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Turned down for a statutory assessment. Should we go to SENDIST appeal?

(16 Posts)
lulurose Sat 30-Aug-08 20:20:08

Any help with this would be appreciated. Had a letter this morning saying our request for a statutory assessment for DD2 had been turned down. We are seeking a statement and are supported by her consultant, SALT, Physio and the school where we plan to send her in Sept 2009.

She is 2 and 7 months, has T1 Diabetes and wears an insulin pump 24/7, she has moderate speech delay, mobility issues and we recieve higher rate DLA.

I would be very interested to hear of others experience with this, I knew it would be a fight but thought she would at least be assessed. Another child in another neighbouring borough has similar needs to DD2 and had a statement on entering Reception. Is the system completely arbitary? A case of the parent that shouts the loudest?


daisy5678 Sat 30-Aug-08 20:47:19

It is most definitely a case of the parent that shouts the loudest gets what their child needs.

Lots of us on here have had similar issues. If you are supported by all those people (particularly if the school say that they couldn't meet their needs without her being Statemented, which is the ONLY criteria for a Statement, whatever anyone tells you) then appealing to SENDIST should provoke a swift U-turn by the LEA because of the high chances that your Tribunal application would be successful.

You need to download a copy of the SEN Code of Practice ASAP, and start looking at the IPSEA website ( If you can get through on their phone lines, they can be v helpful.

Parent Partnership organisations in some areas can be helpful, but aren't always independent enough from the LEA.

I found that writing to my MP helped me get the right outcome too!

Take heart - J was turned down for assessment at age 3 (saying that school would be able to meet his needs without a statement hmm - school said er no, we won't) - I wrote to my MP and put in the appeal form to SENDIST and the LEA backed down and agreed to assess, giving him 75% 1:1 TA support. When we wanted that upped to full time, we again had to write to MP and fill in an appeal form before the LEA agreed to do what was right and, significantly, what had been recommended by professionals and parents. He now has full-time 1:1, and some OT, SALT and behavioural support grin .

It takes time and it takes determination in many cases because the gits are so so reluctant to spend money angry . Saying no to virtually everyone works as a virtual screening system, like saying that only those who really want it will fight for it.

So sorry that you have to go through this, as I know how hard it is, but you WILL get there. Just remember that you have to prove them wrong and use everything that you can to do that.

Good luck.

lulurose Sat 30-Aug-08 21:02:09

Thankyou, am pleased to hear your DS now gets the support he needs. The letter seems to suggest that we can ask again when she is actually at nursery...a nonsense as she won't be able to start at all if the support isn't there. So many parents of diabetic kids end up going into school at lunchtimes and snacktimes to give insulin/adjust the pump, treat hypos etc...I feel so fed up about it all.

I will ring SENDIST on Monday and write to my local MP too. I've got a year until she starts...hope this will be enough.

Do you think I need to get a written statement from the school saying why they won't be able to meet her needs? She is on an insulin pump, its new technology so they have probably not come accross a child with one before.

Thanks again


WedgiesMum Sat 30-Aug-08 21:02:41

We are in a slightly different position as DS is already at school but they were being so rubbish we applied for assessment. We were turned down but had a meeting with the Local Inclusion Officer (this is Derbyshire and other counties do it differently - but there should be someone who is responsible for Inclusion in the LA) who helped us by pointing out what information needed to be provided that school hadn't bothered to send and advised school to submit for assessment as the LA was more likely to take notice of a school anyway. School did this and we have just heard that the LA are going to assess when we get back to school in a week or so.

Is there anyone at the LA who can advise you like this? Could the school ask for assessment? Just a suggestion for other avenues than SENDIST, because we were able to avoid that. But givemesleep's advice is really sound in that respect!

All the best.

lulurose Sat 30-Aug-08 21:13:21

Thankyou too...I'm from Derbyshire originally but I'm in London now and each borough seems to do things differently. Is SENDIST tribunal a last resort then. What does one involve?

vjg13 Sat 30-Aug-08 21:46:36

Totally agree with givemesleep about LEAs saying no to everyone and then just letting the really determined get the help they need.
I don't live in London but I know that my LEA will always back down and statement a child without it going to a tribunal although only when parents have made it clear they are prepared to go down that route. Good luck, you should have enough time.

daisy5678 Sat 30-Aug-08 22:43:15

Yes,a letter from school is pretty vital. That really helped me, that the LEA were saying oh, school will cope, but the school said no, he will need full-time support and a safe area for meltdowns.
Didn't get full time straightaway, but did get the assessment.

A Tribunal, from what I've heard, can be pretty stressful as the LEA will often fight quite hard, especially if it's for an expensive placement. Both sides put their case in writing and then orally a few weeks/ months later, with witnesses and reports to back up their arguments. The Tribunal members ask questions. SENDIST do a DVD of a pretend case to show you,if you ask them to send one. Or actually, I think it comes when you appeal.

Something like 80% of parents win. A huge number of cases are withdrawn as LEAs pull out before the actual thing (twice in my case) if they know really that they haven't a hope of winning and should have given in the the first place!

A year should be OK. I applied in December the year before he started school and the Statement was finalised in the October that he started school.

electra Sun 31-Aug-08 09:15:01

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lulurose Sun 31-Aug-08 09:43:15

Thanks all,

I'm in Enfield, apparently really bad when it comes to SEN. In neighbouring Barnet it seems much better. Should I phone the LEA case officer on Monday and explain we are prepared to go to appeal or perhaps take some more advice first? Perhaps its best to keep everything in writing...its just so slow that way.

Regarding school supporting our case its tricky because DD1 starts there next week (in nursery) and DD2 should, in theory follow next year. I discussed DD2 briefly with the head when we looked round and she said it would be best to start the process early, perhaps I need to meet with her and the SENco?


electra Sun 31-Aug-08 09:45:31

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electra Sun 31-Aug-08 09:52:08

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daisy5678 Sun 31-Aug-08 11:44:32

I would just download the SENDIST form and fill it in and send it off as quickly as possible. You get time later to send all the documents and evidence. That will show them that you mean business; negotiations and conversations can carry on in the meantime.

lulurose Sun 31-Aug-08 12:04:43

Thankyou, I read on another thread that possibly ringing and asking for a copy of their policy on critera for SEN statutory assessment. This would be on the basis that surely DD must fulfil some criteria. Thanks for the advice. I will ring SENDIST for the forms and advice.


lulurose Sun 31-Aug-08 12:05:56

Sorry, badly written. Would asking for a copy of this policy serve any purpose? Obviously I would prefer not to go to appeal if possible.


electra Sun 31-Aug-08 12:13:59

Message withdrawn

daisy5678 Sun 31-Aug-08 12:17:45

Agree with Electra. The ONLY criteria that they can use is whether or not the school can meet her needs without a Statement.

In some areas, schools are expected to provide up to 25 hours from their own resources at School Action Plus level (the level before Statementing). Therefore, they try and say that a child who needs up to 25 hours of support doesn't need a Statement, as the school 'can' meet their needs from its own resources. In practice, it is hard to get schools to provide anything without a Statement.

This is what you need to find out from the school/ LEA: how many hours of help would she get without a Statement? If she needs more help than they can/ will provide, she meets criteria for a Statement.

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