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.
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:
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.
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:
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...