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Got final ECHP without ever having draft - totally chaotic process

(11 Posts)
twodadslondon Thu 23-Feb-17 10:59:40


Our DS has been being assessed for an EHCP and went to panel a couple of weeks ago. During half term, we recieved in the post a final ECHP, naming his current Primary School and giving band D funding. Actually quite happy with the EHCP, seems accurate, very detailed, realistic but stetching targets, sensible levels of support, basically a full time TA to help him etc... We were also delighted he'd be staying at his current primary school, which he loves and is just a 2 mins walk from home.

Then this Monday I get a phone call from a lady at the council who was full of apologies and told us the process had gone wrong. We were actually supposed to be sent a draft EHCP (we've never had a draft, they went directly to final) and that the school should have been left blank because they are recommending he move to a special school. To be honest the phone call was so out of the blue and rambling I couldn't quite get my head round what she was saying so I asked her to put it in email.

The email arrived an hour later, again full of apologies and saying that they can't revoke the 'final' status but they're going to treat it as a draft and we have 15 days to choose which schools we want to consider...... A couple of emails later and she finally sent us a letter recommending a specific school.....but absolutely no information on what other options the panel considered or why they chose that one.

At the of the day, it all feels terribly chaotic and it's really upset us and we don't really know what to do next!!! Thankfully, the SENCO at DS's current school is really supportive and lovely - and they are just as angry with the council as we are (although they do agree that DS needs a special school - they can't provide what he needs in mainstream) They've suggested a few schools to us and say we should go visit a few.

So - a couple of questions - how on earth to we go about choosing schools and how can we visit them? I've rung a few but most only allow visits on specified open days, all of which are more than 15 days away. Should we just name loads of schools (there's about 4 or 5 we're interested in) and get the council to send the paperwork to them all??

The other question is a bit of a logistical challenge - we both work, but special schools never seem to have after school clubs. DS loves afterschool club at the moment (he complains if we pick him up too early.....he's a very sociable little chap!) and without it we are really stuck. He doesn't need a fulltime carer - he's very independent and plays nicely with other kids. How do people manage afterschool care when their little'uns go to a special school??

Any advice gladly received!! Thanks smile

Ineedmorepatience Thu 23-Feb-17 11:19:08

Hmm, to be honest if you want him to stay in mainstream that is totally your choice. Have his school said they can meet his needs?

You shouldnt feel forced in to moving him if he is happy and making progress!

Ineedmorepatience Thu 23-Feb-17 11:20:22

I think you should contact IPSEA or an education solicitor for advice, if the EHCP is fina then you could well be within the law to tell them to leave it alone!

Ineedmorepatience Thu 23-Feb-17 11:20:47

Final obviously blush

twodadslondon Thu 23-Feb-17 11:41:36

I know we could dig our heels in and insist he stays in mainstream, but the SENCO there (who we trust 100%) says he'd be better off in a different school. Academically he's miles behind the other kids and while he's very popular in class and enjoys school, it's a fine line between the other kids laughing with him and laughing at him..... The academic gap between him and the other kids seems to be widening, not closing, so there's a risk he'll become more isolated the longer he stays in mainstream.

We don't really like the idea, but I think we're now resigned to the fact that a change of school is the best approach for him.

twodadslondon Thu 23-Feb-17 11:45:01

btw on the plus side, it's been pointed out that since the council have screwed up, we're actually in a very good 'negotiating' position to insist on the exact support/school we want - the council isn't going to want too many additional eyes scrutinising this particular wonky process. when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!

the question is, how do we identify the best school without having time to actually visit any!

Ineedmorepatience Thu 23-Feb-17 12:33:10

You must visit the schools! The LA have messed up, they will have to give you extra time to visit the schools.

Email them today and ask them to send the ehcp to all the schools that could potentially meet his needs and tell them you will not be naming another school until you have been to look round them.

If your LA contact the special schools you should be able to organise visits within the next couple of weeks.

I have been organising visits to special schools recently and havent had to wait for open days.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 23-Feb-17 12:35:05

I think you will struggle to find a special school with wrap around care to be honest.

vjg13 Thu 23-Feb-17 13:13:59

Do contact IPSEA, Education equality or SOS Sen about how this process has been applied. If it is now a draft you should also have it checked, I used SOS sen, it was incredibly useful and they reworded a lot of it and really improved it (about £75).

You MUST visit the schools, make notes and see where your son will fit, also visit neighbouring ones and get a really clear picture. Schools should let you visit at any time especially in your situation.

jigster01 Thu 23-Feb-17 20:50:02

We were also told to find a school in 15 days ...It was the most stressful time.We were expecting m/s also but advice came back as special school ..Work let me change my hours so I was working till midnight and in the day time looking at schools.We emailed the LA and told them we needed more time, they agreed.
All the schools we visited were very happy to see us and show us around at very short notice ..
Good luck

tartanterror Fri 24-Feb-17 21:25:48

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