March 2018 – An important month in the calendar
Local Authorities have been provided by a deadline from the Government to complete the transfer process of all pupils with a statement of Special Educational Needs to an Education Health and Care Plan by the 1st April 2018.
The law sets out a discrete process in which a young person can transfer from a Statement of Special Educational Needs to an Education Health and Care Plan.
The Local Authority in question must undertake a reassessment of a child’s Special Educational Needs within an 18 week period and thereafter must if a child’s needs require it, produce a draft Education Health and Care Plan.
Families should thereafter be able to review the plan and make representations to any amendments that they see fit. The family also have the right to make suggestions once the draft plan has been issued as to what school placement their child should attend.
During this process and preferably at its inception, a transition review should also be held in which experts to include representatives from the child’s school and the child’s family.
During the transition meeting there should be a discussion as to:-
a. What needs a young person has (recorded in Section B of the plan),
b. What provision should be provided for them (recorded in Section F of the plan)
c. And finally what placement he or she should attend (Section I of the plan)
It is the writers view, that most Local Authorities do not have the resources to conduct a meaningful reassessment of a child’s needs during this process and Local Authorities are almost solely relying, albeit unlawfully, on the recommendations of schools and families.
Thankfully, if the Local Authority do not manage to transfer the Statement to an Education Health and Care Plan by the 1st April 2018 the provision specified in the child’s Statement will be treated as if it has been made in an EHC Plan. (TSP Order Article 17). This means that children should not suffer because of a failure to transition their plan in time.
Parents should however be reminding Local Authorities of their duties to transfer their child from a Statement of Special Educational Needs to an Education Health and Care Plan.