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Transition to EHCP, excuse to reduce hours

(12 Posts)
EllenJanethickerknickers Wed 16-Dec-15 15:26:49

Hi there everyone. I know I've not been around for ages, but since getting my 30 hour a week job, life as a single parent has been very busy.

My DS2 who is 16 and has ASD has had a statement of 15 hours plus 5 hours lunchtime support since he was 6. His recent transition to EHCP review seemed to go very well. The EP, autism advisory teacher, SENCo, post-16 advisor and I all seemed to be singing from the same hymn sheet. The wording of the 'outcomes' and 'provision to meet outcomes' is all nice and dandy. No one at this review mentioned reducing hours.

The LA have unilaterally decided (via a SEN resources panel without asking anyone from his review) that as the very supportive secondary school provides a lunchtime club, (a safe room in learning skills staffed by TAs) that DS2 no longer needs his 5 hours lunchtime support. However his EHCP lists numerous times how he is to be supported socially and specifically at unstructured times to improve his severe social limitations. Academically he is average, but socially he is very deficient and chooses not to interact with others at all.

I rejected the initial draft and the professionals involved at his review made their cases as did I but his case was reviewed by the fucking SEN resources panel again today, who have graciously reinstated one hour a week for social skills support. I'm sure this is all about saving money and not about my DS's needs at all.

I am really looking towards the near future, as DS2 won't in all probability be affected by this reduction while he's at secondary. They already support him over and above the statemented hours. But he will be moving on to college in September. Staying on at sixth form to do A levels is not appropriate and a level 3 Btec is our aim. Before the advent of the EHCPs his statement would have ended at this stage, but EHCPs go on until 25 if a young person is still in education.

I feel that at this critical transition now is not the time to reduce funding and support.

Once I receive the paperwork again, I'll be rejecting it again, but I don't really know the law with regard to EHCPs (like I used to know for statements.) MNSN has always been my source of knowledge.

Where do I go from here?

Ineedapiginblanket Wed 16-Dec-15 15:58:46

I wondered have new assessments been made?
I have been to ehcp information sharing events and people have 2 views (as usual) a local education solicitor said that if the LA were going to "tip" the statement into an ehcp and parents had a good statement that they had fought hard to get then it would be advisable to let them!

The other view is that there should always be a new ehc needs assessment to show what provision should be in place!

What did the school say about the reduction in hours! Even if they are happy to support if they would at least agree that he does need the 5 hrs then the LA should keep them!

If he is not able to socialise at all without support then of course he needs them! You will have the option of appealing when the ehcp is finalised but that isnt ideal because it will take time!

Hope you can get it sorted and nice to see you flowers

Ineedapiginblanket Wed 16-Dec-15 16:00:09

Oh and meant to say IPSEA will help you, there is lots of info on their website or you can ring the helpline or book a call back smile

EllenJanethickerknickers Wed 16-Dec-15 16:10:11

School are steaming! The SENCo very nearly swore. He's very supportive. When DS2 started there the school had to fund the first 20 hours out of their devolved funds so they could be completely flexible with how they supported him. Now they only fund the first 10 hours and the LA top up the rest, so it's suddenly become a problem. hmm I guess the school have used the funding to support DS2 for longer in lessons, (26 hours 1:1) and have also used the lunchtime club. It may be they're feeling a bit guilty about using the funding flexibly when that's not specified, but when they were at funding the first 20 hours, it didn't matter.

An EP has seen DS2 for the first time in 10 years for this transition, but even she didn't recommend reducing provision. Her words were 'DS2 needs support during unstructured times.' I guess you could say he gets 'supervision' at the lunchtime club, but his social skills are so poor that he actually needs support to interact with anyone.

EllenJanethickerknickers Wed 16-Dec-15 16:14:08

Some of the problem is that the lunchtime club is offered to all SEN pupils as part of the school's local offer, so perhaps doesn't need specifying on the EHCP, but DS2 is academically average so doesn't get withdrawn from any lessons apart from PE once a week. So lunch and break time are when interventions should happen. He's described by all the professionals as extremely vulnerable.

2boysnamedR Wed 16-Dec-15 21:46:49

If they have no new assessments to prove he needs less support then they can't do this.

You need to appeal I'm afraid. Contact ipsea as lots of child's provision is being cut at transfer without the schools backing.


Ineedapiginblanket Wed 16-Dec-15 21:57:49

If the EP has recommended that he needs the support at lunchtime and the school are agreeing then it has to stay!

I agree about phoning IPSEA !

Noeuf Wed 16-Dec-15 22:04:40

One thing that jumps out is that you say the school support for 26 hours- why aren't you arguing to have that reflected in the EHCP?

2boysnamedR Wed 16-Dec-15 22:06:40

Hopefully your LA are not my LA who are doing this and spectacularly losing appeals.

Ring ipsea and get some strong words on paper in email pointing out this illegal, that you will appeal and if it gets to a hearing you will be going for costs due to being vex-a- thing ie-me-Bob I cat spell that word.

Basically they are trying it on and they can't win. But you don't need the stress or delays of a appeal.

Dipankrispaneven Thu 17-Dec-15 00:52:48

If the school is prepared to support you and come to the tribunal on your behalf, your chances of appealing successfully are good. If you can, I recommend going to one or more of the workshops run by SOS SEN.

Ineedapiginblanket Thu 17-Dec-15 08:31:47

My LA have apparently been telling parents that the EHCP is different and there isnt anywhere to put hours in!!!

Schemeing (sp) bastards!!

EllenJanethickerknickers Thu 17-Dec-15 18:18:37

Thank you all, for your help and advice. I will be appealing. Their argument is that DS2 is being supervised at lunchtimes at the lunchtime club, which is part of the school's local offer and is funded by the school, so the LA don't need to fund it separately. Therefore his provision (for the next 6 months) will remain the same but the school will lose out financially.

I am looking at next year, though, when he moves on to college, so don't want this funding removed for the next six months as it will never be restored IMO.

I think the fact that the school support him for more hours than required is going to be tricky to prove as the school (academy) don't want the LA to know they have enough resources to do this. So the school might not be so supportive WRT proving this. Which is all kinds of wrong but I can understand their reasoning.

The school have in effect, used the lunchtime supervision money 'flexibly' to support him in lessons instead, which the LA might frown upon. This was never a problem when the school funded the first 20 hours themselves, just in the last year or so when the LA funded after 10 hours.

My DS2 does averagely well in lessons, doesn't need constant 1:1 but does need prompting to keep on working and help in group or pair work. If his college class has another student with 15 hours, they could easily share and have 1:2 for 30 hours, but who knows if that'll happen.

He'll need support at lunchtimes at college, though. At least somewhere to spend lunchtime that's not busy.

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