in a couple of months, so that may be our only hope. <<sobs>>

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