Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

ok, what can we actually do about this rubbish sen system

(131 Posts)
kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 07:59:04

I read on here, day after day, about schools letting out kids down. Refusals to fill in ehcp forms, lies like ' you wont get a plan for behaviour problems ' and now I've just read 'ms schools don't do ehcp'

So, how do we get this system changed?
I know we are all exhausted from fighting for our children, but does anyone have the energy for one more fight?

We need publicity, petitions, lobbying, whatever else, to bring this to the publics attention.
We need teachers to be better trained in sen, sencos to have better understanding of the law, Las to have more/different duties, perhaps separate assessing and funding bodies.
Anyone up for starting a campaign on this? We cant let it continue to let our children down.

PolterGoose Thu 28-May-15 09:33:55

I think some MNers are involved in the Educational Rights Alliance which I suspect is trying to do what you're thinking of.

I would love MN to do something we can be part of.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 28-May-15 09:39:46

There is an organisation called KWADE which is autism specific, they are lobbying for education rights for children with autism.

I am going to my local paper to tell our story if they are interested. My LA have wasted thousands of pounds of public money fighting me and I think the people around me who pay their council tax have a right to know what it is being spent in!!

Obviously we are all little fish a big fish like MN would have a louder voice!!

2boysnamedR Thu 28-May-15 10:36:04

I think that personally I get worn out just fighting for my nuclear problems.

I put in a formal complaint on my la but it's hard to fight them silently and fight for my kids in tendem.

I would gladly be part of campaign but it would need to have some bite. What's the idea?

kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 10:59:32

No idea what the idea is! I just want to do something. I know another campaign that started from a group of people getting together on here, not officially a mn campaign, just a group of like minded people, so it can be done, if enough people are interested.

Anyone else interested? Later ill post in chat too, but have to go to work now.

Its great that you are going to the paper ineed.

fairgame Thu 28-May-15 11:14:36

Something needs to be done. It shouldn't be this hard to get the provision your child needs.
I started working in a ms school last year and its been shocking. The senco left and the head has taken on the role very badly. I've done the ipsea sen law course and know a damn sight more than he does. He asks me for advice, i give it to him, he ignores it because he doesn't want to upset the LA. We have 2 children who are in dire need of an ehcp but he still hasn't applied, despite being told to by the ed psych. I'm not even allowed to advise the parents to apply themselves because the head doesn't want me to. I'm leaving at the end of term because i've had enough.
Everything is done to appease the LA and nothing is done in the best interests of the children. Its so wrong.

Don't even get me started on the way we are treated as parents. I've been lucky that i've experienced a very good LA and a not so bad LA. But some of the stories on here (2boys and bjk in particular) are disgusting. Parents shouldn't be treated like this. Everything is a battle and it shouldn't be this way. I've only been through one appeal but its likely i will have another one to go through next year just so that my child can keep a placement that he is thriving in. We are supposed to have more rights under the new system but it seems that those rights are only applied as long as it doesn't cost too much money.

Rant over.

kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 11:26:31

The people like 2boys are the lucky ones! ( in a very odd way) They know their kids rights and fight for them. I'm also worried about the people who never make it to these boards, or other support places, and believe 'oh this la dont do ehcp' or ' it wont help, we only have your Childs best interests at heart' or ' on no, dont ask for an assessment, that will label him for life' and they trust the schools and believe them.

2boysnamedR Thu 28-May-15 12:02:40

It's getting the word out to the non clued up parents. Then some of those parents don't want to hear.

The radio two thing a while ago was good.

I keep toying with the idea of setting up a parents sen group at school. We're parents gather ideas and then present them to the senco / head. So parents go to head parent in confidence and that parents represents the parents concerns to the school anomalously ( sorry dyslexia stricks!)

Fair game - do you work at my boys school? Lol!

Senco left in 2014 and the head does the job. Told me he was out if his depth! Told me I need to correct ds when he gets tenses wrong going totally against slt advice to model correct tense back. Said I should hope ds is statement free next year (Ffs! Like he's going to be cured overnight. Dyspraxic kids grow into dyspraxic adults and hoping to be statement free in four years for secondary might be a ideal aim)

There is one good thing to come out of being a fighter. You know more than the school ;0)

kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 12:07:15

I'm sorry, that sounded flippant. I know having a child with sen and having to fight for every bit of support is not lucky. I just meant that you have found support, and you are knowledgeable and capable of taking on that fight.

kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 12:15:30

2boys, I know reaching those parents will be hard. I was thinking more along the lines of campaigning for changes in legislation, so sencos are better trained, Las don't have the power to assess and fund (because that inevitably leads to conflict of interests, they want to assess each child as needing little help as possible so it costs them less) and for clearer info for parents. (have you read your schools local offer, the ones round here are impossible to understand, pages and pages of platitudes, not saying much,or else they are non existent)

And easier processes of escalation for parents if Las dont stock to their legal obligations.

Sp I was thinking more of campaigning for changes to the law than for directly supporting parents.

Your idea of a support group at school sounds great, by the way, I would just like to have schools not lie to.parents so we wouldn't have to have that kind of group at,all.

2boysnamedR Thu 28-May-15 12:45:07

Don't worry I know what you meant. I am lucky and unlucky at the same time. Lucky I wasn't fobbed off and unlucky to be in this situation in the first place.

I think that sencos and heads should stick to the law. That would be a good start.

The way I have made my la stick to the law is jr. It shouldn't come to that.

kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 12:51:49

I dont know much about jr. Is it expesive and time consuming? My la is over 20 weeks now with the ehcp. I'm expecting it to be another 3 or 4 weeks. But surely jr would take longer than this, so it wouldn't be worthwhile.?

2boysnamedR Thu 28-May-15 13:06:22

My statement was a month overdue so I had no choice. La don't want to be taken to jr as they can't win. All it cost was a pre action letter. Not cheap but a charity did it for a donation for me.

I don't know if it's just me. My la do seem to get it right for other parents. I know four parents now who got a great in county indi school without appeal.

I am dragged over the coals every step. Maybe because they know I will fight so can save time delaying me.

That's why I'm not applying for my asd toddler. Experience has shown that it really is quicker for a child to fail. It's wrong but it's true. One year in a unit in ms and a child was moved to indi. Also my friends done nothing with her son. He went from the same unit into the best indi slt school around. Neither had to fight. They both threatened a tiny bit and got in.

bjkmummy Thu 28-May-15 13:16:42

less than 3 weeks for me now to my next hearing then the dreaded wait - after that im going to do a 'ineed' and go to the press and tell my story. we have been through absolute hell and even sat here today they LA cannot win but will drag us all they way cos it is us.

I also worry about those parents who don't have the strength to stand up and fight and then what happens to the their children? I think the new system will only make things even worse not better

2boysnamedR Thu 28-May-15 13:37:00

Yes new system seems to be just lip service to putting parents in the centre.

Same staff, same in ground culture. It's cheaper to call parents liers.

kojackscat Thu 28-May-15 13:53:34

Exactly, 2boys. I think the main focus of any campaign would need to be asking for legislation to split the assessing and funding functions to two separate bodies.

2boysnamedR Thu 28-May-15 14:28:15

That sounds like a great idea.

It doesn't save money on the state in the long run. I read that about 50% of prisoners had sen. How much does that cost to tax payers - answer - who cares as it's not out of the education budget!

That's the real problem with the uk. Rob peter to pay Paul.

Like my big multinational employer. Save money by freezing pay. Make spending even £100 to get a tool required to do the job full of loopholes. Yes you save the £100 short term but it cost £500 in extra wages to jump through those loopholes and your staff get fed up and don't work a hard. You still need the tool so the £100 has to be spent. Company can't compete with new players in the market - but hey! You saved that £100! ( for a extra month or so)

Eebahgum Thu 28-May-15 19:02:41

I'm uncomfortable with the idea parents think they're being fobbed off or lied to by school staff. I've been teaching for 15 years & have spent about half of that as SENCO. The way I see things: in the past children with additional needs were provided with places at special schools, who were equipped to deal with their needs. Then the government reorganised (shut) many special schools and pitched "inclusion" as a way to support children (more cheaply) in mainstream school. Over the years they made additional funding more and more difficult to get - initially behavioural difficulties were not funded, then generic learning difficulties, only medical diagnosis. Eventually even these were only funded if we could prove s child was failing to thrive with the support we could provide. The ehcp works on the premise that we have a nominal amount of money to spend on supporting a child before applying for additional funding. Believe me - we would love to have the funds to support your child in every way you want us to - but the ways of accessing this money have been made more and more difficult by the government.

Icimoi Thu 28-May-15 19:12:09

I suspect organisations like SOS SEN and IPSEA would be up for campaigning and lobbying, though their resources must be pretty stretched just helping parents fight with the present system.

Icimoi Thu 28-May-15 19:16:42

Eebahgum, the problem is in part that teachers and even Sencos don't get adequate training. When they tell parents things like "you won't get an EHC plan in a mainstream school", or "you won't get an EHC plan in a primary school" or "you have to get an EP report before you can apply for assessment, they may genuinely believe it. I would love to make it compulsory for SENCOs to go for training from organisations like SOS SEN.

fairgame Thu 28-May-15 19:18:26

I'm uncomfortable with the idea parents think they're being fobbed off or lied to by school staff

It's an uncomfortable truth but it is definitely happening. Plenty of posters on here have experienced it, myself included. I've been lied to by a senco and by the LA. The LA even lied to sendist but luckily they were caught out and sendist sent them a snotty letter. It's happening all of the time.

Charis1 Thu 28-May-15 19:23:41

ok, what can we actually do about this rubbish sen system

Nothing, basicaly the money a lot of parents want simply doesn't exist , the magic wand that is going to cure their child of educational problems is pure fantasy, and the worst of children are rarely the ones who's parents are "fighting" as they put it.

fairgame Thu 28-May-15 19:27:32

nobody is asking for a cure charis, we are asking for the appropriate provision for our children ffs.

Charis1 Thu 28-May-15 19:35:43

the country cannot afford " appropriate provision" for all the sen children, the money and resources and staffing do not exist. No one is withholding them. they do not exist. A lot of the forms of support parents consider a appropriate are worthless anyway. And there are a lot of "fighting" parents, although these are not generally the parents who's children have the worst SEN. It isn't really fighting, I don't consider it to be fighting at all. Some parents are more vocal, and active and involved, which is fine. But if they want something for their child they can't have, or if they want something that takes time. some consider that they are "fighting" in some way, although i have to say "fighting" doesn't make any difference to how long something takes. Some things are just appropriate or available at a certain age, and "fighting" doesn't make any difference, and more than "fighting" the bus stop makes any difference to when the bus arrives, although if you do "fight" the bus stop, you may feel like it is necessary and that you have somehow made the bus arrive sooner.

Not expressing myself terribly well. I am very happy for parents to be involved in education, it is very helpful for any DC to see parents and school working together, but this idea that SEN parents " fight" or need to is a bit misleading, in my experience.

fairgame Thu 28-May-15 19:45:43

My son is in appropriate provision so it clearly does exist. He is in an independent special school which is 45 miles away. I had to go through an appeal to get his place there because my LA decided that it would be better for him to continue to have 2:1 supervision in a ms school after it clearly not working for the previous 4 years. Should i not have bothered 'fighting' the LA for the right provision? Should i have just left him with 2:1 where he was making no progress, distressed on a daily basis and standing out to all the other children because of the amount of support he needed?
I'm not in a difficult position because my son's super school is now moving bases and will be even further away from home. This means that the council might decide that he can't go there anymore because it is too far away. Move house you say? Not that simple. If i move to the next county, nearer to the school they might also refuse to fund his placement. I have fuck all rights for my son to continue in a school where he is happy and thriving and im in a lose lose situation. If he had no SEN then we could move areas as we please and put him in any school which has a place. This doesn't happen when a child has a statement. You have to rely on school agreeing to meet the child's needs and LA's agreeing to fund the help the they need.
My son has a right in law to achieve the best possible education and outcomes.

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