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ECHP high school tips

Frazzle February 7, 2022 22:25

Our son has an EHCP due to difficulties with focus/concentration and behaviour. He has no formal diagnosis (FASD is possible). With lots of support, he copes fairly well in his mainstream primary school. He is in year 5 so we are looking ahead to secondary transition. There are a lot of things we think he will struggle with in secondary which haven't really come up in primary - transport, moving between lessons, homework etc. We are currently looking at redrafting his EHCP to reflect the support he is likely to need. I think that most of the legwork on this will need to come from us (and am also working on the priciple of 'if you don't ask, you don't get'!). I'd love to know any hints and tips for the sort of additional provision other children with similar needs have benefitted from. Thanks for your help.

Bluemetro February 8, 2022 19:46

In our experience there are TA s available in some lessons but not all. Also seating plans are important, for example would he best at the front, near a window etc.

Regarding moving around they may allow him to leave before others.

There may be a facility for him to go to Learning Support at the beginning of the day if he needs help with organisation. Also our son had an extra small laminated timetable to keep in his pocket.

Homework was included as difficult to do here. Schools may have homework club or allow less homework to be done. This has been ongoing with us emailing individual teachers and agreements. Homework club would not work here as breaks are important.

If he can get overwhelmed then a strategy can be agreed as to where he can go and for example a card which can be put on desk if he needs to leave.

Safia February 8, 2022 21:04

Similar to the above - though it took many years and much pain and argument to get those into place. Something else agreed was going to learning support at the end of the day to make sure / check he’d got the homework written down correctly and understood what he had to do. Ask about any specialist support services involved in the school and any possibility of further investigations to identify specific difficulties

windfalls February 9, 2022 10:10

In my experience the LA will only put extra support in place when they are forced to. So if I were you I would definitely push for formal diagnoses of any difficulties that he may have. Once you have a professional saying he has "X" and so needs "ABC" in place then the LA have no option but to do it. Without formal diagnoses they will just try and fob you off.


Simon February 10, 2022 15:18

My top tips are:

1. Choose a secondary school with good pastoral care and a large full time SENCO team (this will probably need to be a large secondary i.e. larger secondary schools often have better funding, better inclusion facilities, more specialist teachers and teaching assistants etc).

2. Immediately your son is formerly accepted at his new secondary school (usually March of year 6), contact the school SENCO team and start working with them e.g. your son can regularly visit his new school’s inclusion unit with you during the year 6 Spring/Summer term and meet key teachers; do some cooking and play games etc (in other words establish strong relationships and build confidence).

3. Establish a small team of “key” teachers (max three, but one is best) that both you and your son can build a strong relationship with and turn to in tricky moments. Ensure you have the e-mail addresses of these “key” teachers

4. Get the secondary school’s educational psychologist involved. They will be able to support your son, his teachers and you.

5. Look at your son’s "proposed" timetable. Add in lots (and lots) of nurture time (at least one period every day). If necessary strip down the timetable, have your son work "one to one" in the inclusion room etc.

6. Find out what service providers your son’s school use off site and get your son booked into one of these for at least ½ a day every week e.g. something that is nurturing and supports your son with his life skills. Equine therapy is very good, but there are many charities/organisations that support vulnerable secondary age children that struggle at school. Contact your local authority Virtual School for more details of what is available locally to you. The educational psychologist will be able to help with this too, as will the school SENCO team

7. Look at the school day. Does the day need to start later and/or finish earlier?

8. Set up a “five-minute” pass, a “toilet pass”, a “go to a safe teacher pass” and a “lunch pass” etc e.g. a five minute pass to enable your son to move from lesson to lesson five minutes early; to avoid the mayhem of nosy/crowded corridors at lesson changeover times.

9. Establish where your son will go during unsupervised times i.e. to the “safety” of the inclusion room during morning break and lunch break.

10: If homework is a problem, then tell the school this and don’t do it. They will understand, there will many other vulnerable pupils in the school who struggle with homework too.

Finally, my biggest tip of all! From the outset, establish a really strong relationship with one teacher, ideally the SENCO lead. Good communication is key between the two of you is key. Share home life (good and bad) with this teacher. Share your worries and concerns (every day if necessary). Don’t forget to thank this teacher and the school when things go right and are good.

Good luck


P.S you don't need an EHCP to achieve any of the above top tips, but if you can get an EHCP, all the better.

Leo February 10, 2022 20:46

My top tip would be to have an educational/SEN experienced solicitor look through the draft EHCP for you.

It was surprisingly cheap (around £150 I think) and they then provided me with a letter detailing all the 'missing' bits (advice from attached reports that wasn't included either at all or had been put in the wrong sections) and other areas/things they felt should be included but weren’t. It was a real eye opener to how much the LA had deliberately left out and what they tried to 'avoid' by putting it into non legally binding sections of the EHCP.

I would also say to strongly consider whether an SEN school would be more appropriate/ supportive/protective. We have found support there is given more to the (small) class as a whole so children don't feel as different. The school seems calmer and everyone is understanding of different needs ' which has really helped with self awareness and self acceptance. Just a thought...

Kazzie February 10, 2022 21:17

Sendiass were really helpful with our daughter's EHCP. The lady working with us really challenged the school SENCO and also informed our questions during reviews. We definitely got a better plan from her work.


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