Bexley mum vows to take council to court over autistic son

News Shopper: Bexley mum vows to take council to court over autistic son Bexley mum vows to take council to court over autistic son

A MOTHER says she will take Bexley Council to court for the second time because her autistic son has been refused extra support at school.

Kelly Feria De La Torre 42, of Thornton Road, Belvedere, is fighting to get her son Joshua, 11, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a council-funded teaching assistant to help him for 18 hours a week.

Joshua is in Year 7 at the Bexley Business Academy in Yarnton Way, Thamesmead.

He was diagnosed with the condition when he was in Year 5 when a teacher at Joshua's primary school advised his mum to take him to a doctor and get checked.

A letter sent by Bexley Council to the family on January 29, said: "I am writing to inform you the local authority do not propose to make any amendments to Joshua's statement of special educational needs.

"The review report requested that 18 hours of support a week should be attached to Joshua's Statement.

"The panel's decision was "the monitoring statement to remain in place with no additional support. Joshua's special educational needs can be met by the school."

Mother-of-two Mrs Feria De La Torre said: "The school has been amazing and are really pushing the council for the extra help but they don't want to budge.

"I will be appealing the decision and taking the council to court.

"We are just devastated because Joshua is doing really well at the school."

Joshua is currently in a transition class where he gets special attention, but in September he will join a mainstream class in Year 8 where he will not get any more help.

Mrs Feria De La Torre added: "It's going to be tough if Joshua doesn't get the help he needs.

"He is very bright but struggles with noisy, crowded places and he can’t cope with people he doesn’t know."

A Bexley Council spokesman said: "The panel considered the statutory assessment carefully and concluded that they thought Joshua’s special educational needs could be met within the 15 hours per week already allocated to his school and they gave him a ‘monitoring statement’.

"Joshua’s monitoring statement was reviewed recently as part of an annual review.

"The panel decided his needs, outlined on his statement, could still be met within the 15 hours.

School headteacher Guy Nichols said: "The academy is supportive of Mrs Feria De La Torre’s case to ensure that Joshua has appropriate levels of funding and provision to meet his special educational need. "Our position has been one to provide evidenced based assessment of need to the parent and local authority."

Comments (7)

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5:43pm Tue 11 Feb 14

lollie,erith says...

ive heard this sort of practice is becoming commonplace all of a sudden. this makes me think will the education authority remove the statement altogether which will end up where those hours in some schools will not be fulfilled, as there is no legal requirement to do so (when the statement is withdrawn). a family member has had terrible trouble gaining the right help for her disabled son in bexley and its becoming more common when you speak to other parents going through the same. i would take them to tribunal, you will get a fair hearing there.good luck.
ive heard this sort of practice is becoming commonplace all of a sudden. this makes me think will the education authority remove the statement altogether which will end up where those hours in some schools will not be fulfilled, as there is no legal requirement to do so (when the statement is withdrawn). a family member has had terrible trouble gaining the right help for her disabled son in bexley and its becoming more common when you speak to other parents going through the same. i would take them to tribunal, you will get a fair hearing there.good luck. lollie,erith
  • Score: 3

6:33pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Ronsmall says...

I have difficulty believing the inaccuracy of this article. I used to work for a school in Bromley and it is my belief that the reporter writing this article has not understood the process used to get a statement for a child.
1) It's a complex process but it's clearly defined in law and the appeal process is not "court" but via a Tribunal.
2) The decision is usually made by a panel of experts not the council and I'd be surprised if there were not teachers on the panel.
3) The statement from the head teacher seems to say the school are sitting on the the fence.
4) In my experience, a child at a mainstream school who has autism would not normally be given any extra hours, never mind the 15 hours he already has. This is presumably in addition to the support of the teacher and assistants in the class.

A dreadful piece of sensational and lazy reporting !
I have difficulty believing the inaccuracy of this article. I used to work for a school in Bromley and it is my belief that the reporter writing this article has not understood the process used to get a statement for a child. 1) It's a complex process but it's clearly defined in law and the appeal process is not "court" but via a Tribunal. 2) The decision is usually made by a panel of experts not the council and I'd be surprised if there were not teachers on the panel. 3) The statement from the head teacher seems to say the school are sitting on the the fence. 4) In my experience, a child at a mainstream school who has autism would not normally be given any extra hours, never mind the 15 hours he already has. This is presumably in addition to the support of the teacher and assistants in the class. A dreadful piece of sensational and lazy reporting ! Ronsmall
  • Score: 2

6:50pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Fionafee says...

I find it hard to understand how a caring mother could allow her special needs child to be plastered all over the front of a local newspaper is beyond me. Shows how little understanding she must have for her son and his needs.
I find it hard to understand how a caring mother could allow her special needs child to be plastered all over the front of a local newspaper is beyond me. Shows how little understanding she must have for her son and his needs. Fionafee
  • Score: 2

11:15pm Tue 11 Feb 14

lollie,erith says...

unfortunately Fionafee sometimes its the only way for parents to receive help. my friend's special needs son was treated appallingly by the education authority and it was only when she went to the local paper, they offered her son a private school.
unfortunately Fionafee sometimes its the only way for parents to receive help. my friend's special needs son was treated appallingly by the education authority and it was only when she went to the local paper, they offered her son a private school. lollie,erith
  • Score: 9

10:03am Thu 13 Feb 14

suniedance says...

I agree with Lollie, sometimes this is the only way for parents to be heard, its bad enough she had to take them to appeal once, let alone again and if the school are asking for those hours they obviously must know it is needed, The system is frustrating and its more the understanding she has for her son and probably for others that she wants to bring this plight to attention, how many more are having to go through this that none of us know about?
I work in a school and have done for many years and i see this coming up more and more often now a day. It makes me wonder if things will get worse once statements are replaced by Educational health plans, but we can only wait for that one.
I agree with Lollie, sometimes this is the only way for parents to be heard, its bad enough she had to take them to appeal once, let alone again and if the school are asking for those hours they obviously must know it is needed, The system is frustrating and its more the understanding she has for her son and probably for others that she wants to bring this plight to attention, how many more are having to go through this that none of us know about? I work in a school and have done for many years and i see this coming up more and more often now a day. It makes me wonder if things will get worse once statements are replaced by Educational health plans, but we can only wait for that one. suniedance
  • Score: 2

2:25pm Thu 13 Feb 14

asisaid says...

Somewhat upsetting for those whose children cannot who cannot get statemented. Understandably, we want the best for our children. However, I am sure there are many others who would be more than happy to have 15hrs, whether they have tried to fight the system or not!
Somewhat upsetting for those whose children cannot who cannot get statemented. Understandably, we want the best for our children. However, I am sure there are many others who would be more than happy to have 15hrs, whether they have tried to fight the system or not! asisaid
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Thu 13 Feb 14

lollie,erith says...

asisaid when parents successfully get a statement for their child they are relieved, only to find that the system is now going to change. also my friend's two children have a statement and to say it is breached on a daily basis is more of an 'understatement' to want for a better word. some schools are really good at implementing the needs of the child but some have absolutely no clue whatsoever. god knows what they are doingwhen they go for training as it doesnt seem to filter through to the classroom. she had to advise the staff on how to do their job, and this is pretty basic knowledge you can find on the internet.
asisaid when parents successfully get a statement for their child they are relieved, only to find that the system is now going to change. also my friend's two children have a statement and to say it is breached on a daily basis is more of an 'understatement' to want for a better word. some schools are really good at implementing the needs of the child but some have absolutely no clue whatsoever. god knows what they are doingwhen they go for training as it doesnt seem to filter through to the classroom. she had to advise the staff on how to do their job, and this is pretty basic knowledge you can find on the internet. lollie,erith
  • Score: 0

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