In today’s post, we will be looking at the steps that you need to take to get an EHCP for your child (or for yourself if you are over 16).
Step 1: Talk to Your School
Schools receive a specific budget for supporting their students with Special Educational Needs and are allowed to decide themselves how this money is spent.
We work with schools that put a lot of time and effort into supporting their students and most teachers are dedicated and passionate about the students that they work with, so it may be that the school is able to do something to support your child without needing an EHCP.
You don’t need a specific diagnosis to obtain additional support although it does help: the simple fact that your child is struggling is enough.
Your school will normally create an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to support your child. If this is not enough to support your child’s needs, then it will act as evidence to support a request for an EHCP.
If your child is still struggling despite having spoken to the school, then you can request an EHC Needs Assessment.
Step 2: Request an EHC Needs Assessment
You will need to request an assessment from your local authority.
Anyone can request an assessment: doctors, health visitors, teachers, parents, family friends or a Leading Lights staff member. Often, if your child’s school has a SENCo, they are well placed to request one but it does not have to be them.
You can request an assessment by writing a letter (contact details should be found on your local authority’s website).
The letter should say why your child has or may have special educational needs and why you believe they may need special educational provision. The wonderful people over at IPSEA have also designed lots of useful template letters and advice for you when completing this process.
The local authority will consider whether your child has or may have special educational needs and whether they may need special education provision. If the answer to both of these is yes, then they must carry out an EHPC needs assessment.
To help make this decision, they should look at:
- Evidence of your child’s academic attainment and rate of progress: providing evidence of grades and test results will help with this.
- Information about the nature extent and context of your child’s SEN.
- Evidence of action already taken by the school. IEPs can be useful evidence here.
- Evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of additional intervention and support. Keep a record of any additional support your child has received, including any tutoring and mentoring from Leading Lights, and compare their results before and after.
- Evidence of your child’s needs. This can be through a formal diagnosis but it may also be from evidence given by clinicians, health professionals or external agencies. You do not need to wait for a formal diagnosis to apply for extra support!
Local authorities have six weeks to let you know whether they will give your child an assessment or not. If they refuse, you have the right to appeal through the SEND tribunal process, and the refusal letter should give you details about how to do this.
Step 3: The Assessment
Regulation 6(1) of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 states that the local authority must seek advice from:
- the child’s parent or the young person;
- educational advice (usually from the head teacher or principal);
- medical advice and information from a health care professional;
- psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist;
- advice and information in relation to social care;
- advice and information from any other person the local authority thinks appropriate;
- where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living; and
- advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.
This is the minimum advice that must be sought. You can use existing reports if they are relatively recent and the person providing the advice, the LA, yourself and your child are all satisfied that they are sufficient.
Leading Lights can help at this point by providing advice on the work that we have done or could do with your child as well as any recommendations for their future support.
Social care assessments and health assessments can also be requested at this point if needed.
The local authority should also consult with yourself and with your child, taking into account your views, wishes and feelings.
Your local authority must decide whether or not they will issue a plan and notify you within 16 weeks of requesting the assessment, so it is important to keep a note of the date that you request it.
If they decide not to issue your child with a Plan, you can appeal the decision at the SEND tribunal.
Step 4: Getting Your Plan
Your local authority will draft an EHCP and send it to you to review and comment on. This is a good opportunity to make sure that everything is covered, as the local authority will have to uphold everything that they put in the plan.
Once you are happy with your plan, the local authority will issue you with the final plan within 20 weeks of the date that the assessment was requested.