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Ask an SEN advisor

SpecialNeedsJungleSpecialNeedsJungle Member Posts: 8 Listener
edited April 9 in Guest blogs
Hi, I'm Tania Tirraoro, the Special Educational Needs Advisor for the community. I'm the founder of and parent of two teen sons with Asperger's. I'm also disabled myself through Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a long term health condition. I'm a journalist, author and constantly in need of a nap


  • kathrynkathryn Member Posts: 8
    edited June 2014

    We have just been through the tribunal process and managed to get SLT and named LSa and structured programmes on P's statement. the problem is the school will not impliment. We have spoken to the school, we have written formal complaints to the LA and she is still not having her needs met. We really do not want to go down the path of a Judical review. Do we have any other options
    thanks in advance
  • HeatherHeather Member Posts: 188 Listener
    Hi Tania...Welcome to Netbuddys and I love the Special Needs Jungle! Sure you'll be kept busy here! I have to agree with Kathryn. My son's severe special needs school were not following state proceedures, or actioning his statement needs. When I complained through all the right channels the Head and Govenors ignored my letters. We went to the LEA who didn't believe that this had been going on for 18 months and our son's health and safety had been put at risk. My reply was, even though it's in the statement, parents have very little power to enforce it. We took our son out of the school with social services backing and fought for an independent school, which we won. Investigations are now taking place, but it's too little too late in our case. So what powers to get a statement actioned do we have? It's pretty worthless if schools just ignore them.
  • SpecialNeedsJungleSpecialNeedsJungle Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited August 2015
    Hi Kathryn.
    Thanks for your question.
    It is the local authority's duty to ensure that part3 of a statement is implemented. This is a legal responsibility whether the provision is educational or health in nature.
    If you have had no success speaking to the school or LA, you could try writing to the chair of governors for the school and the SEN governor for the school.
    Alternatively, you could get a lawyer to write a letter on your behalf stressing their legal duty to provide. An SEN lawyer will, of course, also explain the Judicial Review process to you as well.
    After you have tried the Chair of Governors and the complaints procedure, you could then write to the ombudsman.
    IPSEA's website has a case study of a failure to implement.
    Good luck!
  • SpecialNeedsJungleSpecialNeedsJungle Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Hi Heather
    Thanks for your question and I'm glad you like SNJ.
    I'm glad you got the solution you needed for your son.
    You're right, if Kathryn's school simply cannot provide the provision, maybe she should seek a specialist school- many people, including myself, do this.
    However, a statement is a legally enforceable document and sometimes the powers that be need to be reminded of this by a lawyer or judicial review. The new system will also be legally enforceable when it eventually comes in - although they haven't quite figured out how to do this for the health provision of an Education Health and Care Plan yet!
  • taltal Member Posts: 1
    Dear tania
    1. as a Camden resident can I put a Barnet Academy as my second choice for secondary?
    2. With SEN does the address/proximity to the school play any part or is it totally insignificant?
    Many thanks
  • SpecialNeedsJungleSpecialNeedsJungle Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited August 2015
    Hi Talia
    Sorry, I didn't see an alert for your message. Academies have different rules than maintained schools for SEN and can make their own policies. A child with a statement goes to the top of the list for a maintained school but there has been much controversy over Academies and their admissions for SEN pupils. This will change under the new reforms but it is best to look each individual school's admissions policy.
    You can name any school on your preference form but if you put a popular school as second choice your chances of securing that school are much reduced.
    Barnet website says: if you are not a Barnet resident you must apply for a school place on the Common Application Form provided by the borough in which you live. Check neighbouring borough admissions for further information.

    Hope that helps
  • HeatherHeather Member Posts: 188 Listener
    Hi Tania. Can I ask on behalf of friend, their children are high functioning autism. They sort of cope at school ,make some progress so education are happy not to put in any support! But at home life can be hell with constant meltdowns and verbal, physical violence. Yet social services and special needs respite say the children don't meet the criteria for help? What about the poor families needing help? Any advice please?
  • SpecialNeedsJungleSpecialNeedsJungle Member Posts: 8 Listener
    This is a familiar story - children on the spectrum often hold in their frustrations and anxieties at school and then it all comes out when they get home.
    Any SENCo should know this if they know what they're doing. It's not good enough for them to say 'we don't see this at school.' and "sort of coping" at school isn't good enough for anyone's child.
    School is supposed to be a place where children can thrive and learn and be a positive experience which is so often not the case with ASD children.
    Your friend should make an appointment to see the SENCo or head teacher. Before she goes, she should make a list of her concerns about her child so that she doesn't forget them. She should speak to her child about their school day if possible - just gently - try to ascertain what the stressor points in the day are. It could be something such as the seating position, the noise level, being bullied, low self-esteem, playtimes.
    Explain that she is looking for a holistic solution and what can they do to help reduce the stress in the school day. That means school and parents need to work together. Does the child have an IEP or are they on any level of School Action? What interventions can be tried?
    Tell her not to accept being fobbed off.
    Ask for an Education Psychology assessment and for input from the local ASD outreach worker.
    For support, take a look at the local CAMHS (Child and Adolescent mental Health Service) website. this is a patchy service depending on where you live. Your GP or school should be able to refer to CAMHS.
    Your friend should also ask herself if this is the right environment for her child. Children do not have to be failing academically to have a statement and to go to a specialist school.
    Have a look at the local authority's SEN section on its website for its graduated response document.
    Contact a Family have an SEN advisory service, as does the NAS.
    Hope this helps
  • CarlieCarlie Member Posts: 1
    Hi my daughter has Rett syndrome ; I want to home school her what are my rights
  • SpecialNeedsJungleSpecialNeedsJungle Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Hi Carlie
    I think you first of all need to consider the implications for yourself of homeschooling - the time and pressure you would be under.
    On the other hand, some parents and children find home-schooling very rewarding.
    I am going to refer you to a couple of websites where all your questions can be answered:
    First, Fiona Nicolson of Ed Yourself is a home education expert. Her site is and she is very nice and approachable.
    Secondly there is a national charity called that has loads of information. It has a section on Home ed and the law:
    You may already be in touch with the Reyy Syndrome charity
    And the Rett Research Trust:
    I hope this helps!
  • charlimaisdadcharlimaisdad Member Posts: 8
    hi, my name is mark. i have a daughter named charli mai whom has down syndrome. i am also a support worker for adults with learning difficulties and challenging behaviors. i have been searching high and low for a sensory toy that can be fixed on the wall in the shape of a big button and if you hit the button it plays nursery rhymes. any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • koowhitekoowhite Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi Tania,

    Sorry for long message, bit complicated.

    Our 5 year old daughter who has spastic diplegia started in Reception at her new mainstream primary state school in September 2014. The local school is well respected for it's inclusive approach with SEN children. However, they do not have any experience with CP or physically disabled children.

    Our daughter has just started taking independent steps at home, but is still very unsteady and gets around with her tripods and K walker in school. The management team at the school insist on having several TAs (one main, one back up, 2-3 other TAs over break times). I understand this is to make it easier for the school to manage any TA absences. This system may work for other SEN children, but I feel strongly that it is not safe and does not work for a child with a physical disability.

    However, our daughter has had too many falls since the start of term, far more than when she was with dedicated 1:1 in nursery. All of the falls have been with TAs who have had insufficient manual handling training. The school did assign an experienced SEN TA to her when she first started in Sept, which was working well and no falls, but unfortunately that person resigned unexpectedly in Nov. They have now replaced her with the far less experienced back up TA and have employed a new back up with no SEN experience. I have stated my concerns to Headteacher and SENCO and also involved Parent Partnership as our daughter's statement says she "...needs one to one adult assistance for her physiotherapy. This person needs to be experienced in working with children with special educational needs and will need training to perform a daily programme for postural management to support (S) with her movements and continued opportunities to actively and frequently change her place and position throughout the day."

    SENAS are not willing to get involved as they say it is up to the school to manage/employ staff.

    Seems obvious, but I am trying to make the school understand that it is not safe to have a rota of untrained TAs working with a physically disabled child. I have asked the school to keep a record of all the falls, but am not willing to wait for a serious injury for them to take any steps.

    Any advice on how to take this further with the school would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks.
  • TaniaSNJTaniaSNJ Member Posts: 2
    edited January 2015
    Hi Kate.
    This is a safeguarding issue as your daughter is vulnerable and at risk of injury (and so are the TAs if they have not been trained and shouldn't be doing it)
    You can read guidelines on the CDC site here
    You can try contacting the SEN governor at your school with a complaint. If not joy, you can write to the local authority's here is a sample letter
    Your local authority and the school should have their own Moving and Handling policies and training - presumably the school has carried out a risk assessment for moving your child in the first place.

    If you still get no joy, you should then seek free legal advice by contacting or Contact a Family.
    Further useful information is here
    And also here:
  • tabithatwitchtabithatwitch Member Posts: 3
    Hi Tania

    We are at proposed statement version 2. I have 2 queries. My daughter has diplegic CP. (Moderate)

    Firstly I think I read somewhere (but now can't find it) that if proposed statement whatever the version is issued and we are given 15 days to comment then they can't go to final statement until after the 15 days have expired. I am right or have I just made it up and wished it!?

    Statement is due to go to final on 4 February and we received proposed version 2 on 22 Jan and have to comment within 15 days of that date, which I make up to 5 Feb to respond.

    Secondly NhS physio are trying to put their provison into part 6 as they are saying it is a health not education provison she requires, however part 2 contradicts this. I have been told legally they cannot do this. Met LA sen officer today and she said it is an LA/NHS agreement that they commission NHS to carry out.

    Look forward to hearing from you with your thoughts.


  • MsGiraffeMsGiraffe Member Posts: 1

    Hello, my daughter has autism and a statement - sadly not properly quantified or specified, I tried but LEA said those details would go on the IEP instead. They have told me she is not at the level required to access an autism unit within a mainstream school, and they suggest I put her in a mainstream classroom with a TA. This does not respond to the needs described on parts 2 and 3 of the statement. Also two of the specialists who saw her and wrote reports for the SA have done odd things - one did not make any recommendations for her schooling (mainstream, special or unit); another has since told me that my daughter would struggle in mainstream, but does not want to discuss this with the LEA because they are employed by the LEA. Is this closing ranks and sneaky way of acting normal? I am now in the process of booking independent reports paying a money I haven't got (I don't qualify for legal aid but don't earn enough for savings on top of nursery, rent, etc.) I just wished they had the decency to not push people to these extremes.

    My question is, is it normal or are they trying it on? What can I do?? They have also told me that my child cannot have more than 15 hrs of 1 to 1 in nursery despite attending full time (we work full time) because she is not yet statutory school age and that's what she qualifies for.

  • carolPcarolP Member Posts: 1
    Hi Tania,

    I'm looking for advice.  A friends child is attending settling sessions in a childrens centre, he has cerebral palsy, the centre is saying he can only stay for 1 hr and mum cant leave the building because they dont have an ehc plan in place for funding for his support.  Can you advise, is this ok?
  • Hi hun im quite new here. i to have EDS. hypermobility type and its complex links. fibro, sensory processing etc. my question to u is I work part time as a carer for a lady whome has spina diffa  and is wheel chair bound. however ive help my client focus on art craft and cakes lol which has helped her pain threshold enormously. im thinking of opening her up to courses to help her social interactions with others doing what she enjoys and im clueless as to finansual help and where for her to go. we live in Manchester uk. any help or advice would be much appreciated. sending gentle hugs fellow zebra. xxx Julie

  • tabithatwitchtabithatwitch Member Posts: 3
    Has anyone had a reply from Tania? Think maybe this should be closed down if we don't get speedy responses. I'm talking nearly a month!!!
  • CommunityTeamCommunityTeam Scope community team Posts: 87 Scope community team
    edited July 2018
    Tania sends her apologies but she is no longer able to handle the huge number of enquiries she is getting through Special Needs Jungle. If you need specialist advice, she suggests you get in touch with Contact A Family's Advice Line
    If you are after legal help, she suggests you get in touch with IPSEA
    Some other useful links she suggests are:
    Education for children with health needs who cannot attend school
    Reasonable Adjustments:
    There is also new guidance that about children with medical conditions
This discussion has been closed.