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How does the EHCP process work with twins?

(9 Posts)
Frogandbear Wed 01-Mar-17 09:54:03

Some background information:

- One twin has SEN, the other doesn't
- Starting school in September
- Just completed assessment stage of EHCP and about to have meeting regarding first draft EHCP.

Basically, I'm really confused as to how the process works if there is another child to consider in the process i.e. they will be attending the same school. If the EHCP isn't completed by the time schools are allocated in April, then even if we get to name a school for DT1, surely they won't have space for DT2 as well?

DH and I are so worried about this. We understand that DT1 will get the school we choose, however DT2 with no SEN may not get a place?

Anyone with any knowledge or experience of the process?

Thanks in advance flowers

knittingwithnettles Wed 01-Mar-17 10:34:26

I suspect what would happen is that if you were not allocated the place you wanted, for the twin without SN, you could then Appeal (schools admissions have their own appeals) and it would be extenuating medical and social circumstances to admit them (if it is a mainstream school) Also from a transport point of view the LA might save money if they did not arrange transport for the SEN twin, because you were able to take both children to and from school. This might be a reason for them to put pressure on the school to take both - otherwise they might legally be obliged to provide transport for the SEN twin if school not easy to get to or in a different direction.

Another factor to consider is that I think most LAs have an admission policy of admitting the second or third multiple if there is no place technically at the school - this is just normal admissions policy. You would have to look up the LA admissions policy or the schools admission policy...I can remember seeing it somewhere.

Most schools despite filling their places, will end up in Sept with spare places, and then resort to the waiting list. If your NT twin is on that waiting list, having applied to the school you want for the SEN twin, but been refused a place, and your SEN twin's place is confirmed late (ie after April, lets say July thanks to delay in the EHCP process) but he is still entitled to a place in that school (they basically have to admit the EHCP child unless they can argue forcibly it is not a suitable placement - quite difficult for them to refuse). So then once one twin is in, despite all places being full, your Appeal to the AdmissionsTribunal having been successful, would mean that a waiting list place,when it came up, would be freed for your second NT twin.

Even the most oversubscribed schools end up with some waiting list places in Sept/Oct - I say this to reassure you that even if in the first instance your second twin is refused a place, one may become available.

Third point I would like to make is that, siblings often do go to different schools. I have twins, one with SN (HFA) and although they went to primary together, they did end up in different schools more appropriate to their needs (both mainstream though) It may seem like a disaster now, but twins are not usually put in the same class, and can often flourish in different settings. Your NT twin may like having their own space, as may your twin with SN. My twins suffered a bit from comparisons as the years in primary drew on. I don't know your circumstances and my twins were very attached, but despite the logistics you may find it works out to have them in different schools - lots of people have to juggle different schools as their kids get older. I now have three kids in THREE different schools.

I would advise booking an appointment with IPSEA over the phone or failing that, they are very busy, email them - they can come back with legal stuff associated with SEN admissions. Tamba also seem to do a SN facebook group where someone might have experience...I haven't used it ever, but just googled and noticed it.

Megatherium Wed 01-Mar-17 13:55:22

I assume you've entered normal school applications for both children? If so, they will both be considered in the normal way, and the fact that one is going through assessment won't affect that. The likelihood is that the people dealing with school admissions will put both in the same school. It may not, of course, be the one you prefer, but that's a separate issue.

If or when you get the draft EHCP, you will be asked what is your preference for a school place. The LA must then consult that school and, if there are no problems, will name it. However, if by that time places have been allocated, they are going to have to take into account the fact that the relevant class may be full.

There are therefore a number of potential scenarios:

1. You want School A for both children, you get places for them through the normal admissions process. You then get consulted about which school you want for Twin 1, you again name School A, not problem at all and it's named in the EHCP.

2. You actually get School B through the admissions process. You could then opt for School B when consulted about Twin 1 so as to keep them together - which should be fine.

3. Or in those circumstances you could ask for School A for Twin 1. If they are able to take him without prejudicing the efficient education of others he should get the place. You will then have the children in two different schools. However, Twin 2 will probably move up the waiting list because he now has a sibling in School A and you might get the chance to move him over at a later stage. However, it might be a long wait.

knittingwithnettles Wed 01-Mar-17 17:34:01

Legally the school she wants will have little chance of refusing her a place for her child when he has an EHCP. Schools cannot refuse to accept a child for mainstream unless they have exhausted all alternative means of supporting child in mainstream and the LA has provided the right funding to allow that support, to say a school is full is not a sufficient excuse to not provide a place for a child with an EHCP.

I wonder if the OP has in fact applied for schools for either, because she was possibly depending on the EHCP being finalised by then.

The other scenario is of course you can keep both children out of school until compulsory school age, until the placement is sorted out, and Appeal to Admissions Panel considered. That is also a legal option.

Have you looked up the Admissions procedure - lots of parents will be appealing against the wrong place come primary allocations (haven't they been allotted already?) so it is important to get that ball rolling - medical and social reasons why both your children should be attending that school you prefer. I know for example a parent whose ASD child attended a secondary school, and the sibling (2 years later) was not given a place there but placed on waiting list. She appealed and although it was a faith school which did not in fact consider social and medical reasons on its oversubscription criteria, the sibling was bumped up the waiting list and had a place by July, because both siblings were so affected by the separation and it was in the interests of the ASD sibling to have his (supportive) sister in the school with him. That is just one example. You can but try.

But I would warn you that there is no quick fit "common sense" solution in these cases, it is mostly bureacracy grinding through its many wheels, because admissions always have to follow due process..there will always be other people who feel done out of the place, and feel they have good reason to have your child's place, which is why the LA and admissions authorities/school governors make it very tick box process, against all natural gut feeling.

UserReuser Wed 01-Mar-17 20:21:47

I would read the admissions policy for your borough and ring the admissions team for advice, there will be some variation on this between authorities. Legally they can be admitted as 31, even 32, in a class but they do not have to admit twin 2. However an appeal may be successful. Multiple births vary by boroughs, though most allocate on normal round together. I'm jnmany schools twin 2 would be the top of any list as a sibling, you could defer the place if you're wished to wait it out, but a place may come up.

Do not if anyone tells you infant class sizes rules they don't as that's only years one and two (if they haven't disappeared already, I haven't worked for a while)

Frogandbear Thu 02-Mar-17 09:47:14

Thanks everyone for the replies. I have applied through the normal process but I'm just worried in case we don't get the school we want, in which case we will have to name it in the EHCP and hope for the best.

I think for a definite answer I am going to email an enquiry, that way I have everything written down in black and white. Who is it you think I need to email though? The SEN team dealing with the EHCP side of things or the general admissions team? The problem is that I usually speak to an admin assistant who hasn't got a clue. confused

Megatherium Thu 02-Mar-17 10:06:49

I don't think you're at the stage where you're likely to get very much by way of an answer. The admissions team won't tell you anything before the official offers date, and the SEN team have to go through the process of drafting the EHCP, consulting you about it and about your school preference, and then consulting the schools. They must finish the EHCP within 20 weeks of the date of your request for assessment - make sure you hold them to that time limit.

knittingwithnettles Thu 02-Mar-17 10:15:58

The thing is, although it is difficult for us not to think ahead, the children really do not worry about what school they are going to at this point unlike secondary . I can remember eldest ds (who is NT)getting into the school we wanted for him and feeling incredibly involved in the whole process, but in their little lives, the now is much more important - he really didn't think too much about it, and it is a long way to primary and Sept. So if you can just try not to worry until you actually have the school offer from the normal admissions round. Both children will get place in same school presumably due to the usual twins policy, and if it is the wrong school you just put them on the waiting list for the first and appeal asap through Admissions Appeal process (which is nothing to do with EHCP)

knittingwithnettles Thu 02-Mar-17 10:19:57

The waiting lists move incredibly fast, people move, they decide to go to private school despite getting coveted oversubscribed school, they change job at last minute..and as another poster said, the siblings policy kicks in, even if there is no twin policy with the EHCP (not sure about that bit) so once your child is in the school with the EHCP T2 (NT) is going to be bumped up the waiting list as a sibling.

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