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Does the SENCO have to attend IEP Review?

(30 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 12:43:34

Ongoing saga with DS2's school.

Following issue of an amended Statement in January, short-term targets and a Provision Map were produced 2-3 months later. There was no TA in class to 'provide dedicated support' 'in all written lessons' during each afternoon (specified). She was in the classroom on a Monday afternoon during 2 hours of PE (not specified) and provided 5 hours support in the playground but only at lunchtime (not specified or quantified) confused or more likely hmm.

At the meeting, the SENCO agreed to take out the five hours playground support but could not guarantee DS2 would get support in the afternoon because 'he would need to have full time 1:1 LSA to get support in the afternoon' and it was 'up to the head'.

After much to-ing and fro-ing a new Provision Map was produced. The 5 hours playground support had been deleted but this did not translate to 5 hours support in class in the afternoons as the new Provision Map 'used' up most of those hours with non-specified provision (such as 15 minutes touch typing per day) and so 'only had enough left' to provide support for some of Tuesday and Wednesday but not Thursday and Friday.

The timetable constantly changes but this is when subjects such as science, geography, history etc are taught and the Judge ordered an insertion to DS2's Statement that he needs "a highly structured approach with individual support for all written tasks whether literacy, maths, [taught in the morning with class TA] science or topic [taught in the afternoon with no class TA]". The level of support, pre and post Tribunal, and Judge's ruling, remains the same despite the Ruling that this was inadequate (verbally agreed by SENCO at Hearing) and the fact that support is specified in the Statement.

I have been advised to proceed to JR for non-delivery of provision. Refusing to employ staff to provide support is also failure to make reasonable adjustment and so is Disability Discrimination.

The head sent the revised Provision Map and in his covering email said that he was taking over the management of DS2's provision and that all communication in future would be with him. He did not respond to an email asking why he thought that this was in DS2's best interests until forced to do so and still gives no reasons - just says that it is his 'professional judgement'.

During this time, not only did the head not respond to emails but did not communicate with us directly about meetings with SALT and OT held at the school (informed and invited by LA) and made no attempt to arrange IEP review and had to be prompted.

So, basically, provision is not being delivered as specified and the school are so sick of the parent's commenting on this that all verbal and written communication with the SENCO has been banned. I suspect that this is punishment for not accepting the fact that the head still refused to employ at TA or dedicated LSA in the afternoons following the issuing of an amended statement and had made this abundantly clear. But I also expect that the SENCO will claim that she felt 'threatened'. We had a surreal conversation where she kept repeating that she 'felt' very strongly that I did want DS2 to have 5 hours support at lunchtime (rather than support in the classroom) and believed that I would complain if he did not receive it. In the end I said 'you're not listening to me'. Was this rude or inappropriate? She also 'felt very strongly' about things when the tribunal panel disputed her claims and she had no evidence to back them up.

We are now due an IEP review. I am genuinely intimated by this man even if I try to pretend not to be I find his hatred and hostility shocking and it feels very personal. In the one meeting (other than when DS2 first joined the school) I had with him he was very aggressive - declaring the meeting over if disagreed with, telling me 'to go away and think very hard' about whether DS2 should continue to attend that school, comparing us negatively to other parents with whom all staff have a fantastic relationship, contemptuously 'explaining' to the LA rep "she means..." whilst I am sat there and fully able to speak for myself etc. He treats me as if I am a naughty, and silly, school-girl.

Meetings with the SENCO/CT were already bad enough that the LA/SENDIASS have attended previous meetings as the school just ignore all comments made by parents otherwise. The LA post has been discontinued due to budget cuts and now SENDIASS have said that can't mediate anymore but I can phone the helpline and email them. Gee, thanks.

I don't want to have the meeting with the head there, especially with no external mediator, preferably from the LA. But then I fear they will use this to claim that I don't care about my son's 'progress' and that this proves that I know really that he has 'no needs' and am just exaggerating.

I am so tired of all this - on top of DS1 being out of school and JR proceedings for him. The thought of being bullied by DS2's head makes me want to take to my bed with a bottle of Pinot.

What, if anything, can I do? The SENCOP seems to assume that there will be one SENCO and that they are fully responsible for all DC with SEN. But I can't find anything that explicitly says this. By the way, DS2 is the only child in the school with a Statement.

Please let there be someone who can help - I'm pretty desperate and feel I am going to give up/crack up/say something inappropriate/behave unreasonably or perhaps all four sad

GlassCircles Mon 13-Jun-16 13:45:53

Your story sounds a lot more complicated than ours was, but if it's helpful, only the class teacher was ever present at our IEP reviews, SENCO wasn't involved at all, so it's not a requirement.

FlouncyMcFlounceFace Mon 13-Jun-16 14:04:05

And breathe.

You sound thoroughly frustrated and like communications have significantly broken down with the school.

What I cant get from what you've written is a very simple prioritised list of what you want from the IEP review.

Does the current one have three targets and are these current, achieved, being worked towards or obsolete? Or is that the thing you hope to find out.

I find it helps to go to meetings with a clear objective and a target outcome. Remain focused on the IEP associated issues and save other issues for in another meeting, you can arrange that as part of any other business before you leave.

The SENCO is the special educational needs coordinator so if the head decides they're going to do part of that role then as the SENCOs boss they can do that.

I advise others to take another adult in with them to meetings for moral support and to help note take. It doesn't need to be a professional, just a person who can help balance out numbers and help you go through whats been said afterwards to help produce summary minutes.

It sounds like yourfrustration is based around lack of support as agreed in the statement. Regarding this area have you spoken with the SN governor or chair of governors? They're ment to oversee the school and ensure legal obligations are met. If the head is resistant then they're the next step.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 15:40:27

It sounds like yourfrustration is based around lack of support as agreed in the statement. Regarding this area have you spoken with the SN governor or chair of governors? They're ment to oversee the school and ensure legal obligations are met.

Really? I thought the LA had statutory responsibility? In addition, this is non-delivery of provision despite clear wording and specification/quantification obtained at Tribunal. Because of wooly wording, often SENDIST tribunal is needed before JR has grounds. I have already had to do this. How are the BOG relevant at this stage?

otoh I have been advised to follow the official complaint procedure re disability discrimination which will include the BOG.

btw the only 'contact' I have had from the SEN coordinator, who is also the chair of the BOG, is a copy of a letter, supplied by the LA, detailing why DS2 had been refused a place, and, why the LA should not force the school to give him a place, despite the fact that this was his catchment school, and, he had no other placement having moved house.

The LA forced the school to accept him.

Then there was a miracle and all needs apparently disappeared - documented since he had started school on SA+, at the school's discretion - we weren't even told when he was referred to SLCN.

There remained 'traits' that resulted (following 6 years SALT and OT intervention) in eventual diagnosis of ASD after years of the ADHD or ASD dance.

And, then there is the LA EP report, which not only agrees with parents, in 'opposition' to school, but also finds additional needs, and, then, there is the legally binding Statement following Tribunal, where the school had full opportunity to argue that support from the CT alone was sufficient. But, having seen copies of the little that DS2 produced in those lessons, and given that even the SENCO was forced to admit that the work was below that expected (whilst simultaneously claiming above average attainment), the tribunal ruled otherwise. An amended statement was issued. The school are not delivering provision. This is not an error.

I am really finding it hard to find a polite way to point out that someone is not behaving lawfully, particularly when I think they already know this, but believe that they are too powerful to take my objection to such behaviour seriously.

This is slightly more than a communication break down.

Of course, the actual review part of the meeting could have, and should have, been straightforward in terms of reviewing progress in relation to targets that, following parental intervention, are now finally SMART. The presence of the head makes this less, rather than more, likely.

Plus, the reason why the LA has always mediated previously is because the school have form for pretending that they have delivered provision consistently, on a daily basis for months, when DS2's feedback is that they did 'it' once or twice and then gave up. I had hoped that we could 'just' review progress. Instead, I would not be surprised if the head did not attempt to use the meeting to argue that DS2 has no needs. I just wish we could move on. OK the head used to think that. He was wrong. Experts have carried out their own assessments and told him he was wrong. So now the school should deliver the statement. End of. Why do they think they can ignore it and it's back to year zero? Let's go round again. No, let's not.

FlouncyMcFlounceFace Mon 13-Jun-16 16:35:07

I'm just a parent who has managed to negotiate many difficult meetings with school, governors and county. My experience is having open lines of communication, copious note taking and following procedure (even when the school and LEA don't) is key.

Your situation appears to be being driven in a very different direction to where my experience lies so i'll back off the thread with one last question for you to check out if you see fit....

Are you sure that the chair of governors is the school SENCO? This would be odd and highly irregular on many counts legislation here

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 16:59:41

Sorry - don't mean to come across as snippy. We are all 'just' parents, trying to do our best. flowers

The chair of the BOG is also the SEN cordinator/bod on the BOG iyswim - not the school senco. The school senco is a teacher in the school.

Don't get me started on the emails sent to the LA by the SENCO, again copies helpfully provided by the LA. I think the LA like to drop the school in it - maybe because it helps them ignore overall responsibility if they can side with parents in blaming the school, whilst doing nothing to remedy the recognised 'problem'.

PolterGoose Mon 13-Jun-16 17:18:51

Bloody hell Keep, I can't believe this is still ongoing, you must be frazzled sad

I have nothing of use to say but sending sympathetic wine and flowers

cansu Mon 13-Jun-16 17:35:00

I think you need to take someone with you. It is much harder to act like a bullying arse when there are witnesses. Alternatively, write all your written comments in a letter, go to meeting and listen. Refuse to get drawn into any conflict and take copious notes or get someone else to. You can then respond via letter / email. I find it is better sometimes to not respond. You cannot then be accused of being difficult etc. A huge professionals meeting was once called about my dd who school wished to get rid of. It felt like we were being bullied by them so I didn't attend, making my excuses. I sent dp with strict instructions to simply listen and take notes, which he did. They blathered on and he wrote everything down, often asking to check someone's name and role etc. They were very wrong footed and whenever they tried to draw him into making any decision, he simply said he was listening to their points and we would consider what they have said together at home. If you are going to take some kind of action against them for not providing what is in the statement, let them talk, they will probably repeat that they don't want to or cant afford to provide said provision and you can calmly minute this in your notes.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 18:36:32

Polter if only we did not live in a rural area and other schools had not said 'no' this situation would not be ongoing - I would have moved him long ago - but I can't - has to be negotiated with SNO and she thinks he should be where he is - despite the head. Roll on end of year 6. Because the local academy is great (not) for ASD. sad

cansu - do you think I would be a terrible wimp if I also did not attend? I think 'calm' is beyond me at this point.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 18:42:49

Glass - you have reminded me that IEP reviews at DS2's previous schools used to be with the CT alone - the HT was also the SENCO but did not attend.

I could handle a meeting with the CT. Looked at another way, can the HT insist that he attend an IEP meeting?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 18:50:02

polter - btw seem to have now found (following threat of JR) good indi OT who is currently undergoing PG training for sensory integration and is full of suggestions - (recommended a friend who makes weighted blankets at relatively cheap rates if anyone wants to PM me) smile

cansu Mon 13-Jun-16 18:52:53

No not at all. You can say you have an urgent appointment. I did actually have a work commitment, but I made sure I sent in a letter stating that I was very disappointed I couldn't attend but that dp would attend instead. I think someone has to go though so if you have another family rep or dh who can go instead that would be best. Otherwise it will be mentioned in the future. We declined an OT workshop for parents once as it was of no use to us. We already knew what they were going to say, what we wanted was actual OT for dd- in a report later it was noted that we had rejected therapy!!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 13-Jun-16 19:11:07

flowers

DH would have attended with me but he is used to be very much in the background and so thinks he does not need to know the detail. He will panic and think he actually has to do something of import. Then he will think he has to 'nail it'. I just want him to attend and take notes so that I can be absent and not have to think on my feet whilst potentially emotionally overwhelmed.

I think I might have to broach this early and introduce the possibility of my non-attendance ASAP.

PolterGoose Mon 13-Jun-16 19:38:28

I don't think it would be wimpish to not go at all, IEPs aren't mandatory anyway. And whatever is said in a review meeting isn't likely to make any difference in reality is it? Except to the detriment of your own well-being.

What year is he? How close are you to secondary transition?

Glad you found a good OT, they can be incredible. We've been very lucky with NHS provision here but now I don't have to prove anything to a crappy school we can DIY it all.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 14-Jun-16 06:58:20

DH actually suggested that he go alone to the IEP review just after I had posted as I was so obviously distraught at the thought of it.

DS2 is in year 5 now. The other DC in his class are kind and look out for him, especially one particular boy who is better than any 1:1 could be because he discretely supports him and models expected behaviour - he should be paid! It is something about DS2 - he had a self-appointed bodyguard in his previous school.

Before he moved schools he was in a school in the neighbouring borough. He had SALT and OT visits to school each term and the OT in particular was brilliant. When we moved he went to an in county school. The NHS policies are totally different. Not only do OT not visit DC in school but DC over year 4 cannot even be referred to paediatric OT as they are too old. We had no choice but to find an indi OT.

This is crazy. Since the change in diagnostic criteria, sensory issues have been made much of. Some months ago I went to a post-diagnosis workshop where the 'leaders' merrily told all the parents present to get an OT referral. Not only do NHS OT not 'do' sensory issues but the vast majority of the DC were too old to meet local referral criteria. I don't understand why the National Health Service has such widely varying local policies and pathways to care. confused

claw12 Tue 14-Jun-16 08:23:19

Hi keep smile

'provide dedicated support' 'in all written lessons' still sounds very vague.

Does it specify and quantify ie 3 hours of 1:1?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 14-Jun-16 09:17:16

claw I nearly went to Upper Tribunal because the wording in the Statement is too vague - it was supposed to clarify things confused

The LA wanted 'hover' support from the CTA but the Judge said this was not specific to DS2 and case law directs tribunal to be specific. So the Judge invented the use of 'dedicated' to mean something in-between hover support from the CTA and 1:1 LSA. So the Statement specifies 20 hours dedicated LSA in the classroom; 1:3 in unstructured lessons such as PE and peer support in unstructured times such as break or lunch.

But it does not specify that the dedicated LSA be a different person to the CTA and the school even argue that the CT also be the dedicated LSA when she is the only adult in the classroom on Thursday and Friday afternoons.
So he gets 'priority' access to the CTA (but has to ask for help and then wait 'because there are other DC she has to help') when she is in the classroom. The same as before the tribunal when he had no dedicated in class support specified in the statement. angry but feeling powerless sad

MeirAya Tue 14-Jun-16 09:17:31

The LA forced the school to accept him

This is basically a proxy war between head and LA. You and your ds are the human shield/ hostages.

claw12 Tue 14-Jun-16 09:22:54

Oh keep, Ds has '25 additional hours' this translates to nothing, it could mean TA just being in the same building as Ds!

When is AR?

MeirAya Tue 14-Jun-16 09:24:27

If the statement was quantified and specified, it would be easier to prove the school needed ££ to deliver it. And if the LA gave the school loads of £, ds would become the goose that lays the golden eggs.

But as things stand, he'll have a 'low-cost statement' and they'll be expected to absorb all the main costs in exchange for a small top-up.

So HT has decided to bully you into going away. But LA wants to bully you into staying put. So sending your difficult-to-bully chief negotiator (aka DH) in for informal peace talks might actually help.

claw12 Tue 14-Jun-16 09:25:06

Sorry just seen was issued in January

claw12 Tue 14-Jun-16 09:31:46

Have you tried writing exactly where you want the 20 hours provision to go? Write their provision map for them?

Send it with your DH (personally I would go too to take notes) and let them explain exactly why they can't do it

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 14-Jun-16 10:08:08

Re-wrote the provision map and IEP a short-term SMART targets consistent with the long-term objectives in the statement. Even wrote the IEP in their child-friendly language and used the same JPEG images. Just made the targets SMART and moved most of 'what I need to do' i.e. 'ask for help' to the section 'who will help me' i.e. 'TA will support me by doing x, y, z (basically scaffolding so text has beginning, middle, end and makes sense otherwise we get random scripts from Pokemon or Lego Ninjago) before she helps other children'.

Sent it to the school along with a detailed breakdown of where the 20 hours was being deployed, how much access to the TA he had, how many hours of written lessons he still did not have access to the TA for and copied it all to the LA. I did this after the meeting when the provision map had 5 hours lunchtime dedicated support but not even access the class TA during all written lessons in the afternoon. At this time the LA had not arranged SALT and OT provision and were trying to get provision from the NHS despite the fact that DS2 had been discharged and did not meet re-referral criteria and the NHS had no suitable provision.

I threatened JR and the LA immediately organised indi SALT and OT provision and this is now being delivered. The SNO spoke to me about non-delivery of provision. She told me she would speak to the school. The school told me that they were liaising with the LA. Then the head sends a new provision map with a couple of extra hours randomly attributed in the afternoons of Tuesday and Wednesday - timetables show that these afternoons are traditionally when art, PE, French and DT are taught. I don't know whether he has told the LA what he has done or copied the map to them. I know that the SENDIASS rep thought that the new provision map provided support on every afternoon and was unaware that DS2 was still not being supported in all written lessons.

Topic and science has traditionally been taught on a Thursday or Friday. I know this because we have also had (and the LA has had) issues with the school insisting on delivering Friendship Group and Lego Therapy during science and topic lessons. We only found this out because we asked the CT why DS2 had not maintained previous progress in science and she said it was because he always missed half the lesson shock.

claw12 Tue 14-Jun-16 10:16:33

You've probably already tried anything I suggest, but worth a mention! Have you tried finding another school?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 14-Jun-16 10:54:32

meir the first IEP meeting we had after the Statement was finalised was in March 2014 and the LA attended. The school had come to the meeting ready to argue that DS2 had no needs and they had consistently argued this for this for the since DS2 joined the school at the start of the academic year.

The CT and SENCO wanted to focus on academic attainment which was slightly above average. This is true, as is the fact that he has an attention span of 5 minutes for adult (i.e. CT) directed activities before he will be distracted by his own thoughts or something in the environment. At that point they had not referred DS2 to autism outreach where they reported that he is only able to maintain focus for five minutes and claimed all was fine.

I avoided talking about this as I knew there would be disagreement and had instead written targets relating to issues that I knew were a problem for the teacher - such as getting changed before or after PE - 15 minutes of continuous prompting. The LA rep asked the CT and SENCO whether or not they agreed that these problems existed and that I had not exaggerated their severity or functional impact. They had to agree. This seemed to be sufficient 'proof' that I was very unlikely to be exaggerating about the rest of it.

The tone of the meeting changed and the LA rep ignored me and DH and started talking to the SENCO about funding issues. The SENCO confirmed that he was on the lowest top up band. The LA rep was sympathetic to the fact that DS2 clearly needed the same level of support throughout the day and that this was difficult to deliver as class TAs were only employed in the morning and DS2 did not have 'his own' full time 1:1. The LA rep then invited the school to apply for more funding. The CT and the SENCO maintained an awkward silence. We assumed that the school had applied for more funding. Instead, they restated their belief that he had no needs. We appealed to tribunal. LA EP did assessment and agreed with parents about identified needs and impact and then identified more needs. We had the hearing, Judge ruled, amended issued - school still not delivering support. They have claimed consistently, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary dating back to pre-school, that DS2 has no needs.

Before tribunal the LA rep had to write the IEP targets. Then the post was abolished. The school deleted all the targets even though they had not been met because 'DS2 doesn't like it/want to'. They had put in targets that bore no relation to identified needs or provision in his statement. For example, his only learning support/target was a target to ask for help by raising his hand. Fine if you are NT and know you need help or NT and have a desire to please the teacher and actually want help (rather than doing something else more rewarding). His communication target to improve and generalise speech sounds is translated to and IEP target to talk to class TA about 'manners and politeness'. wtf. Thank God he now has a SALT - she snorted with laughter when she saw it.

The school have always claimed that DS2 does not need SALT input and have not used the resources provided by the NHS SALT. I don't know if this is why they are being so arsey and unhelpful. The therapist were not given copies of any documents (the LA had given them a copy of the statement) and when we met with them in school, there were no members of staff present, even to initially greet and introduce or even show to a suitable room. We had to lead the therapist through the school to an empty classroom where we had previously met for IEP reviews. Same MO for OT. No communication to inform or invite us to meeting - no staff to be seen.

Given that I can't move DS2 I feel I need to JR for non-delivery and file disability discrimination claim against school. I would prefer to pick my battles (the whole DS1 out of school/JR thing is enormously time and energy consuming) but it's come down to a choice to fight or allow DS2's school to continue to get away with not giving him the support he needs, as ruled by the judge and specified in his statement.

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