May 13, 2021
I have found our county to have a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to EHCP's. Firstly local policy states criteria for assessment way over the legal threshold and despite the LGO telling them to bring it in line with the law it remains in place. This however, is easily circumnavigated by a parental request that reminds them of the law and the LGO's comments. Sadly schools and Sendcos believe or have had training by the LA to the local policy and will often tell parents they cant or wont get an EHCP because of the LA's criteria. I don't think they are alone in doing this! Once the process started we had on the whole good clear communication about dates and when things would happen. Delays and hiccups were dealt with promptly by the caseworker and the timelines stuck to. I have escalted my concerns through the area manager and service manager and found things have been dealt with promptly although I do feel they should have been dealt with properly in the 1st place. I had refusal to issue which was overturned by a challenge to the LA before we got to mediation but I did have to understand the law to be able to point out where they had deviated from it! Both EHCP's are now under appeal for content and 1 for placement. The LA reports are not specified or quantified and therefore neither is the EHCP. The ugly bit. I have felt manipulated by LA staff only telling half a story to try to get me to cancel my appeal. By promises that they will now specify and quantify the EHCP and there is no need to appeal! There has been a significant amount of mis information which I fortunately knew to be incorrect and challenged successfully but I worry for those not in a position to challenge whether they have been denied the correct support due to this mis information. When you add this battle into the overall picture of 3 yr waits for autism assessment, 2 years for CAMHS for ADHD, the lack of awareness in mainstream schools about neurodivergent presentations that do not tick old style ideas, the lack of specialist schools, social care parent blaming and the cuts to so many support services and the send journey is seriously tough. The honest truth as a family we have suffered trauma at the hands of those supposed to support us. We have moved from a good stable income to living on benefits due to the impacts on parental mental health and wellbeing caused by the lack of support and the fight. My children have suffered negative mental health impacts and missed out on many years of an appropriate education. We are now getting some good support but we have already been fighting this system for 5 years and it is still far from correct.