I have just received my daughters draft EHCP. I have read it and am a bit worried that it is not totally accurate. For example, they have stated the type of school setting she needs under 'non-education health needs'. Should this not be under 'education'? This is just one example of the comments I have noticed which I have flagged up as not quite right.
My main question to you though is, what exactly needs to be in the report, specific words etc. if I want to secure a "special" school for my daughter? I am worried that my current EHCP is not specific enough and a bit vague.
SEN Reg 13 states that the parent or young person must be given at least 15 days in which to give views and make representations about the content of a draft plan. You also have the right to request a meeting to discuss the content of the draft EHC plan (Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2015 9.77).
I am not sure how the LA could have named a type of setting when they issued the draft EHC plan. Within section 38(5) of the Children and Families Act 2014 it makes it clear that when a draft EHC plan is sent to parents or the young person it must not name a school or other institution or specify a type of school or other institution. Why? Because the EHC plan, especially the provision must reflect the needs of your daughter from the assessment advice gathered during the statutory process.
Furthermore, you’ve identified your daughter’s EHC plan is vague. When the LA writes an EHC plan, they must by law ‘specify’ the help your daughter must receive. This means describing it in enough detail so that you and your daughter, among others, can clearly tell what must be delivered, how often, how long for and who by. The duty on an LA to specify is ‘statutory’ as it is required by section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
IPSEA provides an EHC plan checklist you can obtain it from here:
This checklist will help you to identify each and every need for provision is there, in the right section and adequately described. Delete phrases such as ‘access to’, opportunities for’, or ‘up to’ as in ‘up to X hours’. I would advise you to look through all the assessment advice (section K) attached to the plan and extract any useful advice which actually quantifies provision. If the assessment advice is vague you could contact the professional and ask them to make the amendments.
Also, if you want your daughter to attend a special school, the LA has a duty when issuing a draft plan to advise you and your daughter about where they can find information about the schools and colleges that are available for your daughter to attend (SEN Reg 13).
If you or daughter want a school or other institution which is listed in Section 38 (3) then you or daughter will be able to make a request for it under the Act.
A school or other institution is within this subsection if it is:
- a maintained school;
- a maintained nursery school;
- an Academy;
- an institution within the further education sector in England;
- a non-maintained special school;
- an institution approved by the Secretary of State under section 41
When the LA receives such a request they must consult the governing body of the school or institution and if it is in another local authority, the other local authority. The LA must secure that the EHC Plan names the school or other institution unless section 39 (4) applies.
Section 39 (4)
This subsection applies where
- the school or other institution requested is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs of the child or young person concerned, or
- the attendance of the child or young person at the requested school or other institution would be incompatible with— the provision of efficient education for others, or
- the efficient use of resources.
This means that if none of the conditions referred to in Section 39 (4) exists, the school or institution requested by you or daughter must be named in the EHC plan.