Education Services

Do you have a question about SEND?

We recognise that this will be a worrying time for families of young people with additional needs and are committed to helping you with any questions or enquiries you might have about SEND.
As most Council employees are now working from home in line with Government advice, please contact us using the 'Get in touch' form on the homepage.
This will make sure that your enquiry is passed to the right person and you receive an appropriate response as quickly as possible.

The Activities section has been removed temporarily.

You can also access information via SEND - Local Offer Facebook Group

 

Updated 20th Oct

 

IASS - Service Update

You can contact the IASS Office on 01744 673428 between 9.30am and 3.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

There is also a 24-hour answer machine on the same number; please leave a message and one of the IASS team will get back to you as soon as possible. We aim to answer all calls within 24 hours.
Due to unforeseen capacity issues IASS can not take any new referrals until further notice

The Secretary of State has made some temporary changes to the law around Education, Health and Care Plans, (EHCPs) and Education, Health and Care needs Assessment. These changes apply from the 1st May 2020 and are to give local authorities and health commissioners more flexibility to respond to the demands placed on them by the coronavirus pandemic.
The DfE has published guidance on these changes, for more information: Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please note: Some aspects of the law have changed temporarily; and where this has happened, the law has been modified, not disapplied. The duties in law over EHC needs assessments and plans have not been ‘turned off’.

Broadly speaking, there are two main areas where changes may apply:

  1. How provision is arranged and delivered
  2. The timescales for assessment and review 

The SEND team are in the process of contacting all families of young people who have an EHCP to explain these changes and ensure that reasonable endeavours are being made to make provision for them. More information is below: 

Arranging and maintaining provision in EHCPs:

The impact of Coronavirus, (COVID-19) might make it more difficult for local authorities and health commissioners to maintain or arrange the provision specified in a young person’s EHCP.

For this reason, (for a time-limited period), local authorities are being asked to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to secure or arrange provision specified in EHCPS. This means that local authorities and health providers will be working together to identify what can reasonably delivered for each young person under the current circumstances. More information on how this decision will be made can be found here.

For some young people, because of the impact of coronavirus, (COVID-19) the provision offered might be different to that specified in their EHCP for a limited time.

The SEND team are currently making telephone calls to all families of young people with EHCPs to check that reasonable endeavours are being taken to deliver the provision they need.

The government guidance acknowledges that what constitute ‘reasonable endeavors’ will vary depending on the circumstances of each young person.

Temporary changes to timescales for Education, Health and Care needs assessments and plans:

There have been some temporary changes made to the rules around the timing of statutory assessments and the issuing of Education, Health and Care Plans. More information: Changes to existing Regulations 

In cases where, (because of risks relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus) a statutory deadline cannot be met, the local authority and its partners will now be expected to complete this step, ‘as soon as is practicable to do so’. 

These amended timescales are applicable to the following: 

  • the handling of requests for EHC needs assessments, decisions whether to issue plans and the preparation and issue of plans
  • annual reviews of plans
  • the processes relating to mediation
  • the processes where there is a change of local authority or health commissioning body for a plan
  • the process for a local authority reviewing for the first time the making and use of direct payments from a Personal Budget that is part of an EHC plan
  • the actions that the local authority and health commissioning body must take when the First-tier Tribunal makes non-binding recommendations in respect of certain types of health and social care matters within an EHC plan (as part of the National Trial, which continues) 

If a you are involved in one of the above processes and are likely to experience delay due to the impact of the Coronavirus, the local authority will write to inform you of this. 

More detailed advice and guidance can be found online here

How long will these changes last?

The changes relating to provision will be reviewed on 31st May 2020.

The changes relating to timescales will be reviewed on 25th September 2020.

Since the Secretary of State made the temporary changes to the law around Education, Health and Care Plans, (EHCPs) and Education, Health and Care Assessments on the 1st May, members of the SEND Team have been contacting all families where there is a young person with an EHCP by phone to discuss what these changes mean for them. For more information about how the SEND Team are contacting families click here

The SEND team can be contacted as usual for advice and support, you can also use the 'Get in touch' form on the homepage.

All School SENCOs have been contacted and reminded that annual review requirements remain in place. At the time of writing, many schools have continued to hold reviews, however, your ‘experience’ may be different to what you are used to.

Government guidance acknowledges that the review meeting may need to be briefer and held differently, (i.e. by phone, social media etc). In a few cases, (where it has been requested by families) annual reviews have taken place ‘on paper’.

Where it is impractical for a LA to complete an annual review of a plan within the prescribed timescales for a reason relating to coronavirus, then the LA must complete it as soon as reasonably practicable.

If there are likely to be delays to your annual review because of the impact of coronavirus, we will write to advise you of this.

As with all annual reviews, the local authority will carefully consider your views and wishes, so if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for your annual review then please do not hesitate to contact your SEND casework manager. If you are unsure who this is, please contact the SEND team directly and we can put you in touch:

Tel: 01744 671106
e-mail: SENDadmin@sthelens.gov.uk or use the ‘contact us’ section on the Local Offer.  

We would normally be undertaking a review of provision agreements ahead of the new academic year for children at SEN support. We recognise however that the objectives in the current agreements may no longer be appropriate and many of these pupils are not currently in school at present, and therefore not accessing the support funded through the provision agreements.

Until the position regarding pupil return is clearer, we propose to manage the system of agreements in the following way:

Current Provision Agreements

Funding for PAs will remain until the end of term. We have asked schools to complete a review with the information available as soon as possible, (if this has not already been done). This will enable the Local Authority to make decisions about the requirement for continuity of funding and for schools to maintain staffing levels, if required.

Transition

We recognise the particular challenges this year for those year groups transitioning to their next phase/setting and recognise that schools may need support in place should schools return by September. We are therefore considering requests for funding from settings for the following year groups:

  • Transition to Reception
  • Year 2
  • Year 6
  • Year 9

Requests for year 6/7 transition would normally to managed as part of the transition conversations and we would expect this to still happen so that any request for funding is assessed in new context. For some pupils, it maybe more appropriate for an application to be made at a later date once it is clear what support is needed in their new setting. We have made it clear schools will not be penalised for this.

SEND Flag

The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them.

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