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General ECHP help and Personal Budgets(8 Posts)
Hi I'm looking for some advice and suggestions of what I can do in this situation. I have a 10 year old daughter who has had a statement of SEN since Year 2, which is currently being transferred to an ECHP plan. I have attended an initial meeting regarding this and given my opinions, but I'm still slightly confused about the whole process in general and would greatly appreciate someone explaining it to me in simple, plain language.
To complicate the matter further, I withdrew my daughter from mainstream education 2 years ago, to home educate her. I am finding it difficult to find much advice online about how ECHPs work under theses circumstances and what exactly I should be asking to be included in it regarding HE. I know with statements it was possible to get HE named on the statement rather than a named school, but is this the same with ECHPs? Is this something I'll need to fight for? HE is definitely the best option for my daughter as she has been able to make more progress educationally in the past 2 years, than she did in the almost 4 years spent in school.
My daughter also attends an after school club several days a week, so that she is able to still maintain friendships and work on her social skills. The after school club received funding from the LA until recently to provide a 1:1 assistant for DD to be able to attend, but I have been told this has now stopped. Instead parents are expected to ask for some of their child's personal budget to be used to pay for this instead. I have no idea what a personal budget is, or whether DD will be able to get one. Would it cover something like this? Again all the information I can find talks about schools and the payments only covering expenses additional to what they provide under a local offer. I really don't understand this or how it relates to a child being HEd.
Any advice or pointer's about where I should go next? Would I really be able to get some funding for DD to continue at the after school club? If so how do I do this as nothing was mentioned at the ECHP meeting?
For the process of transfer to an EHCP, look at this. In particular, the LA should be carrying out a full assessment unless you agree that older reports are still suitable. You can certainly ask for HE to be written into the EHCP, and I would suggest you try asking for it to include social communication provision including 1:1 assistance to support attendance at the after school club. Also think about whether it would be helpful to have things like speech and language therapy or occupational therapy in the EHCP.
It's not too clear what they mean about the personal budget. You can ask for one under the EHCP, but it is only meant to fund provision in the Plan - if they don't write 1:1 support after school into the Plan they're not going to fund it. On the other hand, they might be thinking about direct payment under a Social Services Care Plan. Are Social Services involved?
There's some more information about personal budgets etc here.
Thanks, I've had a look at those links, I'm still kind of confused though about the whole thing though. I think it is partly because DD is home educated. If she was in school, there would be a clear distinction between what they normally provide (i.e what a school provides to all pupils) and what they provide as extra to DD due to her SEN. Its less clear with He because I only provide the things that she needs and that work for her and nothing else.
This includes providing time for her to socialise with her peers. If she was in school she would get this, as would all the other children during the school day. But because DD is HE she gets this through the after school club and some other groups she attends. Its not extra but its instead of, if that makes sense. However because of DD's SEN she just couldn't cope with the socialising AND the academic side all at once. Why HE works for her is because she can now work at those too areas (where she has the most difficulties) separately and is now making some progress in both rather than tackling them both together and failing big time So the club is not necessary because of her SEN, but it is necessary because of being HE which is happening because it is the only option that currently works for DD educationally.
Regarding the personal budget thing, I'm completely confused there. I some how can't see the LA handing over piles of cash to me to spend on the club DD goes to! But previously the club were accessing some funding for DD (and other statemented children) from the LA. It was called an Inclusion Bursary Fund and parents had to sign to agree to the club accessing this money. For DD it was spent on a 1:1 which she needs while there, on a term by term basis. this is now ending as of April so DD will not get the 1:1 and may not be able to continue going. Parents were however told that they could apply for money from their child's personal budget (I think) to be redirected from the school where it normally goes, to the club instead once they have an EHCP. I have no idea how or if that will actually work though, especially as DD doesn't have a school for the money to be redirected from so where is the money going then?
I am also very interested in the fact that the LA should be carrying out a full assessment however. I really think DD needs some kind of assessment to work out exactly what is going on. I'd like to know whether she is so far behind academically is due to just missing so much education (while in school) or because of an underlying cause. She also massive issues socially and is far behind her peers there too as well as being very impulsive and completely unable to regulate her emotions.
The last lot of assessments she had were done in Year 1 or beginning Year 2 (Educational Psychologist and Speech and Language) in school and were full of inaccuracies, omissions and --downright lies--factual misrepresentations provided by the school, who wanted to portray DD as a naughty child caused by poor parenting
When I raised this at the meeting last week though they just suggested I take DD to the GP and never mentioned doing any new assessments themselves. It would certainly help to get a better picture of where DD is at now, aged 10, rather relying on something from when she was 6 years old.
You can ask for EP & SLT assessments to be done
Look at new SEN Code of Practice which says the Council can only use old reports if you agree.
It would be sensible to get a social care assessment done too as often there are different pots of money you can access that way for leisure / social skills etc. + you can ask for a carers assessment
Dont stress too much about a personal budget - concentrate on getting an accurate assessment with proper reports
Those should identify the needs
Then you consider how those will be met
Who will meet them - e.g. you by HE, or Council via 1:1 support to access social activities
If the Council agrees she still needs to go to the club and needs 1:1 it can then discuss with you whether it pays the fees direct or whether it gives the money to you (via direct payments) to pay the school.
Social needs can be met via education or social care - according to SENCOP anything which teaches or trains / develops skills should be an education need (& funded by education) - so developing social skills would be educational
Social care would be more for leisure / preventing isolation etc
It may not matter to you which dept pays but education provision is legally enforceable in EHCP while social care provision doesn't have the same status & is more easily removed (e.g. if they change eligibility criteria for short breaks) - it also depends whether social care services are awarded under s.2 Chronically sick & disabled persons Act (have to be provided) or s.17 Children Act (councils have power but not a duty to provide).
Only education provision in EHCP is appealable to tribunal (unless you are in pilot area)
Steve Broach rightsinreality blog has good info on social care / PBs etc
It should be very possible for the school club to bill the Council and them to pay direct (or give you a monthly direct payment for you to pay)
If she needs
a) 1-1 help to
b) be in a formal setting to
c) actively learn social stuff, but
d) wasn't able to learn it in school,
then it's educational, surely? If you were just home-edding for academics, then she'd be picking this stuff up as she goes along.
I think you should cost up everything your dd needs, compare it with everything she gets now, and look at how much the LA would spend (and were spending) to match those outcomes in the school system.
If they have any sense, they'll recognise you're the goose that lays the golden eggs
Sorry, just realised how OTT & bossy that sounds . I'm talking to myself really- haven't got the balls to fight with LA over youngest, so am just leaving school to get on with things.
Not bossy at all, I often feel like I don't have the balls to fight either. Choosing to HE was an 'easy' option 2 years ago compared with continuing to fight the school/LA then over meeting DD's needs. The easy option now I guess is to just let them write up the ECHP and me just agree it regardless. I can just carry on meeting her needs as best I can at home.
However I do feel that that would somehow be letting my DD down somewhat. What she has now is good (as opposed to in school, which was bad) but if I fight I could get better for her. I'm just really struggling with how as it all seems overwhelming to me at the moment. I simply don't know where to start and my lack of understanding of the system means I easily get knocked back when I come up against opposition.
Regarding the after school club, I do think it is beneficial for DD to attend, but she does need frequent 1:1 support while there. She does seem to need extra help picking up social stuff as she never managed to get far while in school and I worry that I'm not exactly setting the best examples myself at home (I have Asperger's) so I would like her to continue going there for that reason. If the club no longer receives funding for the 1:1 though I'm not sure she will be able to though. Currently they get £2600 per year for this and there is no way I can afford to cover the difference when it stops as we are financially stretched to the limit as it is.
To further complicate matters DD (and her sibling) going to the club allows me to do some part-time work. If she can't go anymore, I can't work and I have now idea how we would survive in that situation. Just realised that now and I'm seriously panicking Help?
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