Our Guide to SEN Support - EHCP (Education Health Care Plan)
'SEN Support’ in schools without an EHCP
Since the Reforms of September 2014 ‘School Action’ and ‘School Action Plus’ have been replaced with the
wider grouping of ‘SEN support’. This should be directly funded by the school or College for up to £6000 additional
SEN allowance per pupil. This change has enormous implications regarding the attitude of schools in supporting
our children and may discourage them from making the leap to EHCP’s; which are only funded by the Local Authority
over the £6000 base as it then puts the onus on them to ensure this base funding. We may be able to help with
advice or support at meetings if you do not have an EHCP;
however -There is far greater legal protection and likelihood of appropriate SEN support with an EHCP.
First things first! - This advice applies to ALL stages of the process:-
Professional Written evidence is vital. Gather ALL records and Data from the School and the Local authority- we can help with this. Confirm ALL relevant conversations in writing by returning details by E-mail , take detailed minutes of all meetings.
All evidence for support must come from written professional reports. Unfortunately, local authority professionals do not always provide sufficient detail in their reports to allow for legally sound and fully detailed provision in the EHCP and parents often find themselves paying for private reports.
If there is a dispute, Independent assessment reports are usually accepted by the 'SEND' (special educational needs and disability) Tribunal Appeal; however please ensure that any professionals commissioned are suitably qualified and have good Tribunal Experience. We can provide suitable suggestions.
SEND Appeal Time Scale.
At each stage of the EHCP process you have 2 months - (and/or 1 month from a mediation certificate) to register an appeal. The SEND Tribunal takes approximately 2 weeks to register an appeal. The hearing will usually be set 12 weeks from the date of registration. Following hearing your decision will take approximately 2 weeks to arrive.
Our Step - By - Step Guide to the EHCP Process
Make an Application for a “Formal /Statutory EHCP Assessment”
in your own name - directly to the Local Authority SEN department. A template letter and details of what to provide with your application is available by clicking here
Provide as much documented information as possible of Special Educational Needs.
If agreed, ensure that a ‘statutory EHCP assessment’ is confirmed in writing.
Refusal to make a formal / Statutory ‘EHCP Assessment’
is increasingly common. We strongly advise that you Appeal to the SEND Tribunal. The vast majority of these appeals are won by parents! You should only have to prove that your child MAY have SEN and MAY require support from an EHCP.
You will need to show that further assessment is required to establish the special educational needs of your child; it is useful to have referrals from professionals.
Statutory - EHCP assessment:
should include all relevant assessments i.e. Educational Psychology, Speech and
Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and any other relevant professional reports which may relate to the difficulties.
Following the 10 week EHCP assessment you must receive a written notice to inform if an EHCP will be issued or refused. If another form of support plan is offered or If EHCP is refused we advise that you Appeal.
If you have received written confirmation that an EHCP will be issued
, a proposed plan must be sent to you within 2 weeks of the notice. You must then be allowed at least 15 days to respond. See our EHCP checking service - we can advise on the content.
If you disagree with the content of the EHCP - or the placement named by the Local Authority you have the right of appeal. We can assist in preparing and presenting your case.
Maximum response to application for EHCP Assessment -
Maximum time from application to written response
Minimum time for parents to review DRAFT EHCP
AT LEAST 15 Days
Maximum time to Issue ‘Final’ EHCP from application or notice to assess
SEND APPEAL CASE MANAGEMENT
We can advise on which sections of the EHCP to register in a SEND Tribunal Appeal. We can make the application on your behalf, write the 'working document' - (the proposed EHCP). We will prepare your 'grounds of appeal' or 'case statement' which will represent your case using professional evidence available. We will manage paperwork such as requests for changes and witness attendance forms as per the Tribunal regulations. We can manage scheduled deadlines, help with witness assignment and advise on strategy.
We have over 95% success rate in SEND Appeals - most cases are agreed without a hearing.
Please also click here
for current statutory guidance
We pride ourselves in offering emotional support to our clients as well as providing honest, current information to empower our families. The changes in Legislation (since September 2014) are presented as more ‘parent and child-friendly’ & the provision as - ‘outcomes’ based; however there are concerns that the user-focused rhetoric may distract from the professional and legal nature of the documentation. In our experience the legal guidelines are not being followed correctly by many Local Authorities.
Local Authority ‘Policy’ is not LAW!
We want to ensure that the Legal Rights of you and your child are served correctly.
Re-Assessment / Annual Review of an EHCP - You may apply for a re-assessment if you feel that current reports are out-dated. Follow the same process as for initial EHCP application. At the Annual Review You must be provided with all relevant information and reports 2 weeks before the meeting.
You must be given a written response to the review within 4 weeks of the meeting. If the Local Authority intend to amend the EHCP, the proposed document must be sent to you within 8 weeks of the meeting. Once this is finalised you have the right of appeal - if you do not agree with the content.
The L.A must respond to your request for an EHCP reassessment within 6 weeks – and if they refuse to carry this out;
please note that you may appeal the all educational sections of the EHCP.