Provision for Special Educational Needs
From 1 September 2014, the Children and Families Act 2014 introduced changes to the legislation affecting how children and young people’s special educational needs are met. There are new requirements for education, health and social care services to work more closely together. Alongside this, the services which are universally available to children and families will be set out in a Local Offer
The former system of issuing statements of special educational needs for children with complex or severe needs has been replaced by a new assessment process which will lead (for some children) to an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). EHCPs can be issued between the ages of 0-25. An EHCP is a legal document which will have similar statutory power to a statement of special educational needs, but it will also describe a child or young person’s health and care needs where these are significant.
At school, most children will make progress with the support of their class teacher through the school’s arrangements known as SEN School Support. All schools and academies are required to make arrangements to support children with additional needs. As of September 2014, every school has to publish a SEN Information Report, which details the school’s arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN. It must also include information about the arrangements for the admission of disabled pupils, facilities provided to assist access and the schools accessibility plan. This should be updated annually.
For the small number of children with complex/severe needs who do not make enough progress despite intervention from the school, it may be necessary for a Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment of the child’s special educational needs to be undertaken by the Statutory Assessment Service.
The Statutory Assessment Service is responsible for considering requests for statutory assessment. You can contact the Statutory Assessment Service office covering your home address using details at the end of this page.
The starting point will be to consider whether a child or young person’s special educational needs can be met through the Local Offer and the SEN resources available through the school. We expect that most children or young people will have their needs met this way, and that this will be a quicker and less bureaucratic process.
When we receive a request for a statutory assessment we will need to collect and collate a range of information about your child which might include:
- A copy of the child’s One Plan (where this is in place)
- Detailed information about the action taken, and the support already given by the school
- Information about the child’s health or medical history where relevant information about any other difficulties the child may have
- Other assessment information that is already available, such as from a specialist advisory teacher or an educational psychologist
- Views of the parent/carers and the child
- Information from other professionals involved with your child
In most cases, we do expect that much of this information will already be available as a result of good One Planning which might, for example, have been led by your child’s school. We hope that this will help to speed up the process so that parents do not have to wait too long for an answer. We expect to deal with requests for assessment within six weeks.
If an assessment goes ahead, the whole process must usually be completed within twenty weeks. Parents/carers and all involved professionals will be closely involved in drawing up EHCPs where these are needed.
Between 1 September 2014 and 1 April 2018 transfer arrangements will be in place to help manage the move to the new system. Children and young people who already have statements of special educational needs will retain their statement until a transfer process is completed. The Local Authority is writing directly to the parents of the children and young people concerned. The transfer arrangements for children and young people are in the Essex County Council Guidance on transition to the new 0 to 25 special educational needs and disability system.
SEN Transfer Review Team
The Transfer Review Team, part of the Statutory Assessment Service at Essex County Council, has a crucial role in meeting Local Authority statutory responsibilities. The team will work in close partnership with parents, schools and other education, health and social care professionals to ensure all children who currently receive support as a result of a statement of SEN are transferred to the new system in accordance with the Transfer Review process.
For further information and contact details of the SEN Transfer Review team, please visit the Essex Local Offer
Transfer Review Process Tool
Requesting an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment
To request an EHC Needs Assessment, school settings have two options;
Request forms which can be found on the Essex Local Offer
Or the EHC checklist, sent in with supporting
Both of the above ensure that the
local authority has the required information to consider if the criteria for an EHC needs assessment, as set out in the SEND Code of Practice, are
It will enable settings to
effectively demonstrate how they have used evidenced-based interventions and
resources to meet the needs of children and young people.
Settings are required to complete
the request form or checklist when making any future request for an EHC needs
An education setting must
submit a parental or young person consent
form with any request
for a statutory assessment.