So the last couple of weeks I have been extremely frustrated in regards to our LEA. It seems we are the example of how NOT to conduct a statement from request to final. Where 26 weeks turned into 48!
Tuesday I phoned the SEN manager at 9am, he promised either he or the case worker (who apparently is incapable of conveying any message other than ‘I have to consult with the manager’) would ‘try’ to contact me by 5pm Wednesday.
Wednesday evening came, no phone call…. I was so frustrated I emailed the SEN team manager, I copied in the MP, the social worker, the strategic commissioning manager for SEND, and the start of life minister.
Yesterday evening (Thursday) I got a reply.
I was sorry to receive your e-mail below in which you express the level of frustration that you are feeling.
My understanding is that, following our previous communications, we have now reached agreement with regard to the content of Dinky’s statement – with the exception of a school which has yet to be named in Part 4. With regard to this last point, we have referred to a range of independent/non-maintained special schools, in line with your preference. We have done this twice, with your agreement, to ensure all settings have seen Dinky’s revised statement as well as the original proposed statement, and thus to maximise the opportunity to obtain responses from appropriate schools. As it is, the second round of referrals did not lead to any further responses from other settings.
In our previous communications you indicated that, having visited, you would like dinky to have a day placement at x School.
I am pleased to confirm that x school has formally offered a place for Dinky, with effect from 4th September, and the Local Authority is in agreement with this placement.
Unless you respond to this e-mail stating that you no longer want a place at x school for dinky, we will issue a Final Statement naming that school.
We will also accept the offer of the place with x school and ask that they contact you directly to make arrangements for Dinky to start there at the earliest, mutually convenient opportunity. I understand that this might need to build up to full time over the first couple of weeks.
We will also advise our Transport Team about this placement and someone from that team will contact you in due course to make arrangements for Dinky’s daily travel to the school.
Please do not hesitate to contact me and/or the case worker, if you have any queries, or wish to discuss any of this.
I should be so excited and happy that we finally have a school placement for the awesome Dinky, however…
It feels like going to a restaurant and knowing you want ice cream as a desert, you have finished and you ask what types of ice cream they have.
In your head you are thinking about someone who has raved about Ben and Jerry’s chocolate fudge, sounds delicious. You then start to think about the other types you could have raspberry ripple, or lemon sorbet.
So when you are told the only one you can have is vanilla, it is slightly disappointing. There is nothing really wrong with Vanilla ice cream, it is quite nice but plain and really devoid of flavour.
It means instead of getting the bits you want in the ice cream as standard, you have to feel like an inconvenience by asking for some chocolate sauce, or toppings.
It is the same with the school. There, it is very simplistic, there are big plans but nothing there.
So this morning I got onto the school, they were surprised I had not been told about the placement sooner as the LEA had officially accepted and agreed a placement last week for Dinky, and the Higher level TA was notified on Tuesday.
I was so annoyed at the SEN team!
I discussed my safety concerns, and after seeing Dinky’s report they have put up 7 foot sports netting around the 3-4ft wall that Dinky could have got over, and before she starts they are going to make sure that she can’t leave the premises without an adult.
I discussed starting with the school and Dinky is going to two induction days on Thursday 4th September, and Friday 5th September. Then she will go Monday, Wednesday and Friday until both myself and the school feel she is ready to go in full time.
I am going in to meet Dinky’s teacher and 1:1 TA on Tuesday afternoon while she is out at play care, and discuss her provision.
I got on to the social worker, who was actually brilliant. I won’t say that too loud as she started off as the biggest muppet going and now she seems to be trying.
She completely agreed that the SEN manager was out of line not giving me a 2 minute email Tuesday afternoon to say that Dinky has been offered a place at x school. She was pleased they have put up the fencing and she is going to drive me down to the school for the meeting on Tuesday. At least then I don’t have to call her to tell her how it went.
If she carries on being half decent then I can see this actually working with the social worker. Which I NEVER thought I would say!
So yes after 48 weeks… We finally have a statement and a school for Dinky!