Can the Local Authority change the wording of the provision in an EHCP?

Parent asks:

My daughter has recently had her statement transferred to an EHCP.  The wording of the provision used to specify " a specialist teacher visiting termly" but now it has been changed to  "a specialist teacher visiting when appropriate." Is there any case law I can use for this not to be changed? Have they broken the law or just acted underhand?

 

Helen Gifford replies

Helen answers:

What your local authority have done here takes away the legal obligation for the specialist teacher to visit every term, and means that if an unspecified person thinks getting them to visit isn't needed, no visits need be arranged. The SEN Code of Practice is very clear that provision should usually be quantified. On page 166 in section 9.69, the very first bullet point says:

Provision must be detailed and specific and should normally be quantified, for example, in terms of the type, hours and frequency of support and level of expertise.

 

So, in terms of specialist teacher time, the frequency of visits should be specified. Has the specialist teacher written recent recommendations saying how often the visits should be? If not, would be worth contacting them to ask for this.

The cases on 'statements must not be vague' and 'part 3 must specify hours' are the useful ones here for you. Whilst these cases relate to statements, the principles have carried across to EHCPs. In terms of case law, the best place to look is the IPSEA website at: www.ipsea.org.uk/what-you-need-to-know/important-case-law