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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.

bochead Sun 31-Mar-13 22:56:46

Mareeya articulated my philosophy wonderfully.

It comes back to that old wives saying "there's nought so rare as common sense!".

Having spent years in commercial industry working on all sorts of projects I still find it very hard to understand the cultural resistance to SMART targets within education for example. I'm overjoyed that the concept of measurable outcomes is finally entering the cultural arena of SN education. "Loving the child" is not enough if he's likely to grow into a 6 foot 5 hulk that insists on masturbating on public transport - we have to TEACH him effectively too!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 31-Mar-13 22:21:37

What Mareeya said.

ABA is supposed to be about practicing, measuring the effectiveness, garnering feedback from the student and refining to ensure efficient and cooperative progress. I know it isn't anything like that as it is currently practiced in many instances which makes me extremely angry at times, but you can't throw out the approach because of bad practice.

I think you have misunderstood the food thing. No-one is making any money out of presenting foods. A Masters student worked with just 4 families for whom food acceptance was a significant problem and wrote up her findings. No-one has sold this as an approach and the families were carefully chosen to be those for whom food acceptance was affecting their lives to a detrimental degree. It was just a study. It was and impressive and surprising outcome which is why it was brought up on here.

And to defend Headsprout, it is as dull or otherwise as a pencil. How it is used is what is significant.

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 22:09:39

Surgical training for US army docs

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 22:04:38

evidence based education

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 21:58:14

IA, I agree with you about ABA. As it's currently marketed, commercially available provision is often an expert-heavy, somewhat dogmatic, largely 1-1 discipline specialising in rigid programmes for (mainly) young children with autism. What it should be is the universal availability of a far more 'scientific' mentality. Where aims are thought-out, targets are SMART, and staff giving extra help all consider and evaluate whether their strategies have worked, after every input.

A universally disseminated set of effective teaching skills: association (pairing), systematic reinforcement, shaping, chaining etc. Where all 'difficult behaviours' are looked at to establish the underlying cause, the environment is adjusted if necessary, and the consequences are carefully considered and planned.

Lots of people call this 'good teaching'; it's not new, it's not special, but it's sadly rare sad

AgnesDiPesto Sat 30-Mar-13 22:31:54

ok so fat fingers and phones don't mix and ds messed up my computer keyboard and just spent half hour taking spacebar apart not entirely successfully

just trying to say having at least some children getting gold standard provision via tribunal is important. Otherwise all provision would be watered down and be no examples of what is possible out there. I am pretty sure most of the autism professionals in my LA do not even know what good provision looks like. If we lost those good examples everyone would suffer.

Just the idea of being taken to tribunal acts as a bit of a brake - without it LAs would not use money saved to raise standards, it would be a race to the bottom

bochead Sat 30-Mar-13 21:33:24

Oh I agree you need a tribunal process.

Without it my own child would still be making animal noises under the corner table all day, apart from his frequent all out escape attempts. Thanks to Tribunal he's learning, communicating, making friends etc. I'm ever so grateful.

I just posted the figures above to highlight the odds of any one child with what is a well known disability getting an appropriate educational setting. Seriously with one OT per 500 children running around an entire LA's schools, how many are really going to stand a chance of getting an appropriate level of her expert input? You need to take time away from her direct work with children to allow for meeting attendance, travel between sites, report writing etc, etc.

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

Oops off to type on something that works!

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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

Socks and post!! shock

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).

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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 18:05:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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 ?

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.

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

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 14:50:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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