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SA in a pathfinder authority. Experiences please?

(22 Posts)
sunshine175 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:07:16

We are waiting for a decision /rejection to assess. We are in a pathfinder authority and will get an EHC plan if they agree to assess. DDs senco said to me that the one plan she had seen didn't seem to be worth the paper it was written on and was very vague.

I was just wondering if anyone has any experiences of EHC plans so to know what to expect. Thanks so much for any thoughts.

streakybacon Sat 01-Feb-14 11:08:26

I'm in a pathfinder authority and am in the process of finalising my son's EHC plan, after he got his statement last July.

My situation will be different to yours as ds is home educated and we have different reasons for the application to those for school, but I found the process to convert to EHC interesting and much more child-centred than the statement assessment. There is a Person Centred Planning meeting which looks at the child's needs from the point of view of everyone who is involved with the child, including parents and the child him/herself. Even though I'd submitted a huge amount in my parent views for the statement, the PCP meeting also gave me the opportunity to press for acknowledgement of ds's key needs and the LA is now looking at ways to support him - we didn't get this chance with the statement. A lot of assumptions were made by professionals but this group meeting meant I could put them right.

Bear in mind that SENCo's often talk rubbish - she may not even know much about the new process herself as plans are changing frequently in pathfinder LAs as they're still finding their way. Remember also that you are your child's best advocate so if you feel she needs certain supports, build a case for it and don't let go.

StarlightMcKingsThree Sat 01-Feb-14 11:18:06

Why will you get a ECH plan?

sunshine175 Sat 01-Feb-14 12:10:16

They have rolled them out to everyone here from Sept. 13. The leaflet says if not happy with plan can be converted to statement to allow you to appeal. Both school and EP supporting application so hoping we don't get refusal but who knows. I don't even know the criteria here for a plan - I feel clueless!!

claw2 Sat 01-Feb-14 12:12:07

Im in a pathfinder authority and ds had his statement finalised in June.

StarlightMcKingsThree Sat 01-Feb-14 12:46:35

You need their permission to convert it to a statement to appeal. Why would they give it? And if so why would they not delay.

As a compromise I would ask that they allow a Statement and EHCP to run in parallel like the SE7 pathfinders.

sunshine175 Sat 01-Feb-14 12:51:02

thanks streakybacon. Im glad meeting was helpful. EP thought it might help us with spotting if we are missing something by getting everyone together. I think the senco was worried that the ehc plan her other pupil had was vague and not quantified and suggested that I might have a battle and need to explore my legal options - I live in a rubbish LA.

sunshine175 Sat 01-Feb-14 13:01:56

I think they will convert if you write and tell them you want to appeal. But I do worry that I will end in no mans land between the legislation. No they are not running parallel processes. Feeling a bit out of my depth.

claw2 Sat 01-Feb-14 13:03:37

As far as im aware you don't need their permission, you can choose whether you want statement or plan and opt out of plan if this is what is being proposed.

claw2 Sat 01-Feb-14 13:08:09

"From September 2013 all children and young people who have significant special educational needs will undergo an Education Health and Care (EHC) Assessment, unless parents, carers or the young person opt out of the new system. This will lead to an EHC Plan instead of a Statement of SEN. Until September 2014 parents/carers and young people will have the choice to be assessed for an EHC Plan or a Statement of SEN"

streakybacon Sat 01-Feb-14 13:09:05

All the pathfinders have parent carer forums who are advising parents of the process. Get in touch with yours - the SEN team can point you towards them. They can then help you make sure your EHC plan is quantified in the same way as a statement should be. IMO, it's a good time to be applying if you're in a pathfinder LA because they're keen to get their systems right.

claw2 Sat 01-Feb-14 13:24:02

The DfE have confirmed that:

That Pathfinders must maintain existing legal protections for families

When offering assessment of a child's SEN to parents that they should be made aware that they can choose whether to proceed with the particular assessment processes being piloted by that LA or follow the current statutory assessment process which requires the LA to gather evidence from specified professionals including an educational psychologist at the LA's expense.

That any EHC plan once issued does not have a statutory basis and cannot be appealed to the SEND Tribunal

That if disagreements about a EHC plan cannot be resolved, that Pathfinders should offer to "convert" the Plan into a Statement and that parents should not be expected to start the whole process again.

Parents would then have a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

That EHC plans do not place a direct legal duty on LAs to secure the special educational provision they specify. The DfE does however "expect" Pathfinder LAs to treat them as if they did.

bochead Sat 01-Feb-14 16:05:40

Does this apply to Wales too?

It's the OT bit of DS's statement I'm finding hard to match myself in home edding. Just wondering if this will eventually help swathes of kids across the Uk who have ended up in home ed due to schools not being able to support them properly?

sunshine175 Sat 01-Feb-14 16:22:39

Thanks everyone that makes it clearer. At least I now know I have a choice. I think the EP was keen for EHC plan because she said the planning meeting would be helpful. I will find parent forum and find out more. I just don't want to end up with something vague. And of course we might/probably will get refusal to assess so could all be hypothetical!!!!! grin

claw2 Sat 01-Feb-14 16:28:59

It applies to piloting pathfinding authorities Boc, it should apply to Wales too. As far as im aware its only Scotland where the law varies.

claw2 Sat 01-Feb-14 16:33:22

Its only new assessments though Boc. It doesn't apply to children who already have a statement.

BackforGood Sat 01-Feb-14 16:53:44

We're not a Pathfinder Authority, but are piloting EH&C Plans here, and it's a GREAT time to get one, as ALL the professionals get together for the meetings etc., as not only do they want the experience of working through one, but also the pressure is coming from above for them to become familiar. They are also squeezing the time frames so things are going through in shorter time periods.
They are getting a Statement alongside here, which is different, but the feedback of the experiences so far is really positive.

hazeyjane Sat 01-Feb-14 18:39:21

Unfortunately, BackforGood, we have had the exact opposite experience with our application, (in a pathfinder pilot area).

A MyPlan was drawn up, but they have had to abandon the ehc plan in our case (and apparently more than half of the cases atm in our area) because of an inability to schedule the meeting at which all the professionals put their views.

We have had one delay after another, and now we are going to be lucky to get a statement (we have had to revert to old system) before the end of the school year.

Our experience has been a mess.

Interesting reading - I applied for SA in a Pathfinder area a couple of weeks ago and have to decide whether to stick to the normal SA process or go with the parallel EHC and statement and I can't make my mind up which way to go. HazeyJane and StreakyBacon - would you mind PMing me and telling me which LAs you are in? Don't if you'd rather not, but I haven't had any luck finding out the experience of anyone else in my LA yet and need to make up my mind soon.

hazeyjane Sat 01-Feb-14 19:10:53

Have pm'd you, whoknows.

sunshine175 Sat 01-Feb-14 19:31:32

it's Myplan in my area too. don't know if it called that everywhere -can you pm me the area too.

BackforGood Sat 01-Feb-14 19:36:35

That's interesting HazeyJane - it's quite scary how different it is in all areas, isn't it? sad
I can imagine that it's going to be an on-going problem trying to get all the professionals together in the same room as a ongoing issue, but genuinely thought for the pilot all the stops would be pulled out thereby giving a completely false impression of how workable they will be.

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