Education Health and Care Plan Transfer (EHCPs)
A new SEN and Disability Code of Practice was introduced for England in September 2014. Instead of a statement, parents will find that all new assessments now relate to Education Health and Care Plans. Special Needs Jungle has useful pages EHCP Getting Started (requesting assessment etc) and EHCP Top Tips. Parents applying for an EHCP from scratch should be aware of the 'graduated approach'
Transferring Statements to EHCPsExisting statements are not necessarily being converted to EHCPs at the next review. There could be several more annual reviews of the statement without any mention of an EHCP. Depending on the child or young person's age this could be as late as 2018.
The local authority may write at short notice to home educating families about "transfer review", "conversion" or "transition". I am currently investigating how this works in practice across the country by asking local councils for their paperwork and I've also asked parents for their experiences. From my research into the letters for families about EHCP transfers, many local authorities are opting to start the process of converting a statement to a plan by giving parents 2 weeks notice of “the transfer review meeting” where they combine a statement review with a discussion of what might carry over to a Plan. This may be out of convenience – because it follows the normal statement review procedure – or because the authority believes this is what the law dictates. (There does have to be at least one meeting during the transfer review process but it doesn’t have to be at the beginning.)
What I am also seeing is local authorities treating progress reports provided for the statement review as "recent advice" meaning they don't need any new assessments. This is incorrect. The LA can only dispense with the requirement to seek new advice for the EHC needs assessment if there has been recent relevant advice AND parents agree that nothing more is needed.
20 weeks is the maximum time for transferring a statement to an EHC Plan, comprising a minimum of 2 weeks notice followed by 18 weeks before the final plan is issued. Along the way, parents have to be provided with at least one draft before the final draft, and sufficient time must be allowed for the family to respond.
A statement or EHCP can be useful insurance for home educators, acting as a passport to various benefits and support including special arrangements in exams and help in college/6th form. NB where a statement is being converted to an EHCP towards the end of compulsory schooling, eligibility does NOT depend on whether the young person is going to college immediately. Section 39 of the Children and Families Act 2014 is clear that the question of placement should only arise after the plan has been drafted. (In the past a statement for a home educated young person would simply have been discontinued at the end of compulsory schooling)
What's in the Plan
A common labelling system has been introduced in the Code of Practice meaning that every EHC plan must contain specified sections labelled with the same letter. More details here
Some families where children have disabilities manage to get support through children's social care - including Direct Payments and Personal Budgets and it is not necessary to have an EHCP for this. Read more from Contact-a-Family. Disability Living Allowance can be claimed for care and mobility needs (not just where a child is physically unable to walk, but also where a much greater level of supervision is required. More Cerebra has a very useful guide to completing the DLA form where a child has a neurological condition.
A statement or EHCP can be useful insurance, acting as a passport to various benefits and support including special arrangements in exams and help in college/6th form (examples were provided of the support package available at college with a statement/EHCP) NB Changes to the benefit system will affect families with disabled children More. Information about deregistration from school where a child has a statement of SEN here. The Annual Review should NOT be an inspection of provision More Personal Budgets and Direct Payments are theoretically possible for education via the EHCP