The Children and Families Bill 2014 has introduced a number of major changes, which came into effect on 1 September 2014, to the services and support available to children and young people aged 0-25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
The SEND reforms are being implemented through the SEND Workstream Management Group. This involves representatives from health, social care, education and Local Parent/Carer Forums. The implementation will be progressed and monitored through the approved governance structure.
What are the changes?
Replacing Statements of SEN with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
Special Educational Needs and Learning Disability Assessments (s139a) will be replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). The EHCP will also be extended to young people aged 0-25 years, in order to support young people into adulthood.
Guidance states that EHCPs should be issued when the local authority considers the special educational needs of the child cannot reasonably be provided for with resources normally available to mainstream early years provision, school and post 16 institutions.
As the Bill and Code of Practice currently stands children and young people with primary health or care needs will not be issued with a plan, unless these needs impact their education.
The EHCP can also include wider information about a child’s social care needs. If a child or young person has received a social care assessment under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, any support indentified must be included in the EHCP.
All existing Statement and Learning Disability Assessments will remain unchanged, but will transfer to an EHCP in two to three years.
Knowsley’s Transition Plan
Transferring Statements to EHC Plans
As a result of new legislation (Children and Families Act 2014) we will begin to transfer all children and young people who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA’s) over to an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).
The Knowsley transition plan explains how and when children and young people who live in Knowsley and who have statements will be transferred to an EHC Plan. The Government has given Local Authorities a three year period in which to do this.
As with all aspects of our work around the new legislation transition arrangements have been discussed with our partners, schools, parents/carers, health and social care colleagues.
The Children and Families Act 2014 gives the same legal protections for children and young people with an EHC Plan as Statements of Special Educational Needs currently have under the Education Act 1996. Both Acts will apply over the 3 year transition period.
We currently have 888 children and young people who live in Knowsley who have statements of SEN and over 100 young people with high needs who have Learning Difficulty Assessments.
What are the timescales and the order in which statements/learning difficulty assessments will be transferred?
We have followed Government advice that we should plan the process at a pace that is achievable, and keep the quality of support during the transfer process.
The timetable for transferring children and young people with statements to EHC Plans is set out below. We may need to adapt the timetable, and if we do, we will explain why. The timetable explains which groups of children and young people will be transferred to EHC Plans and when.
Overall, all young people who receive extra help because they have a learning difficulty assessment (LDA) and not a statement; will transfer to an EHC Plan within the next 2 academic years*. All children and young people with a statement will transfer to EHC Plans by 1st April 2018.
The priority groups for transition will primarily be those moving from one phase of education to another e.g. Nursery, Year 2, Year 6, Year 11 and 14 pupils or from one type of school to another e.g. from mainstream to special school. However there will be other vulnerable children and young people who will benefit from an earlier transfer to EHC Plans. Any parent of child with a Statement, or young person over compulsory school age with a Statement can request a Transfer Review. These requests will be considered taking into account transition priorities as set out in the plan.
In 2014/15 we aim to transfer all children and young people who are currently in Year N2, Years 2, 6, 9, 11 and 14, a total of 319 children and young people, plus any LDA conversions.
Download Knowsley Education Health and Care Plans - Transfer Timeline
*Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) will not automatically be transferred to EHC Plans. You can ask for an EHC assessment that will lead to an EHC Plan. You will only need a Plan if you get higher levels of extra help that are not normally available to other students. The Council will write to all students with LDA’s to explain the detail. A Post 16 SEN Officer is available to discuss this with you.
What is the transfer review process?
EHC Plans are produced in consultation and partnership with you as parent/carer and your son/daughter were appropriate. This is an exciting development and we will let you know when it is time your child’s statement to be transferred to an EHC Plan.
Your SEN Officer will write to you, and to your child’s school to let you know that a “transfer review” will take place. This review will replace the annual review for that academic year.
To carry out a transfer to an EHC Plan we will be undertaking a need assessment as part of this there will be a transfer review meeting. In many cases we will already have up to date advice and information, but if you, the practitioners involved with your son/daughter or we believe that there is further advice required we will seek that advice as part of the needs assessment. There will also be discussion around identifying outcomes as opposed to objectives at this meeting.
The transfer review will be a person centred meeting were those present will discuss the needs or your son or daughter, the hopes and aspirations of all of you and suggest the outcomes we want to achieve together for/with your son or daughter. Wherever possible a SEN Officer will attend the review. If this is not possible due to the number of reviews you will be offered an opportunity to meet with a Local Authority Officer during the process.
The Local Authority will use the information from the review to draft an EHC Plan which you will then have the opportunity to discuss with us before it is finalised.
To ensure that you a have the maximum amount of time to prepare for the transition review we have asked schools to arrange reviews at or around the time when your statement review would be taking place. Two weeks before this we will write to you to formally let you know that the needs assessment for your son or daughter is beginning. We will complete this assessment within 14 weeks.
You will be offered support in the process so you and your child/young person can be fully involved.
What help, information and advice are available?
Sometimes Parents/carers and young people want to seek advice independent of the Local Authority, this can be found at/from:
- Your Early Years/School/College SENCO and/or Learning Mentor and/or assessment co-ordinator.
- Knowsley Council, Special Educational Needs Team (contact details below)
Parents, carers and young people can also seek independent advice from our Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).
0800 012 9066
Knowsley SEN Service
0151 443 5137/5127/5141/5126
c/o Meadow Park School
Guidance from the Government can be found at:
Council for Disabled Children
Parents with an EHCP may have the right to a personal budget – an allocation of money to support all or some of the support outlined in their plan. Personal budgets are optional. Personal budgets can be allocated in four ways:-
- Direct payments - funding is given directly to parents and young people to spend.
- Notional budget - parents and young people do not handle any funding but can direct the local authority as to how they want the money spent.
- Held by a third party (eg a local parent group) who handles the funding on behalf of the parents.
- A combination of the above.
There are a number of circumstances where personal budgets will not be allocated. These include:-
- When local authorities are concerned that it will negatively impact on other people or will be poor value for money.
- Local authorities are required to judge if a young person or family is ‘capable’ of managing personal budgets.
- Young people or families who have been required by law to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol abuse will not be allowed to have a personal budget.
Services working together
Children and young people with SEN need well-co-ordinated and coherent support across education, health and care services to help them achieve their agreed outcomes. Local authorities and other key partners are required to link up and jointly plan services for disabled children and young people.
Birth to 25 years
The Act extends the SEN system from birth to 25 years, which will support young people into further education, employment and independent living.
Preparing for adulthood, or ‘bridge to adulthood’ as it is also called, is a common thread running throughout all elements of the Government’s reforms. There are substantial new rights and protections for young people that do not exist in the current system which will require new ways of working. In particular local authorities, education providers and their partners should work together to help children and young people achieve successful long-term outcomes, such as getting a job or going into higher education, being able to make choices about their support and where they live, and making friends and participating in society.
Every council is required to publish a detailed directory of what local support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities (SEND), called the Local Offer. The Local Offer includes information about local education, health and care services, leisure activities and support groups, making it easier to choose and access the services that may be needed. As well as Knowsley information, the Local Offer will include information on services outside of the borough.
The Local Offer will be developed in partnership with children, young people, parents and carers, and local services including schools, colleges, health and social care agencies. In Knowsley, Knowsley Parent Carers Voice have been consulted and contributed to the development of the Local Offer. Young people will also be involved in its development.
As well as finding out about services in your area, the Local Offer will include eligibility criteria, how decisions are made, who makes them and it will also encourage feedback on the services provided and how you can become involved in service planning.
The Local Offer will play a key role in enabling joint commissioning of services within education, health and social care and provide information to support parents, carers and young people who have requested a personal budget.
How to get involved in developing the Local Offer
If you are a parent / carer please contact your local Parent Carer Forum who will welcome your input and talk to you about any current opportunities. The Parent / Carer Forum in Knowsley is Knowsley Parent Carers Voice – visit email@example.com or telephone 07772 793625.
If you are a school, provider or practitioner you can help your organisation to prepare their Local Offer and involve your service users too.
If you are a child or young person you can also get involved by helping your school or colleges and other people who work with you to understand what you want to know about services and how best to tell you about what is available.
Further information on the Local Officer
Engaging parents, children and young people
Local authorities will encourage and support parents, children and young people to be involved in discussions and decisions about every aspect of their care and support, planning outcomes and agreeing services and activities to meet these outcomes. They must also take steps to ensure that parents and/or young people are actively involved in contributing to assessments, planning and reviewing Education Health and Care Plans. In addition early years providers, schools and colleges should involve parents and/or young people when drawing up the plans and policies that affect them.
The following principals have been developed in partnership with the Knowsley Parent Carers Voice to ensure this engagement happens:-
- Two members of the parents’ group will be invited to attend external meetings and events.
- Parents are invited to attend regular internal council meetings which are progressing the implementation of the SEND reforms.
- Work in partnership on the development of the Local Officer, which complies with the statutory duty (Chapter 3, clause 3:4, SEN Code of Practice).
- Engagement begins at the start and issues are dealt with at the earliest stages.
- Communication channels are in place which reach everyone.
- Contribution from parents is valued.
- Flexibility around times and meeting venues to suit the needs of parents.
- There is trust and sharing of issues between parents and the local authority.
- Professionals value and respect the collective views of parents and also understand their personal journeys without prejudice.
Local authorities must make clear how disagreements will be resolved and how complaints will be dealt with.
The contacts and links below provide useful information and resources regarding the Children and Families Act, and particularly the Special Educational Needs System.
Carol Farrell (for personal budgets and the Local Officer)
Tel: 0151 443 3847 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Hunt or Dave Allan (for birth to 25 years / bridge to adulthood)
Tel: 0151 443 2665 or email Jeremy.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
April Waterson (for Education Health and Care Plans / assessments)
Tel: 0151 443 5108 or email: email@example.com
Deb Thomas (for engagement and participation)
Tel: 0151 443 3236 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a parent carer and would like to speak to other parents about the reforms then you can contact the Knowsley Parent Carers Voice on 0151 549 1412 or email: email@example.com.
The Department of Health and Department of Education’s pathfinder website shares the learning from other areas. You can find out about progress being made across a number of geographical areas, keep up to date with the development of legislation and have access to materials which support the implementation.
The Council for Disabled Children supports families with disabled children, ensuring their needs are met, their aspirations supported and their rights respected.
A full copy of the Children and Families Bill 2013 is available on the Department For Education’s website.