Making a Statement: Part II

On Saturday a letter arrived in the post with our LA logo on it. We weren’t expecting anything from Social Services or Early Years, so it had to be the decision of the panel which met last week to consider whether to proceed to statutory assessment for a statement of special educational needs for Boo.

I opened the letter with a good deal of trepidation. As I said in my last post, several people who work for our LA in different roles said categorically that they could not see the LA considering him for a statement on the basis of his age, and that we should expect to be turned down.

But the LA didn’t turn him down. They only bloody agreed to assess him. Can you hear the corks popping?

But why did they agree, I wonder? I’d like to think it was because his need is so obvious and the LA’s duty of care is so clear. I suppose the vain part of me would like to think that, in part, it was because I really did my homework. I phoned Contact a Family’s statementing helpline. I talked to various parents I know who have been down this route already in different LAs. I read Tania Tirraora’s incredibly helpful book Special Education Needs: Getting Started with Statements. I collated 11 recent reports from healthcare professionals and politely badgered those we hadn’t got one from until we did and sent copies of 12 months of IEPs.

Maybe it was these things. Maybe, the cynic in me thinks, it was that I mentioned that I would go to Tribunal if he was turned down. Maybe it was that I mentioned my involvement in the Parliamentary Inquiry into Disabled Childcare. I don’t know.

And I won’t ever know of course.

And I don’t know what will happen next.

I am really pleased we have got to this point without contentious conversations with the LA or legal proceedings having to start. But I have to admit that the timing  of all this (and it’s my fault) is shockingly bad.

There are very clear, statutory deadlines for each part of the statementing process, just as there will be for its replacement EHCP, which comes in in September. We received the LA’s decision two days ago. Before the end of August, the assessment process needs to be completed. At that point they will decide whether to issue a statement or not.

And we are going away for 2 weeks of this 6-week period. Boo’s special school, which he attends one morning a week, finishes for the summer holidays on Wednesday and won’t return until after the deadline has passed. His physio is away for 3 weeks, one of his consultants (the one who has to coordinate all the medical reports) is away right now, so can’t coordinate anything, and his SALT therapist only works term time.

I think we might be screwed. I feel I have let Boo down.

I phoned Boo’s case worker this morning to talk about these difficulties. Obviously, the LA can only go on the basis of evidence collated, so we will just have to hope as many people as possible respond by completing appendix B in the time frame permitted, and that where they can’t do that, that the reports we have already collated and submitted give the necessary info. I emailed everyone who might be contacted yesterday evening to warn them, in any case.

So there is a moral in this tale. Timing is everything with these things. Even with EHCP, which promises to be a much quicker process, deadlines will still apply. Trying to coordinate all stages of this lengthy process to avoid Christmas, Easter and especially the school summer hols is not easy, but it’s clearly advisable if possible.

So please cross your fingers that we can get over the calendar hurdle to the next stage, which will be the LA agreeing, we hope, to issue a statement and not (please, not) a note in lieu which sets out the kinds of provision he might need but binds no one to provide it. Oh and let’s hope I don’t have to cut short or return in the middle our holiday to Cornwall this summer for an Ed Psych assessment. Boy, do we all need a holiday.

I promise to keep you posted. And would love to hear about your experiences of statementing, assessment and how the holidays may have had an impact on experiences of these processes.

6 thoughts on “Making a Statement: Part II

  1. mylittledreamworld1

    I know nothing at all about the statementing process. It does shock me though how many hoops need to be jumped through so that one little boy can get what he needs. I work with older people (social work) and although there are processes, it seems to me that they are nothing like this. I always work around the person and their family, I don’t make them work around me. If a family member works until 5, I arrange reviews after 5.
    I hope you get the answers you need – after all your hard work and research I think that it’s the least you deserve.

    1. mrboosmum Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Your patients are so lucky to have you! Some of the people involved in Boo’s care are really considerate and great at scheduling things around other appointments and therapies and my work. Others are not at all. I understand why people need to work flexibly and part time, of course. But the inflexibility of the system (the fact it doesn’t recognise that) is a bit tough.

  2. swanarchie07

    I would try not to worry as to me it sounds like you have actually done the work they would of done over the 6week period so well done. Yes they will have a duty to contact them but they would of probably only sent the LA the same reports you had asked from them so in theory you have done the leg work. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly from here. And well done getting it in before the EHC deadline, I am actually suprised they havent offered you to go down the EHC route they still may ask that once they have decided a yes for statement. Whats your thoughts of that

    1. mrboosmum Post author

      Thanks, lovely. I think EHCP sounds good to me. It should be quicker and more holistic in its approach to care, which has to be good for kids like ours. We could have waited, but there is so much uncertainty about the new system and its implementation. On balance, I thought it was best to get the ball rolling, get into a system that was known to all parties (especially if it doesn’t go to plan as we know the appeal mechanisms are tried and tested) and then we can be moved over to EHCP when they decide. I really don’t mind at what point. I just want the provision to be laid out. Does that make sense?

      1. swanarchie07

        Completely understand and this is why I refused to trial them. I just wondered how othwr parents feel about them

  3. Sarah lou mum of two

    We had our meeting with the ed Psych for Lydias statement 6 weeks ago, she is now 3 1/2. I also pushed as it was in my view an inevitable requirement. Lydia is in a mainstream nursery with her twin sister but will also be taking a few hours in our local special needs nursery from September. I am still awaiting the report …. With dread…. I know( as I follow your blog ) you know only too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when again the obvious is spelled out on a piece of a4 and the realisation that they never will quite be the same as there siblings re dawns ! Any hoo the statementing change over to – ehcp is all still a little sketchy up in our part of the world so I am living in hope it will be better !
    I have to be honest and say that I had no problem in starting the statementing process. back in January all forms completed etc the main source of our problem was waiting to get her out, and then to get lydia to show her strengths and weaknesses….. sadly the latter came through and she would not … As i find in most our appointments these days … ” play ball” some people have since told me it is a good thing that she was seen in that light, so as though there would be no doubt the need is there, however I am quite honestly devastated. Mainly that they she didn’t show off her potential – not like a performing seal Imay add – but just to give that two finger salute to all those “specialists ” all those yrs gone by that said she wouldn’t even be able to breath for her self ! Any way I digress .

    I hope for all of us that the ECHP does stand up to all the hype and gets these little warriors the help they so deserve !

    (Oh and enjoy Cornwall remember theres always October half term to work towards, all the Boo’s need a break including there mummy x)


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