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Education Authority Notification of SEN - criteria for formal assessment not met

(20 Posts)
OuchDownThere Sat 21-Dec-13 02:26:55

He is my first, to me he isn't different, i know no different, he is the only child I know and he is just lovely.

I have to make him different to enable him to access everyone else, why don't they bend in his way?


mommapiggy Fri 20-Dec-13 21:37:17

I'm not too sure about what the situation is with statementing a child so young, however the others above seem to know their onions on this one. All I want to say is DD is 9 and was like this at 2, I was clueless at that stage (7 years ago mumsnet wasn't around! If it was I wasn't!). We were constantly fobbed off with 'wait and see' and went into mainstream with no statement. Biggest mistake we ever made. Transferred to SS in year 3 and have spent last year trying to undue the failings of mainstream. Start your fight now, get in the system as early as possible and don't sit back waiting for miracles to happen. So what if Einstein didn't talk until he was 27, unhelpful advice like that just costs you valuable time in getting the support you need. It's hard accepting your child is different, even harder to accept that in addition to this you have to spend your life having to fight for what's right, your child needs you to be their advocate on everything xx

OuchDownThere Thu 19-Dec-13 21:00:33

Thanks for all the information everyone. TAC said statement not needed for the nursery, as they are assessment nurseries. (Surrey)

I agree TAC's are basically a lot of hot air, a chance to vent for us and an opportunity for those involved to cover bottoms and make promises they won't action.

So the plan is to apply for specialist place and hope he might get a place (not for a couple of terms) and in the meantime try and find a good mainstream nursery and ask them to apply for funding for the additional support.

wetaugust Thu 19-Dec-13 00:41:38

I'd apply for an assessment anyway on the 'no smoke without fire' basis, on the fact that LAs can be very economical with the truth (they lie frequently), and also because you want a Statement before they get replaced.

ilikemysleep Wed 18-Dec-13 20:00:31

A stat assessment if the area offers assessment places (and are planning one for her son) might not be a great idea, as it may delay an assessment nursery place whilst the statutory assessment process is undertaken. That would happen in my area, and most likely the child would just enter the same setting as they would have but some time later, with a full statement instead of entering it pre-statementing. That is why I would suggest that the OP speak to the profs involved and find out what the actual plan is around her son before she makes a statutory assessment request. If she finds out after that call that she has been lied to and the only way to enter an SEN nursery in her area is via statement, then she must of course go ahead and make that request.

lougle Wed 18-Dec-13 19:24:58

If the OP comes from an area where specialist nurseries are accessible without a Statement, then a Stat. Assessment still won't be necessary at this stage. There would be little point in writing one which stated that the child has a specialist nursery, and little point reviewing it in 6 months when the statement would still say 'specialist nursery'.

AgnesDiPesto Wed 18-Dec-13 18:30:09

I'm not clear if this is just an informal 'not eligible' / won't assess or you have formally applied for statutory assessment and formally refused (this would be a formal letter giving you a right of appeal). It sounds like the first. So just ignore it. It has no legal weight. You apply (use IPSEA letter) and get a formal decision with proper reasons for refusal. It doesn't sound like you have any reasons (you could ask EP now what the criteria for assessment is - ask for a copy - and why believes not met).

The most likely reason for not assessing is because the graduated approach / lower level SEN interventions have not been exhausted. See SENCOP.
The LEA will generally seek evidence that any strategy or programme implemented for the child in question has been continued for a reasonable period of time without success. The LEA will need clear documentation in relation to the child’s special educational needs and any action taken to deal with those needs. COP 4.35

So requests are often refused on the basis of being premature as haven't exhausted everything available without a statement yet.

But there are exceptions to the graduated approach which sounds like your situation see SENCOP 4.36
In a very few cases where there are severe and complex needs the extent of the child’s needs will be evident. In such cases requests for assessment might be made prior to any early education intervention, and there should be no need for reports from all the agencies involved with the child before the LEA can reach a decision. The LEA should act on reports from the professionals most closely involved with the child.

Which means if it is obvious the child's needs exceed what a mainstream nursery / portage etc can provide from day one, you can jump straight to specialist provision. Sometimes it is obvious even though LAs try and pretend otherwise.

lougle Wed 18-Dec-13 15:17:06

Yes, DD1 (we're in Hampshire) had full 1:1 from two weeks after her preschool raised concern - it started the day she was observed and then the funding was backdated to that date once the paperwork went through - without a statement. Her statement was completed in the January prior to starting school, naming her Special School from September 2009, with 'current arrangements to continue until that date'.

Hampshire have it right, I think.

lougle Wed 18-Dec-13 15:08:37

I think there's some confusion around 'must assess if under two' here. The Code actually says:

"If an LEA believe that a child in their area who is under the age of two may have special educational needs for which the LEA should determine the special educational provision, the LEA may make an assessment of their educational needs if the parent consents to it, and must make such an assessment if the parent requests it. Such an assessment shall be made in such a manner as the authority consider appropriate. Following such an
assessment, the LEA may make and maintain a statement of the child’s
special educational needs in such manner, as they consider appropriate." (pg. 41)

So, at this stage the LA have not acted illegally - they only must make a SA if the parents request it.

It's also important to note that the SEN CoP says:

"Assessment of children under two need not follow the statutory procedures that are applicable to assessments of children who are aged two and over." (pg. 41)

ilikemysleep Wed 18-Dec-13 15:07:27

Nurseries are not aware that there is already an 'assessment place' route

ilikemysleep Wed 18-Dec-13 15:03:55

Yes attila but it doesn't make sense that profs have both strongly steered towards suggested specialist AND said no statement necessary if that is not the case in her LA? I wonder if OP is looking into sn nurseries 'off her own bat' and the nurseries are that there is already an 'assessment route' plan for her ds, so they are telling her that 'usual route' is via statement. May not be the case, but worth investigating given that profs involved with her ds have both said that he needs specialist and that he won't need a statement.

lougle Wed 18-Dec-13 15:00:44

It slightly depends where you are. Some SN nurseries don't need a statement - in my County we have some dual nurseries - they have a mixed intake of SN and NT children and the SN places are made by referral rather than statementing. For instance, one of our biggest nurseries has 110 places, 30-40 of which are designated 'SN places' and are allocated by a multi-agency panel. Children referred to the panel but designated 'mainstream' are allocated places based on the admissions criteria:

"Admission Criteria If places are over-subscribed places will be determined on the basis of the criteria listed below. (xxx County Council Admissions Policy)
a) A child who is ‘looked after’ by Children’s Service Department (in accordance with Section 22 of the Children’s Act 1989)
b) A child for whom there is a recommendation in writing for nursery education by a health professional, social worker or outreach worker.
c) A sibling of a child on a SEN placement at Lanterns
d) A child with social needs, based on information gained by the Head of Centre as part of the application procedure or from other health professionals.
Examples of social needs may include: (in no particular order)
• Siblings of a child with disabilities • Children of parents with disabilities • Children who were multiple births • Children who have 2 or more siblings under 4 years old • Children of a one-parent family • Children from a large family (four or more children) • Children with parents under 20yrs old • Children on the child protection register • Children for whom English is an additional language • Children who have a confined play space at home • Children in sole care of grandparents
e) A child who has a brother or sister who will still be attending Lanterns the following academic year.
f) Other children living in the locality"

So you can see that which ever way they cut it, a child such as the OP's would get a place.

Having said that, the criteria for Statutory Assessment is that the child requires education which can't be met from resources available to the 'school'. I suppose it's possible that they say that this criteria isn't met if they have a SN budget for nursery/preschool support that will meet all needs, or they have an admissions policy such as above for specialist nurseries. Otherwise, I would have thought that they should assess.

Certainly, when it gets to school stage they will have to assess, because by law all special schools require a Statement.

I think I'd personally request a Statutory Assessment yourself. At least if you are turned down you have to right of appeal, which you don't currently have because that letter isn't a formal denial of a request for Statutory Assessment.

ilikemysleep Wed 18-Dec-13 14:58:06

chatee can you tell me where you got the info that all under two year olds must be assessed? I have worked in an LA for 15 years and have never heard that before.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 18-Dec-13 14:54:03

I gave the answer I did because OP has already been advised by the SN nurseries that a statement is needed.

The only criteria for a statement should be need of one but many LEAs do use illegal blanket policies and try and dissuade parents from applying.

I would make the statement application asap as things will change from September 2014.

ilikemysleep Wed 18-Dec-13 14:51:08

Sn nurseries do not always require statements for entry, that is factually incorrect. In several LAs (including mine) they have 'assessment nurseries' where children are admitted pre statement, assessed in situ for about two terms, then the statementing process is started. These are most commonly used for children where there are clear needs likely to reqire specialist provision in the longer term. I would call your LA and clarify whether this is the process in your LA and if so whether this is the propsed pathway for your ds.

Ineedmoretinsel Wed 18-Dec-13 14:24:20

Sorry you are having to go through this ouch but sadly the others are right. The LA will do everything in their power to put you off trying to get a statement for your son.

You need to do everything in your power to make sure your son can go to the right setting for him. Not the cheapest for the LA.

I have a thread running somewhere with lots of stories about Statutory Assessments being turned down. My Dd3's included .

Good luck fsmile

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 18-Dec-13 13:43:32

"At our last TAC I asked if we would need a statement and were told no so have not requested one. Now I am looking into SN nurseries and they say they need a statement so I am suspecting the 'no' at last TAC was delaying tactic".

Yes it was and in answer to your last question I also suspect the latter. SN nurseries all require a statement for entry. BTW TAC meetings can be a lot of hot air that achieve nothing.

You are fast learning that you are your child's best and only advocate here. Continue to act as one for him.

OuchDownThere Wed 18-Dec-13 13:34:43

Thanks Chatee, this is what I suspected. At our last TAC I asked if we would need a statement and were told no so have not requested one. Now I am looking into SN nurseries and they say they need a statement so I am suspecting the 'no' at last TAC was delaying tactic.

I didn't know if this lette from EA today with no need / refusal to assess is because he is already known to the system IYKWIM or the beginning of the struggle to access educational provision.

I suspect the latter.......

Chatee Wed 18-Dec-13 13:30:36

Hi Ouch,

Have you requested an assessment for a statement of special educational needs yourself? Before your child was 2 years old?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then your local authority are acting illegally as all under 2 year olds must be assessed.

If it was after 2 years of age then most authority's will turn down your first request- it's an easy way to save money and to see which parents will be bothered to challenge their does also give late developer ing children a chance to catch up but ultimately the prime concern of the authority is not to spend money.

Do not wait for professionals to act for you- just use them for support.
You are the best person to advocate for your child and will find lots of support on this section of mn.
Check out IPSEA, SOS SEN and CONTACT A FAMILY - these are all independent charities who have fantastic resources for you.
They have draft letters you can use to help send letters/emails to get assistance for your child.
Send a letter today challenging the refusal to assess letter.
Do not just leave it all to a nursery as in many circumstances they can get access to funding to support a child in their nursery but then what happens when your child moves on to school?
( the nursery are not bothered as they have done their bit and had their money but how will your child then cope going into school with no support- and at the end of the day the only legal recourse to individual support is a Statement of Special Educational Needs that is well written)
Good luck x

OuchDownThere Wed 18-Dec-13 12:50:31

Hello everyone,

Not been on these boards for a while but could do with some advice from those who might be a bit ahead of us please.

DS just turned two and now obviously significantly delayed with no known diagnosis. Cognitive ssessment of 9 months, not weight bearing and non verbal.

We are starting to look into nurseries and have been considering mainstream until now. OT, PT and portage all softly suggested looking at special needs nurseries as well and we are coming round to the idea that a SN nursery could be the best place to help his development. I've started to contact a couple but they suggest a statement is needed, although at our last TAC meeting we were told that wouldn't be the case.

Today I got a letter saying the EA has been notified that DS may need some special help with his education but he does not meet the criteria for formal assessment and will continue to be monitored by EP and Portage.

Is this something to be concerned about? I had just got my head around accepting DS isn't going to grow out of his delay and could well need a lot of support but this has thrown me. Are they suggesting they consider his needs to be not that significant at the moment or is this the start of them playing hardball in terms of accessing services.

It's sent me into a tailspin as we have another TAC today and I had got my head around accepting DS has pretty significant SN to now wondering if they are still being cautious.

Does that make any sense?

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