Monday, 10 May 2021

A Childs Worth

How do you justify a child’s worth?

This shouldn’t be a question but it’s one that is made every day by professionals up and down the country.

We’ve been trying to get Will an EHCP (Educational Health Care plan) for the last 6 months.

We’ve wanted to place him back into school and leave Home Ed behind.

Will has discussed the want to go into school which is a massive deal considering he was a school refuser for 5 years.

I’m also at that point where I feel I can’t contribute to his education. I am a Primary School teacher with a KS1 specialism, not a KS3. The most I’ve taught up to is year 6. I don’t, in all honesty, feel like I can provide him with the education that he needs. This means we need to find William a school place however, his multiple additional needs are preventing a smooth transition.

Will is diagnosed with ASD, Sensory Processing disorder, Cognitive Processing disorder, Hypermobility, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and undiagnosed behavioural issues.  In addition, he is educationally and emotionally placed around 8 years and 4 months when in reality he’s 12 years and 1 month old.

It’s been advised by specialists that he needs up to an hour a day of concentrated literacy, numeracy, social skills and have access to sensory circuits. He would also need extra time in completing activities due to his cognitive difficulties as well as needing someone to be a scribe for him whilst the school teach him to touch type to relieve pressures of writing.

The problem comes down to home education where Will doesn’t exist in "the system."

We don’t regret the decision to home educate. We’ve been told by both a Paediatrician and an Educational Psychologist that this was the best decision for him. The school system would have taken around 4 years to see and diagnose him and that could potentially have set him back further than he currently is let alone the emotional difficulties he was having.

But it feels as though we are being punished by the very system that we left.

Without existence in a school we can’t justify his SEN  actually affects his education. We would need to prove that William’s needs exceed the £6,000 allocated per child, per year.

Every child is measured under this cost. Schools should cover most general SEN under that banner by doing set groups in individual lessons, Teaching Assistant supporting pupils and additional lunch and break support. So in this example, Will’s ASD, Sensory needs, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia should be covered within the costing.

However, with more complex children, they tend to exceed that amount and therefore need a plan in place that warrants extra funding to support said child.

We, therefore, need to prove that without him being in school. However, this fundamentally comes down to being in a school setting to prove this. We can’t say he exceeds the cost until he actually exceeds the cost. The Local Authority suggest that we put Will into school, without a plan, without support and watch him fail and struggle to prove he needs it.

Why would any parent do that to their child?

Most schools on finding out about Will have suggested he needs a plan before he goes in. Both to cover his wellbeing and protect his peers and staff from not covering support appropriately.

However, schools, if they have a free place, are not allowed to turn down a child’s placement. That doesn’t mean they would have to give it to Will on a first come first serve basis. They could, in theory, drag admissions out and pass the place to another child.

The LA state that they understand this and that we should withhold information until the place is granted and then pass everything on about his needs.

So, we’re left in this catch 22 situation with no basis of support for Will.

As of last week we are fighting through an Appeal to get the LA and their  EHCP panel to reconsider him for a plan. The original application was denied, Mediation failed despite new evidence provided and without proof that he exceeds the amount it will be tricky.

His mum is prepared to discuss extending his Home Ed, helping me out so I can balance my health better and see if we can make it work. Although I appreciate that, I’m just not sure it’s the best option for him.

I just hope the appeal goes well and we can get a plan in place. I worry greatly that without one we won’t be able to prove and justify his SEN financial worth against the standard amount allotted without significant harm mentally to Will by making him go into school without one.



No comments:

Post a Comment