We are very happy to announce that we have recruited three new members of the team. Sally started with us on Monday 13th November as our Helpline Advisor, she is in the process of her training, and we are hopeful she’ll be up and running on our helpline early in the new year. Sally will be the first point of contact on our helpline for parent/carers when they book an appointment to speak with us.
Our two new Engagement and Advice Workers Jo and Laura will be joining us at the beginning of January, their role will centre around gathering and encouraging the voice of children and young people. We look forward to them joining us.
We are about to interview for our part-time maternity cover SENDIAS Advisor and so for our December newsletter we will hopefully be able to introduce our new member of the team.
Book an hour face to face appointment with one of our SEND Advisors to discuss or review paperwork related to special educational needs in education.
The advice clinic appointments are strictly to review or discuss paperwork so please make sure to bring this with you.
For example, we can support with:
- EHC Needs Assessment paperwork
- SENDIST (First Tier Tribunal) paperwork
- Draft Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
Thursday 18th January - Wymondham
Due to the high demand for attendance at our monthly advice clinics we have recently had a wait list in case of any cancellations. Unfortunately, we have had a number of people not turning up for their appointments on the day, and although we know sometimes this can’t be avoided if you book an appointment at one of our advice clinics but can no longer make it, please tell us so that we can offer this to others waiting to meet with us.
You will receive reminders for the advice clinic from Eventbrite, and we will also call and email you a few days before to remind you of your appointment.
We have a wide range of resources available on our website including Elective Home Education (EHE) Information Sheet. Find out more about Elective home education, when a parent/ carer makes an informed decision to remove their child from the register of a school and take responsibility for educating them fulltime at home.
Hi I am Leah, I am the Senior Advisor at Norfolk SENDIASS. I started my new role within the team at the start of November so the role is still very new to me, but before becoming the Senior Advisor I was one of the Helpline Advisors here at Norfolk SENDIASS since I joined the team in April 2022.
I am really excited about my new role which will include responsibilities such as: providing training for parents, carers and professionals, being part of reviewing our service to make sure it is the best it can be and we are supporting the parents, carers and young people who use our service as best we can, as well as still doing casework for families (I am very happy about this as it is one of my favourite parts of my previous role!)
Case Law Update
High Courts and Upper Tier Tribunals can make rulings on parts of the law that need clarifying (the grey areas), those rulings are called ‘Case Law’.
Following a Case Law ruling all other Courts and Tribunals then must follow this and it takes precedent over what the law says.
Case Law - C & C v The Governing Body of a School  UKUT 61 (AAC)
This case was brought about by parents whose child has autism, anxiety and pathological demand avoidance.
Their child received a fixed term exclusion of 1.5 days and the reason given by the school for the exclusion was their aggressive behaviour. The First Tier Tribunal found that the child had been involved in a number of incidents over a ten-month period largely involving pushing, pulling and grabbing others although there had also been a few incidents of hitting staff.
The First Tier Tribunal considered that the child met the definition of a disabled person for the purposes of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. However, it dismissed the claim because the exclusion was because of their ‘tendency to physical abuse’ which, under the Equality Act 2010, is something that is not classed as a disability.
This was then appealed to the Upper Tier Tribunal, they disagreed with the First Tier Tribunal as they found this decision was inconsistent with Human Rights Law.
The decision from the Upper Tier Tribunal means that children will, in the context of education, be protected against discrimination even where they have special needs that gives rise to a ‘tendency to physical abuse’. Schools and local authorities will be required to make reasonable adjustments for children where a recognised special need leads to a ‘tendency to physical abuse’. Schools will also need to justify the exclusion of ‘disabled’ children in terms of proportionality terms.
There are two types of exclusion:
- Fixed term suspension, which can be from half a day to a maximum of 45 school days per school year (an exclusion can be for lunchtimes only)
Only the Head Teacher of a school can make the decision to exclude a child/young person.
Fixed term suspension (FTS)
- If a pupil has contravened the school’s behaviour policy they will not be allowed to attend school for a stated number of days
- A pupil cannot be given more than 45 days fixed term exclusions in any single academic school year
- The pupil is not allowed on the school premises for a specified period, although this is not necessarily over a continuous number of days if college or other off-site provision is in place for part of the week
- During a fixed term exclusion, the school should provide and mark work for the first five days. From the sixth day full-time education provision must be provided
- Misbehaviour at lunchtime can mean a pupil could be excluded for lunchtime only and this would count as half a day
- During the first five days of a FTE you are responsible for the whereabouts of your child; this means that you must make sure they are not in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification. You could be fined if you breach this duty
Permanent Exclusion (PEX)
- A pupil can be permanently excluded for seriously breaching or persistently breaching the school’s behaviour policy and if their being in school would harm the education or welfare of themselves or others
- As in a fixed term exclusion, school should provide work for the first five days, but from the sixth day it is the LA’s responsibility to provide an appropriate education
- Permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort
Reasons for exclusion
- All exclusions must be for disciplinary reasons only
- All schools must have a behaviour policy setting out what the school rules are
- All exclusions must be lawful, reasonable and fair
- Permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort
For further information, including if you feel your child has been unlawfully excluded or discriminated against, please see links below:
School suspensions and permanent exclusions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Exclusions from school | Norfolk SENDIASS
Disability Discrimination | Norfolk SENDIASS
Procedure for disability discrimination claims | (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice
If your child/young person has SEND the school should be putting every source of support into place before suspension/exclusion is deemed appropriate. This could be around a SEN support/ Behaviour plan which should be reviewed regularly. If suspension is still considered appropriate a reintegration meeting should be held to discuss how further suspensions could be avoided.
If you feel your child/young person has been unlawfully excluded
Informal exclusions | (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice
If you feel all support and provision has been put in place you may wish to consider applying for an Educational Health Care Plan Needs assessment
Needs Assessment for an Education health and Care Plan (EHCP) for children & young people (norfolksendiass.org.uk)
How does SENDIASS help with health?
For children with complex needs identified at birth, after an injury or illness, or through their early years, you will likely have health professionals already working with you. They will let you know if they believe your child has Special Educational Needs and can also guide you to other sources of support and information.
Health professionals have a duty to notify the local authority when they identify a child under compulsory school age as having (or probably having) SEN or a disability.
However, you might be the person who notices differences around development or behaviour, this can often happen when a child starts nursery or school. You can talk to the teacher about your observations and concerns and, discuss what support might be needed, and decide next steps together.
You can also see your child’s GP and discuss your concerns, the GP might talk about whether to make a referral to a specialist service or paediatrician.
At Norfolk SENDIASS we provide legally based information, advice and support to those families around SEND issues in education such as EHCPs, SEN Support, Disability Discrimination. We also offer information surrounding health and social care issues where it impacts on education. This can be things such as when a child or young person cannot attend an education setting due to a medical need or if a child or young person has a medical need that requires provision.
We will also be able to signpost service users to different health services that may be able to support you and your family with any health concerns.
One of these website would most likely be the Norfolk Local Offer, the Norfolk SEND Local Offer is a website that you can go to for information about health services and provision for children and young people with SEN or disabilities including:
- services to support children and young people with medical conditions in education.
- speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, and services relating to mental health.
- palliative, respite, and continuing care for children with complex health needs.
- support for young people when moving between children to adult healthcare services.
- wheelchair services and community equipment, children’s community nursing, continence services
Within the Local Offer website there is also information about JustOneNorfolk this is a website that has lots of resources surrounding you and your child’s health. There are many different topics covered on the website including: Emotional health, School life, and Child development and additional needs.
Norfolk SEND Youth Forum update
This month, members were consulted by Nicholas and Hannah, from NCC about Independent Special schools; some of our members have attended specialist settings, whilst others have been in mainstream schools but receiving additional support. They were able to share their experiences, and various issues were identified, such as transport and the distance between home and specialist settings.
“I think it would be better to try to make us more independent closer to home, as sometimes our schools are so far away.”
There was further discussion around members personal experiences, and a theme which features regularly in our conversations was around young people being listened to, and the importance of early interventions in schools:
“My school experiences were not good. I think a lot of it was that I didn’t know I was special needs/autistic at the time but the grownups that should’ve picked up on things didn’t. My biggest thing I want to change is I want teachers to listen to the students. Especially young ones when they say what they are worried about as so many things could’ve been picked up from my childhood from being listened to and acknowledged but I wasn’t old enough to understand what I felt.”
We were also joined by Matt and Adam, whose roles are Short Breaks Inclusion Coordinators, at NCC, who came to introduce themselves and talk about activities for young people with SEND.
Members told us that a big challenge is finding groups and activities in their local area, where their additional needs or disabilities are supported to enable them to access these groups successfully, and to connect to their peers who share their interests and experiences:
“Just being able to spend time with people like me “
We were also able to share the news that SENDFEST will be returning in 2024 and will be in June, at City College Norwich. Max from NCC will be coming back to the Forum in January, to hear what members would like to see at the event!!
We are looking forward to meeting the group in person in December, as we have booked bowling and lunch, in Norwich, in December! We have booked X2 extra places, which will be offered to any new members who sign up soon!!
So, if you know of any young person, aged 11-25 years who would like to join a group of young people committed to improving services for children and young people with SEND, who would like to share their lived experience, and make new friends in the process, we would love to hear from you!!
Bridget Robinson, Engagement and Advice Worker
Autism Central is a new peer education programme, commissioned by NHS England. Essex County Council holds the contract for the East of England Hub, covering Herts, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Essex.
Family Information Service update
Contact are a national service that offer 1-1 telephone appointments with a family support adviser for parent/carers looking for a listening ear, reassurance, practical and emotional support.
They can also offer support with benefits and sources of financial help including a Family Finances call back service.