I know that compared to many I have been a SENCO for a relatively short time but in the last year I have applied for (and been given) several EHCPs for the children in my school who need this amount of support. They have been for Communication, Cognition and Learning and also some for Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties. Some children are being ably supported in school by well trained TAgs, others were found places in a more suitable specialist provision.
Towards the end of term the EHCP window opened and I put in 3 new applications, one for learning, one for learning and SEMH and one for just SEMH. This last one is for a young lad who has had a sudden deterioration in behaviour. He has been on our radar for a while and I’ve involved as many external agencies as I can including the LA exclusions officer. I contacted the EP and was allowed to submit a referral ( most agencies I can refer straight too but the EPS have to be spoken too before they send a referral form.) They came and saw Jimmy. They uttered their words of wisdom, safe place, Incredible Five Point Scale, key adult….. we started to do these things.
Jimmy’s behaviour deteriorated.
Jimmy hurt adults. Jimmy hurt children. Jimmy absconded from class. Jimmy had lots of exclusions.
Jimmy was fortunate enough to gain a purchased place at a specialist provision. At this provision Jimmy continued to be challenging.
I spent time on the EHCP application and submitted it but the EP had not been told. Whilst attending a professionals meeting for Jimmy the EP discovered that the application had been made. “You did not ask my permission!” were the words that rang around the table. I explained that I knew that, that I also knew things had deteriorated quickly and parents were going to contact the LA and a skilled for one to be started.
I was spoken to after the meeting, Jimmy’s EHCP application would be rejected. Sure enough it was… insufficient EP involvement. The as application didn’t even get through the first hoop to get to panel to see if we can initiate the assessment.
I spoke to some other local SENCOs, they too have been told that they need to ask for permission to apply for an EHCP.
Jimmy, he’s still at his specialist provision till the end of term. Come September I can book another EP appointment, update the paperwork and ask to reapply. The application is unlikely to go in for another 3 months. There is then the maximum 20 week legal timeline to sort things, that takes us to about Easter. If Jimmy has come back to us the chances of more exclusions is high. We will try hard to implement all the advice we’ve been given, perhaps it will work, perhaps Jimmy will be the leading light in year 5. It would be lovely to think it was that easy.
In the meantime for the others for whom I’m trying to get the necessary support I’ll doff my cap to those who are in control and say, ” Please Sir, may I apply.”