May 19, 2015
The Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is gradually replacing the Special Educational Needs (SEN) statement, and while the basic principles remain the same, the process and the actual plan itself have changed to some degree. However, if your child has special educational needs, or cannot receive the level of educational support that they require through standard educational support given by the mainstream education system, then an EHC application, which Tayntons Solicitors can help compile and submit, will become an integral part of ensuring that your child receives the support that they need.
Application To Apply
During the early stages of the application process, the Local Authority (LA) will need to decide whether they will conduct an initial assessment. Following your application to the LA, you should hear within a couple of weeks whether or not they will be conducting that assessment.
If they say that they will conduct an initial an assessment, then you will be asked to provide evidence and the assessment will get under way. However, if you are told that your child will not be assessed, all is not necessarily lost and it is possible to appeal this decision through the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). You have a period of two months from the date of the LA’s decision to refuse in which to appeal this decision.
Some authorities may offer a degree of support, even if they decide that they will not be assessing a child for an EHC plan. While this may mean that your child will begin to receive the support that they need, the lack of an official plan means that the support could be withdrawn at virtually any time, and it is always better to have an official agreement in place in the form of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHC Plan.
Appealing this decision should not jeopardise any support that you have been offered, and at Tayntons Solicitors we can discuss what is best for you and your child, while advising you on the likelihood of being able to secure agreement for an initial assessment.
Appealing the Plan Findings
If you have received notification from the LA that your child has been assessed and a plan put in place, but you do not believe that the plan offers enough assistance, or that improper assistance has been agreed, then our solicitors can help appeal the level and type of support. This can help to ensure that your son or daughter receives enough support, or it may be possible to appeal personal budget arrangements.
If an initial assessment was undertaken, and the LA eventually determined that they would not provide an EHC plan, this can also be appealed via the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, and this is another area in which we can help prepare the appropriate paperwork and evidence to present during your appeal.
Appealing An Annual Review
One more area where an appeal is possible, is following an annual review. Every EHC plan needs to be assessed or reassessed every year to determine whether the child’s requirements and needs are the same, and whether the existing plan provides for the level of support that they need. A reduction in the support provided, or a change to the type of support offered, could mean that your child loses out and ultimately suffers in their education. By appealing, you can help ensure a continuity of support that will ensure the best possible chance of a positive education.