Common problem 2

Therapies not specified or quantified.


'My son is 8 years old.  After years of struggling in mainstream, he has been issued with an EHC plan.  We have asked for him to be placed in a special school as we were told he would get better provision including smaller classes and therapy input.  


The Local Authority has agreed to name the special school we have requested they have refused to quantify or specify the amount of Speech and Language therapy or Occupational therapy provision because they say that the provision is 'embedded in the special school'.  What can we do?'


You can appeal


When the final EHC plan is issued the Local Authority must give you a right of appeal, which must be contained in the 'Decision' letter which will have come with your son's EHC plan.   In which case, this will be an appeal against contents of your son's final EHC plan, namely Section B (Special Educational Provision) and Section F (Special Educational Provision).  


Remember:  there is a deadline of two months to submit an appeal to SENDIST which goes from the date on the letter from the Local Authority which came with the final EHC plan.  


Read your son's EHC plan carefully.  Look at the reports written by the Speech and Language therapist and Occupational therapist to see the description of your son's needs as well as the recommendations for the provision.


In the vast  majority of cases, Speech and Language therapy is recognised to be a special educational provision as the ability to communicate is vital to learning.   Look at how the Speech and Language therapist has described your son's communication needs - is this reflected in Section B of your son's EHC plan?  If a Speech and Language therapist is required to review, monitor and revise his Speech and Language programmes, then clearly direct input is going to be required.


Similarly, with Occupational therapy, you will need to show that Occupational therapy is a special educational need (Section B) which requires special educational provision (Section F).  For example, it may be that your child has difficulty with fine motor skills which affects their hand writing.  They will need to write to complete class work (and home work), which you can argue makes Occupational therapy a special educational need requiring special educational provision.


Contact the special school and find out exactly how Speech and Language therapy and Occupational therapy is provided at the school - how often and how much.  In some Special Schools pupils will only receive direct therapy input if it is specified under Section F of their EHC plan.


If the reports written by the Speech and Language therapist and Occupational therapy do not recommend specific input (i.e. they are a bit vague) write or email the therapists and ask them to provide you with a clear idea of exactly what provision your child will require to access the curriculum.  


For more information about obtaining evidence for your appeal, see here.


For more information about appeals, see Appeals.