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Local Authority and the 'two years behind rule'

(21 Posts)
KisstheTeapot14 Mon 10-Dec-18 21:09:00

Just been told by school in recent weeks that they can only apply once a year for specialist teachers (so next April for DS) and that the LA says a child must be at least 2 years behind age expected attainment in all areas for that child to be able to have 1.5 hours of specialist SEN teaching per week.

Is this legal? Its on their website in black and white, though I know for EHCP's this '2 year delayed rule' has absolutely no basis in law (special needs jungle says this).

DS is delayed 3 years in reading and 2 in maths, but will have to wait almost another full academic year...Y4 now. I am pulling my hair out. School doing what they can (it seems to me) with limited resources of school action plus and top up from LA funds...but it is a TA doing 30 min a day extra phonics in a small group.

Hopefully ed psych visit very soon (we meet them on Wed for initial visit) will clarify why he struggles with reading (dyslexia on top of dyspraxia/ADD?) no-one has yet investigated despite my asking and asking for the last year.

The whole SEN system in in utter shambles. Madness, just reading in the newspapers about various councils fighting parents through the courts over EHCPs (mainly found in favour of parents at tribunal). The money involved! Tempted to home ed f I could, but this would be last resort and not financially viable. Dealing with SEN stuff has become a second job.

Strix Mon 10-Dec-18 21:28:22

This is a good source of information.

https://www.ipsea.org.uk

Claw001 Tue 11-Dec-18 07:06:30

The bottom line is without an EHCP, schools can give, not give whatever support they want.

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 09:02:52

Even with an EHCP it seems they are doing this Claw - did you watch 'Schools' on Iplayer (the SEN episode)?

I just don't have it in me to go EHCP route - though he might qualify with dyspraxia, poss dyslexia, ADD traits and continence issues. I have had chronic fatigue for years and its a battle that I don't feel equal to. Nor could we afford any assessments or legal fees to take it all to tribunal (as it seems everyone has to).

I feel the same way about applying for any benefits for him. Even though it would help us with continence costs and other things we fund for him.

Claw001 Tue 11-Dec-18 09:16:04

No I didn’t watch. I suppose the difference between doing it with/without EHCP, is one is legally enforceable, the other is not.

Totally agree, without private assessments EHCPs can not be worth the paper they are written on. Expensive, time consuming too!

Unfortunately we are not left with many options, are we! There are free reports and solicitors if you are on a low income.

Claw001 Tue 11-Dec-18 09:21:35

he might qualify with dyspraxia, poss dyslexia, ADD traits and continence issues

EHCP’s are not given on a diagnosis basis, it’s a needs basis.

The legal criteria and threshold for assessment is really low. MAY have SEN and MAY require an EHCP.

Maybe you could ask school to apply, seen as they are saying they don’t have the funding to meet needs?

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 09:40:32

Diagnosis is a good indicator of needs though - at least there are reports to reference from OTs etc. which highlight the specific needs he has.

I think if we don't get any more joy within the next 6 months I will ask school to apply. Thanks for the heads up on the threshold for assessment thing. I didn't know that.

We have speech and language assessment coming in Jan so that may also add to the picture, as will LA Ed psych report (if this proves to be objective in suggestions for input - have heard that they are often reluctant to suggest interventions with cost implication for the LA!).

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 10:06:50

School are not saying they can't meet need as such - part of the problem really over the last year. They tend to paper over cracks like using TA for DS....and another high needs child....and the rest of the class who may be struggling with Maths on a Monday...

HexagonalBattenburg Tue 11-Dec-18 13:04:19

He sounds very like my DD (although she is younger) and I hear you - we get eff all and the bit that we do get (5 minutes of a TA a couple of times a week to do the speech programme we pay for the speech therapist to come in and provide) we're constantly fighting to defend from being turned into a small group to get some of the more "difficult" boys out of the teacher's hair.

Interestingly we also have the dyspraxia+continence combination as well.

Think I have the SENCO as my current most frequent used email address on my PC! (Thankfully SENCO is lovely)

The stress of it is absolutely bloody killing me - I've ended up on anti-depressants with the class teacher we have this year and how disengaged she is (as far as she's concerned DD2 sits down, shuts up, doesn't cause her any bother and turns in a page of scribble so she's not bothered). I'm considering putting in a request to be assessed for EHCP just to rattle a few cages to be honest - but it's those parents who've got the financial and often mental strength reserves left to fight their way through the system and at the moment I'm trying to give school (who generally are fab - we just have a bad apple this year) the chance to get things working for us before I do that.

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 17:54:58

We had a bad apple last year. By June I was looking at other schools. It was only that DS didn't want to leave the school he knew and his friends that swung it (and the other school was a drive to instead of a 10 min walk). I was at my wits' end. I am not surprised you are on anti-D's - its enough to challenge the metal health of any sane person. Its maddening in every sense. I have to be careful I don't raise my adrenalin by being cross all the time - not good for CFS as we seem finely wired to the fight and flight chemicals.

Its frustrating to see a whole school year slide by but it all things do pass, and hopefully - like us - you will get a stellar teacher next year who is on board and clued up!

Yes, I feel like EHCP threat is a last resort. In fact I think I'd rather home school!

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 17:59:27

Speech therapy assessment for DS in Jan. What are your daughter's continence probs? wee? Has anyone in the medical world ever said there could be a link - we have had mixed comments as to yes/no, but it seems (straw poll on face book dyspraxia forums) very common co-occurence. Can't find any scientific papers on it though. May ask peadiatrics to look into this as may lead to a clue on how to treat. They do not know with DS why his bladder is malfunctioning and hence treatment is educated guessing. He has never had continence and it is a long and weary road for us all to travel.

Claw001 Tue 11-Dec-18 18:36:23

Oh yes reports are helpful, if you have them. However, not essential for request of assessment of needs to be successful.

LA EP recommendations for provision are often vague, things such as ‘access to’ or ‘benefit from’ etc. The advantage of EHCP is a Tribunal judge can order that EP specify and quantify.

Has a professional recommended that your child needs a specialist teacher?

HexagonalBattenburg Tue 11-Dec-18 19:01:53

DD2 had massive problems with constipation and overflow and just simply not knowing what was going on with regards to her behind! Worked out in the end that she had not ever really learnt "how" to do a poo or developed any muscle tone down there to be able to do one - so we had umpteen charming conversations about the logistics of how to actually DO a shit (you have to have a sense of humour with this all - it's either laugh or cry) along with juggling senna and movicol to keep it all moving and we seem to be starting to get somewhere now but obviously it's the usual two steps forward and 1.5 steps back routine.

I've seen mention of it in a couple of dyspraxia texts as well though as being linked with problems with continence so it is mentioned in some of the "proper" literature.

SENCO knows I'm pissed off and have looked for other school options - I think there's a bit of a dynamic between the SENCO and the class teacher anyway and I'm one of the first parents to actually openly come out and say that the class teacher is a pain in the arse who tries to implement as little in the way of SN provision as possible and give the SENCO a bit of ammo to tackle it all - we've had battles over writing slopes, fiddle toys, speech intervention and social skills groups so far this year and we're only into early December! (I've won all of them bar a wobble cushion so far)

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 20:07:29

The only professional who want DS to have specialist teacher are school - SENCO, head and teacher all agree that they want this, but LA insist on 2 years behind in all areas ie maths and english to qualify, and if turned down once (he was 1 month out with maths ie 11 months behind in apr) then have to wait for a whole year as it is part of a wider application for funds extra to school action plus. So frustrating! Have actually decided to stop doing extra maths at home until april so that we dont bump him out of reach again!!

Good for you Hexagonal. We may get last years teacher next year and several parents have said they will try to prevent this as this teacher was so detrimental. They are blooming under current one. Makes such a difference. Old one would keep DS in at play times for lack of writing work, when it was clearly dyspraxia plus delay in literacy which was causing him to do minimal writing.

Not violent but could have cheerfully hit her several times with a heavy handbag.

KisstheTeapot14 Tue 11-Dec-18 20:10:20

writing slope and other things are great btw, keep on wth wobble cushion. this is DS favourite intervention as gives proprioception feedback.

We have gone into pullups for key lessons as 4 trips per hour to loo v disruptive to concentration.

anniehm Tue 11-Dec-18 20:48:16

My dd has asd so very different situation but the whole way through we have had to prove her needs are outside the normal range (which in its self is quite wide). The 2 years from average is probably a rough gauge because a year behind is quite common so interventions are met in the classroom. My other dd did have pull out lessons for spelling because she was 2 levels behind (level 1 in year 3 when they should have been level 3 apparently) - she still gets extra time in exams etc, dyslexia, but is predicated 3 A's, not bad for a kid with 1's in year 2 SATS! Never assume, things change

Buscake Tue 11-Dec-18 20:53:21

EHCP is what you need to do. Yes it is exhausting and draining, but you will be able to get your child exactly what he needs to thrive rather than survive. I am going through it for the second time (daughter already has one) and it is hell BUT the benefits mean my son will get every need met. It costs nothing - the LA is legally obliged to assess every single identified need. If you go to tribunal (I have twice), it costs you nothing. I defended my daughters EHCP at tribunal twice and won. I have no legal training or knowledge and I was against a solicitor, LA EP and the school senco. I won. Twice. You can do this.

Claw001 Tue 11-Dec-18 22:37:38

If school feel your child needs the specialist teacher, but they don’t have the funding, they should be applying for the funding!

If the LA are saying no, for whatever reason, then school should request EHC assessment to ensure they have the funding!

*When should I request an education, health and care (“EHC”) needs assessment? (The ‘I’ could be you or school)

If a child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school or college, and the parents of the child or the young person (or the young person themselves) believe that the school or college is not able to provide the help and support which is needed, then a request should be made to the Local Authority (“LA”) for an EHC needs assessment

An EHC plan can result in additional support and funding for a child or young person with special educational needs (“SEN”).*

www.ipsea.org.uk/asking-for-an-ehc-needs-assessment

DeepanKrispanEven Thu 13-Dec-18 11:34:46

No, it isn't legal to have blanket rules for deciding whether to assess: they should make decisions on the basis of the individual circumstances of each child. It may be worth pointing that out to the LA.

Ellie56 Thu 13-Dec-18 15:52:15

The "two years behind rule" is not in the Children and Families Act 2014, the SEN Regulations, or in the Code of Practice and your LA is acting unlawfully.

Unfortunately many LAs have unlawful policies and feed their crap to schools, who in turn pass it on to parents.

Apply for an EHC Needs Assessment yourself.Loads of advice and info here:

www.ipsea.org.uk/asking-for-an-ehc-needs-assessment

Takiwatanga Fri 14-Dec-18 19:05:11

I just want to also say, please apply for the EHCP, you may have local charities who can help you do this? I remember being told my son wouldn't get an ehcp as he was too young, but I applied myself, mad eit abundantly clear I would not take no for an answer and got him one. He was the youngest in his nursery to have one. Don't let them fob you off or deter you. This is doable, and a legal document to enable your DC to have the education they need. You got this.

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