So I have been working with school Senco to get extra help for my 6 year old but despite 2 applications the local education dept wont conduct an EHCP assessment. I could use some advice on pushing this through. (Education psych and SLT both support the application) I know next step is mediation.

Would welcome any advice. Thanks.

  • I'm sure the local authority like to cause more stress than necessary. I've also had a head teacher block the application. She tried blaming it on her dyslexia then finally said she didnt have the funding. 

    We got refused twice, I was helping on school trips, taking him out of school at lunch, being called into school from work for meltdowns etc. He refused to write at all in class, hid under desks all sorts. But the local authority refused him! Mediation was just as useless and a complete waste of time but you have to try. 

    Someone I know of applied at the same time just because she wanted benefits! Her own admission to me. Her son had no issues in school and she got it approved 1st time! Bizare

  • Hi there.  My son has just got his EHCP at 15 years old.  He was diagnosed at 6. It sounds familiar in that the Ed psych was supporting getting one but the primary school were reluctant to start the process.  He needed support but was managing.  This all changed after getting to senior school and from the end of year 7 he was really starting to struggle.  I did ask about the EHCP and was fobbed off. It's took him to have a breakdown and being diagnosed with depression, PTSD and anxiety to finally getting the support he desperately needs. Send awarded his EHCP this Easter. He starts a new school in September and I'm hoping this will be the start of things better.  

    All I can say is don't give up.  Collect evidence and reports of everything.  Document everything and fight for tbe support your son needs and is entitled to. I wish I had in the earlier years.  

    Good luck x

  • I had similar situation to Niknak only my son got diagnosed aged 15. he has an EHCP but teachers really don't understand anxiety and depression and kept bleating on about him meeting his targets but he was in turmoil. I had a chat with the council team manager at a Local Offer event but have found all the employees at the council SEND team have been brilliant. I'd try to get hold of who is responsible for writing the plans for the kids at your child's school and take it from there - get as much info out of them and give them the reasons why you feel your child is struggling. By the way - as I understand it - It's against the law to use the excuse of a lack of funds to refuse an education or help with special needs for children. Also your child's education has to be suitable for his/her age, ability and don't let anyone fob you off giving a minimum of support. 

  • IPSEA provide free legal advice on making sure you succeed in obtaining the correct education for your child.

    I'm just about to do a EHCP. 

    Hope you get it sorted.

  • Your experience is unfortunately not unusual. My elder was diagnose at the age of 7 and got the EHCP equivalent 11 years ago, and for all this time I am still fighting at each turn and going through tribunals for both my daughters... Due to the well publicised Sen budget shortages, LAs are desperate to reduce assessments. Some even have policies to make teachers and professionals accountable for reducing assessments. That's what you see.

    The way forward is just to understand it for what it is: a long term continuous battle, where you have to arm yourself to the teeth with knowledge of the system and all the advice you can get, and basically relentlessly going through the stages of the process.

    Get yourself a copy of the code of practice, read carefully the graduated approach and the assessment chapters.

    Sources of advice are IPSEA, SOSSEN, NAS, SEN Jungle,

    The criteria for EHCneeds assessment are relatively easy to clear:


    When should a local authority carry out an EHC needs assessment?
    If a local authority (“LA”) is requested to carry out an EHC needs assessment by a parent, young person, school or college, they must consider:

    1. whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs (“SEN”); and
    2. whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan.

    If the answer to both of these questions is yes, they must carry out an EHC needs assessment.

    This test is set out in the law (section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014). This means these are the only questions the LA should be asking when considering whether or not to carry out an EHC needs assessment.

    The SEN and Disability Code of Practice, which is statutory guidance issued by the government, contains further detail on what LAs should consider. At paragraph 9.14 the Code states that “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

    So you need evidence for both criteria. The first could be the EP /SLT reports. If school called in the specialists, that could be evidence in itself. 

    • Talk to SOSSEN, they are very switched on, they run walk in advice centres where they could look into your EP and other reports to see whether that passes the test
    • Talk also to your local SENDIAS, they are specialists of local practice, and sometimes closer to the LA than you might expect, so take their advice with a pinch of salt, but they could tell whether CAMHS or the paediatrician are the gatekeepers for EHCP. Get referred to them from the GP, get a copy of referral letter. Keep all correspondence obviousely.
    • Keep a diary of daily emotional, sensory and academic challenges, you will be surprised. Give the Paediatrician and camhs a copy;
    • Sometimes if you can afford, private EP etc assessments is the only way to get things done quickly, especially for the EHCP when the assessment is agreed. Use professionals with good reviews. Some of the chipper ones work for LA and are reluctant to go against them, not really independent.

    On the second criteria, it is your individual educational plan reviews. Insist on having them every term, that targets are SMART,  and document that targets are not met - that is your evidence of 'relevant and purposeful action '. Insist on adding additional targets of the type helpful to autistic children, on anxiety, social skills, friendships.. get advice what should be in IEP, it usually very hard to show progress on well tailored to autistic children targets without 1-2-1 support, and SLT...

    Use all the advice on NAS, SOSSEN websites, IPSEA give this:

    • 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 taken by the school or other setting;
    • 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.

    Read the code of practice on what is adequate progress and use that. Don't take the LA talk that he is not 10 years behind etc. Is he progressing in line with his potential, his peers, his past rate of progress? Is the gap narrowing?

    If you keep pressure on the IEP, you would reach the threshold within a year. Sound awful, but it is fast in EHCP terms... 

    Success :)

  • Hi Everyone,

    First thank you all for your advice and support.

    Secondly, Great news today, Thanks to alot of hard work from myself and the school SENCO, today I got the call saying 'YES' my boy gets an EHCP. I know there is still alot of hard work ahead but I'm taking this as a victory.

    Just wanted to share :-) 

  • Jump through the hoops - as tedious as they are. We were told that EHCP’s only kick in if the school can evidence that they are providing support above and beyond what is ‘reasonable’ and for over (I think) 13 hours. 

    Make sure you document everything and keep scrupulous records. 

    If you are desperate, I have known parents to trigger a child in need assessment because there is then a statutory requirement to support a disabled child in need.