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Dyslexia, the Education System and Life in general

Education Health Care Plans

‘Statements’ are being replaced by ‘Education Health Care Plans’.   IPSEA have the clearest and most up to date website for facts   (I have copied the following from IPSEA’s website)

http://www.ipsea.org.uk/what-you-need-to-know/ehc-needs-assessments

EHC NEEDS ASSESSMENTS

Local Authorities have a clear duty to assess a child or young person’s education, health and care needs where they may have SEN (special educational needs) and they may need special educational provision to be made for them at a level or of a kind which requires an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs. This is called an EHC needs assessment.

It is also sometimes called a “statutory assessment” – an assessment that a Local Authority is required to carry out in accordance with statute, in this case the Children and Families Act 2014. It has replaced the old form of statutory assessment under the Education Act 1996.

If a parent, young person or a school/college asks the Local Authority (LA) to carry out an EHC needs assessment then the LA must respond to the request within 6 weeks saying if they will or will not carry out the assessment.

If they refuse, the parent/young person must be informed and has the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Once an LA agrees to carry out an EHC needs assessment they must by law seek advice and information from a number of key professionals as part of the process. Based on the evidence they have gathered they must then decide whether they will issue an EHC plan for that child or young person.

Follow the links below for more information about triggering an EHC needs assessment and for what happens during the assessment process.

ASKING FOR AN EHC NEEDS ASSESSMENT

When should I request an EHC needs assessment?

•           Whenever a child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school or college; and

•           The parents of the child or the young person (or the young person themselves) believe that the school or college is not able to provide the help and support which is needed,

a request should be made to the Local Authority (LA) for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

You can do this at any time.

For children under 16 the parent makes the request. This includes children from 0 to 5 where parents should make a request if they believe that the child will need extra help when school starts.

In the case of a young person (over 16 and up to 25) they can make the request themselves if they understand it sufficiently well themselves – otherwise the parent can make the request on a young person’s behalf.

Remember you can only ask for an EHC needs assessment if the child or young person has or may have educational needs – it does not apply where there are only health and/or care needs no matter how severe.

Should I speak to the school or college first?

Yes, definitely. Speak to your child’s class/ subject teacher and the head teacher or to the principal of the College the young person is attending about your worries before writing to the LA.

What if the school or college offers to write on my behalf?

Anyone acting on behalf of a school or post 16 institution is able to write and request an EHC needs assessment, but if you do it yourself you can be sure that the request has definitely been made, and you will know when it has been made. However, if the school or college is willing, you could ask them to write a letter which supports your parental application.

Who should I write to?

Write to the top person at the LA, usually called the Director of Education or Head of Children’s Services. You can find out what the top person is called in your LA by asking at the school or college. Your LA’s “Local Offer” should also clearly set out how a request can be made. This can be found on your LA’s website.

When should I hear back?

The LA must reply within six weeks. They will always reply to you as a parent or young person – even where the request was made by the school or college.

Remember: Always ask in writing. Keep a copy of your letter. Make a note of the six week deadline for the LA’s reply. Ring IPSEA if you don’t get a reply after six weeks or if you want further advice.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN EHC NEEDS ASSESSMENT?

An EHC (Education, Health and Care) needs assessment is not just an educational assessment. It is an assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of the child or young person. This means that consideration must be given to whether a social care assessment or additional health assessments are needed.

Under SEN Regulation 6 (1) an LA must as a minimum seek information and advice on a child or young person’s needs, the provision to meet those needs and outcomesexpected to be achieved from the following:

(a)       the child’s parent or the young person;

(b)       educational advice (usually from head teacher or principal of post-16 institution);

(c)        medical advice and information from a health care professional;

(d)       psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist;

(e)       advice and information in relation to social care;

(f)        advice and information from any other person the local authority thinks is appropriate;

(g)       where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living; and

(h)       advice and information from any person the child’s parent or young personreasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.

Under Regulation 6 (1) (h), a parent or young person can ask the Local Authority to seek advice from anyone within education, health or social care and as long as it is a reasonable request the LA must do so. This can include a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist or from CAMHS (child, adolescent, mental health services). Once requested the health authority has 6 weeks to respond. A request will be reasonable if a child/young person has been identified as needing an assessment already – such as where they are on a waiting list – or where the has school/college has said it may be needed.

Under Regulation 6 (2), if a child or young person is hearing impaired and/or visually impaired the educational advice must come from a suitably qualified person.

The Local Authority does not have to seek new advice from any of these individual professionals where it already exists – that is, where it has previously been provided for any purpose. This exception will only apply if the person providing that advice, the Local Authority and the child’s parent or the young person, are satisfied that the existing advice is sufficient for the purposes of an EHC needs Assessment. In making that decision (as to whether the advice is sufficient) parents/young people whether should check that it is up to date and that it reflects the child/ young person accurately. As a rough guide, an Educational Psychologist report over 1 to 2 years old will not usually be sufficient.

The Local Authority has the legal duty to carry out the assessment process. This dutycannot be delegated to a school/college nor can the school/college be required to pay for all/any element of it such as the educational psychologist’s report.

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