EHC PLANS & REQUESTS
Parents like EHC Plans because properly written they specify provision, which can be legally enforced. If your child/young person does not have an EHC Plan, the first step is a request for an EHC Needs Assessment.
Although the EHC Needs Assessment test is based on proving a probability, Local Authorities have commonly adopted policies with no basis in legislation. For example you may have been told by your Local Authority that your child cannot have an EHC Plan because they are ‘achieving in line with their academic ability’, because their behaviours ‘only present at home’ or because that particular special need, for example Dyslexia, is not covered by an EHC Plan. This is a form of gatekeeping. When Local Authorities say no, some parents mistakenly go away. This saves the Local Authority money. The law is however very clear in this area and the law trumps local policy.
If you have any doubts about whether or not your child needs a EHC Plan, regardless of what you have been told previously, we can help.
Experience suggests that pupils in independent schools receive more than their fair share of refusals. There is no need to move into a local authority mainstream school to get an EHCP.
Another common experience is having fought hard to get an EHC Plan being given an empty document which provides nothing. In other words, winning the battle and losing the war. Again, if this situation sounds familiar, we can help.
These are our dozen top tips for when you receive your EHC Plan:
1. Is the EHC Plan dated and signed? It is from the date of the final, signed and dated EHC Plan that your Local Authority becomes responsible for the provision in it.
2. Diagnoses all there? Are all of your child / young person’s diagnoses in Section B?
3. Wording should be specific – if you have expert reports saying “X has a diagnoses of dyslexia” make sure this is inserted in Section B.
4. Does your EHC Plan include contradictory information? If so the incorrect information should be removed.
5. Is the information current? Anything older than two years old should be removed and updated.
6. Do you understand it? If you don’t understand your child’s EHC plan it is not doing its job properly. Does it need to be written in a simpler format?
7. Is it all still there? If your child / young person has transferred from a SSEN to an EHC Plan – have any of the therapies they were receiving “disappeared”?
8. Is therapy in the right place? If your child / young person is receiving SALT / OT etc are these included in Section F? If they are only included in the Health sections, your Local Authority cannot be forced to provide them.
9. Provision should be quantified – “access to” “opportunities for” and “to provide”; essentially allows the LA to provide as much or as little as they want. In terms of provision / therapies think, what, by who, how often, for how long?
10. If it isn’t provided: if provision is quantified in Section F and the LA stop providing it, they can be forced to restart via a simple pre-action protocol letter on Solicitor’s headed paper.
11. Is it really Health and Social Care: Health and Social Care are anything which does not educate or train. If the provision educates or trains it should be in Section F (as educational provision).
12. There are no restrictions: You can get an EHC Plan for any learning difficulty including Dyslexia and you can get an independent specialist school or college funded by your Local Authority in Section I of the Plan if it is really needed.
If your Local Authority won’t help, your basic instinct is to want to fix the situation quickly. Basic instinct can lead to poor planning.
Mass your troops, know the key points to attack that affect infrastructure and have a plan to keep control once the manoeuvre starts. One of our clients wrote to us commenting:
“We’d have been much better off instructing you from the outset, but we were under the impression that we should go it alone – not the case!!” - Mrs T Kent
We have over 20 years’ experience and a success rate consistently over 90% for the last decade. We are parents ourselves and are here to help other parents. We understand your needs and share your passion.