Bureaucracy at it’s best… – My Family Ties

Desperately Seeking An Answer 

Oh my god!!! I cannot believe that I am posting this!!

Once again I am annoyed and thoroughly p****d off with the system and the way in which ASD kids are treated.  We are trying to get our daughter moved to a school more suited to her needs, as her current one has been placed in special measures, due to quite honestly by an idiot calling himself an education minister and an idiot calling herself a head mistress pretty much in equal measures.  I know that sounds really harsh but it has taken us three years just to receive this unsatisfactory conclusion.

Autism quote 'where direction is more important than speed'.

It has taken both of us around nine years of solid work, arguments and clinical testing to obtain an ASD “label” for our daughter who is now 14 and about to move into her two year GCSE phase. She  recieves no help or consideration by her current schoo,l and attempts to fit into a main stream secondary academy, and although she appears “normal” ( I hate that word) she is in need of considerable additional help. We have asked the school for help in obtaining a statement for her but have been declined at every opportunity for no discernable reason!

Quote 'autism is not a disability, it is a different abilty'

We have found a suitable nearby school who specialise in supporting and nurturing ASD secondary children, but have been told a statement needs to be in place, thats no problem we thought. We contacted the relevant local authority and submitted all the evidance required including a clinical diagnosis ( all of which are from the same county) and have been told it will take twenty weeks!! (“About February/March time” we were casually told)

To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. We explained that Siobhan doesnt have twenty weeks to spare for what is at best a formality, when asked what the reason is for such a long time frame, we were told it is the “process” and that she will need to be assessed, baring in mind she has already been assessed clinically possibly from the same person, or even worse, another person in the same building, this just seems ludicrous.

Here is the letter to our MP


Dear Chris Heaton-Harris,

I am writing to you out of desperation regarding our
daughter and her education. 

This is a copy of a letter that we sent to The Education  Health and Care Team to try and move Siobhan,
our daughter to a more suitable school because she is registered disabled
(Autistic) and her current education provider are not meeting her needs due to
current education guidelines.

speaking to one of the team today (Nicole at the Education Health and Care
Team) we have been informed it will take minimum of 20 weeks to arrive at some
kind of conclusion, even though she has medically been diagnosed as Autistic/disabled
within Northamptonshire at CAMHS.  She also has support from the Autistic
outreach team, also from the Delos community support team.
this information both clinical and social, has been forwarded to the EHCP team,
so really we are unsure why it is going to take another 20 weeks to deliver a
verdict as to whether she receives an educational statement (required for
Northgate School) especially in light of the fact she has had this diagnosis
within Northamptonshire for the last two years.  

This would take us then into February 2015, and as this is the first of
her two GCSE years we feel this is a totally unacceptable timeline.  Bearing in mind, out of the twenty weeks,
nine of which are delayed due to the school holidays within this timeframe.
to our meeting at Northgate School of Arts in Northampton,
we were assured there is a place open for Siobhan at that school in September,
and they would fully support and understand that she has
autism/dyspraxia/co-ordinaltional dysfunctional disorder and is disabled.  However we feel her place is going to be put in
jeopardy due to the timeframe involved (20 weeks) not to mention her
educational needs as I have re-iterated before.
you will see from the attachment, this has been a reasonably recent request to
move her to a new, more suitable school, however the final nail in the coffin
was that her school has been put into special measures within the last two
months.  This is just a culmination of a
comedy of errors over the last two years regarding our daughter’s education, (of
which this letter is not the time or place to discuss these errors, however if
required we are happy to speak in person), due to the proximity of her GCSE’s
this cannot continue. 
understand the short timeframe regarding this matter, and are not asking for
any special treatment for our daughter, but we feel she has been very unfairly treated
and overlooked on many occasions at her current school.  As conscientious parents we believe she has
the right, to be treated with respect and dignity and feel this is not being
have been asking for the last four years for her school to support the application
for a statement regarding our daughter, which has been denied countless times,
with no discernible reasons given, and of which neither us, nor the Deputy Head
of Northgate School could fathom the reason why.
outcome we are asking from yourself, is help in securing a speedy expedition in
obtaining a statement for our daughter Siobhan,  to enable her to continue her education, and
reach her full potential in an environment that is more fitting to her needs,
both holistically and educationally.
look forward to your swift reply,


 We are at our wit’s end – Does anybody have any advise??
Are you going through a similar situation with your teen with ASD? 
I would love to hear from you with any suggestions which direction we could take next, thanks for reading…


  1. Slough Parent
    August 2, 2014 / 9:42 pm

    The best advice I could give you is to source a private educational psychologist to assess your daughter in her current environment and also to assess the proposed school.

    You shous not ever state that the proposed school is the best school. If the matter goes to tribunal (which it may need to if you have a battle ahead with your LEA ) the law state the school must meet 'adequate provision'.

    In simplistic terms you need independent evidence to prove why your daughters current placement does not meet her provision and why your proposed one does. Please bear in mind that your LEA may come back with some other proposed school.

    Me and my wife learned the hard way that nothing is ever on a plate when you have a Special Needs child. It's a horrible feeling having that battle ahead.

    The escalation of the Statement could be aided with this Educational Psychologist supported process and perhaps the threat of legal action to your LEA.

    IPSEA.org will provide you with independent free advice. Best of luck

    • August 4, 2014 / 10:55 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It is such a minefield just trying to get a decent basic, appropriate education for your child with autism!

      Every single 'professional' we have seen have stated that our proposed school is the most appropriate for our daughter.

      We certainly will follow your advice and get Independent evidence such as an Educational Psychologist, to substantiate our evidence on our case to move schools for her.

      All the professional bodies involved have stated quite clearly to us that the ONLY way we will manage to get a satisfactory outcome for our daughter is to make as much noise as possible. How is this right? I really despair of the whole system, but will not give up as I not only feel a sense of injustice for my daughter but also if I don't push this I feel like I have let her down.

      Thank you again for your helpful advice,

      My Family Ties

  2. Slough Parent
    August 5, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    I totally agree the system is pants. If there's a saving grace, the Statementing process is being overhauled and the new plans will kick in in September. (sorry the name of them escapes me). You may have the opportunity to have a named school stated.. Just a punt, but worth a try.

    If you were to have a face to face meeting with the LEA showing them written evidence from independent professionals, they have a duty to consider your submission and review the statement. Put them on the spot and make them feel uneasy.

    Good luck with it all !

    • August 8, 2014 / 8:43 pm

      We have been in contact with The Autistic Society and their Educational help team, who have been very helpful and suggested as well as a statutory assessment, we ask for an emergency placement to the school we have visited, and the statement can go on in the background while she starts school in September. The law is changing in September along with the name, but the lady I spoke with said that it wouldn't change so drastically that we couldn't request an emergency placement.

      So we have requested this, as well as the local MP also being very helpful, and keeping everything crossed that it all goes through in time.

      Certainly the next step I see it is a face to face meeting with the LEA as you have suggested, we have already given all the paperwork including all the written evidence, but I can see us having to supply it all over again.

      Thank you again for your comments and help to us both. I will keep you posted!

  3. September 4, 2014 / 5:00 am

    This has really struck a cord with me, my daughter is 14, her psychologist is certain she has autism but they can't officially diagnose it as my daughter won't agree to testing. This means she gets no extra help at school, she's slipping backwards, has behavioural problems at home but outside won't speak and is bullied. I asked for her to be tested since she started primary school but was told there was nothing wrong with her for years, every time she got an appointment her school would send a report saying it wasn't necessary as there was nothing wrong with her! At secondary school they realised something was wrong too and at last she saw someone but it's too little to late.

    I find it frightening how much more power others have over our children, parents don't seem to have a say at all.

    • September 8, 2014 / 9:33 pm

      I agree with you it is scary how much control they have and how little power we as parents have over our child's future. Have you tried the National Autistic Society at all ? They were very helpful and I spoke with a member of the educational legal team and she was just so very helpful with all the technical and legal red tape behind all the forms and such. It really is a minefield and if your child doesn't 'fit' all the boxes then you struggle even more.

      I hope you find a way to move forward and get the help you need for your daughter it is a pivotal age and so hard to have all the control just out of your reach, if you ever need someone to talk to please do let me know, as I can really relate to what you are going through.

      Take care,


  4. October 23, 2014 / 7:34 am

    I feel for you, having fought similar battles for two family members over mental health issues – "we don't want to put in too much support because he used to function at such a high level" – and over dyslexia – "she has got a problem but it's doesn't look like dyslexia to me so I won't refer her for assessment."

    The system seems to be set up to prevent anyone getting the help they need, and you have to go on fighting Good luck.

    • December 17, 2014 / 9:44 am

      Thank you Stephanie I feel that this issue seems to resonate with so many people, the frustration you feel as a parent is so stressful. We have just heard that our daughter has been rejected from having a statement so in essence we are back to square one, not able to move her to a more suitable school. She was devastated to remain in the school she is in and it has been really hard to explain it to her. We have decided to get her extra lessons after school to help her achieve her goals, and concentrate more on her next step of college.

      The comments from the council that angered us the most were the fact that the statement was denied due to the fact they deemed her grades of an D average (the highest she can get doing 'Vocational Pathway' is a C) to be acceptable and therefore a statement was not needed. I had no idea that an autistic child's possible statement would be judged upon her academic performance!! How utterly ridiculous. Never mind that she has been relegated to classrooms full of disruptive, aggressive children that the school really doesn't know what to do with, and to top it all off she has also been excluded from P.E. as they deem her 'not able enough'.

      I have lost all my faith in the so called system and intend to concentrate all my efforts to helping her through the end of her school journey, and then if she needs to re-do any subjects she will do so in college, where I believe she will have access to more support. I will keep fighting for her at her school and hopefully the system will change for the better in the future, let's hope so for the sake of the hundreds of autistic children that struggle at school every day, my daughter is just one of the many.

  5. December 17, 2014 / 1:06 am

    my son with autism is 22 now & we have had to fit every step of the way, he wasnt diagnosed until he was 15 because we had to get him sectioned as he was very violent then he got diagnosed. its like the middle ages where things like autism are involved

    • December 17, 2014 / 9:59 am

      Hi Caroline, it really feels like you have to constantly fight for every little tiny glimmer of support, and as you say it really is like they are stuck in the middle ages when it comes to any kind of help or support when it comes to Autism. Even with something simple such as our daughter's work experience has turned into a fiasco. No understanding has been offered to her with regards to the fact she is registered disabled and has autism, she has been admonished for not finding somewhere to work, without a thought to the fact she has to find the right place (not to noisy etc) that will have understanding and support of her disability. In contrast many of the children in her class who have behavioural issues have been given unlimited support during their search for work experience.

      It seems to be if you have behavioural issues or problems you hold a trump card to being noticed and receiving support (without any fight) along your educational journey. However if you have a disability which you have a diagnosis for, you have to fight at each step for any issue you come against. It is archaic as a system and I hear so many parents like myself experiencing the same treatment as we have with our daughter. I can only hope that it changes in the future.

    • January 3, 2015 / 6:05 pm

      My cousin's son was recently diagnosed with autism, I am going to show her your blog x

  6. September 2, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    Would just like to say that this resonated with me as we are having a similar experience. My daughters school refuse point blank to support an application for a statement. The school senco even said because my daughter is verbal it would not be considered thus pointless applying. My daughters school has an autism base but if i'm honest, they appear to have no clue how to take care of her and support her. They tend to treat her as a naughty child rather than a child with additional needs. I got in touch with CAMHS and my daughters psychologist laid the blame soley at the school's door. He stated the school should have her assesed by an educational psychologist as she has not seen one since she was in primary school. This cost would come out of the school budget, so thers another fight on our hands. Hope you got your situation sorted. I understand, the stress is immense

  7. September 27, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    I don’t have much advice to offer but I wanted to say that I am so sorry you’re going through this. There are way too many families with kids with autism who get neglected, unappreciated and abused and it’s unacceptable. You and your daughter deserve better.
    Stay strong.

    • Caroline
      September 29, 2016 / 8:32 am

      Thank you for your supportive comment Katy – it means a lot! 🙂

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