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ECHP rejected again due to lack of evidence.

12 replies

summ3rs · 08/04/2021 08:40

Hello. My 5 year olds ECHP has been rejected (again). We started this process when he was 3 (way before Covid).
It was turned down last year just before he started school due to lack of evidence from the nursery (and a useless speech therapist who didn’t bother to write up a report we were waiting for).
We applied again as he started school with a very experienced Senco. It’s been rejected again due to lack of evidence on his one plan. From what I gather, some of the evidence missing is from agencies that he hasn’t been able to access such as Speech and Lang because there has been no sessions for over a year so of course we don’t have recent observations from them.
I’ve got a way forward meeting and I’ve requested to know how the panel have realistically adjusted their expectations given the fact we are in a damn pandemic!!
My son has been failed over and over. First referral at 18 months for speech. He’s had just 4 speech sessions in 3 years. He’s been on the ADOS waiting list for over 2 and a half years and still not been seen. He’s been rejected OT (despite sensory needs being so extreme, MRI scans have shown I’ve slipped a disc twice now where he’s thrown himself at me!) He struggles with communication and has struggled with various health issues since birth. I’m tired of the fight.
I was wondering if anyone had any useful points I could make during this way forward meeting. Thanks for reading. Xx

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Ellie56 · 08/04/2021 10:38

@summ3rs

So just to be clear - are you saying an EHC Needs assessment has been carried out and the LA have now refused to issue a plan or the LA have refused to carry out an EHC Needs assessment?

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summ3rs · 08/04/2021 11:25

They have refused to carry out a plan.

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summ3rs · 08/04/2021 11:26

Hold on, just reread letter. They have refused to carry out an EHC needs assessment. X

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10brokengreenbottles · 08/04/2021 12:11

Did you appeal last time?

Appeal the refusal to assess. The vast majority of appeals are upheld. Don't bother with mediation, just get the certificate and submit to SENDIST, if the LA are going to concede they will do so whether you actively participate in mediation or not.

The threshold for a needs assessment is a) has or may have SEN, and b) may need SEN provision to be made via an EHCP. You don't need a SALT or OT report as evidence in order to secure, they will be part of a needs assessment.

Unfortunately, in many CCGs sensory OT isn't available on the NHS. Although if you get an EHCP it can be included in there.

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summ3rs · 08/04/2021 12:36

We didn’t appeal last time. We were badly misled and told to go for IPRA (I think it was called that) so he’d have something in place when he started school. We were told it was a better option as much easier to get. So we did that and it was rejected. We were then too late to appeal as out of timescale.

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summ3rs · 08/04/2021 12:37

Is the mediation the way forward meeting? Sorry, I get confused with it all? X

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10brokengreenbottles · 08/04/2021 13:39

I remember, I posted on your thread last year advising you to appeal the refusal to assess rather than focusing on the IPRA. The same advice applies now, focus on appealing the refusal to assess.

A way forward meeting is usually informal. Mediation is a formal process - the LAs decision letter should contain contact details for the mediation service.

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Ellie56 · 08/04/2021 14:03

So they have refused to carry out an EHC Needs assessment. As 10brokengreenbottles says don't bother with mediation (our solicitor advised us not to bother too).A lot of LAs use mediation as a delaying tactic, and then parents still end up having to appeal, only several weeks further down the line, which is not in your child's best interests.

The requirement is only to consider mediation, not to actually participate in it, although you will need a mediation certificate to register the appeal.

Just ring up the number on the refusal letter the LA sent you and ask them to issue the certificate.

IPSEA has complied a Refusal to Assess pack here:

www.ipsea.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=b006465c-2b25-4e28-839b-6417bfbb2da0

No idea what a "Way Forward " meeting is, but it won't be an official mediation meeting. I suspect it's just a means of distracting you and fobbing you off (aka another delaying tactic). Hmm

I would cut through the crap and just tell them you will be appealing as it is clear your child may have special educational needs (communication difficulties extreme sensory needs , and anything else that is a problem eg poor social skills , delayed development etc) and that it may be necessary for SEN provision to be made via an EHCP. ( they can't possibly know whether or not he needs a plan until his needs have been investigated by professionals who will advise on the support and provision he needs).

This test is set out in the law (Section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014). This is the only criteria that should be considered.

LAs sometimes fob parents off with "LA policy" - policies of not carrying out assessments until children are X number of years behind/school has spent £6000 /school have done this that and the other etc. These policies are all unlawful as LA policy does not trump the law.

Some LAs have a policy (again unlawful) of refusing all requests for EHCNAs until the parents appeal and then they back down.Hopefully yours will too.


Is it possible you could qualify for Legal Aid? Information here:

www.ipsea.org.uk/where-can-i-get-help-with-making-an-appeal

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10brokengreenbottles · 08/04/2021 15:20

a means of distracting you and fobbing you off

Isn't it just! Sadly all too often it works - touted as "the way we do things here." Hmm Parents get their hopes up that they will be listened to, there will be more support and in some LAs promised a review after a term (which conveniently will always be after the deadline to appeal).

This is Brent's explanation. I know of a couple of others who also use Way Forward Meetings.

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Ellie56 · 08/04/2021 19:20

@10brokengreenbottles

Wow that link you posted is something . What an utter load of meaningless bollocks. I don't think I have ever read anything so blatantly and cynically designed to delay and prevaricate. Angry

1.Call from SEND Team

  1. Letter from SEND Team -1 week later
  2. Further telephone call - (probably another week later)
  3. Meeting arranged to basically talk bollocks (6 weeks later)

5.Another meeting arranged to review the bollocks you talked about at the previous meeting (a whole TERM later so about 13 weeks)

So 4-5 months of nonsense going on during which the timeframe for appealing the original decision disappears.

Way Forward indeed.Way to Fanny Around more like.

Funny there is no mention of WF meetings in the Code of Practice.

The sad thing is so many parents will be blindsided into trusting the LA as they are totally unaware that what's really happening is their attention is being diverted away from appealing, the only legal procedure that is likely to get them what they want, and what their child needs, and they are being well and truly shafted in the process. It's absolutely disgraceful. Angry
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ArianaDumbledore · 21/04/2021 14:58

Definitely appeal. If it's Essex (OnePlan) they are always the LA that rejects the most EHCNA in the list Special Needs Jungle release every year.

They are also now rejecting EHCNA saying all children are behind due to the Covid pandemic!

They nearly always concede once appeal is lodged.

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Nith · 23/04/2021 08:24

I get the impression that the whole purpose of Way Forward meetings is to try to persuade the parent not to appeal. People I know who have been to them say that they get a load of promises about what the school can do, but when they ask what happens if the promises aren't kept, it all get incredibly vague.

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