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Losing an appeal for a Secondary School for a child with an EHCP

(11 Posts)
user1465296765 Tue 07-Jun-16 12:13:12

I am new to this site but desperate for help.
My son has an EHCP and we have recently lost our case for a secondary school of his choice. He has quite severe Dyslexia, emotional difficulties and suspected High Functioning (Mild ) Aspergers. We have visited all the ESMH schools (formerly BESD) and found one that we all thought - inc my son that was perfect for him. The problem was as it was Independent. The LEA objected and selected a local ESMH school as their preferred provision. There was the obvious difference of the cost, but the school they have selected, we know will be totally unsuitable for him for many reasons. I am at a total loss of what to do. I cant send him somewhere I know in my heart will not only increase his anxiety, frighten him and be totally counterproductive to his emotional wellbeing, as well as the impact his 'fight or flight' behaviour will have on the rest of the family. He has missed out on an incredible amount of school since year 3, and yet Ive only 5 weeks left now to try and find another more suitable school. I don't feel I would be able to home educate as I have 2 other children that this would impact. Where so I stand legally, and what would my options be now. I would be very grateful for any help ???

titchy Tue 07-Jun-16 16:18:24

Don't know the answer but please repost in the SEN topic where there are lots of knowledgeable folk.

lougle Tue 07-Jun-16 16:34:26

You can't just choose an independent school. If it was an alternative choice of state school then you'd have more sway, but to secure an independent school you'd have to show that the state school is unsuitable.

mary21 Tue 07-Jun-16 18:48:19

Contact SOSSEN
If the school allocated is unsuitable it may be best to exercise your right to a mainstream education (with the support needed to make it work) . Do visit the school they want even if its to build you argument against it.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytime Wed 08-Jun-16 07:10:06

I agree contact SOS!SEN! (type that into google). They can help advise, and may be able to offer some pro bono legal help.

prh47bridge Wed 08-Jun-16 08:43:06

There seems to be some misunderstanding about the rules regarding independent schools and EHCPs on this thread. You do not necessarily have to show that the state school is unsuitable.

If an independent school is a special school and has applied for and received approval from the DfE it can be named on an EHCP. It is then under the same duty to admit the child as a maintained school.

If the parents ask for an approved independent school to be named on the EHCP the LA has limited grounds for refusal. They must name the school unless it is not suitable, or placing the child there would be incompatible with the efficient education of other children, or it would be an inefficient use of resources. If they do refuse and the parents appeal to the First-tier Tribunal they do not have to show that this is more suitable than the school the LA want to name, still less do they have to show that it is the only suitable school (which would be a much higher bar than that set for normal admission appeals). The boot is very firmly on the other foot. The LA has to justify its decision to refuse to name the school the parents want. If it cannot do so the Tribunal will overrule them.

If the school has not been approved by the DfE the parents are in a much weaker situation. Unfortunately some independent schools have chosen not to seek approval because they don't want to be forced to take pupils with EHCPs. It is still possible to get the school named on an EHCP provided they are happy to be named but it is much easier for the LA to refuse.

In the OP's case the advice depends on whether or not this school is approved by the DfE and, if it is, whether the rejected appeal was dealt with by the First- tier Tribunal or by the LA's internal procedures. If the school is approved and the case hasn't been to Tribunal yet that is the obvious next step.

beautifulgirls Thu 09-Jun-16 20:45:17

I think I am reading correctly that the indi school you have selected is a specialist placement that would suit him. Have you spoken to them for help and support to appeal to tribunal?

DD is at an indi specialist school. The LA wanted her in mainstream with some 1:1 support and we appealed. She was awarded the place at the school we selected because the panel were satisfied that the LA offered choice was not a suitable placement for her. We could also have potentially been awarded the placement by the panel due to our choice if the costs of both placement with the relevant support at each was similar or less at our choice.

IPSEA or SOSSEN are both very helpful organisations that can help point you in the right direction to get the support and advice that you need to appeal this. Good luck - so sad we have to fight to get the right education for our children when they already struggle so much.

manicinsomniac Sat 11-Jun-16 19:37:26

Can you appeal an appeal? Sorry, it's not something I know much about but I didn't want to read and run.

Or can you 'prove' that the selected school is unsuitable? What is it about the school that you think is wrong? I would have though an ESMH school would be ideally set up to cater for children with needs like your son's? Does it have a bad reputation? Any case studies you can use to suggest lack of care?

prh47bridge Sat 11-Jun-16 22:44:54

Can you appeal an appeal

It depends what type of appeal we are dealing with. Unfortunately the OP hasn't come back with any more details.

SisterViktorine Sun 12-Jun-16 16:29:59

or it would be an inefficient use of resources

The LA will argue that as there is a state SEMH school that (on paper) offers similar provision to the Independent that it is an inefficient use of resources to fund the more expensive placement.

To win at Tribunal OP would have to prove the Independent SEMH offered something essential to meeting the pupils needs that the state SEMH could not, even with reasonable adjustment.

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