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I get consultations like this all the time for our ERS, and it usually says either in the letter or the Section K advice or EHCP which school parents favour. Consultations in my LA will usually go out to 3 schools, one of which is often totally inappropriate but geographically local. I always speak to the current setting and often make a refusal based on: efficient use of funds (if I needed more I would also say so: special schools do this routinely, using their funding categories to assess appropriate funding for need)/compatible with education of others; profile of the school (sheer number of ehcps in year group etc). I use the LA refusal to acknowledge PDA as a diagnosis sometimes, saying we cannot access training for dealing with demand avoidant traits described in ehcp as LA doesn’t believe in PDA, so cannot meet needs – and finally I often say the pupil would be at risk of exclusion in our setting. This is *not* because we don’t want to take SEN children – we have 34% SEN and 52% PP across school partly, because other local schools push all their SEN kids our way (sadly they don’t send any of their 6k’s to us….) – but because the LA view us as a ‘dumping ground’ for any SEN child they haven’t made sufficient provision in our local area for (there’s no KS1 or 2 special provision at all, except 2 local ERS classes which are officially specifically for autism but in reality “any need above that mainstream can realistically cope with”, and there’s nothing for semh, PDA – etc which we are not set up, resourced, or funded for!) recently we checked and 75% of pupils in our ERS dint meet the criteria it was set up for – they’re 1 or 2 categories of need higher! But we still only get band 4.
If they cannot place pupil elsewhere, they can “direct” you to take him. I would use his EHCP outcomes, and argue against each why you cannot meet need. Good luck!