Provision for SEN Inclusion Funding in cross-county border situation

I could write war and peace on this so apologies in advance!

I have a two year old son who has Down Syndrome. Attends an amazing mainstream nursery full time who are fully supportive of him. Now he is two he is due to move to the next room, but his complex needs and lack of mobility means he needs additional support, and the staffing ratios in the room will not allow for them to give him almost 1:1 care, which he gets now (more by chance). We live in Hampshire, nursery is in Berkshire. We are right on the Hampshire/Berkshire/Surrey border so it's a fairly local nursery, my daughter attends the primary school it's attached to.

We have been trying to access Inclusion Funding since the day he started nursery and over a year later we still have none and are in a horrible gap. We have tried talking to Hampshire and Berkshire local authorities with each saying the other is responsible for the provision. My sons therapists (Physio, OT, Teacher of the Deaf, portage) are Hampshire based and cannot really go into the school to support as it's in a different county. We cannot access the Berkshire versions of these in school as we don't live in Berkshire. Can you see where i'm going with this?!

We requested an EHC assessment from Hampshire due to the lack of any support we are receiving and this has been declined on the basis that he is well known to Hampshire Children's Services and they feel his therapies are adequate for his needs and we adopt a wait and see approach. Well, this wait and see approach is meaning he cannot proceed in his development! We are waiting on mediation although Hampshire SENDIAS have said to cancel this and go straight to tribunal given our background.

I feel we are getting more confusion the more we investigate. Hampshire told us that there was definitely a reciprocal agreement in place with Berkshire to access Inclusion Funding, yet Berkshire deny this.

I have called Hampshire Social Services twice to beg for a disability social worker to support us in this (as well as some other things) and to call a Team Around The Child Meeting as i feel getting everybody in the room together would be the best thing. However despite me, as a parent, sobbing and begging for support i was told we don't fit the criteria (my son is considered 'age appropriate' and must have a lifelong disability - er, he has Down Syndrome?!) and to Google parent support in our area. Considering a formal complaint to them but mentally i've had to take a break.

I want my son to progress in nursery, to be able to move in the nursery with his peers, which is what is recommended for children with Down Syndrome (and i have this documented from a professional). However without the funding, we can't do this and I am fearful that the nursery, as amazing as they are, will not be able to support his needs.

Any advice on where to progress from here?!

Charlotte Wayman

Charlotte Wayman
23 Apr 2024

Answer Now

A: SenseCheck

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  • 24 Apr 2024
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    Can't answer yes or no.:

    Ms. Wayman,

    It appears you're grappling with a  challenging situation.

    I can see you've delved into the circumstances surrounding your son's education, but might it be advisable to pursue another application for an EHC needs assessment?

    You can find more information about the assessment procedure here:

    05.01 Are there any particular rules about when an LA has to undertake statutory assessment of a child or young person’s SEN?

    Here's a summary of the of the above taken from a recent case: R (W) v Hertfordshire County Council [2023] EWHC 3138 (Admin)  - paragraph 3- which I think is helpful:

    Before making any decision, the local authority is required to consult with the parents, as outlined in section 36(4). Consequently, upon receiving a request, the local authority must consider whether the child "may" have special educational needs. This threshold is quite low and will be met if there's any realistic possibility that, following an assessment, the child may require special educational provision, as established in R v Bristol CC v Penfold [1998] COD 210, (1998) 1 CCL Rep 315.


    The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 detail the procedures for responding to requests pertaining to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. These regulations can be found here:




    Should your attempt not yield success, as has been suggested, it would be prudent to contemplate appealing to the FtT to prompt a reconsideration of the decision by them. It seems plausible that you may possess sufficient evidence to indicate your son’s  potential requirement for an EHCP.

    I acknowledge the rejection of your application for an EHC needs assessment. If less than two months have elapsed since that decision, you have the option to appeal against the refusal.

    To address your concerns about the challenges of collaboration between two local authorities, it's crucial to understand that the legal framework surrounding Education, Health, and Care plans (EHCPs) allows for such cooperation and provides a structured process for handling such issues. This highlights the importance of taking swift action in this regard.

    In terms of achieving a quicker interim solution, the main obstacles seem to arise from a reluctance to engage in a manner that meets your son's specific educational needs. As I lack sufficient local knowledge of the relevant local authorities, I can only suggest that you continue your evidence-based advocacy efforts. I eagerly await any input others may have on this matter.

    I trust this guidance proves helpful. If it is, please press the thumbs up button. 

    Sean Kennedy.


    Sean Kennedy

    Sean Kennedy
    Talem Law