On Not Backing Down…

Rebecca Toal's avatar

by Rebecca Toal
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I was so weary from pushing for what my daughter desperately needed.

I had come to accept the fact that we would appeal her amended proposed statement of special educational needs.

We were on our way to Tribunal…

Then the miraculous happened -  after two months of much to and fro with the Educational Authority, they conceded.

It was certainly a fight I hadn’t anticipated or needed during our stressful house and school move.

My youngest of four daughters has special educational needs.

Brielle is five years old and has dual sensory impairment, meaning she is deaf and blind, or ‘deafblind’.

She struggles with other health issues too due to her extreme prematurity.

She cannot walk unaided, talk or eat, and needs help with all aspect of daily living.

In her previous school and educational region, we had pushed for the 1:1 classroom support that she needed.

Her safety, wellbeing and education at school simply could not be fulfilled without that personal assistance, and we eventually got this written into her statement of special educational needs.

Fast forward eight months and we are moving house just an hour away into a new educational region, but still part of the same over-arching Educational Authority.

Without any consultation with us (her parents), or new advice/assessments from any professionals, the new region thought it would be a good idea to try to sneak the 1:1 assistance bit out of her statement.

Oh no you don’t!

I immediately contacted them with my concerns and also signed the form that I did not agree with the amended proposed statement…

Two months of stress and telephone calls, meetings with her new school principal and emails. WHY?

They had no right to change her statement and they knew it. Although our address and her school had changed, her needs had not!

Government departments will always try to save money. It’s their prerogative I guess.

It’s just such a pity that they try to stick the arm in and take the services from little ones who already have so much to deal with and overcome in life to succeed.

I was told that her new school accepted her amended statement and agreed (they didn’t), and that there was no way she could get full time hours of classroom assistance in a specialist school.

I firmly stood my ground and asked them to issue the final amendment so it would trigger my right to appeal.

They knew where I’d take them and they didn’t have a leg to stand on!

My advice if you find yourself in a similar fight: you know your child best and what they need.

Get the support and backing from the classroom teacher, principal, charities or a children’s law team.

Let the educational authority know that you have this backing and support, and that you intend to make an appeal.

Don’t accept any less, it will pay off if you don’t back down!

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