Q:

Can anyone explain how parents start the EHCP process for children below school age? There are many parents with children, who have conditions identified at birth or in their early years, that would find mainstream education challenging or impossible.

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26 Aug 2022
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  • 01 Sep 2022
  • Yes

    Simple

    Step 1 is find out more about the process. A good shout is to google "(your local council name) SENDIASS." 

    SENDIASS stands for SEND Independent Advice Support Service. They'll know the relevant teams to your area. They'll also be able to give you the contact of the local council SEND Assessment Team (who are responsible for EHCPs).

    Once you've got the SEND Assessment team's contacts, phone them, explain your situation and ask how you request "an assessment of needs" (sometimes referred to as a statutory assessment).

    If the child has a severe impairment re vision or hearing, it may be that your hospital's eye clinic / audiology dept can put you in touch with the education specialists for vision or hearing. They might also be good people to chat to.

    Beyond that, Sean Kennedy makes good points about evidence needed & getting them into a setting. I'd only add that there are a small number of children where it's so very obvious that they need specialist provision that the evidence doesn't need to be as many pages. For example, where complications at birth profoundly damaged the child's brain and have left the child with profound physical and learning difficulties for life.

    Final tip is any time you meet a professional ask "Is there any other service that you think we should have asked about." I say this as evidence (e.g. reports or visit records) can be written about children at home.

    Aaron King

    Aaron King
    9000 Lives SEND Consultancy

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  • 27 Aug 2022
  • Yes

    Simple

    s36(1) The Children and Families Act 2014 gives parents (and others) the right to make a request to the LA to secure a EHC needs assessment. In relation to children, there is no minimum age and the SEN COP (para 5.12 onwards) address the issue of SEN in early years. These resources from IPSEA can assist: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/asking-for-an-ehc-needs-assessment. Very young children can present problems in relation to providing evidence to meet the test, hence why many parents wait until their child is at nursery before making the above request. 

    Sean Kennedy

    Sean Kennedy
    Talem Law

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