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Ehcp what costs to expect?

(30 Posts)
Gillway Wed 26-Dec-18 20:28:21

Hello. Can anyone say up to how much one might end up paying to get one's child a satisfactory EHCP and then get it implemented? £5000? £10k? 50?

I appreciate it can be free, but this seems to be if you're lucky enough to live in an LA which is behaving decently, and maybe your child's disability is not an invisible one eg DCD which is what my child had and which many consider to be something easily managed in mainstream secondary school (although in our experience, it isn't).

There's also the issue of waiting for what can turn out to be unsatisfactory assessments from local NHS and ending up having to get private assessments done.

I know someone who has ended up paying £18,000 for his son's ehcp which included a SALT assessment, ed psych assessment, OT assessment, legal work up to and including lengthy tribunal and having to pay for the SALT and ed psych to come along to tribunal too.

Does anyone have an idea of what is a reasonable figure keep in mind before plunging in to the process?

The fact is, I want my child to attend a special school for GCSES and it costs £28k pa., unaffordable for us. But if we try to battle it out on the ehcp route, might we end up paying that on costs thereby negating the whole point of trying at all?

Any thoughts really appreciated. Thanks!

MeetOnTheSIedge Wed 26-Dec-18 22:52:05

How old is your son? It's not just the cost involved but the timescales too, it can take a year or more by which time it could be too late to move him for GCSEs. Also the younger he is the more years of benefit he would get from it. In most cases it can be done without solicitors, there are many extremely good advocates out there who are less costly, also charities. As you say though, the cost of private assessment and expert witness at tribunals can add up. I would consider contacting the charity SOSSEN, they have a helpline and can give you a better idea of what your chances are and what help you would be likely to need.

Gillway Wed 26-Dec-18 23:10:44

Thank you MeetOTS. Very good advice and I will contact them ASAP. My child is 12 yrs and in year 8. Has refused school past 10 months due to needs not being met. I figured if the EHCP process / battle takes from Jan 2019 to September 2020, that's 18 months and he would then join year 10 in special school.

imip Wed 26-Dec-18 23:15:26

The EHCP process should take s statutory max of 20 weeks. Use SOSSEN or IPSEA to help you get past the first hurdle of request to assess. Then you ‘should’ get a decent comprehensive assessment. You need to be on top of this the whole time holding the LA to account to implement what us legally correct, not their policy.

This shouldn’t cost money for reports (though I appreciate many do) but the intangible costs involved with the battle to get an ehcp shouldn’t be underestimated.

Gillway Wed 26-Dec-18 23:54:22

Thank you IMIP. By the 'intangible costs' I am guessing you mean the heavy toll on our mental health and indeed physical health due to stress? We are already under a lot of stress what with being under threat of prosecution for my child's unauthorised absences combined with the day to day pressure of having a super anxious DCD kid with undiagnosed sensory issues with me all day so that I'm unable to work properly. Then there's the constant conundrum of how to move forward and get my child the education they have a right to. Our senco has said our LA will refuse my application for an ehcp assessment because my child has not actually been in school enough for the school to show the LA that they've tried implementing any help. The school apparently need to do this and show that their help hasn't worked, thereby proving my child needs an ehcp. The fact my child had been unable to go in due to the anxiety of being in a mainstream school with all the pointless rules and teachers shouting and student skirmishes and boring worksheet lessons puts us in limbo apparently. We cannot move forward until my child has been forced into school enough times to show that all help has failed, risking his mental health in the process. This despite the fact that my child actually already has a registered ed psych report stating that my child requires specialist teaching (for SPLD, memory and auditory processing issues) and an NHS report stating the same and both basically showing that mainstream secondary school without specialist teachers will not do, but not actually stating it clearly! Gosh I've gone into overspill mode. It's hard to know when to stop confused

imip Thu 27-Dec-18 07:24:31

Your SENCO speaks absolute shit! Now you need to become familiar with the law. The threshold for an EHCP is:
(a)the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and

(b)it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.

This is taken from section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014).

When your child is out of school, they most certainly need a plan and they have been failed by school. I suggest you follow Special Needs Jungle, IPSEA and sos Sen on FB/google them and do some more research. There is a FB page called ‘not fine in school’ with lots of parents in your situation and you’ll get advice/increase your knowledge by looking at these.

Show your SENCO what you know, apply for the EHCP yourself (IPSEA have template letters online - model letters). Yes, this is the start of the intangible cost! You can do this because you very obviously past the legal threshold for a plan!

MeetOnTheSIedge Thu 27-Dec-18 07:47:35

Schools frequently say pupils "will not get an EHCP" - parents frequently disprove this by doing it themselves. Doing it yourself is stressful but it means you are more in control. The first thing I would do is get all your existing paperwork in order, scanned and filed, then start a dedicated notebook for all notes of conversations with school, professionals, local authorities etc. Write down an entire history of your DS's difficulties, going right back to birth. SOSSEN run workshops on how to manage the process, these are well worth attending if you can. It's good that he's only in year 8 but time is still of the essence as appeals can take months and the earlier he could start a new school the better.

Also have you approached the school you have in mind? If it is independent it may have its own entry criteria and your son would have to be offered a place there as well as getting it named on the EHCP.

imip Thu 27-Dec-18 07:49:56

Gosh, yes, the courses! I went to an IPSEA one which was free and held by a local support group - definitely go to one....

Gillway Thu 27-Dec-18 11:05:22

Thanks for inspiring me to keep going with your brisk and knowledgeable replies. I've been on to Special Needs Jungle, IPSEA, Not Fine In School over past few months and currently trying to book SOSSEN and IPSEA for advice and workshops. As I'm undiagnosed DCD myself and possibly even HFA (recognised from my child's diagnostic journey), I find organisation and filing hard, stressful, and definitely more time consuming than other people might, but everything is emailed so I have a trail which I can print out anytime. All reports and letters are scanned into my phone. The note taking however is a nightmare because of the DCD! I can't seem to talk and take notes at the same time, I think because it's asking too much of my executive functioning. I either scatter illegible handwritten notes through disorganised notepads or if I have the energy, I email whoever spoke to me with a detailed rundown of our conversation. Yes I've been in touch with the special school and they've seen the Ed Psych and NHS reports and said my child definitely looks like someone who would benefit from their school and they passed on helpful info and contacts.

Us? Both my partner and I have disabilities and no family help. We've considered selling our home and moving to a cheaper town somewhere where we would have zero friends and support in order to try to pay for the special school. Other thoughts like this constantly play in my mind. I never found social events easy but now with all this daily traumatising (which is how I experience this journey, dealing with school and LA 'we have stringent rules about who can have our 5 hours of home tutors per week'), I cannot cope with small talk at all, and if it weren't for conversations like this, I would be quite isolated. I hyper focus on the situation which is good in that I can move what feel like mountains only to find the next even bigger mountain looming behind. There is no respite. My child's circle of friends are all similarly bright SEN kids in that rough mainstream school and they are either being given inappropriate and rubbish help through CAMHS and then being discharged by CAMHS because they aren't engaging or they're refusing. Then there's the issue of what if we lose and my child cannot attend the special school? I cannot home school someone so resistant when I have my own disabilities. Admittedly my child does their own learning in favoured specialised areas like history and technology but not in a way that'll pass GCSEs. Home tutors have found teaching my child a pain in the backside because they don't have specialist training. I have read about mothers saying they have the ehcp but no placement. I appreciate there is Interlink and other online homeschooling but at what point do I give in and pay for things like that? Anyway, thank you for your help. It is extremely appreciated!

imip Thu 27-Dec-18 11:27:00

Don’t give in! LA is obliged to place your child in full time education. After 15 consecutive days of missed school, they should provide a tutor - there is no ‘cap’ On that in law.

When talking to the LA, it’s probably true that you know more than them. Read up, quote the law. Record meetings on your phone (there are rules around this but I’m not quite sure what they are, main SN board may have useful info.

This sort of thing really makes my blood boil!

MeetOnTheSIedge Thu 27-Dec-18 11:39:08

No wonder you feel overwhelmed. Sounds as though you are doing all the right things with record keeping, I'm not good at talking and writing at the same time either, but luckily I can recall quite well immediately after so I write things down afterwards as well as during. Anything scribbled on random bits of paper gets sellotaped into my main notebook.

What I would say is that you have got nothing to lose initially by applying for the EHCP. You may or may not need private assessments etc so its worth budgeting what you can for those but it's not going to cost more than two years of the school fees (and you will need to consider 6th form too). The process is stressful, but the prospect of carrying on as you are is also stressful. What does your DP think? Mine wasn't much practical help going through the process but he was supportive and on board with the expenditure on assessments etc. I know you don't find small talk easy, but if there is anyone local to you who has been through the process it helps immensely just talking to someone in the same boat. My local branch of the NAS has a FB group and small get togethers, it might also be worth talking to any local children's centres.

Gillway Fri 28-Dec-18 09:56:45

Thank you for putting me on track. I will try to quote the law at the Missing Education rep at the LA but she was a pitbull and I suspect anything I say won't budge her unless I hire a solicitor £200 per hour. I will use a dedicated book for notes. I am going to do everything you've suggested. Thank you and best of luck on your own journeys.

Gillway Fri 28-Dec-18 09:58:01

Ps DP same as yours lol!

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 09-Jan-19 13:56:29

Just wanted to say this has been useful to me as am thinking of asking for EHCP this year once a line of assessments is complete. I will try to get onto a local IPSEA course so I am up to speed.

The mental and physical costs are daunting, but we are put in a position where we have little choice but to fight our corner.

imip Wed 09-Jan-19 15:01:38

You can take the LA to the local government ombudsman or judicial review and your child is probably eligible for legal aid for JR as the benchmark is not as highz

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 16-Jan-19 13:20:34

Sorry to hijack thread a little, but our LA sets very narrow gateways for access to specialist services - specialist teachers can 'only' come when child falls 2 years behind in all areas eg maths and english. DS aged 9 is 3 behind in literacy but nearly 2 in maths. They also say school can only apply for this help via a once yearly application for extra funds/help.

I know this is local policy and not anything to do with SEN law or the code. How do I challenge this? Its due for reconsideration In April but he's losing out on this. Falling through the gaps.

imip Wed 16-Jan-19 14:52:03

Does he have an ehcp?

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 16-Jan-19 16:17:45

no, he gets 6k from the normal school budget and about 1k extra from LA which goes on things like touch typing etc. He gets some in class support but not sure how much and 25 mins a day on literacy small group. Obviously this is not enough to prevent him slipping behind by some margin.

No EHCP as yet, has always had IEP since reception. Infants school were great but don't feel as well supported at Juniors.

PickAChew Wed 16-Jan-19 16:27:48

Ipsea do o line training if not taking in person is difficult.
www.ipsea.org.uk/online-parents-carers

It's worth having a look at this yourself, kiss. The 2 year issue is a blanket policy that would mean that kids like my eldest who is very bright but can not cope at all in mainstream and even struggles in his specialist school would be entitled to nothing.

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 16-Jan-19 16:58:19

I'm surprised its even legal for them to do this.

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 16-Jan-19 16:59:10

Probably isn't - but seems they can get away with making up any old policy if it guards the gate to access!

imip Wed 16-Jan-19 17:23:26

You my be in a non-ehcp area where they encourage a different, cheaper type of plan e.g., myplan. EHCPs are available in this area and I encourage you to apply for one yourself (request to assess - IPSEA as above). This means you’ll get an EP evaluation and recommendations. I say this because some ‘local’ plans operate as you mentioned applying for funding once a year. Our borough tried to bring it in and parents protested and they withdrew it (for now).

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 16-Jan-19 17:48:41

They do have EHCP's about 3300 of them (was in paper recently due to a dispute with a family) but they do 3 tiers - so school 6k then top up 'pots' for up to 6 k more, applied for annually by school, or child can have EHCP.

imip Wed 16-Jan-19 18:35:47

Yes, I think you need to push for an ehcp - either by yourself or school - so that an EP can properly assess him. Not sure what his underlying needs are, but it sounds as though he’d clearly qualify. You’ll probably need to fight for it and Ipsea or SOSSEN will be your best resource (and mumsnet for further sign posting !).

KisstheTeapot14 Wed 16-Jan-19 18:39:33

He has diagnosis of dyspraxia/DCD and LA EP is writing report on various elements to do with reading and memory etc. Thanks imip.

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