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Nottinghamshire refusal to assess. (further info on 'vent' thread) THE NEXT STEP

(33 Posts)
misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 10:33:21

so, they have refused to assess. Appeal date is mid-august. (which defers to Sept 1st).

asked for reports from:
Paed, Inclusion (portage), trying to get hold of SALT (just swapped therapists), then chatted to Ed Psych to try and get her on side...

Ed Psych reckons that the next step in this county is to organise a meeting with the Head of LEA, which incidentally is the blokie who refused the assessment. At this meeting he is likely to call the teacher/head of school and EP for their imput. WHen asked the chances of overturning the refusal "unlikely but it does happen".

The way the funding works here, the pot of money is given to a group of schools to share out amongst the children with SEN within that group of schools. However the woman that does the sharing is off longterm and the new person HASNT ACTUALLY ALLOCATED the money yet, so NOTHING has been put in place yet as the school dont know how much funding is being given. The EP has only just found this info out. She understands that support needs to be in place for starting in september.

so!

If i attend the meeting (not sure how long it will take) theres a possibility i will miss the appeal date. If i dont attend a meeting with the Head of LEA it wont look good at tribunal. Can/should I make appeal and ask for meeting at the same time to cover all bases? dont want it to look bad at the meeting that i dont believe it will be resolved at the meeting. Or will it look like I actually mean business? If i manage to get reports in for meeting with Head OF Lea, should i take them with me, to back me up??? should i do all i can to make sure i can take reports with me? Incidentally, the writing a letter of "will you change your mind?" is done by meeting {apparently hmm} here.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 08-Jul-09 11:17:54

I think you do need to appear reasonable but don't let them make you miss appeal dates by calling meetings - it's a ruse imho. I think a call to the IPSEA helpline could be realy helpful - you may have to keep calling but when I eventually got through the lawyer I spoke to gave me such useful info in just a 10 mins chat. My method was to be iron-willed in my determination but also scrupulously polite and reasonable at all times.

vjg13 Wed 08-Jul-09 11:24:11

I think I would press ahead with an appeal and wait for the LEA to invite you to a meeting and not push for one. Are your parent partnership useful with any good knowledge on how the LEA behaves?

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 11:28:48

just emotionally blackmailed the SALT into a report blush she was very reluctant giving me the "he will get all the help he needs in nursery with the funding, so he doesnt need a statement" shpiel (SP??).

she also said thats "its really difficult to get one for littlies here because of the funding."

"It is" I said "because no-one is willing to back up the parents in getting one, thats why its so difficult" then she conceded in writing a report blush and grin

Righty, spoken to head and he will arrange meeting between me, EP, and if she can make it: the portage woman too - which ive begged to back me up.

Spoken to Ipsea, and they just said to read thru the appeal pack and do what it says, although legally the LEA follow the same route as is mentioned in the pack, the subtle differences are the way in which the funding is already allocated, and the order of meetings and who attends.

The meeting with the HEAD Ofd LEA is goin to be next week sometime - im hoping to have reports for then, but im not holding my breath. It certainly would be easier than going to tribunal, but if thats whats going to happen, hey ho.

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 11:30:07

Oh, and directly asked for backup from EP, asking her to ask for assessment and she refused saying that "all DS5's needs will be met in nursery with the funding that the nursery will get" GRR someone pass me a new brick wall, mines wearing out!!!

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 11:32:19

ooh forgot: she did say that if she was in another county, she would be asking for assessment, but due to the funding she didnt feel it was necessary angry so she does admit then that he needs one??? hmm

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 08-Jul-09 11:34:45

wow, you are on fire Misscutandstick! You have done so much already!. Friends of mine have used an independent Ed Psych called David Urani if it comes to a legal fight, but it costs of course. Sounds like this LEA has all its experts stitched well up and singing from the same hymn sheet. But blanket policies on SEN are illegal so that could work in your favour. Wonder if your LEA is in a marginal constituency politically - eg could it be worth writing to David Cameron or someone so that they realise you are going to be a pain, and they might give you what you want just to get rid of you?

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 11:38:59

I have been to see local MP and he is giving total "support", what this means in practicalities im not sure. SO far it means a letter stating that he feels that an assessment at least is called for... havent actually received it yet tho. will harrass on thursday afternoon if its not arrived.

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 11:51:03

VJG: sorry missed your post. blush tried parent partnership they were total utter crap. very negative and said that its difficult to get a statement... no, really???

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 11:55:58

OOOOHHHH

just checked the post and the letter from MP has arrived. smile

it states that he would like the assessment to go ahead and that he understands that refusal is as a result of cost of statmenting, not lack of need.

one thing...its on lovely paper - do i send a copy, or keep a copy? do i take it with me? or do i post it intime for the meeting???

vjg13 Wed 08-Jul-09 11:56:54

I agree you are on fire misscutandstick! grin

We obtained independent reports from a SALT and an EP when we were heading for a tribunal about school placement and they were about £500 each. I think they would really strengthen yout case. Any anecdotal eveidence from parents about obtaining statements?

vjg13 Wed 08-Jul-09 12:00:58

Always keep the original, send one to the head of the LEA and take in a copy for the meeting. Our LEA lied about receiving information when we had sent it recorded delivery, when I phoned with the tracking info it had conveniently been found!!

rosie39forever Wed 08-Jul-09 12:06:18

so sorry you are going through this utter crap, I have friends in nottinghamshire who are going through the same as you, apparently through this new funding system they are doing their best to phase out statements altogether and their total inclusion policy is making places at special provisions almost impossible to access. While total inclusion works well fro some children it is unacceptable for others, I agree with sick of that you need to be firm but polite and you may as my friend has done need to pay for private assessment from ed psych and pead. I live just a few miles away in Leicestershire and things are totally different we have managed to get a fantastic statement and access to all services really easily, its a drastic step but i know quite a few people who have had to move from notts into charnwood and nw leics just to get their children adequate support and education! keep fighting and dont give up.

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 12:26:22

VJG: no, no-one has one, as they are not prepared to fight long enough. The school said that in 10yrs of teaching they've only had 2 children with statements, and one of them came from another area and brought it with them sad. THing is ive been to lots of SN parents groups here and there really are some children who NEED them and just arent getting them.

vjg13 Wed 08-Jul-09 12:38:43

Blimey what a horrific state of affairs sad

It sounds as though the meeting with the LEA will be pointless so don't focus too much time or energy on it.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 08-Jul-09 13:04:01

Nottinghamshire sound like they are way out of order with their "policy". Maybe you should keep the following threat in your back pocket, for use as nuclear option, before legal action but when all other actions have failed: tell them you have a pal who works at the Woman's section of the Daily Mail and she is looking for a "diary of a mum with an SEN child" type feature, so that you are keeping notes on everything that happens to you and your D for 6 months. That should spring them into action. But the threat of PR is always better than the reality - keep checking the spelling of everyone's name and noting them down, that will start to freak them out! Actually , the Daily Mail or one of the mags might quite like such an article! There is stuff going on like this which Mail readers would love -"Nottinghamshire LEA close special schools, bung all SEN kids into mainstream without adequate help, thereby impacting on the education both of the SEN kids themselves and their mainstream peers "

jennybensmummy Wed 08-Jul-09 13:34:59

im in notts too and only know of one person with a 3yr old statemented!! ben is at a ms preschool with full funded one to one but not coping well so im loking at applying for assessment in october or november time if no improvement!! the preschool he is at is great though and do truely try thir best, though its not near me i have to take him to another village for it!! have you tried ringing nas thy have a welfare rights person who you can make an appointment for a phone discussion with i believe and can also email him too.

Seuss Wed 08-Jul-09 13:57:55

Misscut, I think you should actually write a diary of what's going on. I really wish I had. We had an awful 6mths with statements, exclusions, letters and appointments here there and everywhere but because we had a new baby and had just moved house I didn't really record much of it. Now I find it hard to remember what we did, partly because I've blocked out that gruesome time but also because I didn't document it. Looking back I think ds' school treated us pretty shabbily and know that other families are being treated the same but I don't really have anything to prove my argument. If I'd kept a diary of events and grievances I'd feel better placed to back-up others. I wish I'd gone to my local paper at the time and enlightened a few people.

Sorry - I keep venting on your threads but it brings back memories. I think you are doing a great job - good luck!

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 08-Jul-09 14:00:06

misscutandstick,

Notts, like many LEAs these days, have gone down the "devolved funding" route. This is a disasterous policy for children who do need statementing - they're basically saying to the schools, "here's some money, you sort it out". These children do not get the legal protection they deserve to have without a statement being in place.

Am sure as well that IPSEA have received many complaints about this particular county's policy. They certainly have about other LEA's who have adopted such schemes.

Do not let them get away with this!. IPSEA have written at length and have complained about such devolved funding schemes on their website.

Not really surprised to read about PP; many of them are not at all impartial and are thus hopeless in these circumstances.

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 14:09:40

i wonder why it is that none of the proffessionals who are meant to be helping him - arent...?

why are they so reluctant to help?

are they on commision??? or is it a paperwork issue? or is it more work on a busy work schedule problem? There must be a reason why EVERY ONE of them isnt prepared to help, not one bit.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 08-Jul-09 16:39:03

I guess anyone for whom the LEA is the ultimate boss (and this includes the parent partnership, despite its claims to be independent or on the parents' side) will do what they are told by the LEA. They don't want to lose their job, so they won't write anything that will get a kid a statement (which of course is that kid's legal right.) There is an MP (Lamb) seeking views on the statementing process at the moment so we should all write in about Notts and embarrass them. I'll see if I can find the link.

anonandlikeit Wed 08-Jul-09 17:30:54

Misscutand stick, surely the ed psych is not basing her recommendations based on your childs needs, but based on he knoweldge of the allocation of funds.

When there is such an open conflict of interest - your sons needs V her desire to do what is expected by the LEA, surely that is just WRONG!

How does this "policy" fit with the government guidlines & "every disabled child matters" Surely legally they must eb on very shaky ground, especially if she is openly admitting to you that her decision is influenced by local policy.

moondog Wed 08-Jul-09 18:53:45

Just bear in mind that every authority has been told to cut down on statements as they are a.) expensive and b.) legally binding.

But a tribunal is a lot more expensive than a statement. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

misscutandstick Wed 08-Jul-09 21:16:09

Thanks everyone for your input...so far smile

I really couldnt have managed even this far without all your help and support, thankyou all so much smile

so

My next step:
try and rush reports back that i have requested (after all we only have a week and a bit before term end).
Appeal, and send a copy of everything by registered post to Head of LEA so he can have a look at it before we get to the 'informal meeting'.
SWOT up on my childs rights, learn the jargon and the way to phrase what i want.
then after breakfast...

Seuss Wed 08-Jul-09 22:07:38

Don't forget a hearty breakfast and a huge glass of wine when it's all over. You sound very organised, hope it all goes your way.

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