How to Write a Parental Contribution

The new Children Act 2014 recognises:

  • You know your child better than anyone else.
  • You have valuable information that the Local Authority needs in order for them to make a good decision about your child’s education.

As part of the Education Health and Care (EHC) assessment process the Local Authority will send you a form to complete. The form is sent once the local authority have agreed to start the assessment process, and is called 'Our views for the EHC Needs assessment'. There is a link to the form below:

docOur views for the EHC Needs assessment

This parental contribution will be considered along with the evidence the Local Authority receives from the school and other relevant professionals involved with your child or young person, to enable them to make a decision as to whether to issue an EHC plan and the content of the plan.

Although the local authority send out this 'Our views' form you can provide your views for the assessment in any format that suits you.

If the assessment is part of a transfer from a Statement to an EHC plan you can contact us at Portsmouth Independent Support on 0330 6600 925 and we can support you in writing your contribution in a variety of ways:

  • Telephone support and advice on your contribution
  • Email support and reviewing/commenting on your contribution
  • Meet with you in person to discuss and help you prepare your contribution.

If the assessment is for a new plan i.e. not replacing a Statement you can contact the Portsmouth SEND Information Advice and Support Service on 0300 303 2000 who can support you in writing your contribution in the same ways.

 

Tips on writing an effective contribution

  1. This is an important document. It is your chance to share your views of your child or young person and his/her needs and your aspirations for their future.
  2. Think carefully about what you are going to say about your child.
  3. Include whatever information is necessary to demonstrate the areas of your child’s needs.
  4. Talk to your partner, friends, relatives – anyone who knows your child and might have some useful suggestions.
  5. When thoughts come to mind, make a written note, if possible. It may be helpful to use post-it notes.
  6. It’s important to be as detailed, and as concise as possible- try not to repeat information. 
  7. If you have a lot of information, using headings, bullet points and summarising key points can be helpful.
  8. It may help to write your views out in draft to begin with before completing the form.
  9. Your contribution can be typed or handwritten. You can continue on additional sheets of paper if needed.
  10. Wherever possible, use evidence from professionals to support your position. You can do this by using an appendix system and including a photocopy of the professionals report with your contribution avoid sending originals.( Although these reports will also be included in the assessment information.)
  11. Be honest. As a parent you will want to celebrate your child’s successes and it is important to include these. However, it is equally important to include all the areas of difficulty.After all if no one knows about these, how can your child receive the right support?

Child or Young Persons views

The new EHC plan is very much focused on the child/young person being heard and their views are very important and should be taken into account. When a decision has been made to go ahead with the needs assessment your child will be asked to fill in a 'This is me' form, either the younger or older version. Links to these documents are below:

This is me - younger version or This is me - older version 

You may also wish to comment on your child's view of their difficulties and how they would like to be helped, when filling in your contribution on the 'Our views for the EHC Needs assessment'.

Advice for completing the 'Our Views for the EHC Needs Assessment' form:

The form is clearly laid out with 6 areas for you to fill in with your information about your child.  Below is a list of the headings of each section. We have added some questions and prompts to the sort of things that may be relevant under each section. These prompts are to help get you started and do not cover every aspect, so you may have other points you wish to add that are specific to your child.

Our child's early years (up until starting pre-school)

(Below are some examples of the sorts of questions that you may want to consider in this section.)

Were there any issues during pregnancy and/or at birth?

What was your child like as a baby?

Were you happy about progress at the time?

Were there any changes that affected your child?

When did you first notice a problem/something different?

What advice or help did you receive - from whom?

What is your child like now in preschool/ school / college? What is going well? What needs to change?

(Below are some examples of the sorts of questions that you may want to consider in this section.) 

What is your child good at/ most interested in? (e.g. tactile play, being outdoors/ inside, not getting messy, books, making things, jigsaws, numbers, words,etc)

What are your child's relationships like with other children, teachers and other adults at school?

How much progress has your child made with reading, writing, number, other subjects and activities at school?

How has the school helped / not helped and which help has worked or not worked ? 

How does your child learn best and how much is remembered? (e.g. repetitive tasks, instruction, visual cues, talking, doing or being shown)

How willing is your child to take part in learning activities?

What does your child find easy or difficult? (e.g. lessons, playtime, changing class, school transfer)

Are your child’s difficulties getting worse?

What help do you think your child needs? 

What is your child like now at home? What is going well? What needs to change?

(Below are some examples of the sorts of questions that you may want to consider in this section.)

What does your child enjoy doing at home? (e.g. watching TV, reading, hobbies, favourite toys and activities, playing alone or with others, belonging to clubs, sporting activities)

How independent is your child at home? (e.g. dressing, feeding, toileting, washing, keeping room tidy, day to day routine, pocket money, responsibility for their own possessions, going out or attending clubs on their own)

When is your child most vulnerable and at risk? (e.g. awareness of danger, running off, strangers, traffic, personal safety, being alone)

How would you describe your child's mood at home? (e.g. mostly happy/ sad,  good/ bad, sulking, temper tantrums, affectionate, anxious, aggressive, frustrated - use examples to highlight your answer)

What makes your child most anxious? (e.g. change in routine, new environments, new people, noises, animals, being in the car, crowds, Christmas, difficulty at school, homework, feeling different from peers/siblings)

How does your child communicate? (e.g. single words, phrases, sentences, gestures, noises, smiles, eye contact explains/describes events, conveys messages, joins in, listens, understands and responds to others)

How does your child show feelings? (e.g. talking, hugging, writing, touching, being quiet, tantrums, shouting, breaking things, being physically aggressive)

How would you describe your child's behaviour at home? (e.g. do they co-operate, concentrate, share, listen to and carry out requests, help in the house, offer help, fit in with family routine and ‘rules’)

What causes the most stress in your family? (e.g. changes in routine, illness, sleep patterns)

Who (or what) supports you and your family?(e.g. family, friends, health visitor)

Describe a typical weekday.

Describe a typical weekend day or school holiday day.

Our views on friendships and relationships now (at pre-school, school or college and home) -What is going well? What needs to change?

(Below are some examples of the sorts of questions that you may want to consider in this section.)

Does your child have strong bonds with you as a parent, what sort of things do you like to do together?

Does your child have strong bonds with others in your family? (eg. siblings, aunts, uncles, step relations, grandparents, cousins)

Does your child have friendships and relationships outside the home? (eg. adults at school, neighbours, outside agencies, clubs and groups)

Does your child have relationships with other children? (e.g. mixes well or prefers to stay on own/observe)

Are there any examples of interactions you have noticed? (e.g. sharing, talking, imaginative play, types of games, length of time spent together, playing apart, any anxieties caused by playing with others)

Our views on current health and well being- What is going well? What needs to change?

(Below are some examples of the sorts of questions that you may want to consider in this section.)

What are your main concerns about your child's health?

Does your child have any specific diagnoses?

Has your child had any serious illnesses or accidents or periods in hospital?

Has your child had absences from school or minor illnesses? 

Does your child require any regular medicine, treatment or special diet or have any allergies?

Does your child sleep well? What is their sleep pattern? How is it affected by changes or disruption?

How is your child's appetite? Do they eat well/ eat a variety foods/ have a reaction to certain foods?

How is your child's general fitness?

How are your child's physical skills such as walking, running, climbing, riding a bike, playing ball games, drawing, building bricks, doing jigsaws, using scissors and cutlery?

Does your child's health condition or medication affect their development, learning or behaviour? Are there any tasks your child is unable to do or finds difficult for periods of time?

Have you made adaptions to your home because of your child’s health needs? Changes may include rails, ramps, grab handles, stair gates, specialised toilet equipment, specialist bed.

Our hopes and aspirations for the future

(Below are some examples of the sorts of questions that you may want to consider in this section.)

Should your child go on to have an EHC plan drawn up, these hopes and aspirations will form the basis of the support your child will have put in place.

Assuming that your child’s needs are recognised and suitable provision is made, what do you hope for in their future?

What changes do you hope to see in your child's education, health and care, as appropriate, over varying timescales e.g. the next term, the next year and beyond?

What plans do you and your child have for key changes in their life, such as changing schools, moving from children’s to adult care and/or from paediatric services to adult health, or moving on from further education to adulthood?

What are the child or young person's aspirations and goals for their future, including aspirations for further education, paid employment, independent living and community participation?

What plans do you and your child have for preparing for their transition into adulthood?

What are your fears for the future if your child’s needs are not recognised and suitable provision is not made? 

Finally

Once completed, give your contribution to someone who knows your child well and ask them if they feel it is an accurate representation of your child.

Remember – it is your contribution so make sure you are happy with it.

 

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