Following my comments about SEN Panels in my post ‘Applying for a statutory assessment’, I wanted to share with you the experience of one parent which further feeds my suspicions about their real purpose.
“We had a meeting in school to discuss my son. About 15 people attended. My son had been out of school for about 9 months at this point. The LA Inclusion Officer said that she wanted to submit some paperwork to the LA SEN Panel to seek funding for a suitable adult to take my son out of the home for things he would enjoy. She said she could not get it ready for the next Panel meeting [which was in two weeks time], so would get it submitted to the Panel after that. She went on and on about how she wanted the paperwork to be immaculate so that it was not turned down for any reasons by the Panel.
'SEN Panel says NO'
Cartoon by roystoncartoons.com
Six weeks later I found out, via the Parent Partnership, that the funding had been refused on the grounds that the Panel wanted more information of my son’s needs and how the funding would be used. So the Inclusion Officer hadn't made the paperwork immaculate had she? Then I asked "who" had been on the Panel. It turned out that it was this same Inclusion Officer, her boss the Senior Inclusion Officer and a Specialist Teacher!
So what happened is that the LA Inclusion Officer put together the paperwork [and this surely would have been in consultation with her senior Inclusion Officer]. They then decided to submit the paperwork to the Panel [ie. themselves], then decided to turn down the funding they had requested of themselves because they decided they needed to ask themselves more questions! So I submitted that to SEND as evidence that they were attempted to look like they were doing something, whilst all the time they were really just trying to delay doing anything at all.
After all, how can you submit a request for funding to yourself, and then turn it down because you have not given yourself enough information about how that funding will be used?”