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NickyB

SENDIST Tribunal Date

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NickyB   

Hi all

 

As some of you will know we are wrangling with our LEA to get them to carry out statutory assessment. We have appealed to SENDIST and got our acknowledgement today. They have given us a tribunal date of . . . .

 

12 March 2010 :o

 

That will be almost exactly a year to the day since we first applied for SA. By the time any decision is made, another year of DSs schooling will have passed by. I'm getting so frustrated at how long it all takes :wallbash: And this is just to get them to assess him. I know some of you have been through all of this - how do you cope with the slow pace of it all?

 

What worries me is that if we fail, we'll have to wait another 6 months to start it all again, and then if they assess, do it all again if they refuse to write a statement. The SENCO has said she has rarely seen a more obvious case for a statement, but the LEA just won't budge. I was hoping that we could start looking at special schools soon, but I'm feeling that we are going to be in limbo for years, by which time DS will have lost most of his foundation years in education.

 

 

AAARRRGGGHHH !!!!!!! :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:

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Kathryn   

Don't despair, Nicky, there's a strong chance the appeal may not go all the way. Many Refusal to Assess appeals are conceded long before the hearing, and the new active case management tribunal system makes that more likely nowdays. LA's have to get their case together within a month of the appeal being registered, and sometimes they realise at that point they don't actually have a case.

 

:wacko:

 

K x

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JsMum   

 

 

I know march 2010 feels like miles away, but actually it isnt that long, its already October, and after the half term and then christmas it will be here faster than you know it, it will go past quickly and in that time you will be busy getting your appeal hearing evidence together, it is amazing how quickly it all comes round and like Kathryn says thay may also give you your sons Assessment without going to tribunal, Js first Statatory Assessment was turned down until things deteriated at school that they had no choice to assess, it sounds like ages away but it does go quickly.

 

I cant believe were already half way throw october and half term is next week.

 

Good Luck with your appeal and I really do hope that you get that assessment ASAP.

 

Dont give up,

 

JsMumxxxx

 

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Sally44   

I know that it feels like a slow trudge up a mountain. But stick with the SEN Code of Practice, NAS advice etc and go by the book. Don't take any short cuts because of verbal 'promises' of support etc because they frequently dangle a carrot to see if parents take the bait.

LEAs can change their mind and agree to your requests at any time prior to a tribunal.

I seem to remember that there is some new legislation that works in the parents favour when an LEA has forced them to tribunal when it is obvious that the child in question needs a Statement. If others know what exactly it is please post. I'll also have a look on IPSEA as well.

But use this time to get together as much evidence as you can. You will have a cut off date for sending in your evidence. Make sure you have used everything available to you. If your son attends or has attempted to attend any clubs or social activities and has struggled or failed, then get the person to put on paper what happened. I included a letter from the private Play Therapist group and also from the coach at the trampoline club that gave a good outline of how he coped in both those situations.

If you suspect Dyslexia you can go to your local Dyslexia Action charity and they can assess for dyslexia and they have their own educational psychologist as well. You do have to pay for this, but it is worth looking into if this is an area of difficulty.

In my own case the LEA capitulated about 5 minutes into the actual tribunal and agreed to our requests, although we had to go into a separate room and thrash out the final details. Do you have any professional or someone experienced who will be going with you to tribunal? I was fortunate that I took a solicitor and private SALT with me, so they knew exactly what they wanted including in the Statement and how they wanted it worded. My concern for other parents, which I posted in another forum, is that the Tribunal Panel make the decisions on the evidence and reports presented to them. If the LEA capitulates the Panel does not make any judgements at all. I feel that that could leave some parents in a vulnerable position especially if they were relying on the Panel to read the evidence and make the appropriate recommendations. Suddenly the parents are left in a room with the LEA to agree the final details. Some parents might not be aware of the implications of wording suggested by the LEA. So that is something to bear in mind - to know exactly what you want and how you want it worded before you get to Tribunal.

And eventhough it does take so long, once the right Statement is in place with the right placement it does make all the difference. My son has made alot of progress post Tribunal. I also have alot of free time!!

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JsMum   

 

 

I had legal representive and many reports from private proffessionals, sadly I didnt have enough money to go to the tribunal with representatives, and was prepared to go alone, parents have fighting power too, so even if you dont have legal back up on the day dont think you wont be able to do a good enough job because you will be there his Mum, so if you cant get proffessional back up on the day do still go and do all you can, just make sure you have as much evidence as possible, Ipsea have also got further details on proffessional evidence and tribunal representatives, as well as NAS.

 

What Im saying is at the end of the day if all you have on the day is you, still go!!!!!but understand what Sally is saying that if you can afford any private assessments do please do this too, evidence is key to getting the statement you want.

 

And also agree to all of sallys suggestions.

 

JsMumxxxx

 

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JsMum   

 

 

Also want to add LEA agreed to Js changes in his statement just before going to tribunal date, it was very close, but in the end they agreed to all we asked for and we didnt have to attend a tribunal.

 

JsMumxxxxx

 

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lynne   

 

 

 

The evidence can also be letters written about meeting prepared by the parents and sent to the school. Such things you would write about are any meetings you had either offical or informal what was discussed and what was the outcome of the meeting. Either positive or negative towards the child. How situations where handled incorrecly and the effects it has on the child.

 

 

Even if the school does not respond to your letters, still present them to the tribunal as these are your evidence of the school/lea not addressing your childs difficulties and how it affects your child. Just keep your letters polite and factual.

 

We even presented some letters as late evidence on the day of the tribunal.

 

 

This documentation made it easier for the tribunal to come to a decision.

 

 

The tribunal will look at all the evidence without any bias. So if nothing else the child gets a fair review.

 

I also put it late evidence of letters. Late evidence will need to be looked at by the tribunal to see if they will allow it.

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NickyB   

Thanks everyone - I'm feeling a bit better now. It will be worth it in the the end and I will definitely not give up.

 

Thankfully, the school have been very supportive throughout, and DSs teacher writes down everything that happens, and I have copies of this. I have records of every meeting that we have had with the school, and every internal meeting the school have had. I also have reports from all relevant professionals. I have sent all of these in with the appeal, and will also submit evidence of his recent exclusions when I send the Forther Information form in to SENDIST.

Sadly, there is no way I can afford private representaion at the hearing, but I will contact IPSEA and ACE and get some advice.

 

Thanks again for taking the time to reply - It's made me feel even stronger and more determined now :thumbs:

 

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Kathryn   

Good luck Nicky, onward and upward... :ninja:

 

I don't think it's worth paying for legal representation for a Refusal to Assess appeal - not with the strong case you've got.

 

Ipsea's self help Refusal to Assess Pack is very useful.

 

K x

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JsMum   

Sadly, there is no way I can afford private representaion at the hearing,

 

 

I too couldnt afford to pay for a solisitor and recieved support from these

 

http://www.communitylegaladvice.org.uk/

 

and I had an assessment of my income and I was able to get free support, so do look into legal aid and burseries.

 

Ipsea may know more about finding funding for private representatives and if any organisations will be advocate.

 

Im glad your not going to give up.

 

JsMumxxxx

 

Js tribunal was to get changes made to his statment, so as Kathryn points out you may not have go all the way at this stage like I had to as your in early stages to a statement.

 

XXXXX

 

 

Edited by JsMum

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Flora   

It's a horrible long process but well worth it if you've got the stamina to stick it out. My son was out of school for a year by the time we went to tribunal, but the battles with the LEA started years before that even. It is worth it when you know you're right. At the time it felt like time had stood still but it does pass and you at least have the time to gather all your evidence for the day when it eventualy arrives.

 

Good luck.

 

Flora

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lynne   

 

 

Hi Nicky,

 

Don't be too concerned about not having legal representation. It sounds like you have a lot of evidence and the school support you but as far as I am aware the school will not say this at tribunal. So make sure you have all your documents because they will out weigh verbal evidence. The LEA will also tell lies so be prepared or should I say they are economical with the truth.

 

 

We went to tribunal and did not have legal representation. We also did not know this site existed but we managed to work our way through it and we won. No one knows your child better than you do and no one knows how school affects them every day. So go for it. Our panedl consisted of a solicitor another person and a deaf man. This deaf man asked the most appropriate questions to clarify things with the LEA. Such as what training the LSA had had.

 

 

The panel are there to read all the reports ask questions and they are working for the best interests of the child.

 

So be strong.

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Grace   

Hi NickyB,

 

Apart from wishing you the very best of luck; can I repeat what the others have said in that it will come round sooner than you think (and possibly wish) in terms of getting your evidence etc together!

 

You have the school's support and your son has been excluded! I'd say I can't believe they are fighting it, but I guess delaying tactics mean that the longer they fight; the less time they will have to pay for support. It does sound though that they might not want to put themselves through the tribunal and could quite believe they will agree before the actual tribunal date.

 

Tribunals can be very stressful, especially your first, but I found that panels have little patience with LEA's who obviously have a poor case. If you can get an advocate from anywhere, I'd highly recommend it, as it does take away some stress from the day - just having someone who is familiar with the procedures can be a big help.

 

Sounds like you are all organised to me; take care/x

 

 

 

 

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Sally44   

I just wanted to reiterate what I said earlier, incase it was misunderstood. I know that many people cannot afford to pay for private representation. But I believe the NAS and IPSEA can even accompany parents to tribunal???

But the situation I feel could present itself to parents is getting to tribunal stage, and expecting the panel to review the evidence and make a decision only to find that the LEA capitulates. That means the Panel will not be making any decisions and it will be left to the LEA and parent/s to trash out the final detail. I feel that can leave parents in a very vulnerable position because the Panel would word the Statement in an appropriate way (hopefully!), and without their input the LEA may again try to word the final statement in such terms that it becomes a weak and unenforceable statement. Parents should be aware of this prior to tribunal so they don't find themselves suddenly in this situation.

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Kathryn   

IPSEA will provide a representative in limited situations where parents meet strict criteria for that kind of help. There are just not enough reps to go round for everyone who wants one unfortunately. I don't know about the NAS advocacy but they probably operate in a similar way.

 

I think you're muddying the waters a bit, Sally. I've not heard of parents getting into the situation you describe. Where the appeal is against the contents of parts 2 and 3 of the statement, the tribunal has to OK any amendments agreed - they don't just drop parents in it, or there would be little point in the appeal process. The "thrashing out" is done before the hearing between the LA and parents, and any unresolved issues about content and wording are dealt with on the day of the hearing itself.

 

Appeals against refusal to assess or against the refusal to issue a statement, are different to the above. If successful, they can only result in a Tribunal direction to the LA to assess, or to issue a statement. In such appeals the contents of the future statement will not be an issue, although there may well be a subsequent appeal to decide that.

 

Nicky's appeal can only result in a decision to assess/not to assess, nothing more. She has a long way to go yet before the issue of a statement, let alone any discussions over the final wording of it.

 

K x

Edited by Kathryn

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caci   

In our case, I got a message on our answerphone at 5.00pm the day before the tribunal saying the LB had now agreed to assess.

 

It was a good job I was at home later that evening to pick up the message, otherwise I may have been at the tribunal waiting....

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JsMum   
In our case, I got a message on our answerphone at 5.00pm the day before the tribunal saying the LB had now agreed to assess.

 

It was a good job I was at home later that evening to pick up the message, otherwise I may have been at the tribunal waiting....

 

 

 

That is sooooo shameful on your LEA to agree at such short space of time, If it where me, a person who always forgets to listen to her messages, Id of gone and then megga embarrassed I hadnt checked my messages, by gum though your LEA really are treading a thin line there though.

 

JsMumxxxx

 

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NickyB   

Hi

 

I have spoken to SENDIST and they have said I can apply for an earlier hearing date. I have to write in and then they will arrange a conference call with myself, the LEA and the tribunal judge, to decide whether an earlier hearing is necessary. This sounds like an ideal opportunity to get the LEA on the phone and ruffle their feathers a bit :whistle::devil:

 

Has anyone else had experience of these conference calls and what I might need to say to secure an earlier hearing date?

 

Thanks >:D<<'>

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lynne   

Going to tribunal will ruffle there feathers. I don't know what evidence you would need to bring it forward as alot of children who are waiting to go to tribunal would be suffering.

 

Good luck

Edited by lynne

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NickyB   

Well, DS has now been excluded for the last two afternoons due to his behaviour. I am getting seriously angry that there is no urgency on the part of the LA :angry:

I was all ready to call them when we got home today and tell them exactly what I think, but I need to calm down a bit first, otherwise I will end up a jibbering wreck on the 'phone. I am thinking it might be better to write to them, explaining exactly what's been happening, stress the urgency of his case and ask them to reconsider their refusal to assess.

Of course, what I actually want to say is 'get off your backsides and get on with it' (with a few added expletives of your choice :whistle:), but I suppose I had better be a bit more tactful than that!!

 

What do you all think - is it better to call them or write?

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baddad   

Always to write! Even if you do phone - write 'for the record' afterwards.

Sorry you're going through the mill :(

At the moment the fact that school are excluding him is going in your favour, but be careful not to let them start thinking of this as an easy option or one that won't/can't be challenged. It should be a last resort, well documented and done officially, and if 'relaxing' on those things is convenient at the moment (for you) that's great, but not as an easy out for them...

hope that's helpful

 

L&P

 

BD :D

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NickyB   

Thanks BD. I did point out today that I want letters for these last two exclusions - the head teacher, deputy head, SENCO and class teacher are ALL off sick at the mo, so I am a bit concerned myself about them seeing it as a way of making their lives a bit easier. On the other hand, he did hit and kick two teachers and gave one of the children an injury, so I can't say it's not justified.

 

I have drafted a letter to SENDIST and the LA, so I will have another look at them later when I'm a bit calmer, and post them tomorrow.

 

Thanks again

 

Nicky x

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Grace   

Hi,

 

I've heard these conference calls can be a bit tricky - any chance of getting an advocate/solicitor to be there? Like with any phonecall, they can really put you on the spot.

 

I would always get anything in writing and I'm with you all the way in letting yourself calm down first - it would be a great release to let them feel your frustration, but it can be counter-productive - mind you, I know someone who lets them have it every time and she seems to do ok! I think they are scared of her!

 

Hope you manage to get a quicker hearing - I tried and actually it was easier than you think; I think many hearings get canx if parties agree, so hopefully you'll get a cancellation.

 

Good luck!

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JsMum   
Thanks BD. I did point out today that I want letters for these last two exclusions - the head teacher, deputy head, SENCO and class teacher are ALL off sick at the mo, so I am a bit concerned myself about them seeing it as a way of making their lives a bit easier. On the other hand, he did hit and kick two teachers and gave one of the children an injury, so I can't say it's not justified.

 

I have drafted a letter to SENDIST and the LA, so I will have another look at them later when I'm a bit calmer, and post them tomorrow.

 

Thanks again

 

Nicky x

 

 

I thought it was only the headteacher that can exclude? and you need to get them to do the official letter for the exclusion as soon as possible, do the LEA know that he has been excluded?

 

It may be that the school are indirectly supporting you, like BD has said exclusions are the last resort, I know you understand the reasons why your son was excluded because he was violent, but it may be that the lack of support is contributing to your son not been able to react apropriatly, or it maybe he cant verbalise or express his feelings and he cant control his reactions, if more support was in place it maybe the violent incident will lessen I know you want your son to take some responsibility for his actions but if he isnt supported to learn coping stratagies and communication support then in a way the LEA are letting your son down and clearly the school can not meet his needs, he requires an URGENT ASSESSMENT which are usually called an emergency Assessment, it will only get worse because of iniment changes due to christmas which alters the regular routines and if three member of significant staff are off sick, its either swine flue thats hit them all together or there breaking down themselves.

 

JsMumxxx

 

reread the staff who are off sick, its actually FOUR, my goodness how did the school cope, I wonder if there is any other boys excluded during this period.??

 

I would contact IPSEA about the exclusions and just the high ratio of staff been absent, Id want to know how many teachers where actually there that day, ensure that they had enough teachers per ratio, it sounds like something isnt right in the school at the moment.

 

JsMumxxx

 

 

Edited by JsMum

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NickyB   
reread the staff who are off sick, its actually FOUR, my goodness how did the school cope, I wonder if there is any other boys excluded during this period.??

 

I would contact IPSEA about the exclusions and just the high ratio of staff been absent, Id want to know how many teachers where actually there that day, ensure that they had enough teachers per ratio, it sounds like something isnt right in the school at the moment.

 

JsMumxxx

 

Hi JsMum

 

I work at the school myself, although I'm not directly employed by them. I know that morale is very low and I wouldn't be surprised if stress was a factor in the number of absences. There were a couple of other children sent home early on Tuesday (they both have ASD and statements) but no others today as far as I know. I really don't think that the staffing issues have affected DS directly, but I will be keeping an eye on things as it is a worry.

 

Thanks again everyone >:D<<'>

 

Edited to add that there are actually another three staff off in the junior department :o

Edited by NickyB

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JsMum   
Hi JsMum

 

I work at the school myself, although I'm not directly employed by them. I know that morale is very low and I wouldn't be surprised if stress was a factor in the number of absences. There were a couple of other children sent home early on Tuesday (they both have ASD and statements) but no others today as far as I know. I really don't think that the staffing issues have affected DS directly, but I will be keeping an eye on things as it is a worry.

 

Thanks again everyone >:D<<'>

 

Edited to add that there are actually another three staff off in the junior department :o

 

 

so seven teacher off, there has to be some form of investigation from the LEA, especially now as you say that other children have been excluded, and what is very conserning is they too have SEN and STATEMENTS, the school are aware of the DDA, if stress is also a factor for staff to be off, imagine the stress levels of a child, a child wont learn effective in a stressful enviroement.

 

I would insist that inspectors where looking into the running and operation of your sons school.

 

JsMumxx

 

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JsMum   
Well, DS has now been excluded for the last two afternoons due to his behaviour. I am getting seriously angry that there is no urgency on the part of the LA :angry:

I was all ready to call them when we got home today and tell them exactly what I think, but I need to calm down a bit first, otherwise I will end up a jibbering wreck on the 'phone. I am thinking it might be better to write to them, explaining exactly what's been happening, stress the urgency of his case and ask them to reconsider their refusal to assess.

Of course, what I actually want to say is 'get off your backsides and get on with it' (with a few added expletives of your choice :whistle:), but I suppose I had better be a bit more tactful than that!!

 

What do you all think - is it better to call them or write?

 

 

This was in the news just a week ago!

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8278700.stm

 

JsMum

 

Edited by JsMum

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NickyB   

Hi all :)

 

I've got the exclusion paperwork from school. The SENCO has received a request from the LA for further evidence - it's in fact all the stuff I sent them last week. She called them and pointed out that I had sent it but they said that they had to have it from her as well !!! Is it any wonder we lose faith in these people :blink:

 

The LA have to submit their case to SENDIST by November 25th. The SENCO said they asked for her paperwork by today, but she's told them it wasn't enough notice and she would do it as soon as she can. She said to me that she will not be rushing it :whistle: Apparently the LA are having a meeting soon and said that they may call the head teacher to give her side of things - I really hope they do, as she's supporting us wholeheartedly and she can't wait to tell them what she thinks! I'm really hoping that might be a turning point :pray:

 

In the meantime I've sent a letter to the LA to tell them about the latest exclusions and one to SENDIST to ask for an earlier hearing date.

 

 

 

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NickyB   

Hello - an update :

 

I have had a letter from SENDIST today giving me a date for a telephone hearing to discuss bringing the appeal hearing forward. It's on November 24th, so not long :o

 

I'm a bit nervous, so does anyone have experience of these 'conference calls' and what questions they might ask??

 

Thanks

 

Nicky >:D<<'>

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A and A   

Hi Nicky, and good luck with your appeal, it looks like we may have to go down the appeal route very soon. Is good to know that we can request the appeal date to be brought forward.

 

The whole precess is way too long, and too easy for the LEA to drag it out to it's maximum. We should be able sue LEA's who drag out the process and then throw in the towel at the last minute. What can we do to stop them taking all the time their allowed when they know they cant win?

Edited by A and A

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Kathryn   

Hi Nicky,

 

The case management system is still quite new and they don't do telephone hearings for all appeals anyway, so not many people will have first hand experience of this, I expect.

 

Remember you don't have to prove your entire case over the phone: if you've been told that the call is just to discuss bringing the hearing forward, focus on that issue. To prepare yourself I think it would help if you have clear in your mind all the reasons why you believe an earlier hearing is essential: and any important evidence which supports that (especially recent evidence about the exclusions, and other difficulties at school, for example). Might help to have your reasons for appeal in front of you as well, just to remind yourself of the overall issues.

 

From what you say, the LEA seem to be making slightly more encouraging noises. Don't want to raise false hopes here, but if they know they don't have a strong case, they might back down before the 24th rather than go through the double hassle of a phone hearing and preparing their response. I do hope so. :pray:

 

K x

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NickyB   

Thanks Kathryn :thumbs:

 

I've just had to go and get him again as he's stabbed a teacher with a pencil - just missing her eye :tearful:

Once I've calmed down I'll call Parent Partnership to get some advice. I really don't know how bad it has to get before the LEA will do something. I'm only asking for statutory assessment at this stage, and it really doesn't seem much to ask :angry:

 

Just as well DH is at home this week otherwise I'd be in serious trouble with work, too :(

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JsMum   

 

 

 

Oh Nicky I really hope the LEA start to help you, it is going to be very difficult to assess his needs if he is constantly excluded, make sure if they send him home with you it is down as an official exclusion again, his education needs an emergancy assessment, they can assess him straight away if they wanted to.

 

Here is some of these. >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'>

 

It is just the sheer stress of it all, I have gone throw similair issues lately, and J has the support in place, but its still not easy, so thinking of you at this present time.

 

JsMumxxxx

>:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'>

 

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dana   

Hi, Nicky, I wish you all the best with your appeal. I am really sorry you have to do it and they haven't decided to assess him yet. I hope they will change their mind. Keep sending them all these reports about what is happening at school (and always ask for proof of postage from the post office). I also think that is good idea to speak with the Parent Partnership person. I know they do have an influence, since one of the parents I know told me that she helped her get her son into the special school although LEA initially refused to do it.

Good luck! >:D<<'> >:D< >:D<<'>

 

Danxxx

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NickyB   

Hi everyone

 

I've just got a letter from the LEA saying that his case is going to be reconsidered on Monday, so please keep everything crossed for us :pray:

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NickyB   

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

 

The LA have changed their minds and will be carrying out Statutory Assessment :thumbs:

 

(but I will be getting it in writing before I withdraw my appeal ..... cynical, moi? :whistle:)

 

Thanks for all your support eveyone, it really made a difference :D

 

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