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Case Study: Harry Mortimer's Referral for Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP)


In September 2021, Harry’s teachers at The Superb Academy School for Boys referred him to the Independent Child and Educational Psychology Service Ltd. because they would like to gather up-to date evidence to support their application for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and a special school placement.

Harry Mortimer was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to the UK when he was 2 years old, and he currently lives with his family in an area in London where there has been an increase in gang-related activity. Harry’s stepfather left school when he was 16 years of age, and he is now a high-flying computer programmer. Harry’s Jamaican mother was educated in a special school for most of her school career, and she is now a stay-at-home mum. Harry has two older siblings who are both doing well at university.

Harry attended 5 pre-schools before he started the local primary school when he was 4 years old, in his Reception Year. Although Harry was not a popular little boy, he tried hard to make friends. Harry was quite late talking and now he speaks very fast, and he sometimes has a slight stammer, especially if he is anxious about anything. The family communicate using Jamaican patois and English at home.

At primary school, Harry struggled with tasks requiring fine motor skills -such as holding a pen to write, and it took him a long time to learn how to use a knife and fork. In fact, he still prefers to use a spoon and sometimes his fingers! Although Harry’s primary school teachers would moan about his messy work and chastise him for bumping into things, they always wrote off his difficulties as being due to English being an additional language, and because he was an immature and pampered little boy. On the last day of primary school Harry’s class teacher signed Harry’s book with “try not to fall over too much at secondary school!”. It seems his immaturity, clumsiness and impulsivity had become a bit of a running joke.

Harry has continued to experience similar difficulties at his secondary school – The Superb Academy School for Boys. His teachers have noticed that although he is much taller than his peers and appears older than he is, he still struggles with fasteners on his school bags and buttons on his school shirt. He also finds it hard to cut in a straight line and use a glue stick, and he has never been able to master using a compass or a protractor. Some of Harry’s teachers have mentioned that his joint handwriting is rather untidy and poorly presented. Harry really loves sport, but he has to work a lot harder than his classmates, and even then, he is never chosen to be in the first team. It took Harry quite a long time to learn how to ride a bike, and although he has mastered scootering, he still struggles with balance and coordination, and knowing when to stop. The other day he scootered into the wall. He seems to lack forethought.

In July 2021, Harry was assessed by the school’s educational psychologist (Dr Galton). After 2 hours of testing and having analysed Harry’s test behaviour and performance, Dr Galton (an ardent supporter of the eugenics movement) surmised that Harry’s educationally subnormal behaviour and his very low psychometric tests scores, were associated with his familial background. Indeed, Dr Galton said Harry gave up trying his best because he was an “unruly adolescent”, who had unfortunately inherited unhelpful learning and behavioural traits. Dr Galton advised that Harry should be educated in a special school, or at least be put into lower sets for all curriculum subjects. Although Harry was in the top stream for Art, Geography and Spanish, and the middle sets for English and Maths, his teachers have avidly followed Dr Galton’s expert advice. Since receiving Dr Galton’s report, Harry’s teachers have noticed that he does not apply maths patterns, and that when he uses a calculator, he enters the wrong figures, and he also misreads the answers. They have also noticed that Harry has trouble understanding the meaning of what he has read, and that he no longer puts his hand up in class to answer questions or ask for help. As well, Harry stammering has worsened, and his punctuality and attendance has waned. Saliently, Harry’s teachers are very concerned about Harry’s poor behaviour – “he is on the verge of being excluded”. When Harry’s teachers asked him about his “poor behaviour”,

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