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EP and senco meeting - confused

(19 Posts)
ChowNowBrownCow Tue 09-Jun-15 10:46:34

I am a bit confused re the processes regarding obtaining a statement for my ds who is 9 , in yr4 and has asd and adhd. So far, I have been disappointed with the school in how they have responded to ds needs, both educationally and socially. His teacher is old fashioned in her view of asd and adhd, and shows an attitude of ' this is all new, we didn't used to hear of it when I first started teaching'. Also, she has said on numerous occasions that ds can stop some of his asd symptoms 'if he wanted to'. I requested to the school that I think ds needs a statement, this was december last year. Since then, we are now on the radar for ed psych etc. yesterday I attended a meeting with the EP to discuss her reports. The senco was in attendance too. The EP highlighted strengths and weaknesses of ds and gave ideas on how things can be changed to accommodate ds at school. The senco said she felt much could be done and to my shock she said that he would be given 15 hrs one to one from September! He currently gets 4/5 hours. Why the change in help? It sounded to me that she was trying to make a good impression to the EP who looked impressed with her suggestion, in summary she said that the school are 'trying'. The senco said not to say anything to ds ,other parents or teachers as it's not been finalised?? Please advise me as I feel I should be really grateful ,but I smell a rat and am very suspicious as it seems likely that I may not secure the statement for ds. It looks like the school are saying 'we are doing everything possible, but why weren't they doing that before ?? Sorry for long post.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 09-Jun-15 15:14:49

Sounds a similar situation to mine school like to think they are doing loads for Dd3 but actually when it comes down to it they are doing very little !! Under the new system they now have to evidence how they are supporting children with sen and how they are spending the money that is supposed to be available to our children!

In my experience when they realise that outside Proffs might be about to ask them how they are supporting children they suddenly find bucket loads of support from somewhere!!

I really hope your Ds actually sees some of this support and that it is not just a cover up!

Good luck flowers

bbkl Tue 09-Jun-15 15:49:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Jun-15 17:39:47

Statements have now been replaced by the EHCP; these came into effect last September.

I would ask for written confirmation of such a change to your DS 1 to 1 hours. This SENCO could well be just trying to impress the EP by saying that, they have certainly tried to stall you before now.

I would look at IPSEA's website and make a personal application to the LEA for an EHCP for your son www.ipsea.org.uk. You also need to think longer term i.e. secondary school.

ChowNowBrownCow Wed 10-Jun-15 10:17:54

Thank you for your advice. I have emailed senco aning for confirmation of details in our meeting. I received a reply today which was interesting and on the surface seems fine. It says; ds will have one to one BUT some things will be done in smal groups ' so he does not become to dependant on the support, and that support will be reviewed termly'. What do you think please? My gut instinct says this is a token offering that can be withdrawn at anytime and any funding for ds be used however they see fit? I could be just feeling a bit negative / suspicious though.

bjkmummy Wed 10-Jun-15 10:48:52

15 hours is what a school I guess would be expected to put in place before they would say the child needs an ehcp - LA seem to take the view now they will decline a request for an ehcp if a child needs can be met under the delegated funding which is where they say your son is fitting.

I would share your concerns that the 1:1 could be withdrawn at any moment but I would be inclinced to give it a go in sept but closely monitor it and see what happens - if the 1:1 tails off and its clear that he isn't getting it then its more evidence that a more formalised need for support is done. I would also at some point take a look at the now famous 'Manchester judgement' as it well may fit your situation as you move forwards.

if you want a copy of it , pm me your email address as I have it saved and at hand on my computer

I would definitely start thinking now about secondary school too, I applied for a statement for DS in the January of Year 5 and am now at the end of year 6 with it still not all finalised. It took over a year to get the statement and so far nearly another 6 months of wrangling over its contents and his secondary school placement. I know the system has changed now but I suspect the overall timeframes will still be very long for most people.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 10-Jun-15 11:46:05

It is of course nonsense to suggest that ASD only impacts for 15 hours per week but this is the normal argument (pre-tribunal not only pre-statement/EHCP) that school's/LAs seem to go with. In DS2's case the 15 hours is only for 'social' and so is exclusively delivered at break and lunch-time and during less structured sessions (PE, art). Also, the 1:1 is not actually 1:1 but is access to TA who will keep an eye on them (which is their job anyway). Plus, keeping an eye on them does not mean actually intervening and doing so effectively.

As I am heading to tribunal (and the school want to decrease rather than increase provision and so are using 'professional discretion' as to whether to deliver the support in the statement) the LA SEN rep now attends IEP reviews. The CT admitted at the TA has witnessed recent playground events (stones thrown at, shoe taken and run away with, dirt put down trousers) but didn't know what to do. The CT then suggested that passivity indicated that he 'seemed to be enjoying it' angry

Smile and nod and put in an application for an ECHP assessment yourself. Get a detailed IEP with SMART targets (mind has gone blank and can't remember what the acronym stands for but I'm sure others will know). These things take time. I applied at the end of year 4/beginning of year 5 for DS1 but the (crap) statement was not finalised for the start of year 7 never mind in time to select secondary at the end of year 5 and then use year 6 for serious transition planning and support.

bjkmummy Wed 10-Jun-15 12:31:02

im another one who started in year 4 - watch and waited, applied beginning of year 5 - now end of year 6 we were issue a dire statement in February and at tribunal next week to get anything near lawful and also for school placement - I thought I started really early but just shows how time can just go especially if you do like many of us on her end up having to appeal (or in my case 3 times!) so definitely start the process if you can especially as there does seem to be a lot of refusals on applications for EHCP

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (had to do this for staff objectives in a previous job).

I've had to appeal twice. It goes on and on. But it can be done.

ChowNowBrownCow Wed 10-Jun-15 13:37:36

I'm feeling out of my depth. Lots of jargon and having to fight for what surely is ds's rights to a ehcp! ? I'm spending hours each day reading about it, and my heads spinning. Is this normal? Also, right at the start the senco said that it's best if the school put in the request and that the LA will reject a request if we haven't 'pulled together all the reports and tried implementing strategies at school'. If I go ahead of Senco now, will I be at a disadvantage ? Will/could they refuse support if I March ahead without giving them time to try things in September or am I being naive and trusting ?

I sympathise, I felt exactly the same. I spent several years feeling like a rabbit in the headlights before I bit the bullet and applied. I can't post much now, I'm at work, but will come back later.

ChowNowBrownCow Wed 10-Jun-15 14:03:13

Thank you whoknows- I'm just a normal working mum, I want the absolute best for ds, but it feels like I've taken on another job! Look forward to hearing from you when you are able too.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 10-Jun-15 14:46:11

I won't lie. The schools attitude will likely harden when you apply for assessment. This is because they are planning to convince you that an EHCP is not necessary and therefore explains why they will not be applying.

Without an ECHP the school will not have conducted detailed assessment of need and will therefore have no duty to meet (unidentified) need. Therefore, the LA will not insist that the school stumps up all of the 10K to meet need (as identified through SA) required before the LA issue an ECHP but only up to 10K (according to identified need).

But, oh look, the DC has not been assessed and so no needs have been identified - ergo the child has no needs.

If the DC has already been assessed or needs can be indirectly evidenced in functional behaviour (poor rate of progress) then no further assessment is needed to identify full needs and recognised needs are minimised with provision 'recommended' to meet those needs wishy washy and vague and able to be met by the school doing sod all or very little with a cash value equivalent far short of the required 10K.

This may sound a tad paranoid and rather unnecessary but it has been my experience and that of many others and not because we exaggerate or make up need.

Don't underestimate yourself or normal working mums smile

Right, well, it seems to me that it is very common for schools to try and deter you from applying for a statement. Partly because it creates a lot of work for them and will cost them a lot of their SEN budget, partly because quite often they really don't see the full issues your child is having. Being charitable, it may also be that they have seen so few people succeed in getting one that they genuinely do think you've got no chance. This happened to me over and over. My previously very good relationship with the school has come under considerable strain during this process.

However, without that proper assessment you will not know whether they need a statement or not, so they should not be deterring you from applying.

How I started out was by talking to anyone I could find who had experience of the process, both in real life and on MN. I also spent a lot of time reading the websites of SOSSEN and IPSEA, charities that work in this field. All the while I was carefully compiling a big file consisting of every single piece of written information I had about DS, school reports, IEPs, nursery and pre-school records, NHS letters and reports, the whole lot. I also went to a one day workshop on the process run by SOSSEN, which helped me understand the process much better. However I still was not convinced DS would get a statement, far from it. He was coping OK with school, no bad behaviour, no refusing to go in, making progress and was getting help form the SALT and OT services. However I did know that I would have to do it by Year 5 if I wanted anything in place for secondary.

What finally spurred me into action was him getting discharged by the OT service at the end of Year 4 (he has AS and dyspraxia). I was sufficiently concerned that I consulted a private OT who basically spent half an hour with him informally and told me to get my application in. At around the same time a comment I read on a forum made me think that, yes, DS did fit the criteria. So in went my application in Jan last year.

It has been very hard, I won't pretend otherwise. I have a part time job for 10 hours a week and at times this process has taken up much more of my time than that. OTOH there have been weks and weeks where nothing happens too. It has also cost me a lot of money having private assessments made. It has been hard logistically keeping on top of the paperwork and meetings, hard emotionally reading the reports that highlight all the most severe problems your child has, hard knowing where to turn when things weren't going to plan. I ended up instructing a solicitor, who has been little short of a miracle worker, but again, at a cost. However, I am now within touching distance of a fully funded place at an independent special school for Year 7, with properly specified and quantified provision. ALthough I've had to appeal twice, I have not yet had to go to a tribunal, it is likely that my current appeal will be resolved without one now. It still could go wrong, I don't want to tempt fate. But if it does I will fight on and I will know that I have done everything in my power to help DS.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 11-Jun-15 08:44:01

I havent got much time, but I was told my Dd3 didnt need a statement, then that she did, then that she wasnt behind enough to get one!

We have had a long journey, I wont lie but a tribunal judge ordered my LA to write Dd3 a statement at the end of May and now we are just waiting for it!!

Dont let school people try to put you off! If you know your Ds needs that support gather your strength and fight for it.

Good luck flowers

ChowNowBrownCow Thu 11-Jun-15 22:24:11

It seems from all the advice you've all given that I need to start gathering reports and any information necessary to go ahead with trying to get an assesment done, I believe 100% that my ds would benefit from it. He needs support that is down in writing that teaching staff can follow and refer to. I can see clearly now that the school are trying to look good in front of the LA and just want to present a list with ticks next to things showing how wonderful they are. I am sceptical as he has not improved in any way over the last year, things have got worse for him at school and yet until now, they have not done anything or even offered anything more. I fear that the wording of the senco 'we do not want ds to become reliant on support and this will be reviewed termly' indicates that she feels he doesn't need it and that as soon as all other professionals have gone away, the support will be withdrawn. My question is whether to upset senco by saying I want to submit my own application? Or should I now wait until senco are ready? Thanks for all your replies, they have been very supportive and helpful.

I'd just do it, the SENCO might never be ready. I don't like upsetting people, I know my SENCO and her family outside school, but I have had to put all of that to one side. Also remember that to the SENCO this is just part of the job, to her my DS is one of many and is just passing through her care. Whereas I am looking at his entire future and that is my number one priority, the fact that you've taken the time to come and post on here shows that you are sufficiently concerned and motivated to get more help too.

Another thing, you don't want to find yourself looking back and wishing you'd done this sooner. I think I just about got away with it by applying in Jan of Year 5, but another thing to bear in mind is that in Year 6 it all becomes complicated by secondary school transfer. In my county if you want to apply for a place in a mainstream secondary with a specialist SEN unit you need to have a statement/EHC plan by the summer of Year 5, I missed that boat. My final statement was issued 54 weeks after I applied for it (this Jan) and was therefore also after October of Year 6 when you apply for state secondary school places, which created even more complication.

ChowNowBrownCow Sun 14-Jun-15 10:39:03

Hi, I have received another email from senco and it says it can take weeks for the EP to write up her report and that then an application can be put in. Is that the only way to go with it? Is it pointless without that EP report ? Upto that email I was braceing myself to apply without waiting for senco! Now I'm not sure.
Thankyou whoknows for your advice, it helped me to see that senco are just doing their job and they are going to have to get used to me questioning them and being on their case, I am going to have to toughen up and read between the lines a bit more. I took earlier posts advice and emailed re what was said at the meeting and I'm glad I did as I would happily skipped along thinking ds would get 15 hour 1:1 as that was what was said, until it was "clarified" a day later!! Invaluable advice, thanks all.

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