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Decision not to assess - Essex, are the reasons they give total bull...?

(41 Posts)
babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 10:31:11

Ds almost 3, I used the paragraph of complex and severe needs, he has significant GDD. Reasons they state why not to assess: The reason for this is that we would like an Educational Psychologist to carry out an initial assessment in order to determine how best to meet Michael's needs within the preschool setting. This can take the form of a preschool Premimum which the setting can use to provide resources, adult support etc, depending on Michael's needs, an Individual Education Plan which identifies his needs with targets and strategies included or input from other agencies. The Educational psychologist will be in touch with you in the near future to discuss Michael and will also make contact with the preschool settings.
IEP for child who is developmentally at 18 months..yes, that would be really helpful sad(

Dev9aug Thu 18-Oct-12 10:43:22

pretty common unfortunately. This is a common tactic employed to waste precious time. Appeal straight away. You might want to repost without giving out names etc.

Delalakis Thu 18-Oct-12 10:46:22

Yes, this is total bull.

I heard recently that some councils, including Essex, are now saying they won't issue statements, unless ordered to do so by the tribunal, until the new legislation comes into force. Has anyone else heard that? Could be worth an FoI search because it would be totally illegal.

Lougle Thu 18-Oct-12 10:53:22

Well, it's not all lost. If he is almost 3 now, then he won't start school until September 2014. My instinct would be:

Let them get the EP in. Let them get the Premium, and let them put in the resources. Then, use that provision as evidence that he requires the provision at school.

I don't know what Essex are like, I am in Hampshire. However, DD1 was between 6 and 18 months behind at that exact stage (spiky profile) and she went from 'Premium funding' at preschool (which they used for 1:1 support, plus had input from OT, Portage, SALT, Physio and the Area Inclusion Co-ordinator) to a Statement and Special School in Yr R.

So, it doesn't mean that they won't put a Statement in place. I'd be reapplying in 6 months, though, so that if they turn you down again, you have time to appeal before year R.

Also, it would be handy to have some phrases put into Paediatrician letters soon. Things like 'Discussed DS's education. I expect DS to need a Statement of Educational Need when he starts school.'

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 10:53:42

Thanks guys, so I'm not the only one sad Dev I only used first name, maybe I'm not paranoid enough yet..

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 10:55:21

Thanks Lougle, that's what I'm torn between, leaving it now or appeal straight away ..

Delalakis Thu 18-Oct-12 10:59:43

I'm with Dev9, I'd say appeal straight away, otherwise they will carry on timewasting as long as they think they can get away with it.

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 11:20:21

Thanks Delakis, I will research in the evening re appeal.

chocjunkie Thu 18-Oct-12 11:28:21

i would appeal... an appeals hearing will take you probably to april/may next year. you might (once you have a statement at some point) have to appeal the contents as well... it just drags on and on. I would not want to waste more time by waiting... and appeal will also send the message to the LA that you mean business.

agree with Dev - would maybe repost without the names?

Dev9aug Thu 18-Oct-12 11:30:44

Lougle does have a point. It really depends on what they are offering to be honest. In our case, what we were offered was not really adequate so I would have appealed, as it happens we moved so I didn't.

If what they are offering you seems suitable in terms of need and support, then you can put in a statement request in six months and if it is not, then appeal. I am not sure what the time frame is for appeal, but as far as I remember it does give you a window to decide.

sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, I was just passing on advice as it is an anonymous forum so best not to use names, thats all.

bochead Thu 18-Oct-12 11:46:22

They've done it to delay.

An appeal will take 6 months - BUT if they know you are appealing they'll have to get the EP and any other specialists into see your child in a timely manner. They are bound by law to adhere to certain time limits. If you don't appeal there's no onus on them to get on with EP for a while yet. I'd do it just for that - to know for sure that something will be done in the next six months.

Also if you qualify for legal aid then you also qualify for an independent EP assessment. In my case the indy EP & SALT reports were worth their weight in gold.

My kid lost the entire KS1 cos I didn't have the bottle to challenge straight away, so I'd never suggest another parent wait as I bitterly regret doing so.

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 12:07:27

Bochead, yes we do qualify at the moment, do I understand ok that we can use solicitor for the appeal? Are there any lists of good educational solicitors who accept legal aid? And yes, I'm worried they are delaying, notice of education was put on almost 2 years ago and have not heard from anybody yet ;( Dh is currently fighting immigration with legal aid, hopefully it won't be a problem, can't believe another fight looming..

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 12:15:12

And thank you everybody, next time I won't use names.

bochead Thu 18-Oct-12 12:37:14

I liked Levenes - partially cos they have a superb list of EP's and other specialists to hand. Google em wink

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 13:03:26


AgnesDiPesto Thu 18-Oct-12 13:06:24

You can go on Law Society website find a solicitor and look under specialism (education).

Yes def get legal aid as you can get private reports that way

The only reason for refusing statutory assessment is if the LA are certain your child is not going to need provision which is above what a school / nursery can provide from its own resources (ie from the SEN pot of money it already has). If the EP needs to advise that should be done as part of statutory assessment. Unless they know for certain that the premium+adult support available to nursery will be enough to meet all his needs they must do a statutory assessment.

It took us 18 months (from 2.5 to 4) to get a statement worth the paper it was written on and we appealed promptly both times (refusal to assess and against statement wording) so I would not waste 6 months.

Agree with Boc the only way to get them to follow through with provision in a timely way is by using the statutory / appeal process

IPSEA website has a refusal to assess pack you can look at but if you get legal aid you won't need to do it yourself.

Dev9aug Thu 18-Oct-12 13:23:55

The only reason for refusing statutory assessment is if the LA are certain your child is not going to need provision which is above what a school / nursery can provide from its own resources (ie from the SEN pot of money it already has). If the EP needs to advise that should be done as part of statutory assessment. Unless they know for certain that the premium+adult support available to nursery will be enough to meet all his needs they must do a statutory assessment.

Agnes thats precisely it. In our case, the LEA refused to access because they said they had provision in place to help DS. The provision they talked about was a 20ft by 15ft room in a MS nursery staffed by 3 adults to supervise 5 DC with SEN ranging from AS to severe ASD for 15 hrs a week. I am just talking hypotheticals here, but what would happen at the appeal stage if I had decided that this is not suitable provision for ds and decided not to send him there. Would that count against me?

Sorry for the hijack OP, but I think this could also be important in your case.

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 13:24:25

Agnes thanks, I'm looking into it now. The firm Bochead suggested looks brilliant, pity it's quite far. You nailed it: that's why they are delaying, preschool applied for inclusion funding, so they are waiting for it, and therefore then they can say, his needs are being met. No logic in it, he is going to need statement anyway, so why not just bloody do it sad

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 13:27:01

Dev and how are you going to proceed?

Dev9aug Thu 18-Oct-12 13:30:18

In my case, we moved houses so we never got round to appealing. But If I was still there, I would never have sent him to the nursery they suggested and I would have appealed straight way.

Lougle Thu 18-Oct-12 13:31:23

Dev it depends. What are your grounds (hypothetically) for deciding it's an unsuitable (hypothetical) provision?

Lougle Thu 18-Oct-12 13:37:30

But babiki, if the provision available under EYA+ (which is what the Premium funding comes from) is suitable at Preschool level, then the LA is not being unreasonable to deny a statement at this time. That doesn't mean that a Statement won't be needed later. But, the SEN CoP makes it crystal clear that only children whose needs cannot be met from within an educational setting's own resources (and in this case, the Premium payment would be seen as 'own resources' because it is freely available to any setting able to demonstrate need), who get a Statement.

So, for children like 'ours' (I use that term loosely, because I've never met your DS, but both your DS and my DD have GDD) that provision may well be adequate. For a child, say, with severe Cerebral Palsy who needs 1:1 and expensive moving and handling equipment and the input of a specialist service, that might not cover it, so a Statement will be needed at that stage.

We have got to get away from the notion that only a Statement will do. It is damaging, because up to 20% of children have 'SEN' and only 2% will be given a Statement. That means that 9 out of 10 parents whose children have SEN will not need a Statement for their child, and SA+ or SA will suffice.

Having said that, if the Premium payment is insufficient, then a Statement is required.

Dev9aug Thu 18-Oct-12 13:41:12

The nursery they suggested was by no means a small one. It had different rooms for acivities for children such as rooms for numeracy, phonics, arts and crafts, dining room to practice eating skills etc, a huge garden with vegetable patches, outdoor activities etc if ds1 had been attending nursery as an NT child.

Because ds had ASD and he was selected for this specific resource unit, he had to make do with 3 hrs every day in a 20ft X 15ft room with 4 other children and 3 adults for supervision. He would be spending his entire time in there until they decide to let him out in the MS nursery for upto an hour a day to practice his social skills.

oh and the portage worker and the EP who visited us at the time to offer this place specifically told us when we said that we are applying for a statement that if we were to apply for a statement we would not be offered a place for ds in the resource unit. Maybe I am being cynical but this sounds like a tactic to me where they tell hard pressed parents that there is a place for you at this nursery with support but only if you don't apply for a statement and hoping some would have no choice but to accept their offer.

Dev9aug Thu 18-Oct-12 13:46:16

Agree Lougle, which is why I suggested in my second post that it is important to find out what is on offer first. We looked into it and didn't think it was suitable, in someone else's case it might be.

babiki Thu 18-Oct-12 13:49:48

Lougle, but there is no funding yet, he is getting absolutely no extra help: preschool provides teacher to be with him all the time out of their own pocket and struggling (financially) as he needs constant 1-1. We have been told about the funding months ago, and nothing happened, no specialist teacher saw him etc..that is why I am fed up. Even if applying for statement will push them to get a move on, that will be a positive outcome...

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