Special Educational Needs

Parent of Special Needs child tells of “lost 8 years” waiting for proper educational provision

In response to the last Derby News article on, “Council now misleading Department of Education on Special Needs Children Plans …”to avoid being in the headlines”, a parent from Sinfin contacted me, copying his complaint letter that he’d sent to the Chief Executive, Paul Robinson. This is reproduced below.

After many failed promises, Andy Smith, the Director of People’s Services committed that he would receive his education statement today – this has also failed!
Sadly, his experience is not unique, but the story of his struggle is moving.

Dear Mr Robinson

Our son P has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Since he start his education he had a lot of problems with socialising with other children. He is consequently suffering from bullying in every school. From 2011 we have tried to get statement of education needs for our son . Derby City Council refused several times to give a statement. In January 2017 City of Derby Academy SENCO requested a Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment. Derby City Council  missed the deadlines for a response and finally refused to do an assessment. After an appeal to the tribunal the Council, without opposing, accepted to carry out an assessment.

Again, after the assessment, the panel decided not to provide an EHCP. Once more we have appealed to the tribunal. On this occasion, again, the Local Authority has not opposed, and decided to provide an EHCP. In response to the Tribunal it has been stated that the L.A. will provide us with a draft EHCP by 29/01/2018.

The deadline for providing the EHCP has been missed again . We have complained 3 times in the last year  about missing deadlines( 7/04/17, 16/10/17 and most recent on 30/01/18) All complains have been sent to the Director of Children’s Services Andy Smith. Other officers involved are Brett Phillips and Justine Oliver.

In our opinion the Local Authority is doing everything to avoid providing support for our son and trying to gain time.

Bullying at school is very severe including physical , verbal and racial abuse. Until the beginning of year 6, P struggled educationally as well . We have provided him with a private tutor and spent time ourselves to help him get back on track. That showed us P is able to achieve good results at school. Unfortunately he does not feel well in the current school environment . Regardless,  placing P on SEN plans, schools are struggling to cope with bullying and protecting our son. There is lack of social training  and P is excluded socially. That makes him vulnerable for bullying.

P is also struggling educationally as he often cannot understand fully tasks.

He does need a person ( ideally personal assistant) with proper experience to help children with the Asperger condition. He also requires intensive social skills training and sensory exercises. It is over 1 year when the last EHCP assessment was requested( 26/01/2017).

Until today we have not received any response from our last complaint.

I hope you will be able to help our son to speed up the process, in this case, as we are extremely unsatisfied with current action and progress made by L.A.

Yours sincerely

T – P’s father

To Derby News:

We have received a reply from Mr Smith stating that we will get a draft EHCP by today 23.02. Again it has not happened. We have lost 8 years of our life to battle with education department . In my opinion help for disabled children does not exist in Derby. Since June 2017 we have to travel with children everyday to and from schools. We are living at Sinfin and schools are on Chaddesden. 
We have tried to complain to the Ombundsman but we have to go through all stages of the complain procedures in Derby City Council until it can be accepted.
Yours sincerely 

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