The EHCP window opens!

It feels a bit like the transfer window for football. We were told a couple of months back that no school based EHCP applications would be accepted between about the beginning of June and June 26th so that necessary meetings didn’t fall in the holidays. They did say that if parents phoned up to request the process was started that obviously they would have to deal with these.

Parents don’t always initially appreciate this fine timing, they want us to apply NOW! They also want instant decisions and a conversation that explains that there is now a maximum time of 20 weeks is not met with complete joy but, “What, that’s nearly 6 months.”  Well today was the day that the EHCP window opened to me. I arrived at our SEN office at a few minutes after 9:00 with my envelope stuffed with application form, EP reports, letters from doctors saying that they felt that an EHCP was necessary and that the child was “complex” (how I like to see that label when I know that we will need to try and get them EHCP!), a history from the parents and plenty of proof (with associated costs) that we have been putting in at least £6000 of support.

The window is open for five days only – unless as the email said we want to attend meetings during our holidays – tomorrow I am hoping to have another set of papers ready to take to them and, with a pinch of salt and  following wind, another set on Friday.

These application forms are over 20 pages long and with the amount of supporting paperwork that we have to produce there is probably a sizeable hole in some Amazon rainforest! They take such a long time to fill in and gather the evidence and as SENCO my work is almost done. Almost, apart from the meeting with the SEN officer and the parents in week 2 – 3, the attendance at panel to see if I can persuade 10 other people that this child really needs an EHCP (even if I don’t get any more funding and at present I’m not looking for a specialist provision), presuming that hoop is successfully negotiated there is another meeting with parents and the SEN officer and another attendance at panel to see if all the collected information is enough to convince a different 10 people that the child needs this degree of help. It is a very time consuming process.

For the SEN officers it is probably even more time consuming so my SEN officer will not be pleased to see my pile of EHCP applications land on their desk – apart from I don’t have an SEN officer as she insists on taking a break because her baby is due any day now. I phoned the SEN department today…

“Who will be my new SEN officer whilst Suzie is away?”

“That isn’t quite sorted at the moment but we’re working at it,”

“Great, thanks, who will be coming to my review meetings for Tim and John?”

“Don’t worry, someone will come – it’s on the ‘things that definitely need someone allocated to them’ pile.”

I’m reassured! I’m sure that with the legal timeline clock ticking for the EHCPs that arrive at the SEN team this week everything will be sorted on time!

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The EHCP window opens!

13 thoughts on “The EHCP window opens!

  1. Amazing how it’s still different depending where you are. We’ve been told that the process is suspended during holidays. So it will take 20 weeks plus whatever holiday time that falls over. Apparently that’s somewhere in the code of practice!

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    1. hannah_mc says:

      90MAZ this is from new code of practice…

      9.41 The following specific requirements apply:
      • Local authorities must give their decision in response to any request for an EHC needs assessment within a maximum of 6 weeks from when the request was received or the point at which a child or young person was brought to the local authority’s attention
      • When local authorities request information as part of the EHC needs assessment process, those supplying the information must respond in a timely manner and within a maximum of 6 weeks from the date of the request
      • If a local authority decides, following an EHC needs assessment, not to issue an EHC plan, it must inform the child’s parent or young person within a maximum of 16 weeks from the request for a EHC needs assessment, and
      • The child’s parent or the young person must be given 15 calendar days to consider and provide views on a draft EHC plan and ask for a particular school or other institution to be named in it
      9.42 Where there are exceptional circumstances, it may not be reasonable to expect local authorities and others partners to comply with the time limits above. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 set out specific exemptions. These include where:
      • appointments with people from whom the local authority has requested information are missed by the child or young person (this only applies to the duty on partners to comply with a request under the EHC needs assessment process within six weeks)
      • the child or young person is absent from the area for a period of at least 4 weeks
      • exceptional personal circumstances affect the child or his/her parent, or the young person, and
      • the educational institution is closed for at least 4 weeks, which may delay the submission of information from the school or other institution (this does not apply to the duty on partners to comply with a request under the EHC needs assessment process within six weeks)

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  2. I feel for you but I am now wondering if this is why so many SENCO’;s try telling us our kids are fine, could it really be down to I cba with the paper work and meetings ?? I think I preferred the notion they were just dimwitts to be honest at least that’s partially unintentional harm

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    1. I would hope that no SENCO ever had a cba attitude. All of the SENCOs that I know willingly spend time on paperwork and meetings and work really hard to get every child the help and support that they need. I also never think of children as dimwits or as naughty – I appreciate that some having severe difficulties learning and some have very challenging behaviour but all can make progress (albeit very slow progress in some cases) given the right help and support. As a SENCO I feel it is my job to fight for these children 100%.

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      1. I was not ref to the children as dimwits & didn’t mention the word naughty, I was ref to the SENCOs I have encountered and the hundreds up and down the country that put (we thought LA pressure and budgets over and above the kids ) I am not saying that there is a few sporadically scattered SENCO’s worth a weight in gold, but they are becoming fewer and further apart. I do not know if this is due to the LA misinforming them ( although as Legislation out trumps Local policy I would assume all SENCO’s were trained using Legislation ) You only need to flick through the internet to see how many parents are struggling to get any effective support for the kids. Paper trails of implemented support missing, provisions not being quite what it is implied to be.. I will as I am only authority on my own childs case state that not only was his primary SENCO removed from her position due to failure of epic proportion on my child & lied to my face for over a year reg referrals etc But his secondary SENCO ( with confirmed diagnosis and medicated for ADHD, also DCD & a history since reception or severe receptive and expressive language disorder at the time ) stated in a report to panel when I applied for his statement

        “” Child X Claims to not know things we know he has been taught, and example of this is telling the time “”””

        my son was 12 at the time now 14 he still can not tell the time, he has been labelled Lazy, bullied throughout school. He used to go to the Learning support dept before school and at all lunch and breaks as he couldn’t deal with all the children and noise yet again

        “”” No Noticeable sensory issues “””

        he had his L/S removed at the end of year 8 as accelerated reader gave him reading age of 10.04 in the June/July the following Nov EP report = reading age 6-8 years his maths going into year 10 is working at year 4 primary ….. Yet he
        “is Not the worst “”
        “” There are kids worse with no statement (EHCP) “”
        “” If I tried encouraging him “””
        “” If I was firmer “””
        “” if he put in more effort “”
        “” if he listened””
        “” if he focused “”
        “” you have no chance of getting a statement (EHCP)
        “” EHCP are so much harder to get than statements were “””

        & the list goes on at the Rubbish we as parents hear from SENCO & additional staff members relating to our children, It took me 8 years of fighting and 3 weeks ago the F.Statement following my tribunal win came through, parents want it “NOW” is almost laughable what we want is access to proper information on what is going on with our kids and to Stop the comparison to other children , My son now has a list of diagnosis and awaiting an ASD assessment his IQ is 65 ( when last checked) If I didn’t get legal aid he would be going back to school in sept to start his GCSE’s.. Lets hope more SENCOs learn to focus on what’s supposed to be important over the paper work, a 20 page form is nothing compared to what we have to not only compile but we have to fight to access the supporting information which you guys should have to hand

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      2. Sorry I meant to say his GCSE’s with NO additional support at all…. Also we won Tribunal and he will be starting at private specialist school in Sept

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  3. bethben92 says:

    Feel your pain. The paperwork is a killer but worth it. Luckily we don’t have to attend panel but that means paperwork has to be right or I feel I have let them down. Really does depend where you are in terms of what you need to do. Got a child who lives in a neighbouring LA and got different set of paperwork for them. I love the whole child centredness of the new CoP and the long term outcomes. Have changed Annual Review meetings to reflect this and all going well so far. More transitions from statements next year..more deforestation unfortunately. Roll on fully electronic systems.

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  4. Sam Scanlon – I am sorry that I misunderstood your use of dimwits and I know you didn’t use the word naughty – but I have heard it used. Having friends who fight extremely hard for their child who has quite severe difficulties I know how hard parents have to fight. As a SENCO I do all that I can to get the children in my school as much support as I can – I also encourage parents to “be a pain” – in the nicest possible way. I know, from experience, that the people who know their child best are the parents and parents who fight for their child’s rights and entitlements are the ones who end up with the most support.
    I appreciate that you and many, many more like you only want the right support from the right people in the right establishment and this takes time. I do have supporting information to hand. I do have to fill in a 20 page form but I do do a lot of other things for a lot of children too (whilst appreciating that you may have other children and a job and a home to run too) but to fill them in correctly and to get the support that we recognise that the child needs, deserves and has a right to is not a 10 minute job. I do also have parents who move from other schools, say Jimmy needs this and want it NOW, that I can’t do!
    Well done you for getting the support for your son and I wish him well in his GCSEs.

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    1. Thank you, we currently are still unsure if he is able to sit GCSE’s as he may need to do “life skills courses ” I believe they were called, I completly agree that none of the info should be a 10 min job, but many parents have to ofically req to view school files then still have info missing, then have to request full disclosure which Still has stuff missing, ( which under the new curiculum is going to be even harder to pin point targeted progress ) our ends of these processess are also a lot more than 10 mins just to aceess the info let alone try and correctly insert it into the forms. I know one parent that actually had to sell their home fighting for help for their child. Please dont get me wrong as I have said previously there are a few SENCO’s worth their weihghjt in gold, my own sons ( as was) inclusion officer was threatened with her job more than once if she continued to help us, this was from the school not the LA, who also used the internal email system to block our contact with each other, Obvisouly with this been ongoing between primary and secondary for 8 years now the list of horrors goes on and on and I can honestly say I am still in deisbelief at what really goes on behind closed school doors, in the majority not the minority. Quicvk question out of curiosity – Is it in the Guidlines or COP that the application process is to stop for the summer holidays ? or is it just your LA ? & are they planing to extend this to half terms too as there is the 20 week deadline?. Sorry to hijack your blog but I think both sides should bee heard ( including senco on sen parents blogs )

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      1. In the code of practice, chapter 9, it seems to say that that time lines can be adapted if schools are shut for more than 4 weeks but only in respect of schools being asked for submissions, health, social care and other external agents have to carry on. My LA appears to be working all summer, thus the ehcp window so school can attend meetings in week 2/3 and week 12. It specifies at least 4 weeks so only summer holiday could possibly be affected.
        In my case I wanted to submit an echp form but
        haven’t got all necessary paper trail (not my fault) so I was going to get parents to request it, in the end I decided to submit anyway knowing that if it is accepted outside agencies will have to provide the reports…. watch this space!
        It sounds as if you have had an horrific time and am very sorry that you have been so let down by people who are there to help.

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