Basis of the Claim
I have a daughter with a Moderate Learning Difficulty and secondary speech, language and communication problems as a result of an immature brain. Lucy is in Year 7 at a mainstream school. She is happy at school and has many friends. However, she requires close assessment and monitoring of her NC progress. Due to her cognitive profile and slow progress it has become clear that upon leaving primary school her KS2 grades were way over inflated and so the problems begin – there is a conflict of school performance v school inclusion policies and a brick wall of trying to get answers on the anomaly’s in my daughters progress. In order to get answers and to plan appropriate provision, historical records are crucial. I need access to full transferred school records and am being denied.
I made two unfavourable treatment claims against the school and one of not anticipating necessary reasonable adjustment to her assessment method. I have received a Tribunal Order proposing to strike out the claim with reference to the two unfavourable treatment claims only. It made no reference to the reasonable adjustment claim so I don’t know if that still stands or not. These were:
Lucy’s needs are specific educational. There should be some way to say that a robust S&L plan including monitoring arrangements should have been accommodated in some way surely? If so, how would I show disadvantage to Lucy?
The judge has made no comment to this claim. Lucy’s grades are a mess at school as they are not able to track her progress properly. They are using PIVATS which has not been updated to meet the needs of the new curriculum and won’t be until September 2015 and it only covers core subjects and so history, geography, ICT and are struggling to score her as they do not have the tools to do so. BSquared covers these areas, is updated to meet the needs of the curriculum but the school have chosen not to use it. I don’t believe the school has anticipated reasonable adjustments to Lucys assessment, monitoring or reporting methods. I don’t know if this part of the claim still stands or not – I’ve sought clarity from the judge.
Clare, would you be able to provide some basic advice so that I can go away think about it and draft a tribunal response to keep the claim being heard? I just need some basic direction to have a go at trying to re-present my case. Can you help?
Yes, I have several speech and language therapist reports, the last was in year 5 and an OT report from 2012. I have recently had Lucy reasssessed by an OT this March to support my SEN Appeal on parts 2 & 3 of the statement. Primary school clearly implemented 1 hours provision for OT, the senior school have not but have presented their case well. I know it has holes in it but don't know how to address it. The problem is the NHS OT report from 2012 was vauge, non the less, the primary school made appropriate provision and followed the recommendations by the OT. The senior school have not and have referred to their Midyiss test to demonstrate that Lucy's visual problems are within a low average banding and not perhaps as significant as they truely are and that they have addressed her visual concerns appropriately. However, another report was presented by a charity (B.I.R.D) Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Development which clearly highlighted significant problems with visual perception in more detail than the OT in 2012 and together these two documents were submitted to the LA during the statementing process. The LA ignored the BIRD report. The senior school clearly do not understand Lucy's full difficulties, however they know the provision the primary school put in place. They do not have full school records as I requested and are questioning if I ever shared the strategies to be implemented in school with the primary school. I did share those strategies and clearly the primary school did what it needed to do. The senior school has not.
The statement also sets out a whole school approach to communication and interaction which they state they are implementing effectively to cover Lucy's speech and language needs, however, there are no monitoring arrangements to this provision. TA's in each subject class instruct Lucy following the strategies concerned to allow her access to the currciulum, that's it. They don't monitor the impact of the use of those strategies and so there effectively is no speech and language therapy program in place. I do not know the impact of the interventions they are using nor how the TA's report back to the one person who would decided Lucy's Speaking and Listening PIVAT score. I have been denied TA monitoring records and informed they only keep records for their own personal use so I do not understand how information is shared to determin the effectiveness of the whole school approach to Lucy's communication and interaction needs i.e speech and language problems. The monitoring arrangements at the annual review were rubbish and are equally vauge in her statement. As Lucy's needs are specific educational, I need to know if there is an argument to be had for a reasonable adjustment for OT and speech and lanauage programs and monitoring in the absence of her statement being vauge and solid provision having already been put in place at primary school? Hope that makes sense? Many thanks for your help. Best wishes Kirsty
No, I don't know what kind of report would provide that other than evidence of progress. They say she has made measurable progress. I have said how? Let me see records, PIVAT performance indicators, monitoring records and they will not let me see them. There is no evidence from them to show me how they have tracked her progress. This is the basis of my complaint - assessment, monitoring and reporting of progress. I have no grades for ICT, History, Geography as PIVATS do not break these areas down and so my T3 assessment period report was blank - I complained and got no response. It's a mess. There are no monitoring arrangement for strategies in place. I don't know any other expert report which could confirm the impact on Lucy of proper provision if it was in place. The only argument I can think of is that I created my own rate of progress charts from primary school - SLT was heavily target and it showed a 2 sub-level increased per year (I don't think this is true but that is what was reported to me). Neither schools have provided me with a rate of progress or speed of learning for Lucy despite many requests to do so. I have said since joining Saddleworth her progress has stalled so my only argument would be the provision put in place at primary school which was good against the provision being supplied at senior school against her speed of progress which they don't have but I do. Would that do? K
Well no, excellent question. I've tried to obtain that data and the response was not favourable. As part of Lucy's condition there should be an analysis of comparative data both with other children with her condition nationally and in relation to her peer group. The school held an annual review on 31st March and my parental advice asked for comparative data. I was denied this and was told to look up my own national statistics - this is in the Annual Review Summary. Interestingly, the school has just had an ofsted inspection which made reference in their report to children who come into school at a lower ability level, have a disability or with SEN and do close the gap nationally and perform well. I wrote to the Chair of Governors asking what data comparison and analysis source they use for Lucy...he told me to ask ofsted as I was refering to their report. I asked him again to answer the question and received no response. I also wrote to the SENCO and asked what other schools do for someone like Lucy as they appeared to be struggling. I received no response. So, I would like to know that data, but they won't tell me. K
I haven't done any research on what other schools have done and quite frankly I don't see why I should. As a parent of a disabled child that is an unreasonable expectation to have. I've gone through 16 educational professionals leading from the class teacher right up to the Chief Execuive of an LA just because I asked for a graph and how SATS work for someone like Lucy at the end of KS2. This difficulty transferred to senior school. It is an unreasonable expectation to have of a parent to go hunting out around special schools and finding comparative data when it IS a reasonable and expected activitiy of schools to have a reliable source of comparative and historical iinformation to perform an analysis of historical and future performance. This can come through a tool called CASPA. I have already mentioned it to the LA and school and get ignored. It is well used for SEN children. The school can not answer any of my questions. Would a judge seriously expect me to go out and do the job of the school who should be using their best endeavours to help my daughter. I've already had to sit and figure out my own graphs as the schools won't provide any kind of speed of progress or representation of Lucy's learning profile. If I have to, I will but at this rate, I might as well home school. That has really got to me. Not ranting at you just venting. K
Ok thanks. Would it help if I had documentation from the highest authority for schools to prove a cover up in relation to school performance? You see, this is all about school performance. My daughter learns in such small steps and has a limited cognitive profile that it actually unpicks and unravels the very discriminatory decisions being made which are decisions based around school performance agenda's and not in the interests of Lucy. This is why I am facing a brick wall of answers from primary, LA and senior school. It unravels a cover up. Would that be the approach to take to prove discrimination?