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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child has special needs. If you have any serious concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP or other suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN

Mumsnet/KIDS support session on special needs and education: THIS THURSDAY, 9pm

(111 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 23-May-12 09:45:54

Hello there,

We're pleased to announce that the second support session with members of KIDS staff will be held this Thursday evening between 9pm amd 10pm (in the hope that this will avoid most kids' bed-times!). The topic for Thursday's session will be education and related issues. (You can see the first session here.)

KIDS is a national charity working with disabled children, young people and their families across England. The KIDS staff at the session will be Sue Cawkwell (KIDS Regional Director for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire), and SEN specialists Rosemary Foster and Dave Lison.

The idea of these support sessions is to complement the advice and support that Special Needs posters already give each other with the insight and experience of people working for an organisation in the field. We hope that the session will pull together perspectives and advice from MNers and from KIDS staff, and that the thread will serve as a reference point for posters looking for advice about SEN.

It would be great to have as many of you as possible join us 'live' on Thursday evening, but if you can't make it, please also post up any advance questions for here.

We'd really appreciate your feedback on these sessions, so if you can find the time to fill in a survey after the session, that would be great - it's open to lurkers as well as posters - to everyone who has seen the thread.


coff33pot Thu 24-May-12 22:28:49

Ah so its not meee! Thank you for spending your time with us it is appreciated.

HotheadPaisan Thu 24-May-12 22:29:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Thu 24-May-12 22:30:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SueCawkwell Thu 24-May-12 22:31:22

We're signing out now - it is quite difficult to provide full answers without having more in depth conversations and gaining all the relevant information as SEN can be quite complex.

We have used the funding agreement to get children into academies. Will check out the website again tomorrow and see whats going on and try to find you all a working link. Will check through to see if we've missed anything and then send outstanding queries through to Rowan

Hope it's been of some use to you all.


pinkorkid Thu 24-May-12 22:34:24

Thank you, Sue, that would be great

Moose there is some information on Pathfinders here:
National Network of Parent Carer Forums are involved in the consultations.

moosemama Thu 24-May-12 22:45:25

Thanks again Sue. smile

Thank you pinkorkid. Will read it tomorrow - am currently in need of matchsticks in order to stay awake!

HotheadPaisan Thu 24-May-12 23:12:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 02-Jun-12 23:58:21

Hi all,

We're going to post up some of KIDS's responses to late questions now; apologies for the delay - my fault!


SueCawkwell Sun 03-Jun-12 00:04:53


Similar situation to devientenigma, we have a ds who has a statement and a place at special school but who has refused to attend for the last few months (due to anxiety issues).

Relevant legislation "access to education for children and young people with medical needs" says children who are absent from school due to illness for more than 15 days should have provision made to allow them to access education by alternative means - this could include hospital school, home tuition, in a PRU setting or internet support. It sets the minimum support to be provided at 5 hours tuition per week but emphasises that the only upper limits should be those imposed by the child's illness.

In practice (and in our personal experience) our LA's practice until recently was to provide 5 hours as the standard with perhaps a couple more hours for a child in their GCSE years. The Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 extends that duty and says local authorities should arrange full-time education for all children in alternative provision. As highlighted in the TES article link here, many LAs are struggling to meet their obligations because of the additional pressures on their budgets.

We were recently informed that our LA now no longer routinely offer home based individual tuition, instead they will offer a place in a PRU where appropriate (not very in the case of a child too afraid to leave the house) or access to on-line support such as work set on the school's virtual learning environment. I don't personally see that this matches the Children, Schools and Families Act's specification that "The teaching must be of a similar quality to that which the child would receive in school, based on a broad and balanced curriculum."

In your opinion, is there any way we can argue that this policy fails to provide appropriate provision?

My second issue is that the LA insist that access to any alternative educational provision is dependant on a referral letter from a consultant. As waiting lists to be seen by consultants are often several months long, this makes it impossible for a child to access the alternative provison after the 15 missed school days stipulated in the legislation. The legislation does say that "ideally a referral should be obtained from a consultant paediatrician". Do you think this is sufficient legal justification for the LA to make the consultant's referral a pre-requisite for access to education?

Sorry this is so long but it I'd be very glad of any advice.

Hello pinkorkid

I see you have quoted sections of legislation. Re children's and young families act 2010, it is my understanding that 'Alternative provision' indicates that this does not suggest 'in the home'; it should possibly be read as alternative to a school, ie small educational units, PRUs or possibly other local arrangements made by individual LAs. I would suggest calling an interim Annual Review, get all professionals and an LA officer to attend. If the medical consultant is not able to attend, then in my experience they will write a report for the Annual Review, possibly indicating their support and recommendation for Home Tuition. This would mean you don't have to wait for an appointment. I would also advise that you write to the Consultant with an explanation of the circumstances, along with the request for them to attend the AR (medical professionals are at times not aware of educational procedures). I am not aware of any cases in law re the issue of home tuition that have been brought re the Children & Families Act; you may want to call the National Children's Legal Centre on 0808 802 0008, they can be very helpful - or IPSEA on 0800 018 4016. I would also advise that you obtain a copy of the LA's policy re home tuition, and then possibly request a meeting with the senior officer SEN and the portfolio holder for education on the council. At least this will highlight the difficulties you are experiencing, and bring to the attention of the council any policy anomalies that they may want to address.

SueCawkwell Sun 03-Jun-12 00:09:35


Right, thank you Sue.

I was sure I read on here somewhere that the Pathfinders had to offer the choice of personal budgets to every child/family that is issued with a statement. I thought I'd read that they have to at least give details of the trial to everyone? I might have got that wrong though.

SEN pathfinders are all taking a slightly different approach to testing the single plan and personal budgets. Some for example are testing out all new requests for statutory assessments for the under 7s, some are looking at the under 5s and the over 16s, others are testing out 60 assessments covering the whole age range. By 2014 the governments plan is that the single plan assessment will replace the statement and that families will be able to request a personal budget.

Mott McDonald are overseeing the pathfinders. If you are interested you can go to their website and type in SEN Pathfinder in the search box – this will take you to an area where you can look at all the individual pathfinder application forms to see what you local area plans are. Here is the link which should get you straight to the pathfinders applications:

For all those interested in academies

Not sure what happened last night on the site re Funding Agreements – Dave at one point found them (not sure if this was via a saved link) but when we checked again as you say the site was requiring freedom of information requests. Dave has emailed the DfE to see why this information appears no longer to be publicly available. He has on several time used these agreements to challenge academies – resulting in children being admitted, so feels they are really important. Will let Rowan know as soon as we have the response.

pinkorkid Sun 03-Jun-12 11:25:45

Thank you very much for the feedback, Sue - I will follow up as you suggested.

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