Education, Health and Care plans

The way children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed has changed with effect from 1 September 2014. Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) have been replaced with a single Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan for children and young people with complex needs.  All requests for a statutory assessment from that date will result in the Local Authority deciding whether to assess a child/young person for an EHC plan. The process will take a total of 20 weeks.


An education, health and care (EHC) plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.


EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.


This section of our web site should help to explain the plan, how to request it, and how your child will transfer to a plan if they currently have a statement.
We have also provided information as to the steps you can take if you aren't happy with the decisions made about your child.

It is a person-centred plan that puts you – children, young people and families – at the very centre of the assessment and planning process, making sure that your views are heard and understood to increase your choice and control.

This new process focuses on what is important for children and young people – what they want to achieve now and in the future.

From September 2014 all St Helens children and young people who have significant special educational needs and meet specific criteria within a graduated approach, may undergo an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessment, which could lead to an EHC Plan.

The EHC Plan will replace the current Statements of SEN and Learning Disability Assessments.

Every EHC Plan is personalised to meet the needs and outcomes for each child or young person.

Who is an Education, Health and Care Plan for?

It is for children and young people who have complex and severe special educational needs and disabilities and where an assessment of education, health and social care needs has been agreed by the professionals involved with child/young person. It is available from birth to age 25.
Guidance says that EHC plans should be issued when the local authority considers the special educational needs of the child cannot be reasonably provided for within the resources available to mainstream early years provision, school and post 16 institutions. 

 Video provided by Council for Disabled Children

Video provided by Council for Disabled Children

Both the EHC Plan and statement have protection in law. The education provision set out in both the EHC Plan and the Statement has to be provided. Parents have the right of appeal to a tribunal if they are not happy with the education provision.

Transfer from statements will be phased over a three year period from 2014 onwards – this will be set out in a local transition plan to be updated annually. A transfer review will be held prior to conversion.

The differences between a statement & an EHCP
EHC Assessments and Plans Statutory Assessment and Statements
On the EHC Pathway schools are able to consider a child's or young person's needs across education, health and care. Statutory Assessment only considers the child or young person's educational needs.
Parents / Carers may have a key worker to help them. Someone in school may have a role in this support. Parents / Carers have said that the statementing process was very difficult for them and that they did not feel that they had very much support.
Young people and the family's views of the child or young person's needs and their hopes for the future are key to the process. The Keyworker will support the parents in expressing their views. Parents / Carers give their views in writng and tend not to have opportunities for face-to-face meetings unless requested.
All professionals have an input into the EHCP. They have a duty to set outcomes, state provision and success criteria for the young person. The statement is written by a council officer, parents have the right to appeal if they disagree with the content of the statement.
EHC Plans will be perosnalised. That means that all the child's or young person's individual needs in education, health and care will be considered and the plan will then be shaped to meet their personal circumstances. The statement considers educational needs and describes the provision required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your child is in a nursery, school or college setting

If you have concerns about your child’s special educational needs or disability needs ......

If you have concerns about your child’s special educational needs or disability needs, your first point of contact should be the school or setting. You may speak to the class teacher, tutor, SENCO, Head teacher or key worker. The school or setting should discuss these concerns with you and complete an assessment of your child’s needs themselves or request an assessment from another professional.

You can find the contact details for your child's Special Education Needs Co-ordinator from your child's school's detail page within this web site.

An Action plan should then be put in place and a review held with yourself and your child to see if this has helped your child to make progress. If progress has not been made or if it is very slow, the school may arrange a meeting with yourself and an SEN Casework manager to discuss whether a request should be made to the local authority for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. The SEN Casework manager can also give advice about other forms of advice and support which are available through the Local Offer.

To apply for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment  you will need to complete the following documents, which you can work alongside staff from the school or setting, or with the assessment coordinator:

  • All about me document – detailing Parent voice and Pupils voice
  • EHCP Referral Form

Both of these forms can be located in the Related Documents tab at the right of this page.

What happens next?

The school or setting will complete an application form and send it to the Local Authority along with the forms detailed above and any professional reports regarding your child. These will then be considered by the Provision Agreement Panel (PAP)
You will be notified of the decision of the PAP within 6 weeks of the Local Authority receiving the application from your child’s educational setting.

You can also apply as a parent/carer - in your own right...

A parent/carer is entitled to make an application for an Education, Health and Care needs Assessment in their own right. If you feel that this is necessary you should write to:

Additional Needs Administration Service
People’s Services Department
Atlas House
Corporation Street
St Helens
Merseyside
WA9 1LD

In your letter you should state that:

  • You are making this request in accordance with Section 36 of the Children and Families Act 2014
  • Describe the reasons why you feel it is necessary to request an Education, Health and Care needs assessment of your child’s needs
  • Attach any relevant documents or reports

You can complete an application form if this would assist, and this can be requested from the address above, aleternatively the form can be located in the Related Documents tab at the foot of this page.

Upon receipt of your application a Provision Agreement Panel(PAP) meeting takes place and you will be notified of it's decision within a period of 6 weeks.

Please see guidance notes, 'Guidance for meeting additional needs' for further information - see Related Documents.

If you are a young person or adult over the age of 16 but under the age of 25

If you have a special educational need or disability and feel that you need an Education, Health and Care plan to support you in education, employment or training, you can apply to the Local Authority for an Education, Health and care needs assessment of your needs.

You should write to:

Additional Needs Administration Service
People’s Services Department
Atlas House
Corporation Street
St Helens
Merseyside
WA9 1LD

In your letter you should state that:

  • You are making this request in accordance with Section 36 of the Children and Families Act 2014
  • Describe the reasons why you feel it is necessary to request an Education, Health and Care needs assessment of your child’s needs
  • Attach any relevant documents or reports

You can complete an application form if this would assist, and this can be requested from the address above, aleternatively the form can be located in the Related Documents tab at the foot of this page.

Upon receipt of your application a Provision Agreement Panel(PAP) meeting takes place and you will be notified of it's decision within a period of 6 weeks.

Please see guidance notes, 'Guidance for meeting additional needs' for further information - see Related Documents.

At the start of the assessment, you and your child or the young person will have the opportunity to say what’s working, what’s not working and what you think needs to change. An SEN Casework Manager will help you with this.

The SEN Casework Manager will gather information from the other people involved and arrange a meeting for you all to agree the outcomes and how you think they can best be met. Remember that this is all about partnership between you and the professionals involved to make the right decisions as a family.

The whole process lasts for 20 weeks.

Towards the end of this period, the SEN Casework Manager will meet you again if you wish to discuss the EHC plan, and decide the support necessary to meet the agreed outcomes.

The plan will be clear about how much things cost and will have agreed timescales to make sure that it is updated and reviewed regularly, for example, annually.

The plan could go with your child or the young person as they change services, change schools and also when they leave school and go on to college, work related training or apprenticeships.

The plan will cease when the education or training outcomes specified in the Education, Health and Care plan have been achieved.

Following the EHC Pathway will not put children and young people at a disadvantage as it will include, and continue to comply with, all statutory obligations required under current legislation. This includes rights of appeal.

To see how the process works, please access our easy to follow diagram - Education, Health and Care Plan Flowchart.

If, following the assessment, we decide that an EHC plan is not necessary, we must inform the parents or young person, the early years provider, school or post 16 institution currently attended and the health service, and give the reasons for our decision.

We have to do this within 16 weeks of the initial request, or of the child or young person having been brought to the authority’s attention.

The local authority must also tell the parents or young person that they have the right to appeal to the SENDIST tribunal against the decision and set out the time limits for appeal, and the availability of St. Helens Information Advice & Support Service (SHIASS) and disagreement resolution services. In these circumstances it is likely that the information gathered during the assessment will have indicated ways in which the school, college or other provider can meet the child or young person’s needs from within available resources through an early years, school or college based support plan.

You may not always agree with decisions made by us in relation to that your child’s support.

There are three areas of disagreement that this service can help with:

  • If you disagree with your local authority, your school, early years setting or college about how they are carrying out their education, health and care duties. This applies if your child has any kind of SEN – it’s not just if they are going through EHC needs assessment or if they have an EHC plan
  • If you disagree with your early years settings, school or college about the SEN provision they are making. This applies if your child has any kind of SEN – it’s not just if they are going through an EHC needs assessment or if they have an EHC plan
  • If you disagree with your local authority or Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

If any of the above applies to you, then you have the right to challenge us about those decisions.

You should first raise this with the Additional Needs Team, and try to reach agreement.0

If you can’t reach agreement, then they will advise you on our procedures for making complaints. You can also ask for advice and support from St Helens Independent Advice Support Service (SHIASS/Parent Partnership).

If you can't resolve any disagreement around the decisions made about your child then, as well as your legal appeal rights, there is a mediation service which can help settle disputes.

The mediators are not employed by the local authority and are completely independent. Disagreement resolution services are for all parents of children and young people with SEN, and young people themselves with SEN. Using the service is voluntary and covers SEN provision as well as disagreements about health and social care.


Contact the Additional Needs Team for further information

Additional Needs Team
Atlas House
Corporation Street
St. Helens
WA9 1LD

01744 671104/01744 671106

 

Mediation is also a voluntary process for parents and young people, which you can use if you cannot reach an agreement with ourselves or the CCG, in matters relating to EHC plans. We have a duty to make an independent mediation service available to you.

Mediation is  a voluntary process, and is specifically linked to decisions relating to an EHC Needs Assessment and/or Plan which must be considered by parents, carers or young people before submitting an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. Your right to appeal decisions are time limited and advice must be sought within 2 months from the date of your letter from the local authority.

Mediation can take place following decisions by a local authority:

  • Not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • Not to draw up an EHC plan, after they receive a final EHC plan or amended plan
  • Following a decision not to amend an EHC plan or
  • A decision to cease to maintain an EHC plan

In these circumstances, as well as your legal rights, we will provide you with access to an independent mediation adviser who you will need to contact for information about mediation if you are thinking about appealing to the SEND Tribunal.

 

Contact the Additional Needs Team for further information

Additional Needs Team
Atlas House
Corporation Street
St. Helens
WA9 1LD

01744 671104/01744 671106

The Together Trust Mediation & Disagreement Resolution (DRS) Services are designed to help settle disagreements surrounding the provisions provided for a child/young person aged 0 to 25 years, with special educational needs/disabilities.

During the initial enquiry we provide factual and unbiased information about mediation to help families and young people decide if it could be helpful to proceed with a mediation. We will do our best to answer any questions asked about the process. Families and young people have the option to choose whether or not to take part in a mediation meeting.

Both mediation and dispute resolution meetings are arranged by involving key people in the disagreement (where possible) and are facilitated by our trained, impartial SEND mediators. Discussion surrounding the disagreement enables each party the opportunity to provide their views and also to listen to others.

The mediator isn’t there to take sides or to make decisions, but to assist those present, to share individual views/concerns, ensuring that each person is heard. The mediator will encourage those present to problem solve together which can enable a way forward to resolve the situation.

Meetings will usually last about 2 hours and are held as centrally as possible to all parties within a neutral venue.

 

Should a family or young person choose not to go to mediation, a certificate must be obtained from the mediation service to confirm this option has been considered before lodging an appeal with the first tier tribunal. The tribunal will not take account whether or not mediation has taken place.

Disagreement Resolution applies to any aspect of special educational needs and disability (SEND) regardless of whether or not the child or young person is being assessed for or has an EHC plan, and can be used at any time with the agreement of the parties involved.

DRS covers a range of disagreements including:

  • The performance of duties
  • Any aspect of SEN provision
  • Health and social care disagreements during the processes related to an EHC needs assessment


Please have a look at the Mediation and DRS flowchart (Related Documents) to see at a glance what issues can be resolved through which process.

 

The Together Trust Mediation & Disagreement Resolution Service welcome contact from parents/carers and professionals who are interested in their services. Their mediation co-ordinators are available to provide impartial and unbiased information and guidance about mediation and DRS and to answer any questions that you may have to enable you to make an informed decision.

For more information you can:
Telephone:  0161 283 4848
Email:         drs@togethertrust.org.uk


You can also visit the Together Trust Mediation Service at https://www.togethertrust.org.uk/what-we-do/family-support/disagreement-resolution
We also have a frequently asked questions section about mediation and DRS you can look at here https://www.togethertrust.org.uk/family-support/mediation-and-disagreement-resolution/faqs-0

From September 2014 - all new requests to local authorities for an education, health and care assessment will follow the new legislation of Children and Families Act 2014.

Children and young people who already have a statement of special educational needs maintained by their local authority, will see a gradual transition into the new arrangements.

Children and young people from 0 – 25 years can pursue appeals in the Tribunal and young people over the statutory school age of 16 can appeal in their own right, rather than through their parents.

Until the new system is fully implemented, there will be different legal considerations by the tribunal depending on whether the appeal involves a statement or an EHC plan.
To help you with the process, different forms are being used and different versions of the guidance are available depending on the type of appeal.

Forms may be found on the www.justice.gov.uk website under 'Forms and further guidance'.

Contact Details:

HM Courts & Tribunals Service
Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal
1st Floor,
Darlington Magistrates’ Court
Parkgate,
Darlington
DL1 1RU

Telephone: 01325 289350
Email: sendistqueries@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Fax number: 0870 739 4017
Follow on Twitter: @HMCTS_NBC

 

Single Route of Redress National Trial - Guidance and Toolkit

The Government are trialling extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND) to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans as part of a special educational appeal. The trial will apply to local authority decisions made and EHC plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018 and will run for two years.

A toolkit providing a number of resources has been created to support local authorities, health commissioners, parents and young people in preparation for and throughout the trial.  This toolkit includes:

  • Short summary document for parents and young people explaining the key elements of the national trial 
  • Grant funding agreement letter (that LAs will need to sign and return to the SEND delivery support helpdesk with their first expense claim) 
  • Grant claim form for claiming grants in arrears with associated guidance for claiming expenses (for LAs to send to the SEND delivery support helpdesk) 

You can find the toolkit and the guidance documents by clicking this link:

Guidance and Toolkit

 

You can also take part in a Webinar providing an overview on sessions covered at the Jan-Feb induction events by following this link:

Webinar

 

 

 

The ehcpjourneys.com website has been active for two and a half years, having been based on independent research in 2015 into the parental experience of the new EHC needs assessment process.  During that time, the site has had almost 20,000 visits.

 

The site provides real-life examples of what it is like to go through the EHC process from the perspective of children, families and young people who are going, or have gone, through it. It also discusses ways for services to get feedback on their local delivery, and how to improve their system. New case studies have recently been added and this is a great resource to use if you are looking to improve your EHC needs assessment and plan-writing processes.

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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