Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) workstream
From September 2014 the new Children and Families Bill will become law. This replaces the current Statement of Special Educational Needs and Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessment with the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) running from birth to age 25 years for children with special educational needs.
The Hampshire Pathfinder is trialling the new approach for the EHCP in two age ranges in the Autumn of 2013 to help inform the new Bill:
- Age 4-11 where a statutory assessment is being requested.
- Age 13/14 (Year 9) planning the potential move in to a college setting from age 16 where a Section 139a is being prepared.
From September 2013 all families with children within the age range 4-11, in addition to the current statutory assessment process, will be offered the opportunity to participate in the trial when a request for a statutory assessment is received. Taking part in the trial will not affect the family's current statutory assessment rights, but will allow us to try out a more collaborative and integrated assessment process.
From early October 2013, those young people in year 9 to 11 who will be requiring a new Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessment to set out the provision and support required in their post 16 education setting, for example a college, will also be trialing the EHCP format.
The EHC Plan format is being finalised and links to these will be uploaded shortly. We have also developed a parent leaflet 3 MB for parent/carers considering taking part in the trial, along with a draft guide and format on how families can make their views known - this is called "Our Story" 97 kB. Children and young peoples views are also key, and a "My Story" guide and format 97 kB is also being trialed.
From January 2014 all families across Hampshire making a new request for a statutory assessment with children or young people from birth to age 25 will be offered the opportunity to take part in the trial of the EHCP.
The new EHCP will become law in September 2014, and therefore the current legislation and statutory protections will apply for families completing an EHCP trial until the revised legislation is in place.
For those with existing statements, of which there are approximately 5,000 in Hampshire, we are expecting guidance from the DfE about the process to be used from September 2014 by which these will be transferred in to the EHCP process. This will also include the Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessments. This is likely to be at annual review stage, in a phased programme over the course of a few years.
Work in Hampshire
As part of the SE7 Pathfinder Champion role we have compiled a Case Study setting out the Hampshire draft ideal EHC Plan end to end process map, including how this was developed, lessons learned and challenges. The detailed process map runs to seven sides and is best printed in A3 size.
Case study 209 kB
Questions and Answers:
Q1. My child has a statement now. I am worried we will have to go through the whole process again to obtain an EHCP.
A. You will not have to go through the process again. There will be a transition process where existing statements and Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessments move over to an EHCP. We are waiting for more information from the Government about how this will happen across the country.
Q2. How will we know what the changes are and how they will affect us?
A. By developing the Local Offer, it will be easier for you to understand and find out about services, advice and support that are available in your area. Our Local Offer is being developed with parents/carers, children and young people, and it should improve transparency and choice for families. In addition, we will be raising awareness of the Pathfinder and proposed changes later in 2013 and through 2014 via newsletters, publications and briefings.
Q3. My daughter is due to start school in September 2014 but her pre-school has no idea that changes are happening to the SEN system.
A. The promotional activities we are planning will help raise the profile and understanding of what this means for providers, as well as parents/carers, children and young people. The EHC Assessment and Plan will not come into operation until September 2014. However, during 2014 parents/carers can choose to opt for that approach if a Statutory Assessment of SEN would have been appropriate. The new EHCP is expected to cover the same groups of children and young people who would have had a Statement of SEN or a Learning Difficultly Assessment and plan for further education provision.
Q4. How will I appeal decisions if I do not think that the EHC Assessment is right for my child?
A. Appeal routes will remain the same as for the current process. It will only be possible to appeal to the first tier tribunal against the decision not to undertake an EHC needs assessment or against the SEN needs and provision specified in the EHCP. For the first time young people will also be able to appeal in their own right.
Q5. We understand that School Action and School Action Plus are being replaced. What with, and what does this mean for my child?
A. The Government is developing proposals for a single school category to replace School Action and School Action Plus. They will share these proposals in the draft SEN Code of Practice when it is published for consultation in Autumn 2013.
Q6. Is this an excuse to reduce budgets for children with additional needs/disabilities? Will the overall budget stay the same or reduce?
A. The overall budget will remain the same. The costs of some of the intended reforms, such as the Local Offer, mediation/disagreement resolution and managing Personal Budgets, will place additional pressures on existing budgets. The anticipated national public sector spending review for 2015 may also mean that the amount of money available to fund a range of services will reduce.
A Statement of Special Educational Needs outlines what your child’s special educational needs are and the help that will be given by their education placement.
A Section 139a Learning Difficulty Assessment outlines your child’s education and training needs, and the provision and support required in Post 16 college setting.