These guidelines build on an earlier publication, "Guidelines on individual education plans for pupils with emotional and behavioural problems", published by Hampshire County Council in November 1998. A number of key themes have prompted this second edition:
Circular 10/99: social inclusion: pupil support
This guidance, issued by the DfEE in July 1999, identifies groups of pupils who are at particular risk of social exclusion and suggests ways of handling disaffection. It also introduces the framework of the Pastoral Support Programme (PSP). This is closely related to Individual Education Plans (IEPs). In fact, both share the same problem-solving focus of assessment informing intervention. The process outlined in Circular 10/99 is the same as that for developing and monitoring IEPs, as set out in the Code of Practice (1994). Circular 10/99 states:
"A PSP should not be used to replace the special educational needs assessment process. Rather than set up a PSP for pupils with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), schools should ensure that IEPs for pupils at serious risk of exclusion or disaffection reflect appropriate strategies to meet their additional needs."
These guidelines suggest that the process of assessment and action-planning for an IEP is the same as that for a PSP.
The previous guidelines issued by Hampshire County Council focused almost exclusively on a framework to guide teachers' thinking about emotional and behavioural difficulties. This publication places increased emphasis on the need to work in partnership with parents, pupils and other agencies in the assessment and intervention process. The name given to the forum for achieving such partnership - perhaps using IEP review meetings, PSP meetings, or Family Group Conferences - is less important than the existence of such partnership.
One of the challenges of partnership is to ensure that a range of different perspectives is offered and respected. There is currently increasing recognition that the understanding of emotional and behavioural difficulties must reflect the interactions between home, community and school. Another challenge is to ensure that agreed actions, arising out of this understanding, are implemented.
These guidelines advocate very strongly for a multi-agency teamapproach to the assessment process, and the action planning that comes from that. Circular 10/99 suggests that this process should be co-ordinated by a named or key person:
"A nominated staff member should oversee the PSP."
Many schools in Hampshire are now developing the Behaviour Coordinator role to manage these processes.