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Amending SEN statement without reassessing


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Hi

I was wondering if any one could help.

 

I have a daughter who has aspergers, ADHD, & semantic pragmatic language disorder.

 

I have loads of problems which if I went into detail no one would believe what they were hearing.

 

At the moment we have lodged complaints against social services & PCT/NHS which are currently with the LGO & PHSO.

 

The LGO has asked that we now compile & submit a complaint regarding education directly to him & not the LEA in the first instants.

 

Looking at the information we have & I would like to add it makes the Amazon look quite bad however one question springs to mind.

 

We asked for help from the LA, one of the biggest mistakes we have ever made, the consqences of asking for help resulted in our daughter being taken by social services (ss) & put into care. We were forced to sign a voluntary accommodation order S20.

 

We had previously fought the LEA who agreed to place her in the independent sector (this was NOT a specialist school just a private school).

 

The resulting actions of the SS ended with our daughter being permanently excluded from her placement.

 

If anyone understands AS they will understand the impact that this would have had on her especially during her time away from home which resulted in her behaviour becoming even more unmanageable hence the reason for the expulsion.

 

The LEA never re-assessed but some months later decided to amend her statement removing all the provisions previously specified and tried to place her in a normal mainstream school. It took 8 months to get her into a school which could meet her need appropriately & she is now however in a school which caters specifically for AS & doing really well.

 

On what grounds can a statement be amended without any annual review taking place or a re-assessment of her needs.

 

If someone can point me in the right direction re legal side or case law I would be grateful

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Hi there.

 

The LA can amend a statement at any time, even without a reassessment. Were you sent a propose amended statement?

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Hi Tiglet,

 

This is where it becomes complicated.

 

As I said previously she was taken into care & whilst she was in care she was permanently excluded which I know is against DFES guidance. The LEA then amended her statement with no consultation with the us her parents withdrawing all the support it previously outlined making out she had suddenly got better!!!!

 

So ready if she was excluded something must have changed but according to all agencies & this is the best bit we created her behaviour. Have they forgot she has a DX of ASD.

 

She was excluded in the July the LEA amended her statement the end of October then (2 months later Dec) tried to call a meeting but at that time it was all in the remit of JR so we said thank you but no thank you.

 

So what I want to know is if a child is permanently excluded on what grounds can a statement be amended with no up to date assessments & meetings to discuss her changing needs after all if a child is excluded something must have changed because if it hadn't she wouldn't of got excluded!

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Is your daughter back with you now? If so, when did she return?

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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I did say complicated......

 

This happened in 2007. She was in care a total of a 11 weeks. We gave the SS 7 days to tell us what their intension's were & guess what no one responded however mid-July we found ourselves at a Child Protection conferences & sadly our daughters name was put on the register but that is another story but inter-linked never the less.

 

The LEA already knew 2 days before hand the school was going to exclude her but decided to keep it from us. We were told by letter the day after our daughter finished school for the summer holiday that she had been permanently excluded.

 

So far we have a had a discrimination tribunal which found the LA had discriminated BUT it was their fault work that one out!!!

 

The LEA original said she could go to the local comp just out of special measures because it had a unit however this unit was not an ASD unit it was one for complex communication problems.

 

So we then lodged an appeal at SENDIST. The LEA fully agreed to the specialist placement again with no assessment, reviews or even going and seeing the school.

 

I did tell you it was complicated.

 

We have now complained to the LGO & PHSO regarding social services & health. Now the LGO wants our complaint regarding education.

 

At present I'm trying to break it down but I need to makes sure that I'm using the right language. In effective I'm leading the LGO through the time-line of events and telling him what they failed to do & backing it with the relevant part of SEN.

 

Yes it has taken nearly 2 years to get to this point & we are still none the wiser if the ombudsmen are going to investigate. The only thing that they have said is it is one big mess without any paper work.

 

Confused most people are when we start to tell the story but if you can picture a John Wayne movie that's what it was like.

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Still slightly confused, but I think I'm getting there.

 

Sorry that it's more questions than answers at the minute, but if we want to get it right, then I need to get an absolute picture of timelines.

 

OK, so here are the following questions (which you may have answered, but I'm not exactly working on full capacity at the moment):

 

1. Who was legally your daughters guardian when she was excluded and the statement amended (you, foster care or SS)?

 

2. Why exactly was she excluded?

 

3. Do you have copies of letters sent to you re exclusion and amendment of statement? If so, can you post the bodies of the letters up, excluding personal details, especially when these things happened and the dates on the letters.

 

4. Was te school she was excluded a private school?

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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It's not easy to get your head around any of it!!!

 

1. I retained PR

 

2. she was excluded 6th July 2007

 

3. Take your pick; permanently excluded, behaviour, no longer meet her needs, not guarantee her safety, effecting other pupils & end of placement (told you that one wouldn't be easy, the school put everthing!!).

 

4. It was a private school fully funded by the LEA.

 

Yes I do have copies of everything but I'll have to dig them out. The one regarding amending her statement we just recieved an amended statement 25th october 2007.

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Dig out the copies you have, fully answer question 3 and I think I can help you regarding the LGO complaint.

 

Did the LEA send you an amendment notice or a finalised amended statement?

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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It was an amended statement on the 25th Oct 07 we then sent a rejoinder (Nov) & told them to finalise it by 20th Dec 07 (or there abouts), which they did. We couldn't start SENDIST/SEND until they had finalised.

 

However it was then re-written July/August 08 & finalise beginning of Sep 08 & the night before the SENDIST tribunal. After receiving the new statement in July/August 08 I just re-wrote it & told them that was what I wanted. They agreed.

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Hi Tiglet,

just had a thought (I have loads of those:)) I could PM the ed psyc report we commisioned. The reason, is he sums it up sooo much better.

 

Let me know if it would be of help.

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Good morning Bambinaia

 

Having had a look at those two documents, I'm afraid I don't have good news for you. I'll deal with them one at a time.

 

1. Exclusion: As this was a private school, they can exclude your daughter and you do not have the rights you would have if she was in a mainstream school.The LEA must still provide suitable education from 6 days after she was excluded. As long as they did this, they are acting within the law. If you have any professional evidence that this exclusion was due to your daughter being in care at the time, then you could use this as grounds for complaint against SS. However, they will simply say that they have no control over the actions of an independent school when it comes to exclusions and they would be right, legally.

 

2. Amended statement: Looking at the letter, they have fully complied with the law and, again, you have no legal cause for complaint. Did they continue to maintain your daughter's statement in it's current form until such time as you both agreed on the changes prior to SEND? If so, again, they have not acted unlawfully and there are again no grounds for complaint. An LEA can alter a statement at any time, regardless of whether a reassessment has taken place.

 

I know this isn't what you want to hear and I'm sure it must be hugely annoying for you to think they have got away with it - unfortunately, I just cannot see the LGO even investigating on these grounds based on the information you have given.

 

On a personal note, I would still complain as the LGO may censure the LEA for not acting in the child's best interests and going against the spirit of the COP. However, that is a very big "may" and I think you need to prepare yourself that they will tell you the LEA have not acted unlawfully.

 

What may help you (and I am quite willing to do this) is if you let me see your daughter's statement in it's current form (identifying features removed) and I can look over it and tell you if it complies with the law.

 

I am sorry the news isn't better, but at least you know where you stand.

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All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Hi tiglet,

Yes I understand the lawful bit:(.

 

However the angle I want to go down is that of the 'Looked after Child' & the LA's responsibilities as a corporate parent.

 

Given the LEA were responsible for maintaining her statement together with their held the contract with the school & fully funded the placement surely the LEA must have had some obligations?

 

Also the LEA knew 2 days prior that she was to be excluded & withheld the information from us. We sadly were unfamiliar with the appeals process regarding exclusion & the LEA neither informed us or appealed the exclusion.

 

Also if as stated by the school her behaviour had deteriorated why was this not addressed via the LEA? We do have documentation relating to the period of 2/3 months prior to her exclusion where by it was highlighted that the school were having problems with her challenging behaviour.

 

I know I'm throwing a lot in the pot but I do need to be able to show that whilst it wasn't just the LEA it was all agencies & their total lack of understanding/knowledge regarding ASD and actions.

 

Now for the statement bit:

 

After our daughter was excluded we suggested a waking curriculum given the complexities of her needs along with the advice we had received from the independent SALT & Ed Psych again this is fully documented within their reports.

 

The LEA did not provide full time education on the 6th day instead she was only agreed to provide 5 hrs of home tuition per week (at our request & whilst we sort an appropriate placement) from the 13th sep. It was the decided at a multi-agency meeting that she would go to a PRU for children medical unable to attend to school this was on the 21st sep. This our daughter did not meet the criteria plus her statement was never amended to reflect how her SEN would be met. Her statement still reflected full time at an independent mainstream school & not part time at a PRU. Plus the reasons for stopping the home tuition were, too expensive & I smoke in my own home.

 

I'll leave it there to see what you think.

 

Thank you though:)

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Hmm - I really would like to see copies of the three statements - original, proposed amended and amended, so if you can scan them in, that would be great.

 

The appeals process regarding exclusion is irrelevant in this case as it doesn't apply to independent schools. In terms of her being excluded, again, the LEA have no say in this, whether she was a looked after child or not.

 

To be honest, I think that the LEA will come back with the fact that she was obviously going to be upset at being removed from the parental home, but the school had stated that they had had problems with her behaviour prior to this and so they cannot be held responsible for this. It is the SS department who should be acting in loco parentis, not the LEA, and act as an advocate for the child's rights and best interests. Although they will (normally) be part of the same council, they are different departments and this is a SS matter, not a LEA one.

 

I would recommend checking out your LA's Education in Care policy and see whether they have fully adhered to that. I believe this will give you the way forward to challenge and complain about their actions.

 

In terms of educational provision provided in your own home, your daughter's age will determine how many hours provision the LEA have to legally provide. The 6th day refers to the 6th school day after she has been excluded. The statement may well say independent school rather that PRU, but if their is no independent school available to take your daughter, this is an emergency measure the LEA would have had to take to ensure continuation of education whilst they were attempting to find an alternative placement. The LEA cannot be held responsible if there is no independent placement available and this is probably why they decided to change your daughter's statement.

 

It may sound as if I am on the LEA's side - trust me, I am not but I believe it is important to make sure you understand the difficulties that you are going to be confronted with if you wish to pursue your complaint.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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You may also find this useful and also the Children Act 2004, Section 52 and the Education Act 1996 part IV:

 

http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/_files/AA4E7A197CEDF8F33A2D204F5C5F8CB9.pdf

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Hi tiglet,

 

you know your stuff!!!!!

 

Believe you me I WILL find the loop hole every law has one & hopefully with your help:D.

 

As I said previously this started in 2007 & I have no intentions of giving up yet.

 

I know & understand what you're saying about,

"sound as if I am on the LEA's side" but there's nothing like a good challenging!!

 

I'll scan up the statements later just got to go & get them out from the Rain Forest.

 

regards Bambinaia.

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Forgot to add when I said, "Her statement still reflected full time at an independent mainstream school". I meant to say that the LEA never amended her statement & it still reflected the school she had been expelled from.

Hope thats clearer. My brain is working faster than I can type!!!

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Right I've been very busy:).

 

I've up loaded;

 

3rd final amendment,

4th proposed amendment.

4th final amendment,

5th final amendment.

 

The 3rd is what our daughter had when she was taken into care.

 

The 4th's are what they did after she was expelled.

 

The 5th is what I re-wrote. Be gentle with me on that one, I did my best to describe the issues.

 

Happy reading!!!!!

Final 3rd amendment.doc

Proposed 4th amendment.doc

Final 4th amendment.doc

Final 5th Amendment.doc

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I've got a bit on this evening, but I will look at this in the morning for you and give you some feedback (and hopefully a few more ideas on how to tackle this) then.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Thanks Tiglet, appreciate all the help I can get especially as I'm hoping that if this goes to plan, it might help other families that have found themselves in the same predicament that we have especially when they have children with ASD.

 

I know all to well how families have suffered at the hands of LEA's & social services through total lack of understanding, knowledge & expertise regarding ASD & the impact it can have on every family member.

 

Thanks once again:D

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Ok, I am going through this today and it may take me until tomorrow to get back to you as I want to check some things out.

 

Initial thoughts on her current statement (just to give you an idea why this may take me some time) are as follows:

 

Parts 5 and 6 contain things which should be in parts 2 and 3.

 

Part 3 does not deal with all of the needs identified in Part 2.

 

Part 3 does not quantify the provision needed to meet the needs identified in Part 2

 

Did the statement contain all of the appendices with the professional advices?

 

Have you found any link to the LA's Education in Care Policy? If so, can you please post this as this may help me draft something for you in terms of complaint.

 

It would also be useful to know why your daughter was taken into care, with specific dates etc. If you do not want to post that on open forum, then please feel free to PM me, but please note that I will only give advice on open forum and not by PM.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Hi Tiglet,

 

What I will do for the time being is PM the information re; care issues + ed psyc report.

 

The policy u are refering to I'm stll trying to find but what I can tell you is that a PEP was never completed we only had the basic of basics & that wasn't done until the week before she was excluded which would have been something like the 9/10 week of her being in care well out of the required timescales!!!

 

I did warn you that it was complicated just wait till you get my PM you'll be even more :confused:.

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Something else has just come to mind.

 

When the proposed statement was issued the LEA named the school in full & not just the type of school + a list of schools as per the REGs was not attached.

 

Nice to know that they were taking parent preference into consideration without even asking even through the independent SALT had recommended an ASD provision in the may & we had indicated we would be looking at ASD specific schools once they had started back after the summer hols. After all what do u do when the schools are closed break in?

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Hi Tiglet,

 

I hope I haven't scared you off!!!

 

Just wondering if you received my PM ok.

 

With regards to the 'education in care' element the only thing that I have found relates to 'corporate parenting' & 'looked after children'.

 

The other issue is the placement within the PRU. Our daughter would not of met the criteria e.g medical unable to attend mainstream school.

Therefore not an appropriate placement given the fact they would have need some sort of report saying why that particular unit would have been suitable.

 

Anyway let me know what you think so far

 

Thanks Bambinaia.

 

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Sorry Bambinaia

 

Little one has chickenpox and I'm not feeling too well myself - I will get back to you at the beginning of next week.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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