At Talem Law, we aim to empower and, as far as we are concerned, knowledge is power.
So, we would like to introduce our SEN/Disability followers to the first in a series of our “Monday myth busters!”
So today’s myth is….
Myth: – “Parents cannot obtain their own professional reports when requesting or advising on the contents of an Education Health and Care plan (EHCp) or when reviewing their child’s EHCp as these reports will not be independent.”
Is this true or a myth? This is of course a myth, which we have heard many Local Authorities rely upon, particularly when parents have attempted to get their own reports to challenge the provision being offered. There is no legislative provision prohibiting parents from obtaining their own reports from professionals such as Speech and Language therapists, Occupational therapists, Physiotherapist and Educational Psychologists. These therapists/experts are professionals and will not write reports based on what parents want but rather on what they identify as the child’s special educational needs and what provision they consider is required to meet those needs.
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 stress the necessity to obtain “advice and information from the child’s parent or the young person”.
It is important to remember that drafting and modifying an EHC plan is an evidential process, so don’t be afraid to obtain the necessary evidence if you need it.
It is also worth pointing out that Para 9.44 of the Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years is very clear that:
“Throughout the statutory process for EHC needs assessment and EHC plan development, local authorities must work in partnership with the child and his or her parent or the young person”
This requirement to work in partnership remains in place after the EHC plan is issued. With this in mind, local authorities need to work hard to avoid misunderstanding like the one above.