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Draft EHCP received. Some advise needed please!

(21 Posts)
Buscake Fri 19-Feb-16 22:58:46

This is 13 months after I first asked for an assessment, and it has been a long hard slog to get to this point! I have the draft EHCP in my hands (received a week ago) but...I'm not happy. The outcomes seem very vague eg "trialling sensory supports, tailored to her need. Use of a sensory checklist could also be considered" this tells me nothing about what will be provided eg time, resources. Should they be specifying this? Reading the SENCOP it looks like they should.

Additionally, my daughter has significant sensory needs. No health care provider where I live is commissioned to assess her for this. We paid for a private OT assessment (to help us to help her) and assumed this was being included in the EHCP. it has not been, despite me asking whether they would assess her sensory requirements as part of the assessment process. Looks like it has been ignored. What can I do about this? I'm so worried the 15 days are halfway done and I have a lot I need to change on this draft. Has anyone else experienced similar?

GruntledOne Fri 19-Feb-16 23:23:19

Those don't sound like outcomes at all. Outcomes are supposed to be basically what you hope the provision will achieve, but trialling sensory supports etc would be provision. Is that in section E or F? Provision in F should definitely be detailed and specific.

I'm afraid it's all too common to have this sort of problem, and many people on here have the scars to prove it. Have you been offered a meeting?

If you're anywhere in the south, it could be worth going to one of the advice clinics SOS SEN runs and showing them the draft. Otherwise you need to go through B making sure it contains a good description of all your daughter's difficulties, and try to make F as specific as possible using the reports, including your own OT report, to back you up.

The trouble is you may find you bust a gut trying to get the EHCP right and the LA ignores you anyway. If it's clear that they're not listening, you might as well conserve your energies and take it to the tribunal.

Notgivingin789 Fri 19-Feb-16 23:31:21

From experience, it seems private reports- like the private OT report you have- are included in the ECHP plan AFTER you go through with the tribunal process. Private reports are kind of useless when first applying for an ECHP plan as the LA takes no notice of it. That's why I always suggest to get private reports if your going through the appeal process XYZ.

It is very common for the wording to be unspecific and such, you could write your concerns to the LA and make the wording specific and such. If they ignore, then your best bet is to appeal to the tribunal, then you can start hiring private professionals to assess your DD and with their reports your final/drafted ECHP plan will be specific.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 20-Feb-16 10:50:09

Outcomes need to be related to be things that you\your daughter and proffs want to achieve in the next few years! I was on a training thing with the Council for disabled children recently and it was suggested that 2 to 3 yrs was a good timescale for outcomes!

So an outcome for a teenager might be "To be able to get the bus to college" Then the provision should state how that is going to be achieved eg through travel training, when it will be done and who will support it!

I have a link somewhere relating to outcomes, I will find it and post it later!

Ineedmorepatience Sat 20-Feb-16 10:55:32

Book a meeting with your LA officer on monday! Then photocopy the plan they have sent you and go through it with a highlighter. Get rid of all wishy washy language like should, have access to, be aware of etc! That would be a good start and would show them that you wont accept their crap!

Oh and add in the provision made by the OT of course it should be in there, its a professionals report! They are trying it on! We went to tribunal for refusal to assess and refusal to issue but not for refusing to put provision in the plan! They know its the law!

Ineedmorepatience Sat 20-Feb-16 10:59:34

not giving the OP cant appeal yet because she only has a draft and personally I think it is worth trying to get them to sort it with a couple of meetings!

If they are not budging and dont seem interested in trying to make it lawful then ask them to finalise it and appeal!

Remember each time you get a new draft your 15 daya starts again so dont rush into anything!

Try to book a call back with IPSEA to get advice!

Ineedmorepatience Sat 20-Feb-16 11:07:47

video - EHC Plan Workshops Spring 2016

Good video here!

zzzzz Sat 20-Feb-16 11:16:39

Just write what you would like it to say and send it back. They will then either agree or have to say why.

So what about dd to have full sensory assessment annually and School to be visited by OT bi-annually to ensure all strategies are being adhered to and adjusted as OT sees fit to optimise learning and inclusion.

Basically write what your dream ehcp would say.

Send it registered post.

Buscake Sat 20-Feb-16 12:18:04

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it! I find it all so hard to wade through. I had to take the LA to tribunal about refusal to assess (they conceded with an hour to spare before the deadline!) so I am well aware that they will be doing the least possible. I have quoted the SENCOP to the case worker on three separate occasions, so they know (or should know) I'm not a pushover, but still... It's hard to sum up the mental energy to tackle them.

I feel really naive. I thought once I had the draft it would all be so simple. This part of the process seems almost rushed compared to the long slow slog it took to get to this point. I feel very patronised by them. There is a definite air of 'yes yes it may say that in the regulations, but actually in practice xyz is what happens'. I know this shouldn't be the case, but it's hard to have the confidence to challenge them when I am constantly second guessing myself, the process, knowing when to be assertive, when to choose my battles etc

Thank you all for the support. It's so hard to talk about this in real life with people, as it is complicated and never seems to end! Thank you for telling me what I should be doing and should be including. This kind of advice is really helpful for me. I just need to have more confidence in myself and how hard I have already worked to get this far down the line for my little girl. I'll be going through it with a fine tooth comb and lots of reference to the law. I am sure they will pay no heed, but it's the next step! Thanks again.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 20-Feb-16 13:06:58

Keep coming on here and asking as many questions as you need to, knowledge is power and when you understand what it is that you want it is easier to feel confident about getting it!

IPSEA has a step by step guide to EHCP's so have a good look at that too.

Do you have an independent supporter to help you? If not ring your SENDIASS team (formerly parent partnership) and ask them who provides the independent supporters in your area! In mine it is MENCAP!

Stay strong and remember, knowledge is power.

Good luck flowers

Notgivingin789 Sat 20-Feb-16 13:23:36

Oops, missed the point that the OP was at the draft stage. Yes speak to your LA, it also helps to write down, like zzzz put it, is to what your dream ECHP should be written out like, put down your private OT's recommendations and wordings as such and send this to them.

Best of luck OP.

Buscake Fri 01-Apr-16 14:14:13

Hello I have returned looking for some new advise please? My LA have refused to alter the draft at all. Said all the health stuff (like sensory issues etc) were 'not part of the process' 'not a way to get round the NHS referral system'!? Also that it didn't need to be specific because (1) the EP report didn't make specific provisions [i have a horrid feeling they may be right on this one?] and (2) it is down to the headteacher to ensure my daughter gets the help she needs.

I wrote back saying they were wrong about the health stuff (quoting law and SENCOP), and also that the obligation was with the LA not the school (quoting law again). I repeated the SENCOP quote that provision must be 'specific, detailed and quantified', but my original response to the draft EHCP repeated that ad nauseum. Everything I queried, I backed up with law or SENCOP and they have refused the lot. I am so disheartened, so drained. Where do I go from here? I have looked at ipsea about tribunal, but it all looks so complicated about EHCP. It looks like I wouldn't be successful with this. Is it a lost cause? Will we remain at loggerheads until I give in? All I want is some support for my daughter. It has taken 14 months to get to this stage, and I am no closer sad

zzzzz Fri 01-Apr-16 14:18:45

What specifically does she need them to do to ensure she gets a good chance of fulfilling her potential?

Buscake Fri 01-Apr-16 14:31:22

Well, a lot! The provisions they have written are completely vague eg "access to interventions to help her recognise and label emotions" "consideration of access to a quiet area" "support to help her recognise her own emotional levels" How can these be called specific, detailed or quantified? the summary says it "equates to 20hours of support" how will this be administered? Support with what? If the provision isn't specific how have they conjured up the figure of 20hours?

Steps towards the outcome are outcomes in their own right (from what I can see anyway), eg "for X to have access to a range of sensory supports, carefully monitored to assess which are helpful for her" is just one step towards the outcome "for X to feel comfortable in the learning environment"

Maybe I am hopelessly clueless and naive, but this all sounds wishy washy and non specific to me!

What do you think? Am I expecting too much perhaps? I know I could be being blinded by my vision of what it should look like, when in fact I have no real idea

knittingwithnettles Fri 01-Apr-16 15:43:25

You could just accept the draft as it is. Get them to issue it in its present rubbish form, then appeal B (description of Needs) and F (provision) and placement (I). Find a special school which you feel meets her needs and then appeal on the basis that nothing in the present EHCP (against which you are appealing) is consistent with your private OT report and other evidence of need (whatever the provision that the LA has specified or not specified) Whilst you are appealing you can go to mediation and further make it clear to them nothing in the present EHCP is going to help your daughter survive school - the mediation will provide a very clear account of what they have said and what you have said so they cannot fudge the issues. Then if they continue to fudge, you proceed to Tribunal. The more you cite the law in your appeal against B F and I and the more evidence you provide to back this up, the more likely they will conceed. However, your private OT report will need to be up to date to hold weight at Tribunal. You don't need a solicitor to do any of this, you just need to be clear on what you want the EHCP to say, and what evidence you have to support this, and this is the achilles heel of the LA. At Tribunal they are held to the law and they know this, but they will delay until this point (is my experience)

If you have a special school that you want her to go to, go visit them and talk through some of the things an EHCP should ask for. It is likely that a mainstream school will not necessarily meet her need for an adapted sensory environment anyway. If you argue you want a special school, they may then make more effort to put in resources into mainstream to make the provision cheaper for them, and therefore accede to your amendments in the needs and provision.

I am just going through all this at the moment; it really is so soul destroying, but it simpler than it looks if you KNOW WHAT YOU WANT and don't ask the LA to give you their distorted input, based on their desire to spend as little money as possible to meet need, and to do as little as possible as they can get away with.

In our LA one of the issues is that the draft EHCP has come with delegated resources only, so whatever the provision, the school will still only get a limited amount. School hate this, LA are fudging; I wish I had been much clearer on the funding issues and less trusting of the LA, and just asked for a special school and beat them down to high provision in a mainstream...Too trusting me..

knittingwithnettles Fri 01-Apr-16 15:48:45

One of the things the school we wanted told me is that the EHCP does not bring funding with it now, the LAs will tend to fall back on the idea that the school has received delegated funding which will be sufficient, and not provide top up. The school is then forced to fight for top up. The council is legally bound to provide the extra but will dispute this in various weaselly ways, as you have discovered already in their ridiculous assertions that the school will sort out provisions in their own way. It is the Responsiblity of the LA to secure the provision in the EHCP, and the duty of the school to take a child with an EHCP, but LAs will blur this distinction in a long drawn out cat and mouse game.

knittingwithnettles Fri 01-Apr-16 15:54:40

For a start, if you appealed the EHCP (B and F) the very least the LA would do, if they really wanted to dispute your private OT report would be to provide a rival OT report saying your daughter had no sensory needs. In Tribunal, they would have a difficult time actually explaining why they had not made any specified or quantified provision for her sensory needs either in form of placement at special school or specific interventions from an qualified OT (hours specified, either programme of faciliative intervention and training for whole school, class teacher, AND direct OT sessions) You have the evidence, they have provide evidence to the contrary now that you are Tribunal setting, the ball is in your court not there's.

That is why I would give up trying to make amendments and just smile sweetly and get them to issue it - IPSEA will give you proper advice, and they can write it down to - I found that helpful to see their written recommendations.

knittingwithnettles Fri 01-Apr-16 15:55:26

their's (sorry my spelling is usually much better, typing v fast)

knittingwithnettles Fri 01-Apr-16 16:06:37

Another tip is to just write the entire EHCP from the reports that the LA have listed in K, just taking the exact words of the professionals and putting them into the description of needs. They cannot dispute your phrasing because those exact words are already in the professional reports they have consulted in section K, unless they provide their own rival professional report (and as you say they haven't with the OT) Then you leave the provision as it is, and appeal it, based on the fact that it doesn't meet any of the needs described. If you feel that you cannot make B describe the needs either because the existing reports are too poor, what evidence do you have to back that up - school reports, medical history, behaviour incidents, log of communication with school. All those are evidence of recent need.

Hope this helps, so sorry you are going through this.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 01-Apr-16 16:10:23

I agree with knitting , although you could try one meeting if you think it is worth it.

We copied the statement (as was) and highlighted all of the parts that we wanted changing, we got rid of all of the wooly language that way! If you have any success it may open the door to more talks.

The funding thing is BS the LA are responsible for ensuring there is funding in place to meet the provisions on the plan! That is for them and the school to sort out, not you. They are just trying to make you feel bad, ignore them its one of their strategies!

Alternatively you could go straight to finalising and appeal as knitting said! The vast majority of parents who appeal go on to win, most appeals are conceded before they get to court!

Good luck flowers

coffeemachine Fri 01-Apr-16 18:09:26

obviously the LA won't budge.

I would ask them to finalise and put appeal in. that is often the only language they understand. they know that the EHCP must be specified etc. they are just messing you about.the content bits you have quoted are awful.

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