Dyslexia, the Education System and Life in general

4. Dyslexia and the Education System (Statement of Special Educational Needs)

on March 17, 2015

It is September 2013, and Year 8 has now begun. Everything is taking so long that I wrote to the Head of the Education Department at the Local Authority (LA). I had been advised that I didn’t need to put any details in the letter just the fact that Josie was on School Action Plus and that I am asking them to carry out a Statutory Assessment as she is falling behind even with a high level of support over seven years. I showed the letter to Josie’s school SENCo and I was told to add that the school supported my application.

The LA wrote back to me asking me to complete a Parental Questionnaire giving as much detail as possible and they wrote to the school too for their records. Once they had looked at the information we had sent, they wrote to myself and the school to say yes they would carry out a Statutory Assessment to see if Josie needs a Statement of Specisl Educational Needs. I was now asked if I had any more evidence that I wanted to add to the case, and they collected reports from all the professionals that had been involved with Josie, including the Educational Psychologist whom she had just seen. All of this information was to be submitted by January 2014.

Waiting again, I was so nervous. But all the professionals seemed sure that Josie needed a Statement, her needs were clear and very obvious. It was even mentioned that the process should be quite quick as it was obvious that she needed support. But in February 2014 I received a ‘Note in Lieu’. This is a letter that details all the support she needs and confirmed that she would need Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT). But this a Note in Lieu (NIL) is not legally binding. The support doesn’t legally have to be provided, and there is no extra funding to provide the support.

I arranged a meeting with the Caseworker from the LA and Josie’s SENCo at school. We talked about all of Josie’s needs. I don’t feel confident in meetings that I can get all my points across, so I typed up a list of all the main facts I felt the LA needed to know, and instead of reading from the list, I gave them copies to work through during the meeting and then keep for their records. They suggested several ways the school could try to provide the support. But none of the suggestions were possible, also SaLT is not funded at Secondary level without a Statement. They agreed that Josie’s needs now seemed greater than they realised from the reports that they have, and they said that they would send this additional information back to the Panel to review at their next meeting.

Then in March 2014, I found out that they have issued another Note in Lieu. This one is more detailed and it also says they are sending someone into the school to suggest ways they can help Josie. Totally unbelievable, how can they not give her the help that the Educational Psychologist, Dyslexia Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist all agree she needs.

I had no choice but to apply for a Tribunal, to take the Local Authority to Court…

(Updated 28th March 2015)

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