This was so difficult to read this morning. Vulnerable children who are still able to attend school, include those with Education, Health and Care plans. However, the journey to obtaining an EHC plan can be frustrating. I often have parents who tell me of the obstacles they face in even securing an EHC needs assessment. The legislation does not apply any such arduous obstacles or thresholds, why are parents being told different?

If a parent, young person, educational setting or medical professional ask a local authority to carry out an EHC needs assessment, the local authority must consider:

- whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs; and

- whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan.

If the answer is yes to both points and this can be supported with evidence, the local authority must carry out an EHC needs assessment. This test is set out in legislation (section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014).

And as it relates to SEN support in schools without an EHC plan, this can be relative to each school and their available resources. How effective is the cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review? Do schools need more support with it? Through this cycle, actions are monitored and refined in line with the child’s developing needs. Teachers are responsible for this cycle. I have heard from many parents on this cycle, and, their concerns with it’s effectiveness. They do not feel that all of the child’s needs are being addressed, and, the measures put in place through this cycle are temporary tools, which do not provide a long-term solution. Some schools find themselves under immense pressure and confining budgets which can affect how the cycle is carried out.

An Education, Health and Care plan is a legally binding document which is populated by therapists, educational psychologists, teachers and medical professionals with provision tailored to the child’s needs, not just temporary tools.

These children without EHC plans cannot be allowed to fall through the gaps because of unnecessarily high thresholds and stringent criteria, which, are not in legislation.