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University sen assessment.

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by Eirrabnhoj, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. Eirrabnhoj

    Eirrabnhoj New commenter

    my son went to a college overseen by the esfa in September 2017. He got a statement at 4 for asd and it was swapped to an ehcp whilst he was in secondary school. We told the college in the May about his needs and took in his ehcp/Ed psych reports/paediatric notes and waited...and waited...and waited. He has become very poorly and is not coping. There have been lots of trips to the doctors because of anxiety etc. I spend hours and hours every week organising him, which is extremely difficult as I am not in the lessons, no notes are made and he has no organisational skills or understanding of what work he is expected to do independently.
    The first local authority took from June to December to transfer his file. The second local authority took two months to establish it wasn’t in their remit. The dsa people “forgot” to write back to us to say it wasn’t them and to apply to the esfa directly. Etc etc. We had a needs report actually done in October 18 and we are still no further forward.
    He’s biting himself so much and crying that it seems cruel to allow him to continue even though he is desperate not to give up. I have now been told that the latest delay is because the esfa have never had to have a sen student assessment although the recommendations are very clear. He has a really high iq, loves what he’s chosen to do but there is no support and he’s not happy/calm/achieving his potential.
    Please please can anyone tell me where I stand legally, what can I do next?
  2. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    surely his EHCP is still valid in college, it goes up to 25, and he is still in education.
    Flanks likes this.
  3. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Sorry, I am confused. Is this to do with university or college?

    In either case, ESFA do not have much at all to do with this. SEN Funding for college is through local authorities, they do not receive block SEN funding from the ESFA.

    The local authority in which you reside, assuming they have adopted the EHCP, should be providing the necessary funding to the college to provide support.
    Wotton likes this.
  4. Eirrabnhoj

    Eirrabnhoj New commenter

    I too believed it was a local authority matter. However as it is a level 6 course the local authority do not provide any support, even though he was 16 at the time. The college he attends gets some esfa funding to pay for some students qualifications. It is for this reason that the local authority and student finance England state that is out of their remit and down to the esfa. I reckon that there are 2000 plus students, country wide, that fall into this funding bracket but supposedly my son is the first ehcp that they’ve had to deal with and this is why there have been such delays. I so want to make a huge fuss and shout disability discrimination from the roof tops and reasonable adjustments. Sadly though, I don’t think this will help. What I do want to know is why is in 2018 why is there such a gap in the disability provision and what can I do to prevent other students going through the same appalling situation. Should I formally complain to the head of the esfa. This scheme has been running for more than 15 years. He can’t be the first asd/adhd/sen pupil they have come across. Why didn’t the college know what to do? Should I complain to the minister for education? Would retaining a solicitor to make them comply with disability discrimination law rulings help? I need to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another disabled teenager. It is morally wrong and it needs to be prevented from ever happening again. Please any thoughts would be hugely appreciated.
  5. Eirrabnhoj

    Eirrabnhoj New commenter

    It should go up to 25. But when they discovered it was a level 6 course the local authority cancelled his ehcp and didn’t even tell me. Student finance england that deals with dsa didn’t cover his course either. How many pockets/gaps are there? I just want any thoughts on what I can do to stop other families going through this. I would appreciate any suggestions. Complain to the head of esfa, the minister for education, the media, a solicitor, a specialist autism charity?
  6. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Ah ok, if it is level 6 then DSA is the correct route for support. This will require assessments of need however, as EHCPs do not cover higher education and a level 6 is considered higher education.

    This isn't a gap, I suspect you have been poorly informed by people. In theory your college should know, but many are not that familiar with the rules as they are mostly aimed at universities.

    Most colleges with higher education courses don't provide DSA support because the auditing process is so onerous for the small number of students they would support. They are not legally obliged to offer the support because level 6 is not statutory education, and ESFA don't cover it for same reason.

    If you receive a DSA award you can choose a third party provider or specialist teacher who has NMH (non medical helper) registration for academic support.
  7. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    You should apply for the DSA straightaway on his behalf.


    If the application is successful, then he should get some one to one mentoring from a tutor who has a qualification in ASD as SFE ( student finance England) require this. It can also pay for things like travel if this is an issue because of ASD.

    The level of support he gets will be dependant upon having a needs assessment which will name a supplier of the support. This happens once the DSA application has been accepted and is successful.

    It is a real shame that learning support in colleges has been cut so much - I am not surprised that high needs students like your son are the ones to be at the brunt of these cuts.

    I am really sorry to hear the support he needs just hasn’t been there. Many university learning support departments often have really good policies and practices supporting ASD students.

    The DSA needs assessment will also outline any reasonable adjustments the college should make for your son.

    I wish you the best of luck and am so sorry that he’s had such a negative and distressing experience so far. I think he has been let down badly by the sound of it.

    Best wishes.
  8. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    On this particular occasion it would never have been dependent on college funding/cuts/budgeting.
  9. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    I see what you mean although the changes to DSA NMH provision has led to some HE providers stopping in-house support which means external support is used instead, so any coordination between the two relies on there being sufficient in house coordination which I think a lot of universities still have, although they are probably still stretched.

    I used to coordinate HE support in a college and someone like the OP’s son would have been on my radar so I could make sure that reasonable adjustments such as giving her son the opportunity to have familiarisation visits, make sure the support was in place , that the lecturers were on board etc

    However, our department was the first to be restructured because of massive budget deficits. Then it kept being restructured several times until there is now hardly a department left.

    I left halfway through ( ie about 3 restructures have happened since) and the restructuring process continues.

    When we were fully staffed, I would have been confident in being able to make sufficient provision for a high needs student but not sure if that could still happen, given a big reduction in qualified staff.

    So the OP’s situation hasn’t surprised me.
  10. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Apparenty SFE are going to do more to raise awareness that the DSA exists.
    Flanks likes this.
  11. skvo

    skvo New commenter

    Very sorry to hear about your son's difficulties. My autistic son started uni at the same time and his support is funded by local authority. It took us a whole year to sort out (he took a gap).
    County council where we live done assessment of his needs and sorted out money and then transferred him to another authority where he studies. His psychiatrist was very helpful and guided us a lot (we see him privately). Shaw trust charity helped a lot - may be you can contact them?

    As you say it is a shame that in 2018 we have to fight for the right of disabled so much, but it is what it is. For our boy we went to Educational Tribunal twice, wrote numerous letters, complains and petitions to keep his education going. As a mother I would encourage you to write to everyone you can think of: your MP, head of council, any charity that deals with mental health. Autistic charities often have a support network you can use to meet parents in the same situation.

    I wish you all the strength to curry on and hope you son will get support he needs. People "on the ground" dealing with special needs students usually are absolutely fantastic, the system is failing badly though..

    best wishes
    Flanks and moonpenny like this.
  12. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    The Government have recently attempted to make SEN cutbacks in schools but thankfully there has been a lot of kickback from parents , support groups etc.
  13. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Actually, most of the attempt to cut sen has been local authority led. This includes a lot of authorities who withheld funding from their main Sen budget specifically to cover legal fees for tribunals. They calculate that the number of cases which will reach tribunal will cost less than what they withold.

    It is quite easy for local government to blame Central for funding shortages, but in reality most local authorities are just spectacularly bad at spending well.

    I went through my local authorities accounts two years ago after they had annoyed me (again). In one afternoon I calculated their deficit (for whole budget) and what they would try to cut from the Sen budget to cover it. I was within £250k on my estimate, and they pulled £15mil from Sen to cover a £16mil shortfall in their total budget.

    Bear in mind, that is nearly the whole deficit recovered from a single budget area, in which the majority of expenditure is towards vulnerable children. No job restructure within the local authority, and no other area targeted. About a third of their total budget was spent on local authority salaries, all protected.

    It isn't hard to look after yourself quite nicely and blame central government when no one knows who you are but they all know who the prime minister is.

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