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!