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Meeting with Ministers: your questions

(57 Posts)
Inappropriatelyemployed Wed 27-Mar-13 17:32:32

I have been invited to a meeting with ministers in relation to SEN matters and I am keen to share your questions with them.

Additionally, I am involved in a proposal for research on the Equality Act and SEN law which will touch on the Children and Families Bill. It will involve as much investigation with families as we can manage so please do let me know if you have areas which you feel strongly about.

OhYeaBaby Thu 28-Mar-13 10:35:04

don't want to hijack, but I am just about to name change as I also may have an opportunity to raise this on tele

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 28-Mar-13 10:40:59

Don't talk about wanting more funds but about wanting reallocation of current funds to get more effective outcomes.

I would take half the cost of my ds' provision and do it myself if ever that was an option. I can't work anyway because my full-time job has been policing the ineffective provision to make sure at least some of it happens.

Parent-school partnerships need to be equal, not all on schools terms. Parents need to be given the RESPONSIBILITY for engaging with the educational provision for their child.

theDudesmummy Thu 28-Mar-13 11:06:39

Early intervention, in the form of proper evidence based treatment, costs now but saves far more later. In US and Canada ABA is funded as a matter of course.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 28-Mar-13 11:08:31

But if it was mainstream it wouldn't necessarily even cost more than current provision.

frizzcat Thu 28-Mar-13 12:54:57

Hi IE - apologies if I'm recovering points already made - but having a rush day, plus on iPhone so there will be mistakes:

Under-qualified SENCO's - there doesn't appear to be any legal requirement for them to complete training in special needs and their varying degrees once they are doing the role. My SENCO is unaware of procedure, the different conditions and their implications within SN. The junior school have yet to recommend a strategy in supporting my ds. It's like well he has a statement - job done! IMHO the statement is the foundation to build on not a baby-sitting token. I have the same hopes aspirations for my ds as any other parent and he should have the same opportunities, should he choose to take them.

Child care
Seeing as the gov are so keen for dm's to go back to work, I'm pleasantly fucking astounded to see no mention of sn children. I've looked at holiday clubs for ds, some have been openly hostile others have said that on top of the extortionate fee I have to pay for 121 support on top. Even though ds does not have a full time statement!.

Dx process
I spend all of my meetings with professionals going through my ds profile, none of them seem capable of reading up and so ds has minimal assessment time. Once you get your dx that's it - off you trot, no advice on therapies, no therapy just a big rubber stamp and NEXT!!

Thank god for MNSN - without it I'd have known nothing

bochead Sat 30-Mar-13 11:04:32

*Inappropriate use of child protection threats when SEN officers and parents disagree to discredit parents.

School exclusions esp unofficial exclusions and dodgy 'managed moves'*

This wastes so much money, destroys whole families and ruins lives & it's wrong on so many levels but seems to be almost "standard practice". It's so far removed from the proclaimed ethos of putting the welfare of the child first that it's completely grotesque, and just plain wicked.

Inappropriatelyemployed Sat 30-Mar-13 11:25:40

Reallocation of funds to measurable provision is an important point but that is child dependent as not one size fits all and ABA is no panacea to every child's needs. The evidence in relation to its success has specific parameters and doesn't surpass Kanner's work in terms of emergence outcomes.

From what I have seen of it, replacing my son's current provision with an ABA therapist fixed on teaching 'compliance' or food blob skills etc through a TA would not necessarily be helpful and would not reflect any understanding of his needs or the neurological etiology of autism as a developmental disorder.

But that is my son and not other people's children and I know it has been very effective for the very young, for non-verbal children and those with intellectual impairments.

I suppose my point is that transparency and accountability mean that we need to get rid of all dogmas not replace one with another although I am sure there are multitudes of not very good ABA therapists out there with expensive food blob plans etc who will happily take £1000 a month from the state for something a child could learn him/herself given time. Or forcing children on to dull Headsprout packages because 'the evidence says it works'.

We need to get away from one size fits all an d work out what an individual child needs. This is what the law requires and it is when the parents pursue this and want something different that we get the terrible excesses of the system with child protection plans, vexatious bans, etc

2tirednot2fight Sat 30-Mar-13 14:50:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bochead Sat 30-Mar-13 16:39:59

Where are these clear current guidelines for CP processes published - I sure as heck can't find em.

I found the ones on exclusion and found that like the SenCop they are ignored more often than followed by many schools. Too often a statement is filed in a school drawer and forgotten/ignored even in small primaries.

There are no effective penalties for even blatant systemic abuse, and families have no means of getting fair treatment as the odds are so stacked against them at every single stage of the process. The tribunal system is NOT fair as often you need a good legal team, expert reports, witnesses etc. Even if you have the thousands of pounds needed the average parent doesn't know how to access the quality teams needed to secure a win. The private sector contains a LOT of snake oil sales men and unregulated cowboys.

Parents should not have to remortgage their homes, lose their careers, relocate to different parts of the country etc just to get their children a basic education, yet time and time again I hear that they are forced to make disproportionate sacrifices.

2tirednot2fight Sat 30-Mar-13 17:14:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 30-Mar-13 17:45:35

'Or if the risk is there because of a lack of available provision this does not meet the threshold for a cp plan'

Perhaps not, but it does appear to meet the threshold for threats of CP if the parent doesn't stop asking for services.

BackforGood Sat 30-Mar-13 18:04:51

Hugely concerned about the lack of provision available in my LA - children who clearly have a need for specialist provision, parents requesting it, all professionals supporting it, but nowhere near enough places to meet demand.
Same with lack of EPs
Same with lack of staff to process Statutory Assessment - I know of many, many cases where the children still don't have Statements a year after the request went in.
With Gvmnt breaking up LAs (30% of schools in our LA now acadamies and not therefore having any of their funding going to support services such as Ed Psychs and Autism Team, etc) - how can this appalling situation do anything but get even worse ?

2tirednot2fight Sat 30-Mar-13 18:05:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bochead Sat 30-Mar-13 18:39:50

LA has over 500 diagnosed ASD kids

5 ASD Outreach staff (mix of specialist TA's and teachers)
2 EP's

30 Secondary SS places
30 Unit Secondary places
60 ASD unit primary places

In addition there are an undisclosed number of Aspie/dysraxic/SPD/social communication disorder/dual diagnosis ASD/ADHD kids + of course all those stuck in the diagnostic pipeline. These children need similar professional expertise

The average PGCE student gets one afternoon's lecture on SN's and a 2000 word essay

These sorts of figures are not unusual, and should leave no one in any sort of doubt as to why adequate provision often seems so hard to obtain.

LA's in this position resort to a funnel approach to rationing provision whereby only the children of the best resourced parents and the chair throwers get within sniffing distance of adequate provision. The silly thing is that the Tribunal process becomes part of that funnel and costs the LA huge sums in legal fees etc every year. These funds are then unavailable to use for employing any more hands on therapists or expert teaching staff.

Throw in just one or two ineffective staff members at any stage of the whole shebang from TA's right up to local strategists + the whole "caring carrot" culture and it's easy to start to understand why the whole thing is such a mess.

Nothing I've seen to date demonstrates to me that the new style "local offer" will be able to combat this kind of pressure.

2tirednot2fight Sat 30-Mar-13 18:56:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2tirednot2fight Sat 30-Mar-13 19:06:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 30-Mar-13 19:53:37

'I cannot see how a section 47 investigation could be launched, the strategy meeting or discussion which instigates the process would have to identify concerns not requests for services.'

No it can't. But social workers and other professionals can use throw-away comments implying that they have concerns of FII and the power to raise it to section 47 if you don't do all that is asked without questioning.

This has happened to me twice, and both times during the run up to a SENDIST tribunal.

If I'm honest, social workers have disappeared as fast as they appeared after making some frankly ridiculous demands presumably to tick a box that showed intervention and justification for their wasted time. Must wear socks on rainy days (tick the box that the parent has received intervention about appropriate clothing perhaps) and parents must not leave unopened post in their porch (to ensure they aren't ignoring bills perhaps - though I'm making a guess).

zzzzz Sat 30-Mar-13 19:55:51

Socks and post!! shock

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 30-Mar-13 20:11:21

Yes, and a threat that they were going to make a surprise visit in the next couple of weeks to check that I was complying.

They never did come back though.

2tirednot2fight Sat 30-Mar-13 20:21:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Sat 30-Mar-13 20:27:46

Why were no socks and unopened post deemed to be so crucial? hmm

This sounds scarily barking. Ds regularly goes out without socks and I only open mail once in a blue moon.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 30-Mar-13 20:42:32

It didn't start out as an investigation (not the first one). It started out as a concern by the EP that our boiler wasn't working as we'd offered to put the oven on when she visited. Her concerns were that we were prioritising funds for independent experts over heating. So what? We were.

When they made their surprise visit I complained about their assumptions, judgemental attitude and complete lack of awareness wrt ASD. They threw their weight about and told me things that were untrue and insisted that wearing sandals in the rain in August was inappropriate and insisted that if I couldn't see that then they might have to raise their concerns further. They also insisted from the title of my dh's job that he was chosing to work longer hours than necessary and recommended that he supported me more by not going to work in any of the school holidays.

I asked for a carers assessment. They came around and did some wierd assessment. DS was ill and asleep so they made a judgement that as they had seen him sleeping he has no problems at night. When they'd passed the deadline for the carers assessment report, they denied that that was what they were doing and accused me of not asking for one in the first place.

They told me that heating the kitchen with an oven was dangerous and that i could not see that also was concerning them and they were going to take it to their manager and probably 'take things further'.

They insisted that ds should be in the surestart preschool that I had removed him on the basis that they regularly left him in the same nappy all day and encouraged his stimming. I was a volunteer at the breastfeeding cafe in the room next door and saw him flapping and ringing a bell in the playground for 25 minutes with no-one intervening. He looked like a leper. It was recorded in his communication book as him having enjoyed the musical instruments that day.

When I refused to return him to that setting (all my reasons were written down to the preschool) then they insisted that that would have been my respite so I obvsiously didn't need it that badly, and then they again threatened that they could raise it to CP for not allowing ds to go there to develop his social skills.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 30-Mar-13 20:45:15

The thing is, they kept SAYING CP.

But it never was. I know that because amazingly in all the chaos that prevailed at that time I had a relationship with a very sensible HV (not mine, just one that I had got to know) who on my behalf phoned around to figure out what was going on and was able to tell me that there was no section 47 or even concerns.

But until that HV had done that I believed that we were borderline from what everyone was saying.

The EP never told me she was going to or did get SS involved.

AgnesDiPesto Sat 30-Mar-13 20:58:47

You have to have a tribunal process, even with all its flaws. As long as s

AgnesDiPesto Sat 30-Mar-13 21:32:26

Oops off to type on something that works!

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