A Statement of Special Educational Needs SEN/EHCP

  • Wales

    From September 2014, English Local Authorities will no longer issue new Statements of Special Educational Needs SEN. They are replaced by the Education and Health Care Plan ( EHCP ) . The procedure to obtain one however, will be similar to that which applied up to now. For those who already hold a statement in England, their local authorities shall arrange for the documents to transition to become an EHCP unless this is no longer necessary. The EHCP shall continue until the young person turns 25, unless they attend at University or join full time employment.

    Welsh Local Authorities shall continue to produce statements of SEN, until the Welsh Law changes. This is not anticipated until at least 2017.

    However the proposals issued by the Welsh Government will, if implemented change the terminology from special educational needs to additional learning needs.

    The Law in relation to Statements – Still applicable in Wales

    A statement of Special Educational Needs is a legal document drafted from the information obtained in the course of a Statutory Assessment. It should set out the needs of the child, how those needs are to be met and how provision is to be delivered. It is divided into six parts with Appendices attached. PART 1 Contains the basic details of the child-name, address. Telephone number, details of parents and any religious affiliation. PART 2 Contains details of the child’s specific SEN, i.e. the learning difficulties a child has. This section should record all of a child’s diffiulties in detail. Cognitive ability should be recorded, literacy levels at the time of the assessment and emotional or behavioural difficulties should also be set out. Speech and Language difficulties and Occupational Therapy difficuiltes (eg: running problems- gross motor skills) are NOT a health need and are SEN as they impact on a child’s learning. PART 3 Contains details of the special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of that child. This also includes the objectives of the special educational provision and the monitoring arrangements made within the school. It should not be vague and therefore phrases such as “access to” and “opportunities for” should be avoided at all costs. They do not guarantee that support will be given to a child. For example, if a child is to have three hours speech and language therapy each week, the Statement should state who is going to be giving the speech and language therapy (hopefully a therapist), when the speech and language therapy will be delivered, where it will be delivered. If a learning support assistant gives speech and language therapy reinforcement through a programme, the Statement should include details of when the support assistant will have direct access to the speech and language therapist for training and feedback etc. It is helpful when considering a child's provision to ask the questions:

    • WHO will be giving the provision?
    • WHAT the provision will be?
    • WHEN it will be and for how long? and
    • WHERE it will be?

    PART 4 This will state the school or type of school or other institution in which the special educational needs will be met. This can be an independent private school, a non LEA maintained special school or even a residential school. PART 5 Sets out any non-educational needs the child may have such as medical needs. PART 6 Sets out details of any non-educational provision. APPENDICES They should include all the reports and information obtained as part of the statutory Assessment:

    • Parents (Appendix A)
    • School (Appendix B)
    • Medical evidence (Appendix C)
    • LEA educational psychologist (Appendix D)
    • Other (eg Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist)

    Proposed Statement of Special Educational Needs?

    After receiving a proposed statement of Special Educational Needs a parent is able to make representations to the local authority regarding any changes that they consider are necessary. For example a local authority may have only recorded that a child should have “access to 5 hours of Teaching Assistant Support per week” however parents can write to their local authority and insist on at lease “15 hours of Teaching Assistant support provided on an individual basis. In addition the Teaching Assistant should be trained and experienced in teaching dyslexic pupils.” Parents are not restricted regarding what they ask for however obviously the local authority will only agree to the requested provision if the evidence reveals a need for such support. The proposed statement stage is also the appropriate opportunity for a parent to express a preference as to where they would like their child to attend. This preference can be for an independent school.

    Why is a statement of SEN necessary?

    Without a statement, children do not have the same legal rights or guarantees. A local authority are obliged to comply with the terms of a statement of SEN, to include making the provision and paying for the school named (Section 324(5) Education Act 1996). If a local authority fails to comply they can be taken to court (see Judicial Review below). Without a statement a parent can only challenge a local authority’s or school’s support arrangements through a formal complaint. Such a complaint is of course made to the very body being complained about.

    The Welsh Government have recently published the Additional Learning Needs Bill. This Bill proposes that all statements be replaced by Individual Education Plans. It will however no longer be a requirement to prove that a plan is necessary, as the existence of additional needs is sufficient to justify a plan. Schools as opposed to Local Authorities will be generally responsible to devise, monitor and update the plan as well as exercise responsibility in respect of its maintenance.

    The Bill has recently been the subject of consultation – The consultation deadline has now passed – it expired on 18th December 2015.

    Why use an SEN Legal Expert Solcitor

    The answer to this question is simple. We have over 20 years of experience and can help you find the right solution and achieve the right result. There are very few solicitor firms in England and Wales that can match this level of experience in this specialist subject. The task of navigating through the education law maze can be difficult – and to secure the right result you should seek advice from a team which understand not only disability law, but the practical problems also. A specialist legal team that can assist also in helping secure the support from not only the education departments, but also Social Care departments, a team that in the event of your needing to bring a judicial review, can offer legal aid assistance to enable you to do so,

  • England

    A Statement of Special Educational Needs SEN is now replaced by an Education and Health Care Plan, EHCP.

    Seek advice from a specialist SEN Special Educational Needs Solicitor

    The intention behind this new Education, Health and Care Plan is to produce a document which sets out, on a holistic basis, a child or young person’s health, education and social care needs and the provision required to meet those needs.

    How should the EHCP be drafted – An SEN Specialist Solicitor has the answer

    The educational provision set out in a Plan is directly enforceable against a local authority. Schools also have a duty to engage their best endeavors to ensure that the educational element of the Plan is delivered. Note that this element of a Plan is the only element that can be appealed to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.

    The phrase ‘educational provision’ is not easily defined. It can encompass the teaching of life skills as well as more traditional, classroom-based learning. It might also constitute provision which is required to remedy any health condition which might significantly impact on a child’s education; an example would be a child who suffers from epilepsy and absences and, as such, needs the opportunity to be provided with additional support to cover the gaps in their learning.

    Although the format of an EHC Plan will differ between Local Authorities, any Plan must cover education, health and social care. It must be separated into the following sections:

    1. The views, interests and aspirations of the young person or the child and their parents.
    2. The child or young person’s SEN.
    3. The outcomes sought for the child or young person, including outcomes for adult life where appropriate.
    4. The special educational provision required by the child or young person.
    5. Any health or social care provision reasonably required as a result of the learning difficulties and disabilities which lead to a child or young person’s SEN.
    6. The name and type of the school/nursery school/post-16 institution where the child/young person attends.
    7. If there is a personal budget, the details of the awarded amount and the outcomes to which it is intended to contribute.
    8. The advice and information gathered during the assessment.

    The provision specified in the educational element of the Plan should not be vague and therefore phrases such as “access to” and “opportunities for” should be avoided at all costs – they do not guarantee that support will be given to a child. For example, if a child is to have three hours speech and language therapy each week, the Plan should state who is going to be delivery that therapy, when it will be delivered and where it will be delivered. If a learning support assistant gives speech and language therapy reinforcement through a programme, the Plan should include details of when the support assistant will have direct access to the speech and language therapist for training and feedback etc.

    Consequently, it is helpful, when considering a child’s provision, to ask the following questions:

    WHO will be giving the provision?

    WHAT the provision will be?

    WHEN it will be and for how long?

    and

    WHERE it will be?

    Why use an SEN Legal Expert Solcitor

    The answer to this question is simple. We have over 20 years of experience and can help you find the right solution and achieve the right result. There are very few solicitor firms in England and Wales that can match this level of experience in this specialist subject. The task of navigating through the education law maze can be difficult – and to secure the right result you should seek advice from a team which understand not only disability law, but the practical problems also. A specialist legal team that can assist also in helping secure the support from not only the education departments, but also Social Care departments, a team that in the event of your needing to bring a judicial review, can offer legal aid assistance to enable you to do so,

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