We won at SEND Tribunal!
A few weeks ago we finally made it to SEND tribunal. It was a very long 8 months with a case management meeting in the middle, but it was all over and done with in little over an hour. most of that time was spent with the judge checking we were all fine and explaining things.
We originally appealed Toby’s Year 6 appeal but as time went on it became a Year 7 appeal.
Toby’s tutor was amazing. She got asked a tricky question. His SLT got asked an equally tricky question. The barrister representing the LA had no directions. There was only one piece of paper in the near 1000 pages of bundle saying that the school we wanted was ‘full’. As the judge said, it is parental preference unless the LA can dislodge it. With no paperwork and no directions it looked good for us.
Just before 10pm on the Monday night - on Day 12 - we got the final court order that said Toby had been given a place at the school of our choice and lots of speech therapy to help him talk.
I want to say I was delighted but the only emotion I felt was sheer relief that Toby would be going to a positive aspirational school with a fabulous ‘can do’ attitude. And that he wasn’t going to the LAs choice of school which had no work pathway, and no mention of maths, English or reading on the curriculum. The school I have chosen is like a proper secondary school with an art room, DT room, cookery room, library, music room and science room. The children move from subject to subject differentiated at their level.
I have to say for the first two weeks post tribunal I felt exhausted. My brain felt like it was about to explode. a couple of days I literally sat with an ice pack on my head to cool it down.
It all moved very quickly and last Friday Toby and I went for a full tour of the new school. Toby absolutely loved it! He ran into the sports hall and jumped up and down excitedly. He said ‘Hello’ to everyone he met and said a beautiful ‘Good morning’ to a teacher. We got shown a classroom where Toby may be, and he ran straight in, sat down at an empty desk and demanded work! So we left him doing craft on Ancient Egyptians whilst I finished the tour. I had worried that Toby may run off but he was impeccably behaved. He stayed with me, charmed everyone, and came back each time he was asked to. He found the washing machine and ovens pretty quickly and tried his best to get lunch out of the dinner ladies!
Toby got given his new school uniform top which he’s excited about.
After visiting the school I dared to believe that my dreams were becoming reality. The excitement, delight and joy of seeing Toby so happy really blew any remaining stress away. We can finally look forwards with positivity and hope.
Huge thanks go to Toby’s fab tutor and SLT who not only spoke up for Toby but kept me calm too. More thanks goes to the Down’s Syndrome Association and their amazing SLT for the SLT report which has given Toby the chance to be able to talk. Yes already talking so much more now. The biggest thanks go to IPSEA and our incredible volunteer worker who held my hand throughout tribunal. We worked amazingly well and she kept me sane at every twist and turn. I owe her so much.
Toby now has a positive future ahead of him thanks to these fantastic people and charities.