How can I stop the reduction in my son’s Occupational Therapy provision?

My son's Occupational Therapy department tell me they want to reduce the five hours per term support on my son's statement to two hours per term because the five hours is 'not working' and they want to integrate OT into school provision.

I don't agree with this - if they want to change provision then I think they also need to monitor whether this is helping and suggest adaptations, particularly as their previous approach was 'not working'. I have an independent report coming which says that his OT provision should increase to 10 hours/term. What muscle do I have in resisting a reduction of hours at his annual review?

ipsea answers

Julie replies:

It sounds as though there may be two conflicting OT reports to be discussed during the upcoming annual review of your son’s statement.  The statutory process of annual review should give ample opportunity to ensure that all the advice is circulated and the evidence for any changes to the statement is considered.

The legal process gives you the “muscle” to ensure that any changes to the statement are evidence based and everyone’s views are considered.

It will be important that the advice from both professionals is circulated by the head teacher before the annual review meeting.  You can also ask the head teacher to invite the professionals to the meeting.

The meeting should focus on discussion about your son’s needs, his progress (or, if things are “not working”, a lack of progress) and recommendations for changes to the statement.  These discussions (and any difference of opinion) should be reflected in that report which will be sent, with the information and advice provided to the meeting, to the LA.  If you’re not happy with the report you can send your own views separately.

Then the LA decides whether to maintain the statement, to cease to maintain the statement or to amend the statement.  These decisions will be sent to you.  If the decision is to leave the statement as it is, you would have a right of appeal to the Tribunal.  If the decision was to amend the statement, you’ll have the right to make representations about the amendments and ask for a meeting with the LA to discuss them if you want one.  Then the LA will finalise the amended statement and, again, you’ll have a right of appeal.