Matthew is academically able but has severe dyslexia/specific learning difficulties, ASD and associated difficulties. He was becoming increasingly aware of his difficulties which had significantly affected his self esteem and self confidence making him reluctant to attend his mainstream primary school. The support he received at school was limited and his parents felt that despite having expressed concerns to the school about his difficulties and lack of progress there had been limited input. Matthew had become emotionally fragile and vulnerable because his needs were not being met.
Despite Matthew’s obvious difficulties his parents had to pursue 3 appeals to the SEND Tribunal namely: -
- An appeal against the LA’s refusal to undertake a statutory assessment even though the request for a statutory assessment was made by Matthew’s parents and supported by Matthew’s mainstream school. The appeal was lodged and shortly before the hearing the LA conceded the appeal and agreed to undertake a statutory assessment.
- The LA then issued a Note in Lieu and refused to issue a Statement. Here again Matthew’s parents had to pursue an appeal to the SEND Tribunal and again the LA conceded the appeal shortly before the hearing and agreed to issue a Final Statement.
- When the Final Statement was issued it named a mainstream primary school and provided that from the start of the next academic year Matthew should transfer to a maintained mainstream secondary school with a specialist ASD unit. Matthew’s parents visited the unit but were concerned that the other students displayed behaviour that Matthew would find distressing and that the unit did not have specialist provision to address all of Matthew’s difficulties. As a result they felt that Matthew would not be able to cope either in the unit or having to attend mainstream lessons within the main school. Therefore, Matthew’s parents sought to have his Statement amended in relation to Parts 2, 3 and 4. They sought to have a specialist school for pupils with specific learning difficulties named i.e. Northease Manor School.
Matthew was clearly not achieving his potential in his mainstream primary school and had made limited progress as a result of his difficulties with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ASD, and ADHD, phonological processing difficulties producing written work, problems with handwriting, pragmatic language difficulties, expressive and receptive language impairment, poor attention and concentration, low self esteem, anxiety, frustration resulting in temper tantrums, social interaction and his increasing levels of social isolation and reluctance to attend school. His parents felt that he needed to attend a more specialist school environment where specialist teaching would be available and also direct therapeutic input would be delivered to address his SALT and OT needs within a low arousal setting where Matthew could be taught in small classes.
Within the appeal process a number of expert reports had to be obtained to fully explore Matthew’s needs all of which supported a specialist school environment and which provided a better understanding of Matthew’s difficulties.
The appeal was determined following a 1 day hearing before the SEND Tribunal in favour of Matthew’s parents and ordered the LA to amend Matthew’s Statement in relation to Parts 2, 3 and 4 and to name Northease Manor School thereby requiring the LA to fund the placement. SENDIST also ordered the provision of direct OT and direct SALT.
Matthew has taken up his place at Northease Manor School and his parents report:-
Matthew has settled very well into Northease, he has made friends and is popular with staff.It is lovely to see him go off to school so happily rather than the traumas of the previous school!We very much appreciate the expertise of all the staff at Langley Wellington and would not have achieved the placment without their help.