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EHCP transfer - is the content of Part 2 really now irrelevant?(23 Posts)
LA are now reassessing
following receipt of JR pre-action letter.
Parents have stated that needs identified in statement are still relevant and provision needed to meet them remains the same. The statement was written for tribunal and so specifies and quantifies direct weekly SALT and OT therapy, weekly ASD specific counselling, qualifications of staff, size of school and class, similar peer-group (DS is of at least average cognitive ability).
Yesterday he was reassessed by the LA EP. He actually met with her (rewarded with FIFA points). He has never met with the EOTAS tutor who has been visiting since November and she was expecting that he wouldn't meet with her. I think the LA were counting on it as their principal excuse for doing nothing for the past 14 months is that DS1 will probably not engage.
We had agreed to go through the statement and agree what, if any, extra or updated assessments were needed. She told me that Part 2 is no longer relevant and so we could ignore that section of the statement except for the last paragraph which listed his needs. In isolation, this list is meaningless - 'literacy and numeracy skills', 'social use of language and communication' etc and could apply to any child as it makes no mention of ASD or SpLD etc. The EP then said ASD/SpLD or any diagnosis itself was not important and that the EHCP focuses on outcomes. She said that the outcomes are written first and then the provision needed to meet them.
So she tried to do this for the first 'need' which is just described as 'literacy and numeracy skills'. She asked what outcome I wanted, and could reasonably expect given that DS1 had missed the last five terms of school and had no education whatsoever, by the end of year 11. I said OK, expectations should not be lowered due to needs not being met and placement breaking down and as DS1 is of average cognitive ability we should expect the 'average' i.e. 5 GSCE's grade A to C. I said we should not lower expectations just because DS1 has ASD or dyslexia. She did not like this. She tried to find the words to politely say that these expectations only apply to NT children. She gave up trying to reach agreement on that or any needs with me.
I had persuaded DS1 to meet with her saying that he just had to give his views by completing a 'questionnaire' on the laptop and would not have to speak to the EP but when he had finished she then took his views using pen and paper and asking him all sorts of questions. He said very little - eg., she asked him where he was going to live when he was older. Logically he said 'I don't know'. So she would ask more questions to push him. Logically, again, he said 'in a house'. So she would make suggestions and then write them down as his view. When it came to 'writing' she asked him why he wanted to improve his spelling? <silence> 'What do you want to write?' 'Words' <flash of irritation> 'Do you want to write essays or fill in forms?' 'Is it to get english or maths GCSE's or so that you can do everyday stuff, which you will need to do, like managing a budget <silence> so qualifications aren't really important to you, or am I putting words into your mouth?' 'What about cooking - you will need to know how to cook for yourself.'
I think that the LA are trying to remove provision in the transfer so that the aspect of the JR relating to non-provision of SALT, OT and counselling or appropriate tuition becomes irrelevant. So academically, we are down to functional skills, they are arguing that anxiety is a health need and the responsibility of the NHS to provide counselling. They claim that they have not been able to find suitable and available indi SALT or OT but I expect they will also try to remove this on transfer as well and so there will be no point in continuing to try and find anyone.
There is going to be a transfer/AR meeting next week. I have asked SENDIAS to attend as there are going to be a lot of LA staff present. We told them that this number of people (SNO, EOTAS head, EOTAS tutor, EP, CIR) would guarantee that DS1 would not be able to attend - even sent them the 'nothing about me without me', pointed out that DS1 is 15 etc but to no avail.
I have looked at the LA transfer review report and there is no mention of needs other than a box to mark with an X the areas of need (communication and interaction, cognition and learning etc). Also for each area of need there is a box or bullet points that seem to only permit one outcome and three 'provisions'. Can I ignore the boxes and forced focus of this document?
I feel like I'm going to get royally screwed over if they make confident assertions as I don't understand EHCPs in the same way as I had to come to understand statements. Does anyone have any good links? I need to see what a 'good' EHCP looks like. If your DC have been transferred, did Part 2 (every sentence of which is cut and pasted from expert reports) survive the transfer? If not, where is the description of the child's needs.
TIA and sorry this is so long.
It is not all about outcomes (you are right this is fast becoming LAs latest tactic for reducing provision).
Have had this argument with the LA EP ( Lead Pathfinder Champion EP) who keeps saying its all about outcomes
See IPSEA checklist www.ipsea.org.uk/file-manager/SENlaw/ipsea-ehc-plan-checklist-2015-april.pdf
Sections B,C and D list needs. Section E lists outcomes.
That LAs are allowed to have their own format is really annoying - ours put outcomes in every section and its really confusing
when the its all about outcomes line came up in our transfer i said that ds had a need to be kept safe - i.e. 1:1 and secure environment so he could not escape as he had no awareness of danger / road safety etc
This is a need, not an outcome
The provision is 1:1 provided full-time including breaks (in practice we also have a physical handover to a parent, doors with keypads, a secure school carpark and fences etc)
I said if they wanted me to write this as an outcome they would need to include in the EHCP that the outcome would be that each day when I came to collect him the school will have been successful at keeping him alive
Oddly they didn't want to put that in the Plan
It's very important to get section B (equivalent of Part 2) right because provision in F has to meet needs, so you need an accurate description of his needs. How long ago was the tribunal? Given that he's been out of school so long and, I assume, hasn't had much if any of the support that was set out in the statement, if I were you I would ask them why they think he would have undergone a miracle cure and on what basis they suggest things have changed.
I wish I knew why LAs obsess so much about outcomes. Sure, they're important, but the first priority has to be to meet needs (which is precisely what the Code of Practice says), and LAs just seem to brush that aside.
Thanks for the replies - DS1 and DS2 are locking horns atm but will read properly tomorrow.
I am reading the IPSEA stuff. It really helps to know what the law says but if the LA past behaviour is anything to go by, they will draft whatever they want, no matter how unlawful, and force us back to tribunal --where they will concede on the day so that there is no Ruling but argue they intended to defend the case so that they don't pay costs for the other side.
last tribunal was four year's ago. What worries me is that the old indi EP report which was very detailed and contained cognitive assessment and measurement of degree of underachievement using WIAT (<1%) etc will be replaced by a crap, biased LA EP report. She did not repeat assessments (not likely to have changed) but it is on the basis of these assessments that we know that he is of average cognitive ability but significantly underachieving and this is why MLD ss is wrong for him. That's why the LA had to go for m/s secondary - they have no provision and will only pay for indi following tribunal.
The LA EP was asking leading questions and putting words into DS1's mouth but on the subject of school he will always say 'I have never liked school and don't want to go to school'. She told him that what she was writing was not what 'we' wanted, it was what he wanted. His current view is then used as an excuse not to do anything. Of course he feels like that now, in this context. He has the reasoning ability of an 8 year old - he just has no understanding of what he needs to do now in order to do certain things in the future. He has no idea what impact not having his needs met has had and how much growth is possible if they are.
When the EP asked him whether he was going to live alone or with other people (no mention of continuing to live with parents) he said probably with other people - this comes from watching FIFA u-tuber's renting together. He doesn't understand that you have to pay rent and bills and that means you have to earn money and that you seriously jeopardise your ability to do what you want in the future if you have less than 2 years secondary education and have an achievement profile consistent with the average 9 year old.
I feel like he is being manipulated. The press going nuts over DC missing a single day of school for a holiday or how DC who have fled to another country will end up being a 'missing generation' if they miss more than 4 weeks does not help. Hypocrites.
I wish I knew why LAs obsess so much about outcomes
A cynic would say that LAs obsess about outcomes because the EHCP section in which they sit cannot be appealed.
A cynic would also say that it is highly beneficial to the LA to put the outcomes cart before the needs/provision horse. Neuter the unappealable outcomes, neuter the provision, and take a good-odds gamble that parents won't kick back with 9.66 of the SENDCOP.
OK, so with Statements, although they were legal documents per se, only Part 3 had legal status, and so gave right of appeal, and now this is Section F? LAs focus on Section E because this does not have the same legal status and right of appeal?
Googling SENCOP 9.66.
You can appeal B, F and I (the equivalent of parts 2, 3 and 4). There is currently a pilot happening whereby, if you live in one of the LAs that has signed up to it, you can also challenge the bits relating to health and care - C, D, G and H - but they can only make recommendations about those bits, not orders. You can't appeal section E. However, some LAs repeat the contents of E under the F heading, and I heard the other day that the tribunal is prepared to take the view that, if they do that, they're prepared to view that bit as appealable.
In a sense it doesn't necessarily matter that you can't appeal E, but you have to be clued up to make sure that B is complete and accurate, and then to make sure that support in F meets all the needs in B. Ultimately it's the support that's important, and the chances are that if you get that right the outcomes will be met anyway.
'She said that the outcomes are written first and then the provision needed to meet them.'
Only read OP, but part B (similar to old part 2) is written first, then part F (similar to part 3) and THEN the outcomes the provision is supposed to achieve.
Thanks - it is all falling into place for me now. I have looked at the Transfer Review documents for different LAs and can see that it is just mine that put brackets around the needs of the child and try to force focus on short-term outcomes and provision need to meet them.
Anyway, now the EP says that her report will not be available prior to or at the Transfer meeting - because she does not intend to write it until after the meeting. Does the EP report inform Transfer or is the aim of the EP report to include a write up of the transfer meeting?
You should receive all reports 2 weeks prior to transfer meeting so you can read, digest, point out factual inaccuracies.
Your LA really is something, and it's not as if the bar is set very high.
Thanks star - now you say it I remember reading that - is it from a SEN!SOS document re transfers?
I have now had a further email from the EP in response to my saying that I had expected to receive the written report at the meeting at the latest (and would need time at the start to read it) as I understood that the purpose of reassessment was to produce a report to inform the meeting.
She says 'I have set time aside next week to write my full report for DS1 and can’t have this available for the meeting on Thursday, I’m afraid. I can also therefore take further information from the meeting to inform my report. I will be able to send my report to you in the week beginning 6 June 2016 (I have been given 8 June 2016 as my deadline). I can of course make changes to my report after this time if there are any inaccuracies.'
That means we will not receive a draft copy of the report until 2 weeks after the meeting.
Can I quote Children and Families Act, section 19 (c) - 'the importance of the child and his or her parent, or the young person, being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions'? I have got this from the IPSEA EHC plan checklist as one of the four underpinning principles.
Also, as DS1 met with the EP, we have requested that the autism outreach worker who has never met with DS1 (provision gap - no referral from EOTAS to CIR) attends the meeting 30 minutes early to meet with DS1 (he has agreed to meet with her and knows that she supports DS2 - he thinks it unfair that DS2 can get support but he can't). This request has been refused. Instead the LA want to send the EP 30 minutes early to check that what she had written is OK with DS1.
I am being supported by SOS!SEN but can't get quick email responses and there is not sufficient time to wait. This all feel so wrong and I am bricking it that the meeting (10 attendees all told and at my house) will be like a Kafkaesque trial.
I don't know how anyone would get a decent EHCP in my LA. The forms where experts give advice says 'Parents and young people have requested that information is concise and presented as bulleted points rather than a long report.' I don't remember requesting that. In any case, since when did the LA ever concede to the requests of parents and young people?
So the Advice forces experts to ignore needs and forces LA experts to fill in boxes about the child's long terms hopes, what people admire about them etc and then straight into outcomes. The Review Report has no review of needs, insists on a One Page Profile and then just asks what is working well and if any changes are needed and then goes straight into outcomes. Their examples of outcomes are not even SMART - frequency will say 'at least weekly' to be provided by 'school'.
I've seen Agnes's post about outcomes for independence - does anyone know where can I find good outcomes for other stuff relevant for HFA?
Have sent you a pm.
My LA has even combined sections E&F to link the provision to outcomes!
Well, that was fun.
Claimed that Transfer review (subject of numerous emails not to mention Judicial Review deadlines) was meant to be a bog-standard AR (what?) but 'things had moved on'. It was always meant to be a transfer review ffs and everyone has known this for months.
The LA insisted on reassessment back in February but have only arranged EP assessment that took place 3 months later and so was not able to inform the transfer meeting. The LA now want more time to conduct OT assessment - not because they think needs/provision may have changed but because it is out of date. Despite having ample time to arrange assessment the LA has not done so.
Really, really did not want to talk about transfer and kept changing the subject - towards unsuitable provision.
An hour was spent with LA staff talking amongst themselves about how fantastic their suggestions were in relation to DS1 engaging with blah blah blah that holds no interest for him and has an unsuitable peer group and how the NHS are responsible for provision relating to school anxiety. All delaying tactics dealt with in JR.
I asked to start the actual transfer review after an hour. I had played a blinder (even if I say so myself ) and had written an entire transfer review report using the template of my LA. I had it all. I paid specific regard to the use of bullet points and my outcomes were faultless (thank you agnes - think fear ).
LA room did not like it.
15 minutes later I had to ask why there was such reluctance to discuss transfer given my helpfully prepared document.
30 minutes later we went through the document. The LA said nothing. We said you have had long enough to conduct reassessment and in the absence of advice to the contrary, provision should be transferred.
I bet everything I wrote/said is ignored.
If walking into a classroom, spending time with other children, meeting expectations in terms of actual work and so on induce such a degree of anxiety that they become impossible to do, then that anxiety is an educational need, which needs dealing with in school, with school staff involved, ffs. This level of anxiety is why DS1 is in a tiny specialist school. Seeing an NHS therapist once a month in 3 years time is not going to fix that. It's something that can only be dealt with holistically, in situ, by the people who need to build the relationships necessary for your DS to learn!
SOS!SEN solicitor is dealing with the anxiety is a medical need issue. Even the letter from the LA solicitors in response to JR pre-action letter admit that anxiety is an educational need but then go on to say this is why the LA will advise parents how to go through their GP having already stated that the LA plan to move provision from Part 3 to health.
The EP did not know the deadlines that the LA are working to (put in writing by the legal team) and was shocked to find out that she had been given a deadline for her report that was only 2 days earlier than the deadline for draft EHCP. She sent a partially written report. In the section where she is supposed to detail SEN and current level of skills there are no SEN mentioned. She goes straight to current situation. So for the section on communication and interaction which will be used to inform the draft as the sole most up to date assessment, we now have one earth shattering observation that DS1 'may prefer to talk to women rather than men'. Nothing else. At the meeting when I asked why the person leading the meeting did not want to talk about transfer ('its an open meeting, we can talk about it if you want') the LA then tried to get the EP to use what she had written in her report rather than the document I had written. Her report has to follow the format of 'outcome' and 'provision needed to meet outcome'. So she has stuff like 'achieve a pass in GCSE english and maths' with the only provision needed being 'exam access arrangements to be assessed but likely to be extra time'. She refused but I bet it all comes back in the draft Plan.
It was that the LA ignored non-provision of statement and non-transfer to EHCP or the reintegration plan of EOTAS and wanted to spend the entire meeting discussing something called Noise Solutions - local 'social enterprise' designed for the hardest to reach and marginalised young people who are likely to be in care, youth offenders etc. It has nothing to do with supporting DC with school related anxiety related to ASD reintegrate into a suitable school following the breakdown of placement. DS1 does not even like music, I cancelled Apple Music because he has no interest in downloading music because he does not listen to it. But according to the LA all youth are passionate about music and it it important that he engages with someone not related to education at all. Why? Even if he did like music and was willing to engage, it would not make it any more likely that DS1 would be able to reintegrate. It is another additional challenge, another transition.
The main issue of contention is clear. As far as I am concerned DS1 needs therapeutic intervention in order to access education, including to be able to reintegrate into a suitable school. The LA say that he has to be accessing education and attending a school in order to access therapeutic intervention and that in order to attend school he needs first engage with an adult outside the home who is not involved in education and then engage with a non-specialist EOTAS tutor. Eventually he may feel able to attend school with minimal or no transition support package but probably not. So the only objective for the next 12 months are stated to be
•To communicate and build a learning relationship with an adult outside the family
•To work with another adult on learning activities.
With the support of SOS!SEN I will go all the way to the High Court if necessary.
The 'provision' to meet educational need is to 'advise' the parents to go begging from health?
Direct quote from the LA solicitors
"While the LA agrees that DS1 might benefit from CAMHS involvement it does not have a route to refer as this comes through the NHS, such as DS1's GP. The LA has no control over CAMHS eligibility criteria or waiting times. It is noted that this would be a medical intervention and not educational and therefore should not be included in Section F of any EHC Plan. However, it is accepted that DS1 has anxiety problems and this is affecting his ability to access education, and the LA offers to help advise the Parents in accessing this medical provision."
This comes from solicitors in reply to JR pre-action letter from SOS!SEN sent by Eleanor Wright. Are they arrogant or ignorant or both?
just think one step closer
Not looking good. The deadline agreed by the LA solicitors for the issue of the draft ECHP has passed (6 days ago) with no draft and no explanation and the SNO has now gone on holiday for 3 weeks.
LA solicitors also claimed that SALT and OT could not be delivered because no one was available. Unbeknown to them parents had also contacted therapists and at the time the solicitors wrote this know that at least one therapist had told the LA they were immediately available.
One good thing has come of the meeting. I highlighted the inequity of the involvement of autism outreach for one son but not the other as a gap in provision meant that DS1 did not meet the referral category (have to attend a m/s school). The head of EOTAS has now emailed to say that autism outreach will now train tutors:
"Following the recent Annual Review Meeting, I have liaised with [autism outreach] and they are going to provide some training and support with EOTAS 1:1 Teachers. This will help develop support, training, strategies and resources for 1:1 teachers working with pupils with a diagnosis of autism. The aim of this is to develop skills and expertise with 1:1 teachers and enable us to further improve the quality of the Service."
Can you see he is still insisting it was an AR? Why? I fear this may just be a tactic to continue to send a tutor that DS1 has failed to engage with, or even meet, for the past six months as I was told that it was not possible to deliver support, despite the fact that an increasing number of DC receiving LA tuition had an ASD, and that this gap had not been closed following the very recent reorganisation of both organisations and it would be at least another year before the issue was addressed. What's the best way to make them put their money where their mouth is? I would post it on Facebook or tweet but don't want to be identified.
I see what I have done. I have reported.