Hi, I have a proposed EHC Plan for my 6 year old son and am just making final adjustments. My son is in an unsuitable school, only doing 2 hours and being constantly excluded. The LEA have informed us that there is not a suitable school in Essex which can meet his needs (high functioning autism, social communication disorder and challenging behaviour). We are naming the Helen Allison school in Kent on the plan , but the head informed me today that it is virtually impossible to secure an out of catchment place. However, he knew 2 pupils who were in out of catchment SEN schools. So, I just wondered what I need to do to ensure we have the best possible opportunity. I am happy to go to appeal/tribunal we just need our son in full time appropriate education. From a desperate stressed out mum
If the LA accepts there is no suitable school in the county, they have no choice but to go outside. However, they will probably be looking at maintained special schools in neighbouring boroughs. Is Treetops in Thurrock a possibility?
The LEA named Helen Allison as one of 2 schools. It's specialism is ASD and it is residential which everyone agrees is needed for my son demands. I know I've got a fight ahead but I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Just need to know best way to win! Thank you for the advice 😀
If the LA are suggesting it and you feel it is an appropriate place for him and his needs it seems reasonable to expect they would agree to place him there provided the school also feel he is a good fit for the school and their ability to provide for him. The problem is more likely to come when LA and parents disagree on where is a suitable placement.
If the LA suggested Helen Allison, then your chances of getting it are quite good. I suggested they would want to look for a maintained special school because that would normally be much cheaper for them.
Ideally you need to get provision in section F which HA can provide but any other school the LA might nominate cannot. However, you will only get that in if there is some sort of evidence for it. However, it's a strong card in your hand that everyone agrees your son needs residential school, because I doubt that the LA could find much by way of maintained schools that would offer residential provision.
My experience was that the only suitable school for my DD was an out of borough indi SS. The LA didn't dispute this and it was named on the plan and passed by the panel. Fights and tribunals occur when the LA and parents can't agree. The thought of having to go to court during the EHCP process added greatly to the stress of it, for me, and was wasted worry, so I understand how you're feeling now.
We filled in the parents part of the ehcp with loads of relevant information. We looked at all the schools offered and pointed out where they would fail DS. We got expert testimony to support us. We made it crystal clear we would take it to tribunal and they caved in. They did insist we undertake transporting DS but we had already allowed for that.
Speak to Ipsea for advice on educational rights. Collect written evidence about why the school they suggest is unsuitable and the one you suggest is suitable, as specific as possible. It will help hugely if this includes recent reports from independent specialists. I can recommend an educational psychologist, unfortunately they are not cheap. Also it costs more if they visit the setting but that is helpful too. I had to go to sendist tribunal, it is a long process. It took me a year from first visiting the school I wanted to the day when we got the tribunal ruling. It was so worth it. Good luck.