St Paul’s Nursery “Enhanced Resource Provision” – calling a spade a spade?
If you have a nursery-age child with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (‘SEND’) in York, you may well be interested in the Enhanced Resource Provision (‘ERP’) places offered by St Paul’s Nursery York.
St Paul’s Nursery is a maintained nursery (funded by CYC as well as privately). They proudly offer parents of SEND children in York the possibility of a place for their child with them under which they provide 1:3 staffing ratios and other benefits.
But is St Paul’s calling a spade a spade? Is their ERP really that ‘enhanced’? Moreover, is this what your child really needs and is it what they are lawfully entitled to by way of support and provision within a nursery setting?
We have heard from concerned parents of SEND children in York who believe St Pauls’ ERP is being marketed as equivalent to or better than their child would be entitled to if they had an EHCP, and that it is being used by CYC to justify improperly denying SEND children their right to request a statutory needs assessments (the procedure leading to the issuing of an EHCP), or to refuse to fund EHCPs for children who are eligible for them.
If you are considering applying to send your SEND child to St Paul’s ERP or already have a child on the ERP and would like advice on whether and how to request a statutory needs assessment or help with negotiating an EHCP to ensure adequate provision for your child (which may well go far beyond what is being offered by St Pauls’ ERP), please get in touch using our Request a Call Back form.
REASONABLE ENDEAVOURS, OR UNREASONABLE EXCUSES?
The Coronavirus Act 2020 reduces the obligation on Local Authorities from 'absolute' to one of 'reasonable endeavours' to meet the provision set out in Education Health & Care Plans ('EHCPs').
The 'statutory purpose' of this is essentially to ensure Local Authorities impacted by the lockdown and other measures introduced by the Act are able to manage their resources effectively. It follows that if existing resources that have been put in place for your SEND child pursuant to an EHCP are not affected by the Act, they cannot use the 'reasonable endeavours' excuse to avoid providing it. That does not, however, mean they won't try! Stories of Local Authorities using the Coronavirus Act 2020 to improperly deny some of the most vulnerable members of our society their places at school or the support they should receive whilst there are appallingly widespread.
So, for example, if your child has an EHCP and receives a Personal Budget which is being used to fund specified provision such as one-to-one support for your child, and the educational setting is still receiving the Personal Budget payments and still has the staff member employed and available to provide that one-to-one, then they must still provide that support. They cannot use Personal Budget payments to cover unrelated expenses and overheads or direct the staff member employed for your child to cover unrelated staff absences, for instance.
Sadly, we have heard from parents of SEND children in York of CYC and educational settings unlawfully misusing SEND childrens' Personal Budget payments and misdirecting the staff employed with that money to cover temporary staff payrolls and similar. This does not appear to be isolated or exceptional and may amount to a systemic abuse of powers granted by the Act.
If your child has had EHCP provision denied by CYC in reliance on the Coronavirus Act 2020 or otherwise, we may be able to help you challenge that.
Please get in touch using our Request a Call Back form to see if we can help you.