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EHCP Application gone wrong... Any tips for what to do next?

(14 Posts)
bedelia Fri 22-Jan-16 12:40:16

Ds2 was diagnosed with ASC late last year. Nursery have been very supportive of his needs and have put a lot of support in place for him, as well as keeping detailed documentation.

With nursery backing, I made a parental application for EHCP, LA acknowledged receipt of this early January, along with the standard letter explaining procedure and a huge form to fill in explaining my views.

Application was sent with my detailed letter explaining reasons, and a report from EP, with a view to sending all supporting documentation from school shortly afterwards (along with further reports which were due to be completed last week).

Last week I LA rep called to tell me the request had been refused, the reasons being that school had not sent supporting documentation, and that the panel wanted to see how DS had been supported over time... That we could resubmit within 8 weeks and the panel would reconsider.

There were 11 days between the date of the letter saying they'd received my parental request, and the request going to panel.

I called SENCO immediately to explain and find out what was going on as this seemed a bit fishy to me. She told me that she'd already sent all of the current documentation (a big file, detailing everything from the past year he's been at nursery) which would have arrived with the LA that day... That the "deadline" nursery had been given to provide this was next week, which would have given enough time for latest reports to be submitted too. I'd also not had the time to finish, let alone send in, my "parental views" form.

When I collected DS from nursery later, she'd left a message for me that she'd spoken to the LA, and that apparently there'd been a "mistake", it shouldn't have gone to panel so soon. It might be possible to resubmit to panel next week, or maybe not.

Just before all of this happened, nursery called an urgent meeting with me. Despite all of the additional support (including FT 1-to-1 for the entirety of his sessions) they are unable to support him without additional help. I know he's a handful, how difficult it can be to manage him, and do believe they have exhausted their resources. Ultimately, we agreed that he needed to be on a PT timetable (yet again!!) until it's possible to put the additional support into place, perhaps with a view to transferring to SN nursery. Further meeting planned with ALL professionals involved in his care next week.

I've now received the letter from LA about refusal to assess, but don't know where to go from here. Obviously this will be discussed in the meeting next week, so really wondering if anyone has guidance about what to steer towards?

Options seem to be:

- Hope the LA will go back to panel to reconsider next week (ideal option, but seemingly unlikely)
- Resubmit the application ASAP (and possibly wait another 6 weeks for them to consider it)
- Mediate with the LA (could be up to 4 weeks before mediation meeting is arranged)
- Consider mediation, get the certificate, and go straight for appeal

DS is due to start school in September. He'll likely need to go to a SS (I'm already well aware that this will be tricky to secure, budget cuts and all...). In the meantime, I have no other childcare options and have had to drastically cut my working hours, so keen to get things moving as soon as we possibly can.

Sorry this is so long! Any ideas for what to do next?

2boysnamedR Fri 22-Jan-16 13:58:49

Appeal. I don't say this likely as I have appealed and gone through the mill with that.

But - you have a excellent case, you have time to get this sorted before DC starts school. They will cave mostly likely too.

I think you need to go to mediation and maybe they will decide to assess on the next panel. However I wouldn't chance it.

Tell them that if things change within the eight weeks you can alway withdraw your appeal.

Your LA have proved themselves to be slap dash at best and lier's at worse.

bedelia Fri 22-Jan-16 19:02:41

Thank you 2boys, I was already thinking along those lines. Had an interesting phone call this afternoon which has made me more certain that I should skip the pleasantries and take this to appeal.

It's already been to panel (for the second time). LA have refused to assess again, saying that they wanted to see "recommendations" put into place for a time to see if anything changes first. Also expressed "concern" that nursery have not secured assessment from SALT as they would like to see evidence of his speech and language needs. Surprising really, as we all agree (apart from LA, obviously!) that he no longer needs SALT input confused

I got the impression that the "8 weeks to resubmit" has now been withdrawn, LA don't think it is nescessary to assess "at this time".

Rather more was said than that, but am considering what I put here as I don't want to "out" myself.

Will call SENCO on Monday and go to the meeting to see what we can do about DS now (in regards to reduced timetable, immediate needs...).

Feling really angry right now, and not very hopeful for the hurdles yet to come.

birdlover1977 Fri 22-Jan-16 19:28:55

Hello OP, I am sorry you are going through this but sadly I'm not at all surprised. I think LA's just automatically say no to a request for assessment and hope that parents will just give up. My LA said no to my youngest son, I appealed and he was granted 25 hours support from a LSA. It's made the world of difference to his learning.

Now I am in a similar position as you with my other son (9). I sent off a parental request just before school broke up last term. I was informed that they would go to panel on the 19/01/16. This happened but sadly they informed me that the application was 'incomplete'. Apparently the school SENCO hasn't completed the relevant forms (she denies ever receiving them), so we will have to wait once more for another panel date. I fully expect the LA to refuse to assess because my son is not behind academically but he has great difficulties with friendships, social situations and his self-esteem.
I would appeal because you are very likely to be successful. Good Luck. I think we will both need buckets of it x.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 22-Jan-16 19:32:29

Refusal to assess is 'good' which may seem incongruous but welcome to the world of SEN. smile

Refusal comes with the legal right of appeal. This is only granted at certain times and is valuable. Sometimes this can avoid delay and sometimes it is the best or only way of getting your child on the 'radar'.

Appealing the refusal does not mean that you can't fully explore alternatives but the Appeal - and it's legality and deadlines - is ticking away in the background and can really help to focus minds.

birdlover1977 Fri 22-Jan-16 20:20:33

That's so true keep x. Best to be positive.

2boysnamedR Fri 22-Jan-16 20:58:06

Expect the worse and hope for the best....

They will always find a reason to delay yet more of your child's education. I would hope your case never makes it too appeal. But this is the easiest stage of appeal to win. It could six months until it's heard but you will have buckets of proof of "recommended interventions" by then

Your nursery sounds excellent

AgnesDiPesto Fri 22-Jan-16 21:49:27

Yes crack on with appeal and it will go back to panel sooner rather than later as clock is then ticking - otherwise they can just keep delaying

You can also request an emergency transfer to SN nursery pending EHCP (if this is what you want) on basis nursery now saying cannot meet need

Look at SEN Code of Practice 5.13 - LA can supplement the nursery PT offer with home provision (e.g. home programme like ABA)

There is no maximum - the amount of education should fit the number of hours the child needs to spend in education to learn what they need to - not be liked to any funding formula or free nursery placement - most young children with autism need more than 15 hours a week education to prevent the gap getting wider (my son has had 35 hours a week since just before turning 4 - ordered by tribunal)

sencop 5.36 It is important in early years no delay in making provision

9.3 in a small no of cases may not follow full assessment process if clear child needs provision beyond what is avail in school - you can argue the purpose of the graduated approach is not to delay provision to children whose needs are so severe they obviously need support beyond what a mainstream setting can offer. Children should not be forced to fail when their needs are obvious.

The main reason to appeal is the burden of proof shifts from you showing your child probably needs assessment to the LA having to prove they do not. They can only do this by getting reports.

IPSEA used to have a refusal to assess appeal pack you could download from their website

Ineedmorepatience Fri 22-Jan-16 22:07:09

I agree with all the other, please appeal this decision, nearly all parental requests get refused in my LA!

They want you to shut up and go away! Dont do that, keep on and on and on and be a thorn in their sides for your Ds!

Oh and keep coming on here for great support!

Good lucl flowers

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Sat 23-Jan-16 13:12:29

I agree too, I appealed both refusal to assess and content of statement/placement (wanted SS for secondary) and overturned both without actually going to tribunal. An LA officer that I know socially told me that the minute an appeal is lodged they start taking you a whole lot more seriously.

bedelia Sat 23-Jan-16 23:03:58

Thank you all for your support and advice. I have so much more going on, so the news yesterday felt like a kick in the gut.

Keep - you're right, I should focus on the positives here. Now I have the legal right to challenge the decision, and I will smile

2boys - I already have the feeling of LA attempting to "delay". DS spent more than 3 months last year on reduced timetable. Nursery couldn't support without additional funding, but EY wanted to see evidence of recommendations put into place before agreeing to it... Seems like much of these recommendations are pants box-ticking exercises too.

Agnes - Amazing quotes, thank you! I get the impression SENCO was hoping to request the emergency transfer (hence reason for the multi-proffessional meeting) so will have these ready. I wonder whether such a request would be denied immediately as LA have refused to assess..?

bedelia Mon 01-Feb-16 10:28:02

So, the meeting went ahead... but we are at a standstill!

Nursery confirmed that they cannot currently support DS. He is overwhelmed by the size of classes, needs constant supervision, etc. Looking ahead to school - it would be impossible to support him full time without much additional support. Even with FT 1-to-1 this may not be manageable. Ideally he needs to be in SS.

This is supported by latest report from EP (it doesn't specifically suggest SS, nor does it specify and quantify, though the suggestion is very strongly there).

We discovered that the panel did not have supporting docs from school when it went to panel the second time. In fact, the only extra piece of evidence was the latest EP report seems the send dept. have "lost" huge bundle sent by school confused

Had a phone call from the LA after the meeting saying that DS's case is "ongoing". They are discussing how best to support DS with nursery, and may consider going back to panel for a third time confused

In the meantime, I have several other documents to send in to the LA for their "consideration" and will call for an update towards the end of the week. Also booked a callback from IPSEA.

Out of curiosity, will it reflect badly at tribunal if I don't attempt to mediate? I know I have to get the certificate before going to SENDIST, but really don't have much faith in mediating with the LA and don't want to waste time.

Veritat Mon 01-Feb-16 11:14:29

SENDIST doesn't care about whether you mediate or not. It is however possible that this is a case where mediation might bring about a quicker result. The LA has to send someone to mediation who has power to make a decision there and then (or who has immediate access to someone with that power) and they can't muck about saying things have to go back to panel. It might just be that with all the papers on the table and a reasonably robust mediator they could be persuaded to stop being idiots.

The alternative could be to go ahead with the tribunal appeal and ask for an expedited hearing. The tribunal is likely to be quite sympathetic to that.

2boysnamedR Mon 01-Feb-16 12:05:33

You could ( and it's what I would do) ask to know what papers will be in front of this panel. Tell them you will be doing a FOI request to make sure that that what you expected was at panel. That this will form part of your appeal bundle. That repeatedly not having all papers that are readly availability to them in front of them at panel is maladministration. Or ask them if they have lost your paperwork and if so you will be raising a complaint with the ICO.

Can anyone sense why my LA hate me?

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