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Assessment and Education, Health and Care plans

Assessment and Education Health and Care Plans

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 is very clear in its advice that the majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local early years settings, schools or post 16 provision.  

However, if your child is not making sufficient progress despite assessment and provision in place within their educational setting, the Local Authority should consider what further provision may be appropriate, and may require an EHC Needs Assessment to be carried out.  

The Council for Disabled Children have produced guidance on good quality EHC Plans.

This video helps to explain what an Education, Health and Care Plan is.

Who can request an EHC Needs Assessment?

Education Health and Care Plan graphic

An Education, Health and Care needs assessment can be requested by parents, carers, teachers or any other professional involved with a child or young person; they can also be requested by a young person over the age of 16.

How do I request an EHC Needs Assessment?

EHC Plan illustration

To request an assessment, please complete this form  You can also find it in the 'Useful Documents' section on this web page. Please return the completed form to the
address provided on the form.

Alternatively, you can request a paper copy by contacting the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS) by calling 01733 863996 /863934 or email SENTeam@peterborough.gov.uk.

What happens at the EHC Needs Assessment?

During the assessment, information is collected from:

  • the child or young person 
  • the parent
  • the child’s school or early education setting

Information may be collected from:

  • an educational psychologist
  • relevant health professionals (for example the child’s doctor, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, physiotherapist, health visitor)
  • children’s social care, education welfare officers and other people that may be appropriate

What happens next?

Education Health and Care Plan graphic

Following the assessment we may issue a draft Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), which is a detailed description of your child’s needs and how these will be met.

Give feedback on the EHCP process

Education Health and Care Plan graphic

If you have recently been through the Education, Health and Care Planning process we would like to hear from you.  Please go to the Feedback page to give your views.

Quality Assurance of Education, Health and Care Plans

Introduction

A multi-agency review group including representation from Family Voice Peterborough reviewed a number of randomly selected Education, Health and Care Plans from different age groups. The area of focus for this review was school phase changes.

The Plans included a mix of new Plans and those that had been a transfer from a Statement of Special Educational Needs. Five Plans from each of the following age groups were reviewed: Year 1, Year 6 and Year 12. The following is a summary of the main points arising from the review.

Review findings

Areas of consistent strength

  • The majority of the Plans reviewed were written using language that was clear and easy to understand. The contact details were in the main complete.
  • In Section A of all of the Plans reviewed there was a summary of the developmental history of the child/young person and some indication of their views.
  • All of the Plans indicated the areas of strength for the child/young person in relation to the SEN Code of Practice categories of need.
  • All Plans contained a reference to the child/young person’s views.
  • With one exception all Plans included a description of SEN, outcomes and provisions that would help with planning.

Areas for Improvement

Accessibility

  • There is a need for better explanation of medical terms and use of jargon free language
  • Proof reading is needed to prevent typing errors and poor grammar
  • Cutting and pasting information from professional reports should be avoided as it can result in jumbled sentences and mistakes
  • There is a need to consider the impact of some descriptions and life stories on the person who will read the Plan

Outcomes

  • The number of outcomes should be realistic within the timescale. No more than 5 or 6 outcomes is needed
  • Outcomes should be linked to aspirations and strengths as well as need to ensure a focus that is not only focused on difficulties
  • Outcomes must be realistic and measurable
  • There is a need to improve the consistency of use of Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time limited (SMART) outcomes
  • The language used should be reviewed e.g. “increase awareness of” to ensure that outcomes are measurable
  • Health and social care outcomes should be included. In one example there was evidence of social care involvement but no associated needs or outcomes.Outcomes should be to end of KS3 (for Year 5/6 Plans) not the end of Year 7
  • There is a need to include Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) outcomes - very few were noted even for Year 12 (n.b. practice in this area was recently reinforced so should appear in reviews of Plans in 6 months time)
  • Outcomes should be associated with all identified needs
  • descriptions of provision should be specific – phrases such as “would benefit from” are too vague

Strengths focused

  • link should be made between a child’s “likes” and “strengths” to outcomes and provision where appropriate
  • The way in which special educational needs are described is inconsistent and sometimes refers to provision – this needs an agreed local approac

Person centred

  • Where views are reported by a parent or practitioner this needs to be made clear
  • The voice of the child /young person should come across strongly in all Plans
  • A refresher for all agencies in relation to ensuring that input to an EHC Plan remains child/young person centred may be useful

Golden Thread

  • Outcomes in the Plan must have a clear link to addressing the identified needs and cross refer to other plan
  • It should be possible to see the impact of the needs identified on the child’s learning
  • It should be possible to see a link between the assessed needs, agreed outcomes and provision to be put into place to help achieve the outcomes in all Plans

Multiagency input

  • Health and social care input is needed
  • There was no social care input to any of the Plans reviewe
  • If there are no health or social care needs or associated outcomes this should be recorded
  • Health outcomes (and others) should be SMART
  • Recommendations for provision must be child/young person specific

Next steps

Following this review actions have been identified to address the areas requiring improvement. Progress on this will be reviewed at the next quality assurance meeting in mid January 2019.

Complaints and Mediation

If parents or young people are unhappy about certain decisions made by the Local
Authority, they have a right to appeal. This would include the following areas:

  • not carrying out an EHC needs assessment
  • not issuing an EHC plan
  • content of a final or amended EHC plan
  • decision not to amend an EHC plan
  • cease an EHC plan
  • placement named in a Plan

Changes to appeals

Single route of redress trial

In April 2018, the Government launched a two year trial extending the powers of the First-tier tribunal (SEND), sometimes known as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans.

Before April 2018, appeals could only be made against local authority decisions not to issue, re-assess, amend or cease EHC plans and on sections B (special educational needs), F (provision) and I (placement).  However, from April 2018 onwards, young people and parents can appeal the health and/or social care content described in the plan, through one process.

Some other aspects of disagreements young people or parents might have about EHC Plans are handled through other procedures. Please contact the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service or the SEND Partnership Service for more information.

If the SEND Tribunal makes a recommendation about health or social care elements of an EHC Plan, the local authority / health commissioner is generally expected to follow these, but they are not legally binding. Where the recommendations are not followed, the reasons must be explained in writing to the parents/young person and the government Department for Education.

The process of appealing has not changed and so you must contact our local Mediation Service - Kids - to discuss your case. Mediation provides an opportunity for us to resolve disagreements and can be completed more quickly than an appeal. Once a mediation adviser has been contacted, or once you have taken part in mediation, you will be issued with a certificate. This will be necessary if you are still unhappy and wish to progress to an appeal with the Tribunal. An appeal to the Tribunal must usually be made within two months of the decision about which the appeal is being made or one month following the issuing of the mediation certificate.

There will be an independent evaluation of the trial to help the government decide whether or not to keep the extend powers of the SEND Tribunal. The evaluation will involve contacting some young people and parents to share their views of the appeals process with these new powers. They will normally be contacted just after the appeal hearing (or when the appeal process has been completed) and 6 months later for phone or online interviews.

You can find more information about the appeals process through:

Request for involvement of specialist teachers and portage service

Education Settings (nurseries, schools and academies) can request the support of the Specialist Teaching Services (including the advisory teachers for ADHD and Autism and teachers of the deaf, blind, and physical disabilities) and the Portage Service (for Early Years children), through the Request for Involvement form.

The form must be signed by the Headteacher / Lead practitioner in the setting and submitted to inclusion-referrals@peterborough.gov.uk

The request will be reviewed by the SEN and Inclusion Services Management Team in order to ensure the most appropriate service responds in a timely manner.

If the matter is urgent, please contact SEN and Inclusion Services directly (the contact details available on Peterborough Local Offer).

For further information please contact laura.ferrario@peterborough.gov.uk or 01733 863702

Time Frame for the EHC Needs assessment

Full details of the process are described in the leaflet - New request for Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments

Summary details are provided below.

Submit a request for EHC Needs Assessment form

within 24 hours of receiving the request the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS) team will:

  • Receive request and check consent for assessment has been given by parents/carers (if child) or the young person
  • If consent for assessment is not given, return the form to the sender with a letter explaining why.
  • If consent for assessment has been given, allocate to an SEN Officer.
  • Create the account on the SAMS system.
  • Send an acknowledgement letter to the requestor and letters to statutory agencies notifying them of the request for an EHC Needs Assessment.
  • Receive responses from parents/carers
  • Allocate the case to a SEN Panel meeting, preparing relevant Panel front sheets and updating SAMS system.

6 weeks after request received:

  • SEN Panel Meeting

If declined an EHC Needs Assessment by SEN Panel:

Within 48 hours of SEN Panel meeting:

  • SEN Officer phones the requestor to inform and explain the decision of SEN Panel.
  • SAMS sends a formal letter to the requestor of the needs assessment and all involved professionals informing / explaining the decision of the SEN Panel, including a paragraph written by the SEN Officer and information on the right of appeal.
  • Case is closed on SAMS system.
  • Master copies of paperwork stored in reference box.

If approved for an EHC Needs Assessment at SEN Panel:

Within 48 hours of SEN Panel meeting:

  • SEN Officer phones the requestor to inform them of the decision of the SEN Panel and arrange a date/time/venue for a planning meeting.
  • SAMS send a formal letter including the date/time/venue of the planning meeting to the requestor, education setting and other professional agencies.

By two weeks before the Planning Meeting:

  • Receive new advice /information (making sure to pass to SEN Officer)

PLANNING MEETING

  • SEN Officer to facilitate Planning Meeting

Within 2 weeks after Planning Meeting:

  • SEN Officer writes a draft EHC Plan or feedback notes.
  • SAMS send the draft EHC Plan or written feedback (and appendices) to parents/carers or young person.

Within 15 calendar days of the date of the letter:

  • Receive response from parent/carers / young person.
  • SAMS sends a consultation letter including the Draft EHC Plan and appendices, to the governing body of the current educational placement.

If the parent/carers/young person has not requested a change in education placement:

  • SAMS sends a consultation letter including the Draft EHC Plan and appendices, to the governing body of the current educational placement.

Within 15 calendar days of the date of the letter:

  • Receive response from education placement

If approved by current education placement:

Within 1 week:

  • Finalise the EHC Plan
  • Send finalised EHC plan and all appendices to parents/carers/young person and all involved professionals.
  • Close the case on SAMS system

If not approved by current education placement:

Within 48 hours

  • Inform parents/carers/young person
  • Send consultation letter including the Draft EHC Plan and appendices, to second choice of education placement.
  • SAMS sends a consultation letter including the Draft EHC Plan and appendices, to the governing body of the current and requested educational placements

Within 15 calendar days of the date of the letter:

  • Receive response from education placement

If one or both education placements approve the request:

  • Finalise the EHC Plan with parental / young person’s preference.
  • Send finalised EHC plan and all appendices to parents/carers/young person and all involved professionals.
  • Close the case on SAMS system

If both education placements decline the request, the SEN Officer and colleagues will work to secure the most appropriate education placement possible.

If the parent/carers/young person has requested a specialist education placement:

Within 48 hours

  • Allocate case to SEN Panel.

SEN Panel (With SEN Officer attending)

If specialist education placement is approved at SEN Panel:

Within 48 hours:

  • SEN Officer phones requestor to inform them of the decision
  • Send consultation letter including the Draft EHC Plan and appendices, to requested education placement

Within 15 calendar days of the date of the letter:

  • Receive response from education placement

If requested placement is approved:

  • Finalise the EHC Plan and send to the parent/carers/young person and other professionals involved.
  • Close the case on SAMS system.
  • SEN Officer phones requestor to inform them of the decision
  • Send consultation letter to current or alternative education placement

Within 15 calendar days of the date of the letter:

  • Receive response from education placement

If requested placement is approved:

  • Finalise the EHC Plan and send to the parent/carers/young person and other professionals involved.
  • Close the case on SAMS system

If the requested education placement declines the request, the SEN Officer and colleagues will work to secure the most appropriate education placement possible.

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