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Please please help me - first meeting/complaint in school tomorrow(5 Posts)
Ok this is long but please bare with me, really concerned about this meeting tomorrow and don't want to let ds down.
My ds is 4, and started reception in Sep. He has speech and language delays and problems with attention. He was under the care of NHS speech therapy services here in North West for about 2 years, so we got sent of courses etc to help him. He never actually had any speech therapy sessions, and I found his ST to generally be a bit rubbish.
Anyway SALT discharged him - without my knowledge - in Nov. I spoke to his teacher who said because ds wasn't a priority for SALT because he doesn't have behavioural issues. Ds is under the care of a pediatrician who monitors him every 6 months due to my concerns over his attention (his dad has ADHD). She was concerned with his speech so referred him back to SALT, she was worried it would begin to affect friendships etc. This was in Jan and haven't heard anything from SALT.
I appreciate the SALT services are spread thinly, and recently got offered a better paying job. First thought was excellent!! I can (just about) afford a private speech therapist for ds. Spoke to his teacher about this at parents evening, she said it would be fine for a private one to work with ds in school. I found a very experienced private ST, finally felt like someone was listening to me and we arranged for her to do an assessment on ds in school. I went off and told the supply teacher - all fine.
Then I had a phone call on a Fri (she was due to go in on the Mon!) from the school saying it couldn't happen. Long story short they were saying it's a safeguarding issue as she doesn't have a CRB done through the school and is a private ST. However the school's safeguarding policy clearly states for one off visits in which visitor will not have unsupervised access with children, a CRB isn't required. I asked the school to accomodate the one off assessment (lost hope of any regular speech therapy happening in school by this point) but they were having none of it.
Spoke to the speech therapist, who said she'd never come across this before and suspected it was 'smoke and mirrors' - she spoke to the school's SENCO who said they'd 'prefer it to go through the statutory services'. So whether it's a CRB issue, or they are getting funny about it not going through NHS SALT, I don't know.
I emailed the head, stating I wasn't happy with how it had all been handled (last minute cancelling, different reasons, rude, not supportive/offering alternatives) and we have a meeting booked for tomorrow with head, his class teacher and SENCO. I am terrified! I want to go in there informed, about the legalities (can they legally refuse?) etc. I'm so concerned about ds . Other than this, the school is a fab school so I don't want to do anything rash - they do have a TA working with ds and his teacher is great.
Please someone come and talk to me.
Oh sorry forgot to say - we really want the assessment to take place in school so ST can monitor his interactions with peers. My DB is autistic, and private ST was concerned over some of Ds' behaviours (obsessions with his trains etc).
Personally I would focus on their own policy which states that the visits from the salt are acceptable because she will not be unsupervised. They are probably being leaned on by lea or are worried t hat salt will recommend more intervention that they don't wish to provide. Be calm and stick to your guns. Plenty of people go into schools to do visits such as authors, drama groups, religious visitors, parents etc and none of these have a specific crb.
Think they will say her assessments are 'unsupervised' as they 'don't have the staffing' for a TA to accompany your ds. If they say this, make sure it's written down as its very good proof of rampant unreasonableness.
Would suggest you have a plan B got this, either offer to come along to the assessment yourself, or (ideally, so they can't say 'mum was there, she mucked it up') check tonight for availability with anyone school-related you might know, eg a parent-volunteer, dinner-lady. If a paid person, can even offer to reimburse school for the 2 hours (they won't accept ).
I would ask for the policy in writing re the CRB check issues and ask them for their formal complaints procedure to the governors to be made available to you as well. Make sure any discussions you have with the school about his needs and what they are doing to help are put in writing, even if it means you write to the school after the meeting to confirm these details as it creates a paper trail that will potentially be in your favour later on. You need to mention to them about having him statemented to ensure proper provision is given as SALT is an educational need and if in part 3 of a statement is legally binding - the LA will have to pay private SALT fees if the NHS defaults on coming in to see him then. Be prepared for the school to tell you he will not get a statement however but do not get downhearted over this, it seems to be a pretty standard thing for people to be told, especially if academically the child is not far off peers. You then go home and you start the statementing process yourself (do not let school do it even if they are supportive at the meeting) by writing to the LA requesting statutory assessment. See the IPSEA website for letter templates re this. Come back here and ask lots of questions about the process as you go.
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