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DS needs a statement but the rules have changed...

(13 Posts)
CurrerBell Wed 05-Mar-14 17:54:29

My DS is 7, in Year 2 mainstream and has Asperger's. He's on Action+ and has a lot of behavioural/sensory issues (hitting, poking, throwing things, setting off the fire alarm etc). Mainly, he can't sit still, and is very disorganised and disruptive in the classroom. He doesn't seem to see himself as part of the class and bound by the same rules, and is incredibly headstrong when he gets an idea in his head - e.g. his teacher has to physically block/restrain him from running off. However, he is academically bright and somehow absorbs what he needs to learn.

He has no one-to-one support. Back in Sept/Oct school tried to get a part time TA to support him, but they couldn't find the right person and ended up dropping the idea. He has quite complex needs, so the head reckoned having the wrong person might do more harm than good...

He is due to start Juniors in September and everyone now agrees that he is going to struggle there without support. School are finally agreeing that he needs a statement (after saying that he was too bright to get one). However, now the application process appears to have changed. Apparently they can't even apply until they can prove that they have spent over £6k on DS... which clearly they haven't.

I am so annoyed... I've been fighting for support for him for two years, and now the absence of this support seems to be counting against him at a really crucial time. They are now going to advertise for a TA again, and get the paperwork in place to show what support DS needs... but I can only hope that this support continues in Juniors.

We have an IEP review tomorrow when we will discuss all this properly. If anyone has any tips for what I should say to the SENCO, or can just bolster my confidence for the meeting, it would be so much appreciated!

sticksandstones471 Wed 05-Mar-14 18:41:00

you can apply for a statement yourself directly to your LA. check out ipsea for a model letter. don’t worry about the 6k thing, funding is their issue not yours, focus on the support that your ds needs.
good luck!

2boysnamedR Wed 05-Mar-14 18:41:12

Can you apply for statutory assessment yourself? I did. Have they called in a ed psych? Have they called in anyone from the lea to assess? That would be a good way to spend some of their 6k!

What do they do for similar kids? Why aren't they doing that with him?

Do they do any 1:1 classes or clubs he would benefit from?

Do not know how to spend the 6k or do they just not want to?

I'm pretty sure ds school have not spent 6k on him but he has has a statutory assessment anyway - because it was needed.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 05-Mar-14 19:11:54

"However, now the application process appears to have changed. Apparently they can't even apply until they can prove that they have spent over £6k on DS... which clearly they haven't".

Who told you this piece of misinformation?. It is a lot of old bull regardless. The only criteria for a statement is a need of one (and you were also previously told the old chestnut of, "he's too academic to have one" as well; you were also misled there too). Do not get bogged down in the issues of funding; that is really of no concern to you.

Use IPSEA's website which is www.ipsea.org.uk and make the statement application yourself. Send it off to them tomorrow. You know its been done then and importantly you can appeal in the event the LEA say no; school cannot do that.

IEP review meetings can be actually a lot of hot air; I would keep the meeting short and sweet.

As you have seen all too clearly, you are his best - and only - advocate here.

MariaNotChristmas Wed 05-Mar-14 20:47:23

The requirement for a statement is that a pupil 'requires' more than school can do, not that he is currently 'getting' more than they can do.

The £6k is a guide as to how much help a school might expect to fund from their own pocket before expecting the council to pay them extra.

It includes any extra time spent on that child by reason of their special needs. Including time researching what to do, writing up reports, buying equipment, wear and tear of broken stuff, paying for the unnecessary fire engine call-out bills, having meetings, phoning the parent... If the SENCO and class teacher are genuinely spending extra time on him, and they cost this up, plus maybe add in the training package that any TA for him would need, he could reach the £6k without difficulty.

The senco probably does some 1-1 and planning time, teacher will be differentiating work, dinner lady stopping him running away, class teaching assistant will spend most of her time on his table, and not on the other one... you get the idea.

Qualified teacher time is usually costed at £40/hour or more, depending on your council. It should include estimated cost for national insurance, pension, potential for sickpay/maternity rights. So 4 hours of teacher time per week would be £6080 per annum: just over the threshold.

StarlightMcKingsThree Wed 05-Mar-14 20:47:51

Bollocks. Apply yourself. The spending thing is a bit confusing for some schools but the law is clear, and there is nothing in it about £6k or any amount for that matter.

CurrerBell Wed 05-Mar-14 20:51:29

Thank you - the links to the IPSEA website are really helpful. I didn't know I could apply for a statement myself - it sounds like this is the way to go. I can ask the SENCO to get on board with it tomorrow (am sure she will be), but it feels like nothing will get done unless I am proactive - this is something I am rapidly learning!

We had an ed psych in last year, and also had an OC in recently for a sensory assessment (she found significant sensory issues).

He does get some TA support at lunchtimes (I don't think he's the only one supported) and that has been really positive - they have been letting him come inside with a couple of chosen friends for some quiet time, when the playground is too busy. (Need to check this is still happening!)

In the classroom, he wanders around and interrupts the teacher a lot. His teacher is good with him, but she has a class of 30 to deal with. He needs someone to be with him to take him through the steps of what he needs to do, e.g. to get his book bag and coat etc at the end of the day...

MariaNotChristmas Wed 05-Mar-14 20:54:18

There is a big difference between the law on statements and council's policies on statements. Tribunals go by the law mostly hmm

But from what you describe, if your school co-operated, he's probably eligible for one even under the council's (most likely) illegal policy, so it might be worth 'helping them to show' your council that they need a statement to 'better target' their current wasted expenditure (which is considerable) on totally ineffective provision.

Council will want to avoid the expense of a special school. You never know, they might play ball.

MariaNotChristmas Wed 05-Mar-14 20:54:35

more likely to do so if they know you have a hearing date booked though

AgnesDiPesto Wed 05-Mar-14 21:22:37

It's nothing new really, the graduated approach and jumping through hoops has always been there, it's just now they have the £6k price tag to play with. If it's clear now the £6k will not be enough then the LA have to consider that and make provision, it has to be case by case not a blanket policy. Some LAs have always had rules about having to be on x level of provision for 6 months and y level for 6 months. It's all just policy put there to delay costs, but in reality it just stores up costs for later when they come out of school and hit adult social care budgets.
The graduated approach (see sencop) was not intended to make children fail when its obvious provision a school could provide would be inadequate.
Just apply yourself by the time they have made you appeal and you get to tribunal you will have evidence whether school provision up to £6k is enough or not.
The NAS did a survey a while ago which said 65% of respondents had a child with a statement. LA's try and argue it's a tiny % whose needs can't be met at action plus, but for autism is much much higher. That 65% will have included children who would go on and get a statement but didn't have one yet. So maybe 80%+ will get a statement by the end of their school career.

Nigel1 Wed 05-Mar-14 23:24:40

Do not be mislead by the £6k. That is funding. You are interested in need and provision. The law, now and in the CFA is looking at need. That is the criteria for a SSEN not hat the school has to spend £6k first. Though that is often the spin by LA's. If the school is not prepared to spend that money then get that in writing and away you go.
If you look at the Tribunal Stats the vast majority of refusals to assess are settled in the parents favour as the LA uses their criteria rather than the law on which to make a decision.

CurrerBell Wed 05-Mar-14 23:43:26

That's interesting Agnes about the percentages... very interesting. Up to recently I've been thinking that DS's SEN/autism was 'mild' because he was doing well academically and he does have friends at school. Yet he has such complex behavioural issues and is such a dominant personality (he's definitely not a quiet child who sits in the corner!) that he's probably one of the most difficult kids in the class to handle. His moods are unpredictable and his teacher says she wishes she could predict when he will 'lose it'.

He still can't/won't get his own book bag and just comes running out of the classroom, and he's seven (I know the book bag is not a major issue compared with hitting etc, but for some reason this is always a big issue for me). Sometimes there is a TA on hand to help him get ready, but not consistently. I want someone to be there to talk him through it and prepare him for these transitions - otherwise how can he learn? I know from experience how many verbal reminders he needs before he 'gets' something, and even then he still needs the reminder!

Thank you so much for all the responses. I will definitely apply for the statement myself. I have already started writing the letter based on IPSEA's model, and will try to get the head to write an accompanying letter in support. It's good to have a plan at last! smile

By the way DS wants to be a scientist and does have an amazing brain for science/engineering (like his dad!). I know he has brilliant potential if we can just get him through school and able to function in society...

CurrerBell Wed 05-Mar-14 23:50:22

Thanks Nigel1 - that is good to know. It sounds like I have nothing to lose by applying myself and I'm sure school will support us. I'll try not to be hung up on £6k as that is school's problem - and it does sound like they are about to spend some proper money on him anyway. I'm going to ask if the lunchtime TA could possibly increase her hours as she is so brilliant with him!

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