It's been a difficult week for many parents at our school, who have discovered that our LA doesn't want to pay our statemented sons' school fees, because there has been a lower-than-inflation fee rise after several years of a freeze.
I do wonder what the council would think if we all declined to pay our council tax because of an increase. Nope, county council, I think you've asked for too much this year, so please re-invoice me for a lower amount and I'll consider it.
This is despite them paying the full (increased) fee for new statemented boys. Bonkers, eh?
Methinks someone a) hasn't quite understood the existing legislation and/or b) is such an difficult character (this is polite speak) that no one else in the department has had the courage to whisper that it's sshh *actually illegal* and s/he's bringing the authority into disrepute in the eyes of more right-thinking colleagues, parents, headteachers and.. oo, probably the Department for Education. Especially if they read it here. Who knows?
To say we're all angry and distressed is a very large understatement. I did write to the LA earlier in the week, and am still awaiting a response. I'm not a very patient person, but more patient than some parents who've already written to their MPs to voice their complaints. Quite right too.
I'll be doing the same next week (and maybe even speaking to my excellent contacts in the local press and regional TV), unless our esteemed headmaster finishes half-term on Thursday afternoon holding a nice cheque for the right amount and not a penny less. The press love stories like this, though - I should know, having been a journalist for quite a long time.
Really, don't mess with special needs parents and most certainly DON'T mess with their children's education that they've fought hard to secure. They've been through statementing and come out the other side still standing (just about). Do you think they're going to let this slide? I think not. You only have to read our Facebook Group to know that.
If you've been in a similar situation, do let me know.
On to some great stories from the week:
- A boy with Asperger's:Aspergers and how it really affects us as a family A great post from my friend, the lovely Claire Louise
- Special Needs Jungle: Stop the DLA Takeaway campaign – Your help needed to stop parents under pressure losing out on vital financial support
- Barnardos: The Argos Toy Exchange to raise funds for Barnardos - Take your old toys to Argos and exchange them for a voucher. Funds raised go to Barnardos. What a Fantastic idea!
- The Guardian: 450,000 disabled people to lose out under universal credit, study finds One in 10 disabled households with children fear they might lose their home as a result of cuts, report says
- Special Needs Jungle: When SEN Tribunal looms, seek legal advice Don't try to represent yourself - make sure you get the right help.
- Not As Advertised: The tumble dryer that felled "superwoman" My new post on my Not As Advertised blog - we've all been there - the straw that broke the camel's back.
- Med Page Today: ADHD Issues Persist into 40s Men in their fourth and fifth decades -- diagnosed as boys with ADHD -- were significantly worse off in several respects than members of a comparison group. Which is why early intervention is crucial!
- SFARI: Handwriting study points to motor, memory problems in autism The wobbly handwriting of many children with autism may reflect differences in their brains’ motor and working memory systems. Interesting - Son1 has significant writing problems
- San Angelo Standard Times: Embracing a different kind of special ow.ly/evz0W A story about coming to terms with being a special needs mum.
- EDCM: 4 principles to design benefits for disabled young people EDCM campaign report about PiP for young people 16-25
- Telegraph: Dyslexia-friendly books by top children's authors
- Telegraph: Accepting Autism one father's path to understanding his son
- Special Needs Jungle: It's Dyspraxia Awareness Week - be alert for early signs
- TES: The SEN cliff face - An informative article highlighting many barriers pupils with SEN face in transitioning to college