How to write a parental contribution for the EHCP

8th July 2022

You are the expert on your child. You know more about the child than anyone else, even if they do have a lot of letters after their name!

The ‘Parental Contribution’ is your opportunity to provide your views about your child and how their needs affect them and the wider family. in an essential part of the EHCP process. Your knowledge helps to ensure that the right support is put in place. Identifying the special education needs of your child is paramount.

In this article, we will guide you through a typical ‘Our Story’ form, helping you to provide as much information as possible about your child’s needs, strengths, difficulties, and background. Different Local authorities have different versions of the form.

You do not have to complete Section A.

Where Are Your Views Used?

In Section A of the EHCP. Section A can not be appealed to the Tribunal. The Local Authority does not normally get too excited about what is in Section A. They will, however, get excited if you describe their staff as idiots, fools or incompetent etc. Keep it professional.

It is tempting to wax lyrical about what the child can do well. Given the huge effort that you have had to go through to get this far, that is entirely understandable. However, this process should be focused on what they can not do – their special educational needs.

How Long Should the Parental Contribution Be?

Local Authorities can not require the parental contribution to be a particular size. A submission which is the same size as “War and Peace” does not help anyone. What is helpful is a focused submission that accurately describes the child. To help you highlight the key points and include all of the relevant aspects that you feel the LA needs to know about, we have developed a framework which may give you some ideas for your child.

It’s best to use a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs instead of writing the section by hand.

Tips for Creating the Contribution

Most of the information you submit as the parents or carer will come from personal experience, but don’t forget that your child has other relationships. Friends, relatives, and previous carers – all have insight and views that can benefit your child’s special educational needs assessment.

Framework for your Contribution

1. Key Points

  • What are the key educational needs of your child
  • How can your child’s needs be met
  • What are their primary social needs

2. Family Life

  • Who are your family members and who lives in the same household
  • Do the other family members have SEN or their own individual needs?
  • Which family members have regular contact with your child
  • Who helps to care for your child
  • How do your child’s needs affect the family as a whole
  • Are there any events or instances where your child might have been impacted by a family event

3. Early Years

  • Pregnancy
  • Birth
  • Behaviour as a baby and toddler
  • When you felt something wasn’t right
  • Significant events
  • Help and advice you received and acted upon
  • Behaviour in early years education setting (nursery/pre-school)
  • Major life changes (loss of a loved one, house move etc)

4. Current & Progress

  • What are your child’s skills and strengths
  • What is your child struggling with or finding difficult
  • What you think your child’s special educational needs are
  • How is your child progressing at school
  • What are their speaking, listening, maths and reading skills like?
  • How well is your child keeping up with their classmates
  • Your child’s speaking and listening skills
  • Is your child curious and interested in things
  • Does your child like to take part in activities at school and at home
  • What sort of questions do they ask
  • Is your child self-aware of their challenges
  • How do you feel as a parent or carer
  • Do you worry about what may happen to your child when they’re at school

5. Friends & Relationships

  • Does your child have other friendships
  • Do they get invited to school friend’s parties
  • When team activities happen, how does your child respond
  • How is your child around other adults, such as family friends
  • Does your child bond well with their siblings
  • Are you bonding well with your child
  • Do they cooperate well and respond to requests
  • How are your child’s moods
  • What’s going well with friends and what’s going badly

5. Mental & Physical Health

  • General health – illnesses or disabilities
  • Physical skills and performance – walking, motor skills, writing
  • How well does your child eat, sleep, play
  • Does your child dress themselves and go to the toilet unaided
  • How does your child rank between independent and dependent
  • Is your child aware of the danger they pose to themselves, others, or any danger they may be in
  • Is your child empathetic and understanding
  • Does your child understand cause and effect
  • What are your overall views about your child’s health

Formulating Your Views into Words

You maybe have just written a thousand or more words answering all of those questions. Now, it’s time to cut it down and be as succinct as possible. First, cut out all of the parts that weren’t relevant to your child. Now, prioritise what’s left in order of importance to you.

Remember, our ideas are just a framework or a guideline that we think is effective, but it’s not the only model. You may find another way to share your views, and that’s great too. Some parents have included photos too.

We need to see what the child’s SENs are from your perspective. Not an hour-by-hour history of their life!

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