Tag Archives: delegated funding

Aspirations Or Clever Financial Alterations! You Decide

12 Mar

We waited and waited and on the 9th, March 2011 we finally got to see  what the Coalition had in store for us in way of the ‘Green Paper’ titled ‘Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability’


Talking as a parent i’m pleased to see that the  proposed education, health and social care plans (EHSCP) that are planed to replace statements of special educational needs will still give parents the same legal protection that a statement brings. The proposed plan would be aimed at 0-25 year olds not just school aged children. The plans will also involve support in the areas of health and social care as well as education, something that has been missing for too long! However I do wonder how this will affect those already with statements especially in terms of funding and the talk of allocated key-workers. Surely the statements will be reviewed in the same way as the EHSCP and so forth! The statements will therefore need to be maintained in-till the child reaches 25 and be amended to include the health and social care aspect.

Another proposal I welcome is the prospect of being given more choice on where our children are educated. I know many will accuse the coalition of  creating barriers to inclusive education in mainstream schools, but I am a firm believer that mainstream is not always the right way. People must remember that all children are different regardless of their special educational needs or disability, Just because society thinks that every child with sen/disability should learn beside their peers, In reality this isn’t easy for some (My son included) I believe that mainstream was seriously affecting his mental health which is the case for many children. I’m also very interested to hear more on the proposal of individualised budgets with greater parental control giving us a voice that allows us to express views on what services and provision such funding should provide. This is proposed to come into action by the year 2014. In till such date I will remain completely open mind. My mother used to tell me, “If something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.” For that reason I dare to get my hopes up.

Some maybe shaking there heads branding me a pessimist! Well, they would be correct, I’m just that!  Sadly it’s true but myself like many others have been made to feel this way when it comes to SEN & education. It’s my opinion that things will never be easy and we are used to battling for every thing our children need. I for one would be a little shocked to discover that I actually had some time on my hands to do other things instead of battling the system by way of phone calls, meetings, emailing, letter writing, campaigning and so on…  I really struggle to get my head around the idea that parents will be able to have an active part in the decision process surrounding their child’s provision & funding. We have to drag the local authority by the arse all the way to the tribunal just to get a little TA time or use of a laptop! So if this does plan out I for one will fill a little strange being suddenly heard and valued (Well, valued maybe pushing it a tad to far!).

Though some of the proposals look good on paper, I’ve been asking myself , “Are these just words being sugar-coated to look sweeter then they really are?” I mean, let’s not forget that the government are in the process of making huge cuts which will affect many of the services that have a role to play within this very paper. How will they be able to provide what is expected of them? Another important question to ask is, “How much are the Coalition planing to save through the implementation of the green paper?”

I’ve also been thinking about the legal side of things. Given the position I’m currently in (Advising parents on their appeal rights on LEAs sen decisions) I see a lot of re-training heading my way if the green paper is fully implemented. The law would need to under go a radical overview, with large areas, especially section 26 and 27 of the Ed act 96,  needing to be rewritten from scratch and the publication of a new code of practice.

But one of the biggest concerns for me is the proposal of a “single, multi-agency assessment” on the same day, rather than separate assessments on separate days. As much as I welcome a speeder assessment process then that of the current statutory assessment (10 week assessment, with the overall process from start to finish taking 26 weeks) but to propose just ‘one single assessment’ with the involvement of all professionals (and possibly even voluntary agencies) is quite honestly barbaric!

The paper has empathised that those children considered to have the most complex needs, will be the children assessed and issued with an education, health and social care plan, therefore how do they propose to assess a child with such complex needs in one single assessment? Children on the autism spectrum will be just one group of  many children who’s needs may be completely missed due to the child’s particular mood, environment, behaviour, anxiety , etc., on the chosen day of the assessment. I know that my own child would not cope with such an assessment, what with all them eyes on him and questions fired at him! What would it even involve? Are we talking about sending an autistic child (or any child for that matter) into a room with a large number of professionals sat with inquisitive prying eyes, clip boards, and a list of questions as long as their arm? If yes, I guess they can expect a shock at the response they get! It just isn’t going to happen… Surely complex means ‘COMPLEX!’ my definition of  such a word would be, “A complex issue or range of problems that take time to fully resolve” The government is forever banging on about children being placed on the sen register at the drop of a hat, well, I can see a situation being created leading to children dropping of it just as quick!  My son can just about cope with an assessment with one or two professional, any more then this rather than being chucked off the register, he will likely be labelled as a child who is dangerous because he will likely hit out as an attempt to escape the highly stressful situation that he has been placed in. Although I agree it’s not ideal him or any other child with sen having to undergo a range of assessments over a course of time, the one day method wont make things any better but a great deal worse!

Let’s be honest would you or I enjoy being sat in a room with a range of people staring at you like some caged animal reporting your every-more?

26 weeks is way too long but one day! Seriously there is no in-between with this government. I mean do the they really have the child’s best interest at heart?

We have to ask ourselves, has the green paper been created with the  ambition of improving the life chances open to children with sen, and  to offer better support for family members, or is it really their ambition to do away with essential services and provisions with little uproar, while at the same time attempting to reduce the number of  children that are placed on the SEN register?

It’s those children considered to have less complex needs that I’m  seriously worried for!  What defines less complex needs? I’ve spoken to many parents hundreds in-fact that have battled in the past  and present with both schools & local authorities to prove just how complex their child’s needs actually are! I know from past experience that schools won’t except this in-till your child is pushed to the point of self-destruction or has become a complete failure at everything due to the stress they have been placed under. Parents of children with Aspergers or high functioning autism find this to be the case a huge proportion of the time. School’s and LEAs say the same thing over and over again, “Your child isn’t an underachiever, therefore warrants no provision to be made for him/her!” Yet there they are whacking their heads against Walls with the frustration of the work load or noise levels in the classroom, they are always running into social difficulties, becoming isolated from their peers and even excluded on a daily/weekly  basis. It’s ludicrous!

By doing away with school action and school action plus I fear these children will suffer a great deal more than they are currently made too already! What with schools being able to commission the services and put the provision in place that these children are said to need, in this current financial climate is like playing with fire. Much more detail and reassurance is needed and although I know that we are once more welcome to give our views on the paper, I just feel given the length of delay in publishing the paper, including some finer details within in it as to make things a little clearer would have been most welcome!

Ministers have to give the public more information in regard to the finer details that make up the aspirations of the green paper. Including the legal aspects, cost (including how much this new system will put back in to the governments pocket in way of savings) and very importantly the statutory duties of those involve

To some parents this paper means nothing! To others it’s the prospect of a better further for their child in both the early years and that of early adult life. Making provision for children aged 0-25 in all areas of education, health and social care is long awaited. Will this be the start of something promising or just another unfulfilled promise by another Government?…. Only time will tell!

 

The waiting game

8 Mar

Is it just me or is the rest of the country wondering when the hell this ‘green paper’ is going to be published?

A little delay is fine, if anything we expect it, but this is fast becoming a joke

Children’s, families minister Sarah Teather has been promising to publish the green paper for months, first announcing it back in July 2010 it was said the paper was scheduled to be published in the autumn.

Sarah gave parents like me a glimmer of hope. Getting our children’s special educational needs met is something of an up hill battle at present. The green paper could potentially make things a tad easier, given that the views of parents and charitable organisations have been taken into consideration when first called upon.

With the promise of giving us parents more say when it comes to where our children are educated mainstream or other, and just how that education should be given sounded a blessing.

However this is just looking less promising by the day! I’m starting to wonder if this paper really exists at all. First it was November then it was  February now March, and so far no sign of any paper.

We as parents really don’t need such delays. All over the country our children are failed by the system on a daily basis. local authorities take forever to make important decisions regarding our children’s special educational needs and once made, these decisions are all to often the wrong ones!

Most have to endure the long drawn out process of appealing local authority  decisions to the tribunal just to get their childs special educational needs met. Even if a parent does manage to win their appeal nothing is set in stone with some local authorities failing to carry out the order of the judge.

The system is full of blanket policies and empty promises. The criteria children are expected to meet before a statutory assessments is carried out is unreasonable and it’s often the case that parents are given false information regarding the reasons surrounding a refusal whether that’s in relation to a refusal to assess or statement. The subject on timescales being met is a whole different matter altogether!

The prospect of a statement is undoubtedly small, those that do receive a proposed statement u can bet your life it needs amending. Then there’s those that look good on paper but contain many hidden little twist, wording that I can only describe as fluffy! Opportunities,often, assess to and my favorite by far, ‘regular’ are all terms often used within the childs statement meaning the provision isn’t as specific and clear as the parent first thought.

Then we have the subject of delegated funding. This one really bloody rattles my cage. To many LEAs are trying to wiggle out of their legal responsibilities when it comes to providing what’s in a childs statement informing parents the requirement to fulfil this duty no longer lies with them but the school instead. This is just pure horse s***!

Whether the school delivers the provision in the childs statement or not, the local authority have a legal duty to make sure that the child receives the provision stated in the statement. If they don’t it’s them who are in breach of the law, not the school!

I am sick of waiting for this system to fix up! I’m not suggesting for one minute the green paper will be the answers to our prays, “Not by a long shot” however this is a start and one that can’t come soon enough for some, myself included!

The word on the grapevine (well goggle) is that the paper is now complete, ‘said with rolling eyes and slight shake of the head.’ It’s contents will be but before a group of ‘leaders’ during the ‘green paper summit’ on Wednesday the 9th of March at Westminster.

This group of leaders will be made up of head-teachers/governing bodies of both primary and secondary schools, leaders of early years settings aswell as those of PRUs and of course members of the local authorities. Speakers at the conference include Sarah Teather herself, Charlie Henry (principal officer, special educational needs & disability, Ofsted) and Phil Snell (DFE) All will have the opportunity to respond to the paper, discussing any concerns etc. “Oh my god how I would just love to be a fly on that wall!”

The summit isn’t some ‘free’ event, but one that cost a rather nice tidy sum of money, £195.00 per delegate to be excate! Something tells me this won’t be coming out of their own pocket. I’m also wondering why on earth they would pay to attend especially those from the local authority, after all £195.00 is a great deal of money to those that don’t really give a damn about our children’s needs and are offering statements worth less. Is the money collected from the ticket sales going to be put back into the system in order to deliver the provision our children are all to often denied? Mmm, maybe it will be used for something much more important, I dunno like, “holidays and supplies of dog chum for snot nosed MPs”

Come on guys we are hanging out for this paper too! Are we ever gonna see what’s in it?

If the White paper anything to go by then I smell trouble

Here’s hoping that the wait proves worth it, and the green paper is a cut above the rest!

Were counting on you Sarah, every single one of us parents who has a child with SEN are preying you make us proud.

Note at the time of publishing it was discovered that the Government have proposed to publish the ‘Green Paper’ next Tuesday. This I will believe when I see it!

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