An informal survey carried out by Bren Prendergast, a parent, SEND advisor and specialist teacher, found that many Local Authorities are routinely failing to carry out EHC Needs Assessments correctly. Parents’ feedback about their EHC Needs Assessments and Plans demonstrated that in too many cases:
- Local Authorities failed to obtain all the required ‘advices’ (professional reports)
- Reports were unquantified, unspecified and did not contain recommended outcomes
- There was little meaningful (or sometimes any) input from Health and Social Care
Bren concludes that the system lacks monitoring and accountability and comments that without EHC Plans that are properly specified and quantified, it is hard to see how the outcomes for children and young people with SEN will improve. She criticises the amount of money Local Authorities spend on Tribunals and recommends instead investing it in high quality advice and training for schools.
You can read Bren’s full report on the research on her blog. The previous article in the blog discusses the furore over the Tweets posted by legal firm Baker Small, which forced many local authorities to cancel their contracts with them for Tribunal representation. The ensuing media storm led Special Needs Jungle to issue a Call to Action to End the SEND Tribunal Nightmares.