Got the statement? Great, but your work’s not over yet.

Many parents are so relieved to get that letter saying the LEA has decided to issue a statement of special educational needs for their child that they think their work is done. And they'd be very, very wrong. A statement is useless if it does not define your child's needs completely and set out in detail how they will be met.

When you receive your draft statement, you or your advocate, must ensure that all your child's special educational needs have been properly identified and stated in part two of the draft statement. Then, you must ensure that every stated need should be met with appropriate provision in Part three.

Each special educational need specified in Part 2 must be met by provision specified in Part 3: R –v- Secretary of State for Education ex parte E [1992] 1 FLR 377, CA

If your child's needs have been inadequately stated in part two, now is the time in your response (which normally needs to be within 15 days) to make sure you add them so that they can be included ans provision provided.

This process is not made easier by the way the statement is set out. Instead of listing Need, then Provision next to it, all the needs are set out then all the provision, so it is up to you to match one against the other. I would recommend using a table to do this - one column headed Needs- Part 2, the next, Provision, Part 3 and a third column entitled,  My Comments.

Then go through part two and pick out each separate need and list it in a separate row under the first column. Then go back down your list and search through part three of the proposed statement document for a matching provision. The statement document has evolved to be quite narrative in format, often just pasting in chunks from the Ed Psych report (in our case from the Ed Psych report that we had paid for ourselves) This does not necessarily mean that the statement writer has understood your child's needs, just that they know how to copy and paste.

Part 2 can include narrative description of a child as well as specifying SEN (cf R –v- Secretary of State for Education ex p E [1992] 1 FLR 377): W –v- Leeds CC [2005] EWCA Civ 988, [2005] ELR 617, 29/7/2005

So your final table should have all your child's needs in column one that have been stated and with your own additions if needed (make sure it is easy to understand you have added these yourself)

In the second column, which reflects Part 3 provision, you should have listed everything you can find that matches with the needs. This may well be eye opening.

Then in the third column make your notes and observations about the provision.

Then go back through Part 2 and Three and make sure you have covered everything. You may well find that there are unstated needs or needs that have been stated that there is no provision for. Of course, you may see that your statement writer has done a sterling job and everything is as it should be.

If you have non-educational needs and provision listed in part five or six, ensure this is also adequate. Sometimes speech and language is listed as non-educational. If your child needs this help for living (eg eating) then is is non-educational. If they need OT or SLT for learning - ie, writing help for dyspraxia, communication skills, then is should be in parts two and three as educational provision.

You can ask for a meeting during this time with the LEA and after the meeting you have another 15 days to ask for further meetings. Within 15 days of your last meeting, you can send in any more comments. If you would like more time to comment, you should talk to your case officer.

There should be no school named in part four at the point of issuing a draft statement. But be aware that the LEA is not obligated to name a school that can provide 'the best' education, just one that provides an 'adequate' education that meets your child's needs.

The LEA/SENDIST is under a duty to secure provision which meets the child’s SEN but is not “under an obligation to provide a child with the best possible education. There is no duty
on the authority to provide such a Utopian system, or to educate him or her to his or her maximum potential. …”: R v Surrey CC ex p H (1984) 83 LGR 219.

It's a very good idea to research suitable schools before you even know if you're getting a statement so you know what type of school can meet your child's needs. Often you will know exactly which school you want them to go to - and that's the next step!

SEN-Getting Started With Statements

This advice and more is detailed in my SEN statementing book, Special Educational Needs, Getting Started with Statementing. It's available in paperback or ebook from Amazon & WH Smith online or paperback from Waterstones.com. Or you can order it from your local bookstore. So many SEN books are expensive so I have priced this at just £6.99 to make it accessible to as many parents as possible.

Legal Quotes Source: ISC

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Tania Tirraoro

Founder, CEO at Special Needs Jungle
Founder of Special Needs Jungle. Parent of two sons with Asperger Syndrome.
Journalist & author of two novels and a guide to SEN statementing. PR & social media expert. Rare Disease & chronic pain patient advocate.
Tania Tirraoro
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6 Comments

  1. Kim

    We have finally be given a statement for our daughter (age 9) after a long battle. She suffers from absence epilepsy and is on a cocktail of medication. Her statement is at the proposal stage but as there are no specifics named, such as dyslexia, etc, how do we know what the best school would be to send her to?

    1. Special Needs Mum

      Kim, a statement needs to be specified and quantified. It should set out her needs in clear, easy to understand language. If it does not mention all her needs, go back to the LEA and tell them this – go through each section and write down what is missing.
      The LEA should have sent you a list of all LEA and independent schools with the proposed statement. As I don’t know what your daughter’s educational needs are (as opposed to medical) or where you live, it’s hard to advise.
      Please do call IPSEA or Contact a Family – they can offer legal advice or individual support.

  2. Jackie

    Hello, just wanted to say thank you for such a great website.

    I have finally after four years just received my (nearly 13) daughters draft statement. We got it just two days before the summer holidays, so I hand collected the reports and delivered them to the special school named and the mainstream school she attends at the moment (which has been a total waste of her last year).

    The mainstream school have agreed after many many meetings (TAC – team around the child) that they have given her as much support as they can and feel that she will be best suited in a mld school. My daughter is also adopted from age 6 months, so has many emotional issues and requires more nurturing specialist teachers and lesser of the strict rules to that of a mainstream school (which they don’t even let her carry her bag around to each lesson).

    She has been given 22 hours. My major concern is that she is already starting to get anxious about returning to mainstream school as nothing has been sorted because of the summer holidays. I am wondering if would be better to keep her at home until they get the placement sorted for her? I feel she has suffered long enough throughout her primary school years, who continually told us she was lazy and lots more.

    Any comments would be more than gladly received. I am a counselor and personal assistant to special needs vulnerable adults.

    Many thanks and best wishes to you all,
    Jackie

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