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Posted by Emma (U14714266) on Monday, 6th December 2010
Hi There, My daughter is 17 (18 in Feb2011) she has been in Mainstream education with a statment all her life. We moved to northumberland 4 years ago and provision there is not that great due to the remote nature. For the past year or so i have been trying to get funding for her to go to a specialist college in Gloustershire as we have exhausted the local provision and it is my belief that her needs can not be met locally. The nearest high schools is 16 miles away and they have admitted that they can no longer meet her needs. The FE college is 40 miles away and the lea are saying we should look at this as an option even though travel would be over an hour each way and they have stated they can not meet here needs.
Any way we applied to the high cost panel for funding, and i wrote personal statements, got letters from local providers stating they couldnt meet her needs got the local MP involved etc and they still refused the funding, stating they had not seen enough evidence that her needs could not be met by the authority.
I am so sick of this excuse and wonder where equal opportunities come into play and discrimination policies? Regardless of whether local provision can meet her needs where is her right to choose, where is her right to make a decision about her future and exercise her preferences? I am shocked and horrified that such discrimination can happen so blatently. My eldest daughter isnt registered special needs and she has just gone off to uni. She made informed choices about where she wanted to go, she applied and she was given a structured route via grants and loans to go. On the other hand my daughter with SEN seemingly has no choice and no route to exercise her choice other than the LEA who is strapped for cash and is holding their purse strings so tight their fingers are turning blue.....I am now in a position where i have to move away from the area due to work relocation and i have no time left to appeal the decision.
I have spoke to the new authority which is Surrey about us moving to the area and they said they would send a list of schools the we could apply to even though i explained that main stream is not working for her.....
I feel really let down by the apparent lack of support for me and my daughter. Having been through this whole inclustion sysytem there seems to be nothing at the end of the tunnel. Mainstream is great for the odd GCSE she came out with but it has taught her very little about life, independance, self sufficiency, resilliance, empowerment and all the other skills necessary for living. Funding seems to be getting harder to get and the people making the decisions are clearly focused on money (or the lack of it) rather than the well being of people.
I'm scared for her future and i fear a life of dependancy for her. Does anyone have info regarding the staines area and provision available for young people with special needs. Can i appeal the decision from a different authority? And what can be done about this discrimination?
Posted by stupidvetty (U14222516) on Monday, 6th December 2010
you actually expect disabled people to have the same choices/chances as AB people?
well done for keeping optimistic for so long, but i'm afraid, for many of us, your situation is the reality.
as i was saying to a neighbour just this morning, unless you can look after yourself you are expected to just sit and rot.
my only recommendation is to fight, fight, and fight some more to get what you know is what your daughter needs.
Posted by devine63 (U14166755) on Tuesday, 7th December 2010
I am sorry to hear that you and your daughter have had such a rotten experience so far. I'm afraid there are no magic wands, you will probably have to fight for your daughter's needs but maybe to wonderful Ouchers can make some suggestions to help. I'll give it a go for starters:
First of all, yes, you probably will have to repeat the process of going to new area mainstream places and getting their views on whether they can support your daughter. I'm sorry but to some degree it is about "playing the game" - by which I mean following all of the rules and completing all the formal processes in full. Only once you have the confirmation they cannot meet your daughter's needs can other options then be considered. There are some "special school" or specialist college options in the Surrey area, but a lot depends on what your daughter's exact needs might be.
So do give the new area a fair chance and see how it goes.
IF by the end of that you are unhappy then I have a suggestion:
I recently came across the British Institute for Human Rights (see http://www.bihr.org.uk/ ) they have an approach to complaints which was new to me - I'll try and explain:
I expect (like me) you have heard of the Human Rights Act [HRA]. Well the BIHR advocates using the language of the HRA to beef up any complaints to public bodies like education authorities - the organisation recommend this as they say that often the use of the terminology alone is helpful in provoking a re-think of the issues.
The BIHR offer training on their approach to using the law to get what you want - without having to go all the way to court.
There is a guide for disabled people specifically - see
www.bihr.org.uk/reso... - that may be useful
but apparently the guide for older people has been updated more recently so you might want to look at both.
They also have a document called "Changing Lives" with lots of real case histories (including several disability related examples)
In particular it is important that certain human rights are unassailable - if I understood correctly, this means there are NO grounds on which those rights can be denied. There is a right to education. I don't know whether it is one of the unassailable rights - but I expect that is in the documents.
I gave one of the BIHR staff a fictional example - if a disabled person were denied full 24 hour care because of lack of funding and only given an arrangement where their carers attended briefly at set times. She said that if (for example) this meant the person could not get to the toilet when they needed to, then that might amount to inhuman and degrading treatment - and as that is one of the unassailable rights, in that case the cost could not be used as an argument!!!!
I know this example does not fit your circumstances, but it gives us an idea of how this HR approach can be used. There are other examples in the documents I mentioned which might be a better fit. I think it is worth a look,
Posted by Christina (U14583066) on Tuesday, 7th December 2010
I agree with Deb re the Human rights act arguments. I did not get to the conference but have been to BIHR events in the past and have read the booklets Deb referred to - and try to use human rights arguments where I can. .
However, i also wondered if you had had the opportunity and/or wanted to take some specific advice re the issue . You may know about these two charities already, = IPSEA - independent parental special eduation advice , and ACE = Advisory Centre for Education. Both are charities and both have helplines you can ring for advice . Searching on the internet should give you the website for each organisation
Let us know how you get on?
All the best
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