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Educational Health Care Plans - key updates

Last week saw three important updates in relation to EHCs for pupils with SEND:

1.     A letter from Edward Timpson to Directors of Children's services reminding them of the need to complete Transfer Reviews for Children and Young people with statements of SEN by 31 March 2018, and of DfE's monitoring arrangements.  The letter is attached below for your information.

2.     A report providing results of a survey of the views of over 13,000 parents and young people who received an EHC plan in 2015.

The key findings were:

  • Two thirds of parents and young people were satisfied with the overall process of getting an EHC plan and a similar proportion agreed that it would achieve the outcomes agreed for the child or young person (over one in ten were dissatisfied and just under one in ten disagreed respectively).
     
  • Half found that starting the EHC plan process was easy, whereas almost one quarter found this to be difficult. Among those with no previous SEN Statement, around eight in ten got their EHC plan after their first request.
  • Two thirds of parents and young people were informed about the information, advice and support available. The majority of those informed went on to use it and use was related to a better experience.
     
  • The majority of parents agreed that their own wishes and opinions were included in the EHC plan. It was less common to report that the wishes and opinions of the child or young person were included, but this varied by age (from three in ten for those under five to seven in ten for those aged 16-25).
  • Three quarters said that the nursery, school or college named in their EHC plan was the one they asked for in the drafting process (5% agreed on a second or third choice or an alternative option and 4% said the named institution was not wanted).
  • More respondents thought that their EHC plan had been provided after the 20-week target had passed. Official statistics show the majority of new plans were provided by 20 weeks. The difference may reflect respondents timing the process from an earlier point, imprecisions in respondents' estimates, and plans exempt from the 20-week timeframe being included in the survey data.
  • Almost three quarters agreed that their EHC plan led to the child or young person getting the help and support that they need; over two-thirds agreed it has improved the child/young person's experience of education. Respondents were more likely to agree (for both measures) the longer the plan had been in place.
  • Over half of respondents were positive about their plan's future impact regarding community participation, independent living, and identifying aspirations; just under half were positive about finding work. Around one in ten provided a negative response to these questions.
  • There were variations in experiences of the EHC needs assessment and planning process and the resultant EHC plan by local authority and by a number of characteristics (e.g. the age of the child/young person; whether the child/young person previously had a SEN Statement, and the types of needs that the EHC plan was perceived to cover).

    The report is available here.

3.     An independent review of SEND disagreement resolution arrangements, and the government's response.  The review followed a commitment by the Secretary of State and the Lord Chancellor to conduct an independent review of the system of dispute resolution.

In response the government's has stated that it intends to take the following steps:

  • publishing good practice guidance developed as part of CEDAR's review and sharing this with local areas through regional networks and delivery support partnerships
     
  • supporting continuous professional development for LA staff at leader, middle manager and caseworker level
  • considering how best to channel government support for families from April 2018 (when transition to EHC plans will be complete) to encourage constructive early dialogue and to ensure effective signposting and support for disagreement resolution
  • supporting the mediation sector to introduce voluntary standards and accreditation of training programmes for SEND mediation
  • producing accessible guidance for families on the available routes for complaint and disagreement resolution
  • introducing a two-year national trial of the expansion of the First-tier Tribunal SEND powers to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care elements of EHC plans.

The report and the government's response are available here.

 

Page Published: 03/04/2017