Where a parent or young person is requesting amendments to an EHC plan, they will need to provide evidence to support the changes they want to be made.

Professional reports

Key evidence about the child or young person’s SEN and the provision required to meet that SEN will usually be found in reports from professionals.

If the EHC plan under appeal has just been issued following an assessment then there will be recent reports obtained as part of the assessment. There may also be reports supplied by the parent or young person as part of the statutory assessment which the LA did not take into account.

There may be no recent reports; for example, if the appeal does not arise after assessment, or if the assessment was not carried out properly and no new reports were obtained by the LA. Alternatively, there may be recent reports but they do not support the amendments the parent or young person is seeking. If so, the parent or young person will need to look for professional evidence to support their arguments.

Useful sources of expert opinion include:

  • The health service: if the child or young person has been seen recently by a specialist or is receiving help from a health professional such as a speech and language therapist;
  • As well as evidence from the child or young person’s current school or other institution, it may be helpful to request reports from teachers at a previous school or other setting if the child or young person has recently moved;
  • Privately obtained reports from independent professionals, such as an educational psychologist, occupational therapist or speech and language therapist. The relevant professional organisation (such as the British Psychological Society for educational psychologists) publishes names of members who can provide a private assessment. If the professional specialises in the difficulties experienced by the child/young person their views will have more weight. Private reports can be very expensive, so you may wish to consider:
  • If you qualify for Legal Aid, this could cover the cost of an independent report – see the section on where to get help with an appeal for more information;
  • Voluntary organisations that specialise in a particular disability may be able to provide an assessment at a modest cost.

If there was a recent EHC needs assessment, the LA should have sought information and advice from a range of professionals, including an educational psychologist – see the section on what happens in an EHC needs assessment for more information. If the LA should have obtained an up-to-date report from a particular professional and failed to do so, you should ask them to do this. If they refuse you can ask the SEND Tribunal to order that they obtain the report needed – you can do this using the Request for Changes form (see the section on preparing the case before the hearing for more information).

Other evidence about needs and provision

As well as professional reports, the following can be useful sources of written evidence:

  • Written statements from those involved with the child or young person. This can be particularly useful if they cannot attend as a witness. For example:
  • Evidence from teachers;
  • Evidence from someone who knows the child or young person from outside school, such as a worker at a youth club or a carer;
  • Views and experiences of the parent – they will be the person who knows their child best, and what they have to say is evidence. Although the parent will be there on the day of the hearing it may be sensible to put in a witness statement explaining their perspective to ensure they get all their points across.
  • Views of the child/young person, written by themselves if they are able to do so or via a third party.
  • Home–school diaries.
  • Video/audio evidence (this should be short and to the point; video evidence more than 10 minutes long is highly unlikely to be watched in full). It would be best to contact the Tribunal to find out how to submit your evidence, and you should send with it an explanation of who made the recording and how long it is, the nature of the evidence, the identity of any witness recorded, and a statement of the facts the evidence seeks to establish.
  • Published information from voluntary groups relating to the child’s learning difficulty, or references to relevant research and findings – although beware of relying too much on secondary evidence. The best evidence is going to be primary evidence about the child/young person.
  • Reports from annual reviews.
  • Examples of the child or young person’s work over time. 

The key point is to think about the changes you want made to the EHC plan, and work out what evidence you need to show that those changes are necessary.

Evidence about the school or other institution

Where you are asking for the name of the school or institution in Section I to be changed, you should include relevant information about the school or institution you want. This should include its most recent Ofsted report, its prospectus, details of the costs of the placement, and any reports or assessments about the child or young person which the school or other institution has produced. You can refer to this evidence to support your arguments that this setting can support the child or young person’s needs.

In the case of a school which is wholly independent, you will need to include the consent of the school in order to ask the SEND Tribunal to name it in the EHC plan. See the section on choosing a school or college for more information about which schools are classed as ‘wholly independent’.

 

We recommend that you also read the section containing general advice on preparing your case before the hearing. If you can’t find the answer to your question, you can book an appointment to speak with us.