----Original Message Follows----
From: SOS!SEN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: SOS!SEN list:;
Subject: More Weasel Words
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 13:54:19 +0100
Three serious weasels this week.
1. PART 6 OF THE STATEMENT
One authority we know of (but probably one out of many) is telling parents
that because their child's classroom support is to be paid for by the NHS
the provision has to go under Pt. 6 - Non-educational Provision. This is
totally incorrect and suggests one of 2 things (or both) - the officer is a
weasel addict, or, the officer doesn't know the Code of Practice.
If you are going through the statementing process and your child's needs in
school (such as classroom support for a physically disabled child) are to
some extent being funded via the NHS the provision still needs to be under
Pt. 3 of the Statement. It is an educational provision. Remember that
provision under Pt. 6 is not legally enforceable and if the NHS withdraws
the funds your child could have no support until you have gone through the
ghastly and delayed process of statutory reassessment, amended statement and
possibly appeal against an inadequate provision in the statement. If you
appeal against the Statement or are trying to battle with your LEA on this
issue remember to argue that the provision for your child is an educational
need and must be under Pt. 3.
2.LEA APPEARS TO GIVE IN BEFORE SENDIST HEARING
An LEA told SENDIST that it would not oppose a parental appeal against the
content of a statement. Parents delighted as the regulations indicate that
the Tribunal panel will in such an event decide. Not quite such good news,
though as the Panel, understandably did not think it was its job to write a
statement. Because the LEA had backed out the Tribunal had not sent out the
parental case statement to the LEA. Even though the parents had produced an
excellent alternative statement as a working document and this was based on
clear expert evidence the panel felt that in the absence of the LEA they
could not really continue that day. As a result there was an adjournment and
the LEA ordered to discuss with the parents what in the working document was
acceptable and what was not and to deliver their decision by a certain date.
If the dispute continued both sides were ordered to come for a hearing some
5 weeks on. As it happens this helps the parents but it should be remembered
that the LEA sat back and did nothing for months in the pretty safe
knowledge that the hearing might well be adjourned.This could have cost
parents a lot in terms of payment twice to expert witnesses.
So even if this happens to you remember to make sure all your documents go
to the LEA so they can be engaged in a constructive dialogue based on your
evidence and you can negotiate from a position of strength the final
outcome. It won't matter then that they don't attend the hearing.
3.PARENTS INVOLVE LEA IN THEIR ARGUMENT WITH AN INDEPENDENT SPECIALIST
A parent with a child in an independent specialist school decided to
involve an LEA officer in her disagreement with that school. Not the wisest
thing to do since this was rather like jumping into the tiger's mouth. This
officer who had never lifted a finger to help in the past now became
"outraged", oh so very helpful and , promising the mother oh so much support
to get the right provision. The LEA then produced an amended statement
stating that the child would now be able to have her needs met in
mainstream. There had been verbal promises of so much therapy and so much
support in a new statement if the child left the independent school and went
to mainstream. Suddenly the parent found herself back at the lawyer's
fighting an amended statement and the funding for the independent school
Our advice is always to try and sort out difficulties directly with the
school. This may require a great deal of tact and pressure but you do have
the statement and the prospectus to refer to. Calling on the LEA to support
you is always a risk and you may be throwing out the baby with the bath
water. Remember the LEA will always be happy for you to take the child away
from the school but rarely happy to spend in mainstream on the provision
your child really needs and is most unlikely to offer a more expensive
provision elsewhere. No clear legal right to take the independent school to
court as the LEA is the contractor with the school. Obviously if the school
is not providing what should be provided in the statement you have
considerable leverage but beware before you lose the place altogether.
HOPE THESE HELP.
Don't forget the Statementing evening on 3 November at 3 The Avenue,
Hampton (111 and R70 buses virtually to the door).
Workshop places filling up so do please call us or email to reserve.
AND OF COURSE ALL THE OTHER MEETINGS SCHEDULED IN THE NEWSLETTER. As we've
said before "If you need us, we need you!"
SOS!SEN 3 The Avenue Hampton TW12 3RN UK
Tel 020 8979 8853 Fax 020 8255 7657