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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Anybody with a special needs child needs to know...........

(21 Posts)
SpecialWomenSpecialChildren Thu 23-Oct-08 14:40:31

The SEN regulations for going to tribunal are changing and the likely hood is if you have a sn child at some point you are going to have to fight for a suitable school placement Mr Simon Oliver is trying to revise the current regulations which will swing the favor directly to the lea, in short the lea will now be able to assess your child without your permission possibly without your knowlwdge then have the audacity to charge you, they will be taking barristers to the tribunal as a matter of course you will of course need to respond which could cost up to twenty thousand pound but obviously you'll need one to win!! Lay Rep's who are now voluntary and help parents like us thru this already complicated procedure could now be liable for costs which means they will stop helping.
If like us you are at a loss as to how these regs can in any way be parent friendly and you would like to ask Mr Oliver himself please do so at

Romy7 Thu 23-Oct-08 16:10:45

have you got a link to the proposal paper?
bit weak to say 'a poster on mumsnet says you are changing the policy on...'

magso Thu 23-Oct-08 16:14:34

The system is seriously flawed as it is without making it harder.
Agree need to see the evidence!

magso Thu 23-Oct-08 17:12:10

Ah its on the SEN board. Have sent email to MP. Thanks.

needmorecoffee Thu 23-Oct-08 19:35:20

what if you don't have any money? Can't get blood out of a stone....

SpecialWomenSpecialChildren Thu 23-Oct-08 19:36:10

You can always log on to our blog at Thanks

SpecialWomenSpecialChildren Thu 23-Oct-08 19:47:31

If you don't have any money you will have to present your case yourself at tribunal against a barrister.And unlesss of course you are trained in Law you will find this very difficult.

SpecialWomenSpecialChildren Sat 25-Oct-08 19:28:04

Hi everyone just an update have been sent a link to an email petition against these ridiculous new regulations if you could all please follow the link and put in your email address and follow the further instructions ... it will email you back you must then click on the link it sends you to confirm you have signed the petition. We need as many as possible so if you could send the link on to as many as possible it would be a great help. smile
Hi everyone could you please please follow this link to sign the e-petition against the SEN Regulation changes we need as many as we can get so if you could also forward this on it would be great!

SpecialWomenSpecialChildren Sat 25-Oct-08 19:44:05

Sorry everyone link has changed this is it smile

please sign up we need your help!

electra Sat 25-Oct-08 20:00:02

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mum24boyz Sat 25-Oct-08 20:37:44

6k still a hell of a lot of money when you havent got it. and why should we have to pay it anyway. petition signed and passed on.

electra Sat 25-Oct-08 21:42:52

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amber32002 Sun 26-Oct-08 06:52:38

Have signed it. So fed up with parents having to pay to get equal rights for their children in courts/tribunals.

TCB77 Sun 26-Oct-08 12:04:52

Hi just wanted to ask in this day and age is it acceptable because we have special children that we should have to pay anything for an education!!!!! Until i became embroiled in all of this i would never have dream't that i would have to take on the lea- the people who supposedly have our childs interests at heart- and all there sneaky ways none of us know when we will face this problem and i do believe very strongly that if we appose now then this will stop any other parents going through what my family and i have had to go thru.Whether its 20k 6k or £100 this is still not the right way to have to ensure the right education . When a child has failed time and time again u should not then have to fight anybody to help. If the system is so fair and just why are there organisations out there set up to help us as parents thru the minefields!!!!!!

electra Sun 26-Oct-08 15:35:28

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drowninginlaundry Mon 27-Oct-08 06:46:18

I agree with Electra,
sounds like scaremongering to me, no offense. it is not all of a sudden going to start costing £20K to bring an appeal to tribunal.
I don't understand how the law is supposed to become dramatically more unfair overnight - I know there will be some changes into the appeal process in that you have to have your evidence gathered a lot quicker (in the registration stage).
The SEN appeal process has always been stacked against the parents because access to good legal advice is costly, and that's not going to change.

To get a watertight statement with all the provision your child needs you need 1) independent expert statements and witnesses and 2) legal advice, whether this is free through IPSEA or other charity, or paid (solicitor). We don't even have a complex case in that we are looking for a mainstream provision with ADEQUATE support, but without legal advice I would never have known to request things that we are now requesting to be put into the statement. These are things like staff training, extra time for the TA to do reporting and attend meetings, etc, and I would never have been able to make sure our independent expert statements are sufficiently quantified to back these up.

Some LEAs have always used their own legal representation, including barristers when a case requires it. This is nothing new. Not all LEAs employ in-house lawyers - ours doesn't, they just have some 'tribunal officer' bod. I think it's very good to drum up support for a good cause, but it's NOT good to scare parents off from appealing because they think something has now changed and that they will now have to face barristers in a court setting.

SEN provision in this country is hopelessly underfunded, and that's not going to change. Those who get to know the system, go out there and arm themselves with information either by talking to other parents or by finding an advocate, will have a better change of achieving resembling an adequate provision for their child.

electra Mon 27-Oct-08 13:47:16

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SpecialWomenSpecialChildren Mon 27-Oct-08 16:20:36

If what you say is true and these laws are not going to suddenly be brought in overnight why is it we are aware of a case where exactly that has happened and the changes -to our knowledge - actually havent been passed yet. Believe me we aren't trying to scare anybody or stop people going to tribunal all we are trying to do is make people aware that these changes are being proposed without parental consultation and with no input to the proposals from us the end users of tribual, We would hope that people who are at some point going to face this would like a say in how and when these changes are acceptable. That is all we are asking a right to reply.

electra Mon 27-Oct-08 16:51:16

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drowninginlaundry Mon 27-Oct-08 18:36:42

Ditto here, I would also like to see a link to these changes that you are referring to.

The only reliable information I can find is what's on the SENDIST website, and all it says is that there will be a new two-tier tribunal system allowing parents to appeal SENDIST decisions, and that each appeal will have a case manager who will ensure that all necessary evidence is available from the outset. Now, for me this is a very good thing, it sounds like SENDIST are trying to combat the irritating habit LEAs have of treating tribunals as a delaying opportunity whilst having every intention of conceding at the last minute.

I can't see any information anywhere about SENDIST starting to award costs (as you say that parent advocates could be liable for legal fees). SENDIST does not award costs and I would find it very bizarre if this would change on 3rd November, as my solicitor has not warned me of this possibility and we are in the middle of an appeal that will be affected by these changes.

With regards to LEA assessing (do you mean statutory assessment?) children without parental permission - they can already send their own professionals or NHS professionals in to assess, outside the stat assessment period, by requesting a direction from the tribunal.

Solicitors operating in this field are complaining about the abolition of the old case management period, as in the new regulations appeals are filed with full documentation from the outset. This doesn't give them much time to prepare for a case, as every solicitor operating in this field is absolutely overloaded with cases in particular around 15th Feb when lots of statements are finalised because of the phase transfer issue.

I agree that the consultation on this was shabby, but as far as I know IPSEA and NAS have been involved and I trust they have advocated on our behalf to the best of their abilities.

However, the law hasn't changed - Education Act 1996, Code of Practice and all the case law backing this up. The tribunal system is designed to be fair and user friendly, and I have done two appeals myself without any legal representation and won (I am a SAHM with no legal training). It is unfortunate that there seems to be (not so much on MN but on a few other SN forums I frequent) this notion that there is some kind of local government conspiracy against parents. There isn't, and the misinformation in circulation intimidates parents and puts them off from appealing. It's just a case of public services being underfunded.

If you have any further information, SWSC, please do link 'cause as Electra said there is so little info available that no wonder many people are confused!

electra Tue 28-Oct-08 14:15:41

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