Signposting - Special educational needs - NEWS! Changes to transfer to Education, Health and Care Plans timescale


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Section: Signposting

Subsection: Signposting - Special educational needs

NEWS! Changes to transfer to Education, Health and Care Plans timescale

On 10 July 2015, in his speech to the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, minister Edward Timpson announced new arrangements which apply to transitions from statements and learning disability assessments to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for children and young people with SEND. The minister has written to all directors of children’s services and LA lead members about the changes (a copy of the letter can be found below).

For transfer reviews, starting from 1 September 2015, LAs will have 20 weeks to transfer individual SEN statements to EHC plans (that is, to issue a final EHC plan). This change is being made to recognise the demands on LAs of transferring a significant volume of SEN statements, while maintaining the quality of the process for individual families and enabling proper time to consider individual needs, outcomes and provision.

The guidance on Transitional Arrangements will be amended to reflect the change and the Department for Education (DfE) will provide details as quickly as they can.

The timescale for transferring a Learning Difficulty Assessment to an EHC plan is not being changed. Transfers for those with Learning Difficulty Assessments are treated as new assessments. Therefore, the timescales are the same as for new assessments and the maximum time within which a final EHC plan must be issued is 20 weeks from the date a young person requests an EHC needs assessment.

The DfE will clarify this in the revised Transitional Arrangements guidance.

Letter from Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children and Families

Using existing assessment advice and information for EHC needs assessments

The Department for Education have had enquiries about the requirements for seeking advice for EHC needs assessments, prompted in many cases by concerns about meeting the statutory timescales for transfer reviews.

Deciding on when existing assessment ‘advice and information’ is ‘sufficient’ for an EHC needs assessment depends on the individual circumstances of the child or young person. The SEN and Disability Regulations 2014 require three people to agree that existing assessment ‘advice and information’ is ‘sufficient’ for an EHC needs assessment:

  • the local authority;
  • the parent or young person; and
  • the professional that gave the advice.

Unless all three agree existing advice is sufficient, new advice and information must be sought.

In deciding whether existing ‘advice and information’ is ‘sufficient’ it’s likely that the following will be considered:

  • how recently advice and information was provided;
  • whether and how far the child or young person’s needs have changed since it was given; and
  • whether it is sufficiently focused on the outcomes sought for the child or young person.

The DfE advise that it’s a good idea for some consideration to be given to the sufficiency of existing advice before a transfer review is started and formal notice given to the parent or young person of an EHC needs assessment, or when the formal notice is given, if more than the minimum 2 weeks’ notice is given.