Join Date Aug 2006 Posts 193
What exactly does a statement mean?
Join Date Oct 2007 Location drowning under a pile of washing Posts 8,866
A statement is a legally binding document where the local education authority sets what he thinks your son's needs are and how they intend to meet those needs. Importantly, a school must be named and, in general, if your son needs hours of support that should be detailed, as should additional support such as speech and language therapy. As a parent, you are your child's advocate and have an important role and your input should be valued.
It is not open for disclosure apart from those parties who need to know - yourself, school, any outside agency. I used to work for a centralised support service so would be involved in providing advice for assessment for statements through assessment and also for review. I also did some direct teaching so would need to see a statement for that. Some schools like to get statements because there can be a monetary implication. If, for example, a child is deemed to need additional hours of learning support assistant that would be named on the statement and the school would receive additional funding for these hours. Schools do have budgets delegated for sen children and can decide how to spend this so there can be provision for a child to have this sort of support though, in my experience, this money has tended to be allocated for groups of children, additional government strategies (additional literacy support that sort of thing) so, if your child is needy, a statement would be a safeguard. In the
authority I used to work for there was a big move to delegate practically all the sen funding to the school so statements would only be issued if a child needed something like 20 hours per week additional support at primary and 15 hours at secondary - most children on my caseload wouldn't get anything like that level of support and mostly didn't need it but I suspect some of those children who would have benefitted from this sort of support (say to the tune of 8 hours per week) would have missed out. This change was made in consultation with headteachers who very much wanted it. Some schools did well out of the formula worked out, others didn't, most of the schools I went into claimed this didn't .
A statement is subject to review annually and hours could be changed depending on changing circumstances, as could school provision. It is possible for an lea to cease to maintain a statement (ie end it) but in my experience that rarely happened, not because this wouldn't have been a reasonable option but because schools and families couldn't be parted from them (I have seen statements saying absolutely nothing allocation no additional resources, still be subject to annual review for no apparent reason).
It is confidential, shared only between parties who need to see it. A school is asked to send a return in of pupils on the special educational needs, English as an additional language and so on but this is a census and the only info passed on is the number of children in each category.
As with all things there are pros and cons.