Template Letters: Complaining when the LA / School is not using reasonable endeavours to secure special educational provision in an EHCP during the COVID-19 pandemic

Please note that you can send your letter via the Online Portal or to be.heard@surreycc.gov.uk.

For more information about ways to submit your complaint, please see the Children’s social care, education and SEND complaints page on the Surrey County Council website.

Template Letter:

Template Letter For a Child / Young person WITH an EHCP: complaining when the LA is not using reasonable endeavours to secure special educational provision in an EHCP during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important that you tell the LA as soon as possible when provision is not being made.
All of the parts of this letter in bold will need to be changed or deleted so that they are relevant to your situation.
___________________________________________________________________
[Your address and contact details]

Director of Children’s Services [or other title if different]
[Name of Local Authority]
[Address of LA]
[If you know the email address of the Director also send by email and add here:]
And by email to: [insert email address]

[Date]

For the attention of [insert name of the Director of Children’s Services]

Dear [Name],

[Child or young person’s name], DoB [date of birth]: Complaint regarding failure to use reasonable endeavours to secure provision specified in an EHC plan

I am writing as the parent of the above [insert child/young person’s name], who has an education health and care (“EHC”) plan and [usually] attends [name of school or college].

I understand that the Secretary of State for Education temporarily amended your absolute duty to “secure” special educational provision in an EHC plan (section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014) to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty on 1 May 2020.

You are currently required to do what you reasonably can to make the provision specified in [child/young person’s name]’s EHC plan.

You are in breach of this legal duty, on the grounds that you have not used reasonable endeavours to make the following provision:

[Insert details of the provision set out in the EHC plan which is not being made; how long this has been happening; any reasons given by the school/college as to why it is not being made; and any alternative ways that it could be made temporarily.]

The Department for Education’s guidance Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) endorses your continuing duties under section 19 Children and Families Act 2014. It explicitly states that you should consider the needs, views and specific circumstances of the child or young person, as well as the views of their parents in deciding the provision to be secured.

You do not appear to have considered that:
[Insert details of:

• the child/young person’s specific circumstances which support the need for the provision you are seeking to be made;
• any risk to their health, wellbeing or safety if they do not receive a particular provision;
• any indicators that the child/young person’s needs have increased;
• any period for which the child/young person has been out of school/college;
• any need for them to return to school/college and if they have complex needs anything relevant from their risk assessment or any failure to conduct a risk assessment;
• and any reference to when you have raised concerns with the LA about its failure to do what it can to make provision before]

Bearing in mind the injustice to [child/young person’s name] that your breach of the above duty will cause, it is not appropriate to apply the usual complaints process timescales. Therefore, please reply to this letter as soon as possible, and in any event by [insert date (5 working days from sending)], confirming the reasonable steps that you will take to ensure that the special educational provision in [child or young person’s name]’s EHC plan or appropriate temporary provision will, in fact, be made.
I look forward to an early reply and trust that it will not be necessary to take this matter further.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]
[Or if on behalf of a young person:]
[Your name] on behalf of [name of young person]

FOR A CHILD / Young person WITHOUT an EHCP – Complaining when the school is not using their best endeavours to secure special educational provision for a child with SEN during the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID-19 Model letter B

It is important that you tell the school as soon as possible that you are unhappy with the provision being made.

All of the parts of this letter in bold will need to be changed or deleted so that they are relevant to your situation.
___________________________________________________________________

[Your address and contact details]

Chair of Governors [or other title if different]
[Name of educational setting]
[Address of educational setting]
[If you know the email address also send by email and add here:]
And by email to: [insert email address]

[Date]

For the attention of [insert name of the Chair of Governors]

Dear [Name],

[Child or young person’s name], DoB [date of birth]: Complaint regarding failure to use best endeavours to secure SEN Support

I am writing as the parent of the above [insert child/young person’s name], who has special educational needs (“SEN”) and [usually] attends [name of school or college].

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, [nurseries / schools / colleges] remain obliged to use their “best endeavours” to support children and young people with SEN (section 66 Children and Families Act 2014).

[OPTION A: For children or young people currently attending their setting:]

You are in breach of this legal duty, on the grounds that:
• [Describe the support that the child or young person should be getting, and explain that this is not happening. Outline any reasons given by the nursery/school/college as to why this support is not being provided.]
While I understand that the current situation means provision cannot always be made exactly as it was previously, I believe that it would be possible for the [nursery / school / college] to provide the following support:
• [Explain how you believe the support required could be made.]

[OPTION B: For children or young people not currently attending their setting, where you want them to be able to return:]
I believe [child/young person’s name] should be allowed to return to [nursery / school / college] because [give reasons –because they are a vulnerable child, because you are a key worker, or because they are in one of the year groups which have been asked to return].

[OPTION C: For children or young people not currently attending their setting, where you want greater support to be provided at home:]
I believe the support currently being offered at home is insufficient to meet [child/young person’s name]’s needs because:
• [Give your reasons, detailing the support which is needed, and outlining any reasons given by the school/college as to why this is not being made.]
While I understand that the current situation means provision cannot always be made exactly as it was previously, I believe that it would be possible for the [nursery / school / college] to provide the following support:
• [Explain how you believe the support required could be made.]

Bearing in mind the injustice to [child/young person’s name] that your breach of the above duty will cause, it is not appropriate to apply the usual complaints process timescales. Therefore, please reply to this letter as soon as possible, and in any event by [insert date (5 working days from sending)], confirming the steps that you will take to ensure that the special educational provision required by [child or young person’s name] will, in fact, be made.

I look forward to an early reply and trust that it will not be necessary to take this matter further.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]
[Or if on behalf of a young person:]
[Your name] on behalf of [name of young person]