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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:19 pm 
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Our review was unsuccessful - which we are not really surprised about - and we had kind of reached the decision that our son would be better at a closer school anyway because of his medical needs.
But, the letter includes a statement that the panel decided to treat my son as if he wasn't disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act. They thought he was disabled when he took the tests (and made reasonable adjustments), he is in receipt of disability living allowance. How can they now decide not to take his disability into account now?
Should I question this before waiting for 1 March?
thanks for any advice


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:15 am 
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If you were satisfied with the reasonable adjustments offered, there may be no significant issue in practice.
Ultimately, the crunch question is whether your son was denied reasonable adjustments for the test - and whether, on the evidence available, the panel thought that on the balance of probabilities he would have qualified, if only those adjustments had been in place.

However, I find this all very curious because - as far as I know - the EP (educational psychologist) who sat on the Special Access Panel previously dealing with your son's case ought to have been involved in his Selection Review, providing 'professional information'!

I assume that the RP (Review Panel) would have known about your son's circumstances and the reasonable adjustments, either from your own submission or from the Headteacher's summary sheet?

You might wish to have confirmation:
    • that the decision letter contains no clerical error
    • that the RP were indeed fully aware that this case had been to the Special Access Panel, and that reasonable adjustments had been granted
    • that an EP was involved in your son's selection review
    • that, irrespective of any decision about disability, the RP still took fully into account your son's circumstances (under the heading of extenuating circumstance).

I think you would be entitled to this information if you request it under the Data Protection Act.

Alternatively, if you wish to go to appeal, all the review paperwork should be made available to you then, and you would also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Just for the record the Headteachers' Manual states:
Quote:
Cases will be allocated to panels in no particular order or category except for cases previously considered by the Special Access Panel (panel that sits prior to the testing to consider any special adjustments to the testing method) which will be allocated to a panel which will have information from an educational psychologist. However, the EP has no vote, providing professional information only.

Where the case has already been considered by the Special Access Panel then the paperwork from this panel will be provided to the SRP, this will include the pro forma used to record the panel’s decision.

The Clerk to the Selection Review Panel will record the review decision for each child on an individual pro forma. This, together with the child’s review paperwork and decision letter will be provided to the Independent Appeal Panel should an appeal subsequently take place.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:18 am 
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That's very clear advice Etienne. Thank you. I think I will ask for further information. Asking if the letter has a clerical error is a very good way of approaching it.

Yes, the panel were aware of the adjustments made at testing, and referred to them in the decision letter. The letter is not clear about he impact of the decision not to look at his case under equality law. It isn't clear if that means they didn't take his (disabilty related) extenuating circs into account or not. There is no mention of an EP sitting on the panel.

I'm worried about precedent later on if the council has decided he is not covered by the law. I'm sure there will be other adjustments needed once he gets to secondary school and this letter could be problematic.

I'm not really interested in overturning the selection panel's decision, but would it be appropriate to ask for the council to reconsider and retract their statement about him not being covered by the equality act?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:31 am 
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Rho, the council doesn't get to decide who is and who isn't covered by the Equality Act! There are very clear guidelines and you should definitely pursue this if you feel it could possibly become an issue at secondary school.

My DCs aren't obviously disabled in the sense of being restricted in what they can do, but they have medical conditions which are nevertheless covered by the Equality Act. We have had to gently remind their schools of this on the odd occasion over the years.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:34 pm 
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Rho40 wrote:
There is no mention of an EP sitting on the panel.
It's not entirely clear to me whether the EP should have been physically present! The wording seems a bit vague: "information from an educational psychologist. However, the EP has no vote, providing professional information only."

If the RP decided to take a completely different decision from that of the Special Access Panel, which was advised by the very same EP, one would have hoped the RP had an opportunity to question the EP!

I suspect the turnover of cases was quite rapid, and it would be interesting to know exactly how much time was spent discussing this case ........

Quote:
I'm worried about precedent later on if the council has decided he is not covered by the law. I'm sure there will be other adjustments needed once he gets to secondary school and this letter could be problematic.

I'm not really interested in overturning the selection panel's decision, but would it be appropriate to ask for the council to reconsider and retract their statement about him not being covered by the equality act?
Nothing to worry about. Their decision doesn't affect anything else, and was taken to show that they were 'having regard to' the Equality Act. If you were to go to appeal, an appeal panel could come up with a different decision about disability (which again wouldn't be binding on anyone else).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:34 pm 
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Dear Etienne and all

I took your advice and asked for the Clark's notes which arrived this week. They clearly show that the SRP completely misunderstood the medical evidence. In fact they said some very silly things. So we have rushed off the appeals green form.

The selection review was a two week turnaround and in terms of evidence of academic ability, we only had time to get the head teacher's report. The clerk's notes state they were expecting more than this (not sure why, we filled in all the forms). Now we will have an EPs report and more detailed evidence from the head. Can we submit these as well?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:08 am 
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Rho40 wrote:
Now we will have an EPs report and more detailed evidence from the head. Can we submit these as well?
Indeed you can.

If you haven't done so already, read very carefully our advice here:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=31030
Especially section (d).

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:31 am 
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Just a quick update on progress.

We have been given a date for appeal hearing at the end of April. We have been asked to show that the selection review was unfair and to send in additional academic evidence. The letter says they will only look at the academic evidence if they agree the selection review was unfair.

We are arguing that the selection review was unfair because the Clerk's notes show the medical evidence was misinterpreted.

I also think it is unfair because the Clark's notes also show that they were expecting more academic evidence from the Head than could be provided on the review template. Our out of catchment Head isn't familiar with the system and was genuinely surprised when I showed her the clerk's notes. She has written a very supportive letter and provided more detail on progress. I'm not sure whether to mention this as unfair or not.

We have also had an educational assessment done. This was becuase VTRS scores were so low (108, 114). This showed in top 10% for verbal and memory but only average for anything that relied on visual processing. The Ed psych has suggested a referral to an ophthalmic specialist. My son had lazy eye and still wears glasses for long sight and astigmatism. Very interesting. We are seeing optician next week.

So, we have 5s for SATs, good letter from head, Ed psych report, and now two lots of unrelated medical evidence. Overall, it looks to me like a little boy with lots of problems. Will this be enough? Who knows but any advice appreciated.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:33 am 
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Quote:
Will this be enough?
I think you have a case that deserves consideration - but only your panel will be able to answer your question! :)

At the hearing be sure to emphasise the point that a fortnight was insufficient time in which to gather evidence.

The misinterpretation of medical evidence is worrying. We're not aware yet of anyone who has had sight of the clerk's original notes, so I suspect that what you've been sent is a summary - a few lines on a spreadsheet. How is anyone to know whether the process was fair and objective without the original notes in full? How is anyone to know whether a summary typed up later on is even accurate? The process seems to be completely lacking in transparency.

Have another look at d(4)
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=31030
to see if there are any other points you'd like to raise at the hearing with regard to whether the process really was 'fair, consistent & objective'.

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Etienne


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:37 pm 
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Dear Etienne

Thank you for you interest in our case. Our Clerk's notes are quite detailed. I wasn't sure about going to appeal until I saw them. To me, they seem to totally misunderstand our case. I have put them in your confidential dropbox as I know you are interested in the extent of these notes generally.

Did you have any thoughts on the visual processing issue? I've never heard of anything like it but the ed psych was saying that he relies on context and semantics to read, so finds words taken out of context (like in the test) very difficult because he can't see straight. This hardly sounds like grammar school material to me, but the ed psych reassured me that his comprehension and memory will be enough to ensure he can cope at grammar.

Rho.


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