Please note that all guidance in relation to education is based on laws and guidelines in relation to England. If you live in Wales, N. Ireland of Scotland please find the relevant Sen Code of Practice in my blogroll on the RHS of the page.
Requesting an EHCP Assessment
If the school feel that they cannot meet your child’s needs from their own SEN budget or if, despite a graduated response to meet those needs, improvements are not been seen either academically or emotionally then either the school or the parent can apply for an EHCP assessment.
Some children may never show difficulties in school but, due to anxiety, quickly become school refusers. When this happens the time for a graduated approach from the school may have passed and this may be grounds to go straight to an EHCP assessment application.
Factors that the LA will consider when deciding whether to carry out an EHCP assessment or not can be found on p.g. 145 & 146 (9.14) of the SEN code of practice. Therefore when you apply for an EHCP assessment try to highlight and provide the necessary evidence that a local authority will be looking for.
9.14 In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress. To inform their decision the local authority will need to take into account a wide range of evidence, and should pay particular attention to:
• evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
• information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN
• evidence of the action already being taken by the early years provider, school or post-16 institution to meet the child or young person’s SEN
• evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
• evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies, and
• where a young person is aged over 18, the local authority must consider whether the young person requires additional time, in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have special educational needs, to complete their education or training. Remaining in formal education or training should help young people to achieve education and training outcomes, building on what they have learned before and preparing them for adult life.
If the local authority decline your request for an EHCP assessment then that is not the end of the matter because you can challenge this decision. You can take the matter to mediation in order to try to resolve the issue, this is an option that you must consider, but it is not an option that you must take. If you decide to not take the option of mediation or if mediation has already been unsuccessfully tried then you can appeal the decision at a SEND Tribunal.
If the school are not meeting your child’s SEN you can challenge this by going through the process suggested in the link provided.
In some cases you may be able to take your local authority to Judicial Review but you would need to appoint a solicitor to do this for you.
If you have the available finances or you are eligible for legal aid it may be beneficial to appoint a specialised SEN solicitor to guide you through the process as soon as you begin experiencing difficulties.
The following solicitors specialise in SEN but you would need to contact them directly in order to ensure if they accept legal aid. Also I cannot guarantee the quality of these services.
For more advice on SEN please visit IPSEA, Send code of practice , SEN SOS and National Autistic Society – Helpline – educational rights
For advice on suitable strategies within education please visit Videos 6, 7, 8 and 9 by Neville Starnes, Education and handling strategies by Phil Christie, National Autistic Society – PDA Educational Strategies and Education booklet by Positive PDA