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Advice needing on getting a school place

(14 Posts)
beccaboo Wed 13-Jul-05 22:46:20

As some of you know, my ds has recently been dx-ed as having Aspergers. He is 3.7 years, and will start school in Sep next year.

I want him to go to a mainstream school in our borough, it is the second nearest to our house. I don't want him to go to the nearest school because I think it's too big. The admission criteria in this borough are first:siblings, second:special needs and third: proximity to the school.

So far so good . However, I heard today, via the Senco at our preferred school (which is very over-subscribed), that the Special Needs weighting can't be given without a statement - a written dx is not enough. The LEA are really cutting back on statements, and we've been told by several people that we are highly unlikely to get a statement before he has started at school.

Any ideas on what I should do next? I know I COULD go for a statement, but I know it would definitely go to a tribunal, and my feeling is that if he were at the RIGHT school he may not need one.

monica2 Wed 13-Jul-05 22:58:39

Hi beccaboo, I think your best chance is to contact the admissions at the LEA and discuss with them why your preferred school is the most appropriate for your ds, I would suggest you put in you application form, usually stating your 1st,2nd and third choice of school and detail in great depth as to why this school would be the most appropriate for ds (including paed and other professional/nursery reports) in fact as much evidence as possible as to why this school would meet his needs hopefully whithout a statement. This is unfortunately how the LEA look at admissions and I think if they feel ds's needs would be met in a school with little funding to support him they would be more inclined to put him nearer the top of the list. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

shey Wed 13-Jul-05 23:03:46

We've just started on the statementing path. The LEA have agreed to assess but everything is on hold until September as his nursery has stopped for the summer. Is it not worth having a go? You don't know what might happen and although it might cause you a lot of stress, it might equally enable you to send your ds to the school of your choice. That sounds a bit preachy, sorry, don't know how else to put it.

beccaboo Wed 13-Jul-05 23:05:29

Thanks Monica. I really know so little about this at the moment - do the LEA make all the decisions, or do the school - how does the selection process work?

jayzmummy Wed 13-Jul-05 23:09:10

Try contacting IPSEA....they will offer you excellent advice. here

jayzmummy Wed 13-Jul-05 23:11:24

If you go down the statementing route you have the right to state your preffered choice of school in section 4 of the statement. IPSEA will advise....give them a call.

beccaboo Wed 13-Jul-05 23:35:26

Thanks, I will call IPSEA tomorrow. Good advice.

The whole thing is further complicated by the fact that both the schools are taking part in a funding experiment for SEN. Children with statements on Matrix 5 or below no longer get separate funding with their statements. The cash is given directly to the school, they then decide the most appropriate way to spend it.

So, assuming ds would not be higher than Matrix 5 (which I don't know for sure) the main reason to go for a statement would be to get into the school in the first place. Groan..........

Saker Thu 14-Jul-05 22:01:55

Sorry I meant to add to this thread yesterday but forgot.

It might be worth applying for a statement and when you come to write your bit suggesting that the help you think your ds would need would apply if he doesn't get a place at the school of choice. Then when they are looking for an excuse not to issue the statement they could issue a note in lieu saying that he should go to the school where he won't need a statement. That's sort of what we are trying with Ds2 who is a similar age.

I have been told that Network 81 offer good advice also.

Saker Thu 14-Jul-05 22:02:58

sorry try the link again
here .

Blu Thu 14-Jul-05 22:18:06

Hmmmm. Under Dfes admissions criteria, i'm not sure that the school are allowed to decree that SEN criteria ONLY applies to statemented kids. I got a bit of this when I started on the same process. It makes a nonsense of the criteria anyway because since you can name your schol if you have a statement, why would the school need to name it as a criteria / priority, iyswim. It is also discriminatory because if you can't get a statement before the child starts school then they have no chance of meeting the criteria. This is also stuff you can use in appeal.

Speak to the Head of SEN in the LEA, and ask for clarity on whether a statement is absolutely required as a definition of SEN. WE were offered to go for something called a 'letter in lieu of statement' or something.

Does he attend nursery? if the nursery have drawn up an IEP (individual education plan) get them to put the things in it that will lead to recommendation that he goes to a small school. You can also get a statement done at nursery.

Get any associated medical and educational professionals to write a letter saying that in their opinion your DS should attend your chosen school because it is small, and any other particular points about the school that would enable him to have access to the full curriculum and educational experience.

And submit all this with your application to the school.

Good luck.

jayzmummy Fri 15-Jul-05 01:43:42

I found this info from another might be useful.

"A named pupil allowance is funding linked to an individual pupil. It enables a school to make provision that is specific to individual pupils in addition to what can be provided from the general budget or delegated funds. Most named pupil allowances are allocated to children and young people with statements. A small proportion of named pupil allowances is allocated to pupils who do not have a statement but have needs at School Action Plus level. This is designed to be responsive to individual pupils and reduce the need for statutory assessments."

The above information was taken from an LEA website, dated 2004.

Not every LEA offers named pupil allowances.

As you know the child's allocated support/provision in school is only legally enforceable when the child has a Statement, if a child doesn't have a Statement then the allocated support can be withdrawn at any time... sometimes without reason.

Speaking from personal experience I wouldn't accept anything other than a Statement.

MeerkatsUnite Fri 15-Jul-05 07:22:43

Hi Beccaboo,

I would agree with Jayzmummy, I would not settle for anything other than a statement either. To my mind no statement = no support.

Don't let talk of LEA cutting back on statements put you off applying for one. If your son's needs cannot be met by school then a statement should be applied for. It may not go to tribunal after all but if it did I can tell you that around 60% of all cases that went to Tribunal were successful.

You as the parent are going to have to do the donkey work here with regards to applying for the statement as you have the right to appeal if LEA do not agree to assess for whatever reason. If school asked your child to be assessed and LEA said no then school have no right of appeal.

IPSEA are very helpful in all aspects of this and hopefully you will get some answers.

beccaboo Fri 15-Jul-05 09:45:58

Thanks for all this information, I haven't got hold of IPSEA yet as they've got different opening hours at the moment, but I'll let you know how I get on.

He is School Action Plus at the moment, so I'll find out if they do named pupil allowances in this area.

Davros Fri 15-Jul-05 09:57:13

I heard that 90% of parents are successful at tribunal! It is illegal for an LEA not to give a statement due to cutting back, ignore that rubbish!

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