When Schools are Punished for Succeeding – The Broken EHCP System

When Schools are Punished for Succeeding – The Broken EHCP System

Over a year ago, when we first met with the headteacher of my son’s future primary school, she made some promises. Many people told me that she would not keep those promises, that schools these days care little for the provision of their SEN pupils, that I would see, in time, that her assurances were as flimsy and insubstantial as air.

They were wrong.

My son’s first year of primary school went better than any of us could possibly have hoped. Oh, there were huge challenges – mornings when he screamed on the classroom floor, staff members cajoling him to come out from hiding, times when he lashed out…. but he settled. Slowly, he began to feel at home. He made HUGE progress. He developed relationships with FRIENDS. These are things that make my heart sing with delight. These are things that I once thought may be impossible. These things are a testament to his charm, intelligence and resilience.

But without his school, these things would NOT have been possible. Without those promises being kept, these things would NOT have happened.

You may ask how I know this? I know my son. His father and I have no support network, no breaks. We do not live near any family or friends who can help us regularly with this responsibility. We are his carers and we have accommodated his needs non-stop since the moment he was born. I know how hard it is to manage his interaction with a single child, his sister. I know how two adults, who know him inside out, are routinely exhausted by the effort of keeping him safe, happy and flourishing. It is extremely difficult but it is worth it – for him.

I know the education system. In my twelve-year teaching career I taught many students with Statements and IEPs, as they were then. During the many hours of meetings, training and teaching children with additional needs, I learned how passionately we need to fight to make sure children get what they need. I know that schools do not divert extra funding from their own budget unless the pupil needs it.

My son’s headteacher promised me that she would give my son the provision he needs, for as long as she could, regardless of what the government deemed he deserved. 

Today I learned that the government do not agree with the school. They have refused to grant the extra funding desperately needed in order  for the school to continue supporting my son.

The government say my son is making academic progress with the provision he has – but my son’s school have been funding his support for 30 hours, not the 20 the government awarded. They have paid for this from their own budget. Because they kept their promise.

They say my son’s interactions with his peers are improving with the provision he has – but my son’s school paid for those 10 extra hours for a whole year to ensure this happened. I have attended clubs, discos, school trips, in my own time, with my son, to help support them in supporting him.

My son has made this progress not because of the funding government awarded, but in spite of it.

When my son was born, I promised to protect him, love him, care for him until the last moment I draw breath. When my son was diagnosed, I promised to fight for him, to support him, to do everything in my power to make sure he has the provision he needs, to help him be the best he can be.

When my son started school his headteacher promised to do everything she could to support him. She promised she would make the right plans, find the right teaching assistants, find the funding where she could, to make sure he made progress, to make sure he felt safe and happy at school.

The government promised that their “new education, health and care plans are putting the views of young people with special educational needs and disabilities and families at the heart of the process so they can help shape the support they receive.”

I kept my promise.

My son’s head teacher kept her promise.

The government have broken theirs.

When parents do everything in their power, when schools go above and beyond, when everyone who knows and cares for the child agrees… but the government decides they know better and decree that the school, the child, cannot have the help they have asked for…

How on earth are we expected to believe that this is motivated by a concern for the best interests of the child and not money?

 

 


 

 

When Schools are Punished for Succeeding - the Broken EHCP System pin

11 Comments

  1. 13th September 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Found this a devastatingly heartbreaking read, Danielle. I really hope they change their mind x

  2. Wendy Castano
    13th September 2018 / 1:22 pm

    It wrong that children across the country are not get the help they need a deserve I had the same story different city then with out that support when he needed it he declined educationally and emotionaly after 2 years of fighting and taking legal action my son is now in a special school that fully meets hi needs emotionally educationally and socially
    He’s like a totally different child

  3. 13th September 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Oh Danielle, I feel for you. I was petrified when Tink’s EHCP was being assessed, as she was making progress, but that was a result of the work school were putting in out of their own budget. I so wanted her to make progress, but not so much that they would dismiss her needs out of hand, as they do with so many children in this position every year. As they have with your son. I have everything crossed for you that the appeal goes your way first time. It’s so wrong that you’re even in this situation. The government have got it so very wrong.

  4. Nicki
    14th September 2018 / 5:40 am

    It is common. Many children with SEN needs are expected to only be SEN foe 12 hours, 16 hours 20 hours etc of course the rest of the time they don’t need extra help or support!!

  5. Sarah
    14th September 2018 / 5:25 pm

    I know where you are coming from, believe me I know. My daughter isn’t on the spectrum but has a brain injury which effects her physically rather than behaviourly but the issues we face are no different.
    Hang in there mama
    X

  6. Matt G
    15th September 2018 / 10:39 am

    Really shocking that is difficult, especially for smaller schools in areas of high need, to actually fund the “promises” that EHCPs supposedly fund. They don’t. When an EHCP promises 20hrs of support, it funds a “nominal cost” which pays essentially for 20hrs at minimum wage, less “notional AEN funding”. That means they deduct about £6k, because that money has supposedly comes from the few hundred pounds added to every child’s funding for SEN. Except that a school with little need gets this, and those with lots of SEN students gets the same. And, of course, with school funding dropping in many schools anyway, this notional funding is a joke anyway. Then you have to pay NI contributions and pension, and the local “admin” deductions, due to the system being insanely bureaucratic.. Essentially, the moment a student with full time SEN needs walks through the door, the school loses around 10k net, compared to a student without need. This is a scandal and prevents many schools being able to support students as they want to.

    • Someone's Mum
      Author
      15th September 2018 / 10:42 am

      It is an even greater reflection of our head that she kept her promise even without the funding we requested in that case. It really is a scandal.

  7. 16th September 2018 / 7:44 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! This could be written about us with my gorgeous 4yr old.
    Like yours, our school are going above and beyond to help him but I suspect that we will all end up being penalised by the EHCP system for this!

  8. Gemma
    20th September 2018 / 7:21 am

    We have had our application for an EHCP for our daughters refused twice because the school are ‘meeting her needs’ its so infuriating. You can’t win you desperately want your child to be happy and progress but it limits the help they get. So wrong.

  9. 22nd October 2018 / 10:22 am

    It is so wrong! All SEN budgets for schools should be ring-fenced. The continued cuts have a huge impact on children that need support.

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