How can I get the most out of my plan?
The Family Services Co-ordinator at the local authority will issue a draft EHC plan using the evidence gathered from the needs assessment and the information given in the family views form.
The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:
"The local authority must send the draft EHC plan to the child’s parent or to the young person and give them at least 15 days to give views and make representations on the content. During this period, the local authority must make its officers available for a meeting with the child’s parent or the young person on request if they wish to discuss the content of the draft EHC plan" (9.77)
Working with the Family Services Co-ordinator
Whilst the plan is in draft form, you will have 15 days to suggest any changes you would like to be considered and you can request to meet with them.
This gives you an opportunity to meet with the Family Services Co-ordinator (and any other professionals you would like to invite), to discuss the draft plan and explain any changes you would like to make.
Ahead of the meeting spend some time going over the plan in detail, it can be helpful to prepare notes about any questions you have or the changes you would like to request.
Check the plan includes all needs, and the provision required to meet them
All identified special educational needs must be specified, and the EHC plan should also include arrangements for setting and monitoring shorter term targets towards outcomes.
When reading through the draft plan there are some things you can think about to get the best possible final plan:
- Check that all the identified special educational needs are included in section B of the plan. Cross-reference with the specialist advice/reports (educational psychology, occupational/speech & language therapist etc)
- Check health and social care needs have been identified and included.
- Outcomes should be SMART, read more below
- Check that each identified ‘need’ (sections B, C, and D) has a corresponding ‘provision’ (sections F, G H1 & H2).
- Provision in section F should contain anything which 'educates' or 'trains', for example this might include occupational or speech & language therapies, or travel training.
- Provision must be detailed, specific and quantified within in an EHC plan. Watch out for vague wording such as 'opportunities for', 'access to' or 'as required'.
- From Year 9 onwards, provision to support preparation for adulthood and independent living should be included
- For a young person, have the local authority made provision across five days (as outlined in the SEND Code Of Practice, 8.39 -9.42)
- Read the IPSEA EHC plan checklist for more detailed advice about what a plan should contain.
An EHC plan should be clear to parents, young people, and schools/providers what it is expected will be achieved with the provision, and who has to do what, when, and how often.
What if the information from a private assessment I submitted has not been included?
Find out why by contacting your Family Services Co-ordinator at the local authority, the report may have been overlooked. If the local authority disagree with the assessment findings or diagnosis report, it’s really important to understand their point of view as this will help you to get your views across and prepare your questions and concerns.
Share the reasons why you took the step to getting a private assessment/diagnosis and explain the importance of including the information in the plan. For example consider:
- Does it go into more detail about your child's needs or the provision required to meet them?;
- Were the assessments carried out different to others?;
- Was the assessor a particular specialist?;
- What are their credentials?; (i.e. the professional body they are a member of);
- Can the outcome/s in the plan be achieved without the recommendations in the private report?
If following discussion you are still in disagreement about the needs or provision in an EHC plan, you will have the right to mediation and appeal when the local authority send you the finalised plan.
Outcomes should be 'SMART'
Specific - The outcome should state exactly what is to be achieved within the timeframe
Measurable - It is clear how you will know when the outcome has been achieved
Achievable - The outcome should be challenging but not impossible to achieve within the timeframe.
Relevant - The outcome reflects the needs and aspirations of the child or young person
Time-bound - There should be a date by which it is expected the outcome will be achieved.
Once the local authority have received your response to the draft, they may issue further drafts to you for approval and will ask you which setting is your preferred choice to be named.