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Statement or EHC Plan?

(17 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Sun 30-Mar-14 20:57:02

I have had my application for a statutory assessment accepted shock (really thought I'd be going to tribunal, so I'm very pleased about that). However, it turns out our LEA is a pathfinder for the new system of the EHC Plan and I have been asked to choose between the two. All I know at the moment is that IPSEA aren't keen on the new system as it stands and, I think, that I can't go to tribunal if the EHC Plan falls through, which makes me inclined to go for the statement.

Does anyone have any more information/advice on this, please?

adrianna1 Sun 30-Mar-14 21:46:11

Hi

This is so weird, as I was talking to a friend of mine, who works in special education about this.....

I'm too wondering if theres any point doing a statement..as when september comes, all statements would be turned into a EHC plan.

I'm not sure about the tribunal/ appeals etc. But following on what my friend was telling me, a EHC plan is shorter, so parents do not have to wait 6 months... they also want to make sure that mainstream schools are doing their best job helping that child....

I don't know much else about it. But my fiend sounded positive about this.

hazeyjane Sun 30-Mar-14 21:55:38

Until all is finalised with the EHC plan, they hold no legal weight.

Ideally if all goes to plan the EHC should be a shorter process, however we found we just had delay after delay and so switched to statement.

Nennypops Mon 31-Mar-14 02:00:43

Adrianna, statements won't be changed to ECHPs automatically in September. There will be a three year transition process.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 31-Mar-14 08:12:26

Thanks all.

adrianna - I suspect your friend has heard a lot of positives about the EHC Plan because she works in special education and has been 'sold' the idea, so I'm a bit sceptical, to be honest.

I didn't know there would be a three-year transition process, Nenny. That's good to know if we go down the statement route.

Am concerned that the EHC holds no legal weight during the assessment process, hazey, and that you had such a difficult time and had to change.

At the moment, I feel that the statement is a safer bet: it's a familiar process for the professionals; it carries more legal weight; and we have the option to appeal if we don't get it, which I don't think we do if we go with the EHC Plan.

Any more experiences/advice anyone?

adrianna1 Mon 31-Mar-14 10:51:09

@ToffeWhirl- You are right about my friend! :D.

But, I've also heard good things about it, so not sure.

@Nenny- I've also heard about the three year wait- but some boroughs are changing it in september.....

Nennypops Mon 31-Mar-14 11:59:08

Adrianna, the basic process is changing in September, which means that only EHCPs can be issued from then. However, if you think about it, there are thousands of statements which can't be changed into EHCPs overnight. Technically to produce a new EHCP LAs will need much more detailed social and health information than they get now as they are still supposed to produce detailed and specific plans, and as EHCPs are up to date they will also need to do full new education assessments. Also Learning Difficulty Assessments for over 16s will have to be changed into EHCPs, and they tend to have even less by way of background assessments than statements. As IPSEA has pointed out, in some areas it will literally be physically impossible to do this even within 3 years.

I did hear a rumour that the DfE was beginning to acknowledge that reluctantly and to say that LAs can simply rewrite statements as EHCPs, but I must say it doesn't sound very lawful and would probably be open to challenge. But even if they do that, in areas where there are thousands of statements they still won't be able to do the conversions very quickly.

SallyBear Mon 31-Mar-14 13:09:13

Having seen my LA's draft EHC, it is dire!! Nothing wrong with their way of doing statements. I was told that there is a financial disclosure part that basically anyone involved with the DC can see. Not happy about that. Why would you want it to be common knowledge that your child gets direct payments. They also had a compulsory part for the child to complete. Pointed out that my deaf, severely autistic non verbal DS couldn't complete that. We will use pictures apparently. So for someone who struggles to differentiate between a pair of socks and a pot of play dough, how's that going to work?!

I'm pleased that it will take up to three years for the existing statements to be switched over. Hopefully my LA will have a better EHC plan in place.

TOWIESpringHasSprung Mon 31-Mar-14 13:49:02

There is a (very successful) 3rd party company who have been writing Statements for LAs for years. They have been advertising on their website for some months that they are now offering a service to LAs to convert Statements into EHCPs at Annual Review.

I find this incredibly worrying - bad enough that a 3rd party company are writing existing Statements, but even worse that it'll just be an administrative task to an outsourced company to convert statements.

SallyBear Mon 31-Mar-14 14:02:55

That is worrying.

adrianna1 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:43:01

So I guess the EHC is not that great...

Nennypops Mon 31-Mar-14 14:56:26

Which company is that, TOWIE? I wonder what the track record on tribunal appeals is for their statements.

TOWIESpringHasSprung Mon 31-Mar-14 16:27:37

PM me Nenny and I'll send you the link to them.

They contract the work out to freelancers - ex teachers/NHS/council bods who get paid piece-rate for each Statement they "write".

I would imagine that Tribunals would have a field day with the Statements as they aren't q&s.

ToffeeWhirl Tue 01-Apr-14 00:50:17

Thanks for all the posts. I have decided to go for a statement and will let the LA know tomorrow.

NoHaudinMaWheest Tue 01-Apr-14 13:00:09

I have just applied for assessment for dd. LA said that I had to have an ECHP but advice from IPSEA is to go for a statement while they are still available as parent has the right of appeal. I have written to the LA telling them that but haven't had a reply - another thing to chase up.

At a multi-agency meeting last week SENCO and advisory teacher were very insistent that EHCP would get help more quickly and that they didn't think that LA would agree to do a statement anyway so now I am doing both.

As I see it the current problems with the ECHP are:

1. No guidelines have been published yet so LA (Pathfinder) are working to their own agenda.

2. This is the first one the SENCO has done and she is obviously unsure (though that has some advantages as I get more input). I see from the local Disability Info Service that they only started training staff in this area at the end of Feb.

3. SENCO is used to focusing on school needs naturally so is not adept at defining home/ other needs but with the Plan there is supposed to be a single point of access.

4. While it is fair enough to allow dcs to have their say, I feel too much is expected of them. Even my articulate, academically able, 14yr old dd with no communication difficulties has said 'You do your bit and then I'll just say I agree with you'. I don't think how it applies to dcs in Sally's ds's position or new-born babies! has been thought through. (Since plan applies 0-25).
Local PP have also highlighted that post-16 the dc's opinion will always take precedence over the parents. I can see that causing big problems in some cases.

5. I feel the form is too intrusive. In our case all we want and need is practical help and adaptations mainly at school but also at home. We do not need the quality of our parenting assessed (again).

ToffeeWhirl Tue 01-Apr-14 13:23:11

NoHaudin - I told my LA this morning and it was accepted without question, fortunately. I think I'm lucky that I haven't had any pressure from anyone to choose the EHCP. I agree with you about the drawbacks, in particular No 4. My DS1 still wants to return to the mainstream school which he can't cope with at all. We know that he only wants to do that because it's familiar and he's afraid of coping with a new school. He is very immature and, in this instance, we know we are capable of making a better decision than him for his future.

SallyBear Tue 01-Apr-14 16:33:18

NoHaudin agree with you 100 percent. Infact my HT would agree too, we were having a talk about it today and she more or less said the same things as you. She is head of a special school where there are bigger issues than education to deal with.

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