Tag Archives: Education Act 1996

Section one, Part (1) Introduction to special educational needs

13 Sep

  Introduction to Special educational needs

 So, what exactly is the definition of Special educational needs?

A child is only considered to have special educational needs, (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty that requires a greater level of support than his or her peers. This would therefore require educational provision to be made for the child.

 A child who has a disability that prevents them from fully accessing the same educational facilities as his or her peers, would also be considered to have SEN. This also counts for children who have social and emotional difficulties, or conditions that affect a child’s mental state, though this child would only be seen as having SEN providing such a condition hinders them from fully accessing educational facilities, therefore requiring provision that is either extra or different from what the school gives through its usual differentiated teaching.

 Children that are younger than the compulsory school age, can also be considered as having SEN, if it is determined early on, that such child could not fully access the same educational facilities as his or her peers, or they have a learning diffculty that will certainly require special educational provision that is extra or different to the provision given to his or her peers, as and when the child was to start full-time education.

Section 312 of the education act 1996, stats, Special educational provision means:

“a) For children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different form, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area.

b) For children under two, educational provision of any kind.”

Definitions in the 1998 Children Act (section 17 [11], Children Act 1989) defines a disability to be…

“A child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dump or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be described.”

 Autism and misconceptions

 It is often the case that parents of children whom have been diagnosed as having an autism spectrum condition assume that their child’s educational setting will naturally make adjustments and accommodations for the child! Most assume that a child with autism is automatically considered to have special educational needs, therefore requiring additional provision to be made. Again isn’t actually the case at all. A formal diagnosis of autism is just that, “A diagnosis of autism” nothing more, nothing less! Such a diagnosis does not entitle a child to receive additional educational provision (through the school must make reasonable adjustment for any child with a disability, this is a different thing all together).

 Although a child with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder is classified as having a, ‘disability’ this is not a ‘learning difficulty’. Whether the child has a learning difficulty is usually determined by the school or local authority (LEA) dependent of the child’s age.

 Common confusion

 It should be noted that despite a child’s autism, they may well succeed academically, requiring little if any extra provision at all. This is more commonly the case for children diagnosed with High functioning autism or Aspergers syndromeHowever it is extremely important to remember that regardless of a child with autism high academic progress, who may have even received the top grades in their class, can still be considered and seen as having special educational needs. As mentioned before, if such a condition as autism affects areas of the child’s social and emotional functioning while at school, hindering the way they access education could result in a child being placed on the special educational needs register. Behavioural difficulties, exclusions, misunderstandings, due to poor social interaction and communication, increased anxiety and school refusal are all factors that should be taken into account when considering if a child has SEN. Sadly it is often the case that LEAs refusal to carry our a statutory assessment or even issue a statement as they claim the child does well academically therefore not requiring additional provision to be made. This is not true and certainly isn’t a good enough reason not to make educational provision for such a child.

 Lastly it is important to remember that just because a child doesn’t speak English as a first language doesn’t  mean they have SEN.

 Coming up next time… Section one understanding special educational needs, part two, ‘The stages of SEN and is my child receiving the right type/amount of support?’

All information has been created to help others for their own personal use, this advice is independent and is given by myself a lone (No 3rd party participated was used throughout). Please do not use article for anything other than personal use, nor edit the information in any way. All published articles, throughout this site remain property of the author and this blog. Alway seek permission before using any post for anything other than described above. 

Thank you 



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Fix the system not the child!

24 May

Angry blogs are never a good idea but in more cases than not totally can’t be helped.

I used to daydream about what life would be like when I’m a mummy, Like most young girls I saw the perfect picture of marriage and children. In conversations with friends you would always say I wonder what my child will look like and 9 times out of ten you form this picture in your head. I think we all say we are moving to spain 🙂 well those of us from the UK. We girls create this perfect image of adult life that of course is not the reality we will come to face. I’m in no way stating my children are not perfect because to me all three of them are perfect in every way and I’m incredibly lucky to be a mum. The point I’m trying to make is we never consider what life would be like with a child that challenged us and our strength to be a parent. do we ever wonder about the kind of personality they may have? I remember little mans birth and the shock when I discovered he had a mob of red hair. I will be honest when I state I was upset by this but only because of society and the way people act about red heads. For this reason little man spent his first few days of life with a hat stuck to his head. When my hormones had settled and the shock wore of I was fine. I was only shocked because it wasn’t the picture I had created in my head, Of course I didn’t care what colour hair he had he was my beautiful baby. Little mans red hair was always to blame for his unruly behaviour people would say red hair fiery temper or oh it’s the red in him that does it! We still get that remark! I feel like shouting ‘ NO IT’S NOT HIS BLOODY HAIR IT’S AUTISM’ I was so worried he would be a child who was bullied for having red hair because as we all know kids are crawl. I used to take him to all the toddler and under fives playgroups in the hope he would have a great social life growing up he would form good strong friendships. He would be invited to everyone’s birthday party or he would be off playing in the park with the other children and I would be sat chatting with the parents. Again reality would bite me in the bum as I was quick to learn I wasnt a school gate mum and little man would often get barred from the park! But regardless of it all I totally loved him with all my heart and always will.

So there is a point to all this reminiscing. Little man like thousands of other children on the spectrum are always being expected to change or fit in with “society” They live life with the consent threat of exclusion if it is felt they don’t fit in with the so-called  requirements of  events and activities they are often left behind. Are you under some illusion that those with Autism & Aspergers don’t feel rejected? It’s the insensitive actions of others that lead our children to the world of depression and anxiety. Every family touched by Autism has a story to tell. Most if not all of these stories are based around parents and careers forever having to fight the system for their childs rights. I ask whats the point of the Special educational needs code of practice, and the Disability Act if the LEA has no regard to the code? I applied for a statutory assessment of little mans educational needs under section 328 of the Education Act 1996. The Sen Code states the LEA must come to a decision if to carry out such an assessment under section 323 within six weeks. Little mans case was to be brought to the panel on the 15th-Apr-10 though this didn’t happen. I waited a week rang them only to discover it had been delayed and would now be heard on the 14-May-10. The LEA told me the delay would be explained to me in a letter in which of course im still waiting on. Again the date past and I called this time I was told my request was denied. It’s the 24th-May-10 and the LEA have still not wrote to explain the reasons it is refused and my rights to an appeal. With this I called Ipsea who confirmed that the LEA where clearly not complying with the code. I have written to the LEA and asked them to release the decision and reasons for delay. I have given them five working days before taking the matter further which really gets my back up! Why do I have to go down this route? Its one obstacle after another.  It’s ludicrous that not only am I having to appeal I’m also having to battle for the required information to do so. It’s easy to see that given the pure state of the education system why so many children are left without school placements. Now yes I am pretty wind up but given the current circumstances who can blame me? In my view inclusion and the whole school approach is pointless if no one is going to take it seriously

Since my last update concerning little man and school things seemed to be up and down, but giving that there were a few positives I was clinging to the hope of a turn around. This hasn’t happened and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t see no clear way forward. It seems that any accomplishments little man has made in relation to school and wanting to go are close to disappearing and all our hard work undone. Now Before I pour my heart out and cry all over my Mac I wish to praise little mans morning TA who I consider to be an exceptional teacher who offers him a great amount of support and even better understanding. His mornings at school are improving and from the conversation we had recently and the comments she writes in his contact book I can only assume she has had some degree of training in working with children on the spectrum and if not then I can only put it down to a gift. He has a great relationship with her and has opened up to her in many ways. On reading his contact book she mentions an outburst he has in class when a teacher talks about the weather being so hot, she goes on to say that to calm down they went for a walk and sat in the playground under a tree. It was then she wrote that after speaking with him it had become clear that the Irritability and anger was real anxiety about the hot weather. I almost cried as for once someone other than me was relating to him and understanding him! Thats all he needs I am confidante that this TA well help my son to grow and over time the behaviour to fade. She is the one person who has taken the time to ask me what I do in certain situations or why he may display a certain behaviour. She is keen to take my contribution on board and happy to try suggested techniques This in itself goes a long way in proving that working in partnership with the parent of the child on the spectrum is extremely beneficial. If this TA wasn’t in class and Little man had this same out burst that involved him being loud, aggressive and dangerously throwing things what would have happened? Exclusion is pretty likely or a playtime missed is another option! Any of these actions would result in further outburst and in addition other punishments. I’m not in any way saying the other teachers are useless! His classroom teacher has over 30 students and it would be impossible to provide little man with this degree of one 2 one support but it’s also the lack of training. How can someone possibly understand if they know nothing about it? A year and a half ago I was ripping my hear out not knowing what to do next and at times still do. I’ve been to a number of classes and workshops, Have created two active social networks and an autism art room and devoted to advocating, reading and researching the condition to better understand my child. But He still brings me a new challenge all the time the whole things a learning game. The system is failing children everywhere all with different strengths and weaknesses. What most forget is just because you are able to deal with the challenges of one child on the spectrum in no way means you will be able to deal with the next! They state our children have stereotyped behaviours but what is this? It’s the same! Just because a child has autism don’t mean his the same as another autistic child of the same age every child autistic or NT is an individual no two children on the spectrum are the same and educational settings should bear this in mind.

I’m pretty sure you are wondering how little man can possibly be experiencing any problems at school given the improvements he has made since working with his TA. Well sadly the TA only works with him in the mornings and once afternoon comes around all that hard work is wasted as little man gets into situations that always lead him into being labeled the disruptive child with the foul language. Since my last school update little man was excluded from his trip and went on to be excluded from school. His on the fifth exclusion since 3rd March this year. There is a week left till half team and if little man gets excluded before then the Head teacher will be forced to meet with the Governors. Since returning to school last Monday he has been placed on a behaviour contract and full-time one 2 one has been put into place. I have no personal dislike to his lunchtime TA and im not trying to blacken him in any way when I say his just no good for little man. It’s with this TA he finds himself in the most trouble. His hit him and called him names and our biggest problem right now is he runs away from this TA which has landed him in some serious problems that I am soon to touch apron. Find a trigger and remove the trigger. Maybe im wrong but it’s looking like the TA is the trigger. Why is little man like this with this TA? Simple little man sees him as a peer not a teacher. Yes he like the morning TA but knows where he stands with her. Yes he also likes the afternoon TA but sees him as his buddy. I just want whats right for little man, yes he has to deal with things better but only if the system operates better. I thank the school for putting all these provisions in place but as my child continues to be excluded and I am still receiving calls relating to behaviour then lt’s clear that the school can no longer meet his needs. So an appeal for the assessment is a must and with them fluffing around little man’s problems are growing.

As for little man running away well its got to the point that this has led to a serious incident in which has caused my child become increasingly stressed over his return to school after the weekend. Little man again has run through the school hall where the After school club takes place and as it was half an hour or less before home time they are busy setting up! BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER I MUST STATE THAT ALTHOUGH THE CLUB OPERATES AT THE SCHOOL IT IS SEPARATE AND IS NOT RELATED IN ANYWAY OTHER THEN THEY ARE BOTH RUN BY THE SAME LEA. So as little man was running the worker shouted for him to leave. At this point another child who little man loves to play fight with shows up. Now i’m guessing that little man may have shown of a little but also was pretty impulsive when he called her a bitch ( Not good I agree ) With that it is said that the worker said ‘YOUR MUM’S A BITCH’ His friend heard it and shouted something and with this the worker bent down to little mans level and made him feel uncomfortable by how close she came, She went on to say ‘ You can’t talk to me like this I’m not your teacher’ My son may act like his not scared of anything but she scared him. He came dashing down the corridor to find me in the office. He had to be stopped as he tried to run into the Heads office as inspectors were in and having a meeting. He was clearly very upset as he was crying and to me seemed a little shocked. Yes I wanted to go and talk to her but left it to the school staff and tried to do the right thing. Lets not forget this is a school im in and as angry as I was there was mine and other children to consider. Of course she denied it which again brought little man to tears. She claims to of had another adult with her but my son also had another child and it was clear to see he wasn’t lying. Aspies are not good liars and don’t often try to be. I’m upset that after speaking with the deputy head I discover the TA wasnt there because little man run away (AGAIN) I’m also upset that the school refuse to take responsibility  alongside the after school club. They state that although it was during school hours it is the after school club that needs dealing with. However I do have a point that I deem to be strong and worth quoting. A few days prior I received a call at home in the evening from the headteacher informing me and asking me to prepare little man to miss his playtime the following day. The reason was he had run a long the after school club tables and called a member of staff who works for the club a fat pig. It’s too confessing for my child to be punished for something only for an adult of th same club to swear at him a few days later. I now have the challenge of getting him there today. Like it’s not enough. He went to bed crying that he was scared last night and im going to feel awful in these next few hours as I have to insist he goes. How is this fair and why should a child with Aspergers or any child in fact have to attend school fearing an adult. Yes ive explain she only comes at home time but he can’t see it like this yes he understands but can’t get past the fear. So as it’s 5am already and I have not slept a wink regardless of little man having gone to sleep at a pretty decent hour I best finish here and sort myself out. But before I finish I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for the support and thanks to the readers who joined the groups over on Facebook!

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows for EVERY child that looks in one!


24 Apr

First guest post by my good friend Donna who attended Court with me on the 30th March 2010 regarding attendance. Here is what she had to say....

What was the point?

After attending Court with my best mate Claire I walked away with a head full of questions a heart full of conflicting emotions. And a sore chin ( due to my gobsmacked response to the guilty verdict. )

obviously I was happy that the more serious charge of “intention” ie.. that Claire intended to keep the children away from school wasn’t upheld-anyone with two brain cells who knew anything about Aspergers would agree with the verdict. However I’m left wondering how many brain cells the person/people have who decided to raise the question of “intention”

In reference to the “guilty” verdict-did it take the cost of bringing this case to court, the time of the professionals involved and the stress & worry claire had to endure to state the obvious? Yes she was aware the childrens attendance record was “only” 76% ( Or there abouts )  A score that would be given an A or B grade if achieved in an A’ level exam. We’re talking about a 9 & 7-year-old not kindergartener’s Theres no way the kids could ‘wag’ ( as we use to call it ) off school without Claire knowing although I wouldn’t put it past Little Man giving it a ago 🙂

This was a “criminal” case that in my opinion was criminal only in the fact that it was brought to court at all!

What was achieved? Apart from Claire having to pay a fine ‘Which in practical terms can only have an effect on the kids welfare! Money spent paying the fine is money that would have been spent on them? Well lets think…..erm…….Oh yes that’s right A BIG FAT NOTHING. So it was confirmed Claire knew the children had been absent on numerous days-So what? Does that do anything to resolve the matter or at least improve it? Again a BIG FAT ZERO! The reason for the children being absent is rooted in the diagnosis of Aspergers. A court case isn’t going to do change this fact! & since Claire is already doing all she can to educate herself on all areas of Aspergers, Plus asking for help from numerous professionals, Society’s, Groups etc I can’t see how she can do more!

contributor: Donna Jordan.


1 Apr

So yesterday was the big day. I was a little nervous but extremely looking forward to it coming to an end. I hated having Court hanging over me! I wanted it out the way so that I didn’t have to worry that everything I said and anything that happened was likely to be twisted and used against me.

The fault of having to wait till the 15th April for a decision on assessment was driving me nuts. Then even if they did assess it could take another five months to come to a decision. Five months is one hell of a long time when you face the daily battles we do. Trust me If I was able to just pull him out I would but I can’t so I just have to deal with it best I can.

I was told to be at Court for 1.30 pm  as trail was listed for 2 pm. I got there pretty early and to others I think I kinda looked keen. I sat in the waiting room and waited for my solicitor and a friend to arrive. Once there we went over my case. Solicitor was confidant. He told me that their main witness was the Educational welfare officer. He told me much of her statements contradicted what she had wrote in letters addressed to me. He stated that she had not mentioned that she hadn’t received little mans diagnosis. Solicitor would tell the Court of my struggles at getting little man to attend school. There was his and my lack of sleep then his morning meltdowns. Despite this school still offered no help in getting him to school. His sister was falling behind and I was worried that she was going to face problems maintaining friendships with her peers. This hasn’t happened and I’m pleased in saying Alice has many friends and is doing pretty well in school. So much for offering me extra help once he received a formal diagnosis. Then thinking about this it’s clear as to why she had not put this down! I hadn’t discovered that the school didn’t have a formal diagnosis filed in his records in till the end of December 09. Her statements had been written for Court in september. Maybe she really wasn’t aware the school had lost the diagnosis till I had told her or maybe she was just hoping that I was never going to find out. Either way to me it boiled down to the same thing. With or without a diagnosis things would remain the same. The only reason provisions had been put in to place these last few months was because I had battled for them and his behaviour had gone off the scale. Then they didn’t want to look stupid in Court. I asked what the prosecutor was asking for if was was found guilty. THREE MONTHS IN PRISON!! or LEVEL 4 FINE or even BOTH.

The time was passing by quickly. 2 pm had come and gone and we still waited. The more I sat the more I felt uptight about telling my side. I had done it so many times I was used to speaking up for my children but not in Court. I just wanted it over. We waited till gone 3 pm before we were called. Reason for the delay was their backlog from the morning. The solicitor had been watching at other cases in the court room which all seemed to be breaches of probation. He assured me that from what he had observed the judges were very fair. Well I was about to find out just how fair they really were.

Stood in a box with a hard plastic screen I felt like an animal in a cage at the zoo. Lucky for me there was a hard wooden bench for me to sit on. I was going to need that bench as I was still in that box two hours later. I listen to the education welfare officer telling the court about my life from her lens. I hated having to sit listening without being able to respond. My solicitor done a fantastic job but I still wanted to throw things at her. I best re word that! I wanted to ask her questions. However she did say in Court that she was    understood little man was now having difficulty in school.

I waited for the Head teacher to stroll through the doors and into the court room to tell his side. I had received his statement the day after the reintegration meeting. I was hacked of big time but once clam could see that this statement was no worth the paper it was written on. Lets not forget as Alice’s attendance was a mirror of little mans I was there for the both of them. The head had not mentioned Alice nor had he mentioned attendance! This was my reason for being here after all. All he wrote was about not getting the diagnosis till February 09 and that provisions were in place for little man. Anyhow turns out the Head teacher was not attending. The prosecutor asked the Judge if it was ok to use his statement in court. With this he agreed took the statement and read it. He read it and put to one side. He didn’t even refer to it! Thats how relevant it was to the matter. Well next it was my turn. Nervous No I had sat in that box so long I was glad to leave it behind and stretch my legs as I took the walk to the witness box.

Here it goes my chance to tell it how it was. My solicitor asked me a number of questions in relation to little man and Alice. I spoke loudly and looked at everyone within the room holding my head high, I wanted the judge to see I was not going to lie. I told how the school would refuse to help when he was refusing to go. I spoke off the trouble he had with sleeping and how in turn this affected me. I told them that I had managed to create a very good routine. I also explained that little man had undergone two exclusions in the past two weeks. I also told of the unofficial exclusions. I wanted them to understand what Asperger’s was all about. So when my solicitor asked me to explain what Aspergers was and how it affected little man I was more then happy to answer. I listed all my concerns with toilet phobia ( Locking of doors ) non eating of lunch I then explained just how bad behaviour had become. I was pleased with everything i had said and there was nothing I wished I had said differently. When The prosecutor stood up I have to admit I fault crap here we go. She was scary and I found her to not only speak to my solicitor in an abrupt manner but the judge also. Well it was short and sweet. I read a statement out and she asked if The Head teacher had ever collected the children. I said no. She asked again! And again I said no. She turned to Kim who shook her head as to say No as did the other lady who I think is her boss maybe.  I must admit I wanted to laugh. She then asked if I was their parent and did I know it was my responsibility?  In which I answered yes of course! And that was it she had no further questions. Shocked I went back to my little wooded bench in my plastic box.

The three judges retired to make their decision. I was thankfully allowed out of my box where I went to speak with my friend and solicitor. He was pleased at how things had progressed and My friend said I sounded fine. I grabbed some water and we stepped outside for a bit. This is when I got the Mother of all shocks. The Head teacher was busy alright! He had left a voice mail on my phone explaining that little man had hit a TA and another child and he was on a four day exclusion. My blood boiled. I could feel my heart pumping so fast it almost leaped out my chest. My cheeks were burning and I wanted to run into that court room and tell them all what a disappointment it was. I knew what Little man had done was totally unacceptable but being here in court listening to the prosecutor saying he needed routine he was best of in school not at home! Made me sick. I called my solicitor out and told him. I almost cried as I did. I think it all hit me. I was soon going to hear my fate. Yet here I am knowing that once I return home I have to deal with all this rubbish again. We could not tell the judge as when they reentered the room their decision was made. Like it or not I was gonna hear it.

NOT GUILTY OF Section 444 (1A) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails without reasonable justification to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence.”,

GUILTY OF Section 444 1 (failure to secure regular attendance at school)

I was so disappointed as the Judge had said he understood and that the school needed to pull their fingers out as little man should not be in that school. He said he worries for Alice as she suffers because of little man.  He then come out with the however part and that’s when you know things have not gone 100% your way. It was shocking as the prosecutor had requested that had I be found guilty of 444 (1A ) I should serve a three month prison term or high fine. As 444 1A is a lot more serous the 444 1 it can only be dealt with in one off or even both off these two ways. (a) to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or

(b) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months,

I guess I should be pleased then. For Section 444 1 I received a £100 fine for each of the children. I also was requested to pay £200 court cost. Maybe the judge felt sorry for me as the authority had requested I pay cost of £900 (thats me rounding it off! It was £800 and something) each child. What if I had gone to prison? I have three kids indoors. Youngest being three months, Then who would take care of little man all day through exclusion. I sure know his dad wouldn’t be overly keen on it. But it had not come to that ( Thank god ) However I did have to go home and deal with little man for hitting a child and a TA. I needed to consider how best to deal with it as it was a very serious matter. This and the fact I had to again deal with the school was depressing. I was at court for the attendance of my autistic son, yet my son was at school being excluded. Somehow it seemed wrong. Really, really wrong

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