Here are some answers to questions you may have regarding school and education.
- Everyone can choose which school their child attends, you do not have to be in that catchment area.
- Moving school can be a huge disruption for children, regardless of whether they require statement of needs (SEN) or not.
- The process of medical needs altered in April, with medical hours being removed. The ‘statement of needs’ will now stipulate this, including the required hours necessary.
- All children with extra needs should have a statement outlining these needs and how the school, Local Education Authority (LEA) etc. can help provide these. This will be a process involving; parent(s)/child, Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO)/school, caseworker, Occupational Therapist (OT) and LEA. Other agencies may also be necessary
- Every school has a SENCO.
- OT’s facilitate the process; recommending equipment, support etc. They complete various assessments to ensure they can offer an informed decision.
- An LEA resource is soon to be developed, which will be available for the public to view. This resource outlines what different LEA’s provide.
- The SEN statement will be assessed every year. The assessment will involve the necessary agencies (mentioned above and any more deemed appropriate) that can all input, to ensure the support provided is sufficient. All of who will be invited by the school to attend the meeting.
- Every area/location has a different way of dealing with SEN issues; including the process of funding. It is not 100% consistent throughout the whole country. (There is also some difference regarding funding between State Schools and Academies.)
- Unfortunately it is true that the support process differs widely, some children receive outstanding support easily, whilst some have to fight harder to receive any. But all children with SEN should have ‘statement of needs’.
- Cross boundaries – some complications may arise from living in one area and attending a school in a different area. But this should not stop your child receiving the support they require.
- If a child requires personal care, this should be included in the statement as an intimate care plan. The person(s) providing this care may require it written in their contract of employment.
- It is important to ensure dialogue is kept healthy and open. Approach the situation asking – ‘how can we work together, to ensure my child is supported during their school life?’
- For younger children, you can request that your pediatrician refers you to early years funding, to enable you to access “early years access funding”.
- It is important to start the SEN process as soon as possible, to ensure a child’s needs are met when they start school, this can be assessed throughout Primary School and altered accordingly, so all needs can also be met when starting Secondary School.
People who can help:
- School SENCO
- School board of governors
- School Head teacher
- Family intervention worker/Schools inclusion worker – locality team
Question & Answer:
1. My child has a chair for school. When they leave for secondary school, what happens to the chair?
This depends on who purchased the equipment, how the equipment was allocated and if your child has a statement.
If the school purchased the chair they may want to keep it. But if your child has a statement, this will be reviewed and it can be determined whether another chair is needed and this should then be provided.
2. We have been told my child cannot be ‘statemented’ because he does not have a mental disability, is this correct?
Every child who requires additional needs should have a statement outlining these needs. A statement gives your child entitlement to support.
You can appeal the decision to ensure your child is ‘statemented’. But make sure you go through the correct procedures.
Important people to speak to are; school, SENCO, LEA, your OT and if necessary, the schools board of governors.
3. It has been said my child does not need a statement because they do not require the support now, should we have a statement?
It is advisable to get a statement for your child as soon as possible.
Although they may not need ‘support’ now, SEN may not be apparent due to their age, i.e. average height children of the same age may also require steps to reach, but this is very short sighted and it would be useful if ‘support’ were in place for the future. This is for all stages of education e.g. moving from nursery to primary school and from primary school to secondary school.
The wellbeing of the child is very important. Managing fatigue is an important factor to ensure a child’s wellbeing. So although children with SEN may be able to undertake individual tasks the same as other children, can they maintain throughout the day(s)/week(s) on various tasks, one after the other, also achieving successfully in their schooling?
4. Who funds equipment?
Very dependent on what type of school your child attends i.e. state school or academy:
a) State school – the school will provide the first £6000 of ‘support’ after which the LEA will provide the rest.
b) Academy school – possible the school funds ‘support’ as they are not ‘under’ the LEA. But remember they are still covered by OFSTED.
5. How long does the statement process take?
The process should take 6 months from start to finish.
6. If the school turns down my SEN request, can I appeal?
Make sure you follow the correct procedures set out. Not following correct procedures will work against you.
7. My child needs personal care, but staff are unwilling to do this, what can we do?
An intimate personal care plan needs to be written in the statement. After which, support must be given as asked in this statement.
However, it may also need to be written in to a person’s employment contract.
- Child’s wellbeing, access to learning and ensuring they are safe are the most important things.
- All schools have a duty of care.
- Inclusion does not necessarily mean children with SEN have to be doing something the same as other children.
- Communication is the key – healthy dialogue between everyone concerned is vital for a child’s needs to be met.
- It is important to speak to the child too, their voice is important. If they do not want ALL of the equipment, reach a compromise.
- Start the statement process as soon as possible – think about the long term.