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LEA refused to assess :(

(30 Posts)
McFarts Thu 04-Jun-15 17:09:07

For my 6yo DS. He has ASD, a hearing impairment and attention difficulties (possible ADHD).

He attends a small village MS primary school with a SNs units. He's in Y1 and is still working on P scales (P8 maths P5 writing P4 reading). He's had access to our SNs schools unit for over 12 months, for literacy and in the classroom he is in a small group with the children who have a place in our schools IR unit. So lots of support is already in place for him. His school is fabulous, very experience and inclusive. Despite the support they have given him DS has made very little progress. His behaviour in school whilst occasionally challenging is MUCH better than at home, he's a bottle it up for home type.

I submitted a parental application for SA and today it went to panel.

LEA have refused on grounds that school are meeting his needs. I provided them with his levels, school didn't send them with the information requested from them nor did they send evidence of his lack of progress. Because the LEA didn't request it, the SENCO just filled out the form and answered the questions that she was request to and now they have used this as a reason to not assess!! angry so fucked off both with school and the LEA (tho in fairness the SENCO is new, but very willing and supportive).

Following a phone discussion with SEN I have a meeting in a couple of weeks with the SEN officer and the SENCO. School have been asked to provide more detailed evidence of how they have been supporting him and what progress he has made. Then we'll go over it in our meeting, depending on the outcome of the meeting, they may send all evidence back to panel to be reconsidered.

What else can i be do to prepare for this meeting? feeling a bit lost sad if anyone could share their thoughts and experience i'd be very grateful.

tyto Thu 04-Jun-15 17:11:46

Speak to IPSEA or SOSSEN. Lots of advice on their websites about appealing.

McFarts Thu 04-Jun-15 17:18:15

Yes just having a read through now.

Schrodingersmum Thu 04-Jun-15 17:50:59

Don't be too worried yet, this happened to us too. 10 minutes in to our meeting, head of sen dept over turned the panel decision.

The charity supporting us say this is happening far more with the new EHC. Just take a big box of evidence with you and hopefully it will happen

Icimoi Thu 04-Jun-15 18:49:14

Have a look at the Code of Practice and the requirements for assessment - basically the issue is whether your ds is making progress, measured against his own previous progress and the rate of progress of his peers; and if he is making any progress, is it because he's been receiving support above and beyond what would normally be expected in the mainstream. So go to the meeting armed with the evidence and the argument demonstrating that.

Bear in mind that your deadline for appealing is two months from the date they sent you the letter refusing to appeal. If they haven't changed their minds by, say, three weeks before the deadline you might need to enter an appeal anyway to protect your position.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 04-Jun-15 19:09:46

Appeal anyway! You can withdraw your appeal at any point in the process and you might as well get in the queue!

Our new director of SEND told a support group I go to that many statutory assessments are turned down because the info supplied by senco's is not good enough!!

Its a disgrace, dont mess about with meetings that may or maynot help you, get your appeal in!

Good luck flowers

AgnesDiPesto Thu 04-Jun-15 20:39:22

I would appeal before the meeting if you can as it will show you mean business.
They can only refuse if they have enough evidence to satisfy themselves your child's needs are being met in full.
The very fact they are asking for more evidence shows they lack confidence in that decision.
If they need more information to make a sound decision thats a reason to do the assessment!!! Not a reason not to do it!
LAs try this on all the time.
On appeal the burden of proof shifts from you having to prove he probably has SEN that requires a Plan to the LA proving he doesn't require one as all needs are met by ordinary resources of school
The IPSEA refusal to assess guide is good (assume thats still on its newly revamped website)
You can withdraw an appeal at any time but if you wait to the next meeting and then for a decision whether or not they might possibly take it back to panel etc then you are just letting them drag it out.
I agree get on the appeal waiting list asap.
Many LAs will back down immediately to avoid appeal

McFarts Thu 04-Jun-15 20:54:58

Ive just printed the appeal paper work. They only issue i can is that the planned meeting isnt an medication one its an informal meeting. Am i right in thinking that i need to have at least spoken to the medication people? Ive not yet received the refusal letter i suspect that'll come Saturday or early next week.

It would certainly carry the right message at my meeting if id already put an appeal in, but im not sure the time scale will work, my meetings on the 17th.

I have also spoken to our consultant and she is going to write a strongly worded letter to support us.

So exhausted with it all already!

Thank you all so much for your support flowers

mumsuz Thu 04-Jun-15 22:46:39

I agree. Prepare to appeal immediately. In my opinion, LEAs often refuse to assess almost automatically.

Exactly the same thing happened to us. They basically said because dd was only in reception it was all much too early. They conceded a month before the Appeal and now dd has a draft EHC plan. We're not yet happy with it yet but it's a start.

Good luck.

McFarts Fri 05-Jun-15 06:39:11

Right plan for today! ring LEA and ask them for the mediation details, ring them and get the certificate number thingy i need for an appeal!!

bjkmummy Fri 05-Jun-15 08:11:11

did the letter not give the mediation provider details on it ? it may also be on your LA local offer website

McFarts Fri 05-Jun-15 08:16:47

Not had letter yet bjk our application only went to panel yesterday afternoon, i rang and asked them the outcome yesterday afternoon, i suspect the letter will arrive tomorrow or early next week.

BigBird69 Fri 05-Jun-15 08:24:07

Don't be too disheartened yet. LAs are notoriously awkward with all their delaying tactics etc. main thing that you have school on your side. We had this. In our case school hadn't submitted some test results but they'd sent a covering letter saying DD not capable of sitting tests which is why they weren't included! They ended up having to suit work samples instead, after which LA agreed. It's a horrid stressful game. They really do test your resolve. In our case it was worth all the effort and stress as DS had a statement now in fully funded indi specialist school.

bjkmummy Fri 05-Jun-15 08:31:50

I had it as well and did end up at tribunal and won - I think the 'manchester' judgement here could also be very helpful to you case - that's what I used in my 2nd appeal and what a lot of judges now seem be quite hot on.

im just about to do tribunal number 3 so we are now very close to hopefully getting that indie school.

at the refusal to assess stage just a year or so ago school and LA said she was making progress blah blah blah - fast forward to now they now say she hasn't made the progress at all so be wary of what anyone says to you as it often isn't the whole truth - follow your instincts - if you feel they need the extra support then fight for it as no one else will fight for you

AgnesDiPesto Fri 05-Jun-15 10:27:43

My LA backed down as soon as the confirmation from SEN Tribunal hit their in tray. They manufactured some 'new' evidence which they said changed their mind (although there was nothing new about it) to save face.
LAs now only have 20 weeks to do assessments which is proving tough so many LAs try and do in effect a pre assessment assessment to get all the evidence before the 20 weeks starts ticking.

Most LAs are not coping with the number of children they have to transfer onto the new system and SEN officers are very overstretched so it may just be an automatic refusal and trying to delay rather than mean they are genuinely going to fight it.

An LA SEN officer that I know socially told me that they will immediately give it further consideration when they get the appeal paperwork. I still had to get independent reports done but did get my council to concede and assess DS for a statement without actually going to tribunal.

McFarts Fri 05-Jun-15 11:30:08

Just rang the mediation service our LEA use, asking for mediation certification to be sent out, apparently i cant do mediation and apply for 1st tier tribunal. I was all set to just listen to what the medication company had to say and basically say thanks for you advice, but no thanks, please send me out the certificate so i can push on. However the guy i have just spoken to has just told me that since this was sent up last year, our LEA have used his company over 40 times and in each case they have then agreed to assess. They have apparently not had one case where the LEA refused to back down! I now dont know what to do now?? hmm. I already have an informal meeting on the 17th and the mediation service have said they can arrange a meeting with the panel and the SEN officer.

An acquaintance of mine succeeded in this with mediation earlier this year, I'd forgotten. It was all very quick and easy. Her mediators told her they had had 100% success with refusal to assess too.

McFarts Fri 05-Jun-15 13:33:26

Have to say most things ive read regarding mediation all sound positive, at least at at the refusal to assess part in the process. I cant help but come to the conclusion that id be daft to not try it, but in the back of my mind i cant help but think this is all just delay tactic! who pays for the mediation? does it come from LA or from some sort of central pot? I cant help but be a little hmm about it all tbh, it all sounds a bit to good to be true!

Though of course this could just be my very negative attitude! feeling very low today, hardly slept last night.

It is annoying that you can't lodge an appeal and then do mediation in the meantime, but I think I would be inclined to give it a try. Start getting the appeal paperwork together in the meantime though.

McFarts Fri 05-Jun-15 19:07:47

Spoke to parent partnership after my last post, with my this sounds to good to be true theory. And the long and short of it is that him saying parents have been successful over 40 times yada yada yada is a load of bollox, she has so far sat in on two mediation meetings and the LEA did not backed down on either!

Interesting! I would definitely call IPSEA or SOSSEN.

IsItMeOr Fri 05-Jun-15 20:32:21

We had this problem - despite 6yo DS having ASD diagnosis and school having provided full-time 1:1 for over a term and a half they refused even to assess, saying they needed more evidence of how strategies suggested by the Ed Psych worked.

We went down the mediation route, primarily because it bought us time to see whether the council were going to reconsider at panel without having the hassle of going to tribunal.

Mediation was stressful (although council lady was very actually really nice), however we agreed a plan to get it back to panel, which they did and now they have agreed to assess.

I would say mediation is worth a try - it has to happen within 30 days, and you then have another month to trigger the tribunal after that if you're not happy with the outcome.

I think the decision to assess or not has to be a panel decision, and I am not aware that it can be overturned other than by the panel (or tribunal). So I am surprised at anybody having that outcome in a meeting/mediation. But I could well be wrong!

McFarts Fri 05-Jun-15 21:10:17

From what i can gather, in the informal meeting with the SEN officer they wont have any power to over rule the panel, but can gather information and make a decision on if there is enough additional evidence to put it back to panel for reconsideration.

In a mediation meeting (at least with my LEA) the actual panel will be there for the meeting, therefore they can reconsider there an then, but dont quote me on that, my heads a shed today!

IsItMeOr Fri 05-Jun-15 23:42:44

It was just the chair of our LA's panel in our mediation. It may vary from area to area.

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