Why is my child being assessed?
Your child’s teacher will have observed your child in school and will have already have offered assistance. There will have been a period of school-based help provided to assist your child. If the teacher feels that your child is not progressing as they feel they should, they will ask the LEA to intervene. The LEA will make a statutory assessment of your child’s Special Educational Needs.
The Statutory Assessment
All of the people involved with your child will be asked to write a detailed report about his/her Special Educational Needs. This is a process that requires all of the information to be on hand so the right decision is reached for your child.
Writing the Report – Who will be involved?
- One of the main contributors to the report will be you. You know your child better than anyone else. Any information that you can give will be very important
- Your child’s class teacher
- The LEA’s Educational Psychologist
- The Social Services
- A Doctor
- Any Support workers that work with your child on a regular basis
- Language or Speech Therapists if they are working with your child
- Anyone else who comes into contact regularly with your child and who is able to help with the report
There will be a form sent to you from your LEA. There will be a number of questions on it asking about your child’s formative years and their behaviour. If your child is of Primary school age, they will
- Ask about his/her general health and skills.
- This may include whether or not s/he has any eating or sleep related problems.
- Can s/he dress and undress themselves in the correct order?
- Are they able to realise when they need to use toilet facilities?
- Do they feed themselves?
- Do they understand what is said to them by others?
- Do they always play alone?
- How long can they concentrate on stories or playing?
- Are they comfortable in the company of their peers, siblings or other adults?
- Is your child able to share his/her toys?
- Do they have temper tantrums?
- Is your child subject to mood swings?
- Compare your child to others of his/her own age. You can also use any experiences you have had with your other children as a pointer to acceptable development.
- Does your child worry about a particular thing?
- Is your child aware of the difficulties they face?
- Are there things that your child does well?
- What are your own thoughts about the difficulties your child has? How best do you think your child would be supported?
- Is there one single event that has had a profound effect on your child? This could be in the form of bereavement or it may be a change in the make up of the family such as remarriage or divorce.
- Although your child is the one facing the Educational difficulties, this will also affect the rest of the family. What does this entail for your family?
- Are they able to communicate their needs to others, pointing or verbalising their wishes?
- Do they function similarly to their peers? i.e. chat, use the phone etc.
- What are their favourite games?
- Does your child attend any out of school activities such as Brownies, Cubs, Beavers etc.?
- How do they relate to others?
- Think about behaviour in the home.
- General Points
It is felt that it is important that your child should have as much input into this process as possible. They will be asked to contribute their views to the statement if they are able.
- You have 29 days to respond to the letter that will be sent to you by your LEA. This letter is the one telling you that they have been asked by the school to provide the Statutory Assessment of your child
- Your LEA have 6 weeks to tell you whether or not they feel that your child will benefit from the Statutory Assessment. Do not forget that it is not certain that your child will be assessed.
- Your LEA may issue you with a Note in Lieu instead of issuing a Statement of Special Educational Needs. More information about this is contained in another article.
- If the LEA has decided that it would be in your child’s best interests to be assessed, the procedure should be completed within 6 months.
- There is the chance to appeal against the findings of the LEA. First you must approach your child’s Head teacher or your Named Officer. Information about this is contained in the article about the Special Needs Tribunal.
I want to choose the school that provides the education for my child. Can I do this?
You do have a limited choice of school but your LEA will have to consider the logistics of your choice. It is not a certainty that this will be possible, as they have to assess whether the costs involved are reasonable, if educating your child in the school will cause difficulties for the other pupils and also that the school is able to meet your child’s particular Special Educational Need. The school is not named on the Statement to facilitate this freedom of choice. Your LEA has a register of all schools and will be able to advise you as to the suitability for your child. You will also be able to visit the schools to make sure that they will be suitable.