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Complaints about schools or LEA's- Is it worth it?

(20 Posts)
TheWrathofNaan Mon 22-Dec-14 11:49:07

I have made a complaint about my daughters school and to the LEA.

It doesn't matter what I say they just evade their failings even when the evidence is in black and white.

It is added stress writing letters etc when my hands are already full with two SEN children.

Is it worth continuing? Anyone have any experience?

bjkmummy Mon 22-Dec-14 12:01:13

i now have 3 with sen -every child the LA has fought me tooth and nail. I was convinced I would complain after the 1st tribunal but talked out it by a friend saying I had to work with these people in the future.

im now facing my 3rd tribunal in January so no lessons were learnt so I will complain after this next tribunal concludes.

I think its a mixed bag - some people have found complaining useful and got things sorted whereas others just found it another stress but then if you don't do anything will anything ever change

Dipankrispaneven Mon 22-Dec-14 14:50:05

It's probably worth it to mark everyone's card, but I think you really have to proceed on the basis that you will be pleasantly surprised if the complaint is upheld.

uggerthebugger Mon 22-Dec-14 15:50:46

This thread is a good summary of people's experiences round here...

JJXM Mon 22-Dec-14 18:13:19

My complaint was upheld and we received compensation. Out LA admitted breaking the SENCoP and we had an unreserved apology from the chief executive. It took some perseverance on our part - chasing things up and escalating when we were unhappy with initial responses and mediation. It has hopefully made a difference in our LEA as they have recruited a top person for Head of SEN and have made changes from the top down.

TheWrathofNaan Mon 22-Dec-14 20:09:41

Thankyou for the replies.

Dip- I agree that I feel nothing is likely to change.

Ugger- will look at that thread.

JJXM- you must have been really good at complaining, wish I was.

bkj- its hard not to feel that you could make things worse for your child and conflicted at the same time that they will get away with poor practice.

MostHighlyFlavouredLady Tue 23-Dec-14 10:07:30

You will never get a satisfactory remedy, but to not complain means you can accept the way things are. Can you?

JJXM Tue 23-Dec-14 17:25:44

I am quite good at complaining grin but I come from a research background where I have to use supporting evidence etc. But what gets me there in the end is knowing that I am in the right and being prepared never to give up - I am absolutely relentless - every time I get a unsatisfactory response it spurs me on and makes me more determined. I also know that LEAs and NHS departments won't change unless somebody kicks up a fuss.

uggerthebugger Wed 24-Dec-14 18:36:44

You will never get a satisfactory remedy, but to not complain means you can accept the way things are. Can you?

By God, Most, you're absolutely right. Thank you!

<goes off to give Ofsted a damn good thrashing>

2boysnamedR Wed 24-Dec-14 21:08:35

Our children generally are short changed and as parents we are treated like dirt.

If you have the strength then yes complain. I'm going to - why? Because it's not right and I have a voice. I want to shout out at the top of my lungs for those kids who have no voice and their ground down parents who are shouted out.

I'm angry, there's plenty of stream to blow off here.

Thurinius Sat 03-Jan-15 15:24:11

Sigh this is where I'm at.
My son started nursery year at our local school. We knew he had a language delay but were very naive (first child and all) and didn't notice his other issues.
He'd attended only three sessions when the nursery teacher rang me up and described his behaviour as abnormal. She invited me in to observe the 3 hour session. During this time she spent three hours pointing out everything he was struggling with rather than anything he actually could do (which was plenty)
She told me repeatedly that nursery was not the place for him, she quoted health and safety legislation as me as to why he shouldn't be in nursery (shock horror he put a bit of sand in his mouth).
When I utterly distraught asked if he could have longer than a week to settle in I was told no. When I asked if he could come in the mornings when there were more staff, she said no,
I felt totally bullied into removing him.

So then I get home, look up their special needs policy and see what they should,have done.
I have complained to the governors, it took nearly two months to get a reply where in they claim I was given several,options and it was my decision alone to remove him - totally not true.
And that they received no info on his limitations - totally not true, his playgroup met them twice.

Am finding the whole thing draining. I have found an alternative nursery for him which he will start shortly and the difference in attitude between the two nurseries could not be more different.

I think I am just totally shocked that they recognised my son had asd, and decided he was too much of a nuisance to deal with (for the record he has no behavioural issues, he is a rather placid little boy) and then forced me into removing him to save them the trouble.
And the the blatant lying has really shaken me.
I just can't believe it. I work in a profession in which if you mess up, you fess up and everyone learns from it.

manishkmehta Sat 03-Jan-15 15:31:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

senvet Sat 03-Jan-15 21:12:10

Remember, that if you might go to tribunal, it is always worth been VERY nice to anyone who might give you helpful info. I spend ages buttering up LA staff, school staff, anyone frankly, so long as there is a possibility that they might have a useful document, or say something helpful in an unguarded moment.

I then drop a polite email, thanking them for taking the time to speak to me and briefly confirming what they said.

And when it comes to Tribunal, I have written evidence!

someone has invented the word 'grovellier' as in 'I don't think you could have made that request any grovellier'

You get the idea

Once you start complaining the other side tends to dig in and it is slightly harder and more formalistic to get juicy bits of evidence.

Of course, it is essential to go through complaints procedures if you are going to get the SEN in a statement enforced via JR

MeirAyaAlibi Sun 04-Jan-15 12:43:50

I think I am just totally shocked that they recognised my son had asd [so] forced me into removing him to save them the trouble.

And the the blatant lying has really shaken me.

I just can't believe it. I work in a profession in which if you mess up, you fess up and everyone learns from it.

Yep. When your previous life experience is that
Most people try their best;
complaints are a often spur to improvement,
conspiracy is usually just cock-up,

it's like entering a bizarre parallel universe when you find your dc has SEN and realise just how hard 'the system' tries to ensure their needs don't get met.

bjkmummy Sun 04-Jan-15 12:57:16

that's it isn't it = the parallel universe - I have lived in it constantly for the last 3 years - im bored of being here now and want to leave but don't think my release date will be until the end of this year so for now just have to carry on - I need to decide if the complaint path is the way to go as well but need to get out of the constant cycle of tribunal first before I can

Arian1 Fri 20-Apr-18 21:00:59

Hi who did you complain to abt the LEA? I contacted the ombudsman who said it's not there problem.

cansu Sat 21-Apr-18 08:37:41

Totally agree about what senvet said about being v nice to these people as you might be surprised what useful comments they will make in conversation when not on the defensive. In fact at our tribunal the ep for the la was our strongest witness and essentially won the case for us.

enterthedragon Sat 21-Apr-18 15:56:11

I did a stage 1, 2 and 3 complaint to the LA, all I got in reply was a lot of contradiction in their responses, I was going to escalate it to the ico but then they started the nonsense with the transfer review, and we had to start complaining about that and fighting to keep ds in his school when the LA wanted to illegally move him.

Mum2fourrugrats Mon 30-Apr-18 08:42:13

Go through customer complaints officially. Or the L.A. don't do a thing. I've had to get a solicitor as my son's have been without edication for a year because the L.A. didn't answer their phone for 3 months. Then didn't send school consults off and 2 annual reviews are over due one by 10 months the other 5 months.
We've asked for compensation for my sons. I've got someone coming out tomorrow from the L.A. to discuss with me and my solicitor.
The only way you actually get anywhere is with a sen legal firm.

Ellie56 Tue 01-May-18 21:18:12

I made a formal complaint. The LA tried to fob me off. I followed stage 2 of the complaints policy. They fobbed me off some more. I went to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman upheld my complaint and the LA had to pay both me and my son compensation and send a grovelling letter of apology. grin grin

The best of it was the letter was signed by the arrogant patronising twat who had consistently ignored all my emails. grin

A few months later our case was published in this report produced by the LGO.

www.lgo.org.uk/assets/attach/4197/EHCP%20FINAL2.pdf

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