I have a teenage son diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome on the SEN register for SEMH since primary school, recently diagnosed with tonic-clonic type Epilepsy. I have applied for an EHC needs assessment but the LA has refused to assess. The refusal letter claims "that his medical condition can be set out with a healthcare plan. School should seek the advice of health professionals to draw up a health care plan setting out what school need to do to support his health needs." I have appealed the decision and have a tribunal date. Please can you advise me on evidence or information I can show how epilepsy and maybe other needs can impact his learning needs?
He was assessed by an independent Educational Psychologist (EP) last year. The report stated he has issues with auditory working memory, processing speed, mental capacity and attention difficulties, and distractibility difficulties. I submitted the EP report with my request for an EHC needs assessment but this was ignored.
The legal test for an EHC needs assessment is set out in section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014. The LA must carry out an EHC needs assessment if it is of the opinion that:
“(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 what you will need to evidence at the hearing; that your child meets the legal test. You can submit different types of evidence including:
- Professional assessments and reports
- Evidence from school, including school reports, copies of emails, home-school diary, examples of school work etc. You can also submit a Subject Access Request to the school to obtain the child’s school records which can be useful evidence.
- Information about the school (from the school’s website, for example)
- Written evidence from people who have worked with the child
- A statement from the child (via a third party if necessary)
- SEN Support Plans or IEPs
- Paperwork from annual reviews
- Video or audio evidence
- Information from voluntary groups relating to the particular difficulty/disability concerned, e.g. is there evidence to show that tonic-clonic seizures tend to cause specific issues in school? You can also reference relevant research and findings, extracts from books or magazines etc.
There is a Refusal to Assess pack available on the IPSEA website which talks through the process of Refusal to Assess appeals here: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=6d16d572-c844-4da5-bb66-79d23ccb3d14