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Case Statement/Appealing LEAs refusal to assess(14 Posts)
Any advice or tips gratefully recieved. I have a month to prepare the case statement in order that the LEA assess DD2 prior to starting school. I feel completely and utterly bewildered looking at the pack and really don't know where to start.
Thanks in advance x
I went through this with J and would just say that just going through all the points about why DD needs more help than the school would be able to provide, referring to evidence to back up your points, is what you need to do. I think it seems more complicated than it is.
A good starting point is finding out how much the school would be expected to provide without a Statement. Some LEAs expect schools to provide up to 25 hours without a Statement, on School Action Plus, so attempts to get a Statement in those places are pretty much doomed without a big fight.
However, I'm hoping that's not the case in your area, and so find out how many hours DD would get of support without a Statement and work from there e.g. DD would get 10 hours of 1:1 support a week. This would not be enough because she needs help with x for x hours a day and would not be able to do y without help. Doing z would be impossible for her and the help she needs is *** because **
I seem to remember that lots of people are backing you, so send all that in with the case statement and refer to it by quoting it too.
I think the LEA will back down before Tribunal. Very very common. This is just to show that you're serious!
if you're not already, do get in touch with IPSEA or, if you're in London or Home Counties a group called SOS!SEN - went to a workshop organised by them today and they were great. Apparently you can get legal aid (as any case would be in the child's name) so may be worth consulting with a special education lawyer.
we're just at the start of the whole statementing process, so no practical experience - I'm sure others on here have loads and can advise more!
Unfortunately some LEA's actively play hardball and will happily drag parents through Tribunals seemingly for the hell of it.
You need to get IPSEA on board at the very least. Your case statement will need to be watertight. SOS;SEN are also very good and are also well contacting.
We are in a London borough.
So far we have the written support of her consultant and her SALT. Its hard because DD2 isn't actually at school yet, though she is at pre school two mornings a week. I have to stay with her though as they don't have enough staff to support her. I am going to keep a hard backed diary of all the 2nd and 3rd party intervention she needs as evidence.
I will talk to IPSEA this week and look into the SOS SEN organisation too.
I hope it doesn't get to tribunal too....I'm not sure whether to try mediation with the LA or just wait and see if they come to me...presumably they will know by now we're appealing their decision?
don't be scared of the tribunal! I was, and wasted so much time because of it. It's there to protect your child's right to a decent education, the ability to appeal is a good, GOOD thing! I know it sounds daunting and as if you are up against a mighty institution, but the process is designed to enable parents with no legal training whatsoever to register and defend an appeal themselves. It's good to get advice in particular if you are in a London borough as the LEAs there do tend to defend, but don't be intimidated - easier said than done I know.
In 90% of appeals where the reason for appeal is LEA's refusal to asses the LEA conceded without a hearing. IPSEA can help you with the case statement. Remember you just need to get them to assess her, and give reasons why an assessment is necessary ie. a) she needs a statement and the only way of getting one is through a stat assessment, b) her special educational needs cannot be determined without a statutory assessment.
Finally, and this is what did swing it for us so quickly that I barely managed to register the appeal:
Request from the Case Manager in the LEA, in writing (e-mail him/her) the Local Authority's written criteria for statutory assessment. They all have one. Say something like 'I would like this within the next five working days'. They can't refuse to send it to you. Then go through it, and I bet you a million pounds there's something that applies to your daughter. I found, for example, that Southwark's own criteria for statutory assessment stated in black and white 'a diagnosis for ASD'. I then emailed to the case manager and copied the head of SEN something like 'In your own criteria for statutory assessment it says... diagnosis for ASD... By refusing to assess my son you are acting contrary to your own written policies. This constitutes maladministration as defined by the Local Government Ombudsman. Unless the Local Authority initiates a statutory assessment as per its own policy, I will complain to the LGO immediately'. A week later we got a letter saying that they will assess. Go at them, they'll buckle as they'll have plenty of opportunities to get difficult later on (they'll refuse a statement, you'll have to appeal again, the statement they issue will be crap, you'll have to appeal again... it's hell but worth the fight in the end).
Thanks, great advice. I think I'm worried about our case being ripped apart and me going to pieces. On paper I can explain clearly why DD2 needs an assessment of her needs....face to face I'm not sure how I'll be.
I will certainly email the SEN contact I have at the LEA regarding their criteria policy...do you think its worth going to the parent partnership? To be honest every time I've had to have contact with the LA thy have been so dismissive and unhelpful I'm kind of reluctant to have any contact for the moment.
Thanks though, DH taken kids out so I'm going to sit down and try and get something sorted out now.
Any more pearls of wisdom most appreciated....
Parent partnership can vary widely.
They are not always independent of the LEA which seems crazy. Ours is independent but still pretty crap. Not bad for having as an extra person at reviews etc but not much actual use.
I have just written 2 letters, one to the LA requesting info, one to DD2s prospective school asking for SEN info so I feel like I have made a start. I am actually a primary teacher , though gave up work when DD2 diagnosed and started to have other difficulties, its just so different being on the other side, though luckily the SENCo at school is supporting us.
I'm just so tired, and I really resent this stuff taking me away from my girls at the weekend...I hope it will be worth it in the end.I am having sleepless nights about her starting school without the right help. She had a very bad hypo at 2am last night and wouldn't come round.
I know we're lucky that the tribunal system helps parents. Great to kow you're all there though...would be good to hear some positive outcomes/stories.
Might be worth going onto the SENDIST website and looking through past decisions in cases like yours www.sendist.gov.uk/Public/search_decisions.aspx
I spent hours on here at one stage!
You can search by age, SEN, type of appeal and it's really helpful to see the panels' reasoning in various cases.
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