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Inappropriatelyemployed - can I sue?

(15 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 14-Oct-12 08:39:35

(I)AE - over the past year the previous CT of DS1 completed three questionnaires sent to her by the community paediatrician and GOSH APD clinic. All have been resoundingly negative. The GOSH assessment was not dependent upon a positive CT questionnaire and so his appointment was not blocked. It showed severe APD. SNAP questionnaire was negative which was something of a surprise as independent EP had diagnosed ADD and assessments showed significant inattention. Worse of all, the CAST CT questionnaire was negative and so CP did not refer on for ADOS assessment ('pleased to say that the CAST questionnaire for DS is negative from school which tends to imply that DS is having few social communication difficulties in the school situation. I do not feel that at this stage DS warrants further investigation with ADOS assessment.')

As a result DH and I have paid thousands for independent assessment by a consultant developmental paediatrician and specialist SALT. DS now has a diagosis of a highly complex neurological disorder of which ASD is one factor (along with 6 others). Our entry back into the NHS diagnostic route has been blocked or at the very least made more complex.

Not only has cost been incurred but DS (and his parents and brother) have been denied help and support. The situation has delayed SA and statementing as the school have minimised his problems. DS is currently unable to attend the secondary school he transferred to in September and so I have had to take extended leave from writing up my PhD.

Can I sue and, if so, who should I sue? Would I have be pay legal fees (wouldn't qualify for LA) or would any case be legally brought by DS?


KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 14-Oct-12 09:16:20

veritate is that with legal truth?

bochead Sun 14-Oct-12 09:25:04

Also interested to know the answer to this question as I've effectively lost my career (which as a lone parent is a fooking big deal!). Currently investigating how being fobbed off translates into a complaint to the relevant professional bodies (GMC etc).

cornsconkers Sun 14-Oct-12 09:50:30

is CT class teacher?

Ineedalife Sun 14-Oct-12 10:22:49

That is exactly what Dd3's old school didsad

I hope you can sue as it might make others sit up and take notice.

Sorry you have had to go through that, it is awful and shouldnt happen.sad

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 14-Oct-12 10:48:18

corn CT = class teacher

Staff change (SENCO/head and class teacher) meant that we lost school support - prior to September 2011 CT and SENCO/head had concerns re SpLD, ADD and semantic/pragmatic difficulties. New SENCO/head even stated that DS was not dsylexic (in his 20 year experience) and all his difficulties were likely down to low self-esteem - essentially back to 'no problems here' and 'if only we had him for another year' he would start to show progress. CT wrote a year 6 report in which DS was unrecognisable - she actually wrote that she often has a laugh and joke with him shock. DS is 'quiet' at school to the point of being practically mute unless directly asked a question he definately knows the answer to and doesn't 'do' jokes.

If the majority of class teachers are seriously lacking in observational skills, why are they given so much power to block further assessment - apparently trumping parental observations and experiences and expert EP/medical opinion based upon assessment?

All 3 parental questionniares were positive and have been validated by all assessments/consultations so far. However, it would appear that I am being considered an 'unreliable' witness and am the lone voice iykwim.


Sneezecakesmama Sun 14-Oct-12 10:58:45

I think you would be better asking this question also on the legal MN page. Maybe condense and avoid the abbreviations as the are confusing if you are not familiar with them. There are some solicitors who post there so may have legal advice.

I have a feeling if you are suing on behalf of a minor you can get legal aid as he is not considered to have an income but there has been a big reduction in legal aid funding recently. A free half hour is sometimes available with some practices but I suspect you may need specialist advice.

Veritate Sun 14-Oct-12 11:05:44

It is really difficult to bring education negligence proceedings these days. They're very expensive because they involve trawling through years of school records and getting experts' reports, and they have a poor record of success, so it's virtually impossible to get legal aid for them. For the same reason I don't think solicitors will take claims on a no win no fee basis and you can't get insurance against being required to pay the other side's costs if you lose. I suppose this might change in the future, and you do have till your son is 21 to bring a case in his name. In any event, he couldn't claim on your behalf for the extra sums you have had to pay out to get assessments.

Sorry to be so gloomy!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 14-Oct-12 11:25:38

veritate - thank you for the advice - it's not your fault it is so gloomy smile. Lack of recourse to law would certainly explain the apparent powerlessness of parents.

Still there is more than one way to skin a cat - DH has just joined the BOG (who are responsible for hiring and firing) and so the balance of power has shifted wink.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 14-Oct-12 14:53:34

Just seen this.

Sorry, I agree with veritate. There have been very few successful cases on educational negligence. There was a case called Phelps v Hillingdon Borough Council about a decade ago which everyone got very excited ago, but since then few people have succeeded.

To establish any claim, you would have to show a duty of care was owing, it was breached and that this caused damage, ie, educational failure or some other 'injury' to your son.

Factored in to the mix here is also the standard expected of the average teacher. A teacher is expected to teach and to be able to fill in forms like this to the best of their ability. If they are wrong lie on such forms, it is unlikely they will held to account as the courts would not see this as a core function of their job.

Is your child still at this school?

mariammma Sun 14-Oct-12 15:12:45

Forget sueing. Instead express sympathy that hard-pressed teachers have to waste their precious time on stupid form-filling that has nothing to do with the education duties they were trained for.

What a burden the horrid NHS is putting on them, look how much training and protected time they would need, if they are expected to take over other people's workload. Honestly, how cheeky to expect teachers to work out whether a child has complex neurological issues.

And look, your dc was seriously harmed as a result. How terrible, when the school were trying their hardest, and only had his best interests at heart. Then assure them they would have your full support for not filling out any more forms.

mariammma Sun 14-Oct-12 15:15:01

Mind you, it's hard to be that coherent when lying. Especially if speaking through gritted teeth when also biting your tongue and trying not to choke.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 14-Oct-12 17:00:25

(I)AE - thanks - DS has left primary education now and is currently at home. sad

maria - I would like to think that the school was doing it's best but I know that this is not the case. Besides which, if this were the school's best I would be seriously concerned not least because the APD assessment showed that he is unable to understand speech when there is any background noise. I am as concerned about this as I would be if the teacher had failed to notice the same degree of hearing disability.

I agree that teachers cannot diagnose in the way that the NHS appears to assume and that it is ridiculous to expect them to do so. However I do not agree that it is difficult to be consistent when lying - they are usually yes/no answers and pretty obvious. In my experience when teachers were truthful with NHS professionals they ticked the box not to share the information with the parents - I know this from requesting my son's file.

But at the same time, the same 'lying bastards' behave completely differently in relation to DS2 who is a piece of piss to parent but is a considerable problem to the teaching staff who are falling over themselves to refer him on.

I don't like feeling powerless and impotent. I'm chanelling Ripley (Signourny Weaver in Alien) in a big way and feel the need to kick some alien LEA butt grin on the other hand the stress could be getting to me I think I'll go and have wine - what? It is nearly 5 o'clock blush

creamteas Sun 14-Oct-12 17:37:23

If legal action unlikely to work, why not go for a name and shame in the local press?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 14-Oct-12 19:05:29

'one way or another, I'm gonna gettcha, I'm gonna gettcha, gettcha, gettcha, gettcha, one way or another...' One of those worms thats in my head for some reason confused

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