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Michelle and Johnathan Bouzaglo's autistic son Leo was scheduled to start primary school in September 2014. They were concerned that, while their local authority had said they were starting the statementing process for Leo, things didn’t seem to be moving forward and they weren't entirely sure if he would have the protection of a Statement of Special Educational Needs.
Leo had been attending a mainstream nursery for a few hours per week and was doing well in that small structured environment with 1:1 adult support. Both the nursery and his parents agreed that he would benefit from attending a mainstream primary school, but he would still require that 1:1 adult support.
The Local Education Authority (LEA) maintained that they were not prepared to fund that additional support beyond 12 hours per week. Leo’s parents seemed to be getting nowhere, so they turned to Access Legal for help because they were running out of time and needed to confirm that Leo had the support and funding specified.
We secured Leo a Statement of special educational needs. The first version made provision for a total of 15 hours of adult support as well as some other vague provisions, but gave no indication of a school. His parents remained concerned that Leo would spend the majority of the school week without adult assistance, despite the evidence that he could only access mainstream provision with dedicated adult support.
The usual option would be to appeal to a SEND tribunal, which can be a time consuming and costly route. Rather than waiting until after the event to appeal, we pulled out all the stops to ensure that all the support was agreed and in place when Leo needed it so he could start school.
The final Statement named the preferred school placement with full time 1:1 support including breaks/ lunches (a total of 32.5 hours per week). It also included specified therapeutic provision including Occupational Therapy and increased Speech and Language Therapy support.