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QUICK POLL RE: LEA's

(17 Posts)
Chocol8 Tue 26-Jul-05 23:16:45

I'm just hoping this comes out properly - apologies if not as my head is all over the place and just to say, I am in no way politically minded!

With so many problems regarding the lack of help from LEA's which I have read about from fellow MNers and hear about from groups I attend, I would like to carry out a short poll if I could please?

Would YOU actually attend a march or a peaceful sit in (for example) to make your feelings known to the Government about the lack of help you/we receive from the LEA? Presumably this would be more effective than a petition?

If a march or some sort of protest was staged, it would be recognised by the people who need to know and get media coverage too. Is it about time these people put the faces to the figures and saw how many of us have to cope with a variety of SN on a daily basis?

If such a thing was organised, would any of you be interested in supporting it?

Jimjams Wed 27-Jul-05 08:59:12

autism in mind did a round the country petition in 2002 - it raised quite a bit of awareness. I think par tof the problem with marches is that many people with autistic children could not take thier child with them, nor could they arrange childcare so the numbers will never be very high.

AIM have a website somewhere- it may be worth seeing what they're up to.

Also however bad services are for children, adult services are even worse, so you need to start campaigning for something now if you want something in place by the time our children are adults.

The autism manifesto does already exist- tbh I think campign time may be put to better use campaigning that the time scle this mentions is kept to. There's lots of good things in there- not sure its achievable but there's not much point reinventing the wheel iyswim.

Jimjams Wed 27-Jul-05 09:02:56

Now that's very interesting...... In a report submitted to parliament in 2001 by the APPGA it says "early intervention can only be achieved by early identification – theneedforthenational adoptionof theCHAT "

So WHF are they not doing that then????????????????

Now I would be on for everyone writing to thier local PCT and asking why this isn't being done. Unless anyone knows a reason why it isn't.

Fio2 Wed 27-Jul-05 09:03:21

yes adult spaces are even worse

our LEA isnt too bad tbh, but we are in special schooling not maintsream - so i think that makes a difference. My problem lies with SS and there lack of holiday provision/support etc etc

and Chocol8 i think people are totally unaware what goes on and how bloody hard and what a struggle everything is

Jimjams Wed 27-Jul-05 09:10:36

Sorry just realised you werre talking about all SN- but I think the problem would still be taking children/arranginc childcare.

I went on a march recently about the closure of a special school. Didn't achieve much- the shcool closed last week and members of the great british public just told us we were being childish!

Fio2 Wed 27-Jul-05 09:15:46

they are changing the status of all our special schools atm. The sick feeling in my stomach tells me this is so they can justify closing more

Jimjams Wed 27-Jul-05 09:19:06

Sent this letter to the LEA yesterday. ONly had half an hour to write it so it was a bit of a rushed job. The numbers refer to headings used during the inclusion conference.

"Re The Inclusion Strategy Conference 2005-2008

Please find some comments below. Please note my son is non-verbal and has an autistic spectrum disorder. He attended mainstream school for 4 terms, and now attends XXX Special School.

8. How can we promote/improve support for pupils emotional, social and behavioural needs in school?

If children are not secure in school they cannot learn or be educated. In many cases the actual physical structure of a mainstream school can make it difficult for a child with conditions such as ASD. When my son attended mainstream school his workstation was next to the classroom door (the only place there was room for it). This door was left open and he frequently ran away through it. The constant distraction of the open door made it difficult for him to attend or behave. At his special school, the doors all have high handles making such escape impossible. Subsequently he has been able to concentrate and learn.

Children with ASD often show challenging behaviour. This needs to be dealt with in a particular way to prevent escalation. At mainstream school staff were not adequately trained to cope with my son’s challenging behaviours. In the two terms that he has been at special school his behaviour is now generally good, and he is able to behave appropriately on trips into the community.

At mainstream school my son had no peer group. He was unable to interact even at the most basic level with other children in his class. He never saw the children outside the school day and couldn’t attend any extra-curricular activities. Now at special school he spends the day with his peer group, he is invited to birthday parties and he accesses all parts of school life. Consequently he is a much calmer, happier little boy.

9. How can we more effectively and efficiently use financial resources to support inclusion?

A large problem here is that some of the resources that the statement specifies are not normally provided by the LEA, although the LEA retains responsibility for their provision. For example when in mainstream, my son had a statement specifying Speech and Language Therapy. As this is an educational need (for my non-verbal son) it was quite properly in parts 2 and 3 of the statement. This meant the LEA had responsibility to provide the SALT for my son. When his therapist went on maternity leave, and the health authority decided not to provide cover the LEA therefore had to pay a private therapist to cover her hours. This is obviously not an efficient use of resources, but as parents become more aware that speech and language therapy belongs in parts 2 and 3 of the statement this sort of situation may become more common. Especially as the health authority are now cutting the hours provided by the specialist speech and language therapist.

10. How can we ensure that our schools buildings support inclusion of all pupils?


It is important to remember that even physically able children can have problems with school buildings. Many children on the autistic spectrum struggle with fluorescent lights or are unable to enter toilets that are smelly and noisy (with hand dryers). They may require a workstation and space for a communication board. They may require a quiet area. Some children on the autistic spectrum are “runners”- the open access of a mainstream school may make it too easy for them to leave the school grounds.


1. How can we best promote and support inclusion in schools to meet the needs of all pupils?

We need to remember that for some pupils their best chance of inclusion comes through being able to access specialist provision. At mainstream school my son was unable to take part in school plays, unable to take part in sports day, unable to go on school trips, unable to work to the same curriculum as his year group. At special school he is fully involved in all aspects of school life and also has weekly trips into the community. The curriculum is built around his needs. He is now a much happier little boy and as a family we are much more relaxed.

Currently there is a insufficient funding to support inclusion effectively. However even with an increase in funding and the provision of more suitable training for LSAs and teachers there will still be children who are not suited to attending mainstream. Children on the autistic spectrum in particular are always going to find busy mainstream classrooms difficult because of the nature of their sensory problems. If these children have additional learning difficulties or language disorders then the high level of well trained support that is necessary for inclusion to even begin to work becomes impossible to provide. In my view the best way to promote inclusion is often through the provision of well resourced and well financed special schools.

Yours sincerely "

maddiemo Wed 27-Jul-05 09:56:24

In my LEA last year we had a march through the town centre in protest at the changes my LEA was making in provision. We set up a web site. We did petitions. A local school allowed us to use its hall as a base for a big parent meeting where we set up an action group.

Do you know what it made f**k all difference. What really got to me was how apathetic the response we had was. My LEA has broken the changes into phases, so last year it was the turn of units this year special schools. Next year the turn of other sen provision. This has made us into such small groups, we sought support from mainstream statemented parents, only a hanful of parents out of over a thousand responded.

Choc I would be interested in supporting campaigns we are little voices, our LEA's know it, the government know it.

Chocol8 Wed 27-Jul-05 10:09:01

Wow, Jimjams - that only took you half an hour??? I'm impressed!

Yes, the point you make about adult provision is a good one. I have a couple of friends who I am always telling about MN, and just wanted to see if there was an interest.

We obviously all experience similar (in various degrees) problems at different times in our children's lives and it has hit crisis point with these people who have fought for their child's education and just can't go any further. With support, I was hoping that this could change-and of course you are right that it is re-inventing the wheel, but I just wanted to see if there was a need for this type of awareness (again).

The hope was to get families (grandparents, aunties, uncles etc) who are sometimes involved in supporting the child and parents to go along too.

I will pass on the info so far to my friends - I just want to help and know that you guys are a mine of information, thank you.

Davros Wed 27-Jul-05 10:15:03

Personally I would not join a march or similar. This is partly because my LEA, compared to most, is actually quite good. I also feel that a lot of the people working there do their best and I would hate them to feel personally insulted which they might well, I'm talking about a local protest of course.
I prefer to support and help charities like PACE and the NAS, and I don't mean by sending in an annual membership. I am on the Council of the NAS which, I feel, has drastically changed over the 5 years I've been there and continues to improve. I'm very impressed with what the NAS does and I know it does a lot of campaigning and awareness-raising with policy makers, media etc. I also personally help PACE when I can, I have stuffed their newsletter and, in the early days, even typed their newsletter!! I am hoping to find time to help out with their database soon. I'm also the parent rep on my borough's Autism Steering Group.
I feel much more comforable giving my time voluntarily to organisations that do make a difference rather than stressful and probably ineffective but visible campaigning.

Chocol8 Wed 27-Jul-05 10:16:35

Thanks Maddiemo. I am shocked at the apathy you received, I really am. There are SO MANY people fighting for their children and the hope was to get a national campaign going to really highlight SN provisions - or rather lack of.

What about an online petition - I expect this has already been done? MN has links with the media don't they? Could we utilise these in any way?

There are so many heroes out there who fight day in day out for their children but can only get so far - together, collectively they surely would be a force to be reckoned with?

coppertop Wed 27-Jul-05 10:25:12

I agree with the point Jimjams made about being able to attend marches. I would need some kind of childcare (which I don't have) because there's no way I'd be able to take ds1 and ds2 along with me.

AIM has a mailing list where they discuss the various problems members are facing and also use different strategies to raise awareness. They're always looking for new members.

Davros Wed 27-Jul-05 10:26:51

I think growing up with Commie/CND parents has given me an abhorrence of marches!
If you are serious Choc, I suggest you contact PACE as they know everythign that's going on politically in relation to SN and can point you in the right direction.

Fio2 Wed 27-Jul-05 10:29:58

mind you i could take dd to a march, at least then people could witness the hair pulling, face hitting and hand biting that ensues

Chocol8 Wed 27-Jul-05 10:50:17

Davros - i just wanted to find out what thoughts there are here - and hopefully bring together likeminded people.

Sadly, our local LEA are not as good as yours - well, that's an understatement and it sickens me to see my friends reduced to daily panic attacks (and worse) because they have to deal with these unhelpful people and care for their children too.

I will pass on the links etc to my friends and let them decide what they want to do, and help in anyway I can.

Davros Wed 27-Jul-05 11:04:50

Sorry Choc, didn't mean to sound like I was undermining your ideas. "protest" is just not my way but look at Maria Hutchings!

maddiemo Wed 27-Jul-05 11:05:41

Fio Thats why we took our children on our march and then on into a meeting with Director of Education.

A lot of people had to leave(me included) but it did give him a small taste of reality.

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