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Now been told that DS wont get a statement if he goes to MS

(62 Posts)
zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 18:51:32

DS has ASD and is due to start school next Sept. He currently attends both a SN and a MS pre-school. I went to a meeting organised by the head of the LA Pre-school Specialist Support and Disability Service (who overseas the SN pre-school and is on the panel which decides whether to award statements), who categorically told me that if we wanted to send our children to MS schools, then the LA would not consider them for statementing.

I have looked round a few special schools and units and I believe DS's needs will best be met in MS with 1-1 support (probably needs full time support). I want him statemented. Reading between the lines, I think they would statement DS if I sent him to specialist provision, but I've been told that the authority are not statementing any DCs going in to mainstream, although "of course he would still be supported" by this new Pupil Resourse Agreement thing.

Because he is already in the LA flagship special school, they have already started "processing" the children they want to statement and are not putting forward any children for SA who they think will cope in MS. I have arranged a meeting with the aforementioned person for next week to tell them that regardless of the LA policy I want to apply for statutory assessment with a view to sending DS to mainstream, but I really don't feel like I can win with this when they have already decided which children they are going to statement.

Any advice gratefully received.

Handywoman Sat 06-Oct-12 19:01:37

I believe you can apply for SA yourself. So, that being the case, you can tell them if they don't apply you will do so yourself. I would have thought a statement would be more likely for a child going to MS than specialist school? Don't know, but if you know what you want don't let them sway you from the path. Good luck
Handy X

coff33pot Sat 06-Oct-12 19:02:30

I cant believe I have read this. What were their reasons? did they give a reason even?

I would have thought it was more expensive to keep a child in a Specialist School than statement them for mainstream as SS is usually very hard to get.

I think its wrong as they are not allowed to pick and choose and seeing as your DS has evidence to join an SS I would take it that he is in need of a SEN statement....

I am not experienced with this though but am guessing you are entitled to request your MS school. I suggest writing down the reasons you feel this MS is a good place for your child and how they can provide for him. Are the MS happy that they will support him?

Sorry you have stress you dont need x

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:05:48

Thanks Handy - just pissed off at their blanket "no statements in MS" policy. I do intend o apply for SA myself. Thing is, I think they had already "decided" that he is a candidate for a unit, so would have put him forward for SA on that basis. I don't want him going to a unit though.

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:12:49

Coff33, they didnt give a reason, though I am sure it is financially-related. I intend to ask at the meeting next week, but I think it is all to do with the forthcoming changes in the Green Paper. Also we are in a PLA pathfinder area, so I think that has something to do with it too. I think they want to lump all statemented children together in special schools, regardless of needs of whether they'd do better in MS.

I've arranged a meeting with the head of infants at my other DSs' primary and she seemed supportive when I spoke with her on the phone.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 06-Oct-12 19:39:16

The special school already has money committed to it and every space will go to someone.

If you send your child to m/s they have to pay for resources in addition to the money they have allocated to the special school so it is more expensive for them.

mariamma Sat 06-Oct-12 19:44:06

You could always send him to SS for a term or two and then request a statement review with a change of placement. I think they're trying to scare people off statements... call their bluff! SS reception-year 1 is often like nursery: lots of staff, play based, emphasis on social skills. Think Montessori, or scandanavia grin.

Tbh, although DS is academically clever, he'd be doing much better overall if we'd taken that approach. Also would've been much cheaper than all the independent reports and stress its taken to get to the stage we are now (still no statement and awaiting appeal against note in lieu)

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:45:13

OK, I thought it would have something to do with money.

mariamma Sat 06-Oct-12 19:45:36

Cos its cheaper for yhe council right now, but they'll be wanting his SS place back in a year, to give to another child.

Sarraburd Sat 06-Oct-12 19:50:19

My DS has only just been diagnosed so I am still finding my way round the system myself - he is currently having a phased induction to mainstream nursery with a view to going to the school. His SENCO has already been talking to us about statement (not any details, just that he will need one and two terms of observation first to support it) but also my speech therapist told me that I can apply for it myself if I feel the school is moving slowly.

Assuming that's the case then you should be able to get the wheels moving. Good luck!

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:52:21

Sorry you're also getting stress mariamma. The special schools I looked round (which would be the ones DS would be considered for to) were very much as you said - like nursery. The thing is, I don't think they would challenge DS. He does well socially in MS because he does tend to copy what the other children are doing. Also, he's not very phased by new situations etc so I don't think he'd find it difficult being in a class of 30.

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:54:36

Thanks Sarraburd.

AgnesDiPesto Sat 06-Oct-12 20:01:08

zen the first thing you should do is write up what was said at the meeting including the advice they will not statement your child if you choose mainstream and send it to the manager to approve.

Then apply for a statement NOW. There is a standard letter on IPSEA website.

You already know they are going to block it / delay etc etc so are most likely going to have to appeal at some stage. If your child needs fulltime support you will get a statement, so concentrate on collecting the evidence thats what is needed. You can win at tribunal even if your LA will not agree. But appeals take a long time to be heard and they can drag the process out to 18 months if they block you at every stage.

You have a right to mainstream school and the LA has to do everything it reasonably can to allow your child to access mainstream.

You can also ask for a dual placement.

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 20:10:26

Agnes, that is useful advice, thank you. I will do that re writing a letter. It doesn't make any sense because even the specialist speech therapist who did his ADOS a few months ago said she thought he would do well in MS.

So, should I tell them now it is my intention to apply for a statement with a view to MS education or should I let them begin the statementing process thinking we will agree to a SS placement?

notactuallyme Sat 06-Oct-12 20:10:30

Well, technically the statutory assessment is to assess his needs, and schools can't be suggested throughout this, so I fail to see how they can bypass this? Ie how can they jump to choosing a school without assessing his needs?
Apply yourself and appeal if they say no.

Handywoman Sat 06-Oct-12 20:27:32

It really sounds to me as though the staff at the specialist unit are thinking more about the politics, finance and viability of their own specialist service than whether the right children are placed in the right setting. Crazy.

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 20:33:18

It also winds me up when "specialists" think they know my child better than me.

chocjunkie Sat 06-Oct-12 20:55:38

Was thinking along the lines of notactuallyme hmm

Doesn't the LA first have to decide (following application of SA) if they will issue a statement at all and only after the decision has been made to issue a statement, the choice of school is made? Cannot quite remember at what stage we told the LA which school we want...

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 21:04:38

Yes, that is a point I will be raising at the meeting next week notactually and chocjumkie. They are saying that Dcs whose needs can be met at MS schools will not even be put forward for SA. But you're right, how can they make these decisions without even assessing the kids' needs angry

chocjunkie Sat 06-Oct-12 21:17:36

What is the meeting for? To discuss your application for a SA? If so, tbh, I would not bother meeting them. They have already told you a lot of crap and will probably just do so again. Don't waste your time.

Just use the template from IPSEA's website and apply for an SA yourself. And if they turn you down, you appeal. The whole process can takes forever ( esp if you appeal) so i would just get the ball rolling.

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 21:26:11

I arranged the meeting after I went to the general meeting for all parents at the SN pre-school where we were told about "no statements for MS" policy. I wanted to try and find out more info about why they are holding this line and also to inform them that I would be seeking SA anyway. I get the feeling that I will be becoming very familiar with IPSEA over the coming months!

HotheadPaisan Sat 06-Oct-12 21:35:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocjunkie Sat 06-Oct-12 21:35:25

Sounds likely... sad but seriously, I would not meet. I tried the meeting approach with my LA but they just tried to bamboozle me into believing their nonsense and giving in. I now do everything in writing (email). If you do it in writing, you always have a papertrail and well, you have things in writing which could come in handy at some point.

zen1 Sat 06-Oct-12 21:54:45

Choc, yes a papertrail is a good idea. I am finding it hard to trust the people dealing with my DS now. I would have liked to have believed that they have his best interests at heart. They all come across as nice people ("all we want is what's best for your DCs etc etc"), but there seems to always be a hidden agenda.

Hothead, I will google Tania, thank you. Off to listen to your link now smile

AgnesDiPesto Sat 06-Oct-12 22:01:55

i think meeting specifically about your case is sensible and shows willing if you later end up at tribunal. It gives you the perfect opportunity to say can you put that in writing (eg the policy) and if they don't, send a copy of your minutes summarising it anyway. There is no way they will actually put this in writing btw as blanket policies are unlawful (see IPSEA again). I would tell them you are going to apply anyway at the end of the meeting not the beginning - see what you can get them to say first.

You need to download the SEN Code of Practice and SEN Toolkit and read the education act 1996 so you know the law and process

Also ask them how much provision m/s schools in your LA are expected to put in without a statement (its usually 10-20 hours) and then ask them how they know this will be enough without doing an assessment.

My son got a statement at age 3 with full-time specialist (ABA trained) support in mainstream after initially being refused an assessment (they backed down as soon as we appealed) . He benefits hugely from the mainstream children. If he were in the autism class in the MLD School (the only alternative) he would have no role models, he would be by far the most able child and most importantly there would be no bossy girls constantly grabbing his hand and saying 'come on DS' and dragging him to join in!.

We ended up with a package worth 10 times the cost of the provision we were originally offered and were assured would meet all his needs!

Don't ever stop trusting your instincts. You do know your child best.

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