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Top tips for tribunal hearing this week

(21 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Apr-13 10:39:51

The week of the hearing has finally arrived and I have a nagging feeling that I have forgotton something vital ...

All I can remember is wearing layers and taking food blush

Oh, and dressing like a mum (what does that even mean????)

I am not sure how things work if you are represented? Will the panel ask me things directly? Should I prepare answers for areas that may be addressed? Do I prepare 'concluding remarks'? What do I do to best prepare for the hearing? <rising panic>

Sorry for all the questions and TIA.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:31:57

Have 5 bullet points. Write them down. Make sure they are said during the hearing and in summing up.

Don't dress like a business woman but like a mum.

If you are represented expect to be largely ignored.

Take a picture of your child.

Take some small sugary snacks to nibble on for the many times you are asked to go out and work together with the LA on something that quite frankly could and should have been done yonks ago.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Apr-13 11:38:42

Thanks star

Just one thing .. what does a mum wear? blush I normally wear jeans and converse. I haven't worn heels for decades. I don't want to feel like I am in drag!

lottieandmia Mon 29-Apr-13 11:49:36

Why do you have to dress 'like a mum'? I didn't go in a suit or anything but did dress smartly in an attempt to show that I was taking it seriously.

Starlight - really really sorry to disagree but I would not advise taking a picture of your child. My advice is to not get emotive about it - very very very hard when it's your child but I coped so much better that way. Remember that the panel will look at the evidence on the table only.

I felt sick to my stomach at our tribunal - it's the hardest thing I ever had to do really.

If you are represented then your solicitor or whoever else should have run through how they will handle your case on the day. At our tribunal I was asked 1 or 2 questions by the panel, but really was able to sit there in dignified silence and let our solicitor handle it.

bjkmummy Mon 29-Apr-13 12:15:45

I would take a picture. At my tribunal in feb the panel asked me if I had one and they wanted to see a photo as they said it helped them. I work a blouse black skirt and cardigan and flat shoes.

Remember change for coffee machine but remember the LA staff wil be using the same machine so maybe best to take your own drinks and snacks with you! I didn't and I wish now I had.

I was unrepresented and even en didn't do an awful lot of talking which I actually found frustrating as I wanted to say so much. The tribunal will know your papers inside out and are quick t ask the questions you wanted to ask. Was very traumatic at the time and the time goes in a blink of an eye. I felt we wasted time in the morning dealing with the working document so be aware of the LA dragging things out. We didn't get started to after 11 am.

The hardest part are the days afterwards as you await the decision so make sure you prepare yourself for that. I didn't even though I had seen people talk about it in here.

What day is it in so that we can send the power of mumsnet with you on the day

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 29-Apr-13 12:17:29

Smart but not OTT smart I suppose. I wore a white flowy skirt, a blouse and a white short jacket (I think).

The photo isn't for you, but for the panel members to remember they are making a decision about an actual real life child.#

'Remember that the panel will look at the evidence on the table only'

Well that is what they are supposed to do. The reality very much depends on who you get I'm afraid. A lot will be decided by what people say on the day even if it isn't backed by evidence. If that wasn't the case there would be no point in having anyone attend at all as it could all be done with submissions.

lottieandmia Mon 29-Apr-13 12:25:25

Yes, I realise that's just my opinion. I may be wrong of course and my experience is only based on the panel we got on the day.

I have heard about LEAs lying on the day (and I even heard about one LEA producing fake IEPs on the day of the tribunal! shock) I was paranoid about that happening to us but luckily it didn't.

Sometimes you can know the result on the day which we did and that made it easier.

One thing my solicitor told me was that it would be best to not get too caught up in changing anything other than the key parts that would get us the provision we wanted. It's better if you can avoid hours of waffle and adjournment.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Apr-13 12:31:20


I'm a lot a bit of a control-freak and rather too sure of my own opinions so dignified or any other kind of silence does not come easy - I've been training to be an academic for too long!

There is a photo of DS1 on the first application cover so it might be a good idea to have an up to date one - especially since he has gone feral as there has been a big visual change - he has gained weight and refused to have his hair cut since then.

I can do smart casual rather than business woman or mum - would this be OK?

lottieandmia Mon 29-Apr-13 12:36:01

I think smart casual is the best bet, personally.

I know it's hard to keep quiet when people are talking lying about your child but honestly it's the best way. I found that our solicitor said everything I wanted to so that wasn't a problem for me. Some solicitors get irritated if you talk too much, especially if you get angry like one dad I know did and the solicitor whispered to him to shut up grin

But I guess it entirely depends on what kind of appeal you have.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Apr-13 12:58:50

lottie - parts 2, 3 and 4.

LA have already conceded that 2 and 3 did not list or make provision for all needs but are still naming the same school with FT 1:1, outreach for ASD, auditory processing disorder and dyscalculia, possible dual placement with a dyslexia facility, 1 hour per week SALT and 1 hour per week OT.

At least we assume from the costings and further position statement that this is what will be in the WD but we have received nothing new since the final statement. Unbelievable and yet believable. There is no way we could proceed straight to panel. Thanks for the tip about not getting bogged down in argument but focusing on the provision.

I know that costs are only supposed to become an issue if the LA named school can meet needs but our tactic is to maximise the LA costs so that they are similar to our named indi school. DH has produced super-duper spreadsheets to cover all options so we can easily cost up any suggested changes.

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 29-Apr-13 13:11:41

BJK - I'm actually a little appalled that the panel asked you for a photo! Just more evidence that these are not 'proper' courts. Their legal duty is to focus on the needs of a child so why they should need a photo to help them do that is beyond me and frankly a little odd hmm

In terms of parents displaying photos, I would feel a little uncomfortable about the photo thing too. Panels must have seen it all and it smacks a little of emotional blackmail. However, I say, do what makes anyone feel better.

The panel can, of course, be reminded verbally that their duty is to focus on the needs of the child.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 29-Apr-13 13:44:19

I know exactly what you mean. I was uncomfortable with the idea that my ds' 'look' coukd feature anywhere in the judgement, but as you said, these are not proper courts. The system is a farce and I honestly do think that people need reminding that there is a real child in the middle of it all.

lottieandmia Mon 29-Apr-13 14:13:28

I wish you the very best of luck KeepOn and really hoping things play out well on the day - positive vibes flowers

bjkmummy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:00

Yikes!!! They made a point of asking if I had bought a photo and then commented that they liked to see a photo. I know I've read loads of times people saying take a photo so just assumed that it was quite normal. Made me feel pretty sick when the LA and the LA head were putting on fake concerned smiles when they saw the picture of him

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 29-Apr-13 16:24:09

Creepy, BJK!!!!

God Star, you are right, what a farce the system is.

You know the Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out plenty of ways to ensure that children remain at the centre of all this. Perhaps, they should spend more time on that and less on bloody photos!!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 29-Apr-13 16:27:57

Maybe the photo thing is no more than a patronising sop to the parents?

Who knows.

Sorry Keep. This probably isn't helping you. Statistically you have the advantage. Parents report 'usually' that they feel they were heard even when they lost.

Also. Whatever the wrongs or rights of this system, it is the only one you have and what choice do you have but to do your best despite it.

I wish you the very best of luck.

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 29-Apr-13 16:35:30

Indeed. And remember no one knows your case and your child better than you.

I hope it all goes really well.

MareeyaDolores Mon 29-Apr-13 16:50:26

Perhaps we should do a covert study of tribunal outcomes with different styles of photos wink

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:24:34

I agree with IE that the whole photo thing is creepy - what do they expect to see? But I also agree with Star that this is a farce.

I spent the afternoon meeting with the SENCO at the LA named school. He's never been to tribunal before (witness for the other side) and he seems to be quite excited (bless). He seems nice but a bit clueless although I don't know what to make of his comment that 'one boy is a dwarf (!) and nobody bullies him' which is wrong on so many levels. Basically the school will do what it can but he is hoping that the LA will up the amount of support they have indicated so far (as this is not enough) at the hearing. Er, doesn't this mean the school should have said 'no' instead of 'yeah, but..'?

So, back to the game - what sort of photo would be best? Wouldn't want DS1 to look too NT or even happy after all <I'm being sarcastic btw>

lottieandmia Mon 29-Apr-13 20:09:40

I think you have a good chance - the Ed Psych we used for our first tribunal said it's usually much easier to fight a MS placement than if the LEA were proposing a different special school to the one you want.

cansu Mon 29-Apr-13 20:17:25

I wasnt asked for a photo. However I took every opportunity to bring them back to my dc by constantly referring to them and not allowing them to get side tracked and start talking about them in abstract terms. So when cold water was poured on the argument that dd had made good progress on ABA, I said I knew it was because of ABA because I had spent at least twenty sessions teaching her the difference between shoe and nappy and that I had been the one who was there when she has successfully brought. Me the right object and how this was like a light had been switched on as she realised that stuff had names! Everyone shut up and I could see that one of the panel had really got it. I hadn't planned to sum up because I didn't know this would happen. My IPSEA helper urged me to do it because she said my words would be more convincing because I knew my dc and because I clearly was passionate about her. The lea guy had never seen my dd and knew nothing other than his script. His summing up was frankly crap. Anyway I do think it's worth making sure your ds or dd as an individual is highlighted.

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