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Help! Agree to parental preference school if parent transports.

(15 Posts)
youarenotkiddingme Fri 26-May-17 16:50:24

Any advice?

Ds attended an academy and really wasn't the right placement. He ended up so anxious he was referred to Camhs and put on a course of CBT. He ended up unable to attend after an incident that involved a student pulling a knife on him.

So the situation was a mixture of Sen based and also schools failure to support.

When he was out of school LA still continued to refused to assess for an EHCP and instead I had to select a school for ds to do a managed move at.

I wasn't allowed to visit schools etc so had to go by the information available on the LO and schools websites.

I chose the nearest of all schools that advertised facilities and Sen support available to meet the then identified need. It's 3.6miles as the crow flies.

Whilst ds was on an extended trial there (original trial period failed due to his needs) we had refusal to assess tribunal which I won. Ds now has a draft which 20 hours a week support in MS.

I have appealed the decision not to provide transport on the basis that I followed information available to me to find a suitable placement.

I'm currently receiving a temporary payment to transport him equivalent to coat of bus pass.

I refused the first appeal date due to it being 25 miles from Ds school an hour before school finished - so on the basis it was thoughtless them. <point proving mainly wink>

Now I've had to name placement and obviously I've named the one he's at because he's settled there and there is no need to move him.

I've received a form from Sen team saying they will name nearest school (catchment) unless I agree to transport DS in which case they'll name "parental preference" school.

Transport appeal is currently through transport office and this information is from Sen team.

Any ideas what I should do next or who I should address this with?

wine for reading this on a hot Friday evening!

JefferysJodpers Sat 27-May-17 16:43:31

I am assumed your child is actually on roll at a mainstream school here? I know you say extended trial, but do they actually have a place on roll as pupil anywhere else, or are they a pupil? If so as someone who used to sit on an SEN panel...I'd call their bluff.

I would not agree to transport yourself and state you will apply through the same process as everyone else (request policy). Naming a school is not enrolling a child, only you can do that. They can't actually take them off roll, only a parent can do that. So even if they name the other school and you don't move schools the school would have a fit if they tried to send funding elsewhere! Naming a child on an EHC is not enrolling a child, even in special school, if the parent never actually takes the child.

Plus you have a good argument that moving is likely to be very disruptive, it would be for any child. Plus the local one doesn't have facilities.

I can't tell you if you'll get transport under local policy, but I'd be offering no agreement to not applying for it!

That letter about transport and parental pefererence would be ridiculous if it went to tribunal

youarenotkiddingme Sat 27-May-17 16:46:18

No he's been a pupil on roll at his current MS school since December.

Refusal to assess tribunal was November and the order to assess was issued after he was given placement.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 27-May-17 16:59:30

It may well be that with an EHCP the placement they name can meet need with EHCP. It may well be they could meet it without (doubt it I'd current amazing placement needed it!).

But I wasn't allowed to meet school to discuss this. All school would say if if I request them they'll look at his needs and decide if they could meet need or not. All the schools I looked at for managed move said the same. So I had to name the school I felt best met his needs from website information and local offer.

The interesting thing is that during assessment no further reports were commissioned as all were only 8-10 months old and I refused re assessment. The only new assessment he had was specialist teacher advisory service who quantified his difficulties but didn't report anything new that wasn't already in previous reports from EP and Salt etc.

JefferysJodpers Sat 27-May-17 17:10:18

In the most simple terms, granting an EHCP is NOT ever an excuse to move a child from a ms placement, unless it is identified as being unable to meet needs. It's not a 'parental preference' it's his current school. You're not applying for schools. Your child is enrolled at no other school until they actually turn up for their first expected day of attendance, until they turn up they are not a pupil of that school whatever the EHCP says.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 27-May-17 17:27:38

Thankyou.

I have sent an email to Sen caseworker basically asking for position as ds attends X school and it's against his identified needs to move him.

I've highlighted he's there due to la procedures and policies and they didn't support the move or agree to assess when he wasn't able to access an education.

I said it's not a parental request to name current school - I've not requested a change of current placement!

Ceto Sat 27-May-17 20:51:11

Unfortunately you can't just decide to leave your DS on roll at the current school as Jeffreys seems to suggest, because the school will get no funding unless it is named in the EHCP one way or the other.

The law on transport is pretty straightforward - the LA only has an obligation to provide it if the child is at the nearest suitable school. If there is a nearer school able to meet the child's needs then they don't have to provide transport. Certainly the LA should take into account the undesirability of moving a child with SEN who is settled into his school, even more so when there has been a disrupted education history.

However, assuming the school you want is a mainstream school, the LA definitely can't arbitrarily name the nearest school. The law requires that when a parent prefers a mainstream school, that preference must be met unless placing your child there is incompatible with the efficient education of other pupils - which obviously doesn't apply. But they can still refuse to provide transport.

I think you're dealing with this the best way possible. You need to put a lot of emphasis on the fact that it would be horrible to make any child move schools the second time within a very short period, but it's inhumane to do that to a child with learning difficulties. You could point out that this situation has arisen largely because they were so slow to recognise and meet your child's needs. It's arguable that making your DS move would be setting him up to fail and would be disastrous for him. Point out that they don't have a choice about naming the school you prefer and refer them to section 33 Children and Families Act. If they won't provide transport, appeal immediately using the LA's internal appeal process, and if that doesn't work ask SOS SEN's lawyer to look at whether judicial review in your son's name (and therefore with legal aid) is possible.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 27-May-17 21:24:16

Thankyou.

You've summed up what I've been thinking all along. There is no reason ds current placement can't keep him and have said they will.

If the LA hadn't dragged out the whole process over 14 months (and still after 15 months we don't have final document) and had assessed him after request it would never have got to the point of me having to find a best fit school and then the issue of the school they want to name being different to where he is.

But instead they decided it a best use of resources and in the best interests of all involved to allow refusal to assess tribunal to go ahead - and took 2 witnesses from the 'home' school he was too anxious to attend and left 4 months previously.

The assessment was basically gathering reports already written and producing a draft. NOTHING had changed and his needs were still the same as they were when I applied!

My argument is that they created this situation and ds shouldn't suffer a move and more upheaval as a result.

I've simply told the Sen caseworker I don't want to concede my already open appeal for transport and asked my position.

I'm hoping they'll say they can name placement and I can still appeal.

I think the la know they are on dodgy ground because after i refused first appeal on basis of ridiculous timing and had further email conversation with them and asked the emails are included in appeal documents they offered interim payments equivalent to bus pass cost. I suspect because they think they will lose but I'll find it hard to get taxi/minibus provided when I've been transporting ds myself!

youarenotkiddingme Sat 27-May-17 21:25:27

All schools involved are MS schools. The original one was an academy.

JefferysJodpers Sun 28-May-17 08:38:07

Yes initially there would be a funding issue, but if you sat it out continuing to find one school whilst he was at another could not be sustained. They would seek resolution

FrayedHem Sun 28-May-17 12:31:48

Has the nearest mainstream school even seen the draft? I know the whole nearest school blah blah but can the LA really just name a school without having approached them first? Obviously you don't want it to go that far, but it seems more of a pressure move for you to concede transport than following procedure IYKWIM.

I hope Ellen the SEN Caseworker comes back to you quickly and you can get it all sorted.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 28-May-17 13:18:34

Ellen gringringrin

That's going to make me laugh for months and I'm really going to have to try and not call my caseworker that!

I don't know if local school have seen it.

I'm willing to accept I may lose the appeal but I'm not willing to give up my opportunity to have my case heard.

After all - the LA actually said it wasn't Sen teams responsibility when ds was out of school and waiting for tribunal. So they can't really then swoop in when they've been ordered to assess and given 20 hours support on the SAME reports they'd had for 14 months and decide he can have his needs met at catchment school.

I needed their support last July - they wouldn't give it.

Otoh I don't want to delay Ds school getting the funding for him because the la are twats because that will also affect ds directly.

pannetone Sun 28-May-17 14:46:55

I can't advise on your general issue but you said that if your LA concede your transport appeal, it would be hard to get them to provide a taxi/minibus as you've been transporting DS yourself. If the LA accept your DS is eligible for travel assistance, that assistance can only be a payment to you for transporting DS if you agree to that.

Having won my transport appeal, my LA decided it would be best for my DC if I continued to drive them and got mileage, though I'd specifically said I wasn't consenting to do that. A complaint and quoting statutory guidance got a taxi put in place.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 28-May-17 16:10:29

Thanks panne

I just want the right to have the appeal heard even if they put the current school as named.

The appeal etc were all happening before the tribunal ordered the assessment. So they only want to move him schools as a result of issuing EHCP and saying that's the nearest school that can meet need.

youarenotkiddingme Wed 31-May-17 13:51:06

La emailed and gave referred to senior officer.

The lady I emailed is known locally by SN parents as a bitch tough nut so it's interesting she couldn't give me a satisfactory argument herself wink

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