Guidance on the conversion of the statements of special educational needs and learning disability assessments to education, health and care (EHC) plans for children and young people. Introduction
The purpose of this guidance is to provide information and guidance to parents /carers and young people, all settings (i.e. maintained mainstream primary, secondary and special schools, further education colleges, maintained nursery schools, academies and free schools, independent/non maintained schools and private and voluntary settings where children/young people from Brighton & Hove attend these placements) about the transitional arrangements for the conversion of children and young people with statements of special educational needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) to Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans) where they meet the necessary criteria.
The school/college has been delegated £6000 to provide support for each child/young person with special educational needs. If a child/young person requires up to the level of support to meet his/her needs fully, the local authority (LA) will issue a school based plan or a preparation for adulthood plan (depending on age). These plans will show the needs of the child/young person and the provision needed to meet these needs, but do not hold legal status.
If it is proved that the child/young person needs over and above the £6000 already delegated to the school/college to meet his/her special educational needs, then the LA will issue an EHC plan.
The information provided is based on DfE guidance (Transition to the new 0 to 25 special needs and disability system – August 2014).
All local authorities are required by the DfE to develop their own transition plans, following consultation with parents, young people and professionals. Local authorities should publish this information as part of their local offer in September 2014. This will provide parents/carers and young people with access to information about the transfer from statements to EHC plans.
Brighton & Hove LA will consider providing some detailed information on the local offer website specifically designed for parents/carers about the transition process.
This guidance sets out Brighton & Hove’s strategy for the conversion of statements and LDAs to EHC plans. The guidance also sets out a timeframe and some advice about the process of transfer from statements and LDAs to EHC plans.
From September 2014 statements of special educational needs (SEN) and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) for those young people in further education will be replaced by Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans). The authority is required to convert all young people over the age of Y 11 with an LDA to an EHC plan (if they meet the necessary criteria) by 1st September 2016.
By 1st April 2018 the local authority must have transferred all children and young people with a statement of special educational needs to an EHC plan, school based plan or preparation for adulthood plan and set out a strategy for the implementation of these arrangements in September 2014.
From 1st September 2014 it will no longer be possible to request a statutory assessment for a statement of special educational needs and no new LDAs will be provided.
It is expected that all children and young people who have a statement of special educational needs or an LDA under the current system will transfer to an EHC Plan unless they no longer meet the eligibility criteria for an EHC plan. Where this is the case, this will be discussed with parents/carers and the LA will decide whether or not to cease to maintain the statement or LDA and not convert to an EHC plan.
The transfer process will take place within a three year period (Sept 2014 to April 2018) and that no child or young person with a statement should lose their statement because of a change to the new system.
During the conversion period children and young people will continue to have the same rights and protections as currently and continue to receive the support they need.
Where an assessment has begun before 1st September 2014 the child/young person may be issued with a statement of special educational needs.
Local authorities have from 1st September 2014 until 1st April 2018 to convert all children and young people with statements of special educational needs to EHC plans. Parents/carers will be advised that children and young people who continue to have a statement of special educational needs and until the statement is converted to an EHC plan will continue to have their provision set out in their statement and the 2001 Regulations will continue to apply.
Where a young person has an LDA the LA must convert this to an EHC plan within a two year timeframe from September 2014 to July 2016 unless following discussion with parents/carers and the young person the LA considers that the criteria for an EHC plan are not met.
Where the LA proposes to cease to maintain the statement of special educational needs and LDAs the LA must notify parents/carers and young people within ten weeks of the commencement of the transfer review process. In these circumstances the LA will inform the parents/carers and young people of their rights of appeal in writing to SENDIST but also that they can consider mediation prior to registration of the appeal. The statement or LDA will not be ceased until SENDIST upholds the LA decision or an EHC Plan is secured following an order from the SEND Tribunal.
During this transitional period the local authority will:
continue to maintain the statement, where necessary
Where appropriate, parents will continue to be advised of their right of appeal under the 2001 Regulations and the SENDIST regulation will continue to apply.
The DfE has made it clear that all children and young people with SEN should benefit from the new system as soon as possible, but the change to a new system will need to happen at a pace which is achievable by the local authority and which maintains the quality of support for children and young people from the previous system.
To ensure that all parents/carers, young people and professionals are aware of the transfer process the LA is required to provide information about:
parental information about the transition arrangements and who they can complain to if the child/young person is not being transferred into the new system in accordance with Brighton & Hove LA’s plan
the DfE expects all local authorities to convert all statement to EHC plans in advance of children transferring to the next phase of education (even if they are remaining in the same establishment) and at a significant review point such as Year 9
LAs are asked to consider whether or not to convert statements of all children in Y 6 during the first year of conversion or leave those until a later phase, but must take account of parental wishes
the LA must also convert statements of all children and young people prior to transfer from a mainstream to a special school
children and young people leaving custody and who have a statement of special educational needs
The transfer proposals for Brighton & Hove
Brighton & Hove LA maintains approximately 1000 children and young people with statements of special educational needs with approximately 550 in mainstream schools, 360 in special schools and 60 attending independent/non maintained schools. In addition the LA has approximately 250 young people with LDAs.
The authority is committed to ensuring that the conversion process is undertaken in a timely manner which continues to ensure that children and young people receive the support required as set out in their statement or LDA.
The authority is committed to the process of conversion but it is mindful that there will be two systems operating at the same time, namely the increasing number of children and young people with EHC Plans and the commensurate reduction in children and young people with statements of special educational needs and LDAs.
The authority is committed to undertaking conversions of children and young people with statements where they are moving from a mainstream school to a special school or vice versa.
The authority is committed to reviewing cases where conversion were undertaken in approximately 160 cases as part of the pathfinder process as all these cases will need to be amended to comply with the DfE guidelines on EHC plans.
The following transitional arrangements are proposed for children and young people with statements and/or LDAs in Brighton & Hove.