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Got final statement for DS today - no school named in Part 4, only type of school - is this allowed??

(5 Posts)
pannetone Fri 05-Dec-14 13:56:53

Background: 12 year old DS (Y8, HFA, anxiety disorder) only managed a term at MS comp before it becamer overwhelming and he stopped attending in Jan of this year. Eventually got a CAMHs appointment in April and was prescribed medication and confirmed as 'medically unfit' for school. My LA wouldn't provide any home tutor til we had this CAMHS doctor saying he was medically unfit. It still took til the start of July before the LA home tutor started.

We decided LA home tutor not enough for DS (in terms of hours and subject specific tuition and interaction with a class) so we signed him up (and paid) for internet school (Interhigh) with the tutor coming twice a week.

In Sep we got the proposed statement for DS which asked us to name a mainstream school we wanted DS to go to. We hadn't got one! Back in June we tried over a couple of weeks to get DS to do a taster session at a small indi MS but his anxiety was too great to even get into the classroom. So we felt that DS should continue at Interhigh for the time being and we asked the LA to name this in his statement as education 'otherwise than at school.' They have refused saying that want DS back in 'full time education' - by which they obviously mean a 'brick' school.

So Part 4 of the statement simply states 'a mainstream school', but DS's provision can't be provided in a MS school ATM because he won't go back to his old school (who say they can't meet needs) and he hasn't got a place at any other school.

As it happens, DS is now asking to look at a new school (an indi MS) and I have arranged a visit but they would have to accept DS with a statement and he has to pass their entrance test. So there doesnn't seem to be any point in appealing against the LA's refusal to pay for internet school as by the time it got to tribunal he might be back in school! But is this just a tactic of my LA to avoid paying out at the moment? Can they finalise a statement which contains a placement and educational provision that isn't being provided?!

Icimoi Fri 05-Dec-14 16:57:39

It is allowed. However, it is pretty ridiculous when they are naming "a mainstream school." The provision is basically there for children who need complex special schools which are obviously quite hard to find. If the LA really thinks a mainstream school can meet DS's needs, then it should have been child's play to identify one in the eight weeks they had before finalising the statement. I'd suggest you contact them immediately to ask them for copies of all consultations with mainstream schools in relation to placing DS there, including the schools' replies.

Is the independent mainstream school fee paying? And if so, do you want the LA to pay, and do you know whether they will pay?

You shouldn't be paying for the online school anyway. The LA should be paying for adequate home tuition which needn't necessarily be full time as it's recognised that tuition is more intensive than classroom teaching. However, at this age your DS should be getting around 10-15 hours a week and it should cover the full national curriculum plus all the provision in his statement.

pannetone Fri 05-Dec-14 23:12:32

Thanks Icimoi - I am very confused by the whole situation . No, the LA haven't suggested any MS school that they consider can meet DS's needs - are they required to find a suitable school because they seem to be leaving it to us to name a school? And we haven't to date because we've wanted DS to do internet school.

Yes, the indi MS school is fee paying. We do want the LA to pay - if they are going to insist that his SEN can only be met in a 'brick' school, they need to fund an appropriate one. No, we don't know if the LA will fund it. In fact the statement seems to assume a maintained MS school as it says that 'in accordance with updated funding regulations, the school will be responsible for the first £6000, with the balance to be claimed as a top up payment from the LA. [DS] will be provided with support at a level commensurate with top up funding Band 3.'

And what happens about my appeal rights? The letter accompanying the statement says I have 2 months to appeal if I don't agree with the school named in the statement. Do I appeal now in case the LA refuse to name the indi school? At which point they would presumably need to say which MS school can meet his needs - and if they have one, why aren't they naming it now?!

bjkmummy Sat 06-Dec-14 10:54:07

I think you need to speak to ipsea - I would be concerned about them now giving you the 2 month timeline to appeal as they have issued a finalised statement - they would have to change it at some point to name the eventual school but now they have finalised I think they will just let things float around and nothing would actually get done now... I have heard this happen to others and they have then lodged their appeals - you do have two months so you could try and get the school you want in those two months and if you meet with resistance then get the appeal lodged but what that deadline 'just in case'

pannetone Wed 10-Dec-14 17:15:41

Thanks bjkmummy. I haven't managed to get through to IPSEA yet and I'm also trying to speak to my local Parent Parnership (or whatever they are now called.)

Things got more complicated this week _ the indi MS say they can't meet the provision in the statement. As I said above, the statement seems to be written to provide support in a mainstream maintained school, so using £6000 from delegated SEN funds and the top up (I think Band 3 means £4000) from the LA, the school is meant to provide DS with 'small teaching groups where appropriate' and a mentor to meet with DS at 'key points throughout the school day' and a 'safe haven'.

BUT this is not what DS wants or needs. He is very able so doesn't need small teaching groups for academic support. DS would refuse to see a mentor throughout the school day - he would find it intrusive and stressful. And he is extremely unlikely to use a safe haven - in the term he managed at secondary he wouldn't go there as he didn't want to be 'different'.

We tried to get the statement to state he needs a calm, structured, small scale setting with small class sizes and an appropriate peer group - backed up by recommendations from our indi EP. But the LA went with their EP's recommendations.

So the indi MS says they can't provide small teaching groups away from the class (which is how they are interpreting the statement), but DS doesn't want to be out of class and as there are only 15 in the class it is actually a small teaching group all the time by state school standards. Indi MS can't provide a mentor, but DS doesn't want one and just wants support from the form teacher like everyone else. Indi MS doesn't have a specific safe haven, but DS doesn't want more than a library he could retreat to. Oh, and indi MS does not have a social skills group but DS would refuse to attend one and actually he would benefit socially from a much smaller school as he would find it easier to build relationships.

We have only had the final statement 5 days! Will we need to appeal to get it amended? It is so frustrating as after nearly a year out of 'brick' school, DS is saying he wants to try this specific school. And the LA won't fund internet school as they say he needs to be back in full time education, but the way they've worded the statement means the school he wants to try won't take him. There is another indi MS that we looked at but DS is not keen on it and I suspect we may run into the same issues regarding small teaching groups and a mentor.

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