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Please, please, please don't tell parents.....

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..that their child won't get an EHC needs assessment or an EHC Plan.

I know so many parents whose children have missed out on support at crucial times in their education because someone has told them, inappropriately, not to apply for a statutory/needs assessment.

This is from the IPSEA website:

"Local Authorities have a clear duty to assess a child or young person’s education, health and care needs where they may have SEN (special educational needs) and they may need special educational provision to be made for them at a level or of a kind which requires an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs."


Note the use of the word 'may'.


There seems to be a lot of misinformation, especially amongst SENCOs, about children needing a diagnosis, having to be behind by a certain amount academically, etc. These are not the case.


I have two children of my own who are working way beyond their peers academically and whose difficulties have never been apparent to school staff. They were both assessed by the LA despite school staff telling me it wouldn't happen and they were both given statements of SEN.

It's really helpful to remember that the application is for an assessment, not a plan. If a parent believes that their child has additional needs that may not be met by the school/setting for any reason, it is perfectly appropriate for them to apply for an assessment. That assessment can be helpful and informative for the school as well as the parents, even if it does not result in a plan.



This is not meant to be a criticism of schools, settings or SENCos in general. I know that most want very much to do the right thing. It is a plea from the heart. I have been to hell and back trying to get my children's educational needs met and I'm on the road to court as I type to try to get my daughter a place in a school that can meet her needs and give her a chance of coming out of education with some qualifications.

The professionals we've come across have had a huge amount of power to help or hinder us and some have used that power to do their very best and very worst. The good ones will have a place in my heart forever while the bad ones have done untold damage to my family, some of it undoubtedly permanent.

Early intervention is so important for children. Please support parents who are trying to do their best for their child. Encourage them to apply for an assessment if there is any reason to suppose that they will find it hard to ensure that their child's educational needs are met. They have a long hard road ahead of them and most will very much appreciate a helping hand at the start.

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Thanks both.

We will get there and it will be worth the fight.

I've just posted on yet another thread on a parents' forum where a setting has told a parent that her child won't get an ECHP because he "is less than 50% below his age". I don't know what that even means, I don't think the parent does and I'm not entirely sure that the provider does either.

It is illegal for a LA to set this kind of criteria and children regularly receive EHCPs despite being average or above average in academic attainment.

If a child may have additional needs, the LA is obliged to carry out an assessment at the request of the educator or the professional. Settings can support the process by providing evidence of strategies they have used or are using and their degree of success.

Too many children are left with their needs unmet for far too long because of this kind of misinformation. I have a feeling that I'm preaching to the converted on this forum but, if I can change the outcome for one child and their family by posting on here, it will be a worthwhile activity.

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I think the whole 'SEN area' is a minefield and I wouldn't have a clue what to do / where to go, now we don't get support.

I have close friends who have children at primary who have children who are on the Autistic spectrum, who have visits from Autism outreach and all sorts of professionals who acknowledge they have additional needs but there is no money etc to help support the child through day to day life at school - it all seems so wrong :(

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I think there's a huge problem for children on the autism spectrum whose needs aren't easily apparent in school. The professionals make their recommendations but the teachers (understandably) end up prioritising support for the children whose difficulties have an impact on others. The children with ASD who mask fall to pieces and end up in great distress at home but that gets put down to poor parenting or the child being manipulative which doesn't help anyone, least of all the anxious, overwhelmed child.

My own younger daughter could have been supported successfully through school from within the ordinarily available SEN budget had the professionals' recommendations been followed effectively, consistently and willingly.

Unfortunately, the prolonged trauma she suffered (and I used that word advisedly) from being left with those needs unmet for years has caused so much damage that her needs can now only be met in a ridiculously expensive specialist residential school. The cost of this placement would have paid for her needs to be met in the early days dozens, if not hundreds of times over. I'm painfully aware that, if we win the battle for the place she needs, that leaves considerably less funding for other children with additional needs in our county.

It would have been an awful lot better for her, us, her peers and the county purse had staff been positive and supportive about implementing the support she needed when she was younger instead of telling us she didn't qualify for extra support/funding and looking for excuses to withdraw any support she did have at the first opportunity.


So many local authorities, including ours, lead a culture that focuses on finding ways to excuse not meeting needs and schools end up following suit. Sadly it doesn't save money in the long run and it ends up costing other services like CAMHS a huge amount more.

Sorry. I will get off my soapbox now.

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Our Sen child,immobile,happy ....was turned down for EHC last friday.....in spite of all our reports,meetings,since Dec 15 to ensure a smooth transition to school in Sept.....now starts the appeal.....hardly smooth....


I'd love to say this was unusual but, sadly, it's all too common.


I hope you have lots of support. You might be reassured to know that, in a huge percentage of cases, the LA gives in and does the right thing before the case gets to court.


I'm just about to lodge my third appeal to the SEND tribunal so, if you'd like someone to compare notes with or vent at, please feel free to PM me. It often really helps to talk to other parents who have had similar experiences.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been keeping an eye on this post and truly I have reached a point of despair - I think I need help getting my mojo back as this is yet another area where bureaucracy is truly sapping the will to live!!!


So I have a little one at my setting who joined me in October last year - he had been at another setting where they had "managed" not to notice anything. Said little one is due to go to mainstream school in September this year!!! Since joining me we have worked with, cajoled, supported, wiped tears etc of parents as we have broken the news to them that there was (to put it mildly) some developmental delay. We have put in rafts of referrals and eventually after sitting on various waiting lists have ended up with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The 25 page EHCP assessment request was written up and the myriad of reports attached and sent to the LA.


And now here is where the will to live got up and left the building - the assessment request has been bounced back because within the 25 page request document I put "see attached report" for a couple of things including the Ed Psych report which we copied even though the LA already has it as it was a LA Ed Psych!!! and I didn't put anything - not even N/A on the page requesting the last three years results of the standardised tests undertaken in respect of reading and spelling !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Given that time for this little one is somewhat pressing to say I was furious was an understatement - I have today checked that there is no legal framework in place in respect of how you fill out the form and spoken to a local information and support service who didn't feel that asking the LA to read an attached report was unreasonable.


I then spoke to my local inclusion department - minion and head of department - in what I will admit was a somewhat frosty tone asking why they couldn't just read the reports - and here is where the will to live just died - apparently it is a pan "local authority" protocol that requires all settings to complete all the boxes on the form (irrespective of the fact that the information is in the attached reports) !!!!!!!!!!!!


I will now edit the said 25 page document and copy in the text from the attached reports because obviously in early years we have nothing better to do and we are paid so well that a little bit more admin shouldn't cause us any more grief and because if I don't the only person who suffers here is the child !!!


However I'm afraid I am now like a dog with a bone and some numpty somewhere in "authority" is going to suffer - my question is where do I go now (apart obviously from a job in Lidl) - my first thought is to contact my local councillors - the one for education and the "children's champion" so "put them in the picture" so to speak as to what obstacles are being put in the way of providing early intervention support for children in the name of local protocols but if anyone has any better ideas please put them forward.


This year there just seem to be so many things (funding, pensions, living wages etc) already sapping the love I have for early years out of my bones - this is beginning to feel like the straw that broke the camels back!!

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Sue i assume that this is a request for an EHCP? Or have you had an acceptance that the EHCP will go ahead?(in which case you are on a time frame) If this is just a request for an EHCP the parents can speak to the borough and request this goes through.

There is a real lack of training as to how these are to be filled in (we have had none!) so complaining about it after the fact is hardly acceptable ....i feel incensed for you! I have just managed to get one to assessment only for the assessor to be so ignorant that the parents have taken the borough to court! :wacko: :wacko: :blink: :angry:

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Sue i assume that this is a request for an EHCP? Or have you had an acceptance that the EHCP will go ahead?(in which case you are on a time frame) If this is just a request for an EHCP the parents can speak to the borough and request this goes through.

There is a real lack of training as to how these are to be filled in (we have had none!) so complaining about it after the fact is hardly acceptable ....i feel incensed for you! I have just managed to get one to assessment only for the assessor to be so ignorant that the parents have taken the borough to court! :wacko: :wacko: :blink: :angry:


This is the form (weighty tomb) just to request the LA to assess. I wondered if it would be more expedient for the parents to just write in - I have a letter format from a support site - so much simpler than the LA form. However when I discussed that option I was told advised that yes the parents can write in but then the LA will just write to us to ask us to fill in their form (same thing with filling in all the boxes) and if we then don't reply or fill in the form appropriately the LA would advise the parents and refuse to assess!!!


Given that this little one starts school in September if we don't "get him into the system" (so to speak) now he will have to wait until he starts school - the school will then have to reinvent the wheel to get their "evidence" in order to request an assessment and this child's reception year will have passed him by without anything other than the support that the school will give.


I think my tack will be to try to discuss this issue with the relevant councillors taking the line that they need to investigate who this "protocol" serves and ask them to be honest and say whether my inner cynic is right in thinking that the protocol has an ulterior purpose - to make the whole thing so unwieldy that it just puts people off applying!


As for training - there is none. Thankfully I have written enough of these types of things to know what to put and how to word them - the issue is really that writing these reports is a time consuming unpaid and thankless task made more onerous by being asked to fill in boxes on a form for some jobsworth to make their life easier because they can't be bothered to read the reports that they are requesting be submitted with the wretched form compounded by having to make copies of reports that they already have - post-9650-0-83870900-1462307056_thumb.jpgpost-9650-0-83870900-1462307056_thumb.jpgpost-9650-0-83870900-1462307056_thumb.jpg



Oh dear losing it again and I was doing so well - I went for a nice long walk earlier this evening so that I could spit out all the feathers I had accumulated during the day - perhaps I should have a large glass of something to help me calm down for bed time!

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oh sue I SO feel for you...it really isn't right ...I did exactly what you are doing last term in order for our little chap to be supported at school but the assessor was SO rude to our parents it is unbelievable (they thankfully are intelligent and 'stroppy' :lol: ) they hadn't read any of the reports and kept asking the parents what they wanted....their response " well how do we know we're not teachers...what's available!!!?????"

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I'd like to say I like your post finleysmaid !


The parents of my little one are not English and whilst they speak excellent "conversational" English the language of SEN is hard enough for native English speakers to get to grips with let alone people who have English as a second language - so we feel even more "pressure" to do a good job for them.


On a lighter note however I have drafted the following for one of the forms boxes - remember here that all boxes must be filled in (no matter how illogical Mr Spock):


Box 2D requires "Long term attainment record using age equivalent scores (last three years) and

Box 2E requires "Long term attainment record using standardised scores (last three years) - both for reading and spelling


I have filled out the boxes with None's and N/A's - however I have qualified this with the following


"Tests in reading and spelling are inappropriate for children working within the Foundation Stage and (to the best of my knowledge) there are no reading and spelling tests currently available to test any foetus in utero - it is therefore not possible to provide age equivalent/standardised scores (last three years) results. To ensure that we are not required to provide unnecessary information in the future please take note of the following extract from https://www.gov.uk/early-years-foundation-stagewhich states "Your child's progress will be reviewed when they're between 2 and 3 by an early years practitioner or health visitor. Their class teacher will assess them at the end of the school year when they turn 5. The assessment is based on classroom observation - your child won't be tested."

Please note that this section has now been completed and information has been provided solely to satisfy the pan-AUTHORITY box filling protocol."

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