Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Special needs reform

New ways of delivering services and support to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (known as ‘SEN’) will be coming into force nationwide from September 2014.

For the first time, children and young people with complex and severe special educational needs or disabilities will have an assessment and plan that includes their health and social care needs, as well as their special educational needs. We have been trialling the new approaches in preparation for these changes.

The reforms place the child and the family at the heart of the assessment and planning of services, ensuring they are fully involved from the start.

Key changes include:

  • The introduction of a new ‘birth – 25’ education, health and care plan (EHCP) to replace statements of special educational needs and learning disability assessments

  • The introduction of optional personal budgets for some families with an EHCP to give greater independence, choice and control over the services they use.

  • A new website known as the ‘Local Offer’ gives details of all local health, education, social care, leisure services, and support for children and young people with special educational needs or who are disabled – see www.hantslocaloffer.info

We have worked closely with parents, carers and young people in Hampshire to shape these arrangements, and with our colleagues in the health services, to jointly plan and commission services and support for children and young people.

Sharon Smith, chair of Hampshire Parent/Carer Network (HPCN), said: “These are the biggest changes to the system to have taken place in the last 30 years. We have had a unique opportunity to try to influence the reforms which may be in place for the next 30 years. It will be a challenging time for both practitioners and parents as the new system beds in, but HPCN will continue working with the County Council to ensure that children, young people and their parents or carers are at the heart of planning and delivery.”