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Can anyone help with tribunal advice

(15 Posts)
TheHouseOfIllRepute Tue 31-Jan-17 22:35:27

My DD has been out of mainstream school since June
After endless meetings we disagree on the school the LA want to send her to and are appealing at tribunal
I admit to not being the most organised of persons and with coping with a challenging child at home I feel under pressure
I work PT do DH and I are working opposite shifts to manage childcare so not much time either
The LA have got pretty nasty. I have witnesses such as HT and paed but no Ed Psych report
The LA had indicated to me they would back down if I chose a less expensive school (there are 2 suitable SN independent schools near us)
I did this and hey ho they haven't backed down but it's left me short of time
We couldn't easily afford it but I am getting worried. Do we need representation?
IPSEA are trying to find me a volunteer rep because of the behaviour of the LA
Is that enough
Sorry for the messy post. I am worried about too much detail and am panicking

amunt Tue 31-Jan-17 22:48:24

I bit the bullet, got the best legal rep and EP I could. We have ended up with very substantial debts, but I was so determined to get the right provision and didn't want any regrets.

But that was just my personal reaction to the situation and we wanted ABA, which you never win without representation. It may be that you do not need representation in your case to win. You're not in Herts, by any chance? The mention of nasty rings a bell.

TheHouseOfIllRepute Tue 31-Jan-17 23:02:10

No very far away
But my LA is not known for their compassion
What is ABA?

Userone1 Wed 01-Feb-17 06:51:17

For best chances of success you need an expert ie EP to say what type of setting your dd needs.

If you are appealling the school, I'm assuming you have undergone assessment process. What did LA EP recommend?

TheHouseOfIllRepute Wed 01-Feb-17 07:15:05

She has listed the sort of environment she needs
After too many meetings and mediation I am aware the LA will promise anything and that they will put any extra services in
My DD's needs are quite specific and travel is a big issue for her
The school is an hour away and I am challenging it on distance
I don't like the school. It's only just out of special measures and was going to be closed but it really is too far
I have reports and witnesses such as paed, HT, therapist. Even their own witness says it's too far
Do you think that's enough without EP
I would have to postpone if I wanted EP Ax

Userone1 Wed 01-Feb-17 07:53:24

When a parent requests a school is named in an EHC plan the Local Authority must do this unless they can prove that one of the follow exceptions apply:
the school or other institution is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs of the child or young person;
the attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others;
the attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources.
These are the only reasons that the LA can reject a parent or young person’s request. They are actually difficult for a LA to argue successfully as they presume that the child or young person’s needs have been fully identified and that the right provision will be put in place to ensure their attendance is successful. As you can see it does not include the ground that a school/college is full or that the school/college is in a neighbouring LA. Also, if the parent or young person requests one of these ‘type’ schools/colleges within 15 days of receiving the draft EHC Plan the LA must consult the school/college, they cannot refuse to do so. For further information about the duty please see our Briefing on Parental preference, Education, Health and Care Plans and ‘Framework Schools’ and our 'common misconceptions' briefing"

My guess would be their argument is the incompatible with the efficient use of resources one. So your counter argument would be against whatever grounds they are refusing to name.

Have they even consulted with your preferred school?

Megatherium Wed 01-Feb-17 09:25:48

You really need a good EP more than you need a legal representative, and it needs to be an EP with experience of tribunals who should look at the school the LA is offering. If necessary you would probably be able to get an adjournment of the hearing. Get on to that today.

How old is your child? If she is secondary age the usual rule is that travel time shouldn't be more than 1 hour 15 minutes each way, unless there are particular reasons (e.g. medical) why she can't cope with that.

Have you checked the costs of travel to the school they're nominating? Does that bring the costs closer to the costs of your school?

TheHouseOfIllRepute Wed 01-Feb-17 09:45:04

She is still primary- just thank goodness
I have medical reports from paed to say she cannot cope with the journey
Also from her therapist and HT of the mainstream primary

TheHouseOfIllRepute Wed 01-Feb-17 09:45:50

Even with travel the cost difference is over £20,000
Yes they are arguing inefficient use of resources

Ineedmorepatience Wed 01-Feb-17 09:47:58

I am confused, have you accepted the school which is further away to make them back down? If so why is it still going to tribunal?

If you want the closer school that is more expensive work out the cost of transport or even offer to do half and half of the transport.

Also check if there are other local children at the nearer school that she could share transport with to reduce the costs further.

Its all about money at the end of the day!

TheHouseOfIllRepute Wed 01-Feb-17 09:58:00

No I haven't accepted their school. The further away one
She can't share transport it's not safe

youarenotkiddingme Wed 01-Feb-17 20:12:16

Have you got it in writing that they said they'd back down if you chose a cheaper option and that they haven't? That's really what you need. And get them to clarify why they haven't accepted your new choice.

And why isn't there an ep report? Didn't they do one for EHCP assessment? I'd certainly be asking why that is.

Megatherium Wed 01-Feb-17 20:14:02

Have you got independent professional evidence that she can't share transport?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 02-Feb-17 11:00:41

Is the LA intending to name an ss or mainstream?

For secondary it often comes down to which is an appropriate placement - sometimes DC of average cognitive ability can't cope with m/s and all the LA has are MLD ss which are not suitable.

You need an EP like Ruth Birnbaum (she wrote a book on choosing an SEN school) who is tribunal savy and will also visit the LA choice/your choice of school. Expensive (assesssment + school visit + expert witness) but absolutely necessary often where the alternative is indi ss and the cost is greater. If you have already put in your appeal you may struggle to find a suitable EP as they are booked up months in advance.

There are two grounds the Tribunal will here - first the only suitable school. If your choice is the only suitable school, cost does not come into it. If LA or parental choice could meet need, then you need to have around about £5K only difference in cost if they are going for inefficient use of resource.

Look at the pay rates of TAs on different bands, cost of SALT and OT, transport - don't forget to add the AWPU and £6K paid by the school. Indi ss fees and transport tend to be fixed so bump theirs up. Don't accept zero cost SALT and OT just because they have an ongoing deal.

Tribunal will want to get your DD back into school asap and will not want to risk another failed placement.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 02-Feb-17 11:01:40

hear not here

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