Planning for EHC plan transfers
From September 2014 the Children and Families Act 2014 became law. A key element of this is the replacement of Statements of Special Educational Needs with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
The main differences are that the EHC plan:
- is more person centred with more engagement and involvement from parents, carers, children and young people in the process
- has a more co-ordinated assessment process across education, health and care services
- is focused on outcomes to be achieved for each child or young person
- can run from birth to age 25
- applies equally to all schools including academies and free schools.
Key requirements when writing an EHC plan
Paragraph 9.61 of the SEND Code of Practice sets out the key requirements and principles which apply to local authorities and those contributing to the preparation of an EHC plan. Two key points to note are that EHC plans should be:
- clear, concise, understandable and accessible, and written so they can be understood by professionals in any local authority
- forward looking – for example, anticipating, planning and commissioning for important transition points in a child or young person’s life, including planning and preparing for their transition to adult life.
Our planning process
We are currently planning for and undertaking all the necessary assessments and consultations to ensure a smooth transition from statements to EHC plans in time for post-16 provision for our year 11 students. For each student a range of assessments and meetings needs to take place (SaLT, EP, OT, physio, social care, GP, school, etc) in time for the official transition meetings we are holding in the week beginning 24 November 2014.
We are fortunate that the local authority officer who is responsible for the Year 10 and 11 plans is based at our school and is our old Connexions advisor, which makes the planning much easier as she knows us all really well. We have asked staff to show a bit of understanding with regard to our nine statemented students being taken for additional assessments and meetings. This is essential for the transitions into adulthood in the timeframe outlined below.
The planning matrix has proven to be more complex than I had envisaged. Ensuring parents/carers and young people are not having to tell the same information to several different professionals is important, in addition to ensuring that students do not have too many assessments in a short period of time. We have, however, agreed a comprehensive plan, the timeline for which is illustrated below.
|17 Sep 2014||Initial planning meeting*|
|18 Sep–3 Nov 2014||Reports and assessments undertaken|
|7 Nov 2014||Reports to me for initial consideration|
|13 Nov 2014||I meet with LA officer re: reports|
|24–27 Nov 2014||Official EHC plan reviews take place|
|Dec 2014||EHC plans written – drafts to parents/carers|
* The initial planning meeting with all professionals and the local authority officer was essential in trying to align everyone’s work and ensure an effective process.
By my reckoning year 11 transition reviews need to take place during November. My advice from our planning and development experience is to start early. Plan the assessments and reports to minimise disruption, and also to ensure parents/carers and young people don’t have to repeat information or do too much in a short space of time. As with all new arrangements, we are doing this for the first time so things may change and what works for us may be very different in your setting. However, I hope this gives you some thoughts regarding our working and developments – more updates to follow!
- Making the transition from statements to EHC plans, guidance for SENCOs from Optimus Education
- The EHC plan, factsheet (no 5) from Irwin Mitchell solicitors