What happens if there are no school placements available?
If the EHCP is completed and each school contacted notify the LEA that they are unable to meet the child’s needs. There are a number of options available:
EOTAS stands for “Education Other Than At School” and refers to educational provision for children and young people who are unable to attend mainstream school for a variety of reasons, including emotional-based school refusal, long-term illness or exclusion.
EOTAS can provide alternative educational provision such as home-based tuition, online learning, and alternative provision centres.
EOTAS can be used to support young people with a wide range of needs, including those with special educational needs, disabilities, and emotional needs. The educational provision should be tailored to the individual’s needs, and should take into account their age, stage of development, and any additional needs they may have.
The goal of EOTAS is to provide young people with a flexible and responsive education that meets their needs, and enables them to re-engage with learning and return to education wherever possible. This may include working with other agencies such as social care, health and mental health services, to provide a comprehensive package of support.
It’s worth noting that EOTAS is not a permanent solution, but a temporary measure to help children and young people who are not able to attend school to receive an education that meets their needs.
APPEAL THE SCHOOL’S DECISION
If a school refuses to admit a child based on an EHCP, the parents have the right to appeal to the Local Authority (LA) who is responsible for maintaining the EHCP.
The first step would be to request a meeting with the school and the LA to discuss the reasons for the refusal and to try and find a solution that would be suitable for the child and the school.
If the parents are not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, they can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). The SENDIST is an independent body that hears appeals from parents and young people who are not happy with the special educational provision made for them.
It’s important to note that before appealing to the SENDIST, the parents should contact the LA and request mediation. Mediation is a process where an independent person helps the parties to reach an agreement and avoid the need for an appeal.
During the appeal process, the SENDIST will consider the evidence presented by both parties and will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. The decision of the SENDIST is legally binding and both the school and the LA must follow it.
It’s important to remember that the process of appealing can be time-consuming and stressful.