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Don't really understand Tribunal ruling [blush]

(21 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 04-Jan-16 12:57:54

wrt staffing provision (hover or 1:1) the Judge has written the following:

'If we describe the support as 'hover' it is not specific. We have instead used the word 'dedicated' to be specific about the TA's primary focus. In short, that means that DS2 has first priority on the TA time but our wording makes clear that DS2 must be encouraged to work on his own.'

They have then inserted:

'DS2 will need a highly structured approach with individual support for all written tasks whether literacy, maths, science or topic'

'20 hours support per week from a dedicated Learning Support Assistant to support attention and focus in the classroom ... The LSA will work flexibly so that DS2 does not become over dependent and is encouraged to be an independent worker'

'In semi-structured lessons such as art, PE and music, he requires at least 1:3 support'

wtf does that mean in practice? How is this different from access to the class TA?

If DS2's school employed TA's in the afternoon, then I think that this would be completely meaningless as the SENCO already gave the Judge 'her word' that the TA already prioritises DS2.

As it is TA's are only employed in the mornings when english and maths are taught each day. All other lessons take place in the afternoon. DS2 already has 1:3 in art, PE and music and support at break times. The only thing he does not have is access to a TA in science or topic as only the CT is in the room.

Can the school get away with changing nothing in the mornings (priority access to class TA) and just putting a TA in the class for science and topic?

zzzzz Mon 04-Jan-16 16:06:10

Dedicated support means someone for him alone surely? (ie not class TA)

Runningtokeepstill Mon 04-Jan-16 16:56:11

Or the school could employ a TA to work with him but then also use them to work some of the time with other children who need support. This can work well if your ds is prioritised as he'd get support when he needs it but also be encouraged to be independent without the TA disappearing from the scene. But it can also mean, in some schools, that the TA supposedly employed to support your ds works with a group of children, which includes your ds, but doesn't prioritise him, which is not so good.

It would be hard for him to have 20 hours support from the class TA without other children losing out. Surely if they argued this was enough you'd have a case that they were not acting in the spirit of the judgement. I would think "dedicated" must mean attached to your ds not the class as a whole.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 04-Jan-16 17:11:51

I wanted clarity - whilst nodding in the direction of 'TA's create dependency and are the least experienced' dogma and therefore arguing in favour of ABA light - but seem to have facilitated the birth of a new meaningless term - we can debate what 'dedicated' means til the cows come home - does this mean the class TA can performs the role/or more than one TA or does this mean a different person - who knows? I don't want to have to go to court again to try and clarify interpretation.

I don't yet know what the LA/school interpretation is.

zzzzz Mon 04-Jan-16 17:33:27

Good TAs don't create dependency they are facilitators. The whole conversation about dependency should be quashed by saying they need to employ a TRAINED TA if they can't ensure that dependency isn't being avoided where possible.

Nigel1 Mon 04-Jan-16 20:37:33

20 hrs dedicated means 1:1. there is no other interpretation. Thus I would argue there needs to be an additional TA in the class over what is provided now.
What is being described is the skill set of the TA who will need to be skilled to be able to draw back from the child when they are working independently yet be close enough to jump in to support when needed to the exclusion of others.
Alternatively although the Chairs wording is well meaning it is not sufficiently clear as there is still argument about the provision and therefore warrant's an appeal to the Upper Tribunal.

AgnesDiPesto Mon 04-Jan-16 23:26:40

I think if the wording is not clear you can just ask for it to be clarified rather than formally appeal?

Eg I would think it would be clearer if it said DS will receive 20 hours dedicated support from LSA to support attention, focus in classroom - delete the bit about dependency - and add something about developing ability to work independently (which should be part of TA job).

I hate this idea if you remove the LSA the child will magically be able to work on their own, if that was the case they wouldn't need the LSA

it would be helpful to put in a specific baseline and target into outcomes section eg DS is currently able to work indep for 1 min and target for year is for him to get to 3 minutes.

That would help the school realise that actually if the current level of indep work is 1 minute then the TA can't realistically be deployed elsewhere for the benefit of the rest of the class!

Without a current baseline and a target the encouraging to be indep is meaningless

you don't want to measure how much time they are spending encouraging him to be indep but how long he is actually achieving it.

If you and LA could agree some wording and write back to tribunal they may just correct it.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 05-Jan-16 08:23:38

Thanks - I'll contact FS about making the wording clearer.

Agnes - elsewhere in the statement there is reference to his current target of 5 mins. He only meets the target on a good day (i.e. when he is accidentally motivated) so it needs to be reduced to an achievable with 100% success baseline.

I just don't trust the school to employ an LSA for him alone. They tell barefaced lies. DS2 started at the school at the beginning of year 4 with a well documented issue but apparently he had a miraculous 'recovery'. The CT and SENCO insisted that there was no problem at all, that other DC were worse etc. The head's witness statement for Hearing actually said 'DS2 is able to maintain focus with the odd reminder'.

It was only because I requested adjournment pending the GOSH report that the school referred to Autism Outreach before the Hearing rather than after and thus provided written information on the referral form about actual ability to work independently. This was not meant for my eyes but I had to sign it and requested a copy. This was immediately quoted in the WD.

I wanted it to be clear so that I could stop debating 'what is real' with the school. Since the last meeting with the head and SENCO (where the LA rep was infinitely more reasonable (although this could be trauma bonding)) I have real difficulty even being on school grounds. I actually shake if I even see the headteacher - I have been doing this for years and have grown a rhino hide but I don't deal well with outright hostility from men the bastard triggered me

AgnesDiPesto Tue 05-Jan-16 13:20:44

We moved DS in similar situation where HT lied - in our case it was about teacher input (which was zero) and HT refused to even consider our complaint the teachers were totally ignoring DS and setting no work for him. It is hard to be on premises after you have lost trust and had to challenge. After we moved DS my other son continued there for another term and it was really hard to see his class without him. There was no need for him to move he had FT ABA 1:1 all we needed was the teacher to include him in her teaching and with the other children.

Can you ask the LA to get evidence the school has employed a separate LSA for your DS. The legal responsibility is with LA to ensure the EHCP is implemented. Sure the LA will want to pass the responsibility on to school but if you specifically ask LA for evidence (should be obvious from way school spends its budget - has LA given extra funds for your DS?) and you can also ask the LA to do monitoring visits. But I agree if the school use the LSA elsewhere it's hard to know that on day to day basis.

For ABA we use 90% success rates as a skill mastered. So would keep data daily on working indep and whether did or did not succeed at 5 mins and then review weekly.

Getting really specific targets and asking LSA to keep data can be way round this (as long as they don't fake the data). It doesn't have to be onerous - just a one page table with targets across top and days of week down side and a tick or cross if he achieved target that day. It means LSA has to show has worked on targets regularly and if no evidence of success then either not being worked on enough, target is wrong or intervention is wrong. We have advantage of ABA supervisor who goes in and looks at data about every fortnight. Is outreach / slt going in? Perhaps they could ask see LSA demonstrate his targets and check this against data sheet. Or a copy of the sheet could be sent home weekly. You def need some kind of external oversight.

uggerthebugger Mon 18-Jan-16 14:11:17

Hey keep - flying visit, sorry - have you seen this blog post ?? Might be relevant

pannetone Mon 18-Jan-16 17:32:21

Thanks ugger - that is a very useful article - hope you don't mind but I have given it a thread of its own

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 19-Jan-16 08:42:01

ugger - no I hadn't seen it so thanks. I was aware of the original ruling but only had 28 days (over xmas and new year!) to apply to appeal to Upper Tribunal but I was put off by the fact that the original judge has to give permission to appeal, the fact that I would need solicitors, and the fact that it is almost impossible to get costs. I am focusing on just him instead (sorry). I was worried that the Judge would clarify 'dedicated LSA' to 'priority access to the class TA' and I would make the situation worse.

Agnes - how long would you expect a target to remain the same i.e. without being faded or length of time increased? School are wedded to their expensive and infrequent rewards (because the class TA can still be the class TA and the CT can be responsible for the delivery of the TRS) but this is not motivating. Plus they do not use actual tokens but the teacher keeps a tally of the points he had earned (must not 'look' different to other DC) so he does not have a clear link between the behaviour and reward. The target of 5 minutes independent working was set in October but he has not yet met this target and so the baseline has not been/can't be increased. When I have used a TRS at home I expect (and get) far faster progress. Lack of progress seems to me to underline the fact that rewards are too infrequent and expensive.

AgnesDiPesto Tue 19-Jan-16 17:50:04

If his target is 5 mins (and that was achievable which it clearly isn't) then the reward should initially be after 5 mins i.e. immediately at first.

There has to be a prospect of being successful otherwise the reward has no power. Once the reward scheme was working well & had regular success at a target you might space out the rewards so each 5 mins of successful independent working earned one token and the tokens were then cashed in e.g. once earned 5 or 10 tokens. But you would build up to that.

DS is 9 and gets a reward break after 20-30 mins. So at least one break per lesson.

It depends on the task they are working on though - e.g. in a maths lesson which he enjoys and where they are using visuals e.g. smart board he is very motivated he could stay on task most of the lesson and might get his reward at the end. In a literacy group he might struggle after a few minutes and need a few reward breaks to keep him going.

The skills level, difficulty of task etc should determine the reward. They are not actually running an effective system at all.

There should (but often isn't) be outreach staff e.g. from an autism or behaviour team who should be able to advise on reward systems. The school would need training by the sound of it (which is not unusual - our ABA team always have to train up the class teachers as they are hopelessly inconsistent with rewards).

The school need to assess his baseline in different tasks e.g. set him a literacy, maths etc task and time how long he stays on task. Then set the target based on that info not predetermine the target. I would expect DS to meet a target within half a term - but our ABA team set challenging targets - I'd expect to see progress within a week.

With DS the rewards are there to motivate him to do stuff which frankly he would not choose to do himself. Other children don't need the same kind of rewards because to be honest they care what other people think of them, they care about a team target / reward some way in the distance, they don't want to be told off or shamed up in front of their friends or let their friends down if they miss out on the class reward. These are social motivators that make other children comply with the teacher. DS doesn't have the social awareness to care a bit about anyone else's opinion - I don't think he even realises other people have thoughts and opinions. So its not true other children are not being motivated to work its just that threats, social embarrassment etc are driving the other children to work, but this doesn't work with kids with social deficits.

2boysnamedR Wed 20-Jan-16 10:17:19

Did you get a answer from the LA over the meaning of dedicated?

I think both of us should have gone to upper tier and it's something I have learnt if there's a next time.

My LA never replied about the school not having the TA in class for his hours.

I'm also going to be very careful which EP I use if I appeal again. Hours should have been a key issue.

AgnesDiPesto Wed 20-Jan-16 11:05:13

2boys you can use council complaint process and go to LGO if the provision isn't being implemented / council not replying. It can be worth starting complaint even if only to get a response out of them even you don't have the energy to take it all way

ouryve Wed 20-Jan-16 11:08:34

I think the judge is taking care to make sure that the level of support given is not ambiguous. This is quite positive - your DC doesn't need to be shadowed all the time, but does need very specific assistance. They're not leaving it open to interpretation that just having a class TA who only responds when asked for help will be sufficient.

ouryve Wed 20-Jan-16 11:09:39

And I've just noticed this thread is already a couple of weeks old blush

Ignore me.

2boysnamedR Wed 20-Jan-16 11:46:50

I don't think I have the energy to complain. I have to brace for my toddler with ASD to pass his special needs school panel in March. If he passes that I can think about moving my older boy to a smaller school. I would show the statement first and see if the new school will accommodate it.

The whole system is completely ballsed up

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 20-Jan-16 13:20:53

Agnes - you could have written the above about DS2! We have a meeting with the outreach person tomorrow and will focus on motivation using a TRS to increase concentration and attention. The school response to my feedback on why their system is a pile of crap has been solely to reduce the cost of rewards so that 10 minutes computer time now costs 1,500 points as before any fading DS2 did not earn 2,500 points in a whole week and so could not afford a reward. It stills means that DS2 can only afford 1 reward a week before any fading.

We have just introduced collecting pre-decimal coins as motivating rewards and so the poor sod 'chose' not to spend any points at school so that he could afford to buy rewards at home and so had no reward at all last week.

The school still think that we are at the stage of arguing about whether or not needs really exist and so really need supporting. We had to let them get away with it prior to hearing because the wording of the statement was too wooly and did not specify the type of TRS or how much time should be given over to its delivery or name an LSA as the person who should give support. Not any more.

Ouryve - the ruling does leave to interpretation whether or not to provide more support than he already has as the SENCO has already told the hearing that he has priority access to the class TA - but the school cannot argue that they do not need to increase concentration and attention from a low baseline.

My research suggests 7 - 11 wpm copying at age 10. Does anyone know what average wpm free-writing would be? Adult = 31 wpm. When MS assessed him he wrote 21 words in 5 minutes which was below the age 7 cut-off.

I predict that the SENCO and the LA outreach person will tell me all the things that DS2 does not have a problem with - he has never been a 'chair-chucker' and I have never suggested that he is but this is trotted out as a reason to provide no support.

If they attempt to pull that trick again I will complain to the LA straight away and raise an official complaint.

Also I will complain to the BOG - failure to provide statemented support is clear failure to make reasonable adjustment with no ability to claim ignorance and is clear disability discrimination. The head won't have the case brought against him it will be the BOG and there is legal precedent to show that we would win.

You need to choose your battles 2boys and atm your toddler has to have first demand on your time and energy flowers

2boysnamedR Wed 20-Jan-16 15:08:51

I think I need to train ds to throw chairs then hmm but no worries he can run as fast as a adult and is quite happy to slap people who don't obey him

I'm so p'ed off for you. It all sounds to familiar. Still I'm trying to convince myself that ds3 will create his own karma in life. Just wish it was the panel now. Once I know where he's going I can plan.

I secretly still hope he kicks the HT in the nuts so I can say " I don't belive you! He's a angel at home, wtf did you do to provoke such self defence !!!??"

ouryve Wed 20-Jan-16 19:49:19

Hah! DS2's not a chair chucker. He'd not be getting any education at all without his 1:1. What an utterly ridiculous (and quite offensive) assertion for the SENCO to make.

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